The speed and agility of modern cars are wasted on too many roads. In same way that off-road vehicles can't be tested by peastone driveways, souped-up sedans can't be pushed to their limits on suburban cul-de-sacs. In order to drive – truly drive – a car, modern commuters have to head out of their way to one of the rare stretches of American asphalt designed to push vehicles to their limits. These winding, curving sections of tarmac not only give great cars a chance to show off the muscle under their hood, but also give great drivers a chance to remind passengers why the American road was once considered the purest embodiment of freedom.
Smuggler's Notch (Vermont)
Technically, the trip we recommend here is more than just the Notch. It begins in the town of Jericho, Vermont, and heads northeast on Vermont Route 15 before turning south on Vermont 108 and shooting through Smuggler's Notch into scenic Stowe. This roughly 38-mile run will take you only about 45 minutes one-way, but it is one hell of a 45 minutes, full of sweeping turns, steep inclines, crazy switchbacks, and tight s-curves. This is rough country driving: There is a two-mile pass on Route 108 where the road is so narrow that only one car can get through at a time, and rock faces on either side of the roadway leave little room for mistakes like missing a gearshift or veering over the yellow line. And this road isn't just a hoot to drive, it's also one of Vermont's most picturesque drives. Lush forests punctuated by bold rock outcroppings flow over mountains that slope toward quaint towns and old-fashioned gas stations where attendants are quick to offer driver advice and warnings.
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