Vermont Fall Series: 9.30.20 Lake Champlain Get-Away

Button Bay Point

It’s been a busy September with multiple short interstate trips to New Hampshire, New Jersey and within my home state of Vermont. Between these excursions and completing projects at home before winter sets in, I’ve not found the time or energy to write and process photographs this past month. It feels good to break that silence and get back to a writing routine!

Every year, the looming threat of winter sends my husband and I into panic mode as we try to negotiate the completion of outdoor projects. This year, due to Covid-19, we had the luxury of spending most of the summer on much needed exterior renovations that alleviated some of our usual end of season rush. Although we’ve accomplished much, our sense of urgency still permeates our daily thought processes!

Early last week, my husband completed some foundation work in the front of the house and his “old” bones and muscles were feeling the effects. With an unbelievably warm weather outlook for the weekend, I suggested a 4-day break from work. He did not hesitate to agree with me! My proposal included a much-needed “fix” in our Airstream which has been parked in our driveway since May. I secured a campsite at Button Bay State Park located on the shores of Lake Champlain and we spent some beautiful Fall days hiking and biking in the Champlain Valley.

We have probably just reached peak Fall color season here in Vermont. I seems early and it definitely caught us by surprise! It was nice to be enjoying the change of season along the lake – a different experience from our “middle-of-the-state” hilly terrain – with it’s less diverse plant community.

We arrived on Thursday mid-afternoon and proceeded to get all set up on Site #18. While the site I chose is not in the loop that has lake views, it proved to be much more private and an excellent choice. The lake view loop is an open, grassy area with little to no privacy between sites. I was happy with my decision to choose a more protected spot! With the exception of the driveway onto the site, we were completely surrounding by thick vegetation and could not see another campsite from our enclosure! 🙂

Our first evening campfire!

By the time we finished settling in, it was dinner time. While I fixed us a one-bowl meal, Jim built a campfire. We broke from the norm and actually enjoyed a fire every evening. Besides the two bundles of wood we purchased from the park, we found enough leftover firewood at a nearby empty site to last us through 3 nights of campfires. 🙂 Thursday night we just relaxed around camp and planned out the next day. We also enjoyed the almost empty campground and quiet knowing things would change come tomorrow evening with the weekend crowd.

Day 1

Trail leading to Button Point Natural Area

We have traveled to this area a few times over the years when our boys were small to visit the nearby Maritime Museum. But, we had not camped at Button Bay prior to this visit. Our first day here we chose to explore the immediate area including the state park and the Basin Harbor area. After a leisurely breakfast, we hiked to the Button Point Natural Area. This is a 13+ acre peninsula that juts into Lake Champlain. We loved the walk out to the point through the forested land rich with a diversity of plant material including mature oaks, hickories, maples and hophornbeams. This undisturbed area boasts a collection of many state-listed rare and endangered species as well due to the fertile limey soils. The unique limestone geology of the area also provides a good environment to hunt for fossils along the rocky point. Unfortunately, the nature center is closed due to Covid-19 so we could not get more information regarding the above.

During our visit, the trees were really starting to dress for Fall .

The trail to the natural area is hiker and biker friendly. At the nature center, there are bike racks so that the short path to the point from there can be designated as a foot path only. We walked along the shoreline on our way back as far as we could. Due to the drought this summer, Lake Champlain is experiencing historic low levels of water. From a distance, we watched the antics of a red fox basking in the sun on the rocky coast.

The first day the lake was very still and the water fowl lingered along the shore.
I love the Fall color patterns of the reeds and grasses in the marshland.
At the point looking towards Button Island

On our way back to the campsite for lunch, we detoured through the day use area to admire the architecture of the picnic pavilion. Most of the day use area facilities were closed including the pool and the pavilion was not being used for its intended purposes. Pre-Covid, it would have been an awesome place for a large gathering – with its magnificent view of the lake.

View of the lake from the picnic pavilion

There’s a short path that connects the two camping loops and is accessed directly across from our site. I loved the way the vegetation framed our rig as you walked along the path! 🙂

After lunch, we hopped on the bikes for the short ride over to Basin Harbor to see if we could walk the grounds of the Maritime Museum. Unfortunately, the museum and grounds are closed due to Covid-19. Check out the website for more information on the Maritime Museum. We’ll just have to come again another time!! We did scope out the grounds from the parking lot.

Love the sailboat weathervane on the cupola!

We left the museum and continued on into the Basin Harbor resort area and golf course. We cycled around there taking in the sights – from the harbor view to the old original stone farmhouse with its landscaped grounds. There was no shortage of out-of-state license plates! If a pampered vacation destination is your desire, then you will not be disappointed here!

Basin Harbor marina
The arbor and patio adjacent to the original stone farmhouse
This hedge of hydrangeas with deep red flowers surrounding the patio was absolutely breathtaking!

We returned to our campsite for dinner and then rode our bikes out to Button Point for the sunset. Spectacular!! We followed that up with another relaxing campfire and turned in for the night – a perfect day! Tomorrow, I’ll continue the Lake Champlain adventures with our trip to another local state park and a pretty neat museum.

7 Comments on “Vermont Fall Series: 9.30.20 Lake Champlain Get-Away

  1. I am glad you note that the fall is faster this year, I had the same feeling in Toronto last weekend where the peak seemed to have already been reached.

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    • Yeah – I think I probably feel that way every year but this year does seem earlier and shorter. I suppose you’ve also experienced some drought in Toronto which could be the reason. It’s been extremely dry here which is not typical.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was thinking the same thing, it wasn’t extremely hot in August, but there was little rain which created stress for many trees.

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