In a cozy valley where the West Branch River flows into the Little River and mountains rise to the sky in all directions, the quintessential Vermont village of Stowe (founded in 1794) bustles quietly. The town's long-standing reputation as one of the East's classiest mountain resorts continues to draw well-heeled urbanites from Boston, New York and beyond. A bounty of inns and eateries lines the thoroughfares leading up to stunning Smuggler's Notch, a narrow rock-walled pass through the Green Mountains just below Mt Mansfield (4393ft), the highest point in Vermont. More than 200 miles of cross-country ski trails, some of the finest mountain biking and downhill skiing in the east, and world-class rock and ice climbing make this a natural mecca for adrenaline junkies and active families.
Waterbury, on the interstate highway 10 miles south, is the gateway to Stowe. Its attractions include a pair of standout restaurants, a beloved brewery and the Ben & Jerry's world-renowned ice cream factory.