a peek inside the fishbowl

21 Aug, 2011

Smugglers’ Notch: Vermont Fair, Rum Runner’s Hideaway, Stowe, and the drive home

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|travel talk

One of the things I really liked about Smugglers’ Notch is the fact that there’s always something going on somewhere, morning, noon, and night.

During our stay at Smuggs we had the opportunity to enjoy an old time State Fair on site. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was adorable, a total breath of fresh air (both literally and figuratively). Canopies dotted the circumference of a green field in the middle of the resort, families milled and buzzed around, playing games, checking out the local vendors and happily munching on fair food. It was really a lovely sight:

The Vermont Fair

There were all kinds of games, and there was a LOT of participation, which I found amazing. Emma and Sarah didn’t hesitate to get in there either:

Three-legged race

Even the grown ups got in on the sack races.

The highlight for me was a balloon toss. There must have been 200 people who got in on it (including our two). It went on for ages. There are some very good balloon tossers out there.

I love this photo. Can’t you picture her saying, “EEEK, I CAUGHT IT!”

Eeek! I caught it!!

And then this happened, and it was all over.

Other highlights for us during our stay included a great hike (there are a lot of them around) and a visit to Rum Runner’s Hideaway. Rum Runner’s is a five minute drive down the road, it’s a hidden lake with a giant inflatable trampoline on it. (Basically: kid heaven.)

You park your car at the base of one of the ski hills, and walk the rest of the way. It was my kind of heaven too. The view is the stuff of postcards, even in the summer.

I would love to ski here too.

It’s only about a 10-15 minute walk to the lake, but it includes one sonofadevil hill that HURT to climb. Thank god it was only a small sonofadevil.

Walking up to Rum Runner's

This is what it looked like when we got there:

Rum Runner's

Here’s another view.

The trampoline has a giant tongue on it (for lack of a better word) and a kid sits on the tongue while an adult jumps on the one end, launching the kid forward in the air.. not unlike something that you’d see in Bugs Bunny cartoons. It’s crazy. Mark and Sarah managed to do it even though the tongue was under-inflated and it was hard to get onto it without tipping over into the water. I hovered around in an inflatable inner tube watching from a close distance, but I needn’t have worried. Two lifeguards paid close attention, one from the trampoline and one from a nearby dock.

It was fabulous, albeit a little chilly, which made me wonder why we didn’t come here in July. :)

Here we are walking back to the car.

Walking back down from Rum Runner's

I also wanted to write about about the town of Stowe. We ventured forth along Mountain Road (remember the video?) to poke around its lovely little shops. There is much to love about Stowe. It has a really creative and artistic vibe. For example, there are big yellow spoons hanging on trees:

In the village of Stowe

Public art that is easily accessible:

In Stowe

And lots of neat things to look at:

In Stowe, along the main street

We shopped and wandered and hardly got rained on at all. :)

We left late so we stopped at a really great pizza place called Pie in the Sky. I didn’t exactly expect the space-themed interior design, but the pizza here was truly out of this world; thin crust, wood-fired, and totally delicious.

Pizza in Stowe

Too soon it was time to pack up and head back to Ottawa. We bid farewell to Smuggs and went on our way.

I couldn’t get over how pretty Vermont is.

This style of church seems to be fairly popular in the area:

On the road home

… and of course, there’s the quintessential red barn. I wish we could have stopped, but I had to make do with a drive by snap:

Red barns galore

As we sped away with the windows down I thought about what a great holiday we’d just had. We’d only had four nights at Smuggs but I would recommend taking a whole week if you could. That way you can really get to know it and take advantage of everything they have to offer.

At the same time, looking back, I marvel at how much we managed to do yet how restful it all was. Somehow, without really even knowing how, we managed to find that perfect (yet elusive) balance between rest, relaxation and recreation. Funny, isn’t it?

Our trip to Smugglers’ Notch was one of the best things about our summer (ziplining! llamas! hidden lakes!) and not only did we really enjoyed our stay but we will definitely be recommending it to our friends.

What about you guys?  Is it somewhere you’d like to visit? Have you ever been to this area? And here’s the big question: would you come here in the winter or summer? (Because I can’t decide!)

p.s. you can check out of all of my photos here. :)

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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