Day 3 of my fall foliage driving tour began perfectly, with an excellent night’s sleep at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort. From the amenities to the location, to the very friendly staff, this was a stay to remember. I was offered a complimentary stay at Stoweflake, and I’m so glad that I was because I may have missed it otherwise. I spent a good 30 minutes after arrival visiting with the concierge and planning out my day. It is with a huge thanks to her that we found and accomplished all that we did on day 3 of our trip.
The Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa sits right in the middle of all of the action in Stowe, VT. Stoweflake houses it’s own spa so you can sneak away and get pampered after the beautiful morning hike I’m about to recommend. The bed and linens were very comfortable, which is a must for me, and the room just sang relaxation to me. Our tour had us going and going so a good night’s rest was a requirement to enjoy all there was to see and do.
Per the concierge’s recommendations, here is what we accomplished while in Stowe.
Before turning in on the eve of Day 2, we made a stop in at The Bistro at Ten Acres. I believe this is the number 1 restaurant in Stowe, and I can see why. Such a unique menu that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and the atmosphere was super cool. The pineapple salad is a combination of ingredients that I never would have paired together, but absolutely work! The restaurant was an old farm house turned into a unique dining experience, where the owners and their children actually live upstairs. Chef Gary even came out and greeted us, which is always a fun treat for me.
After your night’s rest (I recommend turning in early), start the day bright and early with a sunrise view near the Von Trapp Family Lodge. Across from the lodge is an open, and free parking lot that gives a great view of the sunrise. Then pop on into the lodge if you’d like, to see family photos hanging on the walls. The Von Trapp family is who The Sound of Music’s story is based on.
While it is still early, start the drive toward the Smuggler’s Notch. Before reaching it, there is a hidden hike to Bingham Falls. You’ll spot it by noticing a small parking lot just to the left of the road. The hike is hidden on the right side of the road. This is a really short hike – only 1/4 mile, but with a 700 foot descent. It’s not as bad as it sounds, and totally worth the views!! It will likely be brisk, so dress warm. If you are brave, you can even opt to go for a dip.
Next, drive up the road to the Smuggler’s Notch. The narrow road with fun caves off to each side is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Feel free to stop somewhere along the way and go for some little hikes.
With our morning adventures out of the way, we were hungry and ready to eat. The concierge at Stoweflake recommended McCarthy’s, where we ordered a big breakfast to share. Such a friendly staff here, and it’s where all the locals go for breakfast.
After breakfast, we perused through the town. We were guided to the best spot in town to capture a full view of the famous church, seen in many Stowe, VT photos. Can you believe how much we accomplished for the day, already?
Within a 10 minute drive (approximately), we hit the following stops:
Zeimke Glass Blowing Studio was fascinating and fun to sit and watch the master work.
Stowe Maple Products, where we tasted three varieties of maple syrup, from different cooking points. I also purchased a small (carry-on approved) bottle of maple syrup.
Cabot Annex where we tasted 20+ different cheeses and a variety of flavored maple syrups. Such a yummy stop.
Ben & Jerry’s Factory, where we spotted Cookie Butter Ice Cream and just had to have it. Oh my! I am going to be looking for this flavor in stores.
Between all of the sampling and tastes, we didn’t even need lunch. We opted to head over the White Mountains and into North Conway, where we stayed the night. On our way, we spotted some beautiful barns and farms that I found to be picturesque.
We so also went for another short hike up to Moss Glen Falls.
As you head west toward the mountains, you will pass some more covered bridges. My absolute favorite covered bridge of the trip was the Fisher Railroad Covered Bridge in Wolcott, Vermont. No longer in use, but super fun to photograph. Crossing it was a tad frightening, but I managed it all while holding onto Keith. Exhilarating and beautiful, and a must-stop for me!
Then as you head into the mountains, you will go through the Franconia Notch. We were antsy to get to our hotel at this point, but I’m told there are some awesome views and hikes in the Franconia Notch State Park.
North Conway, New Hampshire is where we ended the day. This is a touristy town that has the most shopping we’d seen on our trip so far. We merely used this stop as a place to sleep. Nothing fancy, and unfortunately hubby got ill that night, but he was a trooper for the rest of the trip. Next up is our visit to Portland, Maine.