Growing up my family went on one kind of family vacation, it involved a castle, palm trees, and a certain Mouse. I loved those family vacations, so much that now that I have kids we still go. That place always gave off a magical feeling, like right there in those moments everything in the world was right. I always felt safe. I never worried if everyone was having fun. And I always knew we were in a family friendly environment. I didn’t think it was possible to find a better family vacation until we visited Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Vermont earlier this month.
Smugglers’ Notch combines everything I want in a family vacation: a safe destination, great accommodations, activities for the whole family and yes, even a bit of magic.
Smugglers’ Notch: A True Family Vacation
We arrived at Smugglers’ Notch, or as we quickly learned everyone affectionately calls it “Smuggs” on Thursday evening. The sun was starting to set as we pulled up to our room, a gorgeous 3 bedroom, 2 bath condo with a full kitchen, 2 decks and 2 fireplaces with a stunning view of the mountains.
Vermont Country Fair
Jack and I headed to the weekly Vermont Country Fair, which happens every Thursday night during the summer season. Local craft vendors along with the local distillery and a local winery had set up on the large lawn that is a gathering place at Smuggs. The fair also included a go-kart race and games for the kids. The games were free and the kids had the opportunity to win a small prize. Jack had to play every game while I had to try every wine.
Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream
After the fair, we went to the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream store at Smugglers’ Notch. Jack’s love of Ben and Jerry’s is what led us to vacation in Vermont and he was thrilled that we didn’t need to go far to have his first ice cream.
Smugglers’ Notch Country Store
I stopped in the Country Store where guests at Smugglers’ Notch can pick up all of the groceries they will need for their stay. The store was also stocked with locally made products like Vermont cheese, freshly baked bread and Vermont pepperoni. Smugglers’ Notch keeps with Vermont’s efforts to keep all dollars local, meaning that there is a strong focus on small, local products at the resort.
Back at our room, I cut up the cheese, pepperoni, and bread from the store; poured a glass of Boyden Valley Wineries Big Barn Red, which was perfect for the chilly summer night and enjoyed on our screened in deck.
Friday morning everyone except me slept in. I got up early to watch the sunrise while I sipped my coffee on the screened in deck. I made it a habit to set my alarm just so I could have that half hour to myself every morning.
Friendly Pirate Breakfast
Jack was eager to see some characters which meant going to the Friendly Pirate Breakfast at Morse Mountain Grill. The food was great but the real fun was Ron the Friendly Pirate who plays guitar and sings a few songs at each table, along with Mogel Mouse and Billy Bob Bear. Jack loved the silly songs and meeting the characters. Ron the Friendly pirate has a loyal following, a little girl at another table came over in a homemade Ron tee shirt and knew the words to every song.
Wine and Water Kayak Trip
After breakfast, we dropped the kids at camp. Grace went to TREASURES and Jack went to the Trail Blazer’s Camp. John and I drove a short ride down the mountain to the Water and Wine Kayak Trip. We did a 4-mile kayak to Boyden Valley Winery where we sampled wine, ate cheese and even tried a few of the wineries ciders. We came home with a giant box of wine, cider and maple syrup.
We met another couple on the tour who had been coming to Smuggs for years and they told us how much they loved it. We would hear this from other families again and again on our trip.
Mogul Mouse and Billy Bob Pizza Party
We picked the kids up from camp at 4:00 and everyone was in good spirits. We grabbed a quick dinner at Riga-Bello’s the pizza place at Smugglers’ Notch, where our friends from the morning Mogul Mouse and Billy Bob Bear were hanging out with another friendly pirate who told stories for the Mogul Mouse and Billy Bob Pizza Party.
Jack had been jumping, begging and pleading to get to FunZone 2.0 since we arrived (Ok more like the entire car ride ). FunZone 2.0 is 2 floors of a kids paradise filled with arcade games, laser tag, bounce houses, obstacle courses, slot car races and a rock wall. Jack bounced, jumped and slid until his heart was content and exhausted. We would end up going back the next night so that I could experience FunZone 2.0.
While they played I poured a glass of wine and filled the jacuzzi tub to soak my aching muscles from our kayak trip.
Saturday the kids went to camp again, we were quickly loving this routine of enjoying breakfast, camp and then meeting back up after camp.
John and I set out to explore the area around Smugglers’ Notch. We hiked one of the beginner trails that follows a babbling brook up to the reservoir.
Smugglers’ Notch Distillery
Smugglers’ Notch Distillery is a welcoming little place where the spirits are definitely the shining star. We tried whiskey, gin, rum and vodka each one was better than the next. My husband a distillery enthusiast (is that a thing?) declared the vodka the best he ever had and I found myself really liking the whiskey. We once again found ourselves heading out the door with bottles.
Hearth and Candle
For our last night, we enjoyed dinner at Hearth and Candle. The kids had burritos, John had a burger and I had the cheese plate as my meal. The cheese plate was the best I’ve ever had and came with fresh roasted garlic and fresh bread. I could eat that cheese plate every day. Hearth and Candle is a farm to table restaurant and it shows in how fresh and delicious everything was. I appreciated that families with kids were sat in one room and those dining without kids in another. It allowed us to have a fancy meal with the kids, and not having to worry about disturbing other diners.
One thing we heard through out our time at Smuggs was how much other families love it here. That like us the found the service, and family friendly environment to be up to magical standards. The resort is clean, welcoming and beautiful. You enter Smugglers’ Notch and feel like you’ve entered another world. There is so much to do, yet I didn’t feel rushed or anxious to do it all because something about Smugglers’ Notch makes you relax because they have thought of everything that families need for a relaxing vacation. From great activities and friendly characters to child care and wine tasting to FunZone 2.0 and hiking, there is something for every member of your family at Smugglers’ Notch.
My family found Smugglers’ Notch Resort while planning our vacation to Vermont. Smugglers’ Notch Resort hosted us for 3 nights. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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