When I was invited to Smugglers Notch in Vermont for a Bloggers Weekend with my family, I thought. “Neat”. When I started looking into the resort amenities, I thought, “Wow.” After experiencing a long weekend there? One word: “Amazing”.
So how do you put words into describing “Amazing”?
Therein lies the problem. I have been struggling about how to share my trip to Smuggs since it has been so hard to focus on the awesomeness of everything about it. So I decided that the post should just tell it like it is:
My stay at the Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Vermont was freaking awesome.
You should book a trip ASAP.
What? You want more than that?
While the resort brochures say it is a family friendly resort, they really mean it. It is not a marketing ploy. It is family friendly because there are things for kids and adults to do. Together and separately. For tweens and teens. Toddlers and pre-schoolers.
As parents of a toddler, there are not many places we can go where we, the parents, feel like we had a vacation. Then there are even fewer places that actually have activities and destinations that would appeal to a toddler (or places that appeal to a toddler and teen if you have some sort of family combination like that). The list grows smaller if you only want a destination that is drivable from the Boston Area. Yes, can you believe it? A vacation destination that does not require you to pay baggage fees, pack everything into 3 ounce containers and pray that your child will not scream the entire flight.
Seriously, this is an amazing emerald in the Green Mountain State. Ask my friends, family and neighbors. It is all I have been talking about this summer. (Many of them listened and booked vacations themselves.) So to share the details with you, here are the highlights to wet your travel appetite.
The lodging is like a condo. There is a kitchen in every unit, with relevant supplies. It makes traveling with kids that much easier. You can stock up on their favorite cereal or store formula/breastmilk in the fridge. It can keep money in your pocket as it minimizes the need to eat out. Units also have washer and dryers, which is perfect it you have little ones especially. The units have everything you need as well: dishwashing soap, sponges, plates, cups, utensils. You can rent pack-n-plays, cribs, high-chairs, safety gear like cabinet locks, and even strollers for really reasonable fees. While there are some units that are studios, most have bedrooms (1-5). It makes spreading out as a family so much more comfortable than a hotel room.
The location in the mountains of Vermont, about 1 hour from Burlington, 1 hour from Montreal and about 30 minutes from the Ben & Jerry Factory (just sayin’) makes it a great destination in-and-of itself. Yet, the Smugglers Notch Resort has a lot of free activities everyday: Pirate Breakfast, Family Sing-a-longs and more. There is less to do on the weekend as it is a time when most people are checking out and checking in, but the weekdays are jam-packed with free family fun – winter and summer.
In addition to area attractions, there are also a lot of pools and playareas, like an indoor fun zone, at the resort. What I loved most was the fact that there were splash areas just for the wee-ones – both indoor and outdoor so even if you go to Smuggs in the winter, you can still have fun splashing.
They also have resort packages or pay-as-you go activities for everyone from 6 weeks of age upwards. Ziplines in the summer, day camps, daycare, ski lessons in the winter and more. As we spent the weekend there, I met a woman who had been going to Smuggs for 9 years with her 6 children. She said that Smuggs was the one place that everyone had something to do that interested them based on their age. After seeing all that there is to offer, I can totally see that.
For those that live in New England, you can drive. Which saves on airline costs, and all the security and toddler in a flying box headaches. For us, that was already a “Plus 1″ before we even arrived. When we did arrive, we could ditch the car. Everything is within walking distance on the resort, but there are free shuttles that take you around as well. It made it really feel like you could just ‘escape’ from reality, especially since you get a break from have to buckle your toddler or infant in the car seat every two seconds.
To be honest, we didn’t find any great dining in the area, but it worked because, frankly, the food does not need to be steller. We just need to be able to eat it without having to wolf it down, which is usually what you have to do with kids, right? The service at all of the Smuggs restaurants was great with very friendly staff, the kid’s menus are extensive and with it being a family resort, you didn’t have to worry about noise or food falling on the floor. While the unit’s kitchen makes it possible to ‘eat in’, it was great to be able to take a break from cooking, but only have to take the shuttle down to the main part of the resort for a nice dinner. Easy vacationing at its best.
When you are on vacation, you might see something fun to do, like Ziplining or Skiing. Yet, what to do with the baby or toddler? Treasures is one of the most amazing childcare facilities I have seen. I wish I could pack it up and move it near our house. Check out the video interview I did with the manager of Treasures to see what an amazing gem it is at Smugglers Notch. So you can ski in the winter, zipline in the summer, get a massage or have lunch with your partner whenever. They also have babysitting services if you want to make it from a date afternoon to a date night. Even more awesome is that they take children starting at 6 weeks of age. So if you are ready to hit the slopes post-pregnancy, you can. Or if you have a toddler and a newborn, it doesn’t mean you have to put off a vacation for a couple of years. If your child is 3 and up, they have award winning Children’s programs and camps in the summer and the winter.
So whether it be hiking in the summer, snowboarding in the winter or learning how to do either one of those activities, Smugglers understands that parents and kids are looking for fun as a family, and they deliver. We can’t wait to go back this winter and next summer. All in all, I think it is especially a great vacation destination if you are traveling with a baby or toddler for the first time too.
So what did I tell you? Amazing.