A clubby lakefront resort offers roomy accommodations, tons of activities, an active children's program, great food and a laid back atmosphere.
What makes for a perfect family resort? How about comfortable accommodations in a spacious cottage with a spectacular view of a beautiful lake? Add a wide range of activities and a well-staffed children’s program, great dining options, and a tradition of welcoming families and guests that dates back over 100 years, and you can begin to understand why a vacation at the Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes, Vermont has become a standing tradition for many families.
Basin Harbor Club’s membership in the Historic Hotels of America seems quite appropriate, not only because of its long history of accommodating summer guests at its historic guesthouses, or the fact that four generations of the Beach family have hosted guests here. Even more appropriate is the fact that many of the families that vacation at Basin Harbor have been coming for years and for several generations. This is the type of resort where families meet, make lasting friendships, and return year after year.
Unique Rooms & A Special Sense of Place
As reflected in its name, the focal point of Basin Harbor Club is the natural harbor and the many water activities that take place here. Whether your view is from a special cottage or one of the many trademark Adirondack chairs located high on a hill, the harbor and the lake beyond hold a certain allure that creates a lasting image for everyone. Even a short few days at the resort gave a sense of peace and escape from the everyday world.
Basin Harbor Club’s 28 guest rooms, 14 suites and 74 cottages are all unique and many cottages were built expressly for guests who returned each summer. (Some even submitted their own floor plans.) Each cottage has a distinctive aspect, whether it’s seclusion or a view of the lake, golf course or one of the many colorful gardens. A third of the cottages have natural stone fireplaces, some have decks, and all have a wet bar. They have from one to three bedrooms, and along with the historic guestrooms, are comfy, nicely decorated and present a cozy rustic charm. Pet owners will love the fact that pets are welcomed at Basin Harbor.
A Wide Variety of Activities & Facilities
We were surprised to learn that Lake Champlain is the sixth largest lake in the United States. Basin Harbor Club offers a number of ways to enjoy the beauty and fun of this magnificent lake — daily guided cruises on the club’s tour boat Escape, power boating, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, water skiing, tubing, and pedal boats are all at hand. If you prefer to swim in a pool, there is an Olympic-sized, heated pool.
While the harbor may be the focus of a lot of activity, there are many other options as well. Golfers will love Basin Harbor’s par-72 course which follows the gentle contours of the farmland it once was. But don’t let this fact suggest an easy game. The 6,500-yard course, which offers sweeping views of the Adirondacks and Green Mountains, has a relatively short front nine with wide sweeping holes; but the back nine is a true challenge. The course was the first in Vermont to be an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary designee.
Looking for more? Try some tennis on one of the two har-tru courts or three all-weather courts. The tennis pro is also a certified instructor in croquet, and the resort sports a professional grass croquet court. Biking and hiking are very popular on the nature trails that wind throughout the property offering frequent chances to view the abundant wildlife that inhabit the area. Mountain bike rentals as well as children’s bikes and bike trailers are available. Fitness and well-being are considered important, and the newly constructed Treehouse Wellness Center offers a variety of spa treatments, equipment and classes in yoga, Pilates, stretching, Nordic walking and water aerobics.
Basin Harbor’s Children’s Program will keep the kids entertained and active each day. The well-staffed programs are thoughtfully designed for each age group (3 to 5; 9 to 12 and 13 to 17-years; plus a new program for babies and toddlers, age 6 weeks to 3 years). With a wide variety of planned and supervised activities such as arts’n’ crafts, games, stories, sports, movies, outdoor adventures, hayrides, and dances, the kids’ programs are very popular, with well over 100 kids involved during the peak season. Kids will have no trouble finding others their age to play and interact with. Each evening children may dine with the Recreation Staff and continue with more fun after dinner, so parents can enjoy an evening out. Evening activities include, magicians, storytellers, face painting, bingo, movies, talent shows and more. The Children’s Program is free to all guests on the Full American or Modified American Meal Plans, and available to guests on the Bed & Breakfast Plan for a fee.
In addition to all of this, a number of other enjoyable activities are offered. You might like to take a kitchen tour with the Executive Chef, or a cooking class with pastry chef. How about a class in floral arrangement, art, jewelry making, glass etching, or dance? Just check the daily calendar and plan your day.
Two other possibilities are visits to two interesting nearby museums. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is just a short walk from Basin Harbor, but it will take you and the kids far back in the history and lore of Lake Champlain and its people. The Shelburne Museum, renowned for its vast collection of American folk art, is just a short drive from the resort.
Whether it be in the more formal Main Dining Room (men over the age of 12 must wear a jacket and tie for dinner during the Social Season), which has a sweeping view of the lake and harbor, overlooking the pool in the Ranger Room, or watching small planes land on the grass airfield next to the pub-like Red Mill, dining at Basin Harbor is a wonderful experience. As a member of the Vermont Fresh Network, Basin Harbor designs its menus highlighting the use of fresh, local ingredients as the restaurants specialize in eclectic New England fare. A number of special dining events include the Shore Dinner, a traditional New England clambake, served al fresco on the North Dock, the Family Picnic served on the Homestead Lawn, and the widely popular Sunday Jazz Brunch. Kids will be wide-eyed when they see all the scrumptious desserts and the ice cream sundae bar at the lunch buffets in the Ranger Room. Some parents my also be excited about the wine list which has earned an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.
Resort Report Card
|Name:||Basin Harbor Club|
|Address:||4800 Basin Harbor Road
|Seasonal Rates:||$$ – $$$$$|
|Choice of Activities:||A|
|Quality of Amenities:||A-|
|Bonus:||A round of golf is quite reasonable, as morning greens fees are $49 and even less later in the day; walking the course is also permitted.|
|Note:||Although there is a myriad of activities available, most of them come with a fee. This can add significantly to your final bill|
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.