We literally got off the plane just a few hours ago from a much needed and perfectly relaxing (read: kidless) getaway to Stowe, Vermont.
I wanted to sit down and write while I was there, but it didn’t feel right to bother with blogging while we were so busy relaxing.
We arrived on Tuesday – New Year’s Day – in the evening. We were blasted with near-zero temps as soon as we exited the airport. So much snow.
The drive to Stowe took about 45 minutes – through winding hills with no streetlights. We had no idea of the beauty that surrounded us.
We found our hotel easily (The Golden Eagle Resort) and were thoroughly impressed with our room, the service and the price. Jacuzzi tub and fireplace? Win.
We bundled up, unpacked a bit and walked across the street to grab dinner and a few beers. We hit a bar next door for more drinks. No kids, remember?
Wednesday was forecasted to be cold. Really cold. So we decided to use the day to explore the surroundings, do a little shopping, and relax. We were greeted with fresh snow that morning – something Adam, as a Tampa native, has seen very little of in real life.
It was perfect. The town is delightfully quaint and ridiculously picturesque.
We stopped at a few taverns and pubs for apps and beers. The town was practically empty. Apparently, we missed the busiest week of the year by a single day. We drove up to the mountain to check out where we’d park and where we’d rent our equipment. We took naps, sat in the jacuzzi and read by the fire. A perfect winter afternoon.
Thursday, we awoke to a temp of -19 degrees – temperatures Adam had never before experienced, and I hadn’t seen in at least 10 years. The first surreal experience.
We decided to get a leisurely breakfast in the cafe, then head to the mountain when it was expected to warm up to 12 above. We bundled up in everything we’d brought with us – and for Floridians, that wasn’t much. I wore running tights under leggings, sweatpants and pajama pants, then threw my ski pants over that (I could hardly move). We bought hand and foot warmers and good ski socks. We braced for the worst.
Luckily, it wasn’t quite as bad as we’d expected. We were able to get two runs in before having to warm up, then we’d go back out. Adam had a difficult first run but was cruising comfortably by the second. And, this being only his third time ever on skis? I was proud.
That afternoon, as we neared sunset, we saw some of the most picturesque and surreal sights I’ve literally ever seen.
The trees at the top of the mountain were completely encrusted with snow and ice. Totally white.
As the day wore on and sunset approached, the clouds were lowering and fog was blowing off the top of the mountain. Couple that with the white encrusted trees and the entire world was glowing with a gold, foggy mist.
It was completely surreal and incredibly beautiful. Because there were so few people on the mountain, skiing down the winding green slopes was one of the most peaceful, amazing things I’ve ever done. You could hear the trees cracking with the wind; the sound of every swish of your skis. The sun peaking through the snow-crusted pines. It was an absolutely awe-inspiring day of skiing, despite the cold.
After some time relaxing in the room, we headed out for a special birthday dinner for Adam. Delicious food, amazing little restaurant. I had some of the best lobster I’d ever eaten, and Adam had an amazing filet.
After a couple drinks at a local tavern (and some interesting conversation with the barkeep), we headed home early to get ready for a full day of skiing on Friday.
Which. was. awesome.
Temps soared into the hight 20′s, so we were warm, if not wet. Adam was feeling confident and we were able to explore parts of the mountain I didn’t think we’d see because they were all intermediate runs. (I grew up skiing every. single. day. I raced in high school, then went on to become an instructor and coach during college. Skiing is second nature to me, but it’s Adam’s third time ever, so I had to have patience.)
We got to ride to the top in the gondola and enjoyed a few hot cocoa drinks at the midway lodge. He took those runs like a champ – even hitting a few really steep spots with agility.
Until early afternoon. When it started literally blizzarding. Blizzard. Blowing snow, crazy wind, white-out conditions.
All of a sudden we were cold and everything got a little more difficult. Adam’s legs were tired; he was drained. So, around 3, he took his last run and went in for a beer; I took a couple more then joined him. We’d had our fill. We headed back to the resort to shower, relax and get ready for dinner.
Saturday morning, we headed back toward Burlington with stops at a few gift shops and of course, the Ben & Jerry’s Factory along the way. We headed straight to the Magic Hat Brewery for a tour (note: they don’t actually work on Saturdays so it’s more of a narrated thing), then checked in to our hotel there. We walked around the adorable downtown, then met an old college friend of mine for drinks and dinner. The night finished with the Green Bay Packers winning their wildcard playoff game while we watched from an Irish pub on Church Street.
We had a remarkable breakfast on Sunday morning and headed back to the airport for an easy, on-time (and slightly hungover) flight home.I’m overall considerably impressed with the area we visited in Vermont. Their anti-billboards law, along with their strict signage restrictions make for a much more friendly and rustic environment. The restaurants all featured locally-sourced foods and craft beers – even the diners and sports bars. The environmental consciousness was evident everywhere we went – and why not? They are protecting an absolutely breathtaking environment. I’d love to head back up in the summer or early fall to do some hiking and spend some more time outdoors. There was a noticeable effort to promote local shopping and dining, and it wasn’t too crowded or very expensive.
A much needed respite with an invigorated return. I’m ready to attack 2013.