Travel Destinations

Things To Do in Stowe, Vermont in the Summer

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We can honestly say that Stowe, Vermont wasn’t on our radar as a summer travel destination until recently when the Adventure Assist team (AKA April and Jake) was invited to stay at a magical New England getaway for a long weekend.

The folks at the Stone Hill Inn in Stowe reached out to us to see if we would be interested in coming up for a stay at their romantic luxury bed-and-breakfast and really that was all we needed to hear. But after doing a bit more research, we were off the walls excited to stay at such a charming place while we enjoyed everything Stowe has to offer - beautiful scenery, outdoor adventures, food, wine, and some REALLY good craft beer.

If you’re like us, and hadn’t thought of visiting this gorgeous New England town, we suggest you think again. Here are our favorite things discovered while in Stowe, Vermont!

STAY AT STONE Hill inn

Stone Hill Inn was the perfect home base for all of our adventures in and around Stowe for a long weekend. The owners and staff are wonderful and very attentive. If you need anything, they are there for you!

The property is stunning with 9.5 acres to explore, speckled with lovely hidden outdoor lounge areas. We enjoyed breakfast in the beautiful, well lit dining room — our favorite dish was the chicken and waffles made by the owners themselves, served with an assortment of Vermont maple syrups to choose from.

There is a huge game room with board games, movies, a pool table and more. We also got the chance to make s’mores one night at the big outdoor fire pit.

Each room has plush bedding, a jacuzzi, fire place and a private back door to the Inn’s gardens. If you are picky about your pillows, there is even a pillow library so you can select the perfect pillow.

Best of all, the location is perfect, being just minutes from the Stowe Ski Resort and downtown.

Explore the Recreation Paths

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One of the first things that you will notice about Stowe is the beautiful, multi-purpose pathway that runs throughout town. The 5.5 mile Stowe Recreation Path is a scenic trail that passes farms, covered bridges, rolling creeks and more. You can walk, run or bike freely along the path in the summertime.

Just outside of Stowe is another nice trail to mention, the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail which is the longest of its kind in New England. The trail is replacing a long outdated train rail line with a beautiful multi-purpose trail that will eventually be 93 miles long and cover the breadth of Northern Vermont. Currently about 33 miles of the trail are open and it is a great way to explore.

Find a Brewery

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Vermont does craft beer right. It is evident by the success of so many breweries in this small state, many of which are in and around Stowe.

As of this writing, Stowe features three tasty breweries - Idletyme Brewing Co., von Trapp Brewing, and The Alchemist. Beer aficionados will know The Alchemist as the brewer of Heady Topper, an extremely sought after small batch IPA that was recently crowned the best beer in the world.

Just shy of an hour drive from Stowe just so happens to also be “the best brewery in the world”, Hill Farmstead Brewery. We weren’t joking that Vermont does craft beer right.

If you like both drinking beer and riding bikes, we recommend the Bike and Brew tour by Lamoille Valley Bike Tours which hits three additional breweries outside of Stowe AND you get to explore the beautiful rail trail on electric bikes.

Relax at a Winery

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We went to the Boyden Valley Winery, in nearby Cambridge, Vermont, and loved it! As one of the oldest wineries in Vermont, they were pioneers in the Vermont wine industry. They are known for their unique and award winning wines, like their Maple Reserve and Vermont Ice wines, and also feature some delicious ciders and spirits. A great place to enjoy a wine tasting and experience everything the massive farm has to offer.

Attend the Hot Air Balloon Festival

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Every year the Stoweflake Mountain Resort holds a hot air balloon festival in Stowe and it is truly something to see! We were fortunate to attend the 33rd annual Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival which features a beer and wine garden, food, live entertainment, and of course, hot air balloons flying high above the Vermont landscape.

Paddle

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The Winooski River and the Lamoille River are both great options (with some very distinct differences) if you want to get out on the water for a canoe or kayak trip! Enjoy scenic views that will include covered bridges, old farms, and plenty of wildlife. Great options for beginner and advanced paddlers alike.

You can also paddle around the nearby Waterbury Reservoir on stand up paddle boards, kayaks or canoes if you don’t want to paddle along a moving river. The Waterbury Reservoir is a highlight if you want to get some sun, enjoy water activities, or even relax on the shore and have a picnic.

von Trapp Family Lodge

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The Sound of Music anyone!? Yes, it is in fact those von Trapps. After finishing a US tour in the 1940s the Austrian family singing group decided to settle in Vermont because the beautiful rolling hills reminded them of home. The family runs a mountain resort featuring Austrian inspired architecture and accommodations situated on 2,500 acres of beautiful Vermont landscape. The lodge features a outdoor trails, a well known brewery and restaurant, and even hosts tours.

Eat Cheese

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What would a trip to Vermont be without eating large quantities of Vermont cheddar? Thankfully, the Cabot Farmer’s Store is just a short drive from Stowe in Waterbury, Vermont. You can sample what feels like every type of cheddar known to man and stock up on your favorites for extremely reasonable prices.


Also, HAVE SOME Maple Syrup

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Did you think we would forget about the maple syrup!? Not after the maple syrup sampling we had with our chicken and waffles at Stone Hill Inn! They literally brought us every type of syrup they had (who knew there were so many options), just so we could try the different varieties. No surprise that we liked them all! Make sure you pick up a bottle to bring home with you. Vermont truly has the best and largest selection of maple syrup we’ve ever seen.


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If you’re planning for a lovely trip to Stowe, Vermont, don’t forget your Adventure Assist travel notebook to help you stay organized on your adventure!

12 Incredible Things To Do in Nicaragua

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Nicaragua has a special place in my heart. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Nicaragua, the country was my home for over 2 years. On a recent trip back to relive my time there, I was reminded of how great of a travel destination it is. Nicaragua has beautiful nature, great surf, is inexpensive and safe. The people that live there are extremely hospitable and accommodating. Even though Nicaragua is no longer a well kept secret in the travel community, there are still plenty of places to get off the beaten path. If you're looking for a new adventure, we can't recommend this Central American country enough. Here are 12 incredible things to do in Nicaragua.

Explore Granada

The colonial city of Granada offers some incredibly preserved architecture and is one of the most popular places to visit in Nicaragua. Walk the streets and explore the Spanish colonial buildings and churches, most of which are painted vibrant colors and feature beautiful doors that are no less incredible. Besides wandering around the city, you can take a boat ride or kayak around the islets in the lake nearby. Granada also has the best assortment of restaurants and bars in Nicaragua.

Zip Line on a Volcano

Take a short day trip from Granada to Mombacho Volcano to zip line through the treetops in a jungle setting on the side of one of Nicaragua's many volcanoes. Mombacho Volcano offers some great hikes as well but if you're short on time, we highly recommend the zip line experience.

Visit Ometepe Island

One of the most unique places in the world, Ometepe Island, is a small island located in the biggest lake in Central America and is made up mostly of two large volcanoes. Outdoor activities are a big draw to Ometepe, and you can expect great experiences whether you're cycling, kayaking or hiking. If you're up for the challenge, hike one (or both) of the island's volcanoes. It truly is a challenge to hike either volcano and you'll need to start early to beat the heat. Make sure you use a guide for your hike.

See Lava at the Masaya Volcano

Nothing will make you respect mother nature more than staring into the bubbling lava of an active volcano. This is exactly what you can do on Masaya Volcano. You can look into the volcano from a safe distance that you can reach by tour, hiking or driving straight to the top. Be aware that you should not stay longer than a few minutes at the volcanoes peak because of the strong fumes.

Visit the Craft Market in Masaya

The craft market in Masaya is another great day trip from Granada. It is by far the largest craft market in Nicaragua and offers beautiful textiles, paintings and other crafts. There is a separate "locals" market in Masaya that is equally interesting to explore but features less souvenir items and isn't curated for tourists. There is very limited accommodations in Masaya so we recommend visiting on a day trip.

Swim in Laguna de Apoyo

A relaxing spot nearby Granada and the capital city of Managua, visit Laguna de Apoyo to relax for the day or spend a few days at a guest house or hostel on the lagoon. Laguna de Apoyo was formed in the crater of an extinct volcano and offers beautiful views and incredible nature. Sail, fish, swim or hike around the lagoon or just take some time to relax. 

Surf along the Pacific Coast

The beaches on the pacific coast of Nicaragua are beautiful and most offer excellent surfing opportunites. Nicaraguan surf beaches are a less crowded alternative to it's neighbor in Costa Rica but offer similar swells. The sunsets aren't bad either!

Explore Leon

Another colonial city, Leon is less colorful than Granada but still has some amazingly preserved architecture, including the largest cathedral in Central America. You can climb to the roof of the cathedral for some great views of the city. Leon is the former capital of Nicaragua and remains the country's "intellectual capital" boasting one of the main universities and several museums. Make sure you visit the Revolution Museum, especially if you are interested in learning about the Sandanista movement and U.S. intervention in Nicaragua. Additionally, many murals marking the political impact of the war between the Somoza regime and the Sandanistas can be spotted around the city. 

Go Volcano Boarding

A day trip from Leon, visit Cerro Negro (the youngest volcano in Central America) where you can hike up and actually sled down the active volcano. Organized tours leave Leon in the mornings and are one of the most popular activities in Nicaragua. While there are ways to slow down or speed up, be advised that you can be seriously injured while volcano boarding.

Swim through Somoto Canyon

Somoto Canyon is still a fairly under the radar tourist activity in Nicaragua. A day trip from the city of Esteli, you can jump off the canyon cliffs and swim in the turquoise water below. There are several tour companies that will take you to explore the canyons or you can do self guided tours. Please use extreme caution if not on a tour and you want to jump from cliffs. We have had close friends severely injure themselves. 

Escape to the Corn Islands

One of the best getaways in all of Nicaragua are the Corn Islands located off the Caribbean coast. There are two islands - Little Corn Island and Big Corn Island. Big Corn is slightly more expensive and offers more resort style accommodations. Little Corn Island is quieter, cheaper and extremely laid back. It is the perfect place to snorkel, dive, or just read a book on the beach. Little Corn Island is also one of the cheapest places in the world to get scuba certified.

Relax in Pearl Lagoon

Another Caribbean destination where you can really slow down and experience other cultures that Nicaragua has to offer is Pearl Lagoon. Most of the towns population is Creole but there are also indigenous groups like the Miskito and Garifuna that make up the towns inhabitants and the main language spoken here is English. Not a major tourist destination, Pearl Lagoon is hard to get to but it is truly a special place in Nicaragua and well worth the trip. The Pearl Cays off the coast of Pearl Lagoon are especially worth the visit, where you can rent a boat guide and have a whole Caribbean island to yourself for the day.


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Traveling to Nicaragua? Keep track of every travel detail with your very own Adventure Assist Travel Notebook.

Travel Planning Tips: Choosing the Perfect Destination

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The first step in any travel-planning process is choosing the perfect destination for your trip! There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a travel destination (and travel planning in general), so in addition to our super helpful travel notebook, we're here to share some tips that we use to decide where we will be heading next.

What do you want to get out of your trip?

The very first thing to think about when choosing the perfect destination, is what you want to get out of your travel experience? We are big believers in giving your trip purpose because it will inspire you throughout the travel planning process (and while on your trip) and give you something incredible to look forward to. Do you want to discover a new culture? Do you want to become more knowledgeable on a specific subject (European history, wine, Kung Fu)? Or, do you just want to relax and reset? Giving your trip purpose by setting expectations or goals is a great way to get you in the mindset for your trip and help you narrow down destinations that make sense. Even write down your purpose in a travel notebook for inspiration and focus!

Since you now understand what you want to get out of your trip, you’ve probably narrowed your search down quite a bit. What’s next? How do you actually decide?

Seasons & Weather

When planning your next travel destination, it is always important to consider the time of the year, seasons and weather in any potential destinations. Is it the busy tourist season or slow season? Is it warm and sunny or does it rain most of the day? Are there any events or festivals that you should be aware of?

Must-Do Activities

Another consideration while deciding on your next travel destination is any activities that you've always wanted to do! What are your bucket list items that you can check off on this trip? Do you have recommendations from friends and family? Are there any life changing activities that you can do? Jot some ideas down in your travel notebook for reference or a checklist later on!

Expenses

For most of us, the biggest factor in determining a travel destination is the cost. Does the expense match what you are expecting to pay for the trip? Often the biggest expense of a trip is the price of flights and other transportation. Remember to also take into account day-to-day expenses like the price of accommodations and food. Additionally, you'll want to account for any activities that you will want to do while on your destination.

Still stuck in your travel-planning process? If you're still undecided on where your next travel destination should be, we recommend searching the internet for the best places to accomplish your travel goals, scouring travel blogs for the perfect spot or checking out social media to see where might be a good fit. Browse our selection today for your very own travel notebook and streamline the entire travel-planning process!

 

Travel planning can be overwhelming. If you're planning a trip, simplify your travel planning process with the Adventure Assist travel notebook.