Childhood Destination: Stowe, VT

Before 9/11, you did not need a passport to cross the US/Canadian border.  The border guard simply asked where were you going, for how long, where are you from and then sent you on your merry way.

That is what it was like when i was a kid going down to Stowe, VT.

Times have changed and now you need a passport and border guards a little more vigilent.  However, as the old saying goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”  This applies to Stowe.

Here is Shaw’s General Store.  I would say that this store is the main attraction on Stowe’s main street.  I remember going in here as a kid and it has not changed all that much as far as i can remember.

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As a kid, the family used to go down to Stowe for vacation.  It’s a familiar place to me and when i visited  with my wife and daughter, it was like going back in time.

This guy is sitting in front of Shaw’s.

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If you ever go to Stowe, keep in mind that it is one big tourist attraction.  If there were no tourists, i’m not sure how Stowe would survive.  As a matter of fact, i felt like i was back in NYC when i was shopping for some souvenirs.  It’s not cheap.

I am not sure you could call Stowe the quintessential New England town since it is extremely busy most seasons; though, it does represent New England architecture and hospitality very well.

An example of the hospitality we experienced:  we were about to cross the street and a car had accidentally stopped on the cross walk.  The driver actually rolled down her window and apologized to us for blocking the crosswalk.  In Montreal, people don’t even stop to allow you to use the crosswalk.

We saw a couple of these “pieces of art” for sale.  Mind you, you would think twice about buying it once you saw the price.  

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If you bring your family here, be sure that they do some kind of outdoor activity.  If they are not the “outdoors” type, you may want to re-think going to Stowe.

Aside from some of the well known attractions, such as the Cold Hollow Cider Mill and the Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream Factory, you have a plethora of outdoor activities you can participate in.  Some of the more popular ones would be biking, rollerblading (there is a bike bath), hiking, fishing and skiing.  I am sure there are others, but those are the ones that stand out in my mind.

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Another “piece of art” for sale.  I wonder if the tree comes with it?

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Here you can see a map of Mount Mansfield, the biggest ski resort in the East.  I have skied this mountain and highly recommend you do the same if you are an avid skier and get a chance to do so.

During the summer months, you can go to the very top of the mountain via the Gondola or the toll road.  If you want breathtaking view of lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, the top of Mt. Mansfield is where you need to go.

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behind Shaw’s, there is public parking.  It is free for 3 hours.  It’s plenty of time to explore the main street.

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We stopped here to have a little snack.  If you go here and order a brownie, be prepared.  They are not small.

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The street behind the restaurant we stopped at for a snack.

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As i mentioned before, there are two attractions that you should not miss if you are going to visit Stowe.  One of them is the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory.

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There are daily factory tours.  But, be warned: At the height of tourist season, the line to get in is quite long.  Furthermore, the smell inside is very “sweet“.

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Here is a view of the factory from the kids play area.

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In 2000, Ben & Jerry’s was sold to Unilever.  The founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, hold no board or managerial positions in the company anymore and make no decisions in the day-to-day operations.

This way for yummy ice cream.

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Stowe is only about a 2.5 hour drive from Montreal, which makes it a great destination for a day trip.

Thanks for looking.

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