Have you ever seen the movie ‘Dirty Dancing’? It’s based on a summer getaway resort for families. The hotel has acres and acres of gorgeous grounds, tons of activities for every age group, and delicious food in elegant restaurants.
The kids, fully supervised, had one outdoor activity after the other and the adults enjoyed grown up time with friends, plus tons of family time.
This was the ultimate impression I got after arriving to Basin Harbor Club and Resort on Lake Champlain in Vermont. Yet, it was even more than all that.
Even after reading over and studying BHC’s website for hours on end before arriving (I do this with every place I visit to get me excited for our destination), I have to say their site simply doesn’t do them justice.
When you hear the the saying ‘It’s a destination of it’s own’ I think it was referring to Basin Harbor Club. You can easily spend weeks here and not have a dull, lackluster moment. Even when it’s raining (which it did for a little bit of our time).
The Ultimate Guide to Staying at Basin Harbor Club and Resort
Lodging Options at Basin Harbor Club
Did you know that BHC is a member of the Historic Hotels of America? When we arrived they were celebrating their 129th season. And the best part, it’s still run by the same family since the day of inception – five generations of the Beach Clan, most of whom can be found on the grounds telling you stories of how the area used to be.
Guest Rooms – first order of business when you arrive is to visit the main building which has the reception area and also the main dining room. But it also houses the guest rooms. These are smaller rooms, perfect for couples.
Lake cottages – this is where you need to stay. These cottages in themselves make the experience of staying right on Lake Champlain, the 6th largest lake in the US, unforgettable. The cottages were built during the 1920’s and 1930’s based on floor plans submitted by the guests staying at BHC. They have had many upgrades during the years, however they still preserve the look and feel back from the day.
They offer one, two, three bedroom cottages with terraces right over the lake. We had the two bedroom and it was perfect.
Interesting fact – none of the rooms come with a TV. This is intended for families to spend as much time together as possible. At the main reception area you can borrow (for free) different board games. And if you really can’t live without a TV, they rent them out for $10 a day and have a library of DVD’s to choose from. (Even with rain, we never needed the TV).
What To Do at Basin Harbor Club
Located on 700 acres along Lake Champlain the amount of activities to do here is endless.
With one of the most beautiful and inviting lakes in the region, the most obvious way to spend the day was playing in it or on it – you decide.
Paddle boards – this was my family’s favorite activity. All ages can do this. My five year old hopped on a board with my husband, while my 11 year old was totally independent on his own board.
Diving and swimming – There is a great diving board in the middle of the swimming area of the lake. Plus, a super fun water trampoline.
Boating – you can rent a boat by the hour to go around the lake just for fun, or to fish.
Waterskiing – rent a boat and go.
Pedal boat – you can also take out a pedal boat to go around the swimming area.
Sailing – this is a hit for these areas, you can rent a sailboat.
Escape tour – every day the Escape tour boat goes out on Lake Champlain. This is more of a tour to really learn and understand the history of the Resort and Lake Champlain and the surrounding area.
Kayaking and canoeing – you can do single or double for this one.
Pool time – not so much a lake water sport, but a huge hit with kids after it’s too late to go swimming in the lake.
Golf – this is probably the most popular thing to do, especially for adults. They have an 18-hole championship course with over 6,500 yards. You can take clinics and lessons for all ages.
Fun fact – It was the first in Vermont to become a sanctioned Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Golf Course.
Tennis – they have tennis courts all around the property and they offer clinics and lessons as well.
Soccer field – this was a big hit for my kids. It was also one of the best fields we’ve seen so far in the US on hotel grounds.
Biking – the grounds are perfect for taking a bike and exploring all they have to offer. And with limited roads where cars can go, it’s super safe for your kids to be on their own.
Hiking and walking – This was one of my favorite activities to do. They have perfectly paved pathways all over the property taking you to different vista points.
Games – Walking around the property, at times, I felt I was on the set of Alice in Wonderland with oversized Adirondack chairs and huge chess pieces.
Fitness Center – this is a stand alone building where you can use top of the line machines and also play some basketball.
You can also sign up for any of their classes that they offer from yoga to conditioning to aerobics.
Basin Harbor Club has one of the top kid’s programs from three years old up to teenagers. I’ll admit, I’m one of the lucky mama’s where my kids would still prefer to spend time with me than to go and do activities with other kids while we travel. (I love this so much that I really don’t want it to end). But I did get a peak of the camp in progress since they have so many different ones, for different ages, all over the property.
They even offer evening programs for the kids to get together at dinner with activities afterward while the parents are at dinner.
Weekly and Daily Activities
Make sure to get a schedule of their weekly activities that they offer at the front desk. They change every week, and offer many different hikes, tours, art workshops, etc…
Vermont has so much to see and do, and BHC is located really close to a lot of the main attractions and only about 45 minutes from Burlington. You can arrange to do a tour with them for nearby attractions.
Dining at Basin Harbor Club
BHC likes to say they offer cruise style dining. So if you’ve ever been on a cruise you’d know exactly what they mean by that. In short, tons and tons of delicious foods to taste and devour. And this is for all tastes, including vegetarians, people with allergies and super picky eaters.
The food is all locally inspired and most of it comes from the local farms on the area. It’s always fresh and so delicious.
Main Dining Room – this is the only place for breakfast. It’s also one of the most prettiest places to eat that is indoors.
The buffet is huge and offers foods that are not just the standard fare of breakfast buffets.
Red Mill Restaurant – this is the most casual, but (in my opinion) the most fun restaurant on the grounds. They have one of the largest play areas for kids I’d ever seen.
The menu is a la carte with an extensive kid’s menu and plenty for adults to choose from as well.
It’s also a pub style restaurant where you can enjoy a bar setting.
The Ranger Room – this restaurant overlooks the pool area and is buffet style. For lunch, this was our favorite spot because it was quick to pick what we wanted before heading out for the afternoon activities.
Dinner is when you have the pick between The Red Mill Restaurant, Main Dining Room and North Dock (which is only on certain days of the week).
Red Mill Restaurant – we chose this restaurant for dinner because of the play area, and how casual it was. Since it’s order from the menu style dining, if the food was taking too long, my kids simply went outside and played (where I can easily see them) and back in time to eat.
RECOMMENDATION – make a reservation for dinner time. They get really packed.
Main Dining Room – the tradition of the formal dinner still is held in high regards here and if you want to eat in the main dining area you need to be dressed properly. Plus the food is different from the pub style food you’ll find at Red Mill Restaurant.
North Dock – This is spot is known for their Lobster dinners and Harbor Fair Night and is only on certain days of the week. Inquire within to find out the schedule and what is offered and make reservations as well.
Meal Plans for Everyone
With so many options you most likely won’t be venturing out to restaurants too much. You can either go a la carte (pay for each meal as you go) or do a meal plan.
BB – breakfast only
MAP – breakfast and dinner
FAP – all three meals – this is the one we did and probably the best one you can have, especially for a family.
Harbor Night Fair
The fair has become a tradition for Basin Harbor Club and you can find guests and locals having a blast here. It’s usually every Tuesday where the buffet is outdoors and tons of games and activities for families to do together.
Including a Hay Ride. This was our first hay ride ever!
So if you can be here on a Tuesday night, definitely recommend it.
Eco Friendly Resort
The resort puts a lot of focus at maintaining a green and eco friendly status. Here are some of the things they work on:
- The Golf Course at Basin Harbor Club is the first Vermont course to become a member of the prestigious Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. The program now includes site assessment and environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, water and resource management, outreach and education.
- Member of Green Hotels in the Green Mountain State.
- Fresh Food Farm
- Striving toward Environmental Sustainability
- Composting all food waste
- LED light bulbs to conserve electricity
- Low flow toilets reducing the water waste
- The outdoor pool is heated by solar panels
- Electric Auto Program
- Efficiency Program including solar and bio-fuel
- Forestry Plan
- Renewable Plan
Pet Friendly Hotel
With so much land, your pets can go nuts exploring with you by their sides. Actually, it’s like a luxury spa/resort for furry friends.
- Basin Harbor Resort has a swimming area for dogs
- Pet amenities include biscuits made in Vermont and pick up mitts
- Well-behaved pets may join their people in cottage accommodations only, for a daily fee of $15 per pet.
- Dog walking/sitting services are available through the Concierge.
Information for Visiting Basin Harbor Club and Resort
The resort is only open from mid May until mid October (contact them for specific dates).
Summer months are fabulous, but the fall foliage of this area is one of the best in the entire country.
Address: 4800 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes