6 Favorite Lodgings for Family Get-Togethers, Including Basin Harbor, Vergennes, Vermont

Basin Harbor Resort in VermontThe kids are stand-up paddleboarding near the middle of the lake. My wife is sea kayaking with her siblings and their spouses closer to the shoreline. Steady wind blowing through my hair, I’m at the tiller of an 18-foot sailboat accompanied by Granny Franny and her longtime beau, Saul. To celebrate a special birthday for Fran, my wife’s extended family decided to book a week at the classic family retreat on the shores of Lake Champlain, Basin Harbor. One glance at the lake from the Adirondack chairs perched on a bluff just outside the main dining room and you understand the allure. On the opposite shores are the steep rock cliffs called the Palisades and beyond that, the spine of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The Vermont side is not too shabby either, a bucolic blend of dairy farms, horse pastures, and their own requisite peaks, the Green Mountains. Come summer, this region is a warm embrace of emerald green fields and blue waters.

The beauty of this type of resort is that everyone, including the kids, has their independence. If Fran and my son Jake want to play a game of tennis, off they go. If Lisa’s brother, Jeff, wants to throw a Frisbee with his son, Micah, after a competitive game of shuffleboard, go for it. We see each other at breakfast, sporadically throughout the day and then meet up for dinner. Yet, most afternoons, we find each other at the small beach, swimming over to the dock, and lounging on chaise lounge chairs with a pint of Vermont’s Switchback Ale in one hand, book in the other. I can’t resist the chance to bike every day. Any avid road biker will tell you that Addison Valley, Vermont, where Basin Harbor Club is located, is easily one of the top five biking destinations in North America. The backcountry roads have very little car traffic, great uphill climbs and downhill runs, and around every bend is another dairy farm, massive red barn, white church steeple, and glorious vistas of mountains and lake.

This entry is excerpted from my latest book, New England in a Nutshell. The book/ebook is slated to published on July 2nd and you can pre-order now at Amazon or at the independent bookstore, Northshire, located in Manchester Center, Vermont and Saratoga, New York. The ebook includes all hyperlinks to listings. The paperback includes front and back cover illustrations from Manhattan-based artist, Sarah Schechter, and a small sampling of photos from Lisa, who accompanied me on many of my assignments, resulting in published work for the Boston Globe.