Resort Review (with a View): Basin Harbor in Vergennes, Vermont

By Sarah Knapp

Vermont is a favorite getaway for offMetro staff because of its natural beauty, overall sustainability ethos, and four-season adventure opportunities. That’s why, when we were invited to Basin Harbor Resort in Vergennes, we couldn’t resist heading over to try it out for the weekend.

Vermont. Photo by VtKodiak, Pixabay License

These days, it’s not easy to find a resort that’s still family owned and operated. The property (and family) has been hosting guests since the late 19th century. One of the first things we noticed at Basin Harbor was how much of a role family history has in the fabric of the resort. There’s even an entire room in the main guest building devoted to the resorts background including photos and artifacts.

Intertwined with that history there are also modern comforts and, impressively, a serious commitment to sustainability. The resort is focusing on decreasing energy use and increasing reliance on renewable energy like solar. If you end up driving your electric vehicle to Basin Harbor, you’ll find chargers on-site.

The resort is also pet (and kid) friendly, so it’s great for everyone in the family. If you’re looking for a lake getaway near NYC, Basin Harbor fits the bill.

Get Active

There are seemingly limitless ways to spend an active day at Basin Harbor, with extensive resort and Lake Champlain outdoor activities. With gorgeous weather and the end of summer nearing, we decided to head to the lake. The lakefront area also boasts a beautiful venue for events like weddings and activities like a historic boat tour and sunbathing.

Paddle Across Lake Champlain

Basin Harbor sits on Lake Champlain, just a few miles from New York State. This section of Lake Champlain offers beautiful views to the west of the High Peaks region of New York’s Adirondacks Mountains and Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east.

Rowing at Lake Champlain. Photo by Kahern, Pixabay License

While the resort no longer offers a steamboat ride back to our home state, they do rent a variety of vessels (from kayaks to motorized boats) you can take out on the lake. They even offer fishing and waterski options. We opted for kayaks. Crossing over to the other side of Lake Champlain, we paddled up to the stunning cliffs of Split Rock Mountain and nearby eagles’ nest.

Wander and Relax

During your stay at Basin Harbor, you’re encouraged to sit back and relax. There are quiet walkways, gardens, and seemingly unlimited Adirondack chairs throughout the grounds to encourage that. There are also well-kept hiking trails and historical buildings throughout the property. The golf course looked gorgeous, and many guests are drawn to the resort to spend time on the green.

At night, watch the sunset from the main dining room, Ardelias, where the menu features local Vermont ingredients with extensive wine pairings and friendly service. Salmon and shrimp dishes were fresh and filling and the desserts are 100% worth splurging on. The breakfast buffet options were also plentiful and all incredibly delicious.

The Digs

One of the best parts of Basin Harbor are the accommodations – namely a smattering of cottages along the ridgeline of the property overlooking the lake. It’s like you get to check into your own bungalow for the weekend, many with porches and views perfect for sunsets and quiet mornings with a book. The lodging feels very private but the scale makes travelling around the resort easy on foot or by bike.

Get there

Take Amtrak to Port Henry (NY). Basin Harbor can arrange a shuttle from the train station for a nominal fee. Basin Harbor is only open seasonally (May – October).

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offMetro is a travel resource for city dwellers who want to get out of town–car-optional. oM reports on the best day trips and weekend getaways that are easily accessible via alternative modes of transportation, be it by bike, bus, subway, or boat. If you can’t make the weekends longer, strive to make them better.

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