We spent our weekend in Vermont and the six hour drive from Toronto, took us over ten hours with a couple breaks and detours. This was our longest straight road trip with the kids, and while I was dreading the many crying-fests and car seat kicks, we ACTUALLY had very uneventful journey to Vermont as far as the kids were concerned! They slept, they ate and Little Monkey watched her many Disney movies, allowing me to work (gotta love the many USB ports and full socket access in the Ford fleet) and even take a nap while the hubs drove us all the way to the Smugglers’ Notch Resort. We drove through Quebec and crossed over at a random border crossing that was quite ‘ghetto’ but empty which worked out well for us. No sooner had we crossed the border, our phones went bezzerk with flash flood warnings but all we got hit by were bursts of sunshine, quick rain storms and rainbows. We also only hit one toll in Quebec and Vermont had none which we were grateful for as we forgot to bring cash with us! Doh!!
On Friday we decided to drive through the famous Smugglers’ Notch Pass which we had many tales about. The drive through in our 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid, from Smugglers’ Notch Resort into Stowe only took us half an hour but it was quite the drive! The Pass was the most winding road we have ever driven through and it was a bit scary at times as there were many vehicles on the road (thankfully trucks and large vehicles are NOT ALLOWED on the Pass). Two way traffic on this hilly climb was thrilling but was also one the hubs had to carefully drive through. After all, we had Baby Boy and Little Monkey strapped in their car seats at the back.
With his phone paired with the SYNC and MyFord Touch systems, the hubs had us listen to O.K Computer as we cruised through the leafy hills in the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Don’t worry we had to listen to the Frozen soundtrack on the way back! The sharp and many curves in the road kept us all amazed but the kids soon fell asleep in the comfort of the air conditioned car. While the road was nowhere near as treacherous as driving in Sri Lanka, it was still quite ‘crazy’. We had comfort in knowing that the Fusion Hybrid was equipped with many bells and whistles when it came to smart and safe driving. Between the Collison Warning System (which would flash a red light if we were rapidly approaching a vehicle travelling in the same direction as us), the Blind Spot Information System and the many front and rear sensors to signal if driving alertness is reduced below a certain threshold, we knew we were safe.
Since we didn’t really have any plans we decided to continue driving around Stowe and into Waterbury on Route 100 while the kids slept and came up with the idea to swing by the many food shops lining the quiet roads of Waterbury. I popped in and out of the various stores, bringing back good eats for the hubs who sat patiently in the car, perusing through his phone, seated in the shade. We also took this opportunity to test out the Active Park Assist. The What? The future is here! We had been afraid to test out the self parking feature in the busy streets of Toronto but having allowed the car to parallel park itself (so freaky to have your hands off the steering wheel!), we’re now pros at it!
Some food highlights include
Cabot Creamery : The highlight here is sampling over twenty types of cheese that are neatly labelled and cut out for the public to self-sample. You grab a toothpick and walk around the small table poking into the cubed cheese filled cups. In the end you can check out the many cheese and beer filled coolers to grab the ones you want to purchase. I picked up a Jalapeno Cheddar and Maple Smoked one as well.
Lake Champlain Chocolate : Oh my! It was hard choosing what I wanted here. Fudge? Chocolate? Shake? Ah!! The choices!!! I opted for a malted Belgian Chocolate Shake and brought back some Cashew Clusters and Salted Caramels for the hubs.
Jimmz Pizza : This spot caught our eye for some reason and the hubs grabbed us two New York Style Pepperoni slices. The hot pizza was delicious because of the fresh cheese and rich sauce. I’m glad he didn’t buy a whole pie because I would have polished it off in the car!
Ben & Jerry’s : The kids were waking up so we decided to visit the ice cream Mecca of Vermont. We arrived at a busy time (avoid the 5-6 p.m. rush if you can) and waited an hour for our 30 minute tour. Tickets are $4 each and free for kids under 12. An animated movie followed by a peek inside the production facilitates, ended with an ice cream sampling. There are stairs but you do have access to an elevator and yes, there’s change tables here. We also found a playground across the street which helped kill time but didn’t have time to check out the cows and the pop up stalls lining the main path.
We were hoping to end our drive at the Prohibition Pig but the spot was insanely busy at 7 p.m. on a Friday leading up to the long weekend so we decided to head back to Stowe and dined there. Vermont is such a fab spot for craft beer and fresh locally sourced ingredients at restaurant that are extremely kid friendly.Every spot we visited had high chairs and change tables and no one even batted an eye when the kids walked in. In addition, we were never the only parents drinking at the pubs and restaurants with kids along. Such a refreshing experience.
I must say that we’re TOTALLY impressed by this Hybrid vehicle. Talk about an economical way to travel…we only spent $30 during our 650 KM journey (one way). Crazy eh? The reason behind this is because the Fusion Hybrid comes equipped with a gasoline-powered engine, an electric motor AND a high-voltage lithium battery. The power-split architecture switches between electric-only mode, gas only and a combination of the two. On the highway it was mostly gasoline powered but within the cities it was exclusively electric (and the A.C runs on electric so we were able to crank it up!). Yes the self-charging battery system is located towards the trunk and takes a bit of the trunk space, but there was still plenty of room for all our craft beer shopping, our large suitcase and the many handbags that joined us on our return journey back to Ontario.
Have you driven through the Smugglers’ Notch Pass? What are some of your favourite experiences and food spots at the end of the trail?