Built in 1947 by Charlie Blauvelt and Graham "Gil" Gilcrest, The Round Hearth was the first ski dorm on today's famous "Mountain Road". As such, the lodge was a key landmark for many tourists, college students and youth groups and families. The cost of lodging and one breakfast was a mere $4. Since its early roots as a lodge in the heyday of the early ski era, The Round Hearth has housed thousands of weary skiers.
"For generations, The Round Hearth at Stowe has hosted many a skier, poet, artist, musician, athlete, outdoorsman - young and old alike. The Round Hearth is certainly not your ordinary ski dorm. It is a place where traditions begin, where memories are made, and where friendships are everlasting."
On Sunday, May 26, 1968, the original building burned, leaving little else than the famous hearth. click here What had become a true icon in the eyes of many was seen demolished within hours. Soon thereafter, Don and Nan Leveille rebuilt The Round Hearth, and reopened the following year. click here. For the next twenty-years the lodge changed owners, and along with them, the business model. In the late 70's and early 80's the lodges' fine reputation was tarnished when it fell into disrepair and many of the young guests lacked proper supervision.
The Round Hearth today
In 1988, Merry & Grady Vigneau (present owners) purchased The Round Hearth in hopes of rebuilding both its reputation and to bring back the grand era as "Vermont's most famous ski dorm". Almost immediately Merry & Grady rebuilt the philosophy and business from zero. The plan was simple. Offer a safe, affordable, fun place for groups, keying in on healthy lifestyle choices, great food, and great people. Today, this same philosophy and passion remains ever-present and stronger then ever. By coordinating the transportation, lift tickets and lodging for group leaders, they are able to offer "one stop shopping" making it convenient and economical for chaperones. The group leaders find that they are able to sleep at night with the 24 hour support management and a night manager who maintains quiet and a safe environment.
For twenty years, the Vigneaus have carefully created and maintained not only the winter ski trip business, but also several successful camps and educational programs which are offered year round and are both locally and nationally recognized. Each year we are humbled to have camp and program directors from around the world which include athletes, coaches, musicians, artists and great teachers with collegiate affiliations with University of Vermont, University of New Hampshire, Colby College, Boston University, Boston Conservatory of Music and many more.
There is no doubt that our winter Ski and Riding Tourshave become the hallmark and very essence of The Round Hearth experience. The famous round hearth which welcomes each of our guests upon entering the building, is in itself a masterpiece of artwork. Painted by a local artist, it has a 'Michelangelo' feel with skiing cherubs, and URRI, the mythical God of Winter. From the moment groups arrive at The Round Hearth they experience our world-class staff and heart-warming freshly baked cookies, and hot chocolate, as well as a roaring fire. From start to finish, each group is welcomed into our home, and from start to finish they experience the charm and incredible skiing/riding to be found in Stowe, Vermont.
In 2008, Stowe Mountain Resort completed a huge multi-million dollar expansion, which in return has giving our groups more reason then ever to experience Stowe. With the world's fastest Gondola, the "Ski Capital of the East" offers something for everyone to experience Stowe Mountain Resort.
The true charm of Stowe is its uniqueness and quaintness which one would come to expect from an old New England Village. Although Mt. Mansfield is the tallest mountain in Vermont, it surely gives a small feel to every skier and snowboarder from advanced to novice who all feel welcomed and wanting more!
There is no doubt that once you take the chance to experience Stowe and The Round Hearth, you will truly feel as though you have become part of a family and generation which has been thriving over the past 60 years.
Our staff is here to help you organize your trip plans every step of the way. Safety and concerns for all our guests is our top priority. This spring we will have completed a new $100K high efficiency sprinkler and fire system installation, ensuring that our guests are enjoying not only "Vermont's Most Famous Ski Dorm" but also "Vermont's Safest Ski Dorm.". We thank you for visiting us online, and hope you will take the opportunity to glance through our testimonials and web pages to learn more about our programs and offerings. We hope to see you in Stowe soon!