33) Best date/night out
1. Hen of the Wood
Nominees: Cork Wine Bar, Doc Ponds, Flannel at Topnotch, Plate Restaurant, Stowe Bowl, Stowe Cinema, Tres Amigos.
Love the one you’re with, right? Or so says Stephen Stills. They’ll love you if you make it Hen of the Wood … on date night. Harrison’s, a very close second, will probably get you some lovin’ too.
34) Best music venue — indoor
1. Rusty Nail Stage at Tres Amigos
3. Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center
Nominees: Doc Ponds, El Toro, Martell’s at the Red Fox, Moog’s Place, Tap 25, The Den, The Matterhorn, The Music Box, The Reservoir.
We missed The Fleetwood Mac Experience at the end of June writing quippy copy for the 4393s, but fans and bands alike just Don’t Stop with their love and led the reinvented Rusty Nail to a Landslide.
35) Best music venue — outdoors
1. Trapp Family Lodge meadow
2. Oxbow Park
3. Rusty Parker Park
Nominees: Legion Field, Johnson; Helen Day Art Center/Stowe Library gazebo.
If you’ve never been — there are actually local people who have never been — to a concert in the Trapp Family Lodge meadow, with heaven itself as a backdrop, a picnic spread out on the grass, a nice crisp Montrachet in a goblet (no wine from plastic, please), your one true love beside you …
The lush, grassy meadow at Trapp Family Lodge, sloping gently down to a postcard view of Ver…
36) Best wedding venue
1. Trapp Family Lodge
2. Edson Hill
3. The Barn at Boyden Farm
Nominees: Green Mountain Inn, Moose Meadow Lodge & Treehouse, Sandiwood Farm, Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, The Barn at Smuggler’s Notch, The Stowehof, Topnotch Resort & Spa.
Have you seen the view? I do.
37) Best spa
1. Topnotch Resort & Spa
2. Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa
3. Spa at Stowe Mountain Lodge
Nominees: Bhav Spa, Lumina Med Spa.
Stowe’s first bonafide spa continues to steam, massage, wrap, scrub, mask its way to the top as the area’s best spa. All that’s left for you is to feel like a million bucks.
38) Best massage therapist
1. Kate Graves
2. Maureen Slayton
3. Patty Delaney
Kate Graves is a Stowe-area institution. Over the last 30 years, Kate’s hands and healing touch — through countless modalities — have helped countless folks sleep better, manage pain, relieve stress, improve general health and well-being, move around better. That list just goes on and on. Just relax, you’re in good hands.
39) Best hair services
1. Salon Salon
2. Artistic Roots
Nominees: Antoine Brechu, Birch. Hair Studio, Essence Salon & Day Spa, Garfield’s Hair Dressing, Hello, Gorgeous, Lush Salon and Boutique, Moira’s Hairstyling, Northern Highlights, RG’s Turning Heads Salon, Romano’s Barber Shop, Salon on Main, Salon Ruelle, Sara’s Salon, Shear Image, Stowe Barber Shop, Stoweflake Spa, Styles on Sunset, Sunflower Salon, Tangles Salon, Topnotch Spa.
When you find that colorist, or stylist, or mani-pedi perfection, where they do you up right, you don’t stray. No way. Salon Salon is a perennial winner in this category, but folks are loyal to their “coiffurists” and many listed here posted respectable numbers of admirers.
40) Best manicure
1. Phinne Nail Salon
2. Artistic Roots
3. Topnotch Spa
Nominees: Essence Salon & Day Spa, Hello, Gorgeous, Salon Salon, Spa at Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stoweflake Spa, Sunflower Salon.
Whether it’s a quick color change, long-lasting shellac manicure or the whole nine (ten) of gel sets with precise custom artwork, husband-and-wife team Phinne and Vilaysack will keep your tips sharp and your tootsies treated.
41) Best jewelry store
1. Von Bargen’s Jewelry
2. Stowe Craft Gallery
3. Ferro Estate & Custom Jewelers
Nominees: Mazzarese Jewelry Design, Tangerine & Olive.
These three topflight jewelers always battle it out for the one, two and three spots … and it’s always neck and neck. They all glimmer and shimmer, if you ask us.
42) Best art gallery
1. Helen Day Art Center
2. West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park
3. TIE: Axel’s Gallery and Frame Shop; Stowe Craft Design Gallery
Nominees: Bryan Memorial Gallery, Edgewater Gallery, Green Mountain Fine Art Gallery, Green Mountain Light Gallery, Northwood Artisans Gallery, River Arts Center, Robert Paul Galleries, Vermont Studio Center.
It’s truly amazing that such a small town as Stowe, a bit in the middle of nowhere, boasts a world-class contemporary art center. Thanks to Helen Day and to all of the countless artists and fine art galleries, from Jeffersonville to Waterbury, that bring such richness and beauty into our lives.
43) Best clothing store
1. Miller’s Country Outfitters
2. Green Envy
3. Shaw’s General Store
Nominees: The Boutique at Stowe Mercantile, Bunya Bunya, Caplan’s Shoe & Apparel, Decisions Clothing, Forget Me Not Shop, In Company Clothing, Pink Colony, Stowe Street Emporium, Well Heeled.
Do any of these establishments sell nail clippers? ’Cuz this contest proved to be a nail biter. You couldn’t slip a fine piece of silk between the vote totals for Miller’s, a Morrisville institution for over 40 years, and Green Envy, which is quickly becoming a Stowe institution.
44) Best outdoors/sportswear
1. AJ’s Ski & Sports
2. Pinnacle Ski & Sports
3. Waterbury Sports
Nominees: Caplan’s, Darkside, Johnson Farm & Garden, Johnson Woolen Mills, MountainOps, Power Play Sports, Shaw’s General Store, The Great Outdoors.
4393 note: Two generations of Shinners take home trophies this year. AJ IV won for best landscaper, while Dad — we’ll call him Big AJ — outfitted everyone in town.
45) Best children’s shop
1. Yellow Turtle
2. Once Upon a Time Toys
3. The Tiny Acorn
Yellow Turtle sells clothes, Once Upon a Time sells toys and Tiny Acorn sells everything. Lucky darn kids.
46) Best place to get pet supplies
1. Guy’s Farm & Yard
2. The Dog and Cat
3. Menard’s Agway
Nominees: Aubuchon Hardware, Dogs Etc., Johnson Farm & Garden, Stowe Kennel Kare, Waterbury True Value.
No doubt about it, our pets eat well.
47) Best gift store
1. Stowe Mercantile
2. Stowe Kitchen Bath & Linens
3. Stowe Street Emporium
Nominees: Bunya Bunya, Cabot Annex Shops, Country Store on Main, Good Stuff, Marvin’s Country Store, Northwood Artisans Gallery, Stash N’ Stowe, Stowe Craft Design & Gallery, Tangerine & Olive.
Two words: Penny candy. Oh, be quiet, who cares if it’s a nickel now!
48) Best bookshop
1. Bear Pond Books
2. Bridgeside Books
3. Ebenezer Books
Nominees: Galaxy Bookshop, The Literary.
“A bookstore is one of the many pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.” — Jerry Seinfeld. Damn, we’re smart (lucky?). We have five bookshops in a 25-mile radius.
49) Best housewares
1. Stowe Kitchen Bath & Linens
2. Country Store on Main
3. TIE: Aubuchon Hardware and Stowe Hardware
Nominees: Bridgeside Home, Downeast Tile, Hannon Home Center, Johnson Farm & Garden, Stowe Craft Design Center, Stowe Mercantile, Stowe Street Emporium.
1/2 cup of service; 3 Tbsp. great merchandise; a dollop of deals; a few pinches of pizazz. Stop driving to Burlington, people, and get off the internet! You’ve got it all right here. In spades.
50) Best resale shop
1. Creative Consignments
3. Bargain Boutique
Nominees: Forget Me Not Shop, Nicky’s Nook, Second Chance.
Everything — and everyone — deserves a second chance.
51) Best florist
1. Uncle George’s Flowers
2. Peck’s Flower Shop
3. Proud Flower
Nominees: Bramble & Bloom, From Maria’s Garden, The Painted Tulip, Wildflower Designs.
52) Best real estate agent
1. Pete Kelly
2. Pall Spera
3. Gayle Oberg
The best real estate agent is the one who sells your house. Sold.
53) Best builder
1. Alec Genung Construction
2. Donald P. Blake Jr. Inc.
3. Gristmill Builders
Nominees: Aaron Flint Builders, Beacon Hill Builders, Dolan Builders, Gordon Dixon Construction, Gyllenborg Construction, Patterson & Smith Construction, Sisler Builders, Steel Construction, Tim Meehan Builders.
The best builder is the one who builds your house.
54) Best architect (or architectural designer)
1. Andrew Volansky, Volansky Studio, Architecture & Planning
2. Milford Cushman, Cushman Design Group
3. Greg Paus, Silver Ridge Design
Nominees: Brian Hamor, Hamor Architecture; Bud Wilson, Wilson Architecture; Ernie Ruskey, Tektonica Studio Architects; Paul Robert Rousselle Architect; Sam Scofield Architect.
Andrew Volansky has all the blueprints for success.
55) Best interior design
1. Stowe Craft Design
2. Seldom Scene Interiors
3. Brenna B Interiors
Nominees: Design Studio, Kathleen Dever; Sally Stetson Design; Tania Kratt; Teri Maher Interiors.
Susan Bayer-Fishman mixes her passions for art and interior design to create a home — yours.
56) Best lawn care
1. Yankee Home Solutions
2. Stowe Home Care
3. Loomis Property Services
Nominees: Glowac Grounds Care, Green Sleeves, Lawn Rangers, Mini Mayo’s Property Management.
Yankee Home Solutions … AJ Shinners IV … natch.
For all home-care needs, Yankee Home Solutions is there, whether it’s managing rental homes,…
57) Best landscaping
1. Ambler Design
2. Yankee Home Solutions
3. Loomis Property Services
Nominees: Glowac Grounds Care, Green Sleeves, Roberts Landscape & Supplies, Sunset Landscaping.
Ian Ambler is a local kid. He made good. Those are always the nicest stories.
58) Best auto repair
1. Willie’s Village Auto
2. Larson’s Auto
3. Waterbury Center Auto Repair
Nominees: 253-Auto, Bourne’s Service Center, Checkered Flag, Duxbury Auto Tech, Fred’s Import Specialists, Madadashcar, McMahon Chevrolet Buick, Snowfire, Ted’s Kar Kare, Waterbury Service Center.
A good editor always says not to use 20 words when one will suffice. Willie. (A good editor also says to never plagiarize, but we picked this up from last year’s writeup, with a touch of editing.)