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Biking Vacation Vermont: Champlain Valley & Islands​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 13 – 33 mi  |  Daily Biking: 2 – 4 hr
Land only
6 days from only
Pre-trip Extension:
Burlington · 1 night $145
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Start from Bristol, Vermont OR Fly into Burlington / Transfer to North Hero

The tour begins at VBT Headquarters in Bristol, Vermont. Guests driving to the tour may leave their car in the VBT lot without charge for the duration of the tour. From Bristol, we will shuttle to our first inn, North Hero House. Please plan to arrive at VBT Headquarters between 11:45 am and 12:15 pm on the first day of the tour. We recommend that travelers stop for an early lunch in Bristol—Main Street offers a few options—or bring a to-go lunch with you to eat on the shuttle. The shuttle to North Hero leaves promptly at 12:30 pm (travel time approximately 1¼ hour). If you arrive after this time, you will need to make your own arrangements to get to the inn.

If you are flying to Vermont, VBT will offer one complimentary transfer for guests from the Burlington International Airport, departing at 1:15 pm. Look for the representative holding a VBT sign outside the baggage claim area for your transfer. Please allow for traffic delays.

If your flight arrives after this time, you will need to arrange your own transportation to North Hero House at your expense. Please call one of the following taxi companies: Jessica's Vital Transit (telephone 802-349-8833) or Middlebury Transit (telephone 888-666-3471). Travel time from the Burlington airport is approximately 60 minutes.

Please contact VBT at least 10 days prior to your vacation's start date during regular business hours (Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, ET) at 800-245-3868 to inform us if you will be taking advantage of the complimentary shuttle from the airport, meeting our shuttle at Hotel Vermont if you are on the pre-trip extension, or driving to the start of the tour.

VBT Pre-Trip Extension guests: You have another morning to enjoy Burlington. At 12:30 pm, the shuttle company will meet and transfer you to North Hero House. This transfer is only available to guests who purchase the pre-trip extension through VBT.

At North Hero House, settle in and relax until 3:30 pm, when your VBT Trip Leaders fit you to your bike and offer a brief cycling-skills clinic, followed by a short warm-up ride. Enjoy dinner at the inn at 7:00 pm.

Day 2 - Cycle Isle La Motte and North Hero Island

This morning, we cycle northward along the lake, crossing over a bridge causeway to Isle La Motte, one of the Champlain Islands. Ride quiet back roads on Isle La Motte, stopping to visit the historic St. Anne's Shrine and Fisk Quarry. The shrine has lovely views of Lake Champlain, information on local history, short walking trails, and inherent serenity. Enjoy time taking in the natural and historical sights. The island was the first land visited, in 1609, by French navigator and explorer Samuel de Champlain and his party of Frenchmen and Native Americans as he entered the large lake to which he gave his name. He described the place as “covered with the most beautiful pines that I have ever seen.” After a picnic lunch, join our guided kayaking excursion, continue cycling south along the lovely shoreline, or simply relax before dinner at the inn.

Day 3 - South Hero / Burlington Bike Path

After cycling along the Grand Isle shore, reach South Hero, the largest of the Champlain Islands. Here, lake views and gentle terrain make for very pleasant cycling. We'll stop at a local vineyard for a wine tasting and picnic lunch, then continue cycling. We will board the Island Line Bike Ferry for a short cruise with our bikes. This service joins the two sides of “the cut” between South Hero and Colchester along the recently resurfaced marble causeway, and allows us to “ride” uninterrupted from the islands into Burlington. After crossing the cut, join the Burlington Bike Path, where we'll continue cycling to our Burlington hotel.

After settling in, we can explore Burlington's Church Street Marketplace and find a spot for dinner on our own in one of the many restaurants within walking distance of the inn.

Day 4 - Explore Shelburne / Cycle along Lake Champlain / Shuttle to Shoreham

After breakfast, start cycling to the Shelburne Museum for an included visit. Shelburne Museum has a fine collection of more than 150,000 works in a unique setting comprising 39 exhibition buildings. The museum has exceptional holdings, including 500 quilts, 1,400 waterfowl decoys, 120 weathervanes, and 50 carousel figures—along with the 220-foot steamboat Ticonderoga, built in 1906 at the Shelburne Shipyard on Lake Champlain. You may also choose to continue to Shelburne Farms with its beautiful grounds and interesting architecture. If you're looking for a bit more cycling, enjoy an additional ride along the shores of Lake Champlain. Scan the waves and try to catch a glimpse of “Champ,” the legendary lake creature that could be a distant cousin of the Loch Ness Monster. Meet back at the Shelburne Museum parking lot at 4:00 pm for the shuttle (approximately 45 minutes) to Shoreham. Relax, or take a stroll before dinner at the Shoreham Inn.

Day 5 - Ferry to New York / Fort Ticonderoga

During your ride this morning, enjoy a ferry crossing on the Fort Ticonderoga Ferry, which provides scenic seven-minute crossings on Lake Champlain between Ticonderoga, New York, and Shoreham, Vermont. The service connects the Lake George and Adirondack regions of New York with the Middlebury and Central Green Mountain areas of Vermont. Among the ferries crossing Lake Champlain, the Fort Ticonderoga Ferry is the oldest. It has operated officially on Lake Champlain since 1799, and actually has provided sporadic service since 1759. Only a handful of businesses in the United States can claim to have served the American public longer. The ferry operates on a cable guidance system, installed in 1946. This cable system, with many improvements, is still used today. Today, the ferry barge is powered by the Addie B, a 16-ton, double-ended tugboat built in 1979 in Maine. The ferry barge, the Fort Ticonderoga 11, is a 94-ton, unrigged steel barge built in 1959 in Warren, Rhode Island. 

After crossing Lake Champlain, cycle a scenic loop in Ticonderoga, enjoying vistas of the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain before our ride eventually takes us to Fort Ticonderoga. Take advantage of the included entrance fee and explore America's Fort, the site that determined the boundaries of our country during two early wars. Much more than a restored military fortress, it has rich and varied offerings, including costumed interpreters, 30-minute guided tours, a world-class museum, daily musket demonstrations, and self-guided tours. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch during our time here.

Finish this full-day excursion with another ferry crossing, and cycle back to Shoreham to dine at the inn's British gastropub.

Day 6 - Middlebury / Depart for home

Enjoy our last breakfast together at the inn this morning. Then, our last day of cycling takes us past weeping willows and stone fences along quiet roads leading into Middlebury. We'll ride over rolling hills, past farms and through fields along the way. Upon arriving in Middlebury, we can enjoy lunch on our own.

The tour concludes at Vermont Sun Sports and Fitness on Exchange Street, where showers are available from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. VBT has made arrangements for a shuttle from Vermont Sun and Fitness back to the airport at 2:00 pm (travel time approximately 60 minutes). If you need to get back to the airport prior to that time, the transfer back to Burlington will be at your own expense. If you drove to the start of the tour, your Trip Leaders will transfer you back to VBT headquarters at 2:00 pm, and you may depart at your leisure.
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