As a native Floridian, I can count on one hand how many times I have seen and experienced fall foliage. Last year, I thought it was about time I change that! I wanted to experience the beautiful and vivid colors of New England, specifically Vermont! So, I coaxed my long-time travel buddy, Victoria, to fly over from England and go on this road trip through the state for some leaf-peeping. She has long-time heard of the deep-rooted love that Americans’ have for the fall season. I share more in this post sharing a little bit more of our time in Burlington, Vermont, where we started. Needless to say, she was more than excited and couldn’t wait to see how our fall compared to the England’s autumn.
The second stop on our road trip was the charming, and quite popular, small town of Stowe. Before I share more about our time in Stowe, let’s recap a few things you may need to keep in mind when planning your trip! These are things that are specifically important for trips that are during the height of the leaf peeping season.
Planning a Leaf Peeping Trip to Vermont?
Planning a fall trip to Vermont, with the goal of seeing the leaves at peak, can be a bit stressful. The truth is, it happens on different dates every year. So, it can be difficult to feel confident that your travel dates will yield the beautiful views you’re hoping for. Victoria and I only had certain dates to work with last year so we literally just crossed our fingers it would work out. Thankfully, it did and we were there exactly at peak. My best advice is to take a look at this website and this website to see the predictions are.
Victoria and I decided to fly into New York City and meet there first. She was flying in from London and we figured it was the easiest way to meet up before heading to Vermont. She had some delays getting in so we ended up meeting in Burlington, the starting point of our road trip. We decided ahead of time that we wanted to spend most of our time in Stowe and Woodstock. So, we only gave ourselves 24-hours to explore Burlington before heading on to Stowe.
How much time do you need?
Depends on what you’re there to do! Honestly, the town is small and, with no snow on the ground, the days could get a little boring if you’re not much of a hiker and you’re just there to enjoy the foliage. I’d say 2-3 max in the Fall. It’s the perfect little destination for a cozy weekend away but, I can guarantee you won’t be there only ones with that idea so there may be crowds in town and at restaurants so, just something to think about!
One last little tip before I get into where to eat, stay and play … start planning your trip well enough in advance. Dare I say, even a year out! There is such a small window of time that you could potentially catch the leaves change and a lot of the most popular towns in Vermont, like Stowe, fill up fast because there are only so many accommodations. So, definitely heed that warning!
Where To Eat
One thing is certain about Stowe and that is there are quite a few restaurants that are long-time favorites of some of you who follow me. I received so many messages with recommendations for the area. Here are some of the ones we made it to and a couple of the others we missed but heard great things about!
Cork Wine Bar & Restaurant – It will be hard for you to not enjoy the modern, cozy vibe of the interior as well as the undeniably delicious menu. Don’t miss the crispy cauliflower!
Edson Hill Restaurant – Dining at Edson Hill, even if you’re not staying there, is highly recommended! Not only is their restaurant aesthetically beautiful but the cuisine is creative with masterful execution! Victoria and I enjoyed breakfast here every morning and dinner on one of our evenings. We never left disappointed! Here’s a little peek at their outside dining area:
Butler’s Pantry – We decided to head into the town of Stowe really early one morning to snag some cute shots [as Stowe can get pretty crowded during the day] and we stopped in to Butler’s Pantry for breakfast. It was so delicious and the weather was perfect for sitting outside!
Doc Ponds – This was one of the restaurants that we got the most recommendations for but, sadly, we didn’t make it during our short time there! It certainly seems like one not to miss so, don’t make the same mistake we did!
We also heard great things about The Bench and enjoyed delicious coffee from PK Coffee.
Where To Stay
One thing I’d highly recommend when planning your Vermont trip, especially during the fall season, is to plan your accommodations [and rental car reservations!] months in advance! Believe me, there are a lot of leaf peepers that travel to the state to enjoy the colors change so you’re competing with a lot of people for rooms in popular hotels. Thankfully, Victoria and I snagged a room at the Edson Hill, a beautifully unique estate with a cozy, intimate feel just outside of the main town of Stowe. It is nestled high on a hill overlooking thirty-eight acres of land and offers it’s guests the pleasure of staying in one of their stunning twenty-three rooms, which boast the same amount of comfort as they do elegance.
Victoria and I did not want to leave this place. Edson Hill was a short 15-minutes from the was something out of a dream, especially because we experienced it right at peak foliage. It is a bit on the pricey side but I, honestly, couldn’t even bat an eyelash at that being that we got so much out of our stay. The short 15-minute drive to Stowe is all eye-candy, the amenities were outstanding and the staff were all so friendly. I highly recommend you consider staying here!
Here are some photos taken around the property in case you need more convincing, ha!
That’s a lot of leaf photos but, I mean, that’s what we went for, y’know? Ha!
Where To Play
MEANDER THROUGH THE QUAINT TOWN OF STOWE
Stowe is one of those quintessential towns you see in New England. For a Southerner, it feels like you’re walking around a movie set because, I feel like our small towns don’t look anything like these. There’s a general store and lots of restaurants that you can tell have been a part of Stowe for generations. I absolutely love that! We stopped at Butler’s Pantry for breakfast one morning and took in all of the town’s charm and the cool fall air. It was heavenly!
CATCH THE VIEW FROM SALON SALON
Okay, this is where you catch this epic site that you’ve likely seen on Pinterest at some point or another.
I mean … how stunning! Victoria and I couldn’t get over it. We got up really early to grab breakfast in town so, we stopped off here before the crowds but, honestly, there’s always someone there taking photos!
TOUR THE TRAPP FAMILY LODGE
As a long-standing lover of The Sound of Music, I should have made it up to the von Trapp Family Lodge. I mean, I have been on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, where the movie was filmed, for crying out loud! But, alas, this went unchecked! I’ve heard it’s wonderful so report back if you end up going and let me know how it is in the comments! For any non-SOM fans, Stowe was where the von Trapp family settled after fleeing Austria during WWII.
GO UP TO THE TOP OF MOUNT MANSFIELD
Victoria and I drove over to the base of Mount Mansfield, just across from the Stowe Mountain Lodge entrance, and took the gondola to the top! It’s $29 for an adult ticket and, while that’s a little steep, I cannot recommend it enough! The views were unreal! I would bring snacks, though! There is a restaurant at the top but, places like that are always pretty pricey.
DRIVE AROUND AND TAKE IN THE VIEWS
Honestly, this was something Victoria and I did a lot of and we found so many beautiful little pit stops along the way, like these little spots:
I know you’ll certainly find your own charming finds as you do the same!
ENJOY A BREWERY CRAWL
Victoria and I didn’t partake in this activity but we noticed that there are so many breweries in the area and locals have said they are all quite esteemed! If you or your travel partner enjoys craft beer, be sure to check out The Alchemist Stowe, Idletyme Brewery, Stowe Cider, and the von Trapp Brewery & Bierhall.
GET A SCOOP OR TWO AT THE ORIGINAL BEN & JERRY’S
The original Ben & Jerry’s is located just a short drive from Stowe in Waterbury. If you’re a big ice cream lover, be sure to stop in! I wasn’t craving it when we went last Fall being that it was quite chilly but it is a fun novelty in the area!
WARM UP AT COLD HOLLOW CIDER MILL
Ever since living in Colorado, I have been obsessed with apple cider in the cold weather months. Personally, I’d rather warm up with that than a pumpkin spice latte any day! So, when I heard about this gem of a place, I couldn’t wait to check it out! They have fresh apple cider, cider donuts, and plenty of goodies to take away from their market inside. Victoria and I went twice during our time in Stowe! It was so good, y’all!
Alright … that about does it! There are surely more things to do in this adorable little town, depending on the time of year that you go, but this is what we enjoyed and wish we could have squeezed in during our leaf peeping trip to Stowe.
Experiencing Stowe, Vermont in the fall is dreamier than I could have ever imagined, as evidenced in the photos within this travel diary. I hope it has inspired you to plan your own trip because I can assure you, you will love it! For more outfits from my fall adventures in Vermont, head HERE! If you’re interested in how I edited my Instagram photos from my trip [seen in THIS instagram roundup], you can purchase the presets I used HERE!
Thanks for stopping by! xo.
I used to live and work in Vermont a couple years ago- I lived near Burlington but I loved taking day trips to Stowe! Such a quaint area!! 🙂
Wow! It looks like an amazing destination during Fall! I’ve always wanted to see the foliage in the NE!
It is obvious you put so much thought and love into these travel diaries! I plan on visiting in 2020, so I am going to start planning now! lol
Thank you for always being a great resource 🙂
Thank you!! You’ll love it!! xo.
Hi, I was just reading over your article and had a few questions. I’m from Mobile, AL and have wanted to visit Vermont for years. I’m finally planning a trip there to Stowe during Autumn next year. I was wondering what the dates were when you visited? Also, could you tell me the roundabout price of your trip? The activities and sites you visited are similar to what I was planning and it would help me a lot to get a realistic estimate. The pictures were stunning and I can’t wait to go! Thank you for writing this article, it was helpful!
Hi Alisha! I was there October 7-10 but, as I mentioned, it’s not going to be peak on the same days every year. Also, it would take me quite a bit of time to dig up all of my receipts from the trip last year and calculate that for you. Off the top of my head, I truly do not remember the nightly rate of the hotel now or flight costs but, I’d guess maybe $3-4K as prices are certainly inflated in that area during that time of year.
Love this! I grew up in Stowe, VT! I left back in 2000, so some things have changed… but a lot hasn’t. It’s so beautiful! Can’t wait to go back for skiing in January ?
We loved Stowe, VT. The town is so cute that it looks like it belongs in a Christmas movie. The small town charm and amazing scenery is really something to see. We really enjoyed the nearby tasting tours and the Von Trapp Lodge. Check out our top 7 things to do near Stowe, VT. https://theadventuredetour.com/7-fun-things-to-do-near-stowe-vermont/