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These Holiday Vacation Planning Tips Will Ensure Your Family’s Success

SmugglersNotchFireworks (1)

Fireworks follow the Torchlight Parade every Thursday night at Smugglers’!

Celebrating the holidays away from home can be an exciting and memorable experience. The benefits? You’ll relax and have fun together, enjoying new experiences and creating memories, without the to-do list that typically accompanies holiday celebrations at home.

With its winter wonderland setting in the mountains of Vermont, Smugglers’ Notch Resort is a favorite destination for families over the holidays. The resort responds to many inquiries about celebrating the holidays away from home, observes Margie Preman, Smugglers’ vacation planning manager. Preman and her staff offer the following tips:

  • Make your reservation as soon as you know your family’s vacation availability. Holiday vacations are popular. Waiting until the last minute to make your arrangements may limit your options for lodging and require flexibility with your dates.
  • Plan ahead for special clothing or gear needs. Planning ahead enables you to jump right into your chosen activities upon arrival. If you intend to ski or snowboard, think about whether you want to rent equipment upon arrival or travel with your own or leased equipment. Renting equipment can take the hassle out of traveling with bulky gear. If traveling by plane and checking your luggage, consider having a carry-on suitcase with a day’s worth of clothing for each family member … just in case!
  • Travel with a few of your family’s holiday traditions. It’s nice to bring along some traditions, whether you choose to hang stockings or tote a fruitcake made from your family’s classic recipe. “Traveling with some of your traditions can help you settle into your vacation destination and make it feel familiar, which will assist young children with the transition,” notes Preman.
  • Take a look at your destination’s website for any events and activities planned for the holiday period. The holidays are typically a special time with many activities and special programs. You don’t want to miss anything!


Have a wonderful holiday vacation!

If you’re looking for holiday fun, you’ll find it all through December at Smugglers’ Notch Vermont! The resort’s Holiday Magic activities are designed for young and old and include cookie decorating, craft workshops such as sock puppet making and snow art, themed family challenge races and bedtime stories with holiday elves. There’s even a great big celebration to welcome the Winter Solstice with drummers, fire dancers, fireworks, and much more! Santa will join children each Saturday around the village bonfire for hot chocolate and cookies, and a weekly on-snow carnival features music, food, games and the thrill of watching an ice carving artisan unveil a sparkling masterpiece.

Family Fishing Tips In The Ideal Fishing Environment – Smugglers’ Notch

Casting On Sterling Pond

A fly fisherman casts for rising brook trout on Sterling Pond

There are more things to do while vacationing at Smugglers’ Notch than you can fit into most trips, but you won’t want to miss the opportunity to fish in some of the local waters if you are visiting during the warm parts of the year.

Vermont’s waters are full of trout, largemouth bass, pike, walleye and other iconic gamefish, as well as bluegill, catfish and landlocked salmon. Several noteworthy waters can be found within close proximity of the resort, including Lake Champlain (which is less than an hour’s drive away) and Sterling Pond – the state’s highest trout pond.

But the fishing fun isn’t just for adults. In fact, Smugglers’ Notch makes an ideal location to introduce your kids to the sport. You’ll both have a great time doing so and form memories that will last for long after your trip is over and you’ve returned home. However, it is important that the kids actually catch fish to ensure they enjoy themselves. Children rarely have fun watching a bobber in the water all afternoon, and they’ll soon grow bored if they aren’t getting bites.

This primarily means outfitting your kids with the right type of equipment, fishing in productive locations and targeting child-friendly species, such as panfish. You can do all this yourself, but it is easier to just take advantage of the excursions provided by Smugglers’ Notch. The guides will provide you with all of the tackle, bait, instruction, and guidance you need, allowing you to kick back and just enjoy spending time with your kids. Or, if you prefer a do-it-yourself approach, head on over to the stocked trout pond near the resort entrance. Wild trout are often rather challenging for kids to catch, but this pond is full of easily caught, farmed fish.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about the best ways to catch fish with your children and introduce them to the activity, check out Outdoor Empire’s comprehensive review of the subject. There, you’ll find more strategies, tips and tricks for maximizing your time on the water and ensuring your kids have a great time.

Tips from the pros: Hiking with kids

Want your kids to love hiking as much as you do?

Family hike Smugglers' Notch VermontIf you’re a parent who loves to hike, how do you foster that same enthusiasm in your children? One of Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s veteran hiking guides, Martha Gamble, a parent herself, offers the following suggestions.

Think like a kid, your kid! What does your son or daughter love to see or do when they are outside? Do they like waterfalls, playing in streams or swimming in a pond? Would they enjoy scrambling over rocks and jumping down? Would expansive scenery wow them, seeing mountain ranges lined up to the horizon, or looking down on their house or city? Whatever is fun for them needs to be the focus for the day. Remember, for kids, it is all about the journey, not just the goal.

Stream exploration Smugglers' Notch VermontMake sure your first hikes together are within their capabilities. If your child decides they only want to go a little way or play in the brook for a while, let them be the leader for the first hikes. Even if you haven’t gone far, if they are done for that day turn around so that they will remember a fun experience and want to go again. Young kids can hike for miles if they have started with smaller hikes and had a great time.

Use all the opportunities you have to help make hiking more interesting. Take a gondola or a toll road up the mountain and then explore from there, allowing your child to have the “eye candy” of hiking. If they are more athletic, scramble up a fun rocky trail and then take the gondola down. Go out with a guide who can show them different aspects of nature that will get them hooked on exploring the outdoors. Once you have stimulated their interest in hiking they will overlook things like a bit of rain or a less interesting section of trail.

Family hike Smugglers' Notch VermontBe prepared … in so many ways! Pack lunch and your child’s favorite snacks, as well as drinking water, sunscreen, bug dope, and clothes appropriate for the conditions of the day and your destination. Keep in mind that it is colder and windier at the tops of mountains and the weather can change quickly. At first, carry equipment for small children. As they get more experienced, teach them to be responsible for planning for the day and carrying their own supplies. If they choose the trip they will work harder to get to the destination, and they may enjoy carrying a backpack like mom or dad, especially if it is a hydration pack.

A bonus: hiking is a great way to get in shape for the winter snowsports season!

Have fun!

We welcome your comments and would love to hear what has worked for you on your family hikes!

Sterling Pond Trail Offers Chances to Make Memories Abound

At Smugglers’ there is no shortage of hiking options. Ask just about anyone who has visited the Resort and surrounding mountains about where to find a great, accessible hike, and they will most likely point you in the direction of Sterling or Madonna Mountains.
Recently, our friends at Burlington-based Zero Gravity Brewery celebrated the release of a new brew with a hike to their favorite peak, Madonna summit. If ever there was a reminder of the joys of spending time in nature with friends and family, their recent blog post is it!

Madonna is a double IPA that we’ve been brewing in small batches for the past few summers and this year we knew it was time to put this beauty into a can. The crew decided that the most appropriate place to crack open the very first cans was atop the beer’s namesake – Madonna Mountain, at the peak of Smugglers’ Notch Ski Resort.
Madonna Peak sits on the Long Trail – a 272-mile trail running over the spine of the Green Mountains from Massachusetts to Canada – and offers nearly 360 degree views of Mount Mansfield, Sterling Pond, and even Mount Washington in New Hampshire on a clear day. Our Sunday afternoon trek brought us up to Sterling Pond and then along the ridge line to the summit of Madonna Mountain where we laid back and enjoyed some of the best views that the Green State has to offer.

Finding Your Family’s Perfect Vacation At Smugglers’ Notch Resort

Take a look at skiing forty or fifty years ago. What was the appeal to the ski vacation back then? Exhilaration, scenery, and connection to nature all might come to mind, but not necessarily accessibility. Bringing the whole family never really became part of the equation until a few decades ago. Now, thanks to developments in equipment, teaching methodology, and grooming machinery among many other things, the idea of the family ski vacation has never been so appealing. With this increase in appeal and accessibility came crowds, and with those crowds, the shape of the typical ski resort took on some big changes. These changes tend to detract from that ideal, sought-after experience.

It’s important to remember our beloved sport’s roots when choosing a vacation destination. When we take the time to slow down and reflect on these “old fashioned” characteristics, we can find so much value.

  • Trail diversity: This refers not only to the variety of terrain a mountain has to offer, but also the degree to which each trail differs from the others. Trail diversity helps build well-rounded skiers and riders. A good rule of thumb is the more diverse the trail selection, the more fun there is to be had!
  • Uphill capacity: The higher the number of people who can access the mountain at once, the better, right? Not exactly. The real value lies in how these people can spread out over the terrain. How accessible is the mountain from the top of each lift? Some mountains can be spread way out, requiring the skier or rider to have to traverse and ride multiple lifts to access certain hard-to-reach places. Others are laid out in more of a reverse funnel style. This helps maximize time on-hill and makes that first day in unknown territory that much more productive.
  • The more, the merrier. Trails that have been widened to accommodate more people, while fun for ripping fast powder turns before it’s all gone, tend to lose their snow sooner due to wind scouring. Narrower trails tend to hold more snow longer, which leads to happier skiers and riders!
  • Woods: Also known as powder stashes, glades hold snow even longer than open trails! Gladed terrain gives skiers and riders the chance to diversify the shape and size of their turns, but more importantly, puts a strong emphasis on the importance of slowing down. Northern Vermont has old, beautiful woods. Glades are your ticket to interacting with that natural beauty.
  • Fun for everyone: The family dynamic is a tough one. Usually, there’s a pretty wide spread of abilities and interests throughout the squad. Make sure everyone is happy, and you, too, will be happy. This, again, emphasizes the importance of terrain diversity.
  • Après-ski: While après-ski usually puts focus on the party scene, for families it means something else. Keep the kids busy enough with off-hill activities to tire them out.

With 1,000 acres of mountain terrain at Smugglers’ Notch Vermont, you’ll find something for everyone. Three inter-connected mountains offer terrain to meet the likes of all types of skiers and riders. Open slopes provide great fun in the powder, while trails that remain narrow and winding keep each route unique from the next, and hold that powder for run after run. Natural features like mounds and ledges remain on the sides to keep things interesting, and with an open woods policy, there’s always a fun new stash waiting to be discovered.

Kids at Smugglers’, as well as adults, are treated to the best ski and snowboard programs in the East. With on-hill activities focused on fun, learning has never been so appealing, especially for the #1 Kid Friendly Resort in the Eastern U.S. and Canada as voted by the readers of SKI Magazine! Snow features sculpted specifically for beginners ease the fears often faced on first days. Games incorporated into lessons and all day camps keep things fun and fresh. Beginners and early intermediates are even treated to their own mountain of welcoming terrain, free from the adrenaline-fueled experts many aim to become. And the best part—it doesn’t stop with skiing and snowboarding! Groups stop by a trailside tipi for warm apple cider breaks, greeted by Father Winter—an expert in Vermont’s natural history. Here, they are introduced to artifacts and specimens which tell the tale of the Green Mountains and the smugglers of Smugglers’ Notch. Guests are given a sense of connection to the mountain experience they have come so far to be part of. All of these elements are what make Smugglers’ Notch Vermont the number one resort for family fun!

7 fun ways to enjoy northern Vermont’s fall foliage

ArborTrek ziplineleaf peeper

Noun; informal: A person who visits Vermont to view the autumn foliage.


The brilliance of fall colors in Vermont is legendary. The annual display attracts visitors – leaf peepers –  from all over the world who come to admire the red, yellow, and orange hues of autumn.

Make your autumn vacation getaway one to remember by combining your leaf peeping with one of the exciting outdoor activities available at Smugglers’ Notch Resort and nearby. Here are seven of our favorite activities – one for each day of the week, all certain to provide you with a unique peep at Vermont’s leaves.

Sunday — Take on the Treetop Obstacle Course
This 2 1/2 hour guided aerial adventure combines the thrill of being high above the ground with challenges that test strength, balance and agility on features such as tire swings, cargo nets, and zip lines. Four levels of challenge guarantee that all ages, from age 4 to adult, will have fun!

Monday — Ride the trails on a mountain bike
Biking is a wonderful way to enjoy the splendor of the Smugglers’ Notch region during the most colorful time of year. Sign up for a mountain biking introductory clinic, or a group ride to explore our single and double track trails or trail networks nearby. Smugglers’ MTB Bike Shop is open weekdays for rentals. Don’t miss the breathtaking view of the Notch just off our Country Road trail, or the mellow ride through farmland provided by the new Lamoille Valley Rail Trail with a Jeffersonville trailhead only 10 minutes from Smugglers’.

Tuesday — Make your taste buds happy
There’s plenty to love about a day trip that includes chocolate, cheese and ice cream! Smugglers’ Taste of Vermont Tour brings you through spectacular Smugglers’ Notch pass on a scenic route from Smugglers’ to Waterbury and Stowe with stops along the way for delicious Vermont products. In the evening, head to Valley Dream Farm in nearby Cambridge to savor an organic farm-to-table dinner prepared by talented local chefs. A tractor-pulled wagon ride takes you through the farm’s fields, where the greens for your dinner’s salad may have just been harvested!

Wednesday — Fly through the trees on the ArborTrek Zip Line Canopy Tour
Fly high above a rippling mountain stream and take in a bird’s-eye view of the fall colors among centuries-old hemlocks, mature sugar maples and paper birch on Vermont’s first world-class zip line canopy tour. Your adventure takes you on a course of zip lines combined with suspension bridges and rappels. As you zip from tree platform to tree platform, guides share local history and interesting tidbits about northern Vermont’s flora and fauna.

Thursday — Sample award-winning wines and delicious cheeses as part of a gourmet winery experience
Visit the Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge for a tour of the winery and a tasting of their wines served with artisan cheeses, seasonal or dried fruit, and fresh bread. There’s a feast for your eyes too, as you take in the view of rolling farmland and hillsides from the winery’s outdoor garden patio.

Friday — Hone your skills in disc golf
All ages and abilities find fun on Smugglers’ Brewster Ridge 18-hole disc golf course, ranked nationally among the top 5 courses by the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) . Enroll in a guided private clinic for skill development or take part in the fun of a group scramble on this lovely course that meanders through woods and meadows.

Saturday — Explore on a guided covered bridge walk
An easy stroll along the Lamoille River brings you to the Poland covered bridge built in the late 1800s. Enjoy the riverside views as you learn about Vermont’s covered bridge history.

Active, relaxing, tasty, exciting – the different ways to enjoy fall in the Smugglers’ Notch area are as varied as the colors of Vermont fall foliage!

Read more about fall getaways at Smugglers’ Notch Resort

Vermont vacation fun: wild edibles walk

wild edibles nature walk

Herbalist Kelley Robie leads the Wild Edibles Walk at Smugglers’ Notch Resort.

Weeds are the Rodney Dangerfields of the plant kingdom: they don’t get any respect. Gardeners rarely have anything nice to say about weeds, and many of us who garden go to extreme lengths to keep these wild growers out of our lawns and gardens. But take a walk with Vermont herbalist Kelley Robie of Horsetail Herbs, and your perspective on the common weed will change. In fact, you’re likely to take a second look at all of the wild plant life you see.

During the summer vacation season at Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Kelley leads the weekly Wild Edibles walk, a meandering stroll of about an hour’s duration around a small section of the resort village. With Kelley’s expert guidance, this walk that is accessible for everyone offers a look at numerous potential edibles found in flower gardens, forest patches, and around stormwater drainage areas.

In a chatty session indoors prior to the walk, Kelley reviews some of the common weeds that can be incorporated into recipes, like dandelions and clover. She also reviews edible wild growing plants that may be familiar to anyone who spends time outdoors, like the fern fiddleheads and wild leeks found in early spring in the Northeast. She discusses which parts of a plant to harvest, and there’s even some taste testing.

While it’s all in good fun, a note of caution is necessary. Kelley emphasizes that anyone interested in wild edibles should be sure to use a field guide to properly identify all plants before eating. Two popular guides are Peterson’s Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants and Thomas Elias’s Edible Wild Plants. For your own safety, you want to be confident that you are making a proper identification of a wild edible that is safe to consume.

At the end of this fun and interesting workshop, each participant receives a sheet with recipes that use wild edible ingredients in everything from a tasty casserole to savory pesto.

Back to those dandelions. Tender young leaves and flower petals can be added to salads, and sauteed with olive oil, garlic, and lemon or balsamic vinegar. The young flowers can be made into wine and jellies, and dipped in batter and fried as  fritters. From lawn or field, to table!

The Wild Edibles Walk is just one of the health and wellness classes that Smugglers’ Notch Resort offers to guests in summer. Take a look at these classes that range from aromatherapy to yoga, and begin planning your relaxing moments at Smugglers’!


Tips for travel with your baby

Travel with baby

If you’re a new parent feeling a little daunted by the prospect of travel with your baby, rest assured  you are not alone. Many new parents who arrive for a family vacation at Smugglers’ Notch Resort share a bit of apprehension as they begin the adventure of traveling with their little ones. Smugglers’ child care center director Shelly Schaffer and her staff have years of experience supporting families’ special getaways. They share three tips to put parents and baby on the road to a relaxing family vacation.

First, identify your wish list of amenities and activities to help guide you to a destination choice.

Finding a destination that matches your needs is key to relaxing and fully enjoying your time away. As a starting point, consider the following “must have’s” that new parents have identified In conversations with Treasures’ staff.

  • Participation in baby-friendly activities. Look for destinations with gradual entry shallow pools or splash pads for water play. Shaded walks and paths that accommodate strollers also offer a fun recreational opportunity to share with your baby, as can “Stroller & Go” outings for parents. Playground facilities with baby swings can be a pleasant diversion and an opportunity to meet and chat with other parents on vacation.
  • Lodging with space to spread out and easily accommodate baby’s gear. Stroller, travel crib … the trick is to fit baby’s gear while maintaining play and relaxation space for your family. Condominium lodging typically will offer more space than a conventional hotel room.
  • Convenient laundry services. Infants can go through a week’s worth of clothing in just a couple of days. Perhaps a condominium setting that includes in-home washers and dryers would be a much-appreciated feature during your family’s getaway.
  • Kitchens or kitchenettes. If dining out for every meal is not a priority, look for lodging that allows you to cook. Pre-planning some easy meals in your lodging can provide a seemingly effortless dinner option and make maintaining an infant’s routine easier.
  • Child care. If your family has young children, quality child care can give you the flexibility to create a balanced family vacation that nurtures the family as well as each individual, leaving everyone happy and refreshed. When looking to spend time with your partner or your older children, you’ll need to consider what infant  or toddler child care services are offered, which could include private sitters and an onsite child care center, as is offered at Smugglers’. When parents visiting Smugglers’ ask Shelly for guidance, she suggests that they think about what they’d like to do on vacation that they normally can’t do with an infant or toddler. After choosing their own activities, they then can set up their child care arrangements around their planned adventures. Check to see if the child care center offers scheduling flexibility and half day or hourly rates and what their reservation guidelines are. That way, if you tend to be a relaxed planner, you will know whether the center can accommodate you on that spur of the moment winery tour or zip line adventure. Thinking about child care ahead of time allows you to contact the destination and ask questions prior to arrival, which can help reduce any uncertainty you may feel about setting up child care at an unfamiliar place.

Ready for your vacation? The staff at Treasures offer two additional tips related to your travel day:

  • Plan your route with baby’s needs in mind. Prior to heading off to your destination, it’s useful to map out your stops along the way. Diaper changes or bathroom breaks are often needed at the most inopportune times, so it helps to know where the next rest area is. It may also be helpful to start driving during the night or just prior to nap time, when your infant is usually sleeping. This helps keep fussy babies quiet and can make a long car ride more tolerable, especially if you have other young children unaccustomed to car travel. If you do leave in the evening, a stay en route may be necessary, and planning your route ahead of time can help with identifying convenient overnight lodging.
  • Research child-friendly restaurants along your route – particularly if you know you’ll be traveling through a meal time. Through review sites or friends’ recommendations, find restaurants that welcome kids. Almost every parent has experienced that unsettling moment when their child decides to fuss and cry in a quiet restaurant. By looking ahead to find dining options where children are welcome, you can thoroughly enjoy your meal.

A final thought – take a full breath and relax! Your pre-vacation preparations will cover all the bases. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your baby and other children will be, and your family will be well on their way to a special vacation getaway. Put that “have baby, will travel” bumper sticker on the car and go!

Interested in reading more?

The caregivers at Treasures Child Care at Smugglers’ Notch Resort welcome your interest in the nursery – read more about Treasures.

Check out Tot tips for parents at Smuggs – suggestions for activities children age 3 and younger and their parents can enjoy during their Smugglers’ summer vacation.

Tot tips for parents at Smuggs


swimming pool

Planning a Smugglers’ Notch summer vacation with a little one? We’ve got a few ideas for activities you can enjoy together.

As a family vacation destination, Smugglers’ is dedicated to providing fun for all ages, and that includes making sure there are plenty of choices for our youngest guests!

Water play. Of our three pool and waterslide playgrounds, we’d recommend Mountainside and Notchville for families with little ones. The Mountainside water playground offers the Little Smugglers’ Lagoon, a gradual entry and shallow water play area with floating tubes, a float-through or wade-through cave, and water fountains. The adjacent Turtle waterslide and wading pool are sized for young children to enjoy. At Notchville Park, Splashville splash pad thrills toddlers with trips down the yellow duckie waterslide and room to romp through gentle water sprayers.

Family activities. Each day delivers a new family experience for parents and their youngsters at Smugglers’! As part of your Smugglers’ vacation package, you might make sock puppets on Sunday, play preschool games on Monday, join the Stroller & Go fitness walk on Tuesday, family storytime on Wednesday … you get the idea! Read about our family activities

Visit the nature center. Our cozy nature center is packed full of fun items to intrigue and fascinate young children. Get an up close view of critters like the waving crab, play with nature-themed puzzles and games, and settle into a chair or on the floor to read books and learn more about the outdoors.

Playground exploration. There are a variety of playgrounds in the resort village and each one offers different play features. You might take a walk with your little one and check them all out, then pick a favorite to enjoy with your child during your stay at Smuggs.

Wander the nature trails. From the Tennis Center, cross the bridge over the brook and head out on the nature trails for a relaxing walk. Watch for beautiful wildflowers or kick off your shoes and do some stream stopping!

Trek with a llama. The gentle llamas who tote picnic snacks on our treks are very accustomed to small children. Depending on your child’s age, pop your tot into a backpack, or encourage them to walk with you and lead their new llama friend along the trail on this three hour stroll with a picnic at the midpoint.

Disc dog show. Every Wednesday the talented canines from 802 Disc Dogs perform their feats of agility on our green. All ages enjoy the amazing show put on by these furry athletes!

Meet the Friendly Pirate. Smugglers’ resident pirate of amazing friendliness will have your little buccaneer singing shanties and doing the Parrot Pound in no time! Join the Friendly Pirate at breakfast on Fridays or dinner on Tuesdays, both at our Mountain Grille Restaurant. You can also join him for a family singalong on Friday afternoons on the village green.

Balance bike session. 3 year olds are invited to experience our mountain biking skills park in a balance bike session. With a coach, they’ll learn how use their feet to propel and steady themselves as they take on the park’s small rollers and banks just like the big kids! From the Bike Shop’s observation deck, parents can take photos and cheer their little mountain biker on in this fun and confidence building experience.

One more idea.  Sometimes moms and dads would like a little time to themselves. The solution? Our children’s programs, which entertain your child with a variety of activities guided by caring counselors. Smugglers’ nursery Treasures accommodates children ages 6 weeks to 3 years old in three cheery playrooms with oodles of toys and an adjacent fenced playground. Treasures’ staff are available to assist in arranging babysitters in a family’s Smugglers’ vacation home if Mom and Dad want to plan an evening out. For older tots, Smugglers’ acclaimed children’s programs start at age 3 in the Discovery Dynamos program developed specially for 3 and 4 year olds. These youngsters have a great time with their counselors, making friends and exploring the world around them through nature activities, water play, arts and crafts, and more.

Have you vacationed at Smugglers’ with your little one? We’d love to hear about your experience and we welcome your tips for other parents visiting Smugglers’ for the first time with young children. Please share a comment!

10 vacation travel tips for families

summer family vacation

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!


  • 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.


  • 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 story book 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 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.