NYC Escape: Spend the Weekend in Stratton, Vermont
Take a break from the busy city and explore a winter wonderland at Stratton Mountain in Vermont.
Ski GetawayStratton Mountain Resort resides in the heart of the Green Mountains, and claims the tallest peak in Southern Vermont at 3,875 ft. The resort might be overshadowed by nearby Killington, yet it offers many of the same benefits without the difficult terrain. As an added bonus, the self-contained ski village means you don’t have to leave the mountain — unless you really want to. 960 1280
Where to SkiStratton offers 97 trails across almost 700 acres of skiable terrain, with the longest trail measuring three miles. Many trails are geared toward beginners (there’s even a magic carpet for novices), however, double black diamond trails exist for the advanced set. In fact, free guided tours of the mountain are available to those who are intermediate and advanced.
A gondola and 11 lifts help keep crowds moving, while snow machines supplement lighter snow fall days. Stratton also offers private and group lessons for all ages and all levels, and even holds multi-day, women-only ski and snowboard camps. 960 1280
Other Snow AdventuresThe ski- and snowboard-averse can beeline to the Sun Bowl Activity Center for cross-country skiing, nighttime snowshoe hikes or even dog sledding. There’s also a snow tube park complete with four lanes, lift service and a fire pit. Other resort activities include ice skating, yoga, and a fitness center with a saltwater pool, hot tub and sauna. 960 1280
Best ShoppingWhen you've had your fill of wintry activities, Stratton Village offers more than 10 ski shops to choose from, including fashion-forward Lole. The Boot Lab will help you find properly fitting boots, or even adjust your current ones. Skiers and non-skiers alike can seek refuge at the Day Spa at Stratton Village, which provides everything from facials to hot stone massages. 960 1280
Where to StayThere are dozens of options, both onsite and offsite, including lodges, condos and home rentals. Black Bear Lodge is a good family-friendly option, since kids under 12 can ski and stay for free. Long Trail House is an affordable condo option near the slopes featuring gas fireplaces, a pool and sauna on the property. Splurge on Founders Lodge (pictured) or Hearthstone, condo properties about a 10-minute walk from the lifts in The Village Commons section. Besides proximity to the ice skating rink, both offer heated parking, saunas and fireplaces; Founders also comes equipped with an in-condo washer and dryer. 960 1280
Outside the SlopesTechnically offsite, though conveniently located just a short walk to the gondola, YogaBnB (pictured) is both comfortable and affordable. As the name implies, yoga classes are included in the room rate and are held three times a week in an airy, wood-paneled yoga studio. Breakfast is also part of your stay. Stone Boat Farm Bed and Breakfast is another convenient option less than a 10-minute ride away. The charming property resides on 40 acres and is home to three alpacas. Its five rooms overlook a babbling brook, and every morning a full, hot breakfast spread awaits you in a separate dining cottage. 960 1280
Where to Eat
Stratton Mountain offers upwards of 20 dining options, from pizza to sushi, and many incorporate locally sourced ingredients where possible. For example, Vermont Grilled Cheese makes sandwiches with cheese from local Cabot Creamery. For other quick bite options, Stratton Mountain Deli serves up breakfast egg sandwiches, burritos and hot chocolate. It also offers a small grocery section, and is a good spot to pick up souvenirs such as Vermont maple syrup. Fire Tower Restaurant & Tavern is a popular spot for casual fare, with a small menu featuring tempura-style shrimp and margherita flatbread. It also provides a strong selection of local craft beers. For upscale dining, Verde Restaurant earns high marks for its mussels and homemade breads.
If you have a car, off-mountain options abound a half-hour away in Manchester and surrounding towns. The Silver Fork excels at New American; its dining room is small, so reservations are a must. Adventurous foodies should try The Perfect Wife Restaurant and Tavern. It describes its approach as freestyle, and has been experimenting with a new menu every weekend. For a romantic meal, The Chantecleer Restaurant specializes in seafood and French fare.960 1280
Getting ThereIt takes about four hours from NYC without traffic. The Stratton Jitney is a great option for those without a car and leaves from Manhattan. The service is new as of January 2016 and offered through March 27 from the ever-popular Hampton Jitney. 960 1280
Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon FestivalMore than 25 hot-air balloons soar through the air during the annual Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa Hot Air Balloon Festival. This three-day event includes a variety of kids' activities, live entertainment, a beer and wine garden and, of course, hot-air balloon rides. The rides are offered either tethered (for the curious) or untethered (for the brave). Either option provides unsurpassed views of the Stowe area's broad fertile valley. 960 1280
Topnotch Resort and SpaNestled in the heart of the prized mountain resort village of Stowe, Topnotch Resort and Spa first opened in 1959 as a family-owned inn and has since grown into a luxury hotel that still maintains its rustic charm -- all in an ideal location. "The ski capital of the east," Stowe is home to Vermont's highest peak as well as one of the country's top 10 spas, making it a must-visit for ski-enthusiasts and relaxation-seekers alike. 960 1280
City Market/Onion River Co-opCity Market/Onion River Co-op is not only downtown Burlington's only grocery store, it also happens to be a 16,000-square-foot community-owned food cooperative that supports the local economy and food system. The food co-op offers a wide selection of locally sourced, fresh produce and Vermont-made products. 960 1280
KillingtonKillington Resort offers visitors year-round outdoor adventures: in the winter, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating -- not to mention 190 trails that include classic runs, moguls and tree skiing areas; in the summer, a championship golf course, a mountain bike park with 45 miles of trails, alpine slides, climbing walls, disc golf and more. All these activities span seven mountain areas, amid more than 100 restaurants and bars. 960 1280
Simon Pearce Glass FactorySimon Pearce opened his first glassblowing studio in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1971. Ten years later, this Irish-American entrepreneur moved his entire operation to Quechee, Vermont, where he restored a historic wool mill on the Ottauquechee River. Today, the mill is home to a glassblowing workshop. It's also open to visitors, who can see the hydroelectric turbine that powers the glass furnaces, see the glassblowers at work and even enjoy a meal at the Glassblower Cafe that overlooks the river. 960 1280
Ben & Jerry's FactoryThe town of Waterbury, in the Green Mountains range is home to a factory where ice cream dreams come true. The Ben & Jerry's Factory offers tours that begin with a film on the company’s history and finish with a tasting in the Flavoroom. Explore the Flavor Graveyard to see where your favorite bygone flavors have gone to rest. 960 1280
Vermont State HouseIn downtown Montpelier -- the smallest capital city in the U.S. -- the Vermont State House sits proudly in the wooded hillside. Regularly open to visitors, the State House features evening concerts during the winter months in Representatives Hall. In warmer months, the public lawn hosts the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, as well as bands from around the state and dance concerts. 960 1280
VermontasaurusThere aren't many man-made landmarks in the small state of Vermont, but Vermontasaurus definitely belongs on the list. The 25-foot-tall, 122-foot-long dinosaur was made of scrap lumber by a retired teacher. Vermontasaurus came under fire when the state had to decide whether it was a piece of public art or a structure requiring a permit. In the end, the dinosaur won and the folk art structure still stands at the Post Mills Airport. 960 1280
Church Street MarketplaceChurch Street Marketplace in Burlington, is a lively open-air mall that bustles with activity year-round. Filled with historic architecture, festivals, street entertainers and over 100 places to shop and dine -- Church Street Marketplace is a must-see destination on any visit to Vermont. 960 1280
North Burlington Breakwater LighthouseThe North Burlington Breakwater Lighthouse sits on Lake Champlain. Along with the accompanying South Burlington Breakwater, the lighthouse is actually a replica of an 1800s-era lighthouse that succumbed to ice and wind. 960 1280
Quechee Gorge BridgeThe Quechee Gorge Bridge is the oldest standing steel arch bridge in Vermont. It was built in 1911 so that tracks for the Woodstock Railway could be carried over the gorge. Then in 1933, the bridge was converted for highway use. Today, the bridge is open to pedestrians looking to catch a breathtaking glimpse of the gorge -- a 165-foot-deep gap that locals call "Vermont’s Grand Canyon." 960 1280
Coast Guard StationThe "coasties" of the Coast Guard Station in Burlington, mainly patrol Lake Champlain, the largest freshwater lake in the U.S. Bordered by more than 580 miles of Vermont and New York shoreline, the lake offers boaters impressive views of the Adirondack and Green mountains. 960 1280
Magic Hat BrewerySouth Burlington is where the magic happens -- at the Magic Hat microbrewery. Known as the Artifactory, the brewery offers both free guided and self-guided tours. Top off your visit with a stop at The Growler Bar. The bar has 48 beers on tap, and constantly rotates the lineup of Magic Hat’s best brews. 960 1280
"Seattle, Washington" – Sarah K.
You don’t have to go far to see Autumnal hues, picnic and play in fallen leaves at Woodland Park (just south of the zoo) or stroll along nearby Bellevue Botanical Garden’s Lost Meadow loop.960 1280
"Bucks County, Pennsylvania!" – Jeff H.
Embark on a tour of Bucks County’s charming covered bridges (there are 12 in all) or getting a bird’s-eye view of the countryside with the U.S. Hot Air Balloon team!960 1280