We spent 5 days during Fall in Stowe Vermont and saying it was magical is an understatement. Neither my husband nor I had ever experienced the true beauty of Fall foliage and the leaves turning, so we decided to go to “Fall’s Color Capital”.
We usually stay in Airbnbs, it’s more of our travel style. However, I had known about The Lodge at Spruce Peak for a while now and knew that when we visited Stowe that would be the place to stay. Besides it’s perfect location, beautiful lobby, cozy rooms and cute shops on the grounds, it was also important to me that we had a view from wherever we stayed. I wake up early, even on vacation, and sitting on my balcony looking out at a view before getting ready for the day is one of my favorite parts of traveling. The Lodge at Spruce Peak delivered.
Above and below was the view from my room. That same mountain gets covered in snow and is used for skiing during the winter. This photo is not edited. The colors were that vibrant. The trees looked like they had a glow to them-it was…well magical.
Per our usual schedule when exploring a new place, we begin every day with trying out a cafe for coffee and breakfast. By day one, it became very clear we would only be drinking Maple Lattes. They are delicious.
Our favorite coffee shops and breakfast spots in Stowe:
Stowe Bee Bakery: Wow. Their baked goods were incredible. We ate breakfast sandwiches there and took a few goodies to snack on during our hike that day. Also, great coffee.
Black Cap Coffee: we had breakfast and coffee here twice. Awesome breakfast sandwiches and they made our favorite maple lattes in town. Also, if you can score a seat outside at one of their bistro tables, you’re situated right in the middle of main street with a great view of the surroundings and the church steeple.
Butler Pantry: we had our last breakfast of the trip here and it was so yummy. Very hearty. Long wait, so get there with time to put your name on the list that closes at 11am. So while you can be inside eating past 11am, you can’t put your name on the list past that time. They use Yelp for their reservation list.
PK Coffee: we went here for one of our many coffee to-go stops, where we’d grab coffee for the road while we enjoyed our next scenic drive. Awesome coffee.
The main activities we did on this trip were hiking, scenic driving and biking. With of course plenty of delicious meals and yummy cocktails mixed in. If you’re visiting Stowe and the surrounding towns during Fall, every single drive you take it beautiful. So don’t let having to take a longer drive deter you from any activity, because the drive alone will be worth it.
You can rent bikes for $40 at Ranch Camp and ride throughout Stowe. The trail is beautiful, going through parks, over rivers and creeks-with minimal crossings through streets. You can even catch some horses along the way! We rode 10 miles, but you can of course choose to turn around whenever.
Our 2 favorite hikes in Stowe:
Stowe Pinnacle Trail: WOW. The best hike to have a view of a what looks like a sea of trees on fire. It was a breathtaking view and gave us everything we had hoped to see as far as Fall foliage.
Mt. Mansfield Chin: We almost didn’t do this hike, because the weather was really foggy, but I’m SO glad that we did. Because of the fog, we didn’t have any views from the top of the mountain, but the fog made the hike so eerie and gave us a really cool experience. There were many times we couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front or beside us.
I took this photo during this hike to show how one side of my face and hair became soaked from a cloud that was on my right the entire hike up. So cool!
We we’re initially looking at 3 days in Stowe, but tacked on a 4th full day onto our trip to be able to take a day trip to Woodstock, Vermont. I’ve always wanted to visit and it’s charm didn’t disappoint. It is an hour and a half outside of Stowe and we spent half a day there.
What we did in Woodstock, Vermont:
Woodstock is about a 1 hour and 20 minute drive from Stowe and I think well worth a visit. It’s not that there wasn’t enough things to do and see in Stowe, we actually didn’t even want to leave the perfect little Stowe bubble, but I knew being so close to Woodstock was a perfect opportunity to check it out since we don’t see ourselves ever staying in Woodstock and next time we visit Stowe we want to go during the wintertime for skiing.
We had breakfast in Stowe and hopped in the car with maple lattes. Once arriving in Woodstock we parked right in town and walked the several blocks that make up the downtown, before choosing to grab some sandwiches at The Village Butcher Shop. I ordered the Veggie Lover’s Delight and it was delicious. They have a couple of bistro tables right outside where we sat and enjoyed a view of the town and watching the leaves fall slowly from the trees (why is that so magical?). You could also take your sandwiches to the park or a few other outdoor places that have picnic tables. Woodstock has a very chill vibe to it, everyone walking around seemed very calm and happy. We visited some stores, with our favorites being Clover Gift Shop, The Yankee Book Shop, and Gingham and Sons.
On our way back to Stowe, we decided to stop at Waterbury to check out the town and grab some dinner. The town is just 20 minutes from Stowe and is cute, but the star of Waterbury is Prohibition Pig. While we waited for a seat at the bar, we enjoyed amazing cocktails. My husband drank the Maple Old Fashioned and I drank El Campo de Fuego. The food was awesome. 10/10. Definitely make a reservation for this place.
Boyden Valley Winery, 40 minutes away from Stowe
Fresh Tracks Farm Vineyard & Winery, 30 minutes away from Stowe
Stowe Cider: A very chill place, has brewery vibes. The ciders are really cool and interesting. Definitely try the “Brainwaves Gummy Bears”-that’s what my husband is drinking above.
Cold Hollow Cider: What a gem this place is. From the moment you arrive, you’ll smell cinnamon and apples. The main building is where you can get some apple cider donuts (so yummy!) and get other goodies and then the cider tap room is right across the parking lot. The mountain view outside is amazing and the ciders are WONDERFUL. I’m not even a big cider drinker and found them all delicious, some even champagne-tasting.
Alchemist Brewery: the inside of this brewery is under construction, but whenever that’s done it looks like it’s going to be amazing. For now, they have a bar set up in the middle of a big field with nice views and the beer is very yummy.
Von Trapp Brewing: Yummy pretzels, schnitzels and burgers. Awesome place for lunch and beer with a great view of the surrounding mountains.
Idletyme Brewing Company: More of a restaurant vibe, but their beer was really good along with their food. I recommend sitting outside, even more so at the bar outside, right underneath a big, beautiful lit up tree.
Other tips and mentions for Fall in Stowe:
- If you get a craving for pizza or pasta, absolutely eat at Piecasso. It is so delicious. The outdoor seating it right on the main street that goes through Stowe and you can sit right by the fire pit like we did.
- I wouldn’t recommend planning this trip a long time in advance. Because of how finicky Fall foliage can be, if you can swing planning this trip no more than two months in advance (we did it 6 weeks in advance) that would be your best bet to make sure you arrive at the peak of the colors changing. There are lots of resources to track the foliage, so just keep a close eye on it.
- Make reservations for as many places as you can in advance if you’re visiting Stowe during Fall. I’d say especially if you’re visiting anytime in October.
- The Village on the ground of the Lodge at Spruce Peak closes during Fall and re-opens for winter in November. So if that’s something you were interested in experiencing at the lodge, keep that in mind.
- The iced maple lattes were just as good as the hot ones
- A great place to stop on your way into Stowe is Dedalus. They have an awesome wine and cheese selection with a very knowledge staff to help you choose. You can even sample cheese before making your purchase. We loved having goodies from here to enjoy on our hotel balcony.