My family is taking their first trip to Stratton Mtn. Vt.in February. We read the excellent first-hand report by Matthew Graham from February 2007. Do any other Stratton veterans have any sage advice? Arpes Ski? Breakfast? Lunch? Fun off mountain things to do with kids (girls 9 & 12)?
Haven't been to Stratton in a long, long time. It's a cruisers paradise. I enjoyed the gondola to a summit that's just a hair under 4000'. I believe one of the attractions is the self contained village. But if you want to take a drive one evening the adjacent towns of Manchester/Manchester Center are about 15-20 miles away and provide some interesting shopping, strolling, and dining opportunities.
Our family will be heading to Stratton for the first time in March. I'd love to read your trip report when you get back.
There is a bar in the center of the village center (name escapes me now) that has great happy hour specials - chicken wings $0.10, shrimp specials, margaritas, etc. Great place to visit after the lifts close. I believe a Stratton lift ticket is also good at Okemo, so if you get tired of Stratton, go to Okemo. Check out the shopping and historic inns in Manchester. Have lunch (or dinner if you have the cash) at the Equinox - one of the oldest hotels in the U.S. After your legs burn out check out the long cruiser, "Great Eastern".
I'll second what JimK and snowsmith have said about Stratton so far. If lift lines get crowded at the gondola, head over to another lift and ski its pod of trails for a while. Plenty of uphill transportation. The Potemkin village at the base should occupy the girls for a while (the soup place "Soup for You" there is supposed to be the original venue of the soup Nazi from Seinfeld.) Lots of upscale shopping in Manchester; don't miss Northshire Books.
Myself, my wife and 11 year old daughter are heading somewhere in Vermont towards end of March. Thinking Stowe or someplace north due to late in the season...not set on anything though so will be glad to hear a report on your trip...especially since you have a 12 year old.