Fine Dining, Fresh Air and Fun at Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Vermont

by Kimberly Hickok

Smugglers Notch Resort Vermont

By no means am I a world traveler but I’ve been to my fair share of places and have had some wonderful meals along the way. I can say, hands down, that the dining experiences I had on a recent visit to Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Vermont are at the top of my culinary experiences.

First off, the lodging is fabulous. There was enough room for 10 people to sleep comfortably in our condo located in the North Hill Community of the resort. (Click on any of the thumbnails below to view a bigger picture.)

The setup is perfect for a family. I especially like that this condo had a bunk room – perfect for kids and teens to hang out in. The sun porch is heated and closed off from the main area. This separate area is perfect when you have a crowd. Additional amenities in our building included a hot tub.

There is a LOT to do at the resort and nearby. We toured a local winery, paddled down the Lamoille River, visited a maple outlet and shopped for antiques. (I brought home a door that I plan on turning into a table for my new screened porch.)

antique shopping in Vermont

It was totally worth driving around Vermont for a few days with this door in the back of the car. Totally worth it!

Now, let’s talk about the food. Two dining experiences, in particular, stood out for me on this trip – our meal at Valley Dream Farm and our dinner at Hearth & Candle Restaurant which is located right at the resort.

Our dinner at Valley Dream Farm was truly a farm to table dining experience. Before dinner, Farmer Anne, showed us how their CSA (community supported agriculture) works. For a fee, you can sign up to get a portion of what the farm grows each week. Valley Dream Farm is a certified organic farm. They practice crop rotation and sustainable practices. They do just about everything by hand.

Valley Dream Farm Tour

We toured the farm on a hay wagon pulled by a tractor. Here Farmer Jon is explaining how they rotate their crops. Kale is growing in the background.

 After the tour we sat down on hay bales at long communal tables and enjoyed dinner, served family-style and prepared by Chef Steve. Every Tuesday, from late June to mid September, a local chef prepares the meal.

Vermont Day trips

Me, Farmer Anne & Chef Steve

We started off the meal with local Vermont cheese. Then we enjoyed smoked salmon with Swedish grilled flatbread, beets, braised chicken with root vegetables and kale, smoked brisket, German potato salad with house made bacon (!) and an assortment of organic bread – light rye, raisin and sourdough. The bread was served with your choice of butter or Vermont maple butter. Oh. my. goodness. I barely had enough room for the very rich and delicious, custard-style ice cream served with maple syrup.

I’m glad I was able to squeeze in a quick hike and swim at Rum Runners’ Hideaway before diving into this dinner!

Vermont getaways

The water may have only been 68F but it felt GREAT after the straight (and I mean straight) uphill 20 minute walk. (I think I’m getting photo bombed!)

You can enjoy lemonade with your dinner or bring a bottle of wine. (Click on the thumbnail below to see a slideshow of this amazing dinner.)

The previous night’s dinner at Hearth & Candle was amazing. Upscale, with a menu that supports local Vermont farmers. Many of the dishes feature fresh vegetables, meat, cheese and – of course – maple syrup.

Our group chose a number of Bites and Small plates to get started:

Hearth Candle - Pickled Vegetables

Pickled Vegetables

Next up: Poutine (house cut french fries, green peppercorn gravy, Maplebrook Farm cheese curds), Red Curry Crab Cake (avocado, radish, cucumber, habanero mayo, cilantro, pita), Vermont cheese & roasted garlic (assortment of local cheese, chutney, berries and honeycomb).

Vermont cheese

Vermont cheese

Roasted Garlic, Chutney, Berries and Honeycomb

Roasted Garlic, Chutney, Berries and Honeycomb

Poutine

Poutine

Red Curry Crab Cake

Red Curry Crab Cake

I don’t normally take pics of salads but this Greek salad was ridiculous (and I mean ridiculous in a good way!).

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

You’d think by now I would have cried uncle, but no, I ordered two more things that I just had to try. The first was not on the menu – beef tartare with wasabi, pickled ginger, soy and sesame oil, foie gras toast with a quail egg on top with sriracha garnishing the plate.

IMG_20150713_195742884

IMG_20150713_195726433

Fresh radish and cucumbers added texture and crunch to this rich plate. Truly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

For dinner (yes, I said for dinner – don’t judge) I ordered the Korean BBQ Chicken & Waffles (Adams’ Farm chicken, green onion & ginger waffle, house-made kimchi).

Hearth Candle - Korean BBQ Chicken and Waffles

This post focused on the fine dining I enjoyed at Smugglers’ Notch Resort but there is truly something for every member of the family to enjoy there – winter or summer. In fact, I would suggest booking a family summer vacation there. This way you don’t have to try to fit it into the school year. I sincerely hope you and your family put Smugglers’ Notch Resort on your list of places to vacation.

For more information about their vacation pages and amenities, visit their website www.smuggs.com.

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1 comment

David @ Spiced August 13, 2015 - 10:20 am

What a fun post! This just reminds me of how much fun we had up at Smugg’s…can’t wait to go back again soon! 🙂

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