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The History of Our Lake Champlain Tour

Our big backyard here at Basin Harbor—the Champlain Valley of Vermont—is as historically rich as it is breathtakingly scenic. On a getaway to our lakeside resort—which, given our establishment back in the 19th century, is its own sort of heritage landmark—both that scenery (front and center) and that history are yours to explore to your heart’s content!

We invite you to do a little time-traveling on your next blissful getaway to Basin Harbor, thanks to our self-guided “History Alive” tour. Comprised of seven fascinating and varied destinations all less than an hour’s drive from our resort, this circuit will introduce you to multiple chapters of Lake Champlain’s human story—and the splendor of the natural land- and water-scapes against which it’s played out over the centuries.

A “History Alive” Preview

The document we’ve linked to above profiles each of the “History Alive” destinations and provides their address and open hours; this Google Map, meanwhile, shows the route and provides detailed directions. In this blogpost, we’ll simply pull out a few of the stops to whet your appetite!

Right here at Basin Harbor, there’s the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, a long-running institution particularly close to our hearts given our very own Bob Beach Jr. was among its co-founders back in 1986. Here you can learn about the many shipwrecks of Lake Champlain in the Nautical Archaeology Center, the 1609 encounter between indigenous peoples and Samuel de Champlain, Benedict Arnold’s connect to the area, and much more—not to mention take a gander at a fleet of historical and replica vessels, including a facsimile of the 1776 gunboat Philadelphia II.

Of several historical sites along the route, a definite must-see is the famous Fort Ticonderoga, just about 30 miles south of Basin Harbor on the New York shores of southwestern Lake Champlain. Built by the French in the 1750s, this star fort saw much military action during the French & Indian Wars (the New World expression of Europe’s Seven Years War) as well as the American Revolution. Historical architecture and artifacts, reenactments and other living-history programs, and various recreated gardens will bring this citadel’s backstory to life for you. Nearby Mount Defiance, another “History Alive” stop, affords a truly awe-inspiring vista of Lake Champlain and the surrounding country.

Back in the Green Mountain State, meanwhile, Mount Independence State Historic Site represents one of the best-preserved Revolutionary War sites in the country: a fortification constructed to thwart British efforts to invade from Canada.

Take the “History Alive” Tour on Your Next Visit to Basin Harbor

From cruises aboard the replica Carillon sightseeing boat to the 18th-century tavern at Chimney Point State Historic Site, there’s much else awaiting you along our “History Alive” route. We hope you’ll take to this time-traveling road when you join us at our Lake Champlain resort this summer, here in tranquil Vergennes, Vermont!