New England Family Road trip advice wanted!
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8 users
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myrto
November 8, 2006
Member since 10/4/2001 🔗
259 posts
All these postings and trip reports from the classic ski resorts of New England have me frothing at the mouth. I am just dying to load up the wife and the 12 & 14 year into the old Suby and hit he icy slopes up north.

I would love to hear advice from all you wise travelers.

Thank you much in advance.
bousquet19 - DCSki Supporter
November 8, 2006
Member since 02/23/2006 🔗
684 posts
Myrto, tell us about the kind of skiing you and your family do. Also, what kinds of accommodations you're looking for. Any general region you're thinking of (e.g., northern Vermont)? That'd make it easier to know what to recommend.

Woody
tromano
November 8, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Break-in the new ski boots. Put the snow tires back on. Clean your hip flask err... camel back. Stash some pharmacuticals in the glove box (you know why). List the house on Ebay. Flush your crackberry. Call in sick Friday. Don't come back.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
November 8, 2006
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Hey tromano, I just bought a new place in your neighborhood. I convinced Uncle Sam to bring me back to Washington, so last week I sold my place in Philly and this afternoon bought new construction near Meridian Hill Park. Looking forward to being back in the cap city
JimK - DCSki Columnist
November 9, 2006
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,696 posts
Myrto, those who have lots of $ and/or no kids will say just fly to Manchester NH or Boston and rent a car, but for me it is far more affordable to drive to New England for a ski trip (although tolls and gas keep going up).
There are some lessons learned in this report on a tough road trip I made to Killington a few years back: http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=551&mode=headlines (BTW, the Connecticut restaurant mentioned has changed hands and is not as good now.)

Only you know how well your family does on long road trips. Staying local is the way to go for some rowdy young families. I'm ski crazy and very exploratory by nature. With four kids I've done many road trips that could be called hellish, but still worth it for a few days on exciting, new ski terrain.

Your children appear to be at an age where long trips should be doable without too much craziness. Need to plan to keep them happily busy during the drive. One of the best pacifiers we had was a portable DVD player to watch movies the whole trip. You can also rack up painless mileage when the kids are asleep. I like to accomplish this by leaving very early, but sometimes leaving relatively late in the day will also work. Try to get everyone to agree to a regular schedule for gas/food/restroom stops so that you minimize how many you make. Limit sodas and other beverages that increase potty stops. If you're going to New England try to stay at least three days so the trip's not all about driving; try to stay slopeside if budget allows to keep things simple once there; try to go during a non-holiday timeframe to avoid crowds. Weekdays are ideal, but conflict with school of course. I think late Feb or early March is best to avoid crowds and extreme cold, which is particularly tough on young kids. If you must go during peak times like Xmas or Pres weekend, maybe pick a second tier type of place which will be less crowded, but still larger and snowier than mid-Atlantic ski hills.

I generally like to cover the miles as quickly as possible, but sometimes a mid-trip stop of historic or geographic interest is a good break. Prep the spouse and kids for a few weeks or months in advance of a big trip to get complete buy-in and better cooperation.
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
November 9, 2006
Member since 03/15/2004 🔗
1,333 posts
Recently I went to Vermont and took "the northern route". That is I-83 to I-81 into New York then I-88 (I believe) to the Albany area where you can then pick up I-87 and cross the Hudson into Vermont. While it may be a little longer mile wise, it was a much more pleasant drive with much less traffic than going up I-95 through Jersey.
My first experience with New England skiing was Mount Snow. This is a nice family mountain. We used to stay in this place called the Yankee Doodle Lodge and they had a great mid-week deal. We stayed from Sunday to Friday and the package included lodging, breakfast, dinner, and 3 or 4 days of skiing. The cost was around $400/pp. This place was not luxurious but had a nice Vermont lodge atmosphere and the food, while not gourmet, was great. I think the place changed hands and also changed name. But it was right across Route 100 from the Mountain.
Another place that I remember that had a great package was called "The Swiss Inn" near Stratton, Bromley and Okemo. Similar lodging and meals package. They used to call this "the American Plan" and I frankly like it. Your tired from skiing, you go back to your room, get in the hot tub, have a beer or glass of wine and then get dressed for dinner. You walk out of your room to the dining room and there's no hassle with finding a place to eat. If you have kids, this is the way to go.
SCWVA
November 10, 2006
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
mytro,

I've done the VT road trip thing on at least thirty occasions with and without kids.

Do you want to hit a number of ski areas or just a couple?

There are a number of towns that you can stay in that have chain hotels, mom & pop motels, B & B's, & Inn's. Most of these towns you can ski 2-3 areas that are between 5 - 60 mins. away.

1st Stop:
Bennington or Manchester - Mt. Snow, Haystack, Stratton, & Bromley, Magic
2nd Stop:
Rutland - K-mart, Pico, & Okemo
3rd Stop:
Waterbury (I89 & Rt100) - Stowe, Mad River, & Sugarbush. There a is Ramada (? chain hotel) about 1/4 of a mile off the Interstate that is about 1/2 way between Stowe & MRG.

Some trips we'd go further north to Jay & Smuggs. But we found it harder to get last minute reservations at Jay.

If you want to stay slopeside; Okemo is very family friendly and has a ton of slopeside accomodations. Killington & Sugarbush are both huge ski areas and they also have a lot of slopeside accomodations. I think Stowe is a true New England ski town and the ski area has a lot of really long trials. Plus Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream factory is on the way to Stowe.

Try Ski Vermont
tromano
November 10, 2006
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Quote:

Hey tromano, I just bought a new place in your neighborhood. I convinced Uncle Sam to bring me back to Washington, so last week I sold my place in Philly and this afternoon bought new construction near Meridian Hill Park. Looking forward to being back in the cap city




Sweet, I used to live in the diplomat building which overlooks meridian hill. Now Madeline and I live on Harvard St. Just up the hill. Want to meet up and have beer some time? PM me. --Tim

Also as a PSA: Coffee lovers should check out Tryst on 18th st. Its a very cool place, great coffee, good food, nice atmosphere, etc... I will stop my high jacking now.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
November 10, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
Killing some time at MCO and thought I'd log into DCSki and see what's going on..

My basic problem with VT (other than the weather) is finding a closer alternative to DC than Stowe. My wife and friends basically have the attitude: Stowe or forget VT. They all hate Killington with a passion. Stratton and Okemo are alternatives that we have not tried yet but given the new lifts on Spruce, the consensus again seems to be: Stowe or bust. Stowe certainly has better snow than southern or central VT and the terrain rocks. But the drive is LONG. I'm thinking about a trip to Stratton in December sans wife to check it out. It looks like an easy 7 hour drive. Any thoughts on Stratton (flatten)?

PS Lou, welcome to the hood. I also have a place in the general area.
bousquet19 - DCSki Supporter
November 10, 2006
Member since 02/23/2006 🔗
684 posts
Quote:

Killing some time at MCO and thought I'd log into DCSki and see what's going on..

My basic problem with VT (other than the weather) is finding a closer alternative to DC than Stowe. My wife and friends basically have the attitude: Stowe or forget VT. They all hate Killington with a passion. Stratton and Okemo are alternatives that we have not tried yet but given the new lifts on Spruce, the consensus again seems to be: Stowe or bust. Stowe certainly has better snow than southern or central VT and the terrain rocks. But the drive is LONG. I'm thinking about a trip to Stratton in December sans wife to check it out. It looks like an easy 7 hour drive. Any thoughts on Stratton (flatten)?

PS Lou, welcome to the hood. I also have a place in the general area.




I've never been to Stratton but am hoping for a day trip when I visit my parents in Massachusetts. They have a 1900-foot vertical with a reputation for great groomed cruisers and a heavily developed base area (clock tower, shoppes, manufactured quaintness).

By the way, Stratton is giving out 10,000 free one-day tickets. Stratton Ticket Sweepstakes You can enter once a day, and I won one on the 8th try.

Woody
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