[caption id="attachment_3319" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="View from the Trapp Family Lodge, image courtesy of Justin Harrington"] [/caption] Skiing is an obvious reason to hit this New England state, but did you know there are many other reasons to visit this picturesque town? You don't need to be a resident ski bunny to enjoy Stowe (take it from a ski novice like me who spent the holidays there). Here are our top 5 reasons to visit. 1. Think beyond skiing Yes, Stowe has some of the best downhill skiing stateside, but you can also challenge yourself with snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Or try out skating, sledding or just taking a quiet gondola ride to the top of Mount Mansfield to enjoy the views. 2. Hiking Pretty much anytime of year you can strap on your hiking boots and take a trek through the hills and mountains -- it's another way to take advantage of the mountains with out hitting the slopes. 3. The hotels There's everything here from quaint B&Bs to full-blown resorts and lodges -- some are geared to those who live to ski and some to those who just want to chill and relax. Our top two picks? Stowe Mountain Lodge at the base of Mount Mansfield, for those who want to hit the slopes it's right at your door and the spacious rooms come with fireplaces. And the Trapp Family Lodge -- a cozy hotel perched at the top of a mountain with stunning views. Best of all? It gets its charm from its owners -- none other than the Von Trapp family featured in the classic The Sound of Music. 4. The food It's a small town, but that doesn't mean you don't have options. From Japanese, to pub fare to all-American to some of the best pizza slices in America, you will not leave on an empty stomach. Hint: For the best slice head to Piecasso (voted as one of the top 11 slices in America by Travel + Leisure). 5. Just to relax Most hotels/resorts/lodges have spas, so why not just take in the beautiful scenery and veg out? Throw in a massage or two and a couple of facials and you'll be stress-free in no time.