Although Burlington is one of the most popular destinations in Vermont, if you drive just a few miles to the north and find US Route 2, you’ll find yourself in the magic and splendor of the Lake Champlain Islands.
Autumn is a special time of year in the Champlain Islands with lots of things to see and do
…. including apple picking, vineyard tours, farmer’s markets in South Hero and Grand Isle, bicycle tours, nature trails, bird watching and more.
Hackett’s Apple Orchard and Allenholm Farm are two of the best orchards in South Hero and located just a short walk between each other. Hall’s Orchard is located a few miles north in Isle La Motte.
You’ll enjoy orchard tours, wagon rides, picking apples in the fall, enjoying such tasty treats as apple pies, doughnuts, maple creemees and apple crisp. Pumpkins and mums are also for sale too.
A photo below shows windmills, off in the distance, in Milton, VT across the lake from Grand Isle.
The Champlain Islands vibrant nature brings a much needed warmth and vitality to the island communities.
While the small Champlain Islands towns wake from a sleepy Winter, the warm winds of Spring usher in the return of summer residents and crowds of tourists who enjoy bicycling, fishing and boating, sightseeing and all the beauty of Vermont.
Get this book about the Champlain Islands to learn more about the area and it’s history!
Commuters on the South Hero ferry to Plattsburgh joining a long line of tourists waiting to be carried across the dark, blue waters of Lake Champlain.
The causeway from the Colchester/Milton to South Hero island is scenic and impressive, to say the least.
Scenic vistas and wide open views along with traditional Vermont scenes that are seemingly rare these days…
If you’re looking for things to do in the summer, then Island Arts might be your first place to explore.
Island Arts fosters and promotes artistic creativity in the rural communities of the Lake Champlain Islands and beyond through their celebration of the Arts, stewardship of our environment and education, for the enrichment of all. Island Arts is a grass roots non-profit organization with an all volunteer board.
You can still find traditional Vermont family farms throughout the island villages. The views are spectacular and there are many places to visit and enjoy.
In 2019, Island Arts celebrated 35 years of artistic, cultural, and educational life in Grand Isle County
This year, their activities and events are celebratory. They have carefully chosen them for residents who have supported them since 1984, as well as an ever-increasing number of guests who are enchanted by the beauty and charm of the Champlain Islands.
They serve as the Grand Isle County Arts Council by supporting local artists and artisans, bringing professional artistic events and performances to the community and promoting a strong Youth Agenda.
Summers will be packed with a number of events in the Champlain Islands, including classes and events for people of all ages.
Island Arts provides a number of events, concerts along with a variety of educational and just for fun classes for people of all ages. They have offered bird watching sessions, culinary classes, and even the opportunity to enjoy your favorite beverage or cocktail while creating your own artwork. These are just a few of the classes they have provided. More info can be viewed at the Island Arts website.
Did you know that the spectacular building now occupied by the Community Bank in South Hero was once known as the South Hero Inn? There’s a lot of history and beauty to explore in the islands and a great community to visit and get to know.
Did you know that the Hyde Log Cabin could possibly be the oldest log cabin in the United States?
The simple log cabin still exists today next to a typical old style Vermont schoolhouse in Grand Isle. Ironically, the Hyde Log Cabin and the old schoolhouse are right next door to a large, more modern school.
Dinosaurs and birdhouses in South Hero, Vermont?
The last thing you would expect to see as you drive along a scenic, lakeside road are dinosaurs and hundreds of multi-colored birdhouses. Yet, this unusual scene is exactly what you will encounter. See a video of these friendly dinosaurs at the Vermonter.com Facebook page.
Drive around the islands and you’ll also see castles…really!
These odd little castles can be found at sporadic locations, such as on lawns, gardens or in front of lakefront properties in the South Hero area.
From Obscure Vermont:
Harry was known as a likable guy in general and was known for his kind heart, sense of humor, and his yodeling. But it was his fine craftsmanship that the locals were inspired by the most, and as a result, many patrons asked him to build castles for their properties. There are no records of if he actually profited from them, and for how much.
It was said that every castle he built had a different story behind it, and featured lavish details such as glass windows, flags and even drawbridges. Local lore even has it that some would use the castles for trade or bartering. I heard one story of a neighbor offering a bed and breakfast one of the castles in return for free trash removal service. The castle was later moved to the inn’s property where it rests today.
Despite his amiable personality, tragedy was also woven into his framework. For reasons unknown, he committed suicide in 1966 at the age of 66.
To discover the origin of these odd and seemingly out of place castles, along with the story about the dinosaurs and birdhouses, read the full article by Chad Abramovich of Obscure Vermont.
If you’re driving through North Hero and would like to enjoy reading a book within view of Lake Champlain, check out the North Hero Library.
St Anne’s Shrine in Isle La Motte is not to be missed
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