Recently, after a particularly busy few weeks, Michael and I were looking for a short getaway to help disconnect, relax, and recharge. In keeping with our August tradition of a night or two in Vermont, we decided to take Orvis along with us to Stowe. One of our favorite parts about living in New England is how accessible the region is by car – we left Maine just after breakfast and got to Montpelier just in time for lunch!
A guaranteed route to the top of Map & Menu’s favorite hotel list is one that includes the following: a well-executed sense of design and comfort, a friendly and helpful staff, delicious food, and the willingness to embrace our furry buddy, Orvis. Stowe’s Topnotch Resort checked off every one of those items, with extra emphasis on the dog-friendly point, and after three wonderfully relaxing days spent there, I find myself anxiously anticipating a return trip in the future. Click here to read more about our stay at Topnotch.
I traveled to Stowe a couple of years ago for work and took Orvis along with me since Michael was in California for the week. During that short trip of ours, Orvis and I walked along the Stowe Recreation Path twice, and I remember coming home raving to Michael about the 5.3 mile long greenway that runs along the West Branch River. There are several access points throughout the town, including one right across the street from Topnotch. Orvis was all too excited to stretch his legs, look at the horses, and go for a quick dip in the river after we’d checked in. Michael even brought him back the next morning for the length of their run together, making a stop in the river afterwards for another swim, of course!
When we asked the concierge at the resort where we should go for a dog-friendly hike, she smiled and said, “Oh, Vermonters love dogs, so he’s welcome anywhere!” Naturally, we were thrilled to hear this, and ended up taking her recommendation to hike the Pinnacle Trail, a two or so hour long hike with stunning views of Mt. Mansfield and plenty of off-leash time for Orvis.
Some of our favorite memories in the state of Vermont came to being while watching Orvis swim at Buttermilk Falls in Ludlow, so visiting Bingham Falls, just down the road from our resort, was a must for us this time around. After our hike up the Pinnacle Trail and a quick picnic lunch, we ventured over to the falls, and even though the water was colder than anything I’ve experienced in Maine this summer, I couldn’t resist joining Orvis swimming for a bit and even (uncharacteristically) found myself jumping off of a boulder into the falls!
Last summer, a highlight of our trip to Vermont was the meal we shared at SoLo Farm & Table, and this summer, we enjoyed another exquisite Vermont culinary experience at Hen of the Wood in Waterbury. Set in a rustic mill quite literally on top of the river, everything about Hen of the Wood seems classically authentic to the locally-sourced and chef-owned mission it’s based around. Each part of our meal, from the heirloom tomatoes, to the bluefish toast, roasted eggplant, or slow-cooked rabbit was deliciously prepared and carefully presented.