ROUTE: Wilmington to Stowe, Vermont
ROADS: Vermont 100
Slow it downway down. Vermont's Route 100 runs the length of this verdant state, through cow-speckled pastures and gently rounded mountains, but we recommend the most New Englandy sectionstarting in the south, in sleepy Wilmington, and ending in oh-so-quaint Stowe. As you wind through the West River Valley, Gothic Revival homes line up like decorated soldiers along pretty town greens, and locals patiently wait 25 minutes for their poached egg and corned beef hash at Cindy's Restaurant & Bakery, in North Wardsboro. In Black River, the next valley north, the hamlets of Ludlow and Plymouth Union make you question your caffeine addiction, and a ruddy-faced farmer on his John Deere tractor drives down Granville's main street, oblivious to the string of cars behind him. Farther north, in the Mad River Valley, the land opens up to dairy farms and blue sky, and old beaters weighed down by kayaks turn off to catch Mad River waves. Our advice: Just downshift and enjoy the ride.
Mountain Biking Mount Snow: The 1,700-vertical-foot rise at Mount Snow Ski Resort, eight miles north of West Dover on the eastern edge of Green Mountain National Forest, dishes out some of the most technical terrain in the Northeast. Forty-eight miles of intermediate and advanced singletrack, logging roads, and ski trails crisscross the resort. Call the Mountain Bike & Hike Center for rental rates (802-464-4040).
Swimming at Warren Falls: One mile south of Warren, look for a large dirt pullout on the west side of the road. Before you even break a sweat on the short path that starts on the right, you'll hear the roar of the Mad River. Smooth sandstone ledges around the 25-foot waterfall are perfect launchpads for cannonballing into deep, clear pools.
Hiking Camel's Hump: Set aside a whole day to do this popular 6.8-mile round-trip hike above timberline to the 4,083-foot summit. On the way down, soak your feet in icy brooks and snack on late-summer blueberries. The trailhead is 8.7 miles west of Vermont 100 in Duxbury. For more information, contact the Green Mountain Club (802-244-7037, greenmountainclub).
Fly-Fishing the Winooski River: Local anglers swear there's "wicked-good" fishing in the Green Mountain State. To guarantee a fish fry of 15- to 18-inch trophy trout, tie on an elk hair caddis and cast a two-mile stretch that starts at the Winooski Street Bridge, in Waterbury, and ends upstream at the Route 2 Bridge. Call the Fly Rod Shop, in Stowe, to get the skinny (800-535-9763, www.flyrodshop.com).
The remote 12-room Blueberry Hill Inn, about 20 minutes west of Vermont 100 on Vermont 73 near Goshen, is surrounded by the 20,000-acre Moosalamoo region of the Green Mountain National Forest. Wind down with a lavender salt bath, chef Tim's pan-seared free-range chicken in porcini mushroom sauce, and a hike on 50 miles of trails. (Doubles, $250-$320, including breakfast and dinner; 800-448-0707, www.blueberryhillinn.com)
What was the town funeral parlor 100 years ago is now an airy eatery with an old-fashioned soda fountain. Get your sugar fix with a frothy maple milk shake, made with sugar maker Jay McIntyre's Fancy Grade Vermont pure maple syrup, at the Rochester Café. (802-767-4302)
Soar above the Mad River Valley in a two-seat glider or learn how to pilot one solo with Sugarbush Soaring, in Warren. (802-496-2290, www.sugarbush.org)
**ON THE STEREO
Mellow out with A Picture of Nectar, from those inveterate noodlers, Phish, who got their start playing at Nectar's in Burlington.
ROUTE: Wilmington to Stowe, Vermont