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Stowe & Smugglers Notch

In a cozy valley where the West Branch River flows into Little River and mountains rise in all directions, the quintessential Vermont village of Stowe (settled in 1794) bustles quietly. The town's long-standing reputation as one of the east's classiest mountain resorts draws well-heeled urbanites from Boston, New York and beyond. A bounty of inns and eateries lines the thoroughfares leading up to Smugglers Notch, an enchantingly 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 lure adrenaline junkies and active families.

Waterbury, on the interstate highway 10 miles south, is Stowe's gateway. Its attractions include some standout restaurants and the world-famous Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory.

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