In the midst of so many beautiful memories and places in Vermont, we went on several other adventures to take in the sunlit colonnades of various colors and types of trees. Each adventure had its own qualities to discover and delight in.
The locals encouraged us to drive up to Smuggler’s Notch a short distance north of Stowe. The geographic value of this is that it is a mountain pass that separates Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak in the Green Mountains, from Spruce Peak and the Sterling Range. The elevation tops out at 2,170 feet (a height that seems small compared to the peaks and passes of the Rocky Mountains). Even so, the trip there slowly takes you along curves as it climbs and before long you find yourself in the midst of twists and turns that become switchbacks with room for only one car on the curve itself.
Heightened awareness is required as the road nearly becomes a trail and you discover cars pulled off along the side of the road. There are really no true parking spots except in one small lot that is packed with vehicles and a large school bus! Any potential place to allow the passengers to get out and hike around through the trees and rocks near the top are sought out and used along the road with precious little room for cars continuing on the road to squeeze through.
The history of the Notch is intriguing. It got its name (Smuggler’s Notch) as a result of the decision on the part of President Thomas Jefferson to prevent involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1807, the Embargo Act was passed and forbid American trade with Great Britain and Canada. This caused hardship for the Vermonters who found these two countries to be convenient trading partners.
As a result, many chose to continue carrying goods and herding livestock through the Notch. Later in U.S. history, fugitive slaves used the Notch as an escape route to Canada prior to and during the U.S. Civil War. Then in 1922, the road through the Notch served another purpose when liquor was smuggled into the United States from Canada during prohibition. (Today the drive to Canada is less than two hours from the Notch so it is easy to understand why Vermonters used it to connect with their northern neighbors.) Then finally, Smuggler’s Notch State Park was created near the Notch by the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps.
For those who love good stories, the trip up to Smuggler’s Notch not only affords beauty, but also stirs the imagination about the way the notch was used over the course of history.
If you can find a safe place to park your vehicle to explore the area, it is well worth the time. You will also want to try the hike to Bingham Falls along the way. The trek to the falls is not for toddlers or perhaps those who have difficulty walking, but it is a fairly easy hike for others. In the fall season, the water is not as abundant and the falls are not as full of rushing water as can be seen during spring and earlier in the summer, but long before you catch a glimpse of them you can hear them rushing over the rocks.
You can easily find a variety of trails to hike with varying degrees of difficulty throughout the area. If you are unsure of trying any of them, be sure to check out the Stowe Recreational Path that runs for 12 miles and provides easy walking and great views in and around the Stowe area. You can hop on at any number of places and enjoy the beauty of the foliage, the stream that runs through and adjacent to it, footbridges, and corn mazes. There will be park benches to sit a spell and enjoy the view and in a few places picnic benches as well.
Romans 1:20 ESV
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, ‘have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,’ in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
12 thoughts on “One More Stop in Vermont”
Love the photos, and the history!
Our family hiked a mountain in Southern Vermont a couple of weeks ago. FAbulous!
Pam, I’ve only been to Smuggler’s Notch once, years ago, when we vacationed with friends and used some of our trip to go to Montreal.
I had NOO idea about the history of the notch. Wow! That is so fascinating!! If I every find my way up there again, I will definitely be much more reflective of the history. My first time, I was in awe of how tight and windy the roads were. We found ourselves going through it in heavy fog which made it that much more exciting. lol.
Thanks so much for sharing! I very much enjoyed the beautiful fall colors and the history lesson. 🙂
So glad to add the info you were not aware of. I am a great history lover and tend to look for these kinds of things about places we visit (especially with such intriguing names as this…Smuggler’s Notch). So happy to have you along for the journey, Karen! Blessings on your weekend!
Hi Pam! You could keep putting up photos for as long as you want! They are so gorgeous. Thanks for the info on the name of Smugglers Notch, the name just invites an explanation. The little creek looks so blue and clear, love that. I think you went at just the right time.
Thanks, Ceil! I have a few more in the post set for tomorrow and you will bump into some here and there in future posts. Yes, we did go at just the right time and each year the “peak” time varies a bit so clearly, the Lord favored us when we made reservations and plans months ago. There was only one afternoon that we had some rain showers! Love to you, my friend!
Oh, to take a season and just drive to all these wonderful areas that are just really a neighbourhood away! Thank you for sharing and making my world a bigger place!
Even though we drove hundreds of miles to get there, so much to see in a short distance was indeed a grand gift!!
Thanks for sharing with this novice New Englander, Pam … what a fabulous trip you’re taking! May your soul be revived with each breath.
Love your pictures. Been in that area on a fall trip and boy was it beautiful. That trip made me want to move to to Vermont or New Hampshire. On our plane ride out to Boston I head people saying they were going to see the trees, and I laughed. That, I thought, seemed a waste of money. Then we landed and drove up through Vermont and New Hampshire and I was dumb founded at the glorious fall leaf colors and there I was taking pictures and making a pest of myself with all my ohhs and ahhs and pictures and leaf collecting. To remind us of the trip, we ended up bringing home a oil painting of a Vermont trail dressed in its fall finery. We still talk about that trip so many years ago.
You’re so right!! You need to see it to believe it!! I hope you took a minute to see the post from Monday (October morning in Vermont)…I think those pics are even better😊
Our colors down south are a bit muted this year because it’s been so dry. Thanks for sharing these beautiful fall colors with us! #coffeeforyourheart
I hear you, Kelly! Our trees in Ohio have just started getting into more color because we too had the hottest summer on record. (They say the trees have been stressed!!) By now, the leaves are usually starting to fall and past their prime and we have chilly temps or even a few snowflakes some years and today it will be 74 degrees!! Crazy!!