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Where to stay--Waterbury or Stowe?

Austin, Texas
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Where to stay--Waterbury or Stowe?

I've never been to Vermont, but had some frequent flyer miles to use up soon and booked a flight to Burlington next week. I'm primarily interested in (hard) dayhiking and craft beer, as well as a bit of cultural-heritage tourism, time permitting. I know about the breweries and pubs in the Waterbury area, as well as some of the surrounding hikes.

My question is where would be the best city to base: Waterbury or Stowe? I've got a rental car and know that they're close, so driving to trailheads in the mornings is no problem. During evenings, I'd prefer to have some good restaurant/pub options within walking distance, and I've found centrally located B&Bs in both cities with availability. Not having been to the area, I'm not real sure which to choose. I'm even considering staying one night in one and two nights in the other.

Thoughts? Would you stay in one over the other? Would you split your time and, if so, how?

Thanks!

Ormond Beach...
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for Vermont
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1. Re: Where to stay--Waterbury or Stowe?

IMHO, Stowe - hands down. Stowe's a pretty little mtn town. Waterbury is more of a working town. Stowe has excellent hiking much closer too. My fav challenging hikes in/around Stowe are:

Hell Brook loop: Park @ the Hell Brook trailhead on Rt. 108 in Stowe. Up Hell Brook (very steep, ~1.2 miles). Tag the summit of Mt Mansfield, then descend on the Long Trail back to Rt. 108 & walk ~1 mile north to your car.

Mt. Hunger: A great, varied hike, with woods, a little waterfall, some steep scrambles & great views at the top.

In Stowe, my fav place to stay is the Golden Eagle Motor Inn. Nice facilities & grounds, centrally located & rather inexpensive.

Edited: 12:06 pm, August 31, 2013
Austin, Texas
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2. Re: Where to stay--Waterbury or Stowe?

Interesting, thanks. I've made note of your hotel and hiking recs. I had been leaning toward Waterbury because, from what I could tell, there were more/better pubs and restaurants (and all were within a few blocks of the Old Stagecoach Inn, which I was considering). But you're saying that not the case?

Ormond Beach...
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for Vermont
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3. Re: Where to stay--Waterbury or Stowe?

It may well be the case. Waterbury is fine, but it's a working town, vs. Stowe being a resort/tourist town. There probably is more stuff within a short walk right in downtown Waterbury, whereas Stowe is more spread out. But I'd do Stowe in a heartbeat - even if you have to do a short taxi ride now and then.

Stowe also has a superb rec path, which has great photo opportunities. Neither is a party town IMO - nothing like Burlington (or Austin!), which has dozens of good pubs & restaurants within a 4-5 block radius. So your options will be a little limited (but adequate) in either W'bury or Stowe.

Edited: 2:48 pm, August 31, 2013
Austin, Texas
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4. Re: Where to stay--Waterbury or Stowe?

Limited nightlife options is fine. I just want to find some good food and good pubs where I can explore the local brews and hang out for a while at night and do some writing. So quiet/quaint-ish is good.

Thanks again for the tips.

Waterbury, Vermont
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5. Re: Where to stay--Waterbury or Stowe?

Dear abridged, Stowe is a great town - very tourist-oriented and picturesque. But I'd choose Waterbury over Stowe any day of the week! WAY better restaurants and pubs...all within walking distance. And you'll pay premium prices in Stowe just because it's Stowe. I would disagree that Waterbury is a "working" town....it's plenty quaint and has a "true Vermont" feel to it. Stowe caters to tourists, which is great, don't get me wrong but I don't think it represents the people of Vermont. And if you can drive to hike, there's Camel's Hump 15 minutes away in Duxbury-it's the third highest peak in Vermont and a great, challenging hike. Stowe/Mt Mansfield boast some awesome hikes as well. And you're right...it's just 20 minutes from Waterbury and you'll pass Ben and Jerry's on the way. Good luck!

Austin, Texas
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6. Re: Where to stay--Waterbury or Stowe?

Thanks, Laura. I actually did end up going with my gut and booking with the original place in Waterbury. The walking distance to what seemed to be better restaurants and pubs was the main factor. Another actually was price, so we're thinking alike. Plus, it's slightly more central if I feel like a jaunt to Montpelier or the Mad River Valley. Thanks for the recs, and I think between yours and Chris/Liz's, I'll have some great hiking the next few days.

Burlington, Vermont
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7. Re: Where to stay--Waterbury or Stowe?

Good choice. From what you've written, I think Waterbury will suit you well. Stowe is bumper to bumper tourists.... and you have to drive everywhere to get anywhere.

Definitely hit up this place. http://www.prohibitionpig.com/

8. Re: Where to stay--Waterbury or Stowe?

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