Scenic Vermont Drives

Many people don’t realize that Stowe, Vermont, the well-known winter ski resort was originally a summer destination to many vacationers even before the Civil War. Surrounded by spectacular scenery and exceptional vistas, early summer visitors swam in the swimming holes, strolled the village walkways, and wandered the fertile hillsides with 8,000 sheep, thoroughly enjoying the cool mountain. Then as now, a favorite summer pastime was making a trip up the 4.5-mile toll road (now known as the Mountain Auto Road) to picnic at the summer of Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield.

All About Stowe

At the turn of the century, together with the majority of small towns and villages in Vermont, Stowe turned to dairying. 2,800 dairy cows on more than one hundred family farms then joined summer visitors. At one time the cows outnumbered the residents and summer travelers together! Then, in the 1930’s, with the advent of downhill skiing, Stowe began to attract year-round visitors seeking four seasons of beauty and recreation atop Mount Mansfield.

Today, although the hotels outnumber the farms, visitors continue to be welcome in the unchanged setting of old. The mountain air is still crisp and clear, Green Mountains inviting and the townspeople eager to please every traveler.

Many years ago, according to Indian folklore, a giant headed northward on an exploratory journey. Growing tired, the giant laid down. With face upturned to the sky, he took a nap — and is still resting.

This is one of several legends that attempts to explain the uncanny resemblance between Mount Mansfield’s ridge line and a man’s facial features: forehead, nose, lips, and chin. The prominent chin is Vermont’s highest point of land at 4,939 feet above sea level. It is on this “face” that many vacationers explore a unique high-altitude ecosystem, seek recreation, and enjoy spectacular, panoramic views of New England countryside.