If you have never been to Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Vermont (www.smuggs.com), then you are missing out on something exceptional.
This is a year round mountain vacation resort, located 30 miles east of the Burlington International Airport and five miles south of Jeffersonville on Route 108. The resort is easily reached from Montreal (91 miles), Boston (225 miles) and New York City (342 miles). We actually came via Toronto, spending a couple of nights first in Burlington –a great place to shop.
Smugglers’ Notch offers a complete Mountain Village with convenient restaurants, lounges, entertainment, sport shop, 10 tennis courts, a driving range, multiple and magnificent pools, Rum Runners’ Hideaway reservoir, playgrounds, woodland miniature and disc golf courses, a full service conference and banquet center, a U.S. Post Office, a real estate office, a country store, TREASURES child care center, a welcome and reservation center, and two teen centers.
Summer programs go from June through September. All accommodations are mountainside condominiums ranging from studios to five bedroom townhouses with fully-equipped living spaces and kitchens. Lodgings and facilities are all located in the walkabout Village. A free on-demand shuttle service also runs daily throughout the Village. We stayed in a beautiful two bedroom slopeside condominium. Homes are prepared for your arrival with bath towels, linens, blankets and pillows. Your condominium will also have hotel size bars of bath soap, toilet paper, paper towels, dish towels, dish soap, sponges and trash bags. The kitchen in your village home includes pots, pans, plates, glasses, silverware, cooking utensils, a toaster and an auto-drip coffee maker. All homes have a stove , refrigerator, a stacking washer and dryer or access to a washer and dryer in the building. We had four flatscreen televisions, a DVD/VCR player and a sound system. Private rooms do not have a kitchen.
Smugglers’Notch currently has 660 units, with a new phase of 35 on the way. “We are growing by about five percent per year,” says managing director Bill Stritzler, who became a homeowner in 1977, was hired in 1986 and bought the resort in 1996.
There are presently more than 7,000 owners, ranging from time-shares of two weeks a year to those who are permanent owners and share in the profits when their units are rented during the year. This is a year-round vacation paradise, with visitors coming from across Eastern Canada, the United States, Europe and Puerto Rico. It is a favorite spot for family and organization reunions.
Here is a look at the summer deals in place:
-New is the Adventure Connection Vacation Package, which maximizes vacation fun for active families with the best adventures Smugglers’ has to offer. Guests on this comprehensive package can create special memories by enjoying thrilling activities like the Zip Line Canopy Tour, llama treks, Segway tours, kayak rental, and more. The Adventure Connection also includes children’s programs for ages three to 17 that include nature discovery, games, arts and crafts, and pool and waterslide fun; in addition, children ages eight to 15 may elect to concentrate on performance, arts and crafts, nature and hiking or adventure and games. This package, with a minimum four night stay, starts at $,2132 for a family of four in a one bedroom condominium.
-The Adventure Connection joins Smugglers’ popular FamilyFest and SimplySmuggs Vacation Packages. Offering fun for kids and freedom for parents, the FamilyFest Vacation Package also includes Smugglers’ award-winning daylong children’s programs. Rates for a family of four in a one bedroom mountainside condominium start at $1,348 for a four day/for night stay on FamilyFest.
-The SimplySmuggs Vacation Package offers flexibility to families who want to make a-la-carte selections from the Resort’s varied menu of award-winning children’s programs for ages three to 17. When registering for those programs prior to arrival, families will enjoy a discounted rate of 25 percent on the children’s programs they select. Vacation package rates for a family of four in a one bedroom mountainside condominium start at $1,060 for a four day/four night stay on the SimplySmuggs Vacation Package.
The SimplySmuggs and FamilyFest Vacation Packages also offer discounts for families interested in children’s specialty camps focusing on outdoor adventure, tennis, skateboarding, and videography, which are included in the Adventure Connection Vacation Package. All three packages include fully-equipped mountainside condominium lodging; unlimited use of eight heated pools and four waterslides; daily guided walks and hikes; two teen centers; mini golf; disc golf; and use of the skate park. Family programs and entertainment included in the package are bingo, dance parties, a family magic show, and more. Nightly entertainment for adults is also included. Each package features unlimited use of the FunZone Family Entertainment Center, an indoor play center for all ages featuring climbing and bouncy inflatables such as a giant slide and obstacle course, plus a kids’ climbing wall, miniature golf, and arcade games.
WATER PLAYGROUNDS: Smugglers’ has four water playgrounds with eight pools and four waterslides. At the Mountainside Pool there is the Giant Rapid River Ride, the Turtle Slide, Little Smugglers’ Lagoon, bathhouse, snack bar, and sun decks. Over at the Courtside Pool, you can enjoy the Flume Waterslide, wading pool, Olympic-sized pool, two 14-person jacuzzi tubs and a bathhouse and snack center. Rum Runners’ Hideaway features 10-acres of natural water, Fidget Ladder, Aqua Jump, fishing, canoe and paddleboat rentals, a picnic pavilion and changing room, with spectacular mountain views. Then there is Notchville Park, a family playground amidst towering maples with the Giant Swing, Raven’s Roost Climbing Tower, three terraced pools with nearly 5,000 square feet of water area, Peregrine’s Picnic Pavilion, sand volleyball court, croquet, tumbling brook, frog pond, and bathhouse. Notchville also features the Twister, a 140 foot body flume waterslide.
The Village and Sterling Ponds provide great trout fishing, and the Lamoille River and Lake Champlain (the “Sixth Great Lake”) are nearby.
SUMMER FUN UNIVERSITY: Each family member is entitled to join in the daily Summer Fun University programs included in the FamilyFest and Adventure Connection Vacation Packages: Discovery Dynamos (for 3-4 year olds), Trail Blazers (5-6), Adventure Rangers (7-10), the Notch Squad (11-15), Mountain Explorers (16-17), and Adult Adventures. Dozens of family activities spanning the ages are also included.
ZIP LINE: Following a mountain brook from high above Smugglers’ Notch Resort Village, the ArborTrek Zip Line Canopy Tour at Smugglers’ descends through mature stands of hemlock, white birch, and sugar maple. The two and a half to three-hour tour includes riding down more than 4,000 feet of zip lines, crossing sky bridges, and rappeling from trees, offering a memorable and thrilling experience for ages eight and older. The tour is included in the Adventure Connections Vacation Package. It just opened last December. “Our partner in this venture, Mike Smith, was driving through the area looking for a spot to introduce zip lining,” explains Lisa Howe, vice-president of new marketing opportunities.“When he pulled into our lot, he said ‘this is it.”
Other unique fee-based programs include fishing and paddling adventures, golf instruction, health and wellness offerings, arts and crafts classes, and more. Special Facilities
TREASURES Child Care Center is a 5,400 foot modern center for youngsters six weeks to three years old with special parent and kid-friendly features such as three age-appropriate playrooms, a fenced adjacent playground, and dedicated parking.
Four playground sites scattered around the resort are fitted with play structures for kids between the ages of six months and 12 years of age. They include the TREASURES Playground at the day care center, the Secret Playground near the Courtside Pool and the Big Kid’s Park nestled among the condominium clusters. Three additional playgrounds are located in condominium neighborhoods for use by those guests.
There are two teen centers: Teen Alley for ages 13-15 and Outer Limits for ages 16 and older.
An on-site outdoor golf driving range with Professional PGA and LPGA instruction for all ages includes equipment. There are 15 stations for golf clinics, private sessions, family fun events, and many organized programs for youth and adults. Several great golf courses are nearby.
Smugglers’ Summer family vacations start at $1,060 for a family of four staying for four nights in a mountainside one-bedroom condominium. Pricing is determined by the length of the stay, the rate period, and the size of the condominium. In addition to lodging, packages include unlimited use of Smugglers’ pools, waterslides, and hot tubs; use of the FunZone Family Recreation Center; daily guided hiking and walking treks; and special entertainment for families and adults. Additional programs are available that are fee-based.
Vacation deposits are refunded on cancellations received seven or more days prior to the guest’s scheduled arrival. Later cancellations will have the deposit credited to a future stay within the next two years. This place guarantees family fun.
AUTUMN FUN: In the fall the Smugglers mountains – Morse, Sterling, and Madonna – in the Green Mountain chain rise to a 3,610 foot elevation from the Village. Historic Smugglers’ Notch pass is an interesting drive; the Long Trail, a hiking path through the entire length of Vermont, crosses Madonna for easy access.
Open daily through mid September, warm weather permitting, is the Mountainside Water Playground with an outdoor lap pool, Little Smugglers’ Lagoon, 330′ Giant Rapid River Ride and Turtle Mini-Waterslide. There is also a bath house with showers and changing rooms. The courtside pool is an indoor heated facility with hot tubs and bath house, available from mid-September on. The Village Pond and Sterling Pond provide great trout fishing, and the Lamoille River & Lake Champlain (the “Sixth Great Lake”) are nearby. Special Facilities
Disc Golf offers 18 holes on a beautiful woodland course. Disc rentals are available. This is a game for all ages that combines a walk through the woods with the fun of throwing a disc.Tennis is available daily and features eight outdoor clay courts and two outdoor hard courts. Equipment is available.
Six playground sites scattered around the resort are fitted with play structures for kids between the ages of six months and 12 years. They include the Pirate Ship Playground, the Fairy Castle Playground, and the Firefly Garden in the main Village; and the Star Playground and the Big Kid’s Park nestled among the condominium clusters. There is also a playground at TREASURES child care center. Vacation Value with Smugglers’ fall packages
An AutumnFest package offers Smugglers’ exceptional lodging and programming at the lowest rates of the year! The package includes lodging and use of the pool and hot tubs. Guests also have the opportunity to enjoy Smugglers’ woodland miniature golf, shuffleboard, basketball and volleyball. The cost for AutumnFest for a family of four staying two nights in a two bedroom condominium is $410; other lodging sizes and stays are available. With stays of three nights or more, an additional night is free.
WINTER: Ski and snowboard season is from late November until mid-April. Three interconnected mountains comprise northern Vermont’s biggest vertical drop at 2,610 feet. Skiers and snowboarders are welcome on all trails. Morse Mountain, the beginners’ haven, rises directly out of the Resort Village. Sterling Mountain’s terrain appeals especially to intermediates, while Madonna Mountain is the expert skiers’ mountain. Snowfall
Smugglers’ Notch averages 316 feet of snow per season(based on a five year average). Snowmaking covers 62 percent of total terrain. The $2.5 million in improvements over the last several years include a 20 million gallon reservoir and additional pumps and guns. More than 100 snow guns are water and energy efficient. Grooming capabilities are enhanced by a winch cat groomer, power tiller, and Zaugg groomer to maintain and contour terrain park features. Lifts
On Morse, The Village Lift is 5,200 feet long and Mogul Mouse’s Magic Lift, a special low-to-the-ground beginner’s chairlift, is 4,600 feet long. The Morse Highlands Lift is 1,400 feet long. The Sterling Lift is 5700 feet, the T-Bar on Sterling is 1,300 feet. Madonna I is 6,600 feet, and Madonna II is 4,700feet long. Sir Henry’s Learning & Fun Park on Morse also has a handle tow. Total: six chairs and two surface lifts. On Morse, two conveyor lifts service learning areas. There is an additional conveyor lift at TREASURES Child Care Center to serve the Little Rascals on Snow, a ski instruction program for toddlers.
Smugglers’ famous base-to-summit Madonna 1 Lift offers 360-degree views of Canada, New Hampshire’s White Mountains to the east, and Lake Champlain to the west. Lift Hours Three of Smugglers’ lifts–one each on Morse, Sterling, and Madonna–open at 8 a.m. on weekends. On weekdays, all lifts open at 9 a.m. except the Village Lift and the Sterling Summit Lift, which open at 8:30 am. All lifts close at 4 p.m.
Smugglers’ has 78 trails on 300 acres of marked and patrolled acreage. There are an additional 700 acres of unmarked and patrolled terrain, for a total of 1,000 acres, the largest in Vermont. The longest run is 3 miles from the Madonna summit to the Village. Popular trails include the Garden Path on Morse, and Chilcoot, FIS, Rumrunner, Treasure and Black Snake on Madonna and Sterling. The Black Hole on Madonna Mountain is the only triple black diamond trail in the East. The trail system can be broken down as follows: 19 percent easier, 50 percent intermediate, 25 percent expert, and 6 percent extreme.
Smugglers’ Snow Sport University offers group and private instruction for all ages and ability levels. All-day ski and snowboard camps include Discovery Dynamos (ages 3-5; snowboard camp begins at age 4), Adventure Rangers (ages 6-10), and the Notch Squad (ages 11-14). Mountain Explorers is for teens ages 15-17 and includes two hours of on-slope instruction or a full-day camp during holiday weeks. For beginner boarders, Night School for Boarding is offered evenings twice weekly. The Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Adventure Center provides snowshoe and cross country skiing instruction and outings. Sir Henry’s Learning and Fun Park is worth a gander. Five acres on Morse Mountain make up this park, which is the site of Night School for Boarding for rank beginners on selected evenings, and a tube-sliding area. The Jib and Jump Park on the Log Jam Trail on Morse Highlands offers more space for beginner features such as rolls, a table, a box, and a sculpted trail. Perfect for those new to parks and the fun offered in them!
Birch Run Park has 1,000 feet of park on the lengthened Birch Run trail on Sterling Mountain. This trail is peppered with modified table tops, rolls, and spines for entry and intermediate level skiers and riders – the learning place for those aspiring to big air at Prohibition Park.
The Zone is located on the Practice Slope on Sterling with the biggest hits and rails for expert and championship riders.The Zone is the site for Altitude Adjustment events in which intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders can show their stuff with freestyle stunts. Music, prizes and product giveaways add to the fun. Family Fun Guarantee!
Smugglers’ Notch guarantees Family Fun at Snow Sport University! Smugglers’ guarantees that each member of the family will learn to ski or snowboard or will improve technique, regardless of ability level – or the entire lesson portion of that person’s vacation package will be refunded.
DINING: Three Mountain Lodge (www.threemountainlodge.com) is located on scenic and historic Smugglers’ Notch Road (Route 108) in Jeffersonville, Vermont, just a five minute drive from the resort. Originally built in 1966 by the University of Vermont for their Outing Club, the lodge has a 30 year tradition of hosting good times. It later housed the UVM & Johnson State College ski teams, as well as a state-run alternative school. In the late seventies, Smugglers’ Notch Resort purchased the property, gave it the name Three Mountain Lodge, and returned it to use as a ski dorm. In 1983, Steve and Colleen Blood came to Jeffersonville and began their operation, at first continuing the ski lodging tradition business in winter and a restaurant the rest of the year. In 1984 they purchased the property. With the restaurant’s continued growth, it became hard to accommodate ski groups. To the disappointment of many loyal guests and friends, lodging had to be phased out. This is a popular spot to dine. They are open six days a week and closed on Mondays. Steve or Colleen usually greet you at the door and bring a large whiteboard to your table containing all of the specials. There are plenty of meat and seafood selections. The prime rib is one of their specialities, charcoal broiled in 10 and 16 ounce servings. It comes with two sides. I opted for the mashed potatoes and baked macaroni. Scallops can be prepared broiled or grilled.The steaks, broiled trout, shrimp scampi, slow cooked ribs and rack of lamb also looked great. Make sure not to leave without trying their homemade ice cream . We sampled the blueberry and vanilla flavors. You can call 802-644-5736 or email email@example.com.