My family is from Maine so I’ve been to New England many times in my life, but never to Vermont. I’ve always wanted to see more of this gorgeous state so I was thrilled to partner with Topnotch Resort to plan a trip this summer. All opinions are my own. You can read my full Disclosure Policy here. Thank you to Topnotch for hosting my family!
If you’ve never been to Vermont, you really need to do something about that. With parents born and raised in Northern Maine, I’ve made the trek through New England to visit relatives many, many times. But we have never gone through Vermont and I have always wanted to go. The foliage, the maple syrup, the quaint little towns were all calling my name.
Stowe, Vermont is one of those quaint little towns in Northern Vermont, and high up on a hill you’ll find Topnotch Resort. Our family had the opportunity to stay with them for a couple of days this summer and had a truly wonderful time. This is where luxury meets family-friendly, and all with the perfect stunning backdrop.
Topnotch Resort, Stowe Vermont
Topnotch Resort has a rustic yet modern feel from the time you step foot into the lobby. It’s gorgeous while at the same time embracing a really natural feel.
The lobby is spacious and inside you’ll find helpful front desk staff plus a concierge ready to assist you with planning your days in the area. There is plenty to do right on property to stay busy and entertaining, but I would recommend planning enough time to venture out, too. Stowe is such a neat area!
From the lobby, there is a staircase that leads downstairs to a lounge area. There are computers in this area where you can hop online whenever you want as well.
This is also where you’ll find Mikey’s Den, a place where activities are planned for kids. Mikey the Moose is the Topnotch mascot, a fun way to keep kids excited about the different activities available to them on property.
Every day at 2pm kids are welcome to meet in the lobby (and parents get a little adult time!) to enjoy complimentary activities. They include things like hiking (there’s a trail right on the Topnotch property), sidewalk chalk, visiting the lake, and in the event of more indoorsy weather, Mikeys’ Den provides a place to color and play ping pong.
Our reservation included the Mikey the Moose Family Adventure package, so a plush Mikey was waiting for each of my kids in our room along with Moose Droppings candy which everyone got a real kick out of! This package is definitely worth considering not only for the fun welcome package, but also because it includes some bonus activities just for kids and breakfast for your family at Flannel, one of the two on-site restaurants. (More on Flannel below!)
Topnotch offers an award-winning spa with a wide menu of services. This is the check-in and retail area. Tons of great products available to pamper you during your stay.
This is the pedicure area. Ah, so relaxing. If you’re traveling with your little girl, they have a menu of options for kids, too! I just love this. My daughter and I didn’t have time to squeeze in a mani/pedi while we were here but if we’d have stayed longer that would have been a must-do.
The spa is something you want to book in advance, so take a look at the services before a week or two before your visit and make an appointment. They do take same-day appointments, but availability can be limited, so better safe than sorry.
After a hot morning out hiking, we we so happy to check in at Topnotch. You can see the kids made themselves right at home. This is really one of the most comfortable rooms we’ve ever stayed in. The bedding was comfortable (that’s a must, right?!) but also there was plenty of space for all of our things without us feeling cramped.
The room included a spacious walk-in closet with shelves, a desk area, lots of counter space in the bathroom, and vaulted ceilings.
Don’t you love the headboard and room decor? There’s a definite rustic vibe throughout the resort that makes you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy a slower pace of life.
After we settled into our room we wandered around to get a feel for the lay of the land. Take a few minutes to watch my video below for a little better perspective. What I want to relay is that while there are several areas to spend your time at Topnotch, everything is really pretty centrally located. It’s not a sprawling property where you have to trek 20 minutes to get to the pool. It’s spacious, open and airy, and cozy at the same time.
The buildings and landscaping are beautiful. This building is Flannel, one of the restaurants. You can see they offer indoor and outdoor dining and with the view of the Green Mountains, you’ll probably want to eat outside. We did!
This restaurant is called The Roost and also offers an outdoor seating area. See the orange umbrella? That’s where we had dinner on our first night here. While we were waiting for our food to be served the kids played in this courtyard.
The courtyard is one of the best features of the resort for families. It’s positioned so mom and dad are able to sit down and have a drink and some adult conversation while keeping an eye on the kids who are having fun playing bean bag, Frisbee, or climbing the wall as the case may be with my son, Leo. ha!
Here’s a view of the courtyard from The Roost. You can see Flannel just beyond where my kids are heading toward the stairs. So you see everything is pretty centrally located which I think is the perfect set up for families. There’s plenty of space to roam and yet it’s very easy to keep an eye on your kids.
Tucked around the side of The Roost is this little seating area. See my daughter lounging in a chair on the left? She’s in front of the fire pit which is lit at night for s’mores roasts. Many people hang out here just to take in the view of the mountains. It never gets old. This area is stunning.
At night, in addition to the s’mores roasts, little lights are lit up in the trees and there are torches on all along the walkways. It’s a really neat atmosphere and the kids love it. You don’t have to leave the resort at night to keep the kids entertained!
It was just starting to get a bit chilly in the evening on our last night there. We huddled up near this fire and the staff placed several more logs on to keep us toasty. Everyone at Topnotch is super friendly and helpful.
I’ve included images above of The Roost and Flannel as part of the grounds tour, but what about the food?! It’s SO good!
Our first dinner was at The Roost and I had to get myself a cocktail. You can’t take in that view without toasting to Vermont. It was delicious. The Roost is open late with a bar inside so this is where you want to go to grab a drink.
Dinner was fantastic. I ordered the steak and it was amazing. You can see the full menu and some pics of the indoor seating area here. Can you tell we liked to be outside?
They have a great kids’ menu as well. A pretty sizable portion for a children’s entree! You are going to pay resort prices here, so it’s fancy-restaurant pricing but it’s also fancy-restaurant quality food and we were totally stuffed when we were done. You get a great bang for your buck.
Flannel was our breakfast hang out and while they have a lovely indoor dining room, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy this view while we ate. Their breakfast menu is really great with everything from yogurt and fresh fruit, to omelets and bacon, to chocolate chip pancakes. Definitely something for everyone. I should mention that Flannel is also open for lunch and dinner.
You think this was one of my kid’s breakfasts, right? It was MINE! I’m a sucker for chocolate chip pancakes and in Vermont you are going to get real maple syrup. Such a treat! Our server was the nicest guy, too. He always asked us what we were up to for the day and gave a few insider tips to help us make the most of our stay.
Indoor and Outdoor Pools
I’ve mentioned the Mikey the Moose kids’ activities that are available to keep kids entertained. My kids, however, can be entertained all day long in the swimming pool. Topnotch Resort has three pools and each are a little different.
This gorgeous pool was where we spent a good deal of time. It’s goes from 3.5 to 4.5 feet deep, so relatively shallow for kids. Children are welcome in this pool and if you want a place to cool off and take in the view, this is it. Isn’t it lovely?
Just above the family pool is an adult-only pool. This one is a bit smaller and is open to guests ages 16+. There’s a hot tub on this level as well. The cool thing about this area is that during the winter months the patio is heated to melt the snow and both of these, the pool and hot tub, are open! During that time children are welcome to use them.
Finally there is a large indoor pool available as well. You can access it through the hotel, or by going outside. It’s very close to the other pools and also shares a building with the fitness center and spa. We liked this pool for our late-night swims!
Adjacent to the indoor pool is the hot tub! We probably broke a rule by letting the kids get in here, but…vacation. We didn’t let them stay in long. On the wall behind the hot tub there are two dials: one turns on the jets, and the other turns on the waterfall that comes down in front of that rock wall. This is THE most relaxing spot!
For an ever better look at Topnotch Resort, take a look at the video below:
Topnotch Resort – A Video Tour
You can see it’s a truly gorgeous resort. We enjoyed our stay so much and talk about it almost daily, still! You can learn much more about Topnotch Resort on their website and by following along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Every pic they share makes me want to go back!
Planning Your Trip
We were only at Topnotch for a two-night stay and we stayed busy enjoying the pools, restaurants, and the town of Stowe. There are certain activities you would want to plan in advance if they are important to you, or if you are staying for a longer period of time and have more opportunity to take it all in!
Here are some tips to consider:
- Spa: I talked a bit about the spa above. While I didn’t use it, it looked gorgeous and I did do a little tour and the ladies there were super nice. I would have loved to have had time to take my daughter to get a mommy and me mani/pedi. If you’d like to visit the spa during your stay, book your appointment 1-2 weeks in advance.
- Equestrian: Guided horseback rides are offered (for an additional fee) at Topnotch, just across the road from the resort. This looks AMAZING, especially the winter sleigh rides! I believe my son Leo, age 7, was too young to be able to do the horseback tour but regardless, they were booked up while we were there. If your family is interested in the horses, call the resort in advance and get on the schedule for that before you arrive.
- Tennis Academy: Topnotch offers a really great tennis academy for juniors from 9-12 in the morning. This is something you’d want to sign your child up for in advance. Just want to hit the ball around? (That’s more my speed, too!) You are free to sign out demo rackets at the tennis academy building and then take them up to higher ground where there are complimentary courts guests are welcome to use.
- Mountain Ops: Mountain Ops is a rental business located in the same place as the equestrian center, just across the road from Topnotch, and they offer bike rentals in the summer and cross country ski rentals in the winter. There’s an awesome path called Stowe Recreation Path that goes all around the town of Stowe (we walked a portion of it and it’s beautiufl!). The path runs right up to the Mountain Ops rental building so you can hop on with your bike or skis and hit the trail. Even better? You can charge these rentals to your room!
- Bring the Whole Crew: We stayed in a gorgeous and comfortable room at Topnotch that was perfect for our family of four. If you want to vacation with friends or extended family, Topnotch does offer townhome rentals (these are very close to the main property, just up the hill a bit) that are perfect for multiple families.
Things to Do in Stowe
This is going to be a totally separate post because I have so much more to share with you about how much we LOVE Stowe! I will come back and update this to include a link when I have that read to roll. Topnotch does have a nice list of resources on their site to help you plan your visit.
In the meantime, just know that Stowe is gorgeous. I mean truly, it’s the quintessential New England town. Adorable little shops, great independently-owned restaurants, and nature, nature, nature. We hiked, we threw rocks in the stream, and we hiked some more. I don’t even love to hike but I enjoyed it so much.
The natural beauty of Vermont is a must-see.