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.

Four pulse-pounding vacation adventures

Summer vacation can be a great time to try something new. Something that tests your limits a bit and makes your pulse pound. At Smugglers’ Notch, you’ll find adventures that send you high into the air. You’ll also find adventures that take you onto trails and into waterfalls, and adventures that send you rolling, bumping and jumping along the ground. Check out four of our favorite pulse pounders. Then start planning your Vermont summer adventures!

ArborTrek TreeTop Obstacle Course

treetop obstacle courseOn ArborTrek’s TreeTop Obstacle Course, you’ll slide, balance, jump, crawl, climb, dash and swing as you make your way along a course through the trees. This self-guided adventure through more than 80 elements offers challenges that test a participant’s strength, balance, and agility. A course with 3 height levels of challenges, plus a course with challenges for ages 4 and older, deliver a memorable experience for all ages.


flyboardingTry the newest thrilling water sport – Flyboarding. The Flyboard elevates you using water jet propulsion technology. Instructors will show you how to control your movement by tilting your feet, bending your knees, and shifting your body weight to fly over Bootleggers’ Basin reservoir at Smugglers’. The reviews from Flyboarding’s inaugural summer 2015 season: amazing, and great fun!

Mountain biking

mountain biking skills parkMake 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 property, with an extensive network of additional trails within an easy drive.

Via Ferrata

via ferrata canyoneeringExperience some of Vermont’s most unique natural environments using rope bridges, rappelling, and other techniques. Professional guides instruct you in canyoneering and rock climbing skills in outings that take place around, above, and in some of the most scenic chasms and waterfalls in northern Vermont. Be prepared to get wet! Via Ferrata is fun for kids and adults.

Two tips for success in a new experience:

  • Think about the physical capabilities of your family members when choosing a new adventure. Everyone will have more fun exploring an activity that is well matched to their abilities.
  • Check your chosen activity’s age, height, and weight requirements and ensure everyone meets those requirements.

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!

Family ties Smuggs-style

Family vacation fun at Smugglers' Notch

We are the champions … in Kerplunk

Family Ties are the long-running and ever popular activities at Smugglers’ that bring families together in a way that can be, well, sort of goofy. Like, sure-to-start-some-teenage-eye-rolling goofy.  And I-would-never-do-this-at-home goofy.

So what’s with the “all in” on goofy fun? Simply, Smugglers’ is a goofy fun permissive kind of place – after all, you’re on vacation, right? So folks jump into playing a game of Giant Tic Tac Toe … competitively. Or painstakingly creating a Big Air Derby “vehicle” out of cardboard and duct tape – LOTS of duct tape – only to launch their family’s creation off a jump and cheer wildly for it to win biggest crash.

And here’s the thing – the eye-rollers and nay-sayers get over themselves and end up loving Family Ties. Take our word for it. Hey, we’ve seen the tattered remains of Big Air Derby creations strapped to family roadsters on check-out day.

Mixed in with the simple fun is what’s best about Family Ties – the family time together. Sharing a few laughs. Relaxing. Racking up the memories. That’s truly what it’s all about.

Last summer, we made a good thing even better. Our ace Activities and Summer Fun University staff spent a lot of time expanding Family Ties. From a once-a-day offering, now you can find some sort of family activity any time between 10:00 am and 7:00 pm, every day of the week. We figure a 10:00 am start gives everyone time to sleep in (got that, kids?), eat a healthy breakfast, and then jump right into the fun.

A few choice action verbs simplify the Family Ties concept: Create. Explore. Learn. Play.

Create. Create a memento, create a memory in a craft session. Make sock puppets that represent each member of the family. Or your favorite actor or actress. Or the family pet. The possibilities are endless with glue, feathers, yarn, fabric, and buttons. Or there’s Awesome Arts & Crafts, which offers a project that each family member can enjoy, all ages welcome. There’s tie dye, too. Plentiful opportunities for creating, and everyone’s un artiste. No critics allowed.

Explore. Make our mountains your own. Follow a guide who leads you to the old stomping grounds of the town of Sterling, first settled in the late 18th century. Watch for remnants of the town in the woods and imagine being among the early settlers in this rugged area. Another option for exploration: prowl the resort village as a team in a family scavenger hunt that has you solving clues in a Smuggs-style version of a certain popular tv show. Got little ones? Search for frogs and tadpoles in our Village Reservoir while hearing all about local ecosystems from a guide.

Learn. Jump into some information accumulation or acquire a new skill. How is maple syrup made? What’s the difference between a turtle and tortoise? If the inquiring minds in your family want answers, check out our walks, hikes and Creature Feature session that unveil the mysteries and magic of nature. Another option – get an intro to a new sport. Anyone up for tennis, disc golf, paddle boarding or mountain biking?

Play. Has anyone ever said, “I’ve played too much”? Nope. Choose family kickball, soccer, or volleyball, all down at our newest recreational facility, Bootlegger’s Basin. You can make a day of play there – pack a picnic, take a refreshing swim in the reservoir, toss some horseshoes. In the Village, life-size games are a favorite; Hungry Hungry Humans and life-size foosball are the latest – crazy wacky fun.

Create, explore, learn, play. The activities mentioned are just a sampling. Because there’s much, much more to enjoy, might we suggest a few tips to help guide your Family Ties fun?

Tip 1 – If your schedule allows, stop by the Courtyard Kickoff Sunday evenings at 6:30 pm. Our Activities and Summer Fun University staff are there each week to answer questions and help you plan your stay.

Tip 2 – Refer to the Resort Information Guide for the full outline of activities.

Tip 3 – If you have questions, swing by the Activities Desk. The friendly staff there will be happy to answer your questions, direct you to a Family Ties meeting place, or sign you up for any activity that requires advance registration.

Get the day-by-day scoop on family activities

May your Family Ties enhance your family ties!

Salt water pools at Smugglers’ Notch Vermont


Splashing in the pool and taking a trip down the waterslide are highlights of the summer season. But for many water lovers, eye irritation is an unfortunate byproduct of pool time, caused by traditional chlorine sanitization methods used in swimming pools.  At the primary pool complexes at Smugglers’ Notch Resort, swimmers have said goodbye to red eye. With swimmer comfort and safety top of mind, Village Center pool facilities have transitioned to salt water chlorination.

Unfamiliar with salt water chlorination? For swimmers, pool water treated with a salt water chlorine generation system has some benefits over traditional chlorine sanitization. Salt water chlorination is less irritating on the eyes and softer on the skin. It also won’t fade or damage swim suits. And it provides a more comfortable experience for swimmers with asthma, allergies, or chemical sensitivities. At one tenth to one twelfth the concentration of salt in ocean water, it even increases swimmer buoyancy.

There are environmental, safety and resource management bonuses, too. Conversion from chlorine allows Smugglers’ pool managers to reduce storage of this hazardous chemical on site. Also, the salt water system is regenerative, which creates less waste – and that translates into savings.

Here’s how the process works:

First, salt is dissolved in the water. The salt used is standard sodium chloride, the same salt you’d have in your shaker at home. The water passes through a salt cell which generates a chemical reaction that creates enough chlorine to keep the pool disinfected. Eventually, the reaction slows down and the molecules revert back to their original forms, becoming salt and water again. This reduces the need to add salt on a regular basis, and because chlorine is generated within the water, there is better consistency of sanitization.

Smugglers’ primary water complexes have been converted to salt water chlorination. These include the Mountainside lap pool and lagoon, the Courtside pool and hot tubs, and the Notchville pools. Feedback from guests is extremely positive, with many folks remarking on the softer skin feel of the water and asking questions about installation for their own pools at home.

Pools serving individual neighborhoods at the resort are also part of the conversion. The West Hill community’s pool is expected to be fully converted by mid June in time for the resort’s summer season kick off.

Out of 537,600 gallons of pool water at the resort, approximately 464,100 gallons are disinfected using the salt system, notes resort aquatics manager Tara Snow. Snow adds that the goal is to achieve full conversion by 2017, so that resort guests will enjoy the benefits of salt water chlorination at all their favorite splash and swim spots at Smugglers’.

Celebrating maple sugaring season in Vermont

Vermont maple syrup

Whether you’re visiting Vermont in early spring for a ski trip or to enjoy one of the many other attractions our state offers to visitors, be sure to sweeten your visit with maple!

Vermont’s maple season kicks off when warming temperatures in late winter and early spring encourage the sap to begin running in maple trees. The sap exits through a taphole in the tree and is then collected by sugarmakers for boiling. As you travel around our state you’ll see the billowing white clouds of steam that are the telltale sign of a bustling sugarhouse.

Many sugarhouses welcome visits, and learning about maple sugaring can be a fascinating and educational experience for families. How does maple tree sap become delicious syrup? You’ll get the answer to that question and more during a sugarhouse tour!

A few tips to consider prior to your sugarhouse visit:

Visit a variety of sugarhouses. There are both small scale and large scale producers of maple syrup and other maple products in Vermont, and seeing both ends of the spectrum – as well as an “in between” producer – can be quite interesting.

Mind your maple manners. Sugarhouses that are open to the public typically welcome visitors of all ages. Keep in mind that a sugarhouse is a working environment, and care should be taken around functioning equipment. Sugarhouses may have their own individual guidelines, and your sugarmaker host will be happy to provide guidance to support your visit.

Pack appropriate clothing and footwear. Weather in Vermont can be changeable in early spring. Be sure to check the forecast and dress accordingly. Layers can be conveniently shed when you go from the outdoors into a warm sugarhouse. Many sugarhouses are in rural countryside settings – sturdy warm and waterproof footwear is a must for comfort.

While sugarhouse tours offer a unique experience for visitors to Vermont, there are plenty of other maple sweetened opportunities to consider:

Enjoy sampling! Maple is much more than syrup. When planning your Vermont visit, visit shops, wineries, and breweries with a maple specialty. Maple spirits, maple flavored chocolates and popcorn, maple cookies … the list goes on and it’s all delicious. You’ll even find maple as an ingredient in treatments offered by spas!

Look for events you might enjoy. Vermont’s celebration of maple encompasses many events, such as the statewide Maple Open House Weekend April 2 and 3 and smaller events hosted by businesses or towns. Big or small, these activities are all unique celebrations of our state’s heritage.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort will be celebrating Vermont’s maple sugaring season with a MapleFest Celebration from March 19 through April 3, 2016. Complimentary activities include a weekly carnival with sugar on snow and a maple-infused specialty foods and spirits tasting, visits to a local sugarhouse and dining specialties enhanced by maple. Children will receive a maple themed activity book. The resort’s lodging packages feature SuperSaver rates during this time period, the lowest rates of the season. You’ll find details at www.smuggs.com/maple

Vermont maple

Everyone’s favorite treat during Vermont’s maple season – sugar on snow!

3 reasons to plan a family ski vacation for spring

Spring Skiing Vermont

Considering a spring family vacation? Here are three reasons why a ski vacation should be your family’s first choice this spring.


Mountain trails in spring typically have great conditions for learning or expanding skiing and snowboarding skills. “Spring’s softer snow conditions contribute to a great learning experience,” points out Smugglers’ ski school director Harley Johnson. “Soft spring snow is easier to carve turns on and more forgiving of spills.”

Johnson adds, “There are typically fewer skiers and riders on the slopes, which may contribute to a more relaxed learning environment for you, particularly if you’re new to skiing or snowboarding. Plus, you don’t have the distraction of  mid winter’s colder temperatures, and you’re not as bundled up so you’re able to move more freely.”


The lowest rates of the season can be found in spring. Typically, vacation package rates for a spring ski vacation are much lower than the rates for a heart of winter getaway. SuperSaver rates on vacation packages at Smugglers’ are in effect from mid-March through early April and run about 15 percent lower than height of season rates. Comprehensive packages that include lodging, lift tickets, and some amenities offer the best value.


The combination of snowsports and spring’s warmer weather create a party vibe. From parking lot barbecues to pond skimming contests, there’s definitely a celebratory atmosphere on the ski slopes in spring. Many events cater to skiers’ and riders’ inclination to linger and enjoy the feeling of community. It’s worth checking ski destination events calendars to see what’s planned – you might find a “don’t miss” event that’s perfect for your family. And with spring’s longer days, you have the opportunity to pack in loads of events and activities!

Spring skiing and riding are all about celebrating the joys of snowsports with the sun on your face and that hint of the changing season in the air. Imagine the pleasure of kicking off next winter’s snowsports season with your spring ski vacation memories still fresh in your mind!