Why: The best mountain sports destination on the East Coast has Vermont’s highest peak in the 4,395-ft. Mount Mansfield, plus a passionately local food scene.
What to do: Test your skills on Mansfield’s double-black diamond “Front Four” trails, or glide along over Stowe’s 483 skiable acres, including 100 miles of groomed cross-country terrain. After your run, toast New England ingenuity at Stowe Cider, a production facility and tasting room that opened two miles north of Stowe Village last August. The signature brew, an unfiltered dry cider with an impressive 6.5% ABV, is made with apples from the nearby Champlain Orchards. In downtown Stowe, choose from 24 beers on tap at the copper-topped bar at Vermont Ale House, a popular pub that opened in a 19th-century building on Mountain Road last year.
Where to stay: Stoweflake recently refreshed its guestrooms and added Ayurverdic treatments and wellness retreats to its spa. But the area’s biggest lodging development is Topnotch Resort & Spa, which dropped $15 million on 68 redesigned guestrooms, a 35,000-sq.-ft. spa and two new restaurants last summer. Vermont is the word at Topnotch’s appropriately named Flannel bistro, which celebrates all things Green Mountain State in dishes like Misty Knoll chicken, an all-state cheese board and an elevated take on pork and beans, made with meltingly tender belly and baked Vermont cranberry beans.