A Friday night in Stowe, Vt., might feature the annual antique car show with a parade of lovingly restored cars and trucks driving through town, or a concert and fireworks at Spruce Peak, or a group mountain bike ride, or a bowling competition at Stowe Bowl. There is always some kind of activity going on and many are well-attended annual events, such as the car show.
On the other side of the hill, a.k.a. Mount Mansfield, is Smugglers’ Notch Resort, and while the resort often holds activities for its guests, we townies tend to create our own entertainment. Take my husband, for example. His immediate goal is to rid the garden of rodents, and I am often seated somewhere near him, sipping my favorite beer and laughing, as he tries to scare the squirrels away from the squashes. I laugh, because sometimes he just wants to see if he can hit the mailbox for fun when the squirrels are not frantically trying to escape his reach. And friends, that is a Daisy Red Rider he’s aiming, not just any BB gun!
It was my husband and his Daisy Red Rider who inspired me to write this blog about the other side of the hill. Despite the BB gun, it is much quieter on the Cambridge/Underhill side. The area does not seem or feel like two ski towns near a ski resort. Traffic is normal, and the quiet country roads, many of them dirt, get the most traffic from 7 to 8 a.m. and then again from 5 to 6 p.m.
Other side of the hill – Underhill
I live in Underhill, Vt., and driving to work in Stowe through “The Notch” I am continually reminded of the differences between the two sides of the mountain. Heading south on Route 108 from Jeffersonville, the road up to Smugglers’ Notch is not overly developed and still has a lot of open spaces. The majority of activity takes place in Jeffersonville, where there are a couple of restaurants and shops, but that’s about it. Many of us gather at each others’ homes for dinner parties or just get together for fun.
Other side of the hill – Stowe
On the Stowe side, Route 108 (Mountain Road) is lined with hotels and inns, shops, restaurants, offices, real estate agencies, and my favorite place, The Alchemist, where you can see me about once a week picking up a four-pack or two of my favorite beer, Heady Topper. The Stowe side of the mountain is significantly busier than the Smuggs’ side, and on busy summer weekends or big snow days I affectionately refer to the traffic as the Mountain Road crawl.
The towns on both sides of the mountain offer outdoor entertainment, activities, and all that living in rural Vermont offers. The Stowe side is very much a resort town, with equal parts full- and part-time residents, whereas on the other side of the mountain, there is a resort, but Jeffersonville and Cambridge are far cries from being ski towns. Most residents live there year round, so it tends to be more quiet and the real estate falls into a lower price bracket.
Getting from Underhill to Stowe once the snow flies is a challenge, because the Notch and it’s beautiful scenery are closed to traffic. My 25-minute commute is nearly doubled, as I have to take I-89 from one side of the Green Mountains to the other. But that is okay; either way my drive is gorgeous.
I play on both sides of the hill and enjoy both lifestyles, but I live in the quiet town of Underhill, where life is simple and you can shoot your Daisy Red Rider without upsetting the tourist who might think those little red squirrels that eat your garden are cute. To me it is the best of both worlds.
When you’re ready to live in my worlds, give me a call, I’ll help you find your dream home in rural Underhill, Jeffersonville, Cambridge, or Stowe, Vt.