Just a short drive from Sterling Ridge Log Cabins is Smugglers’ Notch or as it’s known by locals, “The Notch.” Smugglers Notch (aka mountain pass) is a historic, natural divide with Mt. Mansfield on one side and Spruce Peak on the other.
Long before Sterling Ridge Log Cabins existed, prohibitionists smuggled contraband through “The Notch”. As early as the 1800’s, they used the cover of the thick forest on the mountain range and hid in caves and caverns along the Long Trail. The goal was to transport illegal or embargoed goods across the Canadian border. This continued into the roaring 1920’s, during the height of Prohibition. The first road through Smugglers Notch was a carriage road in 1894. In 1933, it became Smuggler’s Notch State Park.
Today, the park is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground – many of who stay at Sterling Ridge Log Cabins, since it is only a 5 minute drive. The park boasts hiking, rock climbing and exploring in the summer months. In the winter, even though closed, there is still lots of activity. Winter activities include snowmobile tours, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and back-country skiing. Sometimes you can even catch a look at winter warfare training by the National Guards!
Not only is Smugglers Notch bustling with human activity, we can’t forget the wildlife. One such creature has made a remarkable comeback, the Peregrine Falcon. The Peregrine Falcon is the largest falcon in North America and reintroduced in 1984. Bird watchers that stay at Sterling Ridge Log Cabins often try to spot the birds. That can be difficult as they are the same color as the surrounding rocks! Smugglers Notch is on public land and gets a high volume of visitors. Everyone has been cooperative and helpful to ensure that the falcons are doing well in Smugglers’ Notch.
Today, guests of Sterling Ridge Log Cabins find “The Notch” a perfect day trip. Amazing hiking such as The Sterling Pond Trail (part of the Long Trail) that boasts the highest trout pond in the state!