We’ve all seen Dirty Dancing, right? Watching Dirty Dancing while belting out the words to every song is a summer tradition in my family. And even if you haven’t seen the movie, or heard my rendition of “Stay” sung at top volume, you probably have a pretty good idea of what the movie is about. Quick summary, without spoilers: a family goes to a family camp where the “homely” daughter, played by the lovely Jennifer Grey, is wooed and taught to dance by none other than Patrick Swayze. The film is surprisingly complex and nuanced but also entertaining year after year. The thing that strikes me the most from this movie, however, after many viewings, is not the romance or the fact that I am apparently so so very old because I remember when this movie was in theaters. No. What stands out most to me is that the entire family takes a vacation together and they go to this magical resort where no one has to drive and everyone can focus on whatever activity they prefer. How wonderful does that sound? Relaxation and fun for everyone.
Enter Basin Harbor, the quintessential family resort that is just in our backyard.
Basin Harbor has been owned and operated by the same family for over a hundred years. Nestled along the rugged shoreline of Lake Champlain, Basin Harbor has stand-alone cottages for parties of different sizes and individual rooms in various buildings throughout the resort’s campus. The campus is spectacular. It covers 700 acres and is full of winding paths and hiking trails, old-growth forest, and semi-private gardens that seem to magically always be full of blooms.
Guests of Basin Harbor can access all kinds of boats from pontoons to paddleboards. There is tennis, narrated cruises (will you see the bald eagle’s nest?), volleyball, fishing, kayaking, and more. The heated pool is surrounded by lounge chaises and there are plenty of shady spots for folks to relax away from the sun.
Some of these amenities cost a little extra- and make sure you reserve them as soon as you book your room– but when you factor in the ease of stepping onto a boat that you don’t have to maintain and having a trained driver give your kids an hour of tubing, it’s really worth it.
There are tennis clinics, a kids’ club, yoga, guided hikes, and kayak tours. Seriously, the hardest part about visiting Basin Harbor is not being able to do everything. I want to do it all, and eat it all.
Basin Harbor food is outstanding. I like it because, obviously, I am not cooking and I am also not responsible for cleaning. This is pure bliss for any parent. And you know what else is nice? Talking with my daughter over dinner because I am not rushing and racing to get her fed and then clean up. We actually chat and enjoy each other. The breakfast buffet is a dream and when I was there we ate so much that we had to skip lunch. If it’s a nice day, you can not go wrong with dinner outside at the Red Mill. This restaurant sits next to a tiny airstrip and the evening I was there, one plane landed and three took off. It’s the sort of place where you can linger over your dessert while your kids run wild nearby.
If that isn’t family vacation heaven, I don’t know what is.
Basin Harbor is not just the very best place for a Vermont staycation (hey- you can even bring your dog) but it is also a fantastic spot for a team retreat or training.
Vermont Mom writers got together at Basin Harbor and enjoyed a delicious lunch and a guided tour of the shoreline of Lake Champlain. It was a beautiful place to regroup and reflect on our mission and goals. Our meeting room was spacious and Basin Harbor staff made sure all windows were open for ventilation and safety. It was really nice to see how seamlessly they accommodated our requests not just for ventilation but also for lunch for writers who eat vegetarian or gluten-free food.
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