North of Stowe , small-town relaxation meets big-time outdoor adventure in the sleepy little Lamoille Valley, with the towns of Jeffersonville and Morrisville as the highlights. It’s as pretty a drive as any along Route 100, which cuts through villages full of clean white church steeples, neat-as-a-pin farmhouses, brick-sidewalked main streets, and covered bridges.
Along the way, you’ll find plenty of arts and crafts to pore over, as well as kid-friendly eateries and hotels. On the other side of Mount Mansfield from Stowe, Smugglers’ Notch  was named for its reputation as a favorite passage for bootleggers from Canada to evade the law during prohibition. Now the mountain pass is home to a family-friendly ski resort that is anything but shady.
On the east side of Morrisville is a rare covered railroad bridge. The 109-foot Fisher Bridge (Rte. 15, 11 miles south of Rte. 100) once served to carry the St. Johnsbury  and Lamoille Country Railroad trains over the Lamoille River. It was built double-high to let the trains through, with a vented cupola (which now serves as a giant birdhouse for local tweeters) to allow the steam to escape.
Relax with a pint of microbrew at the convivial Village Tavern at Smugglers Notch Inn (55 Church St., Jeffersonville, 802/644-6607, www.smuggsinn.com ). The handsome-but-casual pub is a favorite for locals and visitors looking for a place to kick back and unwind at the end of a day.
Jeffersonville is home to several fine galleries worth taking a peek at. Chief among them, the Bryan Memorial Gallery (180 Main St., Jeffersonville, 802/644-5100, www.bryangallery.com ) is known as one of Vermont’s premier showcases for local landscape artists, many of whom have drawn their inspiration from the countryside but a scant few miles away.
If you haven’t sated your sweet tooth by now, stop in at the Vermont Maple Outlet (3929 Rte. 15, Jeffersonville, 800/858-3121, www.vermontmapleoutlet.com ), which produces maple candy and maple cream in addition to all grades of syrup.
The café-cum-playroom that is The Bee’s Knees (82 Lower Main St., Morristown, 802/888-7889, www.thebeesknees-vt.com , 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Tues.–Sun., $7–12) might just be the perfect place to take kids. Lovably crunchy in decor and attitude (everything on the menu is organic, vegetarian options loom large, and live music plays regularly), it offers a wall of toys to borrow, and healthy plates like mac ’n’ cheese (with locally made cheddar).
Yet more locally grown goods take center stage at 158 Main (158 Main St., Jeffersonville, 802/644-8100, www.158main.com , 7:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Wed.–Sat., 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun., $9–30), which is perpetually crowded by addicted locals. The draw? Generous portions of home fries and pancakes, huge salads, and creative dinners like almond-seared salmon.