Last century Stowe, Vermont, was a popular summer and fall vacation destination before the era of downhill skiing made it popular. Renowned for healthy mountain air and exquisite scenery, the rich and famous flocked to Stowe here along with the sheep.
Stowe's Currier and Ives late summer and fall charms are still popular in this mountain village, settled more than 202 years ago. Canadians, who once smuggled cattle through Smuggler's Notch, now vacation here -- along with American guests.
Spa-goers, fall foliage freaks, summer hikers, bikers, golfers, horseback riders, canoeists, balloonists, joggers, mountain climbers, lake and river romantics all refresh themselves in Stowe. Yes, a covered bridge stands in Stowe. Stowe's a fun place and the mountain air's invigorating.
head to the serene Topnotch at the Stowe Resort and Spa for a luxurious Vermont mountain and spa retreat, only a three-hour ride from Boston, Massachusetts to Topnotch Spa.
Topnotch is one of the premier Spa resorts in the county, situated beneath the Mt. Mansfield Mountain range. On my visit, I relaxed on poolside lounge chairs, strolled down a the short path to feed the carriage horses in a neighboring corral, rode a horse, and even rented a bike to ride on the Stowe Recreation Path. My one complaint is that a reconstruction process is going on and it was noisy in my wing but the managers promise it will be completed by Sping of 2007.
Paula Upton, Spa Director at the Topnotch at Stowe Resort and Spa, helps clients select from a dozen or more choices from their vast Spa menu, including my Decleor Aromaplasty Facial. This gentle facial left my skin vibrant, sparkling and hydrated. Many special massages are also on the menu, including several for men and the Maternity Massage, designed for mothers-to-be. Massages begin at $95. A "deep Tissue Massage is directed toward specific areas of tension and imbalance in the muscular system," explained Ms. Upton. Prices start at 50 minutes for $105. New for men is the Gentlemen's Facial, Sports Massage, Vermont Woodspice Treatment, Sports-Specific Personal Training, Hiking and Showshoe Trekking, Sports Stretch, and special training sessions focusing on ski or tennis conditioning. Men have their own lobby area.
Other Spa offerings include Yoga and easy fitness classes at the indoor or outdoor pools, hot stone massage, mud wraps, and much more make decisions difficult. The Spa has a spacious, new building (connected to the hotel), large indoor and outdoor pools, and separate treatment rooms.
Shelia Cleary, Director of Marketing, gave me a tour of Topnotch, pointing out the new additions. Some of the highlights include:
* New private spa lounges with fireplaces, steam, sauna, Jacuzzis and juice bars
* A couple’s suite with a fireplace for side-by-side massages and signature Thai treatments
* A full-service salon
* An expanded boutique with Topnotch Spa products
* New facial and body lines with new treatments such as the Decléor Aroma Relax Wrap and the Cucumber Green Tea Facial
* Advanced skincare services such as Vibradermabrasion and GentleWaves photorejuvenation
Topnotch is at the end of the five-mile path, the quieter end. The beginning is in the center of the charming mountain village, where riders or walkers can stop, shop and dine. For a quick "feel" of the village, walk, bike or stroll the paved five mile Recreation Path, starting across the Mountain Road from Topnotch Resort. It ends at Stowe's Main Street steepled white classical church.
Dining in the area is wonderful and varied. I dined at the new restaurant, Steve and Erica’s. The delightful, pastoral setting affords a panaromanic view over the valley, fields and cows. Yes, a red barn, too!
My favorite treat when I leave the Topnotch for a bit? Driving up to the Trapp Family Lodge, overlooking the magnificent view of Nebraska Valley, and lunching al fresco at their rustic mountaintop Austrian Tea Room Chalet.
For more Stowe information, contact Jo Sabel Courtney, PR Marketing Manager, Stowe Area Association, PO Box 1320, 51 Main Street, Stowe Vermont 05672, offers maps, advice, hotel recommendations and restaurant tips for Stowe, Vermont.
Topnotch is at 4000 Mountain Road, Stowe, VT 05672, 800-451-8686, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org