Stoweflake is family-run resort in Stowe, Vermont, offering a packed family vacation in any season. Parents can enjoy a vacation filled with snow, or summer activities with the kids while savoring the local cheese, cider,  chocolate, ice cream, and beer steps from the hotel.

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A balloon tether ride. Photo courtesy of Robin Hutson, Luxe Recess.

Stoweflake, nestled in the heart of the popular ski town Stowe, Vermont, offers a four-season resort experience with as much to do in the summer as there is in winter. Stoweflake is run by the same family that started it three generations ago, so lots of children have come through that lobby to explore the treasures of a Vermont vacation.

Stowe offers families skiing and snowshoeing in the wintertime, hiking kayaking, swimming, golf, zip-lining, and tennis in the warmer months. It is a fertile district in Vermont for sampling local treasures, with many nationally known brands based nearby like Ben & Jerry’s, Lake Champlain Chocolates, and Cabot dairy. There are also plenty of the smaller, artisan products Vermont is known for nurturing.

Stoweflake is a AAA four diamond resort with every comfort, though it’s definitely old school in appearance. Think burgundy, browns, and hunter green country-style decor. It will easily satisfy most guests, except for those who need more sophisticated hotel design as part of their vacation experience.

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Stoweflake offers rooms in the main building and condos on the edge of the property. Photo courtesy of Robin Hutson, Luxe Recess.

There are charming family-friendly touches throughout the resort including a game room with billiards, Ping-Pong, board games, and a few vintage arcade games. There are additional board games in the lobby for families to take to their rooms. I was also pleased with the extensive children’s menus available at the restaurants, including grilled fish and chicken with vegetables alongside all of the usual suspects.

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Meadows condos can be grouped up to three bedrooms with washer, dryer, and full kitchen. Photo courtesy of Robin Hutson, Luxe Recess.

The atmosphere is very relaxed, and the attentive service makes it a truly restful place for families. Accommodations are set up with traditional rooms at the main inn with large double queen bedrooms that can easily accommodate a family. But if you’re looking for more space and the amenities of home, Stoweflake has on site condominiums for rent for big multi-generational trips.

Condos at Stoweflake

All of the condos offer expanding options with one-bedroom studios up to three bedrooms, full kitchens, and ample living space. The Meadows offer the premier condominiums on property with views of a small par three golf course.

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Meadows condos look out over a par three golf course and the Alchemist Brewing company, makers of cult favorite Heady Topper. Photo courtesy of Robin Hutson, Luxe Recess.

 

Stoweflake’s unbeatable location

The Meadows units are adjacent to the newly built Alchemist brewery. If you know anything about craft beer you’ve heard of cult legend Heady Topper, that brings an incredibly strong following. Finding and purchasing the silver and black cans is part of its appeal, I am sure. The local demand is such that it’s rarely sent out of state. You have to work to get one, standing in line on delivery day at the local liquor stores where limits are put on customers. Or you just ask the bartender at Stoweflake for one, whichever works for you.

Not only is the location next to the new Alchemist brewery ideal, Stoweflake also offers an in-town location that you can’t beat. Directly across the street is the Stowe Farmers’ Market on Sundays during its season, and in the adjacent shopping strip are both a toy store and the children’s clothing store. Other popular pubs and restaurants are within walking distance if you find yourself at the resort without a car. We actually never used our car the whole trip.

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The Spa at Stoweflake as seen from a hot air balloon at sunset shows the labyrinth and Chris Curtis fountain. Photo courtesy of Robin Hutson, Luxe Recess.

Stoweflake offers an impressive wellness feature that is as extensive as a destination spa. There’s a large fitness center offering daily classes its exercise studios including yoga, Pilates, spinning, and several more. There are physical therapists on site, indoor squash courts, and an indoor swimming pool.

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Stoweflake offers an indoor and outdoor pool and many other recreational activities for families. Photo courtesy of Robin Hutson, Luxe Recess.

The outdoor swimming pool has a café that serves lunch to the swimmers, sunbathers, and Spa-goers. I loved that there’s a small women’s only gym for those interested in working out adjacent to the spa without venturing to the larger fitness facilities in the resort’s basement.

 

Hot Air Balloons at Stoweflake

Another standout of Stoweflake is the Baraw family’s personal interests like hot air ballooning. Chuck Baraw, whose father founded Stoweflake and is its current president, started a hot air balloon club with some friends in Stowe decades prior. His passion for this hobby has evolved into the Stoweflake hot air balloon festival that occurs every year, the weekend after the Fourth of July weekend when twenty-five commercially certified pilots will lift balloons in the air.

Chuck’s son-in-law, Eric, married to Sheri Baraw, the hotel’s general manager, provided hot air balloon rides that were still tethered to the ground to some hotel guests on the Friday night we were there. Chuck’s grandson served as the balloon ride organizer, checking each family in and organizing the queue for the rides.

Compared to the other New England balloon festival in June in Queche, Vermont, Stoweflake’s balloon festival is smaller with a higher success rate of sunset balloons taking off. I’ve attended the Queche festival many times to learn that the conditions are not right at sunset for balloon flights and were only appropriate at sunrise. Although many parents are up at sunrise, most don’t want to be out the door yet.

Stoweflake Vermont Family Resort

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The Spa at Stoweflake

The jewel of Stoweflake to me was it’s exceptional spa. Its entrance is adorned with a perennial garden labyrinth that grew many herbs for the kitchens. A Christ Curtis stone sculpture meant to evoke a conifer tree provided a water fountain soundtrack.

I’m a regular spa-goer and I am impressed when I see a spa carving a niche and offering programs around a specific modality. The Stoweflake Spa, led by It’s director, Surinda Oberai Cavanagh, is one of the most comprehensive Ayurvedic spas in New England with authentic treatments using specialty oils imported from India.

I was minimally familiar with Ayurveda’s holistic approach to mind, body, and spirit through diet, mediation, and movement. I knew to put Turmeric on everything I cooked, but that was it.

My husband and I both tried Ayurveda treatments, a Vishesh deep tissue massage and a Pinda Swedena detoxifying massage. Both involved covering our scalps in oils with a vigorous scalp massage, and both of our children found the oils in our hair particularly amusing afterwards. We were both convinced to leave the oils in to absorb their benefits longer, and I found I enjoyed smelling like a spa candle for a while.

We’re no strangers to spas, and we both loved our treatments that took us to more relaxed states than the traditional massage work we get. We didn’t realize we found the perfect heaven for Kripalu regulars who now travel with the chicken-finger eating crowd.

We are sure to plan a return visit focusing on spa and wellness with our kids, where we can take turns pampering ourselves while the other plays ping pong or Ms. Pacman with our kids. A win-win, for sure.