Author Archives: The View from Up Here

Vermont’s “Snowflake Man”

On a cold January day in 1885, a young Wilson Bentley would do something extraordinary that would forever change the way the world looked at snow. After three years of trial and error and failed attempts, the man who would become known the world over as “Snowflake” Bentley, would capture the first clear photographic image of a single snowflake, or more accurately, a snow crystal.

Nestled in a picturesque valley at the base of Bolton Mountain in Jericho, Vermont, was the farm where Willie was born, the younger of two sons of Edwin and Fannie Bentley. From his earliest days wandering the hills and meadows with his brother Charles, Willie was fascinated with all things in the natural world.  Willie was sensitive, artistic, and inquisitive. At the age of 60, he recalled those early days:  “I never went to school until I was fourteen years old. My mother taught me at home. She had been a school teacher before she married my father, and she instilled in me her love of knowledge and of the finer things in life.  And it was my mother that made it possible for me, at fifteen, to begin the work to which I have devoted my life. She had a small microscope which she had used in her school teaching.  When the other boys of my age were playing with popguns and sling shots, I was absorbed in studying things under this microscope – drops of water, tiny fragments of stone, a feather dropped from a bird’s wing, a delicately veined petal from some flower – but always, from the very beginning, it was snowflakes that fascinated me most.”

During the next two years, young Willie spent many a winter’s day in a cold room at the rear of the farmhouse, peering through the microscope at snow crystals collected from the passing storms. He was fascinated by the beauty and intricacy of the crystals, and attempted to capture this by making drawings of them. He made hundreds of sketches but was painfully aware that what he drew was a poor substitute for what he saw.

No one knows exactly where he got the idea of photographing the snow crystals but Willie figured that if he could combine a microscope with a camera, he could preserve the beautiful snow crystals and share them with the world. The problem was, the camera he needed cost $100! That was a huge amount of money in the early 1880s. But fate was to play a hand. When Fannie’s mother died in 1880, a bequest to Fannie, in the sum of $100, provided her the money needed to pay for the camera. It’s certain she had to do some convincing to persuade the somewhat frugal Edwin to spend that amount of money on something he saw as a “waste of time”, but somehow she managed, and on Willie’s 17th birthday in 1882, they presented him with the camera and microscope that would secure his place in history.

It would be almost three years of trial and error before Willie would figure out the complexities of actually photographing snow crystals. From figuring out how to combine the camera and microscope, creating a “stop” to let in just the right amount of light, and devising a way to quickly focus the image, each step was a challenge. Finally, on January 15, 1885, Willie captured that first clear image of a snow crystal.  Many years later he would say, “The day that I developed the first negative made by this method and found it good, I felt almost like falling to my knees beside that apparatus and worshipping it! I knew then that what I had dreamed of doing was possible.  It was the greatest moment of my life”. Willie was but 19 years old.

Even after he figured out the technique, the process was still daunting, working in the cold of an unheated woodshed so the crystal wouldn’t melt. He wore heavy mittens, so the heat from his hands wouldn’t warm the microscope slide, and literally held his breath while he completed the process. 

Perhaps Willie’s greatest personal struggle was to gain acceptance within his community and even within his family. The people who mattered most, his father and brother, and his neighbors in Jericho, thought it was a “waste of time, messing with snowflakes”, and some even thought he was a little “cracked”. When asked toward the end of his life what his neighbors thought of him, Willie replied,

“Oh, I guess they’ve always believed I was crazy, or a fool, or both. Years ago, I thought they might feel different if they understood what I was doing. I thought they might be glad to understand. So I announced that I would give a talk in the village and show lantern slides of my pictures. They are beautiful, you know, marvelously beautiful on the screen. But when the night came for my lecture just six people were there to hear me. It was free, mind you! And it was a fine, pleasant evening, too. But they weren’t interested”.

In spite of this lack of acceptance or acknowledgment, Willie remained just as excited as ever about the world around him. He had written many articles for scientific magazines and now began to write more and more for the general public. The poet and the artist in Willie took over. He had to tell of the beauty and the elegance he saw in the world of the snow crystals, the frost, and the dew. He wrote many articles for such magazines as Country Life, National Geographic, Popular Mechanics, and The New York Times Magazine. He began to lecture more and more, not only to local groups in surrounding communities but to scientific organizations like the Buffalo Museum of Science and the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. He prepared boxes of lantern slides of dew, frost, snow crystals, and clouds, and by the 1920’s dozens of colleges and universities had the Bentley slides to show to students in the sciences.

Lacy Snow Crystal

From that first photograph in 1885 until his death, Willie photographed over 5,381 snow crystals.  His dream had always been to share his gift with the world, and in 1931 his dream was realized with the publication of “Snow Crystals”, a collection of over 2400 of his finest photographs. In April of that year, in announcing the upcoming publication, Willie wrote “it will serve to further increase the fame of Vermont’s marvelous snowflakes, and to give added millions of people the chance to see them and be thrilled by their beauty”.

Sadly, Willie would not get to enjoy his success for long.  He was 66 years old, and though in good health did not get around or do things quite as rapidly as he had before. Winter was fast approaching and the camera had to be ready for the first snow. This was the same camera with which he had taken his first photomicrograph 46 years before. It was old, it was battered, but it still worked. With it he had taken his 5,381st photomicrograph on the first of March of the preceding spring. He looked forward to the winter ahead with as much zest as he had approached that first winter with the camera.

Willie’s favorite snow crystal

The Winter of 1931 was warmer than normal, and by mid-December Willie had not photographed a single snow crystal. He made routine entries in his logbook of weather conditions. On Monday, the 7th of December, 1931, he finished his entry, “Cold north wind afternoon. Snow Flying.” That was the last entry he was ever to make.

 Following a trip to Burlington, he returned to Richmond on the train.  It had started to snow and Willie was determined not to miss an opportunity to capture whatever the storm had to offer. He hurriedly started walking home, a distance of about 7 miles, in what quickly turned into a blizzard. Chilled to the bone by the time he got home, he developed a cold which turned into pneumonia, and died on December 23, 1931.

The following day many a newspaper across the country reported his death. But perhaps the most poignant and understanding comments came from his own hometown paper:

“Longfellow said that genius is infinite painstaking. John Ruskin declared that genius is only a superior power of seeing. Wilson Bentley was a living example of this type of genius. He saw something in the snowflakes which other men failed to see, not because they could not see, but because they had not the patience and the understanding to look.

Truly, greatness blooms in quiet corners and flourishes under strange circumstances. For Wilson Bentley was a greater man than many a millionaire who lives in luxury of which the ‘Snowflake Man’ never dreamed.”

Perhaps his friends and neighbors had understood him after all.

That his work endures is a testament to the dedication and passion of a humble Vermont farmer, who wanted nothing more than to share his discovery with the world, and who taught us that no two snowflakes are alike. As he wrote in 1904, “The snow crystals…come to us not only to reveal the wondrous beauty of the minute in Nature but to teach us that all earthly beauty is transient and must soon fade away. But though the beauty of the snow is evanescent, like the beauties of the autumn, as of the evening sky, it fades but to come again”.

Article by Sue Richardson
Great grand-niece of Wilson Bentley

Chittenden Mills

Bentley’s cameras and microscopes, along with many of his photographs and other artifacts, are on display at the Snowflake Bentley Exhibit at the Old Red Mill, located on Route 15 in Jericho. This historic grist mill also contains a unique display of antique milling equipment and houses the Old Mill Craft Shop which features the Snowflake Bentley collection of prints, ornaments, and more, along with one-of-a-kind items from a wide range of local artists and crafters.

The museum and shop are operated by the Jericho Historical Society and staffed by volunteers, so hours of operation vary by season. Check the website at jerichohistoricalsociety.org or call (802) 899-3225 for hours and directions.

laura-light-beams

Mount Mansfield, A Peak Experience

Laura Light Beams, Photo by Chris Diegel

Mansfield is the pinnacle of Vermont. The highest peak in the state at 4,393 feet, it attracts over 40,000 visitors each year. Named after the now disestablished town of Mansfield, Vermont, it rises up as a distinctive landmark with spectacular, sweeping views in all directions. When viewed from a distance, the mountain resembles a man’s facial profile in repose, and so the ridgeline features are aptly named: the Forehead, Nose, Upper and Lower Lips, Chin, and Adam’s Apple. The summit is located at the Chin. The ridgeline is accessible to all, making it a top destination for local and out-of-state visitors alike.

Hikers approaching the Chin of Mount Mansfield, Photo by Chris Diegel

For people looking for exercise and challenge, the many trails on Mansfield make this mountain a hiker’s paradise. Marissa Saltzman, a longtime Smugglers’ employee and experienced hiker, says of summiting Mansfield, “It’s a great opportunity, but you should work your way up to it.” Hiking the mountain is considered difficult and should not be taken on by first-timers. Smugglers’ offers many guided treks during the week that would provide excellent opportunities to gear up for such an adventure.

Hiking enthusiasts with some experience who are well prepared for a full day on the mountain are in for quite a treat when they take on the challenge. On a clear day, the views include Lake Champlain, the Adirondacks of New York, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Southern Vermont, and Canada. “When you’re up on top of Mount Mansfield, and you’re looking down at everything below you, you see the world with a little bit of a different perspective,” says Saltzman.

Betzi Goodman, an avid local hiker, recommends the preparation for a Mansfield hike start the night before. Eating a good meal, getting a good night’s sleep, and pre-hydrating the day of the hike can make a big difference for hikers. Betzi observes, “Even on a seemingly cloudy, cool day, it’s still an extensive hike.” Hiking guides encourage 2 to 3 liters of water, sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good tread, warm layers (including one to break the wind), and a substantial lunch.

What makes Mount Mansfield even more special is that there are other ways to experience the summit. Traveling by car or gondola ride makes the experience possible for anyone, regardless of age or athleticism. The four-mile Auto Toll Road, built in 1870, is a winding unpaved road that switchbacks up the side of the mountain, starting on Route 108 on the eastern side of the mountain and finishing at the Nose. At the Toll Road’s end, the Green Mountain Club staffs a visitor center with caretakers who can provide information on trail conditions, mountain ecology, environmental impacts, and geology. After parking the car, visitors can follow the white blazes of the Long Trail, the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States. This trail extends the length of Vermont from the Massachusetts border to the Canada border, spanning a total of 273 miles. On Mount Mansfield, the Long Trail follows the ridgeline and leads walkers from the Toll Road a short distance to a lookout with extensive views in all directions.

Since ancient times, rock piles known as cairns have been used to mark paths in nature, particularly on mountain peaks above the treeline.

More adventurous guests can continue along the Long Trail one mile to the true summit and highest point in the state atop the Chin. This is a good outing for families with children who are not quite old enough for an extensive hike, but enjoy scrambling over rock surfaces and are prepared with sturdy footwear, water, and snacks. Families should be careful to stay on the main trail, however, as side trails can offer an unexpected adrenaline rush with ladders, cliffs, and rock scrambles.

Another way up the mountain in the summer and fall is on the Gondola Skyride at Stowe Mountain Resort. This fun ride is gentle and relaxing, and riders can enjoy the view. There is even an option to sit down for a meal at Cliff House Restaurant at the top. The ride ends just under the ridgeline on the eastern side of the mountain. A hiking trail called the Cliff Trail is located a few hundred feet from the top of the Gondola and offers the opportunity to hike up to the Long Trail for more extensive views. This trail is considered extremely difficult with rock scrambles and ledges and is not recommended for families with younger children.

Due to the elevation of the mountain, Mount Mansfield is one of three summits in Vermont to showcase a unique arctic alpine community. The vegetation and wildlife resembles that which lived in New England during the ice ages. This vegetation hangs in a delicate balance and can be dramatically impacted by human traffic. When entering the summit area, guests are asked to do the “rock hop” to avoid stepping on the fragile plant life. Dogs are also leashed in this area to reduce impact. This harsh environment can be tricky for humans too. All visitors should be ready for a quick change in weather. Richard Goff, a Smugglers’ ski instructor, and former hiking guide advises, “People should have a coat of some sort because it’s very likely that you’re going to have some wind and bad weather is possible.”

If you and your family have not had a chance to visit Mount Mansfield, make sure to include it in this year’s vacation. “It’s all about going out and exploring,” says Betzi Goodman. Whether that is on a hiking trail, riding up the Gondola, or driving the Toll Road, Mount Mansfield has something for everyone. Remember to be prepared with water, food, footwear, and your camera, and you’re bound to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Mansfield Outings

The Auto Toll Road has a fee of $29 per car and driver. For each additional passenger (5 years & older) there is a fee of $11. The Toll Road is about a 10-minute drive from Smugglers’ and is open May 28 – October 16, 2022, 9:30 am -4:30 pm (weather permitting)The Stowe Gondola operates for summer and fall visitors between June 17 – October 16, 2022. The cost is $35 for ages 13 & older and $24 for ages 5-12. A family pass (two adults, two children) may be purchased for $102.Cliff House Restaurant offers lunch service during the summer season Friday-Tuesday from 11:00 am – 2:30 pm. Cliff House is only accessible via the Mansfield Gondola and is open solely for lunch. A valid season pass, day ticket, or scenic ticket is required for access. For anyone looking to get out and move, but not ready for Mount Mansfield, there are extensive offerings of guided hikes, wikes, and walks on the Smugglers’ property and beyond. These activities can be found in the Resort Information Guide.

Visit the Green Mountain Club

The Green Mountain Club (GMC) is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to preserve and protect the Long Trail. The headquarters is located on route 100 in Waterbury Center, halfway between Stowe and Waterbury, and includes educational displays, hiker information, and a store with maps, hiking books, and GMC gear and apparel. There is also a short hiking trail, which is ideal for families, located in the fields behind the headquarters. The trail showcases the original Journey’s End shelter from the end of the Long Trail. This shelter was slated to be replaced, so to preserve its history, the GMC dismantled it and had it reconstructed in the woods behind the headquarters. This is certainly a fun stop on the way to or from Smugglers’ from points south.

The Night Sky

by Mark Breen

Summer Skies

Aurora Borealis over Bootleggers’ Basin, Photo: Chris Diegel

On a warm summer evening, the fireflies begin to flit around while the sparks from a dying campfire rise into the night, appearing to cling to the black velvet dome of the sky. It is almost magic, and summer is a great time to discover some of that magic. With the weather warm and the clouds less frequent, the season offers the perfect opportunity to become familiar with the diamond-like stars glimmering above.

Comfy and cozy
If you are going to go out and enjoy the night sky, one very important consideration is to be comfortable. Summer nights may be warm, but mosquitoes and gnats can be a challenge, so bug spray is almost a necessity. Those same warm nights can turn surprisingly cool for anyone outside over a long period of time, so dress for temperatures about 20 degrees colder than the thermometer might read as you begin your outing. Of course, you might also want a little snack, your favorite beverage, and a comfortable chair. If all this sounds rather extravagant, it has its purpose. The more comfortable you are, the longer you will stay outside, and the longer you stay out, the more you will see and become familiar with the night skies.

The Big Dipper is a big help

The Milky Way shining over Madonna Mountain, Photo: Chris Diegel

One step outside on a clear, moonless night in Vermont and you could be overwhelmed by the thousands of stars strewn across the sky, so you need a simple, reliable place to start. Look high in the northwest for seven medium-bright stars appearing fairly close together. Many people are already familiar with these stars, known as the Big Dipper. Although not the brightest feature in the sky, the Big Dipper is unique and gives you an anchor point from which you can go in many directions. Speaking of directions, using the two stars on the outside edge of the Dipper’s bowl (called the pointer stars), draw a straight line from the edge of the bowl “up.”This is actually toward the right in summer, and more upwards in the Fall as the Dipper gradually moves lower, toward the northwest horizon. This line points you to another medium-bright star, the North Star, or Polaris, famous not for its brightness, but for its location exactly above the northern horizon. It is also the end star in the handle of the Little Dipper. Knowing the Dippers and the North Star will always help you find your directions at night, and get you started exploring the sky. Using the pointer stars to draw a line in the opposite direction will land you on the back of Leo, the Lion, visible in the west through mid-summer before it sets below the horizon in late July. Look for a sickle shape or backwards question mark that forms Leo’s head and shoulders, while higher up is a modest triangle forming his hind quarters. His pose is much like the Sphinx of ancient Egypt, and indeed Leo is one of the oldest known constellations in the sky. The bright pairing of stars in Leo is not what it seems. The star on the right is Regulus, the brightest star in Leo, sometimes called his heart. To the left, the object is not another star, but a planet famous for its rings, the planet Saturn.

Summer Planets

Shooting star in Smugglers’ Notch Pass, Photo: Chris Diegel

Saturn is finishing up its visit with Regulus, and will move very slowly away. It is so slow that you’ll have to wait until next year to see the difference. Still, this motion is interesting, because it is how the word planet came into being. Planetos in ancient Greek means wanderer, referring to this “star” as a wandering star. The patterns of the stars remain essentially fixed; however, the planets, in their travels around the Sun, gradually move among the stars. Mars is also on display in early summer. It will appear in just about the same place as twilight fades, in the western skies about 9:30 pm. It will slowly settle closer to the horizon, while Saturn and Regulus come to join it. The trio will be close together through the first week of July, then all of them will slip into the sunset and fade away. That gives Jupiter its chance to shine. Looking low in the southeast in June, in the south in July and August, and in the southwest from September into October, Jupiter is the brightest object you’ll find, except of course the Moon and the Sun!

Sauntering into the South
Returning to the Big Dipper, its handle will guide us into the southern skies. The handle’s gentle curve or arc will lead you to the bright star Arcturus very high in the southwest in June, and lower in the west in July and August. As you continue past Arcturus, make a straighter line to the next bright object, the star Spica.

Well to the left of Spica, low and in the south through mid-July, then slipping slowly into the southwest in late summer and fall, a reddish star catches your eye. It looks a lot like Mars, but it is the star Antares. Its name comes from the Greek word meaning, not Mars. Antares marks the heart of Scorpio, the Scorpion.
This constellation’s head and claws are to the right of Antares, while a tail curls just along the horizon to the left. Farther to the left of the Scorpion lies a group of stars, known officially as Sagittarius, the archer. However, this constellation really looks more like a teapot than what is traditionally depicted, a centaur drawing back a bow and arrow. (It really makes you wonder how the ancient civilizations came up with such pictures!)

Between the teapot and the Scorpion, you’ll notice some patchy, fuzzy light that arcs higher into the east and then back down into the north: the broad expanse of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Composed of millions of distant stars, they are individually dim, but altogether are easy to see from a dark location. Three bright stars highlight the Milky Way, forming what has come to be known as the summer Triangle. The highest and brightest of the three is called Vega, from an Arabic word meaning soaring eagle. More toward the south is the star Altair, a name that means falling or swooping eagle. Finally, the least bright of the trio of stars is Deneb, the tail star of Cygnus, the Swan. Don’t let the summer Triangle’sname fool you. You can enjoy gazing at it right through the fall.

Comet NEOWISE as seen from Thomke’s Trail on Sterling Mountain, Photo: Chris Diegel

One highlight you don’t want to miss is the Perseid meteor shower in August. This annual display of “shooting stars” occurs each August between the 10th and the 14th. A great way to enjoy this is to simply relax on a blanket or lounge chair, watching and counting the meteors. Up to 20 to 30 per hour can be seen in the hours from midnight to 4:00 am. There are a few other meteor showers later in the year: in the fall, the Draconids occur near October 9, and the Orionids near October 20.

Sometimes, the joys of star gazing are not necessarily linked to knowing and identifying the innumerable objects above. Just going outside and experiencing that sense of wonder, gazing out into the vastness of the universe, is quite enough for anyone. The most important thing is getting out there, sharing it with family and friends, and maybe giving yourself an opportunity to gain appreciation for the treasures of the night skies.

Mark is the senior meteorologist at the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, and for over 30 years he has been heard on Vermont Public Radio’s an “Eye on the Sky” each weekday morning. Along with weather forecasting, his work at the Museum involves teaching weather and science, as well as serving as the Planetarium Director in Vermont’s only public planetarium.

The amazing night sky images accompanying the article are the work of local photographer Chris Diegel. Want to see more of Chris’s jaw-droppingly beautiful work? Go to www.chdiegelphotography.com

Check out the daily Eye on the Night Sky stargazing forecast. Designed to help you find and observe constellations and other objects visible to the eye in the night sky. https://www.fairbanksmuseum.org/planetarium/eye-on-the-night-sky

Northern Vermont Brews Cruise

Rena Perkins, dedicated beer drinker, tracks down some of her favorite local breweries for the inside scoop.

I have lived in the Smugglers’ Notch area for about 25 years now, and I am a dedicated beer drinker. I have watched Vermont breweries like Long Trail and Switchback grow into major forces in the craft brew industry, and as smaller breweries have opened in Lamoille County, I have enjoyed sampling their wares on tap at the pub in town or in bottles or cans from the local grocery store. But without seeing where these brews originated, I felt like something might be missing. So this spring, I decided I would track down my favorites and learn their origin stories.

The Bierhall at Trapp Family Lodge: Bavaria meets Vermont

The Trapp Family Lodge has made a name for itself many times over, with its founding by the famous von Trapp family and its reputation as a landmark and four-season outdoor recreation area. The latest and greatest venture associated with Trapp is their brewing operation. The Bierhall offers the well-known Trapp Brewing beers on draught, as well as seasonal brews and food in a spectacular setting. The bar and dining area boast exposed beams and cathedral ceilings, and the outdoor seating area overlooks hiking trails and a disc golf course.

I sit down at the bar and order a variety of beers in sample sizes. As I am deciding which to try first, a brewer comes out to educate me on the different beers and the process by which they are made. He tells me about the lab they use to test the various products, and I am surprised and delighted to hear the stories of how some of these beers came to be. For instance, the Helles Bock is a springtime beer that was originally created by monks who drank it during Lent when they were fasting. And their winter seasonal offering is called “Trösten,” which translates from German to “comfort.” And all of their hops, save those used for the Bohemian Pilsner, are imported from Germany. And, perhaps most importantly, the Bierhall hosts an Oktoberfest celebration with kegs, live music, and plenty of lederhosen.

I have partaken of several of the Trapp brews in local bars and restaurants, so I decide on three that will be new to me. The “Radler,” a shandy-like brew, is my top choice, especially for the warm summer months. I order a pretzel with bar cheese to snack on, and there is a full menu of German-style cuisine available as well. As I finish my beer, a manager advises me that the Trapp Highland cattle are out in the pasture with their calves, so on my way out, I take a left at the end of the driveway and head up to the main Lodge. Of course, the calves are adorable, and I marvel at the panoramic view from the top of the hill. The Trapp Family Lodge is a Stowe icon and is not to be missed.

“Amazing views, great service, and atmosphere. Get the lager cheese soup, you won’t regret it. Love the beers and food here.”— Mike W. Windham, NH

The Bierhall at Trapp Family Lodge
1333 Luce Hill Rd, Stowe, VT 802.253.5750
vontrappbrewing.com

Brewster River Pub and Grill: The Après

The building that houses the Brewster River Pub and Grill has had several previous incarnations. Indeed, many who have spent time in the area still call it The Brewski. The interior has retained the feel of a ski town bar, with snowboards tacked to the ceiling and mountain memorabilia on the walls, and the crowd found at the bar dominating the space ebbs and flows with shifts and weather conditions at Smuggs.

These days, the business bears little resemblance to the former inhabitants of the building. It has expanded from a post-ski and sports hangout and barbeque spot to an established brewery providing both beers on tap in the restaurant and now in cans at an increasing list of bars and stores in Vermont. On my visit, I try each of the five beers on the menu today. The Amber and Munich Helles are classics, tasty and predictable, as is the English Style Bitter. I remember drinking Extra Special Bitter (ESB) in Australia and noting that it’s not really that bitter: not like a hoppy IPA, anyway. I haven’t seen this type of beer very often in the US, so it’s fun to sample this one.

The Aztec stout has a subtle heat to it, owing to the habanero and cinnamon used in the brewing process. The bartender comments that this batch is a little less spicy than others have been, but I can still taste the flavors. She adds that she is looking forward to a couple of summer beers coming on to the menu, the Honey Orange Blonde, and Sherbet IPA. I save the Free Lot 1 double IPA for last, and I am impressed by this one. Boasting the highest alcohol by volume at about 8%, Free Lot 1 is named after a local movement to preserve ski culture at Smuggs. It is crisp, fresh, and hoppy but not distractingly so. It’s the perfect brew to quaff after a long day of skiing, mountain biking, disc golf, or hiking.

And if you’ve worked up an appetite in your outdoor pursuits, the Brewster has a full menu plus daily specials, and can accommodate the whole family. Downstairs is a game area, complete with a giant Jenga game that delights kids and adults alike, especially when it falls with a spectacular crash. Brewster River Pub’s large outdoor seating area, proximity to the mountain, and laid-back ski bum vibe makes it a must-go for Smuggs guests and other visitors to the area alike.

“This is a very chill place with a full bar, great service, friendly locals, delicious food, decent music, and good vibes.”— Alicia T. North Palm Beach, FL

Brewster River Pub & Grill
4087 VT Rte 108 S Jeffersonville, VT802.644.6366
brewsterriverpubnbrewery.com

Rock Art Brewery: The Mom and Pop Shop

A 23-year veteran of the Morrisville brewery scene, Rock Art Brewery is a family affair. As owner Renee Nadeau notes on the website, “(my husband) Matt started the brewery before our family even started. Now both of our sons are working with us.” Even walking into the building, I feel as if I am walking into someone’s home. There is a generous porch where a couple is enjoying beverages, their dog lying contentedly under the table. The downstairs tasting area consists of a walk-up bar, shelves of canned beers, seltzers, and other delights, and the work of over 50 local artists and artisans, one of whom is the owners’ son Dylan. The list of beers hangs on the wall, and beside it is the list of kombucha and hard seltzers that are the newest additions to their repertoire.

I order a flight of the eight beers available today on my visit as Renee educates me on the differences between Northeastern IPAs and West Coast IPAs: the latter have that hoppy bite that I associate with IPAs, and the former tend to be lighter tasting and more fruity. We discuss the various brews as I try them: she is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the brewing process, and clearly enjoys the science and art of brewing. After finishing my flight, I make my way upstairs to check out a second seating area that is perfect for settling in with a friend or two and a couple of beverages.

The stairwell, hallways, and rooms are lined with local art and Rock Art memorabilia: I pause to inspect a shelf showcasing bottles and cans from years past, the labels bearing the Kokopelli logo as well as original art created by Dylan. I pass a viewing area where I can see the brewing operation in action, and continue on to peruse the rooms that are arranged in seating areas. There are board games scattered about, inviting guests to sit down and spend some time there. My visit to Rock Art is something of a revelation. I have been partaking of their beers for years, but had no idea the breadth of knowledge and experience that goes into the making of these, nor the dedication that this family has to their craft and their community.

“Beers were delicious and the atmosphere was even better! Off the beaten path with amazing beers, beautiful art and incredible service! Will be taking home a 4 pack this time!”— Andrew J. North Smithfield, RI

Rock Art Brewery
632 Laporte Rd, Morrisville, VT 802.888.9400
rockartbrewery.com

Idletyme: The Classic Brewpub

As I walk through the door at Idletyme, I have a decision to make: ahead of me isan airy bar surrounded by comfy looking chairs, and to my right is a short hallway leading to the pub. I love a traditional pub, so I opt for the right turn. I am greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable bartender who admits wryly that there is some informal competition between the two bars; I am congratulated for my good taste in choosing this one. And I am not the only one to prefer this experience: there are mugs hanging behind the bar bearing the names of locals who frequent this establishment.

I order a full tasting, fully aware that it will be unsafe to finish this on my own: there are ten beers included. These arrive arranged from lighter to darker, starting with a Helles Bock and rounding out the ten with an oatmeal stout. My favorites are the “Pink and Pale,” a pale ale with hints of grapefruit, and the malty“Brown Ale.” As I work my way through the sampler, I turn to check out the brewing in process right here in the bar: all of the beers here are brewed onsite. A brewer is releasing malty steam from a large tank behind me, producing a delightful aroma that adds to the pub atmosphere. Idletyme is not just a brewpub, it’s also a busy restaurant with a menu full of hearty snacks and meals, including favorites such as French onion soup and poutine, and a Reuben made from house-smoked meat. The full menu is available in the pub. Idletyme is the perfect spot for a casual lunch or dinner, and is guaranteed to have a beer to please any palate.

“From local beers to giant pretzels, it’s always a great time. Fast and friendly service with foodie options as well as comfort food. We’ll be back soon!”— Lindsay W. Boston, MA

Idletyme Brewing Company
1859 Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT 802.253.4765
idletymebrewing.com

Lost Nation: The Local

During the winter months, the bar at Lost Nation seems lost by itself in the hulking building that houses the brewing operations. But in the summer the bar turns to barbeque, and the outdoor beer garden comes alive with revelers wandering in from the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, and a robust community of locals who come in to enjoy the large variety of beers here.

I arrive on an early spring day, and their outdoor living world is not quite ready yet. So I take a seat at the bar that I imagine would be a lovely cozy spot to hangout in the wintertime. An old Lou Reed song is playing, and when it ends a David Bowie track comes on. The manager advises me that this is The Clash channel on Pandora, and I decide that this is my kind of place.

The bartender gives me a rundown on each beer that I try: The Gose is a “crispy” summer beer; the Second Daughter, a “hop forward” IPA, was created as a school project of the second daughter of the owner; the Maibock is designed to accompany the seasonal transition between winter and spring.

There is a limited but eclectic menu available in the off-season, before the small indoor kitchen gives way to the grilling operations of summertime. Today the specials include an Indian corn and coconut soup and a Banh Mi Burger, and I am treated to an order of deep-fried oyster mushrooms served with a delicious remoulade. During the summer season, the outdoor Biergarten boasts menu items grilled and pit smoked on site, and mindful of the finicky Vermont weather, the outdoor seating area is under cover and impervious to precipitation.

The mission of the brewers here at Lost Nation Brewing is simple: Produce Honest Beer. Everyone I meet here is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the business, and each beer that I try reflects the hard work and diligence that goes into its creation. Mission accomplished.

“Couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Chill vibe, excellent beer, and the BBQ (ribs on Thursday) was outstanding! — Joe S. Brooklyn, NY

Lost Nation Brewing
87 Creamery Rd, Morrisville, VT 802.851.8041
lostnationbrewing.com

Stowe Cider: The Summertime Stop

While not a brewer of beer, Stowe Cider belongs on the list of must-visit local crafters of alcoholic beverages. I park in the spacious parking lot that abuts the Stowe bike path and enter the roomy yet inviting tasting room. My eyes are particularly drawn to the can lights on the ceiling that seem to be made of keg parts. Presented with seating available at high top tables or chrome trimmed bar stools, I opt for the latter and peruse the long list of offerings. I’m a dry cider girl, and Stowe Cider has plenty of options to tempt me. I choose four dry ciders to round out one flight, then another four that I would not ordinarily gravitate to.

While waiting for my drinks, I crane my neck to see the adjacent warehouse, packed with stacks of cans destined for restaurants and stores around the state and beyond. Cans are also available to buy in the tasting room, as are “crowlers.” I stop short at the mention of the crowler. “You mean growler?” I ask, thinking I must have heard wrong. The bartender shakes his head. Turns out, bottlers are moving away from using the 32- or 64-ounce glass containers in favor of large aluminum cans that are filled and sealed on-site.

My flight of cider arrives and I begin my research. Along with a couple of traditional ciders, I try the “Puff Puff Pineapple” which is subtly spicy owing to the applewood smoked chili peppers used, and the delicious “Gummy Bears” that tastes a lot like a Jolly Rancher, but without the cloying sweetness. The selection of ciders at Stowe Cider truly has something for everyone, from super dry to fruity and sweet; from smoky to mellow bourbon-barrel aged. For the summer and fall, look for food service and outdoor seating at Stowe Cider as you drift by on the Stowe Rec Path or drive by on your way through town.

“Run don’t walk to the Stowe Cider cidery. Even if you don’t think you like cider (I didn’t), you’ll be amazed.— Tara S. Washington, DC

Stowe Cider
17 Town Farm Ln, Stowe, VT 802.253.2065
stowecider.com

Ten Bends Beer: The Sleeper

I have heard tell of Ten Bends Beer from locals whispering its praises in area villages and towns. But I had to actively seek out this hidden gem that is tucked behind several innocuous-looking warehouse buildings just off Route 15 in Hyde Park. The only indication that they are there is the logo trailer at the end of the driveway; because of Vermont’s strict zoning laws, they are not permitted to put up a sign. The small batch brewery is named in recognition of the ten bends that the nearby Lamoille River makes as it winds from Morrisville to Johnson, and thus the brewery has become a part of the fishing and boating community on the river.

Ten Bends Beer started in what the founders describe as a “roughly outfitted shed in the woods” and after winning several brewing competitions expanded to the current space. The tasting room is a true tasting room: there is no food or other entertainment distracting me from the exceptional beers that I am sampling. There are two Double IPAs today available during my visit, one being a Vermont-style IPA and the other more traditional, as well as an Imperial Stout. Every couple of weeks, there is a new seasonal or specialty beer available, and there are several I want to try today. Of these, my favorites are the Ruby Twist, which is fortified with house-made grapefruit juice, and the coconut stout called Split Seasonality. As I savor my picks, a guy I recognize from Smuggs walks in to buy a couple of 4-packs. He has made a special trip for IPA for himself, and Ruby Twist for his wife. With its surprising and intricately crafted brews and dreamy labels, Ten Bends is a clear favorite with area beer drinkers. With its proximity to the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, and partnerships with distributors and larger brewers, it is poised to become well known and loved by a wider audience as well.

“Good vibe, great beer, and nice staff. As far as breweries Ten Bends is a ten out of ten. Welcoming and laid back environment.”— Juliet J. Absecon, NJ

Ten Bends Beer
590 E Main St, Hyde Park, VT 802.521.7139
tenbendsbeer.com






Savoring Summer’s Bounty

by Kelly Mohr

There’s nothing quite like fresh produce from your local farm stand. And here’s some good news, this summer you can stock up on local Vermont organic produce from Foote Brook Farm while you’re vacationing at Smugglers’ Notch. You can shop for all your favorite brightly colored farm-fresh fruits and veggies either during the Resort’s weekly Farmers Market in the courtyard or take a trip to Johnson, VT to enjoy the farmstand shopping experience and picturesque views firsthand. This Vermont-certified organic farm grows 145 varieties on 45 acres of land. FootBrooke Farm is owned and operated by 3rd generation farmers, Tony and Joie Lehouillier. Building relationships, caring for the land, maintaining soil, and growing sun-loved organic healthy vegetables is their mission. And they grow a wide array of fruits and vegetables from artichokes to zucchini and everything in between. We caught up with Joie to learn more about what’s in season throughout the summer and to gather a few of her easy summer recipes, which you can easily make in your Smuggs condo. According to Joie, summer brings around some of the best produce of the year and each month has its specialty. A few June favorites include strawberries, peas, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and fresh onions. Spring and early summer are all about the greens, a simple pasta primavera is one of Joie’s favorite meals.

Pasta Primavera with Asparagus & Peas

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and let it sizzle a minute. Add the asparagus and toss to coat in the oil. Cook and toss until the asparagus just begins to soften, about 5 minutes (add a splash of pasta water if the garlic is in danger of burning). Cover with a lid. Uncover the asparagus, and at the same time add the pasta to the boiling water. Add the peas to the asparagus and season with the salt. Toss to combine and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add the scallions, stir, and add 1 1/2 cups of pasta water. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes.

Caprese Salad Three Ways

Ingredients:
Tomatoes
Mozzarella (we love Maplebrook)
Fresh basil
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper

STACK ‘EM
Slice and stack thick layers of heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic reduction. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

TOSS ‘EM
Cut tomatoes and mozzarella into chunks. Chop basil into ribbons. Combine in large bowl and mix with olive oil, balsamic reduction, salt & pepper.

SKEWER ‘EM — the no utensils edition
Thread cherry tomatoes, basil, and chunks of mozzarella onto wood skewers or long toothpicks. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic reduction. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Grilled Vegetable MedleyChunk zucchini and summer squash, as close to the same size as possible. Toss with your favorite Italian dressing, salt, and pepper. Place in a Ziploc bag or bowl with tight-fitting lid and let marinate. Stack veggies onto skewers and grill for 15 minutes. Turning as needed. Don’t over grill, you want the vegetables to be a little crunch.

Grilled Vegetable Medley

Chunk zucchini and summer squash, as close to the same size as possible. Toss with your favorite italian dressing, salt, and pepper. Place in a ziploc bag or bowl with tight fitting lid and let marinate.  Stack veggies on to skewers and grill for 15 minutes. Turning as needed.  Don’t over grill, you want the vegetables to be a little crunchy.

We have hit the peak of variety in August!  Make sure to pick up some corn, new potatoes, blueberries, pineapple tomatillos, leeks, melons, and fresh garlic. Pineapple tomatillos are also called ground cherries in Vermont. They have a very unique flavor and are a kid favorite. They’re mostly snacked on fresh in the car on the way home, but can also be simmered down with a ¼ of a cup of sugar and ½ cup of water for a delicious topping to ice cream. 

No matter how you slice it, you don’t want to miss out on sampling the incredible flavors of the straight-from-the-farm produce you get from Foote Brook Farm.

Easy Roasted Potatoes

Cut potatoes in half. Season the bottom of a glass baking dish with olive oil, melted butter, sliced garlic, salt, pepper, and shredded Parmesan cheese. Lay the flat side of potatoes on top of the seasoning and bake for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Additional information:

Foote Brook Farm
641 VT-15 West Johnson, VT 05656
Open 9 am to 6 pm
June 24th until mid-November
802-635-8962
footebrookfarm.com

Smugglers’ Notch Resort Farmers Market
Monday’s 8:30 am – 11:30 am
Smugglers’ Village Courtyard
Fresh produce, cheese, wine, meat, maple syrup, and desserts

The Green Mountain Byway is One Of Vermont’s Best Kept Secrets

Greenway_Aerial

The GMB travels around Vermont’s Sterling range and Mount Mansfield (right), pictured here.

We can all likely agree: outside is the place to be these days. Whether you’re a foliage fanatic, a proud pedal pusher, or more of the healthy-hiker type, one thing is for sure, Vermont’s Green Mountain Byway has everything you’re looking for…and so much more.

People are flocking to North-Central Vermont in droves. Mind you, that may sound intimidating in a time when the general consensus is to stay distant, but the stunning geography of the Green Mountains and its surrounding landscape of quaint New England towns make up the perfect haven for those who need to get out and move. It’s not hard to pick up a map and see some nice circle tours in the area if you plan to stay in your car, but those who want to interact with the area’s attractions are likely looking for more. 

This is where the Green Mountain Byway is the perfect recipe for a day (or a few) of sightseeing, shopping, eating, drinking, and enjoying the scenery that only these billion-year-old mountains can provide. This 72-mile loop connects the towns of Waterbury, Stowe, Morrisville, Hyde Park, Johnson, and Cambridge (beloved home to Smugglers’ Notch). Only 2 hours from New Hampshire, Upstate New York, and Canada, and 4 hours from Massachusetts and Maine – it’s a perfect way to explore the beauty and culture of the area for a day, a weekend, or a week.

Hand painted silo in Jeffersonville

One of many artistic creations along the Green Mountain Byway, “The Silo Project” in Jeffersonville, painted by Sarah Rutherford.

Small towns that pack a big punch

Many Vermonters recall the old adage, commonly, albeit proudly, stated by many in these mountains, “Came for the winter, stayed for the summer.” Well, it’s clear that these small ski towns provide far more than simply convenient approaches to Vermont’s great mountain terrain. The Byway gives access to 100+ restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries, so no need to worry about going hungry (or finding the perfect gift for Uncle Larry). Plus, for those looking to share their affection for Vermont’s quintessential sights and scenes, there are a whopping 13 covered bridges along the way. Better fire up those hashtags.

In addition, the Byway provides access to over 100 miles of mountain biking, endless fishing opportunities in streams, lakes, and ponds, wild and scenic waterfalls, and access to Vermont’s highest peak from all angles. 

While many prefer to access the Byway through popular bike routes like the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail and Stowe Bike Path, it can be a challenge to fit some of the new art they purchase into their bike baskets, making it worthwhile to leave a car in the area. It’s not easy to visit some of these towns without bringing home a piece or two from local artists. Working with paints, pastels, wood, ceramics, photography, and pieces of nature, artists in the area — many known nationally for their Vermont-centric work — capture what it is like to become immersed in such a beautiful environment as Vermont’s Green Mountains.

Signs in downtown Jeffersonville

Jeffersonville, in the Heart of Vermont, is a hub for the GMB. pc: C.H. Diegel Photography

Position yourself in the Heart of Vermont

Smugglers’ mountainside condominium village sits nestled in the convenience of easy access to all of these Byway bounties. While it was clear for a long time that an official “tour” of this nature was needed, it’s inception has solidified a venue for those coming from far and near. Resort owner and managing director, Bill Strizler, comments, “The Green Mountain Byway helps embody the sense of community we strive for in our mountain town through collaborative work from businesses, artists, and recreational enthusiasts alike. Thanks to the hard work of the GMB committee, our guests have the perfect avenue to explore this part of Vermont that we love so much.”

Should you have any questions about the Green Mountain Byway, or for a list of stops along the way, visit www.greenmountainbywayvt.com. For information on booking your condominium at Smugglers’ visit www.smuggs.com. 

Green Mountain Byway Sign

Look for wayfinding Green Mountain Byway signs along your adventures!

Finding Seclusion in the Heart of Vermont

Painting On Peak

Tara painting the lovely view from Spruce Peak overlook.  pc: C.H. Diegel Photography

Keeping Smuggs Shining

One of the many unintended consequences from near-global lockdown and quarantine is change. While so often difficult to embrace, we have all been left with a clear understanding of where we can improve. Smugglers’ is proud to call you part of our family, and we look to keep you as safe as our other loved ones. We pledge to Keep Smuggs Shining by taking all necessary precautions pertaining to social distancing, disinfecting, and setting our guests up for success. Should you choose to join us for a vacation this summer, we suggest taking the time to immerse yourself in the beauty of Vermont’s majestic Green Mountains by taking your family hiking. 

Come for a visit!

For decades, families have flocked to Smugglers’ Notch in search of seclusion and serenity. They’ve come from far and near to escape, whether it’s from the crowds, the heat, or their faster-paced life in the city. What does the Notch provide these seekers of solitude? For starters, it provides a chance to come together as a family, out of respect and appreciation for nature. If you can’t find that amongst thousands of acres of pristine mountain forests, our friendly staff can cheerfully point you in a more suitable direction. Should you feel you’re in the right spot, however, we think you’ll love some of these gorgeous jaunts just a few steps from our Village here at Smuggs.

 

From easiest to most challenging:

Langlauf Trail

Enjoy this casual jaunt which starts and finishes right in our Village at Smugglers’. To find it, head out behind the Tennis Center and take a right just before the bridge to cross the No Name Brook. Langlauf winds its way through the woods behind many of Smugglers’ accommodations, maintaining close distance to the No Name Brook. Enjoy the sounds of the babbling brook while you walk this mostly flat trail. The water is typically shallow here, and it provides children with many opportunities to get their feet wet without going for a swim. Just use caution if going in the water after heavy rains please.

Moose Meander Trail

Moose Meander is a popular trail amongst Smugglers’ campers and provides a fairly direct (but not too direct) route to the Disc Golf Pro Shop and Bootleggers’ Reservoir. This narrow trail twists and turns through diverse forests and wetlands, passing massive trees and new growth alike. Wildlife sightings are fairly common on this passageway through nature, as well as the elusive disc golfer. Moose Meander maintains close proximity to many of our championship Disc Golf holes for the first two-thirds of its length. This trail is best accessed from the Tennis Center.

Smuggs-Summer-2012-0677

Brewster Gorge

Many prefer a hike with an end goal, besides simply completing a trek. If you fall into this category, then definitely head to the Brewster Gorge! Bring a picnic lunch for this beautiful location, as you won’t want to leave once you get there. There are a few options for starting points before you make it the short distance to this majestic river gorge. We recommend heading out from the Brewster Lowlands trailhead at the intersection of Canyon Road and West Farm Road in Jeffersonville. The map at the trailhead provides a clear picture of where to go from here.

Follow the winding trail through mossy woodlands until you begin to hear the sounds of rushing water. This trail will bring you out to the very top of the Brewster Gorge, where extreme caution is advised. Vertical cliffs overlooking the Gorge provide interesting views for those thrill-seekers. Follow the trail downhill to wrap around to the base of the falls for a relaxing sunny spot with many shallow options to enjoy a dip in this mountain drainage. Water shoes are recommended for those interested in venturing upstream, through passageways and hidden watery coves. As always, exercise caution and pay attention to water levels and currents.

@mollyknitkat was captured enjoying the cooler side of Brewster Gorge by @elizabethjo_portraiture:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0rOqLpHHU4/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

Sterling Pond Trail

This popular trail provides a challenge for many, and rejuvenation for most. Although it is relatively short at 1.1 miles, the Sterling Pond Trail is host to numerous steep pitches up uneven, rocky terrain. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers with the Green Mountain Club, many steep sections provide rock steps to help curb erosion. Please be conscientious and stay in the beaten path to avoid further erosion from foot traffic in this sacred area.

From the Smugglers’ Notch parking area on Route 108, across from the information booth, you’ll find the trailhead with a large brown sign. Follow the trail upward, and remember, there are sections of level walking to help catch your breath. Use caution and care as many of the rocks are slippery!

Pay close attention to the trees as you go. There will be a drastic change once you hit the frost line, where the trees turn from mixed hardwoods (maples, beaches, and birches mostly) to conifers consisting of spruces and fir trees. Take a deep breath through your nose to truly immerse yourself in this pristine environment. At the “top” of this trail, you’ll come to a 3-way intersection with the Long Trail North and South. Head North to enjoy lunch near Vermont’s highest trout pond, and enjoy views of the legendary Madonna Mountain and Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. If you hike with a furry companion, keep that pup on a leash to protect the fragile alpine flora and fauna around the pond, PLEASE!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkHAT6DAson/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&fbclid=IwAR0VnNX976uDduFTrFsqhZmWrOk28AYkvX1NM_wJIA29vhJggEet0KyTTF8

Elephant’s Head Loop (from Sterling Pond Trail)

This seldom-traveled loop provides an additional 1.4 miles to the aforementioned 1.1 mile, Sterling Pond Trail. From the top of the Sterling Pond Trail, follow the Long Trail North (white blazes) past the pond. This will bring you out at the top of Smugglers’ Sterling chairlift where you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Resort and valley below. The chairlift may start at any time, so please stay clear!

Following the white blazes, head back into the woods until you come to the Sterling Pond Shelter, a 3-sided lean-to used by the Green Mountain Club for sheltering thru-hikers on the 273 mile Long Trail. Behind the lean-to, the Elephant’s Head trail breaks off and is marked with blue blazes. Follow this old, rugged trail around Sterling Pond, past large quartz outcroppings and interesting boulders, eventually leading back to the Long Trail. From here, take a right to arrive back to the top of the Sterling Pond Trail for a complete loop, or, head left and take every chance to hike in the upward direction to find the Spruce Peak overlook. One of the finest views in Vermont. The overlook adds approximately an extra half-mile each way.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CB55cRNBFE4/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Achieve Vacation Success With These 10 Travel Tips for Families

Family water balloon fun

With the first day of summer quickly approaching, is vacation travel on your mind?

Our tips will help make your travel a smooth experience for your entire family!

Planning

  • Making the entire family part of the planning process will build anticipation for your vacation. With young kids, share information about your destination and highlight features they are likely to be excited to experience.
  • Traveling with your baby? To minimize packing stress, check to see what baby equipment is available at your destination. Maybe you can rent a stroller, crib, or high chair rather than pack yours.
  • There is value in speaking with a staff person at your destination if you want your questions answered quickly and thoroughly. While many travelers like to rely on online information, don’t forget that front desk staff and reservations agents can be informative resources.
  • A relaxed vacation offers priceless family time as well as one on one or individual time. Have a family chat prior to vacation about what your goals are – time together as a group, or a mix with some individual or paired activities? It can be fun to enhance family connections through new activities and new pairings.

Packing

  • Provide kids with a small suitcase (kids’ roller bags are great!) and a small bag that can hold favorite games or a stuffed animal that might be going along for the ride. Encourage kids to set out clothing they would like to bring.
  • To entertain young kids during a long travel day, you might consider packing a secret stash of small toys or books that are brand new. You can pull those out when a fun diversion is needed.
  • With young children, pack snacks that they prefer, and a sippy cup (or two!). You never know what you might find once on the road – best to be prepared.

On your way

  • Whether you’re driving or flying, plan activities that will break up your travel. Airports often have special exhibits of local art or history that are interesting for all ages. If driving, find a few family-friendly spots to stop at so everyone can have a stretch or grab a bite to eat.
  • Heading to a vacation condominium with the convenience of a kitchen? Stop en route to purchase your groceries – who wants to head back out right after you’ve arrived at your destination?

During your vacation

  • Look for special souvenirs, like a storybook with a connection to your vacation area. Or, find an art or craft session where you make something together that you can bring home as a memento of your vacation.

Have fun, and happy summer!

Smugglers’ Notch is a year-round mountain resort offering acclaimed vacation experiences for families. Summer activities include the enjoyment of 8 pools and 4 waterslides, hiking, children’s programs for ages 6 weeks to 17 years, and adventures such as a treetop aerial trekking course and mountain bike skills parks. In the winter, the resort’s three mountains are a breathtaking playground for enthusiasts of alpine and cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding. Smugglers’ resort village is located 35 miles from Burlington, Vermont, in the Green Mountains.

 

A Lesson in Memory-Making

Kid and Dad on Snowboards

Out making memories with dad.

Lessons from dad

Growing up as a North Side Chicagoan, baseball was part of life. My father being a die-hard Cubs fan, there was always an expectation for both enthusiasm and patience when cheering on our local “dream team” come summertime. As a family of Cub fans, we spent many long hours together within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. From this, my sister and I learned many valuable lessons. There were the obvious ones of course, like “keep your eye on the ball,” and “always re-apply sunscreen when sitting in the left field bleachers.” Then, there were life lessons. The ones that my father, especially, would bring up time and time again. Of those, one lesson stands out in particular.

You win some, you lose some, and some are rained out.

What does this have to do with skiing and snowboarding? Simply put, everything. Whether applied to your personal on-snow experiences, or those shared with your kids, I find so much value to this phrase. See, when we would go to a ballgame, it wasn’t about the Cubs. Well, maybe for dad it was, but for my sister and me, it meant so much more. From the moment we’d wake up in the morning, we knew it was going to be a special day. We’d talk to one another about hoping to make it onto the TV broadcast— “look for me, I’ll be chewing gum!” We’d share fond memories of games past, and even the vibe on the train was special on a game day. It was the whole experience that made these memories so great. Sure we got to spend plenty of time with dad outside of the ballpark too, but those memories were unbeatable! Everything from the smells to the sounds, even the times when dad would argue with the other fans over whose pitching was garbage and who was a real gem. Those memories were special. Those memories kept my head in the game of life.

Rained out, but still a win.

Each summer, Smugglers’ top kids’ snowboard coaches head to Central Park in Manhattan for the annual Adventures NYC event. Now in our seventh year participating, we bring a Riglet Park setup to the city in hopes of sharing the snowboarding experience with kids up to about age six. It’s always a great time, but last year was a bit different. From right about the moment the parks department canceled the event due to Manhattan falling under a flood warning, I couldn’t help but think about my father’s famous words, “You win some, you lose some, and some are rained out.” Sure, we were soaked to the bone. Sure all of our equipment would sit in the van for the 6-hour drive home, wet and quickly becoming smelly like gym socks. But the experience up until that point was on a whole new level of fun. See, these kids who participated out there in the pouring rain, they didn’t care about getting wet. They were having fun. Their coaches set the tone for fun, and the kids followed. It wasn’t about getting wet or staying dry, it was about these kids coming out to try something new, making the most of it, and going home with some unforgettable memories. They will never forget that first time they got to stand on a snowboard in the pouring rain, in the middle of Central Park, in June.

The takeaway

The lesson we can all learn from this experience is one we should carry with us every single time we come to the mountain. When heading out to the hill with young ones this winter, make this your mantra. Even if just going out for some turns on your own, keep this in your head. Whether it’s a powder day, an icy day, a windy day, bluebird, or a rainy one, it’s about the memories we create with one another. When your four-year-old shuts down after a mere fifteen minutes out on the snow, make the day into a memory rather than writing it off as a failure. Count your losses and head to the FunZone 2.0, grab a cone from Ben & Jerry’s, or simply reflect on the positives from the day. Your time on snow was fifteen minutes of sharing the greatest thing in the world with a very special little one. There’s no failure in that, for either party involved.

Four outdoor adventures your family will love

Most parents of more than one child will agree, there’s no set of rules to determine the personality of your kid. When your first child takes the go-with-the-flow approach, but the second one needs constant structure, you know you fit into this category. Luckily, Smugglers’ Notch Vermont offers such variety that there’s hope for every kid in the bunch! Read on to learn four amazing ways to try new adventures that are sure to bring the family closer together this summer, without having to trek halfway across the Himalayas.

Family TreeTop adventures

ArborTrek Treetop Collage

ArborTrek Treetop Obstacle Course

 

On ArborTrek’s TreeTop Obstacle Course, adventure-seekers of all walks will slide, balance, jump, crawl, climb, dash and swing, as they make their way along a variety of courses through the trees. This self-guided adventure through more than 80 elements offers challenges that test any participant’s strength, balance, and agility. Parents rave about how approachable the Obstacle Courses are for anyone from those afraid of heights to those looking to leap from the very top of the tallest tree. With 3 height levels of challenges, these courses provide fun for children 4 years and older, and deliver memorable experiences for all ages.

 

Waterfall adventures

Bingham Falls Waterfall

Waterfall at Bingham Falls in Smugglers’ Notch

Nestled in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains, Smugglers’ sits in the middle of prime waterfall country. Enjoy pristine spring waterfalls which provide opportunities for everyone in the family to connect with the natural side of life. With nearby hotspots like Bingham Falls (pictured), Irish Springs, and the Brewster River Gorge, all sorts of water-based adventures await. Bring a picnic lunch, pack a beach towel, and head out to enjoy the peace and quiet of flowing waters. Enjoy the sounds of laughter and the excitement of new discoveries as your kids climb, jump, and play in some of the oldest rivers in the world! Don’t worry if swimming’s not their thing. The rocks in these rivers can entertain all ages for hours on end. Search for precious stones full of quartz, jasper, and even gold!

 

Mountain biking

Mountain Bike Skills Park

Smugglers’ Notch Mountain Bike Skills Park

Make this the summer you learn to mountain bike! Modeled on the learning experience provided by Smugglers’ ski and ride school, the Mountain Bike Center at Smugglers’ offers camps, clinics and special sessions such as guided tours for all ages and abilities. Hone your skills on a pump track or in beginner and intermediate level skills parks. Beginner, intermediate and single track trails can be found on the property, with an extensive network of additional trails within an easy drive. Even the youngest ones are able to join in on the fun with entry-level balance bike tracks.

 

Disc Golf

Disc Golf Fox Run Meadows

Fox Run Meadows disc golf course at Smugglers’ Notch Resort

While relatively new on a professional level, this fun, classic activity is easy to learn and provides a challenge that falls just shy of addictive. The Smugglers’ Notch Disc Golf Center offers two world-class, championship 18 hole courses and an introductory 9 hole course nestled right into the cozy mountainside village. All three courses offer tees for beginners to professionals, providing a fun entry-level experience or even setting the stage for the upcoming 2018 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships. Disc golf is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while maintaining a relaxing pace, meandering through old forests with stone walls, gently flowing streams, and open meadows with sweeping views of the surrounding Green Mountains. Private lessons and clinics are offered for all ability levels through the professional staff at the Smugglers’ Notch Disc Golf Center. Try it out, you’ll love it!

Experiencing adventures as a family can be a great bonding experience as you help each other learn new skills and excel in a new activity. A real sense of self-confidence and achievement comes with getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new.

Visit smuggs.com to find plenty more adventures!