Stowe, Smugglers' Notch, and the Lamoille Valley
A world famous historic village, with legendary Fall foliage, spectacular skiing, stunning summers, and incomparable accommodations, recreation, dining, shopping, spa, & vacation packages. Only Stowe combines a classic 200-year-old village with Mt. Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, imbuing Stowe with a character reminiscent of great European mountain resorts.
Background Information on Stowe, VT...
Stowe, chartered in 1763, and rich in history, is located in a broad, fertile valley between Mt. Mansfield and other peaks of the Green Mountains on the west, and the Worcester Range or "Hogback" Mountains on the east. The first settlement was made about two miles north of the present Village of Stowe and a stone monument stands near the location of the first house. Stowe was originally part of Chittenden County; later it belonged to Washington County and finally to Lamoille County.
At one time there were ten covered bridges in Stowe. Now there is but one left - that which spans Gold Brook in Stowe Hollow. Floods destroyed the majority, but several of the finest yielded to the automobile and modern progress. The first road from Waterbury Center to Stowe followed higher ground than the present Route 100. After getting planked in 1860, it operated as a toll road with the Toll House at the Stowe-Waterbury line.
Following the Civil War, Stowe became a famous summer resort. The general scenery, the cool climate, the exceptional beauties of Mt. Mansfield, Smugglers' Notch and the attraction of the hills and valleys drew people to Stowe in great numbers. The summer tourist trade was an important part of the business life of Stowe and has been increasing for the past several years, as well as the always heavy influx of travelers, or "leaf peepers", during the fall foliage season of September and October.
The first organized winter sports came in 1921 when, on February 23rd, a large Winter Carnival was held. The Winter Carnival was dropped during World War II and for some years afterward, but by 1975 renewed interest resurrecated this event which occurs in January. The growth and major development of winter sports in Stowe over the last 30 years is a substantial history of its own. The summer visitor, who should thoroughly enjoy the extensive warm season resort facilities of Stowe, will also be interested in seeing the lifts and ski trails.
The Smugglers' Notch Area of Vermont is a four-season vacation destination on what some locals refer to as 'the quiet side of the Mountain'. Outstanding natural beauty, great recreational opportunities, and unspoiled Vermont villages combine with modern shopping and services, lodging, and restaurants in this area of the Lamoille River Valley to provide visitors a unique experience. Smugglers' Notch is a spectacular pass at the foot of Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, and the road through the Notch, Route 108, is one of two officially designated scenic highways in the state. During the winter months a few miles of Route 108 are closed at the summit, and the Notch becomes a haven for snowshoeing, skiing, and ice climbing. With two major ski resorts adjacent to the Notch, it remains the focal point of activity throughout the year. At Jeffersonville, Route 108 and the cold, clear Brewster River winding alongside it meet with Route 15, the area's main east-west highway, and with the larger Lamoille River. All this makes the area both easily accessible and rich in places to hike, canoe, fish, bike, and relax.
From our quaint villages to the rugged peaks of the Green Mountains, the Lamoille Valley is the perfect combination of small-town appeal and outdoor adventure. Whether you're visiting the area or a permanent resident, the unique opportunities offered to you here in the Lamoille Valley will leave a lasting impression. Abundant with restaurants, crafts, antiques, shopping and culture, as well as the recreational opportunities resulting from our diverse landscape, our region offers the best of small-town Vermont from the tallest peaks to the shores of our many lakes & streams.
Background Information on the Lamoille River and the Valley...
The Lamoille River Valley is located in the heart of northern Vermont. The Lamoille River's headwaters begin in the wilds of Vermont's famed Northeast Kingdom, and flows steadily west to its delta in Lake Champlain (which, after the Great Lakes, is the largest body of fresh water in the U.S.).
The Lamoille River received its name from Samuel de Champlain, French explorer in the 1600s, founder of Montréal, Canada and many other early outposts. Popular legend has it that, de Champlain wanted to name the river "la Moitte", after seeing so many gulls following the river inland. But legend says the cartographer along for the ride forgot to 'cross the Ts' and so a word apparently meaning nothing, "Lamoille", was what hit the record books. While this "fable" about the seagulls and the origin of the name "Lamoille" is delightful, many scholars now think along other lines. In 16th and 17th century the Old French term "LA MOELLE" (literally "the marrow" - as in bone marrow) was part of the vernacular, and was commonly used to describe the "centermost", i.e., the centermost tree, the centermost village, the centermost river. The Lamoille River is the centermost of the three major rivers which empty into Lake Champlain from the east. Scholars currently believe that Samuel de Champlain named the river "LA MOELLE" for reasons obvious during his time, not in ours. History has changed two words to one and phonetically altered a vowel, resulting in our current "Lamoille".
Lamoille Valley is home to Vermont's highest peak, Mount Mansfield, and contains several other hike able mountains as well. The region is also the fastest growing in Vermont. The local quality of education, opportunities for entrepreneurship, superb infrastructure, and four seasons of stunning natural beauty bring many to visit, and many to make their homes here.
Towns of the Stowe/Smugglers' Notch area include:
Belvidere, Cambridge, East Johnson, Eden, Eden Mills, Elmore, Hyde Park, Jeffersonville, Johnson, Lake Elmore, Morristown, Morrisville, Moscow, North Hyde Park, North Wolcott, Smugglers Notch, Stowe, Waterville, Wolcott
and various area Chamber of Commerce websites.
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