Christmas In Stowe, Vermont

Fresh Snow And Sleigh Bells—The Best Of The Season In Stowe

There may be an un-nice person in Stowe, Vermont, but we haven’t found him or anyone who’s heard tell of him. The folks in this part of the world are as genuinely welcoming, gracious, and helpful as any we’ve met anywhere.

Our families thought we were nuts, but, last Thursday, we left sunny, sultry Panama and traveled north to Stowe, with the kids, in search of a white Christmas. When we arrived, all was green, and temperatures were relatively warm. Then, Friday morning, we awoke to flakes falling and thermometers dropping. All’s been frozen and white ever since, just as we’d hoped.

Arriving in Stowe village this time of year is like being dropped inside a Christmas garden. Every house, church, porch, lamppost, streetlight, timber fence, and wooden bridge is dressed with fresh wreaths, white lights, pine garland, red bows, and sleigh bells. It’s Norman Rockwell come to life.

We came to Stowe last week for a serious dose of winter weather and, as well, some down time with the kids. With them, we’ve gone sledding, hiking in the snow, and for a horse-drawn sleigh ride. We’ve toured Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory and the Magic Hat Brewery. We’ve had pub meals, champagne toasts, and enormously indulgent breakfasts smothered in Vermont syrup.

This week, while Lief and I are trying to get back to work, the kids have been off skiing, Jackson for the first time (no broken bones or even bad falls to report so far).

It’s hard to imagine a more delightful place to spend Christmas, and we’re not the only ones who think so. Every inn and public house in and around Stowe is full. No rooms to be found, dinner reservations required well in advance everywhere, and lengthy lines at the ski lifts. Our fellow holiday travelers are from New England and nearby Eastern Canada, but also, judging from their conversations and their accents, from Germany, Holland, Spain, the UK, Argentina, China, Japan…

After more than 14 years living overseas, we feel as foreign as they, and we, like they, appreciate the history and the hospitality of this charming and dramatically beautiful part of the world.

Today, more skiing, snow hiking, and maybe a winery visit this afternoon. Then, tomorrow, we continue our U.S. tour with stops in Baltimore (me) and Chicago (Lief and Jackson). Later this week, we reconnect in Santa Fe for more family visits and more snow.

Kathleen Peddicord