Fall foliage season is almost here, and southern Vermont is one of my favorite places to be when the leaves change. If you’re looking to explore the outdoors this fall, the Mount Snow region has it all, from hiking to mountain biking to fishing.
Ride the Bluebird Express to the Summit
What better way to see fall foliage than from the top of the Green Mountains? At Mount Snow, you can take a quick ride up the six-person Bluebird Express to the 3,586-foot summit and soak up incredible views of Somerset Reservoir, Dorset Mountain, and Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. While you’re up there, enjoy lunch and grab a brew at The Bullwheel and leaf-peep from a patio overlooking the summit. (mountsnow.com/the-mountain/scenic-rides)
Downhill Mountain Biking
I’ve done my fair share of mountain biking, but until recently, I had never experienced the thrill of riding a bike down a ski trail. Mount Snow was a pioneer of lift-service mountain biking in the 1980s, and its trail system has only become more dynamic and sophisticated over the years. Riders can enjoy berms, ladders, manmade surfaces, and dirt jumps. If you’re new to downhill mountain biking, the resort is home to Trail 7, which is the longest introductory downhill trail in the East. Either way, you’re in for a heck of a fun ride. (mountsnow.com/biking)
Take a Hike
When it comes to spending time outdoors with kids, hiking is a great family-friendly option. At Mount Snow, this can be something as simple as riding the Bluebird Express and walking along some ski trails at the top, or taking the more rigorous Highline Trail to the summit. Off the mountain, try hiking to the fire tower at the top of the old Hogback Ski Area. Located 20 minutes from Mount Snow on Route 9 in Marlboro, this hike takes about 30 minutes to the top and is filled with old lift towers, trails, and buildings from the old ski area, which closed in 1986 and is also home to the famous 100-Mile View. (mountsnow.com/things-to-do/hiking)
Explore Downtown Wilmington
At the intersection of Routes 9 and 100 is Wilmington (the site of one of Vermont’s first rural traffic lights), a classic New England village with an array of shops and restaurants. Be sure to stop at Dot’s of Vermont restaurant, a local favorite serving breakfast and dinner daily. For dinner and drinks, try the more upscale yet family-friendly White House Inn just east of downtown. We also love Bartleby’s Books and Music, an independent bookstore in the heart of downtown that has a great kids’ section and a decent paperback selection for grown ups.
Home to the Harriman and Somerset reservoirs and the Deerfield River, the Mount Snow region is an ideal place for fishing. The Deerfield River is known for rainbow and brook trout, which can be fished through October in Vermont. Harriman Reservoir is stocked with trout, perch, bass, and salmon. Somerset Reservoir, located about 6.5 miles northwest of Wilmington, offers bass, trout, and pike. (mountsnow.com/things-to-do/fishing)
**Where to Stay
The Grand Summit Resort Hotel at the base of Mount Snow offers standard rooms and multi-room suites. Amenities include a year-round, heated outdoor pool and hot tub, an arcade, as well as a spa and fitness center. Harriman’s Restaurant near the main lobby is a good choice for on-mountain dining, and the hotel’s Grand Country Deli & Convenience Store is perfect for snacks or take out. (mountsnow.com/your-stay/grand-summit)
To learn more about Mount Snow, visit mountsnow.com
Erica Houskeeper is a writer and communications professional with nearly 20 years of experience. She grew up in Manchester, Vermont, and started skiing at age 4 at Bromley Mountain. She also spent her childhood skiing at Stratton, Magic, and the former Snow Valley ski area. After working as a journalist in Vermont, Erica later became director of communications for the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. In 2009, she launched www.happyvermont.com, a Vermont travel blog that explores the places and people of the Green Mountain State. Her blog has hundreds of subscribers and a loyal following. She currently works as writer and photographer, and lives in Burlington with her husband and young daughter.