Summer is approaching, and parents with Vermont on their vacation radar will find an entire menu of kid- and adult-friendly activities at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Not just for leaf-peepers and skiers only -– in fact, the town of Stowe was a popular summer resort long before it became a mecca for winter sports fans -– the property is a true four-season resort that boasts everything required in a quintessential New England getaway.
Located halfway between Stowe Village and the Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak base areas, Stoweflake is a family-run resort that evolved in the last five decades from a modest motel built in 1963 to a AAA Four Diamond resort and spa. Recognized by Conde Nast Traveler and Fodor’s Travel as a Top Resort Spa in the U.S., the property boasts a nine-hole par three and an 18-hole championship golf course; Charlie B’s Pub & Restaurant and, most notably, an eye-popping, 50,000-square-foot spa.
The spa experience at Stoweflake
Just about every four-season resort worth its salt has some sort of spa these days, but at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, the newly enhanced Spa at Stoweflake is so robust that it has become the tail that wags the dog.
Already the winner of consistent accolades for its 120 treatments that use local and therapeutic products, the spa recently added three Ayurvedic practitioners to enhance its menu of treatment options. Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old method of holistic treatment that focuses on the five principle elements that make up the universe – fire, water, air, space and earth. New treatments using the Ayurveda approach include a Dosha Balancing massage with herbal oils customized to the individual; a Bindi Herbal Body treatment to recharge the skin; Shirodhara, which includes a soothing massage of the third eye, along with a face, hand and foot massage; and Nirvana, a combination of Bindi and Shirodhara.
Of course, other, more traditional treatments are available, ranging from massages, facials, wraps and body masks.
Also new this year is a series of wellness retreats with well-known presenters on topics ranging from yoga and Ayurveda practices to craniosacral massage.
Fitness, Wellness & Spa Includes Kids Too
A big part of the spa’s appeal is the ambience, which blends the twin concepts of relaxation and fitness. There are 30 private treatment room, including private couple’s suites with soaking tubs and fireplaces, and men’s and women’s sanctuary lounges where guests can relax before or after their treatments.
Other features include an Aqua Solarium with a rock formation hot tub and hydrotherapy waterfalls, inspired by Vermont’s Bingham Falls, a mineral water soaking pool, three saunas and steam rooms, and a private deck where woman can relax in the sun.
The center also offers a spinning studio, private women’s fitness room, a dedicated yoga space, a stretching room, and, since much of Vermont’s beauty is to be found outdoors, after all, a meditative garden and 10,000-square-foot labyrinth designed to promote calm and relaxation.
Children from age 7 can select from their own Kid’s Spa menu, which replicates some of popular adult treatments such as a Mini Maple Sugar Body Polish. Other options include a sampler with reflexology and head/neck massages, body wraps and beauty treatments such as manicures and facials. During treatments, kids must wear bathing suits and a parent must be present. Or take your daughter (age 16 and up) for a special Mother and Daughter treatment.
Refreshed Family Accommodations and Stowe Townhouses
Families have a choice among 120 guestrooms and 58 townhouses, which received a mini facelift last fall with room enhancements including bedding, new TVs and other soft furnishings.
As to accommodations for larger groups, there are 14 connecting rooms in the Sports Club Wing Family Units, which connect via inside door and are equipped with either one king or one queen bed in one room and two double beds in the other, each with its own bathroom. Best of all, the family units are situated next to the sports and recreation facilities and the indoor/outdoor pools and game room.
Even bigger families – or anyone who craves elbow room – can opt to stay in one of the 32 townhouses, which have full kitchens and separate bedrooms for parents and kids, as well as dining room, living room and bath along with patio/deck, fireplace and laundry room.
Kids Keep Fit While Having Fun
Last summer, the Stoweflake resort launched a new Kids Camp in conjunction with Apple Tree Learning Center for kids aged 5 to 12. The program, which is centered in the resort’s historic farmhouse, gets young guests out and about the property to the various swimming pools, ponds, event fields, playground, and tennis courts, as well as hiking and biking.
Off-site fun includes include horseback riding, sailing, rock climbing, and canoeing, as well as hiking and along Stowe’s paved Recreation Path, which starts in the village and stretches 5.5 miles along the West Branch River.
Families can also take advantage of the resort’s scenic location by joining a Nordic Walking Adventure, a class offered through the fitness center on a seasonal basis that takes guests on guided hikes along Green Mountain trails.
One of the most popular times to visit the resort in the summer is during the annual Stoweflake Hot-Air Balloon Festival, held July 11 – 13, 2014. Voted a “Top Ten Event” in Vermont by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, this three-day balloon festival held at the resort boasts more than 25 hot-air balloons soaring through the sky, live entertainment, a children’s corner featuring a variety of activities and delicious food and a beer and wine garden.
The resort’s Sports Facility offers a full schedule of activities including Yoga, Pilates, Aerobics and Spinning as well as cardio kickboxing and Nordic walking. A Cybex Fitness Center features fitness equipment, free-weights and cardiovascular equipment. In addition, there is a dedicated stretching room, racquetball and squash courts and indoor and outdoor heated pools.
Trip Planning for a Stoweflake Vacation Year-Round
Not planning a summer visit? There is fine dining year round. Foodies will be relieved to know that they won’t have to sacrifice taste for fitness, thanks to the spa cuisine menus, created with locally sources ingredients and served up at the on-property restaurant, Charlie B’s Pub & Restaurant. Past visitors will note that Winfield’s Bistro is no longer open, but is available for private dinners and special events.
In winter, Stoweflake also offers childcare / learn to ski programs at Stowe Mountain Resort, which offers two base areas – Mt. Mansfield and the newer Spruce Peak. Terrain ranges from easy greens to challenging black diamonds, and – for young daredevils — freestyle terrain parks. The property also offers snowshoes that fit children and adults, so family members can go out together to hit the on-property snowshoeing and cross country trails.
Or plan a visit in the fall to see Vermont’s famous multi-colored foliage – hint: book ahead, as leaf peeping season is very popular – and enjoy hiking, biking or taking the enclosed gondola skyride at the Stowe Mountain Resort nearby.
Stoweflake’s nightly room rate varies depending on room type and time of year, with April being one of the cheapest times to visit and July being a peak month. Their variety of packages range from golf to ski to family to spa, and you can save an average of 15% by booking one of these three-night stays with activities included. The property typically creates specials in the fall, with such value-added extras as Vermont maple leaf treats, a Self-Guided Leaf Peeping Driving Tour, and discount vouchers for the Spa -– try the Harvest Facial and Vermont Maple Body Sugar Polish — or Charlie B’s Pub and Restaurant. Perfect for new parents and babymooners, or mothers with daughters who are out of school.
Set your GPS: the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa (800/253-2232, 802/253-7355) is located at 1746 Mountain Road, Stowe, Vermont 05672.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.