Smugglers' Notch: Away from the Pollution
--By Norman Goldman
--Art Work by Lily Azerad-Goldman
No smog, no pollution and an abundance of fun, isn't that what you want when you plan a vacation?
Look no further than the majestic corner of Vermont known as Smugglers' Notch Area or, as the locals like to call
Just driving along The Smugglers' Notch Scenic Highway (SR 108) and observing the misty light filtering through
the trees is sufficient to beckon you to park your car and meander about. For nature lovers and artists this truly
is a treasure. If there were such a place as heaven on earth, Smugglers would qualify.
A word of caution, however, don't let go of the steering wheel as you wind your way around the large boulders that
protrude onto the narrow passageway. It can be hair-raising! Oh yes, I forgot to tell you, watch out for the ghosts
of the past.
Legend tells us that the Notch derived its name as far back as the early 1800's, when President Thomas Jefferson
prohibited trade with Britain. Vermonters were up in arms when they were told that trading with the British would
no longer be tolerated. Their livelihood depended on importing silks and drugs from Montreal. What were they to
do? Of course, smuggle and hide the contraband within the caves of the Notch. Apparently, many years later, during
the era of prohibition, the Notch was used as a storage place for smuggled liquor.
As you drive through the Notch you will notice some parking spaces. Park your car and explore the flora and fauna.
You won't be sorry. Who knows, maybe you will find some of the hidden booty? Just bear in mind that during the
winter, part of the highway is closed.
If you were planning to vacation a few days in the area, a good suggestion would be to stay at the Smugglers' Notch
Resort. This certainly can be your home base and jumping off point and will also provide endless hours of activities.
This resort is located in an area known as "the quiet side of the Mountain," and has been in existence
since 1956. It has been classified, and rightfully so, as one of the best family resorts in North America. Moreover,
the resort is a leader in practising superior environmental stewardship and responsible business ethics.
The "mommy, I'm bored" syndrome is not part of its vocabulary. In fact, the resort is supposedly the
only one in North America to guarantee family fun. Their policy is that if any member of a family participates
in one or more of their programs and doesn't have fun; they will refund the entire program portion of that family's
It is difficult not to have fun. You can hike, bike, fish, golf, canoe, swim, kayak, ski, snowboard, tennis, waterslide,
volleyball, dance, and participate in endless activities within a three thousand acre playground. You name the
sport or activity, and for the most part, they can accommodate you and all members of your family. During the summer
you will discover eight pools and three waterslides with splash pools. The winter season is the time to ski or
perhaps learn to ski on one of the three interconnected mountains. If you prefer, you can try snowboarding within
one of the resort's designated facilities.
On a more serious note, we all know how a multitude of recreational activities can sometimes play havoc with our
environment. Realizing this danger, Smugglers' Notch Resort has made a concerted effort to become a responsible
corporate citizen in matters related to its surroundings. As a result, the management is continuously collaborating
and consulting with researchers, scientists, and staff from Vermont's Agency of National Resources. They have even
hired a full time environmental manager. Something you would rarely find at many other resorts.
In 1998, Smugglers Notch Resort received the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence for various innovations,
such as the use of the most efficient compressors for snowmaking, recycling of construction scrap material, adhering
to Vermont's Five Star specifications when related to building, and using live bullhead catfish as part of the
sewage treatment process. The latter is certainly innovative!
The resort is also very keen on demonstrating to visitors and guests the extent it practices good environmental
behaviour. This is evidenced by the many children and adults' environmental sensitivity activities it organizes
in and around the resort's complex. Their main objective, according to the
management, is "to raise the environmental awareness of guests and employees, and to broaden their knowledge
of environmental efforts through their educational programs."
In addition, by respecting nature, the resort is able to provide artists with a pollution free environment. No
doubt, the surrounding mysterious forests and towering mountains provide an endless source of inspiration. However,
if the fauna and flora were to be destroyed, this stimulus would be non-existent. Programs, such as the "Artists
in the Mountains," offered by the resort, would find it difficult to attract participants. After all, who
would want to draw, paint, watercolor, or participate in anything, if you are surrounded with pollution? All of
the fun of the vacation would be lost.
Welcome to a State and a vacation Resort that cares!
For more information concerning the area you may refer to the following sites: