Home » 2002 Winter Trip to Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, VT

Saturday, February 16, 2002 - 9:00am by Lolo
300 miles and 6 hours from our last stop - 4 night stay


Lolo and boys at X-C trail crossingLolo and boys at X-C trail crossingThe drive to Stowe was long, but very pretty—especially the section along Route 100 through northern Vermont. There certainly was plenty of snow. We pulled into Goldbrook Campground just as it was getting dark and were directed to a plowed out site along the edge of an open field with some mountains in the distance. Very nice logistics. We had electric and cable hookups, to the kids’ delight, and nice shower facilities just a short walk away, to my delight. There was practically no one else in the campground.

The next morning Herb wasn’t feeling very well, but we drove anyway over to the Trapp Family Lodge, about 5 miles away. That’s one really nice advantage of a motorhome. If you’re not feeling well, the comforts of home are always with you. I felt bad. Herb stayed and slept in the RV all day, while the boys and I went cross country skiing at the Trapp Family Lodge trails. I must say that it started off quite dysfunctionally. About 100 yards from the RV, the boys wanted to stop to wax their skies. After applying the wax, Andrew couldn’t get his boot back into the binding. We tried everything. I really wished Herb was here. Finally, a man stopped to help. If Herb had looked out the window, he probably would have wondered why we were still in sight of the RV after all this time. Things got a lot better after that and we did some great skiing on the groomed trails. We even skied up to a cabin where we sat by a fire and had hot chocolate. It was a really wonderful day. We just felt bad that Herb missed it. Hopefully, he would feel better for tomorrow.

Herb with Lazy Daze at campgroundHerb with Lazy Daze at campgroundThe next day, Herb was back, so we went back to the Trapp Family Nordic Center and skied with him on all the great trails that we had discovered the day before.

This really was a beautiful place. I can understand why Maria Von Trapp chose it as the next best thing to living in the Austrian Alps. Her story was the basis for the movie, “The Sound of Music.” The place is still run by the Trapp family. Johannes von Trapp was the one that started the cross-country ski center here back in 1968. It was actually the first cross-country ski center in America. Back then, there was no grooming equipment so you had to break your own trail, and the trails were marked by tin can lids. They’ve come along way since then. Now there are over 45 kilometers of groomed trails and a nice contemporary lodge to warm yourselves in afterwards.

Herb and boys at warming hut on trailHerb and boys at warming hut on trailOn our third and last full day in Stowe, we decided to go downhill skiing at the Stowe Mountain Resort, also just a short 10 minute drive from our campground. Mt. Mansfield looked pretty intimidating. In fact, it is known for having some of the most challenging trails in the East. Although the boys are really good on snowboards, I just don’t ski enough to feel comfortable on black diamonds. I might be able to get down them, but it just isn’t pretty. I convinced everyone to go the Spruce Peak section of the resort, which had many more intermediate trails. It was sunny, uncrowded, and probably some of the nicest ski conditions we’ve ever had. It was an absolutely fabulous day.

The next morning, our last at Stowe, we slept in and were finally awakened to the roar of snowmobiles in the field adjacent to our campground. I guess it was time to get up and move on.

Boys XC skiing off-trailBoys XC skiing off-trailWe had about a 3-hour drive to get to Mt. Brodie Ski Area, where we planned to spend the next 2 nights, so we had plenty of time to explore and make stops along the way.

Our first was just about 10 minutes from our campground—the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. After taking turns posing with her heads sticking through the openings of a giant ice cream lid, we got on one of the free factory tours. We saw a “moovie” (how cute) about how the business was started by childhood friends, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, watched the actual making of ice cream, and then tasted some free samples in the FlavoRoom. Before leaving, we each selected a pint of our favorite flavor.

Boys at Ben & Jerry'sBoys at Ben & Jerry'sOur eating tour continued at the nearby Cold Hollow Cider Mill where we watched apples being pressed into cider and then had some freshly made cider and donuts. It was a pretty old barn with a nice country store as well, the kind of place I love and Herb hates. He can’t stand the smell of potpourri.

Our next stop was Manchester, Vermont, where we stopped at an old favorite, Mulligan’s Pub, for lunch. It seemed like we were eating out way through the state of Vermont, and it wasn’t over yet. Those pints of Ben & Jerry’s were just sitting in our freezer asking to be eaten.


Lolo and boys breaking trailLolo and boys breaking trailStowe, located along scenic Route 100 in north central Vermont, is a popular year-round tourist destination. In winter it is known for its world-class alpine and Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, and ice climbing opportunities, while in summer hiking, golf, tennis, and biking are popular recreational pursuits.

Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, looms over this quaint New England village. Skiers from around the world come to the Stowe Mountain Resort to ski the infamous Front Four trails (Starr, Goat, National, and Lift Line), arguably among the most challenging and best known ski trails in the country. In addition to the challenging trails on Mount Mansfield, the lower altitude Spruce Peak is perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers.

Stowe is also the home to the Trapp Family Lodge, built by the Trapp Family of “The Sound of Music” fame. Maria Von Trapp chose this location in the 1940s as the location for her singing camp, because it reminded her of her beloved Austrian Alps. The Tyrolean-style buildings of the lodge sit atop a mountain, surrounded by 2,800 acres of forests, ponds, and pastures. Although Maria died in 1987, the Trapp family still runs the lodge.

In the winter of 1968, Johannes von Trapp, opened America’s first cross-country ski center here. At that time, there was no grooming equipment and the trails were marked by tin can lids. Today the Trapp Family Nordic Ski Center has a beautiful contemporary lodge and over 45 kilometers of groomed trails and 100 kilometers of backcountry trails. The Slayton Pasture Cabin, reached only on skis, serves soup, sandwiches, hot chocolate, and homemade cookies beside a warm fire.

About 7 miles south of Stowe on Route 100 is the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, which is open for tours. The tour starts with a 7-minute “moovie” about how two childhood friends, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, turned a $5 correspondence course on ice cream making into what is today a very successful business. After the movie, the tour takes you to a mezzanine, where you can look down upon the actual ice cream making process. Now that you’ve got your appetite worked up, they take you to the FlavoRoom to taste the samples of the day. If that’s not enough, you can buy some ice cream to bring home at the scoop shop and gift shop.

Another fun stopover is the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, an old barn that houses a small working apple cider mill where you can watch the apples being pressed into cider. In addition to the mill, there is a specialty bakery and a large country store.