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Valentine's Day in Vermont, Flickr: amykvistad

A View of Stowe!


Vermont is the second least populous state in America (beaten out only by Wyoming), which means it's an ideal setting for privacy, quiet and romance. Just about every town offers some form of winter escape, including snowshoe moonlit hikes, sleigh rides, ice skating and skiing of course. Locals joke that the Green Mountain State, filled with rolling farms, has more cows than people and enough cozy beds and breakfasts to accommodate both. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, there is still time to book that romantic getaway, whether you seek a ski weekend for two at a scenic resort or an indoor, quiet, fireside dinner at a small farmhouse inn, Vermont offers something for couples of all ages and stages.


Love on the Trail


Vermont is home to more than a thousand trails and an estimated 175 lifts. One of the most popular ski towns is Stowe, home to Vermont's tallest peak, Mount Mansfield, which is 4,400 feet. And one of the best views of Mount Mansfield (besides the chairlift) is from Topnotch Resort and Spa in Stowe, the heart of Vermont ski country. After a day of skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing and winter fun, couples can relax at Topnotch's heated outdoor pool and hot tub and watch the stars come out as the sun sets. Not ready to go inside yet? Grab a bucket of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows and roast s'mores at the firepit by the hot tub. For couples looking for activities beyond snow sports, Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory tour is in the neighboring town of Waterbury, where you will also find the glass blowing studio of local artist, Glenn Ziemke. Downtown Stowe also has a fantastic Mexican cantina occupying space on the ground floor of a Colonial home built in 1830. Frida's Taqueria and Grill serves fresh made guacamole (avocados are transformed from whole fruit to tasty condiment right at your table), and is a hopping spot on Friday and Saturday nights. After all that fun and food, enjoy his and her spa treatments at TopNotch and leave Vermont feeling renewed in every way.


Ready to Say "I do"?


West Mountain Inn in Arlington, Vermont, is where actors, Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan, exchanged their "I do's" nearly 25 years ago. Today, the West Mountain Inn attracts couples from all over, and even offers an "Elopement Package" for under $1,000 that includes two nights lodging, a Justice of the Peace, a wedding cake, and a couples massage at the inn's spa.  West Mountain Inn is situated on 150 acres overlooking Battenkill Valley in Bennington County in Vermont's southern tier. A Fodor's choice, the West Mountain Inn emphasizes farm-to-table dining, which is easy to do given Vermont's abundance in agriculture, and celebrate Valentine's Day over candlelit dinners featuring dishes like grilled Cavendish farm quail or braised brown boar. Couples who have visited recommend West Mountain Inn as a perfect place to cocoon together.


Mountains or Lake? Why Not Both?


Sometimes couples don't always agree...one partner wants a mountain view...one wants to be by the water. Basin Harbor Club on the shores of Lake Champlain overlooking the Green Mountains (and neighboring New York State) offers both.  Put your differences aside this Valentine's Day and enjoy the area's arts scene, take a cooking class at Basin Harbor, get a facial at its onsite spa or visit nearby Magic Hat Brewery.  Or simply grab some hot cocoa or a warm cocktail and enjoy the frozen quiet of the lake. Basin Harbor sits on 700 acres with more than a mile of Lake Champlain shoreline. Guests can choose to stay at the main lodge, the three smaller lodges, or for couples really seeking privacy, the 77 cottages, from studios to three-bedrooms.  About a half-hour drive is Vermont's biggest city, Burlington, which is home to Lake Champlain Chocolates, one of America's most popular gourmet chocolatiers. Chocolate factory tours are available although Valentine's Day season is Lake Champlain Chocolate's busiest times, so tours are available before February 11 and after February 14. Burlington also offers a great deal of fine restaurants and shops for couples looking to while away a winter afternoon.

For more information about a Vermont getaway, visit www.vermontvacation.com.

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Photo: amykvistad



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