No one does Vermont like Stowe, the town with massive Mount Mansfield and its equally lovely surrounding peaks, cold mountain streams and a quaint white-steeple-centered village. A summer stint here includes certain rites of passage: riding the gondola to Mount Mansfield?s summit; navigating the serene Toll Road for the mother of all scenic drives; visiting the Trapp Family Lodge to experience the harmonized note heard ?round the world. That may be incentive enough, but just in case you need more active options, here are a few suggestions. Toss your mountain bike on the back of a lift and take on Stowe?s trails. Put on your soft spikes and tackle a classic 18 at Stowe Country Club. Sign up for a flyfishing lesson and see just how a river runs through it. Once you?ve worked up an appetite, sample the dozens of high-rated restaurants in town.
But the best thing to do at Stowe in summer may be to just be. On a warm evening, just before the sun slides into its bed behind the peaks, a warm orange alpenglow washes across the valley. For a few moments, time stands still and things are so lovely that you almost have to wonder if it?s for real. No need to pinch yourself. This is no dream, just the very best of Vermont. ?M.M.
Don?t Miss The 16th Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival, July 12-14. 800-253-2232; www.stoweflake.com.
best Deal Mountainside lodging and a round at Stowe Country Club are yours when you book the Stay and Play Package; $115 per person, per day; includes golf cart. 800-253-4754; www.stowe.com.