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Stowe Underground

From a distance, this too-perfect Green Mountain hamlet seems lacquered in Norman Rockwell's heavy oils. But behind low doors and beyond the gilded Sound of Music legend lives a hard-mountain culture where movie houses serve Jameson's and locals spend lifetimes pillaging hidden forests for powder.

The Joe
Bang back a Speeder & Earl's espresso at the Stowe Coffee House. (Mountain Road, 802-253-2189)

Just the calories: Pull into McCarthy's for a Quickie (scrambled eggs, broccoli, and cheese in a Syrian pocket) to get you through the morning. (Mountain Road, 802-253-8626)
Put Some Sauce on That: The Pie in the Sky is a cosmically themed pizza joint where the pies are cooked in a wood-fired brick oven and quotes like "Live long and pasta" (Mr. Spock) and "All we are saying is give pizza a chance"(John Lennon) adorn the bar. The crescent-shaped calzones are outta this world. (Mountain Road, 802-253-5100)
Bust Out The Plastic: Thanks to a menu that's a little bit Asian, a little bit Med, and a tad continental, Blue Moon Café goes from nori to blinis to the house specialty (Glover rabitt) with a white-linen flair. (School Street, 802-253-7006)

Up All Night
Suds: The Back Yard is a 50-person dive where beer is religion and Bud is the lord. Rickety chairs surround a crackling fireplace and the flannel-and-denim clientele argues over who shot the biggest moose. (Mountain Road, 802-253-9204)
The Must Stop: Sip a Hot Apple Pie (Tuaca and cider) as you watch first-run movies at the Stowe Cinema-the back 50 seats are wait serviced from a full bar. "It's like first class in an airplane," says owner Vinny Buonanno. Only without the oxygen masks. (Mountain Road, 802-253-4678)
Shaken, Not Stirred: At the Matterhorn's Back Bar Chef Baba serves up sushi and massive martinis that are as fresh as the fish-all in a smoke-free environment where you can bet on the keg races on the river out back. (Mountain Road, 802-253-8198, matterhorn
Live Music & Dance: Don't expect the Trapp Family Singers to harmonize at the Rusty Nail. This rock and roll club is hot. Get lubed while sitting on bar stools made of recycled skis, then get your groove on when the dance crowd goes off around nine on weekends. (Mountain Road, 802-253-6245)

Hitchhiker: "When we built The Ski Inn, there was no such thing as a motel," says proprietress Harriet Heyer. "We were the first ski lodge in the country." Opened on Pearl Harbor Day, 1941, The Ski Inn offers 60 years of ski history, wax and Ping-Pong rooms, and a cozy common area. Rooms are $65 a night including breakfast and dinner. (Mountain Road, 802-253-4050,
Workin' Stiff: The Inn At The Mountain, with its painted wood paneling and industrial carpet, is Stowe's only slopeside lodging and it's reasonably priced. The private chairlift is also a nice touch. ($190 a room per night and up; Mountain Road, 800-253-4754,
Bank robber: The Topnotch Resort & Spa is a 90-room inn that lives up to its name. Offering massage, wraps, and spa treatments, as well as indoor tennis and swimming, the Topnotch is not only posh for you, but for the pooch too. Dog sitting, doggie gifts, and a doggie wall of fame make Bowzer feel like Lassie. ($235-$695; Mountain Road, 802-253-8585, topnotch-

For the Boys Back Home
A Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby, Cherry Garcia, or Phish Food T-shirt from the factory. ($13-32; Route 100 in Waterbury, 802-882-1240,

About a mile down the Mountain Road you'll find a Chevy-van-and-a-six-pack-style bar that you wouldn't expect to find in this Volvo-and-merlot town. Count on The MMatterhorn to bring in bands like the muy caliente Jalapeno Brothers to rile the rowdies. (Mountain Road, 802-253-8198,