Originally posted in Macaroni Kid Family Travel, July 2016 issue
The mountains are calling, and I must go.
We are a family of hikers, mountain seekers, and lake lovers. Nothing makes our little family more content than hours spent in a kayak, or days chasing the next mountain summit. We are always on the lookout for a family friendly mountain destination that will be both entertaining for the kiddos, and provide a little fun for mom and dad (cocktails and kayaks anyone?!). Our latest travel adventure brought us to one of my favorite East coast states, Vermont… the land of maple syrup, craft beer and endless outdoor adventure.
The Basin Harbor Club is a century old resort that is situated on the breathtaking Lake Champlain (fun fact: Lake Champlain is over 124 miles long!). Nestled between the famous Green Mountain range of Vermont, and the Adirondacks, the view from all sides of the resort is pretty fabulous. Like, stare at it in awe, all day and night type of fabulous. Upon entering the resort, the one thing that struck me immediately was the beauty and tradition of the property. There are gardens and fresh flowers everywhere, and the buildings and lawn activities reminded me of a camp I wouldn’t want to leave (the 80’s kid in me felt like I was on the set of Dirty Dancing, and that made me pretty gosh darn excited).
We stayed in one of Basin Harbor’s 74 private cottages that are situated all around the large property. Our 2 bedroom cottage was adorable (& well appointed) and had a view of the lake, which we enjoyed at our 5:30 am wake up calls (from our boys, not the resort!). My kids (& equally my husband and I) were raring to go adventuring early in the morning, so after a local and delicious breakfast and copious amounts coffee in the main dining room, we headed to the waterfront. The amount of activities that Basin Harbor Club has to offer can keep an active family busy for days. The activities vary by the day, but there is definitely something to entertain all ages and interests. Stand up paddle boarding, golf workshops, flower arranging classes, Paint and Sip classes, and a tour of the lake on the resort’s boat, The Escape, are just a few of the activities that were offered during our stay. A must-do for all kid travelers is Basin Harbor’s Kids Camp- a summer camp type program for ages 3 and up that will keep the kiddos having fun and entertained all day by the resorts awesome recreation team (also, a perfect opportunity for mom and dad to enjoy an adult beverage and some adult conversation while relaxing on the waterfront!).
Boat rentals are available at the dock, but there are also complimentary paddle boats, paddle boards, and even kid sized canoes to use on the beach. The highlight of our waterfront experience was definitely taking a paddle boat out to the giant water trampolines in the center of the harbor, and practicing our cannon ball jumps off of them!
Basin Harbor also has some pretty amazing hiking right on property. We hiked the Button Bay trail, which was an easy and flat hike, that ended with some of the most spectacular lake views we’ve ever experienced as a family. There is just something about Lake Champlain, and the backdrop of the vast Adirondack mountain range that leaves you in awe. A perfect example of nature’s splendor!
Days of hiking and water activities are always followed by a treat (the maple creemees are SO good!), and a delicious meal! We were fortunate to be at Basin Harbor on a Tuesday night and got to experience the Tuesday night Harbor Fair. The special harbor fair dinner typically takes place on a beautiful dock overlooking the lake, but due to ominous weather they moved the buffet inside. After a delicious buffet, we headed upstairs to have fun with the resorts recreation department! The kids (ahem…and possibly the parents) bounced in a bounce house, had balloon animals made, and had their faces painted before playing some traditional lawn games that helped them earn tickets toward prizes. Everyone had a blast!
I overheard other guests of Basin Harbor talking about booking their reservations for 2017 before leaving this current stay. I can absolutely see why families return year after year. This is a place where electronics are turned off, nature is enjoyed and priceless family memories are created. A traditional, throwback resort nestled in the mountains is exactly what most families can use to decompress and reconnect (by disconnecting their devices!). I know we will be back, but, until then, we have priceless memories to reflect on and enjoy!