Stowe the most romantic ski spot in New England? Is it the charming
New England town, the farmhouse boutiques and restaurants along the animated
Mountain Road, the wonderful lodges offering guests a reprieve of old fashioned fireplaced Vermont hospitality? Or is it the skiing at this legendary, original
Perhaps I am biased, my husband and I had our first ski date at this classic
Vermont ski mountain (nearly two decades ago), but I cannot imagine a more
idyllic setting for a romantic weekend, without kids or cares – a kind of
“rekindle our love affair” destination.
As we drove into Stowe on Friday, the twinkling white lights down Main Street
mesmerized us. Freshly fallen snow draped the classy inns and craft shops; the
fabled church glowed with a wintry welcome.
Driving up the Mountain Road, we passed so many inviting lodges, chic boutiques
with baubles (note to self: stop there later) and enticing cafes and pubs. We
continued on, towards the top – Topnotch that is.
One of the closest resorts to Stowe Ski Resort, Topnotch is posh, but perfectly
cozy. Three doormen welcomed us, but it was the massive moose in the alpine
lobby that really made me feel like I had arrived at these 4 diamond digs.
Our Overlook unit was spacious and opulent – gas fireplaces in the living room
and master bedroom, a luxurious four-poster bed and a Jacuzzi for two. We
toasted our good fortune, and glimpsed Stowe’s torchlight parade and fireworks
from our hillside haven.
We wandered down the hill to find Trattoria La Festa, where we were transported
from Stowe to Tuscany for the evening. Owner Antonio Devito told us he is as
passionate about food as he is skiing (he skis 130 days a season). Our
consummate Italian host made sure we dined in flickering candlelight, savoring
an earthy red wine from the cellar, shared antipasto, captivating cuisine, and
heavenly Tiramisu. Trattorio La Festa puts the “Rome” in romantic food.
Saturday morning we enjoyed an early but elegant breakfast at Maxwell’s before
heading to Stowe’s ski trails. We made early morning tracks together down
Lord to well-named Sunrise. I can see how skiing at Stowe is inspirational, just
you and your loved one carving the crystal cord along the twisty, tourney
Stowe has plenty of spectacular scenes to propose or profess your love amongst
shimmering white birch, against the backdrop of 4,395’ Mt Mansfield, Vermont’s
highest peak. You can even ski your sweetie to the Mountain Chapel, along the
scenic Toll Road trail.
We stopped at the Octagon at the top of the Four Runner Quad, a panoramic place
to de-glaze while you gaze into your lover’s goggle eyes over a steamy hot
chocolate or gourmet coffee.
Then we headed for the Gondola, and I found Perry Merrill to be the perfectly
pitched and therefore romantic ski run, and Gondolier under the bright red Stowe
gondola cars. Of course, my better half preferred the serious steeps of the
renowned Front Four, particularly the crazy pitches of Starr and Goat with our
hearts thumping in tandem.
Even our lunch at Stowe was romantic, riding the picturesque Gondola to the
Cliff House, where we had wait serviced dining looking up at Mansfield’s chilly
cliffs and out over the sweeping Vermont valley. Add a bubbling pot of cheesy
fondue, and you have yourself a Swiss-like setting in New England.
What better romantic après ski than a spa treatment? We all need to be kneaded.
The Spa at Topnotch is top shelf; named among the best 10 spas in the US. With
over 140 tantalizing treatments, we decided to go with the most native niceties.
While my loved one was massage with Vermont river rocks, I was scrubbed with
Vermont maple sugar and steeped in wildflower wraps.
The Spa’s fantastic indoor pool with cascading waterfall is worth wading for too
– though we opted for the Jacuzzi tub for two in our room.
Concierge Jack was on call, happy to suggest additional romantic amusements. He
said it would be his absolute pleasure to cue up a horse drawn sleigh, a dog
sled through the Vermont woods, a couple’s massage at The Spa, or reserve the
best table of the house.
We dined that night at Topnotch’s four-diamond Maxwell’s, it was elegant and
extremely delicious. Stowe rivals Aspen when it comes to epicurean talents found
in one ski town.
Topnotch’s Mountain Romance package maps out a pretty sweet weekend if you need
coaching with Cupid details, including breakfast and dinner at Maxell’s, spa
treatments, champagne and chocolates, candles and massage oils (ooh la la)
delivered to your room.
To complete our romantic interlude, we walked hand in hand along the winter
wonderland of downtown Stowe's snowy sidewalks, downright dreamy.
The towering Church Steeple is the place to seal the deal, which is just what we
did 17 years before. Now I think Stowe should be an anniversary event. Never did
stop for that bauble – so we must go back next year.
Whether you are looking to pop the question, rekindle a rusty relationship or
just celebrate Valentine’s Day in a sparkling snowy setting – Stowe is romance
central for skiers.