SMUGGLER’S NOTCH – It was 10 years ago that my family and I last visited the spectacular Smuggler’s Notch Resort (www.smuggs.com) in Vermont.

We returned this summer and found that like a fine wine, this place keeps getting better with age.

This is a year round mountain vacation resort, located 30 miles east of the Burlington International Airport and only two hours from Montreal.

Smugglers’ Notch offers a complete Mountain Village with convenient restaurants, lounges, entertainment, sport shop, 10 tennis courts, a driving range, multiple and magnificent pools, Rum Runners’ Hideaway reservoir, playgrounds, woodland miniature and disc golf courses, a full service conference and banquet center, a U.S. Post Office, a real estate office, a country store, TREASURES child care center, a welcome and reservation center, day camps for toddlers to teens and two teen centers. They just launched a new zip lining experience last December and business there is booming.

Summer programs go from June through September. If you are like me and plan ahead, then pencil this place in for next summer and don’t be shy to book your choice dates in the winter.

All accommodations are mountainside condominiums ranging from studios to five bedroom townhouses with fully-equipped living spaces and kitchens. Lodgings and facilities are all located in the walkabout Village. A free on-demand shuttle service also runs daily throughout the Village.

We stayed in a beautiful two bedroom slopeside condominium. Homes are prepared for your arrival with bath towels, linens, blankets and pillows. Your condominium will also have hotel size bars of bath soap, toilet paper, paper towels, dish towels, dish soap, sponges and trash bags. The kitchen in your village home includes pots, pans, plates, glasses, silverware, cooking utensils, a toaster and an auto-drip coffee maker. All homes have a stove, refrigerator, a stacking washer and dryer or access to a washer and dryer in the building. Private rooms do not have a kitchen.

Smugglers’ Notch currently has 660 units, with a new phase of 35 on the way. “We are growing by about five percent per year,” says managing director Bill Stritzler, who became a homeowner in 1977, was hired in 1986 and bought the resort in 1996.

There are presently more than 7,000 owners, ranging from time-shares of two weeks a year to those who are permanent owners and share in the profits when their units are rented during the year. This is a year-round vacation paradise.

Just a decade ago, when the Canadian dollar was extremely low compared to the American greenback, Smugglers’ accepted Canadian money at par. Stritzler recalls what a financial sacrifice it was at that time, noting that he hoped Canadian guests would remember the resort when their currency improved. That day, of course, has arrived with the Canadian dollar now valued higher than the US. “We are still willing to accept Canadian dollars at par,” Stritzler laughs.

Smugglers’ has four water playgrounds with eight pools and four waterslides. At the Mountainside Pool there is the Giant Rapid River Ride, the Turtle Slide, Little Smugglers’ Lagoon, bathhouse, snack bar, and sun decks. Over at the Courtside Pool, you can enjoy the Flume Waterslide, wading pool, Olympic-sized pool, two 14-person Jacuzzi tubs and a athhouse and snack center.

An AutumnFest package offers Smugglers’ exceptional lodging and programming at the lowest rates of the year! Ski and snowboard season is from late November until mid-April. Three interconnected mountains comprise northern Vermont’s biggest vertical drop at 2,610 feet. Skiers and snowboarders are welcome on all trails.

As for dining, Three Mountain Lodge (www.threemountainlodge.com) is just a short drive from the resort on Route 108. Owners Steve and Colleen Blood usually greet you at the door and bring a large whiteboard to your table containing all of the specials. There are plenty of meat and seafood selections. The prime rib is one of their specialties, charcoal broiled in 10 and 16 ounce servings. It comes with two sides. I opted for the mashed potatoes and baked macaroni. Scallops can be prepared broiled or grilled. The steaks, broiled trout, shrimp scampi, slow cooked ribs and rack of lamb also looked great. Make sure not to leave without trying their homemade ice cream. We sampled the blueberry and vanilla flavors. You can call 802-644-5736 or email threemt@together.net.

Mike Cohen’s email address is info@mikecohen.ca. Read his detailed report on Smugglers’ Notch at www.sandboxworld.com/travel