If you’ve been to Stowe before or prefer to visit local attractions that aren’t as crowded as the more popular touristy spots, we’ve uncovered a few for you to think about visiting. Check out our picks for the top five under-the-radar attractions in Stowe!
If you’ve come to Stowe because you love to ski, you’ll want to plan a visit to this small museum in historic downtown Stowe. Located in the old Town Meeting House (the oldest active building in town), the museum was founded to “collect, preserve and celebrate Vermont’s skiing and snowboarding history.” Their exhibits showcase the evolution of ski equipment and fashion, historic ski lifts, iconic snowboard photography, alpine and Nordic skiing equipment, and much more. Past exhibits include: “Surfing Snow: Vermont Inspired Boards,” “Peak to Peak: 10th Mountain Division Then and Now,” “SHRED Vermont – Iconic Snowboard Photography 1980 – 2000,” and “Curious & Cool” (a fun exhibit showcasing a few of the stranger and weird inventions, memorabilia and fads associated with skiing).
Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum
1 South Main Street, Stowe VT
Hours vary seasonally
Wiessner Woods is part of the Stowe Land Trust and is the quintessential Vermont forested park with shady, dusty trails winding through of old spruce, maple, beech, birch, and white pines. The woods are popular with locals for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and is a favorite with dog walkers. There is an easy two-mile loop trail that starts with a short walk through a small grassy meadow, but for the most part the trail meanders through the forest and past an old sugar house, with lovely views the entire time. This beautiful hike is a nice way to get the feel of old Vermont and to spend a few peaceful hours walking through the quiet forest.
Edson Hill, Stowe VT
Smuggler’s Notch State Park is part of the Mt. Mansfield State Forest and offers access to some of the popular hiking trails in the area, including the Long Trail, Bingham Falls, and the Mt. Mansfield Toll Road. It’s also one of the favorite attractions in Stowe of hikers, bikers, cavers, and rock climbers. The views as you hike along the forested trails and up boulder-strewn mountain trails are amazing. One of the easier trails starts on the boardwalk at the Barnes Camp Visitor Center, and winds through a marsh to a scenic pond complete with a beaver dam and a great view of the Notch and surrounding mountains. While all of Vermont is full of historic places, you may not have heard of Smuggler’s Notch and Smugglers’ Cave, which were both spots on a heavily traveled smuggler’s route. During the 19th and early 20th century, this narrow notch between high, rocky cliffs was used by smugglers to transport goods between Canada and the U.S. too. Later, escaped slaves used the route on their way to freedom in Canada.
6443 Mountain Rd, Stowe VT
Season: May 21 through October 17
This quaint covered bridge is one of the few covered bridges still in use, and it is considered by some to be one of the most haunted attractions in Stowe. Whether you believe it to be haunted or not, this iconic structure is worth the visit and worth possibly disrupting any spirits. Take care when you go though, as some visitors to the bridge come back with scratches on their car and on themselves—especially men. Also known as Emily’s Bridge, named after the young lady who haunts it, this narrow bridge with its old, wooden trusses and a steep gabled roof, has a few fun stories to go with its long history. Various versions have Emily trampled by runaway horses and thrown to her death on the rocks below, or when jilted by her lover on their wedding day, accidently driving herself and her horse drawn wagon off the road at the bridge to their death below. Yet another version of the horse story has her riding a large white stallion on the way to her wedding when the horse became frightened by the sound of the rushing waters below, and she was thrown off her horse and killed. In other stories, she hanged herself from the wood trusses of the bridge when her fiancé failed to show up for their elopement.
Gold Brook Covered Bridge
Covered Bridge Road at Gold Brook, Stowe VT
West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park features indoor and outdoor art exhibits and installations. Contemporary art in a variety of forms and formats fill the interior gallery spaces, and larger sculptures are on display in the Sculpture Park just outside the gallery on the extensive grounds. The Gallery and Park are located beside the West Branch of the Little River, and the well-manicured lawns with their large, contemporary sculptures of stone and metal provide an interesting contrast to the surrounding forest. Giant metal animals appear to frolic, frozen in place across the grass, while huge abstract sculptures and obelisks dot the landscape. There are plenty of benches where you can sit and relax, while enjoying the artwork and its forested backdrop.
West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park
17 Towne Farm Lane, Stowe VT
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10 am – 5 pm