Spring brings hiking, golf, tennis and world class yoga to this Vermont resort

The snow is long gone from southern Vermont’s highest peak, but summer activities are in full swing at Stratton Mountain Resort. The fresh Green Mountain air is an ideal venue for golf, tennis and stimulating hiking. The resort also hosts one of the world’s premier yoga festivals.

Stratton Mountain

The picturesque village is similar to Tremblant

Like its cousin to the north, Tremblant, Stratton is a member if the Intrawest family, which recently was added to Aspen Skiing Co.’s network of world-class mountain resorts. Stratton is in the southern Green Mountains, which yield to the south and west to the Berkshires, Taconics and Catskills, part of the Appalachian mountain chain. At nearly 4,000 feet (1,200 meters), it is the highest peak in southern Vermont.

The Long and Appalachian trails share a route in this section of Vermont and cross Stratton’s summit, and it is here that the concept of the 3,500-kilometre Appalachian Trail was born, during clearing of the 438-kilometre Long Trail during the early 1920s. So while snow sports are Stratton’s raison d’être in winter, hiking is a popular and historic activity the rest of the year.

Stratton Mountain

Summer and early fall concerts include
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and
Three Dog Night

A popular hike is up the mountain to the historic fire tower at the mountain summit. The 17-metre tower is a U.S. National Historic Site and from this vantage point the view extends into three neighbouring states. If vertigo isn’t an issue, you can scale the stairs to the top. The fire tower is a one-kilometre, 20-minute hike along Mike’s Way from the top of the ski lifts.

A popular way up from the resort base is a fairly gentle, five-kilometre hike up Lower Wanderer and to the West Meadow, then up to the Work Road and Mike’s Way. A more challenging route is a straight line to the summit under the Gondola, following on Lower Standard and Upper Standard. The easiest route, of course, is to ride the gondola to the summit and then hike over to the fire tower. A good way to explore various trails is with a Lolë ambassador.

Stratton Mountain

Fireworks display on a starry summer night

A hardcore hikers’ route to the tower is up the Appalachian/Long Trail up the south side of the mountain, a seven-kilometre climb from an Appalachian Mountain Club parking lot on Stratton-Arlington Road.

No four-season resort can be without golf. The Stratton Mountain Golf Course offers 27 scenic holes, of which each of the three nine-hole segments (Forest, Lake and Mountain) can be combined to make an 18-hole round. Or just play nine. Improve your game at the Stratton Golf School, a new 22-acre training facility designed by Arnold Palmer, featuring a wide fairway area, large target greens, sand traps, putting and chipping areas.

Stratton Mountain

The Stratton Mountain Golf Course offers 27 scenic holes

The golf school operates summer junior camps that combine golf clinics and games with activities at two other Stratton summer camps, the Cliff Drysdale Tennis School and Stratton Mountain Adventure Campers (healthy lifestyle activities including mountain exploration, art, sports and swimming.)

After an energetic day’s hiking or a stimulating round of golf, there’s no shortage of spots in which to unwind. Mulligan’s and the Fire Tower are among the more popular bar-restaurants in the pedestrian village. There are a half dozen other eateries, offering everything from steaks to Asian fusion, as well as a market and deli. Shops include several snow-sport equipment and clothing outlets, and a variety of high fashion boutiques.

Stratton Mountain

The golf school also operates summer junior camps

Work out in the health club, play indoor tennis, or relax and regenerate at the day spa. In addition, Lolë Stratton offers a range of cardio-oriented activities, including yoga, zumba, bike spinning, let by qualified and energetic Lolë ambassadors.

Yoga has become a major activity at Stratton. Wanderlust (June 22-25) is billed as the world’s largest yoga festival, a four-day festival of yoga, hiking, paddle-boarding, live music, art, farm-to-table cuisine, and speaker presentations.

A short drive down to Manchester Center will bring you to outstanding outlet shopping, restaurants, historic sites and arts activities. A highlight is Hildene, the country home of President Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, an airy mansion perched atop a promontory and containing original furnishings. The Southern Vermont Arts Center comprises several galleries and a theatre, as well as educational programs.

Where to Stay

There are condo communities in the base village and in the adjacent Commons, as well as slopeside on the lower mountain. Townhomes and houses also are available, as well as 136 hotel rooms in Black Bear Lodge near the base. For details on the resort’s lodging choices as well as neighbouring inns and hotels, check the Stratton Mountain Resort website www.stratton.com/plan-your-trip/lodging or call 1-800-STRATTON. (1-800-787-2886)

Travel Planner – How to get there

There are two scenic routes to Stratton from Montreal.

Via New York State: The most direct, surprisingly, is down through the edge of New York State and then cutting southeast into Vermont below Lake Champlain. Take A-15 to the U.S. border at Champlain, NY, and continue south on I-87 to exit 21, then follow NY-9N along the west shore of Lake Champlain south to Ticonderoga, then follow NY-22 south to Granville, where you take NY-149 east into Vermont, where you pick up VT-30 south into Manchester Center.

The all-Vermont route: This can take a bit longer, as it passes through a number of large Vermont towns, including Shelburne, Middlebury and Rutland. But it makes for easier navigation as it basically sticks to US-7 most of the way. Take A-10 east to exit 22, then A-35 and Highway 133 south to the U.S. border at Highgate Springs, VT. Continue on I-89 south past Burlington, then take exit 13 onto I-189 and over to US-7, which you follow south all the way to Manchester Center.

At Manchester Center, take VT-30 south (you actually are heading east) about 21 kilometres to Winhall, where you turn right on to the Stratton Mountain Access Road, which climbs about 6 kilometres to Stratton Mountain Resort. A good first stop is the Welcome Center, on your right as you reach the resort village. Welcome staff will help you get your bearings and direct you to your accommodation location.

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