You might not believe it given the weather we are having, but it really, truly is fall. That means pumpkin spice everything, apple picking and beautiful autumnal colors. Though it doesn't feel all that fall-y here in D.C., you can experience fall in all its glory with a fabulous long weekend getaway to beautiful Stowe, Vermont.
It is only an 1.5-hour flight from Reagan National Airport to Burlington, Vermont, and then it's less than an hour drive to Stowe. Renting a car is a must, as it will give you the freedom to explore lesser-known dirt roads, and explore at your own pace.
Where to Stay
Topnotch Resort is just outside the quaint town of Stowe. Right now, they are offering a Leaf Peeper Package with 15 percent off your room, complimentary breakfast and a detailed list of the best spots to enjoy the fall foliage. Topnotch Resort has an amazing spa with two hot tubs (one indoor and one outdoor) and three pools (two outdoor and one indoor). The perfect way to end a day of leaf peeping is to watch the sunset over Mount Mansfield as you curl up next to one of their multiple outdoor fire pits -- they even offer all the fixins for s'mores.
What to Do
1. Chase the leaves: Roll your windows down and enjoy the backroads as you find covered bridges, beautiful farms dotting the rolling hills and, of course, an abundance of foliage. Fun Fact: Vermont actually banned billboards so there are no ugly adds to distract from the incredible views.
2. Explore downtown Stowe: Help the local economy with a bit of retail therapy.
3. Enjoy local brew: Vermont is producing some great craft beer right now, and there are 13 different breweries to explore in the Stowe area alone. One of the biggest is the Von Trapp brewery and estate; yes,the same Von Trapps that the Sound of Music was based on. If you are in the mood for elevated Austrian cuisine, grab a bite at in the Bierhall. Idletyme Brewing Co and The Alchemist, home to Heady Topper, are also both must-visit breweries.
4. Hike to a waterfall: There are countless waterfalls around Stowe to explore, but a favorite is Bingham Falls. This easy hike, located just 2.5 miles from the Topnotch Resort, is a great way to enjoy the fall colors. Get up early to start your day with this hike and you will have it all to yourself. Make sure to pack a blanket, thermos of coffee and a bit of breakfast, as it is the perfect spot for a picnic.
5. Take a drive up to Smugglers Notch: There are massive boulders littering the forest floor and tons of hiking options that would be great for a half-day excursion.
Where to Eat
1. Plate: They call this restaurant “California inspired, but Vermont made” and the focus is on clean ingredients that are locally sourced. The atmosphere is casual elegance and would be perfect for a date night. Tip: Grab one of the four seats at the chef's counter to get an upfront view of the action in the kitchen.
2. Edson Hill: The Dining Room at Edson Hill provides an elegant backdrop for a truly unforgettable culinary experience, as Edson Hill features a modern approach to classic New England fare. You must make reservations well in advance as they book up quickly.
3. Harrisons: This family-run restaurant has a casual, chic, upscale, rustic vibe. Here you will find delicious hearty comfort food that is just perfect on a chilly fall evening.
What are you waiting for? Hurry up and book a quick getaway to Vermont to relax and enjoy fall!