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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 Activity
  • Ideal for energetic beginners to more experienced riders.

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Vermont: Champlain Valley & Islands

Experience the welcoming hospitality and unspoiled beauty of Northern New England on this delightful spin through the Champlain valleys, surrounded by the peaks of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks. We’ll trace our way down from the picturesque island communities into Vermont’s “Queen City”, Burlington, via a one-of-a-kind bike route across Lake Champlain. We’ll also step back into Vermont’s storied history at the Shelburne Museum and Fort Ticonderoga, dine on fresh farm-to-table cuisine and stay in the area’s finest accommodations. This rewarding Vermont bike tour is the best way to discover all that Lake Champlain, and its remarkable islands, has to offer.

Cultural Highlight

• Cycle to Isle La Motte and delight in its quiet back roads
• Discover historic St. Anne’s Shrine and Fisk Quarry
• Enjoy 5 nights in cozy, historic Vermont inns
• Join in for a delightful picnic lunch on a lake Champlain island
• Pedal the gentle terrain along the lovely shore of South Hero Island
• Delight in a picnic lunch and wine tasting at a local vineyard
• Ferry from the islands to continue cycling the Burlington Bike Path
• Explore lively Burlington’s market scene with free time
• Visit the extraordinary Shelbourne Museum, with 150,000 works
• Have time for additional riding along Lake Champlain
• Cross the lake to New York state on a historic cable ferry
• Enjoy an included visit to Fort Ticonderoga, a restored fortress
• Cycle the roads of Middlebury, with its farm and stone fences.

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 High/Low Temperature (°F) – Burlington
Jun 76°/55°  Jul 80°/60°  Aug 78°/58°  Sep 69°/50°  Oct 57°/40°

Average Precipitation (in.) – Burlington
Jun 3.6  Jul 3.8  Aug 3.6  Sep 3.4  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 (your choice!)
  • 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
Dates & Prices
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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. 2016/2017 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 Burlington / Transfer to North Hero

Make your own arrangements for travel to Burlington, Vermont. The tour begins and ends at the Burlington International Airport (airport code: BTV). Please plan to have lunch before leaving the airport, or bring a packed lunch with you.

VBT will offer a shuttle to our first inn, the North Hero House. The shuttle works on a “show and go” basis. Reservations are not required or available. Meet your Trip Leaders outside the main door and across the road in the shuttle pickup area. They will be wearing VBT staff garments, holding a VBT sign, and the vans will have VBT signage on them. Our shuttle to North Hero will leave promptly at 1:00 pm (travel time is about 45 minutes). We will settle in, and at approximately 3:30 pm your VBT Trip Leaders will fit you to your bike and offer a brief cycling skills clinic and a short warm-up ride. Dinner will be served at the inn at 7:00 pm.

If you are arriving after this shuttle departs, or your flight arrives after this time, you will need to arrange your own transportation to the 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 45 minutes.

Guests driving to the tour should meet the group at Burlington International Airport (BTV) and park your cars here for the week. Parking rates are approximately $12.00 USD per day. Burlington International Airport offers both short and long term parking in their newly expanded, multi-level, covered parking garage. The main parking entrance is located just past the terminal building on the left. Credit cards and cash are acceptable payment methods.

VBT Pre-Trip Extension guests: You have another morning to enjoy Burlington. At 1:00 p.m., the shuttle company will meet and transfer you to North Hero House (travel time approximately 45 minutes). This transfer is only available to guests who purchase the pre-trip extension through VBT.

Settle in and relax at North Hero House. Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at 3:30 p.m. in your cycling clothes for a bike fitting and brief cycling-skills clinic. This will be immediately followed by a short warm-up ride. Then, gather at 6:00 p.m. for an orientation meeting and welcome cocktail. You will enjoy dinner at the inn at 7:00 p.m.

Hotel: The North Hero House
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 12 miles

DAY 2: Cycle Isle La Motte and North Hero Island

Cycle northward this morning 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. This was the first  island landfall made on the lake by French navigator and explorer Samuel de Champlain and his party of French and Native Americans in 1609.He described the place as “covered with the most beautiful pines that I have ever seen.” After a picnic lunch, you are free to choose between joining a guided kayaking excursion, continuing to cycle south along the lovely shoreline, or simply relaxing before dinner back 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, you’ll reach South Hero, the largest of the Champlain Islands. The lake views and gentle terrain here make for very pleasant cycling. You’ll stop at a local vineyard for a wine tasting and picnic lunch, and then continue cycling. Then board the Island Line Bike Ferry for a short cruise with your bike. This service joins the two sides of “the cut” between South Hero and Colchester along the recently resurfaced marble causeway, and allows you to “ride” uninterrupted from the islands into Burlington. After crossing the cut, you’ll join the Burlington Bike Path and continue cycling to your Burlington hotel.

After settling in, you can explore Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace and find a spot for dinner on your 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 p.m. for the shuttle (approximately 45 minutes) to Shoreham. Relax or take a stroll around town before dinner at the Shoreham Inn.

Hotel: Shoreham Inn
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 11, 15, 23 or 26 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 charming seven-minute crossings on Lake Champlain between Larrabees Point in Shoreham, Vermont, and Ticonderoga, New York. 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, while providing intermittent service during the previous 40 years. Only a handful of businesses in the United States can claim to have served the American public longer than 1759. The ferry still operates today on a cable guidance system that was installed in 1946. The ferry barge is now powered by the Addie B, a 16-ton, double-ended tugboat built in Maine in 1979. 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, you’ll cycle a scenic loop full of delightful vistas of the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain before your ride takes you 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. You’ll enjoy a picnic lunch during your 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: 23 miles

 

DAY 6: Middlebury / Depart for home

Enjoy breakfast at the inn this morning before your last day of cycling takes you past weeping willows and stone fences along the quiet roads leading into Middlebury. You’ll ride over rolling hills, past farms, and through fields along the way. Upon arriving in Middlebury, you may enjoy lunch on your own.

Your 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 p.m. (travel time approximately 60 minutes). We recommend flights out of Burlington no earlier than 4:00 p.m. If you need to get back to the airport prior to that time, the transfer back to Burlington will be at your own expense.

Meals: B
Daily Options: 24 miles

Bike Map for Vermont Champlain Island Tour

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Accommodations

Hotel Vermont

Vermont’s newest boutique 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 both the outdoors and shared community values, promises a truly memorable experience.  Guests experience warm, attentive service and special touches designed to improve one’s mental and physical well-being. The hotel's rooms are simple yet elegant, with clean, crisp design elements and 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 AAA 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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Champalin Valley Bike Tour pre trip in Burlington, VT

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