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Lake Champlain Islands

  • Picture of Lake Champlain Islands
  • Picture of Lake Champlain Islands
  • Fall colors on Lake Champlain
  • Picture of Lake Champlain Islands
  • Picture of Lake Champlain Islands
  • Picture of Lake Champlain Islands
DURATION
6 Day(s)
DAILY BIKING
20 to 46 miles
TRIP DIFFICULTY
2-Easier to Intermediate
REVIEWS
STARTING FROM
$2395
SINGLES FROM
$600

Trip Overview

This season, you stay 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 you are a guest 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. You ride to Charlotte, then cross by ferry to ride through the nationally recognized historic village of Essex, New York. You bike along the renowned Burlington Bike path, follow a causeway into Lake Champlain and take the bike ferry onto the islands. Your 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. You can enjoy a visit to Snow Farm Vineyard and enjoy riding north into Canada (bring your passport!). You also enjoy an afternoon of professionally guided kayaking along the quiet shores of the lake.

Itinerary

From start to finish, check out the route.

DAY 1 - Arrival Day
Arrival Day | Hotel Vermont
Many plan to arrive early 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 p.m. and is followed by an introductory meeting with your leaders.
DAY 2 - Ferry to Essex, NY and back.
Distance: 28, 34 or 44 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | Hotel Vermont
Monday’s ride takes you south along quiet roads that treat you with great views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack mountains. Arriving in the Village of Charlotte, you may stop at the 160 year old Old Brick Store where you can buy snacks and a vast array of Vermont products, gift items, and great penny candy. From here you cycle down to the Charlotte-Essex Ferry where you 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 the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 with the efforts of Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold and the Green Mountain Boys. 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 Register of Historic 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. Guests often have lunch at either the Old Dock Restaurant or a picnic in a small park that abuts the lake.

On your 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. You 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.
DAY 3 - Waterfront Path and onto the Islands
Distance: 33 miles | Terrain: Easier | North Hero House
Today you start cycling on the beautiful Burlington Waterfront Bike Path. The Bike Path follows 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 a seasonal ferry takes you and your bicycle just a few hundred feet across a gap in the causeway to Grand Isle and the Champlain Islands. In Grand Isle, guests often have lunch at the Accidental Farmer while visiting the adjacent Allenholm Farmstand. From here you wind your way along the western shore of the lake and then cross a drawbridge leading into North Hero, where you are welcomed at the North Hero House. Before settling in, you might want to take the opportunity to explore Hero’s Welcome General Store, which is just a few yards away. This iconic 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 4 - Canada and delicious cheese
Distance: 25 or 46 miles | Terrain: Easier | North Hero House
Today you enjoy a pleasant ride north to Alburg and then head north for an optional ride into Canada (bring your passport!). One Canadian highlight is a 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 you cycle along a tree-shaded “beach road” before riding your last few miles back to North Hero.
DAY 5 - Fort Saint Anne and kayaking
Distance: 20 or 25 miles and kayaking | Terrain: Easier | North Hero House
Today you explore historic Isle La Motte. Heading north, you 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, you then ride the narrow neck and bridge leading onto Isle La Motte.

Here you visit the site of Fort Saint Anne and Saint Anne’s Shrine. The shrine includes a chapel, scenic walkways, historic site markers and seasonal 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, you 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 your ride, you 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 you can hike the beautiful pathways and stretch your legs.
DAY 6 - Departure Day
Distance: 26 miles | Terrain: Easier
Today’s ride takes you back over the drawbridge and then along the eastern shore of the islands where you enjoy lovely views of the Green Mountains across the lake. You then ride the spectacular causeway across Lake Champlain and follow the paved bike path back to Burlington.

Map

Picture of Lake Champlain Islands

Dates & Pricing

Make your reservation with confidence. Your tour is completely 100% refundable until the final payment due date.

Start End Cost Availability
Jun 14, 2020 Jun 19, 2020 $2395.00 Available! Reserve Reserve
Jul 12, 2020 Jul 17, 2020 $2395.00 Available! Reserve Reserve
Aug 16, 2020 Aug 21, 2020 $2395.00 Available! Reserve Reserve
Aug 30, 2020 Sep 04, 2020 $2395.00 Available! Reserve Reserve
Sep 20, 2020 Sep 25, 2020 $2395.00 Available! Reserve Reserve
Oct 04, 2020 Oct 09, 2020 $2395.00 Available! Reserve Reserve
Oct 09, 2020 Oct 14, 2020 $2395.00 Available! Reserve Reserve

What’s Included

Professionally guided kayaking, wine tasting, 5 nights’ lodging, 5 breakfasts, 4 dinners (you are on your own for dinner one night in Burlington), ferry ride to Essex, bike ferry on Lake Champlain’s causeway, an optional ride into Canada, bicycle and helmet. Airfare not included.

Dates & Pricing

Make your reservation with confidence. Your tour is completely 100% refundable until the final payment due date.

Start: Jun 14, 2020
End: Jun 19, 2020
Cost: $2395.00
Availability: Available!
Reserve
Start: Jul 12, 2020
End: Jul 17, 2020
Cost: $2395.00
Availability: Available!
Reserve
Start: Aug 16, 2020
End: Aug 21, 2020
Cost: $2395.00
Availability: Available!
Reserve
Start: Aug 30, 2020
End: Sep 04, 2020
Cost: $2395.00
Availability: Available!
Reserve
Start: Sep 20, 2020
End: Sep 25, 2020
Cost: $2395.00
Availability: Available!
Reserve
Start: Oct 04, 2020
End: Oct 09, 2020
Cost: $2395.00
Availability: Available!
Reserve
Start: Oct 09, 2020
End: Oct 14, 2020
Cost: $2395.00
Availability: Available!
Reserve

What’s Included

Professionally guided kayaking, wine tasting, 5 nights’ lodging, 5 breakfasts, 4 dinners (you are on your own for dinner one night in Burlington), ferry ride to Essex, bike ferry on Lake Champlain’s causeway, an optional ride into Canada, bicycle and helmet. Airfare not included.

Inns

Where you stay along the way.

Hotel Vermont
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.
North Hero House
The 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.

Guests say …

Quotes from guests about this tour:

Gallery

Images from this tour. Click each to see it larger.

Picture of Lake Champlain Islands Picture of Lake Champlain Islands Fall colors on Lake Champlain Picture of Lake Champlain Islands Picture of Lake Champlain Islands Picture of Lake Champlain Islands