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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Ski Cross-Country in Stowe

With up-to-the-second spas, renovated hotels, and a new slopeside village on the way, the Vermont town is getting a face-lift—and it still has the best Nordic skiing in the East.


1. Where to Stay

The pool house at Topnotch Resort and Spa.  

Topnotch (from $325) has it all: lodging in recently redone rooms or decked-out homes, a huge (35,000 square feet) and sophisticated (120 treatments) new spa, plus its own cross-country-ski center that grants hotel guests free access to over fifteen miles of exquisite, spruce-lined trails.

Stoweflake (from $280) is Topnotch’s local nemesis: It too underwent a recent renovation and built an impressive new spa with over 100 services (though its spartan treatment rooms are not quite as eye-catching as its arch-rival’s). What Stoweflake lacks in luxury frills like tennis centers and a horse barn, it makes up for in adrenalin-inducing activities—like hot-air-balloon rides—and location. It sits squarely along the Stowe Recreation Path, a scenic, riverside cross-country-ski route.

For a romantic (read kid-free) escape, the Stone Hill Inn (from $345) is a classy, nine-room property with a strict no-tykes policy. Each room is decorated in an upscale country style reminiscent of Laura Ashley or Ralph Lauren, and each comes loaded with a fireplace and a couple-size Jacuzzi tub. Rates include breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvre.

Stowe’s classic family choice, and a great one for Nordic skiers, is the Trapp Family Lodge (from $295), founded by the von Trapps, who fled the Nazis and eventually ended up in Stowe, of all places, in 1942. The lodge, still run by the musical troupe’s descendents, achieves an Austrian-alpine aesthetic without succumbing to kitsch (although the remaining von Trapps still sing in costume and screen The Sound of Music every week in their on-site theater). The property boasts the area’s biggest ski center; a mix of rooms, suites, and chalet-style guesthouses; a large fitness facility; and a laundry list of special events, from music festivals to cooking demos.

Published on Dec 20, 2006 as a web exclusive.

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