One of the benefits of living in New England is the gorgeous foliage that greets us each fall. The striking crimson, yellow, and orange hues that replace once green leaves are truly a gorgeous sight, and even though I’ve lived in the Northeast my whole life, I still get excited when the first hint of color appears on my neighborhood maples.
Sadly, Boston experiences very little foliage (there’s literally one beautiful red tree that graces the Boston Public Garden!), so in order to fully take advantage of the beauty of the season, Bostonians (and many others from around the globe) tend to head North to Vermont or New Hampshire.
On a quest for stellar leaf-peeping, we recently packed our bags for a weekend away in quaint Stowe, Vermont. This quintessential New England town is not only an ideal winter ski destination, but in late September and October, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the colors of fall.
While much of the area is still basking in peak to late peak foliage, I highly recommend embracing this beautiful season and making a trip to Stowe to experience the gorgeous fall landscape. If you decide to visit this picturesque town, I’ve rounded up my recommendations for how to best enjoy a fall weekend there.
The A-Lyst for Leaf-Peeping in Stowe, Vermont
This 5.5 mile paved path provides visitors to Stowe with a great way to spend time outdoors and be active. A perfect place to take a leisurely stroll, run, or bike ride, the scenic “rec path” is especially enjoyable in the fall because you have a firsthand view of Stowe’s gorgeous foliage! One of my favorite places to stop along the way is Brookdale Covered Bridge, which is a beautiful covered bridge that sits over a lovely babbling brook.
If you like the outdoors, but aren’t exactly “outdoorsy,” a visit to Smugglers’ Notch State Park is a great place to get your nature fix and take in fall’s beauty. You can drive a very narrow and windy scenic route (go slow!) and enjoy the views from your car or you can take it one step further and actually hike the Smugglers’ Notch Trail. Since we had limited time during our recent trip, we only did the drive, but I’ve heard amazing things about the slightly more challenging hike to Sterling Pond, so we’ve added that to our “must-do” list for a future visit to Stowe.
Enjoy the Local Brewery Scene
While I’m not a beer drinker, when visiting Stowe, I love how I can still appreciate its local brewery scene without actually having a pint. One of my favorite places to grab lunch and spend an afternoon is Idletyme Brewing Company. Complete with lawn games and the most picture perfect outdoor “tree bar,” Idletyme’s patio is a great spot to come with friends and spend a beautiful fall day. Beer lovers can enjoy a sampler flight of what’s on tap or have a glass of their favorite Idletyme original (the Danube, which is a blueberry hefeweizen, is a crowd favorite). At Idletyme, there is also a complete cocktail list for non-beer drinkers like me! If you want to make a day of beer tastings and brewery hopping, don’t miss The Alchemist and Stowe Cider. The Alchemist is as educational as it is fun; you can watch the canning process and taste samples in their gorgeous facility, while Stowe Cider is great place to stop for a tasting of the area’s namesake cider and play a few board games as you do it!
Explore Stowe Village
When we’re in Stowe, I love to take an hour out of our visit to explore the charming Stowe Village. With it’s quaint covered bridge, countless eateries, and shops, the center of Stowe is always bustling! Settled in the early 19th century, Stowe has become synonymous with New England charm and winter activities, but it also home to a strong culinary scene and exciting annual festivals like the Stoweflake Balloon Festival in July. While shopping in Stowe, don’t miss visiting Shaw’s General Store, Stowe Mercantile, The Country Store on Main, and The Boutique (I scored an adorable plaid dress for under $50 on our last trip). And last, but not least, to kick off or wrap up a shopping trip, grab a glass of wine at Cork or a specialty latte at Black Cap Coffee.
Indulge in Cider Donuts and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
Two of my favorite things about a trip to Stowe are food-related…in particular, sweets! A visit to Stowe would not be complete without stopping by the nearby Cold Hollow Cider Mill, which is located in Waterbury. This bustling market and cider mill is worth a pit-stop to pick up a bag of fresh, warm cider donuts and various Vermont-made products. I personally love Cold Hollow’s donuts because their flavor isn’t covered up in tons of sugar and they taste oh-so-fresh! During your visit to Cold Hollow, you can also watch them make fresh apple cider using a rack and cloth press from the 1920s (apple cider review: it’s really good!). If ice cream is your thing, you must check out the official Ben & Jerry’s factory, also located in the neighboring town of Waterbury. For under $5.00 you can take an official factory tour and learn how the company makes their famous ice cream and unique flavors, or if you’re just in the mood for some dessert, there is scoop shop on-site where you can take a cone to-go.
For the perfect Stowe, Vermont photo opportunities, I would recommend visiting a few key areas during your visit.
To capture a beautiful view of Stowe Community Church’s white steeple and the town’s picturesque landscape, take Route 108 and pull over into the Aveda parking lot (232 Mountain Road). This is the best lookout point for scoring the perfect “Stowe village” shot.
If you want to snap a photo of a quintessential New England scene of a red barn and mountains, I love Stowe’s Grandview Farm. This 100+ year old barn is part of the Stowe Land Trust and sits above Stowe Hollow; it is a beautiful place to take a photo!
The Stowe Mountain Resort’s gondola skyline will undoubtedly provide you with the best aerial view and photos of Stowe and its foliage; however, it only runs up and down the mountain through mid-October. When it’s operating, I love taking the gondola up to the top and then getting a drink or bite to eat at the Cliff House. It feels like an adventure and the photo opportunities are unmatched!
Shawl: LOFT Plaid Wrap
Jeans: rag & bone/Jean Capri in Rae
Lipstick: Ilia Beauty Lipstick in Lucy’s Party (Credo Beauty just opened on Newbury Street!)
Cream Sweater: Saks Fifth Avenue Turtleneck Cashmere Sweater
Boots: J.Crew Over-the-Knee Suede Boots (last season; similar here)
The A-Lyst is a Boston-based lifestyle blog curating the very best of style, beauty, food, and travel.