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Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

Chicago, Illinois
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Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

Hello,

My husband and I are planning a mini-getaway to Vermont at the end of January. We have three days and have never been to Vermont before. We would like to ski, but we also would like to have a couple of nice dinners, stroll through a picturesque town, do a little shopping/sightseeing, that kind of thing. We are novice-to-intermediate skiers, so we definitely don't need lots of black diamond runs--we'll probably ski once or twice, and stick to the blue and green!. We're mostly in search of a friendly, relaxed experience. Suggestions are appreciated!

Burlington, Vermont
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for Burlington
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1. Re: Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

Manchester, Vermont might fit the bill. Stay in Manchester with a nice little town, good dining options, shops, etc., and then skiing at Bromley (15 min) or Stratton (30 min) away.

Also check out Burlington, which is likely where you would fly into. Small city, excellent downtown area, on Lake Champlain, very good dining and shopping. Bolton is about 30 minutes away and several larger resorts (Stowe, Smuggler's Notch and Sugarbush) are an hour away.

Stowe is one of the top recommendations, but if skiing is not your focus, I do not think the town itself is the best for "strolling" as you are seeking to do. It's more, get in the car and drive to this restaurant, or this shop, etc. (Though there are some very fine restaurants.)

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

Thanks, Adam. I'll definitely look into Manchester. We're driving up from the NYC area, so no real geography limitations. What's Woodstock like? On paper it seems like a good option.

Burlington, Vermont
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3. Re: Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

I think Woodstock is probably another great option and, though toursity, it is a very picturesque small Vermont town. Suicide Six is a small ski area right on the edge of town. It's one of the few mountains I have not skied in Vermont, but I am sure it will keep you entertained for a day or two.

I guess the only thing I would caution is that we are off to a fairly poor start for snow this year, so many of the smaller mountains without strong snowmaking capabilities are really struggling to open up terrain. If we were to have a dry spell (or worse, rain!) between now and the end of January, I am not sure what some of the smaller mountains will be looking like. That said, from Woodstock you could still drive down the road to Killington where they will have plenty of open terrain.

Baltimore, Maryland
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for North Conway
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4. Re: Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

If you haven't skied Vt but have elsewhere, you have to understand it is does not follow the Vail or PC model of great town with a mountain springing up so close you can walk everywhere. Most VT mountains have limited commercial (bar/lodge/clothes) activity right at the slope. Stratton is the exception. So, in most cases you are either staying on the mountain with a short drive to the picturesque town or staying in the picturesque town with a short drive to mountain. Pick your poison! You have towns that only have a village green and maybe a general store to larger towns like Manchester, Stowe, Burlington to larger villages like Woodstock. That being said Manchester is the closest large town, resort area to NYC and is very popular because of that. Depending on budget you can stay in Manchester or at one of the many motels along the road out of manchester toward Bromley/Stratton or in a nearby village like Grafton or Dorset for more ambiance in a B&B. No wrong answers, just personal preferences.

Hopefully after this trip, if it is not perfect, you will see all that is available and have a better perspective on costs, distances.

port republic
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5. Re: Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

I think the Manchester/ Bromely combo works well, I love Stratton and if you look you can find some great deals on their normally expensive tickets. Stratton has a lot of beginner terrain. The wilmington/mt snow combo is another option

Ormond Beach...
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for Vermont
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6. Re: Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

Adam's comment about the ski season is a good one. Many places lost most of their base a couple of weeks ago, then we had an ice storm, and now we're expecting temps in the 40s and some major rain. Things will likely improve a bunch as the month progresses, but if the ski conditions are lousy a larger town like Stowe or Burlington might offer other diversions (incl nearby skiing).

One other comment is that Bolton was my favorite place to ski (when I lived in nearby Righmond). If the snow conditions are good, their quad lift has some excellent intermediate (and easy expert) terrain.

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

Thanks, all, for the great suggestions. We've booked a room at the Reluctant Panther and plan to ski at Stratton. Any must-dos or must-tries in the area, whether restaurants or stores or excursions?

Baltimore, Maryland
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8. Re: Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

Hildene

ride up 100 to Vt Country Store in Weston

lots of artist galleries. just stop in

Equinox Hotel is worth visiting,having a drink in

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

Thanks -- Are the galleries in Manchester or elsewhere?

Baltimore, Maryland
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for North Conway
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10. Re: Where do ski... but not JUST ski?

yes- in Manchester and all along the road. Suggest looking at local guides.. Manchester and Mountains, dorset and grafton chamber of commerces, etc. visitvt.com. Your hosts at the RP will certainly be able to point you in the direction.