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Lake and mountains: The Basin Harbor Club

 

The Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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The Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

The Basin Harbor Club is a hideaway named for the harbor on Lake Champlain that it encircles. This 700 acre lakeside resort has 147 guest rooms, including over seventy cottages.

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

It is only about 25 miles south of Burlington and about 200 miles northwest of Boston but is in an agricultural region that makes it feel worlds away.

approach to Basin Harbor Club, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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approach to Basin Harbor Club, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

It is a member of the Historic Hotels of America, a National Trust for Historic Preservation program, which means it is recognized nationally or locally as part of America’s cultural heritage.

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

The Basin Harbor Club goes back to 1886 when this was a farm and, as was done back then,  Ardelia Beach began taking in summer boarders who wanted to escape the city’s summer heat.

While it is updated on an ongoing basis, it has retained its old-time friendly and wholesome ambience and service.

main lodge, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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main lodge, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

During the summer season there is a children’s camp and teen program for ages 3 to 17 and a nearly a one-to-one ratio of staff to guests. This pet-friendly facility even has its own dog beach.

Fanny's Beach for dogs, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Fanny’s Beach for dogs, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

It is a popular place for groups, weddings, and conferences year-round. Some now come by boat or by plane to the private airstrip.

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Often when rain falls on the west side of the mountain, the sun shines in the “Basin Harbor bubble.”

The Basin Harbor Club is now in the fifth generation management by the Beach family.

Fifth generation host Sarah Morris with favorite generational photos at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Fifth generation host Sarah Morris with favorite generational photos at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Casual meals are offered in the Red Mill Restaurant, in a renovated lumber mill. It is a place to enjoy favorites like fried pickles, Boyden Farms Beef Cottage Pie, and Basin Harbor Club’s private label Red Chair Ale.

Mill Restaurant, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Mill Restaurant, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

fried pickles, Red Mill Restaurant, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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fried pickles, Red Mill Restaurant, Basin Harbor Club

hot dogs, Mill Restaurant, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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hot dogs, Mill Restaurant, Basin Harbor Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People return to year after year to enjoy the signature “active tranquility.” We overheard the couple at the next table telling the waiter that they held their wedding here eleven years ago and come back every year to celebrate their anniversary.

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

A wedding with 150 guests was held that Saturday. The 105-year-old grandmother of the bride, host Pennie Beach told us, had been coming here for 75 years. A group of couples arrived after breakfast the next day, as they do every year, to dine and golf together.

cottage and garden at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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cottage and garden at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Today’s Basin Harbor Resort has a range of accommodations including over seventy classic studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom cottages, each uniquely decorated in a summer home decor, many with fireplaces, decks, and lakeside views.  There are fourteen comfortable second and third floor guest rooms (no elevator) with private baths in the Main Lodge.

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Main Lodge, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

It was the original farmhouse. Part of the patio area is shaded by a century-old woody vine known as Dutchman’s Pipe.

Homestead 1792 sign, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Homestead 1792 sign, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Homestead building at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Homestead building at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

There are vintage rooms in the Homestead Building. Built in 1792, it is the oldest operating inn on Lake Champlain. For groups or families there’s the three-bedroom Penfield Place, second-generation host Allen Penfield Beach’s cottage, or Champlain House, a hotel-style 1920s building with a living room area and six identical guest rooms with private baths.

Those favoring more modern accommodations choose the newest building, the upscale Adirondack-style Summit, built in 2009. There are large fireplaces in every room or suite and flexibility of creating one-, two-, and three-bedroom combinations.

Summit Building, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Summit Building, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Summit room, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Our cottage, Montevista, had a deck, two bedrooms and bathrooms, and a living room with windows on three sides that overlooked Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks.

Montevista, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Montevista, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

view from our cottage, Montevista at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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view from our cottage, Montevista at the Basin Harbor Club

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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bedroom 1, Montevista, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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bedroom 2, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

view from the deck of our cottage of the tour boat Escape returning to the harbor at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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view from the deck of our cottage of the tour boat Escape returning to the harbor at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

We picked up wifi but found ourselves putting it aside to enjoy what this place is about.

view from a cottage at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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view from our cottage at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

We were sleepy soon after the sun set and wakened before sunrise to see the curtain of morning mist rise to reveal the rosy tones of sunrise  over the Adirondacks and reflecting on the lake. The sounds of the water gently lapped against the shore and a bird the chirped from a nearby the harbor, some in groups, others in pairs or all alone.

sunrise view from our cottage at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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sunrise view from our cottage at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Ducks bobbed in the rippling water,  some birds formed a line and skimmed the water, others splashed in for a fish. Butterflies flitted about. A pair of kayakers and a few sailboats glided by.

There was time to savor the nature that surrounded us. We spotted animal shapes in the puffy clouds, watched as a spider walked nimbly across the deck railing, and noticed how clusters of  little con everyday life. This is what a vacation should be.

view from the deck of our cottage at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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view from the deck of our cottage at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

The lavish breakfast buffet featured items like maple or pumpkin flavored Green Mountain Creamery yogurt, eggs to order, fruits, meats and cheeses, house-made granola, freshly baked pastries, and award-winning local Blake Hill Preserves in flavors like Raspberry Hibiscus and Peach Ginger.

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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breakfast buffet, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The apple fritter was the best we had ever tasted. Or was it that we took the time to enjoy it?

 Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Other suggested activities included a round of golf on the 18-hole course or golf lessons and clinics with onsite PGA Teaching Professional Bob Prange, whose accolades include being named Top Instructor List Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. The resort and golf course were first in Vermont to be named Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries.

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

There’s plenty to do if you want to. All sorts of boat can be rented.There’s swimming in the lake or heated pool, tennis, biking —including electric bikes— a fitness center, and spa treatments at the Blue Chair Day Spa.

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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bicycles, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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kiddy boats, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Complimentary fishing poles, beach boats, kiddie boats and sand toys are available at the beach.

The adjacent Maritime Museum has a blacksmith and glassblower and 15,000 objects, images and documents, like an ice boat, that tell the history of Lake Champlain.

Maritime Museum, Vergennes, Vermont
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Maritime Museum, Vergennes, Vermont

Need help deciding or arranging? Just ask the concierge.

Dressing for dinner in the lakeside formal dining room means jackets and collared shirts for men and dressier attire for women during the summer season. It’s resort casual off season, when the dining room is open for dinner fewer days.

Executive Chef Christian Kruse, a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, uses the bounty of Vermont’s local producers — cheeses, free range poultry and beef, and crisp produce, much from their own farm, as inspiration for his seasonal menus to pair with the resort’s award-winning wine list.

appetizer, Main Dining Room, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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appetizer, Main Dining Room, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

lobster, mushrooms, and Brussels sprout wonton, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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lobster, mushrooms, and Brussels sprout wonton, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Fresh Food Farm vegetable strudel with pomegranate molasses, micro green salad and apple cider vinaigrette, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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vegetable strudel with pomegranate molasses, micro green salad and apple cider vinaigrette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

herbed venison loin with sweet potato puree, cranberry chutney, and carrot-beet-apple slaw, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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herbed venison loin with sweet potato puree, cranberry chutney, and carrot-beet-apple slaw, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Baked Alaska, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Baked Alaska, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

We spent our time strolling on nature paths and through flower gardens in full bloom. One behind the Main Lodge has an Alice in Woodland theme.

garden at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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garden at the Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Surprise Garden is named after a much-loved former gardner.

Surprise Gardens plaque, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Surprise Gardens plaque, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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garden with kinetic sculpture installed by creator and BHC guest Drew Klutz, Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

We relaxed and enjoyed the view from our deck or the brightly-painted signature Adirondack chairs that overlook the lake. It felt like simpler times, the way things used to be.

Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont
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Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes, Vermont

The Basin Harbor Club is open mid-May to mid-October.

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