The Non-Skier Guide to Stowe, Vermont
Topnotch Is Great for Non-Skiers
Winter vacations aren’t always about skiing — especially for the whopping 97 percent of the population that doesn’t ski. So if you’d like to enjoy a winter wonderland (cozy up to a blazing fire, anyone?), but you aren’t into skiing, or if you’re part of a family that includes both skiers and non-skiers alike, embrace the host of fun indoor and outdoor activities at Vermont’s Topnotch Resort and its Stowe environs.
From sleigh rides, massages, and yoga classes to craft breweries, ice fishing, and snowmobiling, the resort and its surrounding area offer a smorgasbord of activities sure to warm the hearts of both non-skiers and skiers who just need a break from the mountain. Here are the best.
HAVE OUTDOOR WINTER FUN
Go Sleigh and Carriage Riding
Take advantage of the snow on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the sparkling Vermont countryside complete with warm blankets and jingle bells or enlist the entire family for a carriage ride, both complements of Topnotch’s giant draft horses. Or traverse a snowy path, cross a frozen brook, and weave your way through a forested trail with Gentle Giants Sleigh and Carriage Rides just next door to the resort.
Try Snowshoeing, Ice Climbing, and Mountaineering, oh my!
Drawn to the mountains but want to skip the chaotic lift lines? Head for the mountain backcountry around Vermont’s highest peak, Mt. Mansfield. It’s perfect for snowshoeing, ice climbing, and mountaineering with Sunrise Mountain Guides.
Mush with the Dogs
Heed the call of the wild and thrill to a dog sledding adventure with Umiak Outfitters or Eden Dog Sledding. Ride through the Vermont backcountry with your own dogsled team for an unforgettable experience.
Zoom Around on a Snowmobile
Prefer more mechanical zip to your winter adventure? Buzz around on a snowmobile with Vermont Snowmobile Tours.
Embrace the Ice (for Skating and Fishing)
Corral the family for fun ice skating at the Stowe Arena located in Stowe Village or at the rink in Spruce Peak village with views of the slopes.
Or try your luck fishing for pike, salmon, or trout on some of Vermont’s most scenic lakes on an ice-fishing tour with FlyRodShop. You can also head inside to learn how to create your own flies during a winter fly-tying class.
Go Fat Tire Biking
Looking for great fun in the snow? Rent a fat tire bike at Topnotch and cruise Stowe’s renowned recreation path that begins at Topnotch and links to Stowe’s extensive mountain biking trail network. There’s nothing quite like two-wheeling it over the snow.
Ride a Horse
Covered in a wintery blanket of snow, the Vermont countryside looks especially beautiful on horseback. Topnotch’s own equestrian center offers trail rides for riders of all levels. Meanwhile, little ones love the corralled pony rides on the property.
Two stables withing 45 minutes also provide private trail rides by appointment, including Lajoie Stables and Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm, which uses Icelandic horses, one of the oldest breeds in the world.
Don’t let winter deter you. Hone your serve and up your volley at the world-class Topnotch Tennis Academy, rated one of the top 10 in the U.S. Sign up for lessons or clinics for adults and kids.
SAVOR A CULINARY EXPERIENCE
Enjoy Après-Ski Wining and Dining
Sip a specialty cocktail or fine wine around the outdoor fire pits at Topnotch. Then tuck into a relaxing dinner at The Roost, highlighting the best local farmers, cheesemakers, and culinary artisans.
Sample Wineries, Breweries, and Distilleries
Vermont has more breweries per capita than any other state in the U.S. with 11.5 breweries per 100,000 adults over 21. And Stowe is home to some of the best. Whether you're an amateur or a connoisseur, you can savor a tasting tour at some of the area’s award-winning craft breweries, as well as cideries and distilleries. Stowe Tasting Tours offers everything from micro-brewery and brewmaster tours to cider and spirts and even a spooky booze tour. Meanwhile, 4 Points Vermont offers brewery tours with some even by bike. Head out on your own along the Stowe Craft Beverage Trail and explore local craft beverage producers and receive exclusive offers.
Of course, you can also visit individual breweries by yourself to sample their wares and/or have a meal. Noteworthy nearby breweries include Idletyme Brewing Company, Rockart Brewery, Von Trapp Brewing, and Lost Nation Brewery. Wine aficionados can check out Boyden Valley Winery & Spirits, a fourth-generation family farm. And hard cider fans can visit the taproom and enjoy live music events at Stowe Cider.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
At Laughing Moon Chocolates in downtown Stowe, you can sample delectable confections, watch handmade chocolate being crafted, and book a private demonstration.
ENJOY THE INDOORS
Be Pampered at the Spa
Indulge yourself with a blissful treatment in one of the Topnotch Spa’s 30 treatment rooms and decompress in spacious relaxation areas with cozy fireplaces for women and men. Treatments range from 10 different types of massage (think: detoxifying hops and herb-infused oil) to alternative medicine, such as Reiki and craniosacral therapy, to traditional and innovative facial and skin care. Enjoy yoga, meditation, Pilates, and water aerobics classes and let the indoor whirlpool with cascading waterfall wash away all your cares.
Go for a Swim
Swim laps at Topnotch’s 60-foot solarium indoor pool (or the outdoor adult pool, which is open year-round for ages 18 and over).
For another indoor activity, visit Stowe Bowl, an eight-lane venue with an eatery, a full bar, a lounge, and state-of-the-art audio-visual experience to complement this family sport.
Visit a Museum
Located in Stowe’s historic 1818 Town Meeting House, the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum showcases the rich history of skiing and riding in the state with its 8,000-piece collection from personal to mechanical equipment.
Take in a Show
Enjoy a beer, wine, or spirit while watching a first-run movie at the Stowe Cinema. If you prefer live performances, check the schedule at the 420-seat Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, which showcases everything from dance and film to symphonies, chamber music, and popular music concerts.