Bike Tour | Vermont Lake Champlain Islands 2018-02-16T15:02:58+00:00

Vermont > Lake Champlain/Grand Isle Bike Tour

6-DAY / 5-NIGHT VERMONT BIKE TOURS

This season we are staying the first two nights on this tour at the fabulous multiple award-winning Hotel Vermont. Described as “rustic and modern, natural and sophisticated, hand wrought and high tech”, this new hotel is located just a few hundred feet from Burlington’s Lake Champlain waterfront and the vibrant nightlife of Church Street. The next three nights we are guests at the extremely popular North Hero House where you can relax in your Adirondack chair while enjoying the last rays of the sun reflecting across the lake onto the Green Mountains.

Every day on this spectacular tour includes leisurely lakeside cycling and awe-inspiring views of Lake Champlain, the sixth largest (and surely one of the loveliest) lakes in the U.S. We ride to Charlotte, then cross by ferry to ride through the nationally recognized historic village of Essex, New York. We bike along the renowned Burlington Bike path, follow a causeway into Lake Champlain and take the bike ferry onto the islands. Our easy cycling includes a visit to Vermont’s oldest settlement at Fort Saint Anne (and the Saint Anne Shrine), to the oldest log cabin in the nation, and to the quarry at Chazy reef where the oldest fossils in the world are located. We can enjoy a visit to Snow Farm Vineyard and enjoy riding north into Canada (bring your passport!). We also include a craft beer tasting led by Hotel Vermont’s beer concierge (or wine if you wish!), as well as an afternoon of professionally guided kayaking along the quiet shores of the lake.

Vermont Lake Champlain/Grand Isle Bike Tour Itinerary

DAY ONE  | Arrival Day | Hotel Vermont
This is arrival day. Many plan to arrive early so as to relax and perhaps enjoy the beautiful college town of Burlington, including the Church Street Marketplace and beautiful Waterfront Park, Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Frog Hollow Craft Center, and treat yourself at Lake Champlain Chocolates.

Dinner is at 7 pm and is followed by an introductory meeting with your leaders.

DAY TWO  |  Distance: 28, 34 or 44 miles  |  Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | Hotel Vermont
Monday’s ride takes us south along quiet roads that treat us with great views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack mountains. Arriving in the Village of Charlotte, we often stop at the 160 year old Old Brick Store where we can buy snacks and a vast array of Vermont products, gift items, and great penny candy. From here we cycle down to the Charlotte-Essex Ferry where we take a 20-minute scenic ferry ride across Lake Champlain to Essex, New York. This is your first close glimpse of this fabulous 108-mile-long lake that will be your companion for the next several days. Discovered on July 4, 1609 by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain, this is the sixth largest lake in the U.S. and while it seems rather peaceful and quiet today, in earlier times it witnessed a great deal of tumultuous history including battles in the French and Indian Wars as well as Ethan Allen’s and the famous capture of Benedict Arnold at Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. The British also had a large fleet here during the war of 1812 and were soundly defeated by American forces in the nearby battle of Plattsburgh in 1814.

After your 20-minute ferry ride you arrive in Essex, New York. This entire village is on the National Registry of Historical Places and the buildings on the main street comprise one of the most intact collections of pre-Civil War architecture in America. There is an antique store, a potter, an ice cream store etc. You also have the option here of taking a beautiful six mile loop that gives you stunning views back over the inlets of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont beyond. We often have lunch at either the Old Dock Restaurant or picnic in a small park that abuts the lake.

On our return to Vermont, you enjoy more miles of quiet roads, cross a one-way covered bridge, and take in more great views of the lake. We end the day with an included wine tasting at the Shelburne Vineyard where you can savor their excellent organic wines before we transport you back to Hotel Vermont.

You are on your own for dinner this evening and can select from several local options in Burlington within walking distance of the inn. But first enjoy your included craft beer tasting led by Hotel Vermont’s own beer concierge.

DAY THREE  |  Distance: 33 miles  |  Terrain: Easier | North Hero House
Today we start our cycling on the beautiful Burlington Waterfront Bike Path. The Bike Path follows along the Lake Champlain shoreline, offering wonderful views of the lake and the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the city of Burlington to the right. The bike path links six major waterfront parks, crosses the Winooski River on a pedestrian/bike bridge and ends on a causeway that juts out into the lake. From here we are transported to Grand Isle and the Champlain Islands.

In Grand Isle, we often have lunch at the Accidental Farmer while visiting the adjacent Allenholm Farmstand. From here we wind our way along the western shore of the lake and then cross a drawbridge leading into North Hero, where we are welcomed at the North Hero House. Before settling in, we might want to take the opportunity to explore Hero’s Welcome General Store which is just a few yards away. This quintessential general store is located in a century-old building on the shore of the lake and you will enjoy walking through its many aisles and outbuildings, including a bakery, cafe, as well as the general store itself.

DAY FOUR  |  Distance: 25 or 46 miles  |  Terrain: Easier | North Hero House
Today we enjoy a pleasant ride north to Alburg and then head north for an optional ride into Canada (bring your passport!). One Canadian highlight is our visit to Fromagerie Kaiser, a boutique cheese and bread shop and a great place to have a picnic before cycling back on a loop to the United States. From here West Shore Road leads down another beautiful side of the lake and to Alburg Dunes State Park. This 625-acre property is named for the sand dunes located along the long south-facing natural sand beach and we cycle along a tree shaded “beach road” before riding our last few miles back to North Hero.

DAY FIVE  |  Distance: 20 or 25 miles and kayaking  |  Terrain: Easier | North Hero House
Today we explore historic Isle la Motte. Heading north we soon come to a point in the road where Lake Champlain is very close on both sides. This is known as “The Carrying Place” a narrow isthmus that was used by Native Americans to traverse canoes between sections of Lake Champlain as well as by rum-running smugglers trying to avoid Jefferson’s 1808 embargo on trade with Canada. Crossing the bridge over Alburg Passage we then ride the narrow neck and bridge leading onto Isla La Motte. Here we visit the site of Fort Saint Anne and Saint Anne’s Shrine. The shrine includes a chapel, scenic walkways, historic site markers and snack bar. Fort Saint Anne was built by the French in 1666 as protection against Mohawk Indian raids, and was the first white settlement in Vermont. In addition, General Montgomery had his headquarters here before the 1775 expedition into Canada, Benedict Arnold also anchored his fleet near here before the Battle of Valcour Island (1776), and the British fleet stopped here before their defeat at the Battle of Plattsburgh (1814).

Leaving St. Anne we continue to hug the island shore with great views west into the Adirondacks. You can opt for a visit to the Fiske Farm and Quarry Preserve where old quarries have exposed outcroppings of the Chazy reef formation. This is the world’s oldest coral reef (450,000,000 years old and nearly a mile long).
After completing our ride we return to the North Hero House to enjoy an included professionally instructed and guided afternoon of kayaking on the beautiful eastern bays of Lake Champlain, often including a stop on Butler Island so we can hike the beautiful pathways and stretch our legs.

DAY SIX  |  Distance: 26 miles |  Terrain: Easier
Today’s ride takes us back over the drawbridge and then along the eastern shore of the islands where we enjoy spectacular views of the Green Mountains across the lake. We then ride the spectacular causeway across Lake Champlain and follow the paved bike path back to Burlington.

Lake Champlain/Grand Isle Vermont Bike Tour

6-DAY / 5-NIGHT BIKE TOUR

Make your reservation with confidence. Your tour is completely 100% refundable up to 60 days of the tour date.

June 17-22, 2018: $2195 reserve
Reserve with $300 deposit

July 29-August 3, 2018: $2195reserve
Reserve with $300 deposit

August 12-17, 2018: $2195reserve
Reserve with $300 deposit

August 19-24, 2018: $2195reserve
Reserve with $300 deposit

September 23-28, 2018: $2195reserve
Reserve with $300 deposit

October 7-12, 2018: $2195reserve
Reserve with $300 deposit

Final payment due 60 days prior to your tour (personal check, Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover)

Single Supplement Fee: $435*

Default Single Supplement Fee: $218*

*Single Traveler? We are the most affordable tour company for single travelers, and our policies and rates are the very best. Please see our single traveler policies.

Our Straight-Forward Price Guarantee: If you find a less expensive, non-discounted, price for a biking tour in the same general area, for the same number of days,  in a comparable season, with comparable accommodations and meals, we 1) will be amazed and 2) will match the price! All you need to do is tell us before or as you are making your reservation.

Cancellations: If you cancel your tour reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined as follows:

  • If you cancel 60 or more days prior to the start of your tour, there is no cancellation fee.
  • If you cancel between 45 and 59 days prior to the start of your tour, you will forfeit 50% of all tour payments.
  • If you cancel between 0 and 44 days prior to the start of your tour, all tour payments will be forfeited.

Inns

Vermonters are known for being independent, together. And like Vermont, Hotel Vermont is full of compatible contradictions. Located in downtown Burlington near the shores of Lake Champlain, they’re rustic and modern, local and global, natural and sophisticated, hand wrought and high tech.

http://hotelvt.com/home

logo-vermont-north-hero-houseThe North Hero House is an historic, beautifully restored country inn.  Nestled in the heart of a charming well-preserved 19th century village on Lake Champlain, the Inn has been welcoming guests since 1891 when they arrived by paddle wheel steamer.

northherohouse.com

What’s Included

Professionally guided kayaking, craft beer tasting, 5 nights lodging, 5 breakfasts,4 dinners (you are on your own for dinner one night in Burlington), an optional ride into Canada, bicycle and helmet, transfers from/to Burlington International Airport.

FREE USE OF BIKES

We are happy to provide you with a bike to use at no charge. Our bikes come equipped with a front handlebar bag, rear carrier, water bottle, mirror and flat pedals. Pedal cages and soft gel seat covers are available on request. We are also happy to put your own clipless pedals (pedals that attach to your biking shoes) and seat on your bike if you wish. Specific details and styles of bikes available in each location are indicated under each photograph below. The make of bikes provided varies by location.Bikes-for-Web-Site

FREE SHUTTLE FROM/TO BURLINGTON AIRPORT!

A collection of photos from a variety of our Vermont tours.