Best mountain bike trails

1. Cady Forest, Stowe

2. Perry Hill, Waterbury

3. Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe

Nominees: Cadys Falls, Waterbury Trails, Kingdom Trails, Adams Camp.

Last year we wrote: “Wow. The Perry trails beat the Cady trails.” For 2019? Wow, the Cady trails beat the Perry trails. Once again proving the adage that my favorite mountain bike trails are not necessarily the singletracks you prefer to shred.

Best road bike route

1. Lamoille Valley Rail Trail

2. Smugglers Notch

3. Randolph Road

Nominees: River Road in Duxbury, Route 100, Stowe Recreation Path.

The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, or LVRT, is an absolute gem. It’s flat, but features distance. It’s serene, yet close to civilization. Walkers love it. Dogs and their humans love it. Runners love it. Bikers really, really love it. And just imagine when all 93 miles are ready to ride.

Best cross-country skiing

1. Trapp Family Lodge

2. Craftsbury Outdoor Center

3. Stowe Mountain Resort Cross-Country Center

Nominees: Edson Hill, Wiessner Woods.

The first cross-country center in the nation commemorated 50 years in 2018. A year later, Trapps celebrates once again for having the best kick-and-glide trails.

Best place to hike or run

1. Stowe Pinnacle

2. Lamoille Valley Rail Trail & Hunger Mountain

3. Mount Mansfield

Nominees: Cotton Brook, Elmore Mountain, Long Trail, Smugglers Notch, Sterling Pond, Stowe Recreation Path.

In a state where stunning views abound all around, our winner reaches a special pinnacle.

Best place to paddle

1. Green River Reservoir

2. Waterbury Reservoir

3. Lake Elmore

Nominees: Gihon River, Lake Eden, Lamoille River.

An oar couldn’t fit between the vote difference among our top two contenders, but the solitude of the Green River Reservoir glided past Waterbury Reservoir for 2019. Last year, the oar-der was reversed. (One reader claims that this information “shouldn’t be made public.” Um, we think that canoe has left the boat launch? Best answer by someone with an oversized ego: “my bedroom.”)

Best place to play golf (public course/club)

1. Stowe Country Club

2. Country Club of Vermont

3. Ryder Brook Golf Club

Nominees: Blush Hill Country Club, Copley Country Club.

Once again Stowe Country Club drove in 30 percent of the vote, but the next four teed off quite nicely, pretty evenly splicing together the other 70.

Best disc golf

1. Center Chains, Waterbury Center

2. Smugglers’ Notch

3. Trapp Family Lodge

Not a sport, sayeth one reader, but almost 700 voters begged to disagree, putting Center Chains onto the green. One disc golf reviewer made par with this review of the place: “18 acres of open fields and tight woods. Large sugar maples abound and many holes have great elevated tees. Beautiful views of the Green Mountains and a stream to cool off in on hot summer days.”

Best local race or sporting event

1. Stowe Derby

2. Heady Trotter

3. Ski Bum Race Series

Nominees: B3 Fest, Craft Brew Races, Gravel Grinder, Kids Adventure Games, Leaf Peepers Half Marathon, Race To The Top of Vermont, Stowe 8-Miler.

Best veterinary services

1. Sequist Animal Hospital

2. Stowe Veterinary Clinic

3. Waterbury Veterinary Hospital

Runner-up: Lamoille Valley Veterinary Services

Sit, Fido. We’ve got news. Doc Sequist’s animal hospital bumped Dr. Gregg and his team out of the top slot this year. No jumping, Fido, as everyone remains in capable hands.

Update: Dave Sequist actually sold his practice to Dr. David Loh, who is assisted by doctors Regina Detora and Emily Bond.

Best yoga studio

1. Zenbarn Studio

2. Yoga Barn

3. Kula Center for Yoga and Meditation

Nominees: The Barn, Bikram Yoga Stowe, Blackbird Wellness, Dharma Yoga, Stepping Stone Yoga, Stowe Yoga Center, Stoweflake Resort & Spa, Topnotch Resort & Spa.

Loyalty reigns at local yoga studios, and competition for best studio is stiff. Stiff? Well, then get yourself to one of these yoga studios! Beginners welcome. Zenbarn offers tai chi, yoga, meditation, mindful movement, nutrition and dance — “what’s good for the soul.”

Best trainer/fitness instructor

1. Ernie Roick

2. Chad Couto

3. Kyle Smith

Nominees: Charlotte Brynn, Hector Ortiz, Jeff Rutledge, Joanna Graves, Nicole Chemi, Stephanie Justine, Tom Williams.

The names in this category move around like tumblers on a gym mat, but the crew stays the same. These are the folks who keep us fit, or in this case PHIT, the gym in Stowe run by Ernie and Julie Roick.

Best fitness venue (indoors)

1. PHIT Performance

2. The Swimming Hole

3. The Forge Gym

Nominees: The Barn, Cambridge Community Center, CrossFit Waterbury, Curves Morrisville, Green Mountain CrossFit, Ride Stowe, Snap Fitness, Stoweflake Resort & Spa, Topnotch Resort & Spa, Zenbarn Studio.

In Stowe, PHIT is where you go for fitness, though there is no shortage of venues throughout the Waterbury, Stowe, Lamoille County region, and no excuses to skip leg day.

Best physical therapy

1. Mansfield Orthopaedics

2. Heidi Noonan, Sports & Rehab Clinic

3. Kathleen Doehla, Points North

Nominees: Donna Petit, Family Physical Therapy (Provencher), Pinnacle Physical Therapy, Sunrise Physical Therapy.

Got a bum knee? Sore shoulder? Need tips to strengthen your muscles, bones and joints? The world-class crew at Mansfield Orthopaedics at Copley Hospital will patch you up perfectly, our readers say.

Best alternative wellness provider

1. Travis Beto, OPEN Community Acupuncture

2. Little River Wellness

3. Charkalis Chiropractic

Nominees: Earth Sea Acupuncture; Four Corners Acupuncture; Hardwick Chiropractic; Li Ming Tseng, Stowe Acupuncture; Stowe Chiropractic; Stowe Natural Family Wellness; Waterbury Integrative Health.

Acupuncture in a group setting in a communal space in Waterbury, where, as Travis Beto says, people “find this collective stillness a rare and valuable thing.” A majority of 4393 voters seem to agree.

Best rainy day activity

1. Stowe Bowl

2. Movies at Stowe Cinema or Bijou Cineplex

3. Once Upon a Time Toys

Runner-up: The Swimming Hole

Nominees: Reading/going to the library, swimming, sleeping, shopping, friends.

Strike! Stowe Bowl scores a perfect game. Pretty fun in good weather too. Oh, and at night.


Did we miss your favorite activity? Let us know.

Some folks were helpful and some were not: “Yeah like I said, smokin’ weed,” apparently without the g; favorite ski trail (we took it away because few answered it in the past, but we agree, it’s a good one); “cuddling” (awwww); “sitting on the deck with gin and tonics”; best place to people-watch; best place to snowshoe; “See question 78” (physical therapy); “nope”; and the pièce de resistance, “yeah, you missed it.”

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