Outdoors + Nature

The World's Most Leisurely Vacations

by Sarah Tuff

Catamount Trail, Vermont

The pace: Ten miles per day, cross-country skiing over the rivers and through the woods.

The place: Vermont's alpine ski resorts may get the attention, but the quiet, snow-quilted backcountry along the spine of the state is what's truly sublime. The best way to experience the pale beauty of a New England winter is to glide along the Catamount Trail, a 300-mile cross-country-ski path that stretches the entire length of Vermont, from the Massachusetts border all the way to Québec. The trail alternates among groomed tracks, invigorating climbs, and powdery descents; it also links some of Vermont's quintessential inns, such as Fox Creek Inn outside Killington, Churchill House Inn in Brandon, and Blueberry Hill near Middlebury. If you have a month of free time, you can become an "end-to-ender." Otherwise, pick a segment that suits your schedule and ability. The Vermont-based Country Inns Along the Trail arranges lodging, meals, and a shuttle. For DIY types, the nonprofit behind the Catamount Trail can help with such logistics as inn suggestions, maps, and etiquette along the path. Whichever way you go, be sure to say a polite thank-you to the moose and deer for letting you share their woods.

Country Inns Along the Trail
Tel: 800 838 3301
From $499 per person for a three-night package, available January and February 2011

Catamount Trail
Tel: 802 864 5794

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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