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Vermont: Champlain Islands, Burlington & Stowe

Ebikes Available on this TourLakeside splendor and rich Vermont history and culture accompany you during exhilarating reels and ferry crossings along Lake Champlain.

  • 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.

Ebikes Available on this Tour

E-Bikes Available

Limited quantities —
first come, first served.

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Vermont: Champlain Islands, Burlington & Stowe

On tranquil islands that seem made for cycling, you will take in breathtaking vistas of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks. On the mainland, experience the small-city hospitality and culture of Burlington, the fascinating history chronicled at the famed Shelburne Museum, and the vibrant resort and alpine feel of Stowe. Wineries, scenic picnics, and magnificent panoramas of farmland make this diverse Vermont bicycle sojourn truly memorable!

Cultural Highlights

  • Cycle the quiet back roads of the Isle La Motte
  • Explore historic St. Anne’s Shrine and Fisk Quarry
  • Enjoy deluxe accommodations: a cozy Vermont inn, a boutique hotel and a luxurious mountain resort
  • Pause on a Lake Champlain island for a delicious picnic lunch
  • Take a leisurely, scenic ride on South Hero Island
  • Visit a local vineyard for a picnic lunch and wine tasting
  • Ferry between the islands and the mainland as you ride one rewarding path after another
  • Follow your own whims in Burlington’s lively markets
  • Tour the Shelburne Museum, an extraordinary collection of 150,000 works
  • Ride through the heart of Stowe on a dedicated path
  • Taste Ben & Jerry’s ice cream during a tour of their factory

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:

Ebikes Available on this Tour

E-Bikes Available on this tour.

Limited quantities — first come, first served. Learn more.

  • 5 nights in a historic inn, a chic boutique hotel and a mountain resort
  • 11 meals – 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 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!)
  • Earn 5% Frequent Traveler Credit on this tour to use on a future VBT vacation. See details.
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extension:
    Pre-trip: Burlington  1 night for only $195

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Land Only Single Supplement: $645

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 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
2019
Or, Expand All Days
Day 1: Start from Burlington / Transfer to North Hero / VBT Bicycle Vacation begins

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 Leader outside the main exit door from baggage claim and across the road in the shuttle pickup area. Your Trip Leader will be wearing VBT staff garments and holding a VBT sign; the van will have a VBT sign on it.  Our shuttle to North Hero will leave promptly at 1:00 p.m. (travel time is about 45 minutes). There’ll be time to settle in, and at approximately 3:30 p.m., attend a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a short warm-up ride. Dinner will be served at the inn at 7:00 p.m.

If you are arriving after the 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 take any taxi from the Burlington airport or call one of the following taxi companies: Green Mountain Taxi (telephone 802-503-3096) or Burlington Airport Taxi (telephone 802-239-1515). Travel time 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 12:45 p.m., the shuttle company will meet you and transfer you to Burlington International Airport to meet the rest of the group and your Trip Leaders for your transfer to the North Hero House (travel time approximately 45 minutes). This transfer from the Burlington hotel is only available to guests who purchase the pre-trip extension through VBT.

Settle in and relax at North Hero House on North Hero Island, the second largest of three major islands. Originally granted to Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, the Islands have played a pivotal part in our nation’s history. North Hero offers dramatic views of the Green Mountains. The early-19th century architecture adds to the town’s charm. These Lake Champlain Islands and the Adirondacks and Green Mountains are the result of North America colliding with the European continental plate millennia ago.

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. This evening, 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: 8.5 or 12.3 miles

Day 2: Cycle Isle La Motte and North Hero Island

Cycle northward this morning along the tranquil lake shore, crossing a causeway to Isle La Motte, one of the Champlain Islands. Named after French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1609, Lake Champlain is the largest freshwater body east of the Mississippi after the Great Lakes. Canada’s St. Lawrence River, an important transportation route for indigenous people for thousands of years, flows from it in the north and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The French and English built forts in a race to control the lake during the early colonial years leading up to the Revolutionary War.

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. In 1787, Ichabod Ebenezer Fisk built his estate with limestone and marble from Fisk Quarry. At the height of operations, he employed 100 men. Remarkably, the quarry has fossils from the Chazy Coral Reef, the world’s oldest reef formed 480 million years ago.

As you continue your invigorating reel, take in the natural and historical sights. This was the first of the lake’s islands set foot upon 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 a guided kayaking excursion or more cycling along the lovely shoreline. Or you may simply relax before dinner back at the inn. 

Hotel: North Hero House
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 17.8, 22 or 31 miles

Day 3: South Hero / Burlington Bike Path

This morning, ride the scenic route along the shore of Grand Isle, also known as South Hero Island, the largest of the Champlain Islands. The lake views and gentle terrain here make for very pleasant cycling. You stop at Snow Farm Winery, Vermont’s first vineyard, for a wine tasting and picnic lunch, and then continue cycling. Later, 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, join the Burlington Bike Path and continue cycling to your Burlington hotel.

Known as The Queen City, Burlington is home to the University of Vermont and other small colleges. Ben & Jerry’s began their ice cream empire in a renovated gas station downtown. Offering glorious sunsets, sailing on the lake, hiking and biking in nearby mountains, and craft beer, Burlington is a beloved destination. A walk down Church Street Marketplace puts you in the heart of the city’s vibrant, alternative and youthful energy.

After settling in, you can explore Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace and find a spot for dinner on your own. You’ll find many restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.

Hotel: Hotel Vermont
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 22 or 35 miles

Day 4: Explore Shelburne / Cycle along Lake Champlain / Shuttle to Stowe

After breakfast, you ride to the Shelburne Museum for an included visit. This fine museum of folk art, decorative arts, quilts and textiles, paintings, Americana and period homes boasts an extraordinary collection of more than 150,000 works in a unique setting comprising 39 exhibition buildings. Among its holdings, you can admire 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. It operated as a day-boat serving ports along New York and Vermont shores until 1953. The Marina and Shipyard opened in the late 1700s and began building sidewheel steamboats in the early 1800s. During World War II, it had naval contracts to build subchasers, torpedo lighters and tugboats.

You may also choose to continue to Shelburne Farms, a 1,400-acre working farm and education center. With its beautiful grounds and interesting architecture, this National Historic Landmark was designed as a model agricultural estate in 1886 by Dr. William Seward Webb and Lila Vanderbilt Webb. If you’re looking for a bit more cycling, enjoy an additional ride along the shores of Lake Champlain to Charlotte, where you might visit its town beach or winery. 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 60 minutes) to Stowe. Upon arrival, relax or take a stroll around the resort town before dinner on your own tonight.

Hotel: Topnotch Resort
Meals: B
Daily Options: 12, 16, and/or 12 miles

Day 5: Stowe Village / Morrisville

Your scenic ride this morning begins on the paved Stowe Recreation Path, a flat route free of motorized vehicles. Your destination is downtown Stowe, with its many shops and restaurants. After lunch on your own, perhaps sampling the seasonal menu of creative small and shared plates at the Picnic Social, there’ll be free time here to explore. Consider visiting the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, fine antique and craft galleries, and outdoor clothing and equipment stores. Afterwards, cycle back to the resort along the Stowe Recreational Path.

You may continue cycling to Luce Hill Road and the picturesque neighboring village of Moscow, following roads with very little traffic and wonderful views of Mount Mansfield and the Worcester Range. Along the way, you will pass the famous Emily’s Bridge, a Stowe landmark with a ghostly past. Browse Moscow’s artist workshops and enjoy New England vistas at the Gold Brook Covered Bridge.

Today’s longer option leads you to Morrisville in Lamoille County, following picturesque country roads. Here, Eric Lawson at Lost Nation Brewing creates his own rustic, pub inspired fare with bold flavor profiles.

Whichever ride you choose today, return to the resort to enjoy a dip in the pool or a spa treatment (advanced reservations recommended). Later gather for a farewell dinner at Flannel restaurant, a Stowe favorite.

Hotel: Topnotch Inn
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 10 miles or 16 miles or 29 miles

Day 6: Ben & Jerry’s / Depart for home / VBT Bicycling Vacation ends

Enjoy breakfast at the resort this morning before your last day of cycling takes you to Cold Hollow Cider Mill, one of Vermont’s most popular stops for savory apple cider donuts. Stop in to sample this local favorite. Then, savor another favorite when you tour the factory at Ben & Jerry’s, renowned ice cream makers. Your tour concludes with a festive lunch in a favorite local setting near Waterbury.

VBT has made arrangements for a shuttle from Waterbury 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, L
Daily Options: 13 miles

Vermont: Champlain Valley & Islands Map

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Accommodations

Hotel Vermont

Vermont’s 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. A/C is available.
Free WiFi Included

Shoreham Inn

The Shoreham 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.
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. A/C is not available.
Free WiFi Included

Topnotch Resort

This contemporary-chic hotel in the Green Mountains offers beautiful views of Mount Mansfield and the ski trails. The Spa at Topnotch is rated in the “Top 10” by Spa Finder and offers a full wellness program (advanced reservations recommended). Its tennis center is rated #1 in the East by Tennis magazine. Dining at Topnotch’s Flannel restaurant features Vermont fresh ingredients, seasonal inspirations and world-class wines. Meet up in The Roost lobby bar for a craft beer and samples of the Chef’s nibbles or sit on the patio living room under the pergola near the fire pit. All rooms are fully renovated and offer individually controlled air-conditioning, Keurig coffee maker, iHome docking clock radio, complimentary Wi-Fi with strong bandwidth, refreshment center, bathrobes and more.
Free WiFi Included
Photos

Vermont Champlain Valley Bike Tour Photo Gallery
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