The Charm of Vermont

Posted by: Adam Lapsevich, Contributor on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

Is it possible that an entire US state could be incredible? I mean nearly every aspect of it too. It's hard to imagine but the answer is yes.... and that state is Vermont. If you've never been, it should get on your bucket list.

A Place for All Seasons

I'm a sucker for quaint places. Old, charming, quaint small towns with lovely cafes, friendly people, old brick buildings, clapboard white houses with black shutters. Cities like Boston or Washington D.C. excite me more than Las Vegas or Orlando. But when I went on a road trip with my partner and our dog, Sheeba, to Stowe, Vermont, I was blown away. I loved it so much that we actually considered moving there and starting a business. I won't go into that but I certainly want to share with you a few thoughts on Stowe, and Vermont in general.

The Trip

In August of 1998, we decided we wanted a different type of summer vacation. One of my friends recommended Stowe, Vermont. She had been there both skiing in the winter as well plenty of summertime trips. She raved how wonderful it was every time she went. She said no matter what season, the scenery is incredible. So, with our Pomeranian/Sheltie in tow, we mapped a plan and took my Mustang Convertible on the 10-hour trip from our home in suburban Cleveland to Stowe.  

We drive the I-90 shoreway up through Erie, Pennsylvania and into Buffalo. Then it was a straight trek across New York state. Once we hit Syracuse, our jaunt took a northern turn. The scenery started getting better the further north we got. Then we saw Lake Champlain! WOW! It was spectacular. Then we crossed the lake on a ferry into Vermont and the made our way into Stowe.

Bed and Breakfast Capital

If you're into charm, you'll find it in Vermont. Quintessential New England buildings of white clapboard homes donning black shutters, many with red barns, horse fences and rolling landscapes. Everywhere you looked somebody was selling maple syrup! There are so many B&Bs to choose from as well.

We stayed at a cool inn called the Walkabout Lodge. It was a fun property with 14 rooms, a small pub, a fun dining area and a great innkeeper that made delicious food. She actually was selling it and we thought good and hard about buying it and completely changing our lives but the timing just wasn't right. Til today, it's still something I often think about.

We took the ski lift up to the top of Mount Mansfield with Sheeba on my lap. I still remember seeing how wide her little eyes got every time the ski chair crossed over another tower and made the clankity-clank sounds! When we got to the top is was easily 30 degrees colder. I'm not a mountain guy so we weren't expecting it to be that drastic, despite the fact the the innkeeper told us to take sweatshirts (which we did). It was magical. And the view was magnificent. 

After we ventured back down, we hit the road to visit other areas of Vermont. We headed northeast to Craftsbury one day. It's a very small town in the middle of nowhere but wow, charm overload! We ate, shopped and just took in the beauty of it all.

All Seasons

While we visited Vermont in the summer, it rocks practically all year long. We talked to several innkeepers who said Stowe is a great place to own an Inn because of the amount of months they are busy. She said Stowe is busy nine months out of the year, versus many other eastern towns which are primarily busy only during the peak summer months. Stowe is lucky because of nearby Mount Mansfield. It offers some of the best snow skiing in the east. The season starts in December and goes through March. 

April and May are the "mud months" and occupancy drops. But after Memorial day, it's busy all summer and into the fall. September and October bring the autumn color lovers. November slows down but then once Thanksgiving weekend comes, it back for an incredible holiday season and then onto winter ski season again. It's a great place to be if you're an innkeeper and want to run a business that has some serious occupancy. 

More Places

As we met more people, we got advice on other places to visit. Woodstock was a must many said. We decided to give it a whirl, popped the top on the Mustang and headed down Highway 100 (instead of the interstate) as we wanted to take more of the beauty in. We visited Quechee Gorge, a popular tourist attractive. The gorge is 165 feet deep and is the deepest gorge in Vermont. From there we went to Woodstock, which is another pretty cool small town.

Heading to New Hampshire

For the fun of, we decided to head east into New Hampshire. We just drove....and drove. And drove! We headed up through the White Mountains of New Hampshire until we were further enough north to start making our way west back to Stowe. Needless to say, it was a long day but we covered a lot of miles. You know, doing things like this are what you'll remember your entire life.

What Happened Next is Crazy!

Once we got back to the Walkabout Lodge in Stowe, we met a young couple, Noel and Mark, who were visiting from Boston. We were hanging out one evening late having drinks and watching the northern lights. It was a cool show that night. We mentioned we were from the Cleveland area and Noel started to practically hyperventilate! They were only up for a quick getaway because she had to be back home in Boston to catch a flight to Cleveland of all places! As things turned out, she had to be in a girlfriend's wedding that weekend only about 20 minutes from where we lived! 

Being the nice guys we are, we invited her to drive back with us and she took us up on the offer. How crazy was that!?  Her husband was cool with it. After Tom and I got back to our room we thought about it and started to think, "what if they're New England's version of Bonnie and Clyde!"?  Of course we knew they weren't but it did cross our mind!  How coincidental was it that she was heading to Cleveland, a town she never visited before, and we lived there!

It all worked out and we had a fun trip back. We stopped in the Finger Lakes to split up the trip (which is another cool place if you've never been) and made it home the next day.

In closing, Vermont is high on my list to return to. We've been to a zillion places since 1998 but Stowe is one that I cannot wait to return to.  

What do you say ladies? Should we get Carol to plan a trip to Vermont? It's a perfect Journey for Women's getaway.


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