While in Vermont, we snuck away one evening for a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride at the Stowehof Inn. Peter, the concierge at Stowe Mountain Lodge, arranged it for us, followed by an excellent fondue dinner at the Stowehof’s straight-out-of-the-50s-pub.
After a little snafu (they didn’t have our reservation, the ride we thought we were going on was full, the front desk woman was beyond flustered), we greeted our horse Doc & were tucked into the back row of a four-seater sleigh.
Soon we were off. The sleigh rumbled atop the deep, fluffy Vermont snow along a well worn path. I wasn’t really quite sure what to expect, but the sleigh certainly went faster than I thought it would! We bounced along, the ride surprisingly smooth & rough at the same time.
Occasionally, we would stop to give Doc a brief break. The stillness around us was unlike anything that can be found in urban life: surrounded by pristine white snow, broken only by animal tracks, the only sound the wind whistling over our ears. Once, when we stopped, a deer ran across the path in front of us & hopped across the snow.
I didn’t take many photos, instead wanting to really experience the sleigh ride, feeling the biting wind against my cheeks, huddled up against B as we turned sharp corners.
After our brisk ride, we headed down to Stowehof’s pub, which probably hasn’t changed since the day the inn was built. The wood paneled walls, the old fashioned cigarette machine in the corner – it’s all still there. We decided to go all in with dinner: three courses of fondue goodness. We started with Stowehof’s famous cheese blend – a combination of Gruyere & Vermont Cabot cheddar – before moving to some perfectly seasoned shrimp cooked in bubbling oil & topping things off with dark chocolate & a variety of dipping items.
In between courses, we quizzed each other with outdated Trivial Pursuit cards, one of the many board games they have in the pub. An added challenge with original Trivial Pursuit: many questions having to be framed with “remember this was written in the 80s.”
I wasn’t really sure what to expect with the sleigh ride, but it was fun! I’d say more fun than romantic – while the twilight-y sky was beautiful, it was darn cold & the sleigh driver was fairly chatty. It was also not cheap at a cost of $29 per person. But in the end, I’d say it’s worth it. Most of us don’t get these chances too often & it was a fun one to check off the “only in Vermont” list.