Nestled in a broad valley between Vermont’s highest peak and the Green Mountains sits the charming Village of Stowe, Vermont. Its proximity to Mt. Mansfield makes it a popular winter destination. Its delightful, old charm and mountainside location make it remniscent of European ski resorts. However, Stowe is a great place to visit year round.
Though it received its charter in 1763, Stowe was not actually settled as a town until 1793, two years after Vermont became a state. The village grew steadily and by 1800 had a population of 816.
Early settlers in Stowe grew crops to sell at market. The biggest cash crop was potash, which was used to make lye for soap, tanning leather, and several other things in the days before our modern chemical industry simplified these processes.
During the War of 1812 potash was embargoed by the British. Prices skyrocketed and a booming illegal trade developed over the Canadian border. This may be where nearby “Smuggler’s Notch” got its name.
Lumber and agriculture were essential to the success of the area over the years. At one point, at least 75% of the land in Stowe was land cleared by lumber production and used for farming.
However, unlike much of Vermont, Stowe’s economy was not centered entirely around farming. As resorts became popular by the mid 19th century, Stowe established a famous summer resort, putting their spectacular location to good use. The tourism brought by the resort became a vital part of Stowe’s economy through WWI.
In 1913 Swedish residents of Stowe introduced skiing to the locals and forever changed Stowe’s history. By the 1920’s it was a thriving center for winter sports, hosting a Winter Carnival with ski jumping, skating, and much more. Downhill skiing became popular in the 1930’s, further cementing Stowe’s reputation as a fabulous winter destination.
Stowe is famous as a ski resort, but it has something to offer all year round. In autumn it is a wonderful place to go watch the leaves change, go mountain biking, or just relax. This week is Stowe Restuarant Week, offering you a great chance to experience all the culinary wonders that Stowe has to offer.Tags: Feature