Smugglers’ Notch Review
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Smugglers’ Notch Resort is a popular family travel destination in the mountains of Vermont that features healthy, locally sourced food for guests to enjoy during their vacation.
When I got married 15 years ago, I lucked out geographically. My husband comes from Vermont, so over the years we’ve visited family in the green mountains many times. I’m always struck by the beauty and peacefulness of this part of the country.
This summer, my family enjoyed a weekend at Smugglers’ Notch Resort. Located in northern Vermont, this family-friendly vacation destination has loads of fun outdoor activities for all ages. It’s not surprising that this place has been named one of the best family resorts in the eastern U.S. by various media outlets.
The resort features several pools with water slides and other elements for guests to enjoy. Rum Runners Hideaway and Bootleggers Basin are more rustic options for water fun. We took the short hike up one of the ski mountains to Rum Runners Hideaway, and it was well worth the trek. My kids loved bouncing on the Aqua Jump and getting launched into the lake. You can see my husband and son putting the Aqua Launch into action in the video at the bottom of this post.
Arbortrek is a unique activity for adventurous families. The Zipline Canopy Tour and Treetop Obstacle Course put guests up in the trees for an unforgettable experience. My family ventured onto the Treetop Obstacle Course, which has several different levels of difficulty to accommodate varying levels of bravery in the group. In my family, the oldest member (me) was the first to bow out. I’m so glad we all challenged ourselves, though!
For those visiting Smugglers’ Notch for more than a few days, the camp programs are a great option. Kids can enjoy activities specially suited to their age and interests, while adults can go off on their own adventures. Parents can participate in hikes, winery tours, and water activities while their kids experience the many interactive programs that are part of the Smugglers’ Notch camps. While this isn’t a low-budget vacation, it’s worth saving up for to enjoy all this unique family programming.
Local Food at Smugglers Notch Resort
This resort has an exceptional array of options when it comes to locally sourced food. Right in the center of Smugglers’ Notch Village, you’ll find two restaurants, a country store, and a farmers market that feature local products. Guests stay in condominium-style housing, so you can save money by preparing some of your meals in the condo kitchen. And if you want to venture off-site, there are several locavore markets and dining options in town, including a farm-to-table dinner at a local organic farm.
Hearth and Candle: This cozy restaurant at the Smugglers’ Notch Village uses locally sourced ingredients to put together their family-friendly dinner menu. We especially enjoyed the house-pickled vegetables, the seasonal salad special, and the tacos. My kids loved the maple ice cream, which came from a local creamery in northern Vermont. For those dining without children, there’s a separate dining room to enjoy a quieter, child-free meal.
Morse Mountain Grille: This is the main restaurant at Smugglers’ Notch, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They feature items from over a dozen area farms and businesses on their menus, including local produce, dairy, and beer. This is a more casual eatery, and we appreciated the hearty breakfast that energized us for an active morning at the Treetop Obstacle Course.
Farmers Market: I knew I was in the right place when I learned that Smugglers’ Notch has a farmers’ market right at the resort on Monday mornings. Several local farms and producers sell fresh fruits and vegetables, maple syrup, and locally sourced adult beverages for guests to purchase. If you miss this farmers market, there’s another one in Jeffersonville on Wednesday evenings.
Farm to Table Dinners: On Tuesday nights during the summer, Valley Dream Farm in Cambridge hosts a farm dinner. Guests enjoy a tour of this organic farm followed by a feast prepared by a local chef. Children are welcome at these farm dinners, and the menu changes according to what fresh produce is available at the farm. This experience is a bit pricey, but it seems like it would be well worth it for the opportunity to experience such a unique meal right on the farm.
Country Store: This shop at the Smugglers’ Notch Village is stocked with items that you can eat back in your condominium or bring home as gifts. Locally made products including cheese, sausage, jam, and bread can be found on the shelves of the Country Store.
Outside the Resort: If you’re willing to venture out of the resort for some of your meals, there are some great options nearby. The Burger Barn is a small food truck-type shop that sells grass-fed burgers using beef from a nearby farm. Mtn Seasons Woodfired is a bagel shop that sources ingredients locally and boils their bagels in a maple water bath. And the Farm Store offers fresh local produce and kombucha on tap. These are just a few of the affordable locavore options in Jeffersonville.
Here’s a one-minute Smugglers’ Notch review video highlighting my favorite things about the resort:
Upcoming Events at Smugglers’ Notch
Smugglers’ Notch Resort hosts many special events throughout the year. The summer season winds down on August 30th, and the fall season offers several opportunities to enjoy a family getaway at Smuggs.
During Labor Day weekend, Smugglers’ Notch is hosting their very first Family Celebration. This event will include a family scavenger hunt-style race, a country fair, a raptor demonstration, a marionette show, an evening disc golf glow round, and many more special activities throughout the weekend.
Beyond Labor Day, the fall season runs through October 18. When my husband was growing up in Vermont, his parents used to take the family for a drive up the mountain toward Smugglers’ Notch to enjoy the canopy of foliage in the fall. At the resort, many of the summertime activities are still available to guests into October, in addition to the autumn-themed programming. With the special offer of a fourth night free after a three night vacation in September or October, this is a great time of year for a short getaway to enjoy some family time surrounded by Vermont’s beautiful foliage.
How fun! I have never been and this place looks amazing especially since my boys are getting bigger and can do it all.
This looks like a ton of fun. My daughters would have a blast in that pool!
The pools are so fun for the kids! And lots of lounge chairs for parents to get some r&r. 🙂