September 27, 2011

Great Fall Getaways for Everyone For the Epicurean Solstice, the restaurant at the renowned Stowe Mountain Lodge, has a new executive chef, Cody Vasek. One thing that hasn't changed, though, is the noteworthy wine list, designed to pair well with local artisanal cheeses (Shelburne Farms raw-milk cheddar; a runny goat cheese from Twig Farm) and Vasek's fresh menu. And who could blame you for going back the next morning for the craveable eggs Benedict, made with Vermont ham? When you've had your fill of farm-to-table fare, spice things up at Frida's Taqueria, new to the historical Butler House. Especially delicious are the tacos on house-made corn tortillas, and the duck breast with pecan mole. Chase your margarita with an Austrian-style, Vermont-made Trapp Lager, on tap at Frida's and other area restaurants. Or go straight to the source: the Trapp Family Lodge, where you can sample what's coming out of the inn's nascent brewery. Teetotalers can get a tasting experience of their own by heading south to Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where the fall nectar is ready for sipping almost as soon as the apples are plucked from the trees and pressed.

For the Adventurer Daredevils and naturalists alike will appreciate the area's latest outdoor offering: ArborTrek Canopy Adventures' zipline tour at Smugglers' Notch. Hook into a harness and you'll soon be swooshing down eight lines suspended above the crimsoning maples (mid-October is the time to go). The excursion takes up to three hours and includes two rappels, swinging sky bridges, and, if you're lucky, a bear sighting. Another bird's-eye view of the majestic Green Mountain scenery comes courtesy of a glider ride from Stowe Soaring. If you'd rather stay on solid ground, Stowe Mountain Bike Club will connect you with a bounty of trails, rental outfits, and bike-friendly lodging options. For the Escapist Can't calm those keyed-up kids after a full day of activities? Try the Kid's Spa and Chillax Lounge at Stowe Mountain Lodge - a soothing environment where youngsters six and up can learn deep-breathing exercises, get chocolate face masks, and receive manicures and pedicures, too. For adults, the extensive spa menu - 120 treatments! - at Topnotch Resort and Spa is a one-way ticket to the land of ahhhs. Try the exceptional Japan Body Ritual, a purifying therapy that includes a bamboo-ginger polish, a buff made from cherry blossoms, and a full-body massage. Fireplaces and juice bars in the lounges round out the serene scene. Afterward, keep the feeling of well-being going with an old-fashioned carriage or wagon ride courtesy of Gentle Giants' draft horses.

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