Why should we visit your town/city?
My husband and I have been lucky enough to reside in the lower apartment of his family’s little ski home in Ludlow, Vermont for the first few months of our newlywed life. Before we were engaged, my husband (who was a ski racer in high school) taught me the basics of skiing, and since we’ve been up here we’ve skied almost every weekend since!
The town of Ludlow and its incorporated village is a charming, historical locale nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Drawing thousands of skiers and snowboarders to its main mountain, Okemo (which, depending on which Native American language you consult, means “All Come Home,” “Chieftain,” or “louse”). Each winter, and especially during the peak months of January and February, you can be sure of breathtaking mountain views and a substantial, persistent blanket of snow.
Ludlow has a rich history. Initially built for the production of woolens, Ludlow’s historic mill operated from 1834 until 1837, when business slowed due to the economic Panic of 1837. After changing ownership a few times throughout the second half of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century, it was acquired by General Electric in 1952 until 1976, when it was converted into a condominium.
Another fun fact—President Calvin Coolidge attended Black River Academy on High Street!
Where should we stay?
There are many places to stay in Okemo within a half-hour radius of downtown. Okemo Mountain Resort is ideal if you want to stay as close to the mountain base as possible for snow sports. If you’re a history buff, then you would definitely enjoy a rental in The Mill or one of the adorable Victorian homes in the surrounding area. When in doubt, check out the vacation rentals on the Slopeside Okemo website.
Where should we eat?
Sweet Surrender Bakery is open most mornings until noon and is known for its homemade baked goods and pastries. They have a small, but homey bar area if you want to stick around and chat over coffee and cinnamon buns. Java Baba’s Slow Food Café is, ironically, our favorite place for quick eats (soups, sandwiches) before hitting the road. For breakfast, The Hatchery offers delicious Vermont-themed breakfast fare, including pancakes and waffles, omelets, and even poutine, a staple of our French-Canadian neighbors!
For dinner, try these:
- Killarney’s. An Irish pub and restaurant, it is a low-key and convenient off-the-slope option for après-ski dinner.
- Sam’s Steakhouse. Just amazing steaks in a comfortable environment. Perfect for date night.
- Darcy’s Restaurant, “home of the truffle fries,” is casual and family-friendly, offering tons of classic appetizers and burgers
- Homestyle Hotel. A self-described “bar wrapped in a 13-room motel,” boasting seasonally-inspired drinks and a rotation of dishes with local ingredients that make it perfect for foodies. With family-style service by friendly and attentive wait staff, it is the perfect place to gather large groups of family and friends. If you opt for your own private dining experience, you might snag your own private bathroom too (showers included)!
If you have a mad sweet tooth, you must visit one of Okemo’s two Waffle Cabins, located right on the mountain for a sugary, crusty waffle drenched with chocolate—the perfect ski break. If you’re here in the summer, visit the Green Mountain Sugar House for maple creemees (delicious maple-flavored soft-serve ice cream).
Which coffeehouses are the best and why (for coffee, for atmosphere, for both)?
TPW Real Estate and Coffee Bar is exactly what it sounds like—a premium coffee bar housed in a property management firm. The ambiance is modern and industrial, which makes it the perfect place to stop by or get your study on. The walls are plastered with various local properties for sale, which you can peruse as though you were wandering through a museum.
The aforementioned Java Baba’s also has a variety of tea and coffee-based drinks, plus hot chocolate and apple cider. Dimly-lit and cozy, it will transport you back to your college days, (that is, if you’re anything like me, and could be reliably found studying away in a hip, local café).
Café at De Light, found right in the heart of downtown at the intersection of Main and Depot Street, is where the locals eat. And, as you might guess, “De Light” refers to the traffic light at that intersection. It’s very conveniently located next to the Mill. They also offer a delectable, full American breakfast if you happen to catch yourself hungry.
What sites should we see?
Okemo Mountain Resort is a must if you love winter sports. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a total expert on the slopes, there is something here for you. With a summit elevation of 3,344 feet, Okemo has 121 trails, slopes, and glades, plus 20 lifts (some of which have protective bubbles and heated seats). There is plenty of signage to help you navigate, as well as a number of slopeside lodges where you can eat, remove your boots, and warm up with a nice cup of hot cocoa. The two main bases, Jackson Gore and Clock Tower Base Area, each have on-site or local lodging, accessible lifts, dining areas, magic carpets, and bunny hills for beginners.
One of the best aspects of skiing or snowboarding at Okemo is the people. The lift operators (or lifties, as they’re often called) are very kind and helpful, and you’ll find that many of your fellow guests are too. If you’re ever unsure about where you are or how to get somewhere, there is always someone willing to help.
Though Ludlow is thought to be just a winter destination, you’ll be amazed at the beauty and fun you can find in the spring, summer, and fall (beware the “fifth season” between late winter and early spring, otherwise known as “mud season).
Not only can you ski all winter and well into spring, but you can enjoy hiking, water sports, and swimming all summer. The winding Black River (which flows right by the Mill) feeds into Lake Rescue, where you will discover an abundance of waterfront rentals like Lake Rescue Chalet that can accommodate pets and families of all sizes. In the summertime, you can enjoy kayaking, boating, water skiing, and fishing there in accordance with local guidelines.
Nearby Buttermilk Falls offers gorgeous up-close views of a series of waterfalls and can serve as an easy summer hike. Be sure to bring your swimsuit and towel for a dip in one of its cool swimming holes. Back in town, visit the tranquil Catholic Church of the Annunciation and Ludlow Baptist Church for Sunday prayer or some quiet contemplation during the week. You’ll enjoy the beautiful art and architecture of each.
If there’s anything you absolutely shouldn’t miss here in Ludlow, it’s the stunning high-altitude views Okemo has to offer. Whether it’s after getting off the chairlift atop the summit or standing atop its fire tower following a long summer hike, just take a moment to stop, stare, and take in that refreshing mountain air.