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Vermont: Champlain Valley & Islands

Cycle the shores of New England’s largest lake, Lake Champlain, as well as the verdant valleys of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Along the way we’ll encounter a less familiar but powerfully evocative period of American history—and a unique regional lifestyle deeply rooted in the natural world.

  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 13 - 33 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 4 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking
  • Easy / Moderate

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Vermont: Champlain Valley & Islands

Discover the unspoiled beauty of northwest Vermont’s island paradise at a pace that reflects its rural way of life. Slow down and take in jaw-dropping views of the Green and Adirondack mountain ranges from a one-of-a-kind cycling route that hugs, and crosses, Lake Champlain before leading you into the welcoming arms of Burlington—the state’s educational, commercial and artistic hub.  We round out our week with delicious local cuisine, stays at charming inns and journey into American history on included visits to Shelburne Museum and iconic Fort Ticonderoga.

Cultural Highlights

  • Learn about Vermont history at Shelburne Museum’s fascinating indoor and outdoor exhibits
  • Cycle from mainland Vermont to Grand Isle by way of a bike path causeway and unique bike ferry
  • Browse the storefronts that line Burlington’s pedestrian only Church Street Marketplace
  • Explore the setting of historic battles at Fort Ticonderoga—an 18th century star fort
  • Visit an outcrop of the ancient Chazy Reef Formation at Isle La Motte’s Fisk Quarry

What to Expect

This tour offers the full range of easy terrain mixed with moderate hills and is ideal for beginning and experienced cyclists. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance with the hills. Average Daily Mileage: 13 – 33 miles Average Cycling Time: 2 – 4 hours

Climate Information

Average Daily Temperature (°F) – Burlington May 67°  Jun 76°  Jul 81°  Aug 78°  Sep 69°  Oct 57° Average Rainfall (in.) – Burlington  May 3  Jun 3  Jul 4  Aug 4  Sep 3  Oct 3

What’s Included:

  • 5 nights in historic inns
  • 12 meals – 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
  • FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two VBT Trip Leaders
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • Transfers
  • Kayaking excursion on Lake Champlain
  • Visit to Shelburne Museum or Shelburne Farms
  • Visit to Fort Ticonderoga
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extension: Pre-trip: Burlington  1 night for only $145
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Land Only Single Supplement: $445

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2015 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What's Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
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 make 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. Hotel: The North Hero House Meals: B, D Daily Options: 8 miles

DAY 2: Cycle Isle La Motte and North Hero Island

This morning, we cycle northward along the lake, crossing over a 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. Hotel: North Hero House Meals: B, L, D Daily Options: 17, 26 or 31 miles

DAY 3: South Hero / Burlington Bike Path

After cycling along the Grand Isle shore, we’ll 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, and 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, we’ll join the Burlington Bike Path and 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. Hotel: Lang House Meals: B, L Daily Options: 22 or 35 miles

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. Hotel: Shoreham Inn Meals: B, D Daily Options: 10, 15, 22 or 25 miles

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. Hotel: Shoreham Inn Meals: B, L, D Daily Options: 24 miles

DAY 6: Middlebury / Depart for home

Enjoy our last breakfast together at the inn this morning before 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. 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. Meals: B Daily Options: 24 miles

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Accommodations

Hotel Vermont

Vermont’s newest hotel, the Hotel Vermont offers perfectly situated accommodations in downtown Burlington. The natural splendor of this “green,” sustainably operated hotel, coupled with its desire to embrace the outdoors and shared community values, promises a truly memorable experience. The natural sense of freedom that guests feel from the warm, attentive service and special touches improves one’s mental and physical well-being. The hotel's rooms are simple yet elegant, with clean, crisp design elements and a warm rustic charm. Rooms include flat-screen TVs, MP3 docking stations, and complimentary Internet access.
Free WiFi Included

Shoreham Inn

The inn has recently attained Green Hotel status and has an ongoing commitment to the environment. The inn has wireless service but no televisions. Instead, enjoy games, puzzles, books and magazines—and lots of that wonderful Vermont outdoors. Each of the inn’s 10 individually decorated rooms has a private bath, and individual air conditioning units are located in all bedrooms during the warmer months. There is no smoking at the inn.
Free WiFi Included

North Hero House

Located directly on Lake Champlain, this 1891 inn features antique furnishings with modern conveniences, as well as elegant dining in its 3-diamond restaurant.
Free WiFi Included

Lang House

Relax in this beautifully restored 1881 Victorian style mansion, complete with period furnishings, dramatic woodwork and impressive 19th century architectural detail.
Free WiFi Included
Photos

Vermont Champlain Valley Bike Tour Photo Gallery
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