What We Love
- Locavore menus: Vermont-made cheddar cheese and maple syrup, chicken that was raised one town away, produce fresh from a nearby farm
- The 700 acres are made for walking; entire resort is a Certified Audubon Sanctuary
- Incredible sunset views over Lake Champlain toward the Adirondacks
What To Know
- Many activities, including biking and boat rides, are an extra fee
- No TVs in the rooms
- The scene here is low-key and relaxed, though the bar at the Red Mill restaurant stays open ’til midnight
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
On a winding road that ends at Lake Champlain, Basin Harbor Club is a sprawling resort of cottages and guesthouses clustered around a harbor. With tennis courts, a championship golf course and a private airstrip, it’s a preppy scene — we’re talking coats and ties each evening for men 12 and over in the main dining room — without a stuffy attitude. Visitors bring their dog, their kids or both and relish the only-in-Vermont air of refined chaos and downright cheerful surroundings.
Bed & Bath
The 74 cottages provide a true Vermont home-away-from-home, with pattern-loving bedrooms (or two or three), a living room, kitchenette and deck or porch. Each one is unique, from the layout and the furnishings to the lake views and size of your screened-in porch. In the main lodge, Historic Guest Rooms are on the small side at 200 square feet, but have expansive views of Lake Champlain, the Adirondacks, the award-winning flower gardens or the golf course.
Most guests stay and play at the resort all day. Each morning a list of activities is handed out near the main dining room, cruise ship–style. There are exercise classes at the gym and guided hikes, pampering spa treatments, boat rides, bonfires, bingo games, bike rentals and much more. The kids area is wildly popular, keeping campers busy with scavenger hunts and crafts and swimming. And then there’s the water. A diving board dares you to jump in the lake, and a big floating trampoline makes it fun to stay out there all day. You can rent paddle boats and kayaks, go waterskiing or take a banana boat ride. On the dining front, choose from hearty meat-heavy entrees in the main dining room; the more casual Red Mill restaurant for burgers and grilled dishes; or bumper buffet fare in the seasonal Ranger Room.
In the Area
For a dose of retail therapy and city action, head due north to Burlington, also on Lake Champlain, or get away from it all on a self-guided hike along any of the lakeside paths. Kids love the trip to Shelburne Farms, a bucolic working farm where you can milk a cow, collect eggs, watch cheese being made and buy fresh produce. Or, since the entire resort is a Certified Audubon Sanctuary, stay onsite and attend one of the frequent talks and classes at the nature center.
How to Get There
My wife and I spent a long weekend at Basin Harbor recently and had a wonderful time. It’s a great getaway, well off the beaten path, with a whole slew of amenities. The entire facility is beautiful, well-maintained, and a joy to walk around.
Lodging ranges from small cottages, like the one we had, to larger units with more space, multiple bedrooms and such. As we were there for a “destination wedding,” we didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the cottage, so the relatively small size was not an issue.
Situated as it is on Lake Champlain, the big draw in summertime is water sports. Boating, swimming, paddleboarding … the list goes on. There are fees required for some of these.
While there are three separate restaurants on the grounds, we stuck with Ardelia’s attached to the main building. The food was excellent across the board, although service was a bit off. Twice at diner, our servers had trouble dividing up the check among several couples, and we all ended up putting it on a single card and settling up later. It was in fact these service glitches that kept the rating here at a “4” rather than a “5.”
Did I mention that Basin Harbor is dog-friendly? We brought our pup and she was welcomed all across the resort (except in the restaurants, of course). This was a major plus for us.
Basin Harbor is a gorgeous property that also has delicious food, dedicated staff and tons of activities for people of all ages. We have been to the resort for many years on and off and it never disappoints. Our cottages were beautifully decorated. All of our meals were great. The breakfast buffet was a highlight of our day. The heated pool is lovely. We had dinner one night on the deck and everything was perfect. It is lovely to go somewhere that is family owned and to see the love that everyone has for the property and the guests is heartwarming. We like it soo much we already booked for next summer. We also hope to go back this Fall. We have travelled all over and still find Basin Harbor to be our favorite place to be. I was very sad to leave the beauty of Basin Harbor, the fresh air, the fine food and watching all of the intergenerational guests have a place to make wonderful memories. Basin Harbor is superb!!
My family recently stayed at the resort for a short stay. We stayed in the inn. The hotel grounds, the service and our rooms were lovely. I enjoyed the feel of the resort which, as previous owners have mentioned, had an old-fashioned low-key but upscale vibe. It was very pretty. The outdoor pool was really warm with a fun diving board and lanes for lap swimming. Our main issue was that we were mainly on a lake vacation and the waterfront had tons of seaweed so my kids and I didn’t really want to swim in it for long. To be fair there were plenty of kids in the waterfront area. However we swam in PERFECT cool crisp lakes right before and after on our road trip and were disappointed. Ps - The coffee was very good.