Once upon a time, back in the year 2019, our family experienced something astounding and magical: a resort with childcare! Let me tell you this tale of our time at Smugglers’ Notch family resort in Vermont, so you can join me in this dreamy vision.
A Vacation With Childcare
If you have kids — or have even just been around kids — you’re likely present to the fact that a vacation with children is in many ways more exhausting than just staying home.
Much was my euphoria, then, upon learning that our 2019 summer visit to Smugglers’ Notch (hosted) would include full-day camps for both our young kids!
Activities for All Ages at Smuggs
A resort with real childcare is a GAME CHANGER. Since the day camp that Smuggs offers was so well-run and entertaining (even for our sometimes shy, nervous kids), my spouse and I could actually relax, and truly be on vacation.
We were able to do a Vermont cheese tasting, take long hikes in the gorgeous mountains, and even take a llama trek (!) where we learned which side we fall in the alpaca vs. llama debate. Smuggs is known for its skiing during winter but my oh my are there a lot of great things to do during the warm months as well.
Smuggs is Made for Kids
When you hear the term “resort,” you likely think of a fancy, stuffy place where children could break everything in sight. Smugglers’ Notch family resort, however, is made 100% with kids in mind.
Heck: there was even a pirate and giant bear and mouse available to entertain our kids during every meal! (See the hug above: one of many Billy Bob Bear hugs our kids enjoyed.)
As a huge example of the kid-friendliness of the resort, see my review and video of our Smuggs condo to notice the meticulous family-in-mind details in our living space: from stools for the sink, to children’s books already in the bedrooms.
Indoor Rainy Day Activities for Kids: FunZone
You know a place has kids in mind when it has a designated space for indoor fun, in the event of rain. The new 26,000 square foot entertainment space, FunZone 2.0 had everything from an arcade, to bouncy houses, to mini-golf that our children delighted in during the one day it poured!
FunZone 2.0 is divided into sections for different ages, with a massive rock climbing wall for teens (you can see part of it in the upper left of the photo above), larger bouncy houses and slides for older young kids, and an upstairs area with smaller playthings for the wee ones.
To go with the pirate theme of the whole resort, there is even a pirate ship bouncy house! Avast, mateys — you can see it in the photo below, near the drawing tables and the fabulous blue foam building materials.
Vermont Country Fair at Smuggs
If you check the official Smuggs website, (which you should definitely do if considering a stay so you get the most up-to-date information), you’ll see that one of the perks of the resort is that there are always great new activities going on. One of the most famous signature Smuggs events is the Vermont Country Fair.
The Country Fair is the definition of wholesome family fun. There are games like balloon tosses, attractions like pony rides, plenty of local goods and food to buy — and all of this nestled between the glorious green mountains.
The Secret to Winning a Sack Race
Our favorite moment of the Country Fair is pictured above: As dozens of people hopped forward during the sack race, one boy flipped onto his hands and did a walking hand stand all the way to the finish line — winning by leaps and bounds! Brilliant.
Disc Golf in Vermont
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Smugglers’ Notch boasts some of the best Disc Golf (frisbee golf) grounds in all of New England. As you’re hiking the mountains, you’ll see the goals scattered throughout the grounds, and major competitions are often played there.
The Kindness of Smugglers’ Notch
Here’s a story to illustrate the warm heart of Smuggs, and the ways in which everyone at the resort — guests, staff, and locals — exude kindness. In order to attend the camp, our kids needed closed-toed shoes… but we’d forgotten to pack them.
As luck would have it, I happened to start chatting with a local Vermont photographer, and when she heard our predicament, she ran home and got an extra set of girl shoes to lend to us! She even offered to take our family portrait, but timing didn’t work out.
The thoughtfulness of the whole interaction was so appreciated, and ended up saving the day. This is my dream vacation characteristic: the calm of being surrounded by kindness and care.
Smuggs in Summary
So what about you? Have you been to or heard of Smugglers’ Notch? If so, what was your experience there? If not, does it seem like a place you and your family might enjoy visiting? Do share!
Other Vermont and New England Resources:
- Read about charming Woodstock, VT and the Woodstock Inn and Resort.
- Why Vermont in April is an… interesting time to travel.
- Ideas for Berkshires, MA travel and New England Getaways.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!