Hiking Along Vermont's Long Trail
This past week, we met up with old friends in Johnston, VTto do some hiking. Our friends, long time Vermonters and avid outdoorsmen and hikers, planned this lovely hike for us. The sights, food, and Lodging on this 39-mile, 3-day hiking trip along Vermonts Long Trail left us as excited as former Governor Howard Dean on a soapbox.
The Route: South from Route 15 in Johnston,we followed the LongTrail to Smugglers Notch, then down to Route 108. We headed South on Route 108 to Sterling Pond Trail and back to the Long Trail, descending to Route 108. Then we went North on Route 108 to the Long Trail to summit both Mount Mansfield and Bolton Mountain, accessing Bolton via the resorts cross- country ski trails.
On Thursday morning, the four of us left our friends house in Johnston, VT early and accessed the Long Trail. Seven miles in, we had exquisite views of Canadas Sutton Mountains, Lake Champlain, and Whiteface Mountain. Once we hit Madonna Peak, we continued on the Long Trail to the base of Smugglers Notch ski area and turned in at the Donomar Inn Bed and Breakfast (doubles $85.00, www.donomarinn.com), complete with down-comforter-covered beds and whirlpool tubs.
The next day, Friday, we hopped back on the Long Trail and pushed hard to make it to Topnotch Resort and Spa, (a favorite of mine and former LL auction property), (doubles from $325.00, www.topnotch.com) by mid-afternoon for some pool time before bed or you can hightail it to Sterling Pond to hang out with the resident moose. The fellows decided they would give it a try to spot the moose, my friend and I opted to stay in the hot tub complete with waterfall that offered spectacular views of Mt. Mansfield, and then get a massage The guys didnt see a moose.but the girls were super-relaxed after a heavenly massage. We enjoyed a lovely dinner together, good food and good wine, and then got to bed early...
The next morning at dawn, Saturday, we fueled up on wild blueberry pancakes and Vermont Mountain Coffee, then headed up 4,393 foot Mount Mansfield, Vermonts tallest peak. (On a clear day, it is said, you can see the Montreal skyline we did not see quite that far, but nonetheless, the views were spectacular). When we arrived wearily in Bolton, we got cleaned up at the Bolton Valley Resort (doubles from $89.00, www.boltonvalley.com) before we headed to dinner, devouring delectable crme brule at Baileys Restaurant (boltonvalley.com/baileys).
Our friends had managed to leave a car at the Bolton Valley Resort, so the next morning, Sunday, after breakfast, we drove back to Johnson, VT, after an exhilarating, fun 3-day hike.