skiing in Stowe vermont
Photo: Courtesy of Stowe Mountain Resort.

According to Ski Magazine readers, Vermont has some of the best ski resorts in the US and even in North-America, whether you are looking for downhill skiing or cross-country ski or simply want to enjoy great après-ski and dining. In each of these categories, Vermont ski resorts are making Ski Magazine’s list of the “Top 10 Ski Resorts”. And others have also recognized Vermont ski resorts as… some of the best! (See where they are all located on this map of Vermont ski resorts).

Top 10 ski resorts for après-ski (Ski Magazine)
For the best après-ski, Ski Magazine readers selected 2 Vermont ski resorts in the top 10.
Here is their “top 10” list:
1. Aspen Mountain, Colorado
2. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
3. Heavenly, California
4. Killington, Vermont
Killington truly has a number of fun places to enjoy after a long day of skiing: the Mahogany Ridge bar at the K-1 Lodge, the Long Trail Pub at the Snowshed Lodge, and the Bear Mountain Lounge at the Bear Mountain Lodge, the Wobbly Barn or the Lookout Tavern. Lots to choose from. And for the very best BBQ, our personal choice is The Back Behind Saloon on route 4 and 100 S.
5. Tremblant, Quebec
7. Park City, Utah
8. Breckenridge, Colorado
9. Whiteface, New York
10. Stowe, Vermont
There is definitely an established tradition of bar hopping after a day of skiing at the Stowe Mountain Resort. There is even a name for it: it’s the “Mountain Road Crawl”! You start by warming up and having a drink at the Fireside Tavern right at the mountain, then drive down the road a little and stop at the Matterhorn Bar. Pool tables, music and great food (appetizers, pizza, etc.) are all there for you. The bar also has a dance floor. Then, The Shed and the Rusty Nail are further down the road. The Rusty Nail also has a great space and pool tables upstairs. Lots of places for lots of fun! And to make sure to stay safe, take advantage of the shuttle which will take you from one bar to another, yep, no kidding!

Top 10 ski resorts for dining (Ski Magazine)
For dining, Stowe is ranking number 10. A very respectable score. Indeed, the whole road from the Mountain to Stowe village and to Waterbury has restaurants of all kinds and all budgets, as well of course B&B and little inns. Some are fun and relaxed, some are fancy and gastronomic in quaint historic homes. We’ll just name a few: the Whip Bar & Grill, located in the Green Mountain Inn, the Blue Moon Café, the Swisspot (in town), the Cliff House Restaurant (at Mt. Mansfield), and Mr Pickwick’s at the Ye Olde England Inne. Waterbury is close as well and hosts some award-winning restaurants, such as Michael’s on the Hill, and Hen of the Wood (our previous article).

For your curiosity, here are Ski Magazine’s “top 10 ski resorts” for dining:
1. Aspen, Colorado
2. Deer Valley, Utah
3. Tremblant, Quebec
4. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
5. Sun Valley, Idaho
6. Vail, Colorado
7. Park City, Utah
8. Beaver Creek, Colorado
9. Telluride, Colorado
10. Stowe, Vermont

Top 10 ski resorts for off-hill activities (Ski Magazine)
And when it comes to off-hill activities, it’s Smugglers’ Notch which is the favorite station in Vermont. Smugglers’ Notch has the FunZone for kids, video arcades, snow tubing, ice-skating at SmuggsCentral, massages, and more…

Ski Magazine’s top 10 list includes:
1. Whiteface Mountain, New York
2. Aspen Mountain, Colorado
3. Heavenly, California
4. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
5. Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
6. Park City, Utah
7. Tremblant, Quebec
8. Vail, Colorado
9. Breckenridge, Colorado
10. Deer Valley, Utah

Top 10 ski resorts for romantic cross-country skiers (that’s a niche!) (MSNBC – February 2006)
MSNBC has selected the Mountain Top Inn. The photos on its website seem fabulous… with the view on Chittenden Reservoir. We will have to check it out!

MSNBC’s top 10 list includes:
• Callaghan Country at Whistler, British Columbia
• Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, in Alberta
• Garland Resort in Lewiston, Michigan
• Lone Mountain Ranch at Big Sky, Montana
• Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York
• Mt. Washington Hotel at Bretton Woods, in New Hampshire
Mountain Top Inn in the town of Chittenden, Rutland County, Vermont
• Royal Gorge in Soda Springs, California
• Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop, Washington
• Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

And last but not least:
Top 10 ski resorts for family in New England (Family Ski Trips)
The Family Ski Trips website listed 6 Vermont ski resorts as the best ski resorts for family.
Wow, well done Vermont! And it’s nice to know that many of these ski resorts have timeshare rentals available through their owners which are spacious enough to fit the whole family comfortably.

Okemo, Vermont
For its lesson programs…
Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
For the “most innovative instruction in snow country”, its beginners’ slopes on Morse Mountain, its kids’ ski camp and day care, and all the activities in the Village from the Fun Zone to snow tubing.
Stowe, Vermont
When the kids grow older: “your kids can night-ski while you dine at the European-style Cliff House” restaurant.
Killington/Pico, Vermont
For Bear Mountain which is dedicated to freeskiers and riders, with parks and pipes; for its Winter Adventure Center with snowshoeing, tubing and dog sledding; and for the less intimidating Pico resort. Killington also has several video arcades.
Suicide Six, Vermont
Ascutney, Vermont
Ascutney has a lot for kids of all ages: Young Olympians ski and ride camps for ages 4-12, and a Bumps Center for teens. Note that the Duckling Daycare will not be open this winter.

Other ski resorts in New England which made the list:
– Bretton Woods, NH
– Sunday River, ME
– Jiminy Peak, MA and
– Sugarloaf, ME

On that note, I hope we’ll see you this winter in Vermont… on our mountains or off the slopes. The snow is already here waiting for you.
Related article: 2009 Best Ski Resorts and Ski Hotels

lake_champlain_575_190November 7, 2011 is a day Vermonters and New York residents have been dreaming about for so long.
The new bridge, which had been closed for over two years, is finally open, and the ferries have gone home…

sugarbush_farm_575_190If you are in the Woodstock, VT area, you might want to check out the Sugarbush Farm. I did not get a chance to go there yet, but they seem to have a lot of interesting fun and interesting things to show you. They make maple syrup and cheese, and have a number of farm animals: a new baby calf called Oscar, our twin goats, Rhode Island Red chickens and of course Larry’s huge Belgian draft horses. Sounds like a tasty back road adventure to me!

While it’s only 3 miles off US Rt 4 in mid Vermont, those 3 miles take you from the busy town to an out of the way working maple syrup, cheese and animal farm. The town-maintained road is gravel not black top and the views of the Green Mountains are spectacular, they say.

Sugarbush Farm is a 550-acre family farm started in 1945 by the Ayres family. Their 2nd and 3rd generation children and grandchildren are now running the farm, tapping 7,000 maple trees, selecting, aging and smoking 15 varieties of cheese, and welcoming visitors from all over the world who want to learn more about farming. The 1865 farm house has become an area for cheese packaging, sampling for cheese & syrup tasting, shipping for thousands of gift packages. The kitchen and living room of the original family is now converted into a farm house store!

Folks say when you step into the back door of the cheese sampling room, you feel like long lost cousin coming back to the family farm. Each family is welcome to a personal tasting of all the cheeses, along with explanations of how it’s made, how to keep it while traveling and at home, and how to serve it. Right now they still have some of that 8-year old Super Wicked Sharp Cheddar Cheese (what a name!) and they say it’s “great”!
And there is also maple syrup sampling. You can all 4 grades and experience the difference in taste as the syrup season progresses. Maple sugaring was much better this year than the previous two and so they still have plenty of each grade.

During the warmer months of the year there is lots of learn outdoors. The maple sugar house is busy with actual syrup making in the spring and during the rest of the year it’s converted into a educational building with lots of graphics, machinery, and a video so folks can learn how syrup is made and how it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. You can also walk the maple trail to see where trees are tapped in the spring. When weather is warm, Luce’s farm animals are brought out. There is also plenty of room for a picnic and room for kids to run and play. While many farms in Vermont have been lost to development, it’s the Luce’s goal to keep the family farm a successful working farm by welcoming visitors and educating them about local products.

Sugarbush Farm is open every day from 9 to 5.

591 Sugarbush Farm Rd
Woodstock, VT 05091
1 800 281 1757
www.sugarbushfarm.com

deer_575_190If you have a ski resort, an attraction, a restaurant or a quaint little inn and you want to talk about it, or talk about your region, this place is here for you. Just email us your story and we’ll be able to publish it AND we will translate it and post it on the French part of the website! We get hundreds of readers visiting our site daily.

We have started this website a couple of years. There are so much fantastic things to experience in Vermont that it has become a little overwhelming to cover it all. And because we love history, we’ve decided to talk more about Vermont history. You can read us at www.kristinsawyer.com.

Last winter, we shared with you a list of places where you can go dog sledding in Vermont (see our article “Enjoy a Dog Sledding Tour“). Wants to see how fun it is? Check out this video made by Burlington’s Seven Days Magazine. For sure, something WE will add to our list of fun things to do this winter in Vermont!

ferry_575If you are not living in Vermont, you may not have heard about an important story: the Lake Champlain Bridge is no more!
It all started last Fall with its closure and then its destruction early this year (see the attached news clip).
But not to worry, if your travel plans require you to cross Lake Champlain in its southern part,  your plans won’t be affected too much, as there is now a temporary ferry between Crown Point, New York and Chimney Point/Addison, Vermont, where the 1920s’ bridge used to stand, a few miles north of Fort Ticonderoga. So, if you are planning to cross Lake Champlain there, plan for approximately 15 minutes more (from boarding to disembarking) … and may be more the summer though when the tourist season starts. The temporary ferry is operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until the new bridge is completed.
For more on the temporary ferry (and some footage of the blow up of the historic Lake Champlain bridge), watch this clip.
PS: There is also a ferry crossing at Fort Ticonderoga, New York.

 Handel’s Messiah concert
Due to popular demand, we have gathered the list of Handel’s Messiah concerts in Vermont this December… just like last year! Let’s enjoy the music of Christmas!

The Vermont Philharmonic has two Handel’s Messiah concerts:
– In Montpelier – Friday December 4th, 2009 at 7:30 pm at the Saint Augustine Church – and in Barre – Sunday December 6th, 2009 at 3:30 pm at the Barre Opera House – The Vermont Philharmonic performs the Messiah with conductor Lisa Jablow.
More information at: Vermont Philharmonic

Brattleboro – Saturday December 5th, 2009 at 1 pm 39th Annual Community Messiah Sing – Centre Congregational Church. Conductor Terry Larsen with soloists Christine Speidel, soprano, Lisa Woods, alto, Tim Levesque, tenor and Andrew Semegram, bass and organist Bill McKim. 250 to 300 singers will join in the choruses. It is a fund raising event for the homeless.
More information at: Friends of music at Guilford

Rutland – Sunday December 6th, 2009 at 3:30 pm and 7:00 pm – The Grace Congregational Church will have its annual performance of Handel’s Messiah.
More information at: (802) 775-4301.

Thursday December 17th, 2009 at 7:30pm, Community Church, Stowe and Friday December 18th, 2009 at 8pm, College Street Congregational Church, Burlington: Performance of the Vermont Mozart Festival orchestra with the Oriana Singers; conductor William Metcalfe
More information at: Vermont Mozart Festival http://www.vtmozart.org/

– Middlebury – Sunday December 20st, 2009 at 2 pm – Middlebury Congregational ChurchA sing-along led by Jeff Rehbach, conductor of the Middlebury College Community Chorus.
More information at: Middlebury College – Annual Messiah Sing

Stowe – Monday December 21nd, 2009 at 7:30 pm – 17th Annual Handel’s Messiah Community Sing – Stowe Community Church – It’s also a sing-along with the soloists and the 20-piece orchestra.
More information at: Go Stowe

 And finally,
Arlington – Sunday December 27th, 2009 at 3 pm 7th Annual Messiah Sing-along – St. James Episcopal Church
More information at: St. James Episcopal Church

Enjoy the music!

smugglers_notch_resort_575For 20 out of the past 22 years, Smugglers’ Notch Resort has opened on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
But it won’t be the case this year! But the weather has been too warm for snow making, and the resort has not received any natural snow… So they just announced that they are delaying opening until December 5th. Sad news for the skiers!

skiing in Stowe vermont
Photo: Courtesy of Stowe Mountain Resort.
Read in the December 2009 issue of Condé Nast Traveler: the results of the Readers’ Poll about 2009 Best Places to Ski & Stay in North America.

Well, the Rocky Mountains ski resorts win this time… no doubt. Too bad, because there is indeed some very fun places in Vermont to go skiing. In our article last year, The Best Ski Resorts are in Vermont, we highlighted some of the recognition they got, particularly in Ski Magazine, for best after-ski, best family places and more…

And Vermont is still a nice place to enjoy skiing. Some great hotels indeed made the “top 50 ski hotels” list in this recent Condé Nast Traveler survey:
31 – Sugarbush Inn, Warren
39 – Killington Grand Resort Hotel, Killington
42 – Topnotch Resort & Spa, Stowe
44 – Woodstock Inn & Resort, Woodstock (nice hotel indeed!)
48 – Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, Stowe

And what is YOUR best ski hotel in Vermont?

If you missed our earlier article called “Take the Train between Vermont for $12 in 2009“, take a look at this video about the Amtrak’s Vermonter, produced by Burlington’s Seven Days Magazine. Until December 31, you can still enjoy a nice ride, and a nice visit somewhere… may be on one of the last days of foliage… or on a snowy day in December! It really sounds like fun, and a pleasant thing to do on a week-end day!

 

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