Photograph by Ben Sarle, Stowe Mountain Resort
GPS: 44°29'N 72°43'W
On your way to Stowe Mountain Resort, one of Vermont’s bigger, badder (and more commercial) thrill hills, it’s not a bad idea to pick up a few pints of Half Baked, Chubby Hubby, and Phish Food. After all, you'll pass right by the world headquarters of Ben & Jerry’s as soon as you get off I-89, and their factory tour’s only three bucks (well worth it). Stowe itself is the prototypical Vermont resort town: at once charmingly quaint and gratingly swanky. But braving the fish-tailing Land Rovers with New York plates is worth it for a chance to hike Camel’s Hump (with or sans skis), and the golf in the summertime is pristine (the Farm Resort is your best bet for a resplendent round that costs the same as a bucket of balls in Manhattan). And on your way home from the mountain, don’t forget to stop by and savor the Cabot Cheese Annex Store, where hordes of free cheddar samples and underfed undergrads abound.
Stowe Mountain Resort’s little known but über-fun alpine slides are the summer equivalent of point-and-tucking the fall line, and $73 will get you an all day pass for the slides, the inflatable obstacle course, gondola rides, wall climbing, and the bungee trampoline (www.stowe.commadriverglen.com).
The Shed Restaurant and Brewery’s best known for its beer, which borders on mountain ambrosia (try a "beer ski,” only $8 for a sampler of 6 different varieties). But what most don’t know is that they serve killer burgers too, and have a continuously restocked old-time popcorn machine to curb those post-ride hunger pangs (+1 802 253 8190).
The Stoweflake, like most places here, is pricey, starting around $170 a night if you book early. But with a private 9-hole pitch and putt, wild gardens, a full service gym, indoor/outdoor pools, a spa and tennis courts on the grounds, it starts to look like a serious bargain. Oh yeah, and they’re a snowball’s throw from the Shed (www.stoweflake.com).