Five Lessons From Smuggs

Once a year we go skiing.  Three years ago we went to The Poconos.  Two years ago we went to Sugarbush.  Last year we went to Stowe.  And, this year we went to Smuggs, also know as Smuggler’s Notch but I just love saying Smuggs!  We chose all East Coast destinations.  Mainly because we’re on the East Coast.  Also, my kids are still beginners — we want them to have a little experience before we start adding longer West Coast trips to our travel schedule.

Of all the places we’ve been, Smuggs is definitely most geared toward families.  They start lessons at 2 1/2 years-old and guess who’s 2 1/2…Leah!  They also offer a whole family Fun Zone, an indoor area just for the little ones!  

Lessons Learned
This year Smuggs showed our family a good time and taught me a few good lessons (some of which I’m embarrassed to admit I should know) but I thought I’d share them with you in an effort to engrave them in my brain and possibly help you for any of your future trips!

Lesson One:
Always, always, always use a packing list (until EVERYTHING is checked off)!

Matt wore his sneakers to school, we picked him up early to go to the airport, we forgot to bring his boots with us.

Matt wore his gloves and hat to school in the morning and put them in his backpack.  We had everything packed and ready so we didn’t need to bring Matt’s school backpack on the trip.  We left it in the car when we got to the airport, leaving his gloves and hat in the car.

When we arrived we programmed the GPS for Smuggs.  We then thought we should find a Walmart or Target on the way so we could get Matt new boots and a hat (I had packed extra gloves for him).  The GPS decided to freeze for about 20 miles, which was 15 miles past the closest store.  We had to buy them just off the mountain, which equals not cheap.

Lesson Two:
Update your packing list.

Leah is just recently potty-trained (yippee!).  However, I’m not used to packing her little undies, so they are not on the list, which means they did not get in the suitcase.  Luckily, I go crazy packing the diaper bag with extra outfits and undies (probably because after three kids, I’ve been caught so many times unprepared, even when we just go to the store) so I had three extra pairs – thank goodness!!!

Lesson Three:
Don’t worry about the stuff you can’t control, which is most stuff!

We dropped Leah off in the morning at ski school.  We were all so excited and she went off happily.  But, I was immediately worried they would call me with some extreme potty emergency (remember she’s just recently trained).  I wanted to make sure they showed her where the potty was and I wanted to remind her to tell somebody as soon as she had to go – both of which I completely forgot to do.

Not surprising when at 11:30am my cell phone rang with an unknown call.  It was ski school and I had to pick up Leah — not because of any potty emergency, because she had pink eye!!

Lesson Four:
If you rent a car, start checking the gas prices as soon as you leave the airport.

You never know where you’ll find the lowest gas prices.  In Burlington, the cheapest prices are by the airport.  I mentioned this as a tip in the first Vermont article but forgot it myself!

Lesson Five:
Double check the obvious.

On our last morning, I thought it would be great to take Leah to the indoor pool.  She’d had three doses of her medicine so there was no longer a contagious problem.  Everything was packed in the car and I had a separate bag with our swim stuff.  We gathered our things, since it was final check-out time and off we trudged through the snow to the pool.  As we entered, the first sign I saw said no towels provided.  Well, there goes our swim…I didn’t have towels or a way to get towels.  If I would have double checked this, I might have found a solution or at least not talked up the pool experience with Leah possibly saving a few tears.



Bonus Tips
Below are three tips that might have tripped me up but luckily I was all over these!  I share them to help you and to remind myself for my own next trip!

Bonus One: Always bring you doctor/kid’s doctor and insurance information on any trip.  You never know when you’re going to need them!

Bonus Two: If your hotel/condo/etc. has a kitchen and you intend on making food, be sure to prepare a grocery list in advance.  You can always pick up some last minute goodies but you’ll save yourself time and aggravation if you have a good idea of what you want in advance.

Bonus Three: Manage your expectations.  This trip could have turned into a complete disaster but the boys had a great time.  And, even though Leah and my plans changed completely (no massage for me) we still had a great time.  Nothing beats sharing a cup of hot chocolate in the snow with your baby!


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