Within our first few hours at The Basin Harbor Club, the boys and I swam in the refreshing water of Lake Champlain, jumped on the giant trampoline, dove from the floating dock in the harbor, tried out a paddle boat, climbed a tree (just the boys on that one), played shuffleboard, rode bikes to the playground, and met a new friend. All this before 7:00 p.m., when we sat down to an artisan dinner served lakeside, enjoying a beautiful array of delicious foods and a cool breeze coming off the lake. If it sounds hectic, let me assure you, it was exactly the opposite. I’m not sure if it’s the layout of the Resort, the 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio, or the flow of activities at Basin Harbor, but everything is relaxed and easy. Despite our giddy desire to do everything at once, nothing felt rushed, and that held true for the duration of our stay.
Since we live in the mountains, we were really excited to spend some time on Lake Champlain while at Basin Harbor. The harbor is equipped with every imaginable toy– kayaks, paddle boards, a giant floating trampoline, a diving board, sailboats, motor boats, waterskis, and fishing poles, most of which is free and available all throughout the day. Probably the most memorable adventure of our stay was the afternoon of wake boarding and tubing on the lake. Being steller snowboarders, the boys were positive they would be awesome at wake boarding. Turns out, it’s a lot harder than it looks. Thankfully my husband was with us that day, representing for the Bradbury family. The real fun for the boys came when our captain swung back through the harbor to swap the wake board for a giant inner tube. The boys could hardly contain themselves jumping back into the water to try Max’s “vortex of death.”
When their muscles got tired of clinging to the tube, Max slowed us down and took us across the lake to see the bald eagle nest, where one youngling perched regally thinking about taking his first flight. We also checked out the cliffs where braver individuals jump 75′ into the lake– I’m thanking my lucky stars that the boys weren’t up for that.
On the one morning we woke to a warm drizzle, the kids headed over to the “Hanger” where camp councelors were organizing a game of Capture the Flag. There were probably a dozen or more kids between the ages of 9-12 racing around and playing fooseball– the kids barely looked up to say goodbye. I thought about riding my bike over to watch Capture the Flag and snap a few photos, but decided instead to enjoy a little solo time and took a paddle board out to explore the lake.
I had tried paddle boarding once last summer, but I was determined to really give it a go to see if I would love it as much as others do. Given the choice, I’d still prefer to surf, but obviously that’s not an option on a lake. Once I got into a rhythm, it was really peaceful and a beautiful way to explore– and it definitely delivers the core workout everyone promises! I really wanted to bring the boys over to the next harbor where I discovered a 1776 gunboat that is permanently docked as part of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, but the Museum was closed by the time we made it there, so we’ll have to save that for our next trip.
Inevitably, there came a point in every day where we were all ready for some down time, and that’s when the boys discovered fishing off the docks. Hooking worms and unhooking gaping fish is not my cup of tea, so while I relaxed with my book on the lawn, the boys grabbed a pole and some worms from the harbor cabin and hung out on the docks. They caught all kinds of fish– sunfish, perch, pumpkinseed, lake bass, and one very respectable catfish. Fishing was such a big hit that we decided to head out on the Escape to try a family fishing trip to the “haystack”– a relatively shallow area in the middle of the lake. Our captain was really knowledgable about the history of the lake and shared little tidbits of information with interested individuals–not a lecture, just a conversation. Even if we hadn’t caught any fish, the excursion would have been a success.
When we finally tore ourselves away from the lake to eat, sleep and visit the Harbor store, we discovered that biking around the Resort was the way to go. We didn’t touch our car the whole time we were there, instead opting to ride bikes everywhere. Not only did biking around add to a feeling of unhurried ease, but it also gave the kids a highly coveted sense of independence in a completely safe environment.
Our last night at Basin Harbor exemplifies so much of what the Resort is all about. After a full day on the lake, we rode over to the Harbor Fair, an abundant buffet of incredible food and a mini-country fair complete with a giant bouncy house, balloon animals, cotton candy, and lawn games. Satiated with great food and entertainment, we started to head back to our cabin but got sidetracked by another little boy the kids had befriended. As I sat on the back porch, they looped through the dusk on their bikes picking up other kids along the way. By the time they reached the harbor, there were at least a half dozen kids whooping through the night on some imaginary mystery hunt for a “suspicious teenager.” “Cue the fireflies” said one of the other adults on the porch just as the lawn began to glitter. Exactly. It was that perfect. Planned or unplanned, every moment of our stay was exceptional, bordering on magical.