Learning to ski or snowboard at an early age is the perfect way to help young children instill a love for winter. Exploring the slopes helps kids build self-confidence, meet new friends and develop a lifelong affinity for the outdoors.
A weekend trip to Bromley is exactly what my family needed. After a somewhat hectic, overscheduled summer, we found our visit to the mountain to be a perfect escape. A spacious ski condo complete with an outdoor pool, trail hikes and the ski area’s summer fun park made our two-night stay one of the highlights of our summer.
Bromley Mountain, located in Peru in southern Vermont, is one of the state’s oldest ski areas. While Bromley has grown and continued to thrive since it first opened in the 1930s, the ski area has also managed to maintain its small mountain charm.
In the 1970s, Bromley opened as a summer attraction its triple track Alpine Slide – one of the first in North America and still one of the longest slides in the nation. Over the years, the ski area has added even more activities for summer mountain fun – from ziplines and climbing walls to canopy tours and bumper boats.
As someone who learned to ski at Bromley four decades ago and rode the Alpine Slide when it first opened in 1976, Bromley is a mountain that I still recognize – and continue to love.
Now that I have a young daughter of my own, I want her to enjoy the same mountain where I spent many winters and summers. In August, we finally had that chance.
Lodging at Bromley Village
My husband Dave and I have stayed in a number of inns and hotels over the years with our four-year-old daughter, Phoebe. However, our trip to Bromley was the first time we opted for a condo rental, which turned out to be a smart choice.
Bromley Village, located next to Bromley just west of the ski area on Route 11, offers a variety of condominiums with one-to-four bedroom options. The condos include full kitchens, wood-burning fireplaces, cable television and easy access to the mountain.
The condos at Bromley Village were mostly built in the 1970s and 1980s, and the one we stayed in felt slightly dated. Even so, we were comfortable, relaxed, and enjoyed having a three-story, three bedroom condo to ourselves. As guests staying at Bromley Village, we had access to an outdoor pool, which was one of the many highlights of the trip for Phoebe. The Alpine Slide and chairlift rides were a close second, followed by the spiral staircase in our condo, which she was fascinated by and loved climbing.
Going out to dinner is always something we love to do when traveling. Even though our condo had a full kitchen, we planned to eat out for all of our meals during our visit. Still, we needed to stock up on a few staple items. We were glad to find so many appealing options at Bromley Market — located less than a mile east of Bromley Village — including wood-fired pizzas, fresh salads, breakfast sandwiches, wine, beer, cheese, coffee, snacks, baked goods, and specialty foods.
Mountain Adventures and Activities at Bromley Mountain
Even though Phoebe just turned four, there was still plenty for her to do at Bromley’s summer fun park. She enjoyed the Bumper Boats and kids’ playground, but mainly preferred riding up the chairlift and cruising down the Alpine Slide with one of us. Riding up and down the mountain gave us a chance to see gorgeous views of Stratton and Magic Mountain, and also imagine with Phoebe what the mountain will be like when the trails are covered with snow this winter.
The Alpine Slide offers three tracks for first-time/beginners, intermediate and advanced (parents/adults riding with children need to stay on the beginner track). But don’t let the first-time/beginner track fool you. The track is still windy and somewhat steep in places, giving riders a joyful, scenic ride. For us, it felt just right.
Older kids and adults will also find an abundance of adventure at Bromley. The Aerial Adventure Park, complete with a zipline and ropes course, is a popular choice. Also try to Sun Mountain Flyer zipline, Big Splash Waterslide, climbing wall, and trampoline ride.
I’m afraid of heights and decided to stay away from anything that resembled a zipline, but Dave tried the Sun Mountain Flyer, a zipline that’s a half-mile long with a 700-foot vertical drop. He described the experience as “exhilarating.”
Unlike my husband, I prefer to stay closer to the ground. I made a point to hike on some of Bromley’s ski trails during our stay. In the summer and fall, ski trails offer great terrain for hiking, and it’s a fun way to experience the mountain. If you’re staying at Bromley Village, you can access the Plaza and Thruway trails by walking to the end of Farm Road (near the pool and club house). Those trails, as well as Twister, Lord’s Prayer, School Slope, and East Meadow, can easily be accessed from the base area as well.
WHERE TO GO
3776 Route 11, Peru
Located just east of Bromley, this delightful little roadside store is full of delicious delights – from fresh veggies and fruits to Vermont cheeses and an extensive wine collection. There’s also take-out options for wood-fired pizzas, salads, and sandwiches.
J.J. Hapgood General Store & Eatery
305 Main St., Peru
The J.J. Hapgood General Store and Eatery is one of the longest-running general stores in Vermont. Located in the heart of Peru village, the store is a nice spot for breakfast, lunch, or a late afternoon meal. We enjoyed breakfast on Saturday and Sunday at the store (we ordered bacon breakfast sandwiches on homemade buttermilk biscuits two days in a row). The store offers table service inside the store and outside on its beautiful marble patio. You’ll often see proprietors Juliette and Tim Britton behind the counter. Be sure to say hello – the Peru couple took great care to revitalize the store in 2013 after it sat closed for five years.
SoLo Farm & Table
95 Middletown Rd., South Londonderry
By far one of the best restaurants in the state, a visit to southern Vermont isn’t complete without dining at SoLo Farm & Table. Chloe and Wesley Genovart reopened the former Three Clock Inn in 2011 and have made it into one of Vermont’s most celebrated restaurants. Located in a classic farmhouse, guests will find a cheerful, intimate space with bright wood floors and tall, white trimmed windows. Even though SoLo is more of a fine dining experience, it’s worth a visit on a family getaway (children are always welcome). Favorite menu items include Kinderhook Farm Lamb in couscous, marinated beets and Moroccan spiced carrots, or rabbit and ricotta cheese ravioli. For little ones, Chef Wesley will kindly whip up some homemade pasta with a side of butter and lots of fresh bread. Keep the kids happy with a helping of ice cream or sorbet for dessert.
The Perfect Wife
2594 Depot St. (Routes 11/30), Manchester
Whenever we’re visiting the area, we make a point to have at least one meal at this local favorite in Manchester. Chef-owner Amy Chamberlain, who grew up in the area (we went to high school together), has found the perfect balance of tavern/upscale dining and family fare. Her main restaurant is downstairs on the garden level, and large windows give it an open, airy feel. Upstairs is the tavern (called “The Other Woman”), where families can enjoy standard pub fare including hearty burgers and crispy, fresh salads, as well as a kids’ menu. We always opt for the upstairs tavern with Phoebe to enjoy delicious food, a pint of craft beer, and a delightful atmosphere.
4869 Main St., Manchester Center
You haven’t been to Manchester until you’ve visited the Northshire Bookstore. The independent bookstore features an extensive selection of fiction, non-fiction, art books and cookbooks, plus an entire floor dedicated to children’s literature, Zutano clothing and wonderful toys (plus a play area for young kids). The store’s Spiral Press Café is where you can go to get your caffeine fix and indulge in tasty sandwiches and homemade sweets.
Stay and Play at Bromley
3984 Vermont Route 11, Peru
Winter is just around the corner, but there’s still plenty of summer and fall fun to be had at Bromley. The ski area’s summer fun park is open daily until Labor Day, and then open on weekends until Oct. 12 (Columbus Day). For more details, visit www.bromley.com.