Pillow Talk: Remember Summer at Basin Harbor Club
If I didn’t know any better, I might have been in a scene from Dirty Dancing, the music was blasting and there was barely an inch on the dance floor – or anywhere for that matter – as guests and staff danced late into the night.
A great time was to be had by everyone and Super G and I were in the thick of it at the Red Mill at the Basin Harbor Club (4800 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes, 800-622-4000, , BasinHarbor.com), a family-owned resort that harkened back to a long ago era, but is firmly in the 21st century on the edge of Lake Champlain.
The Red Mill was an old mill that staff and guests hung out at drinking and dancing a la Dirty Dancing-style until the Beach family, who own the resort, made the mill official offering lunch during the day and a good party at night.
Before the crowd thickened, I studiously worked on scoring the ring around the nail in the wall in the ring toss. A game with a ring on a string where people swing it in an attempt to get to hook on a nail in the wall that the Pennie Beach’s daughter, Sarah Morris, deftly could win with her eyes closed and a beer in one hand. I saw it with my own eyes one night when we were hanging out.
My goal, get it at least once. I did, but not with Sarah’s skill.
Cheering my score, I skipped back to my beer at the bar that was waiting for me with Super G. We sampled many beers that night. So many that neither one of us remember how many. Vermont is in hot competition with Oregon when it comes to its microbreweries and we couldn’t resist the selection on tap at the Red Mill.
It was the perfect end to our trip to Vermont as Super G and I stumbled down the country road back to our cabin on the edge of Lake Champlain rather than summoning a cart to take us back.
In the morning walking along the narrow pebble paths toward the Main Dining Hall a sense of peace and nostalgia washed over me as the sun warmed my skin and I breathed in the smell of freshly cut grass along the tennis courts surrounded by cabins.
The property has a total of 110 buildings and 70 cottages surrounded by water and mountains prime for boating, biking and hiking trails for walking dogs or hanging out with friends, kids and family and much more. The resort also boasts of an 18-hole golf course, five tennis courts, a low-elements adventure course, wellness center, nature program and much more on the more than 700 acres of preserved land that is a part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.
The club even sports a small airstrip for small planes and helicopters.
I loved being able to step back in time while still being in a modern and stylish quintessential New England resort that is the essence of the picturesque postcard of a New England resort similar to Cape Town and Martha’s Vineyard. That’s what club is without as much fanfare and pomp. That is why so many families, couples and friends continue to return year after year … that and the warm and friendly Beach family hospitality.
Super G marveled at the fact that all the staff knew your name only after meeting you once, “The service is above and beyond,” she says. I agree.
Basin Harbor Club was founded in 1886 by Ardelia Beach, a daughter of a Vergennes farmer. Now in its 128th year and fourth generation of ownership with brother and sister team Pennie and Bob Beach, the club has aged gracefully staying fresh and upbeat while honoring its history. It is officially registered with the Historic Hotels of America.
Expect the best dining experience in the Main Dining Room where gourmet meals change seasonally and the best wines are on hand from club’s cellar at dinner. The menu is mouthwateringly delectable, with select items, but even so it is difficult to choose what to eat.
Then there’s the award-winning wine list which sports 400 wines from around the world.
The first night, I settled on a filet draped with a decadent blue cheese sauce that was to die for, a glass of Rosenblum Zinfandel from across the San Francisco Bay and topped off the evening with a pumpkin crème brule.
The second evening I opted for a simple baked chicken while Super G, who joined me partway during the trip, enjoyed lamb. The Beach’s graciously, as our hosts, had a bottle of Rosenblum Zinfandel Reserve waiting for us at our table.
In the morning I enjoyed a buffet with everything that you could possibly want freshly served.
The Main Dining Room is only one of three restaurants at the club.
If you aren’t in Vergennes, the cute town before heading out to the Beach Harbor Club, for lunch, check out The Red Mill, which serves typical American favorites, such as burgers, and pub food or Local and Fresh featuring local farms and bakeries that have partnered with club.
Fun Things to Do
The resort offers many fun things to do for adults (tennis, biking, swimming, yoga and more) and kids (scavenger hunts, jewelry classes, baking demos), and for the entire family water carnivals, beach parties, hayrides, concerts and more.
For our final morning at the club, Super G was already up and checking out the golf course. I slowly woke up sitting out on the deck of our cabin overlooking the lake thinking about breakfast and looking forward to a bike ride along the country paths afterward before packing and saying good bye to the Green Mountain State.
Super G appreciated the woodsy scenery on the 18-hole professional par golf course.
“It’s a nice place to play golf,” she says.
The golf course has been spruced up for the summer with improvements made to the 5th and 7th tees. They are now complete reconstructed with new sod ready for golfers to tee off. The brush around the 9th and 18th holes has been trimmed back and some of the wild areas around the 8th, 12th and 17th holes have been mowed, according the club’s spring newsletter.
It was perfect morning for a bike ride. I checked out a bike and took a ride along the golf course into the woods riding along the dirt paths shaded by a canopy of trees.
If you can swing it, fly or helicopter into Basin Harbor Club, otherwise for the rest of us, the nearly an hour drive from Burlington is worth it, especially once you are off of the highway and cruising along the single lane road enjoying the small towns.
Take your time once you get to Route 7 South from Burlington and on 22A South. Stop off at Dakin Farm (5797 Route 7, Ferrisburgh, 800-993-2546, DakinFarm.com), for the “Made in Vermont” goods, particularly the maple syrup, and Shelbourne Vineyard (6308 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, 802-985-8222, ShelburneVineyard.com), to check out their wines, particularly their ice wines. Check out Vergennes before meandering onto the country roads to the Basin Harbor Club.
Basin Harbor Club, 4800 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes, 800-622-4000, , BasinHarbor.com
RATING: 5 = midnight blue
(5 best – 0 worst)
TYPE OF LODGING: Historic resort, country luxury, family-owned
CHECK OUT: $$$$ = Over $350
(Lowest price for a single night in a standard room during high-season)
SWEET DREAMS: I love the cabins, particularly by the lake. It was so relaxing that it was hard to leave, no wonder people return again and again to Basin Harbor Club.
VIBE: It is really summer like when you were a kid at Basin Harbor Club. It is fun, relaxing and you couldn’t have a care in the world. Fido and fluffy can come too.
SCENE: Throw off your suit and tie and put away your pumpsand get comfortable in cotton t-shirts and shorts for the summer … at least until dinner. Then get dressed up for a gourmet meal with family and friends.
LOCATION: Enjoy a beautiful natural setting by Lake Champlain that takes you away from it all and back to childhood-like lazy days filled with splashing around in the water, haystack rides and endless walks in the woods.
ROOM: Country living in comfortable multi-and single room cabins lining the lake or wonderful rooms in the main house you can’t go wrong.
BATHROOM: Spacious. Room enough for a whole family to get ready for a day out in the sun or a night out at the Main Dining Room and dancing at The Red Mill.
AMENITIES: Taking leftovers isn’t a problem with rooms equipped with refrigerators. Rooms come with free Wi-Fi and games in the cabin. Three dining options and activities all over the resort for the whole family and friends to enjoy.
WORTH THE SLEEP?: zzzz= This was divine!
To book your Basin Harbor Club summer vacation contact Heather at Girls That Roam Travel at Travel Advisors of Los Gatos at 408-354-6531 at or .
To contract an original article, purchase reprints or become a media partner, contact editor [@] girlsthatroam [.] com.
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