Leisurely driving along the Lake Champlain valley.

Exploring Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain stretches more than 100 miles from the Canadian border, touching New York and Vermont. Explore both sides and see the scenic, historic valley and lake by car and car ferry. Stop at the antique shops, quirky dockside restaurants, and farms that make this a romantic—and surprisingly affordable—excursion.

Old Dock House & Marina

Stop for steamed mussels or sesame-crusted yellowfin tuna in wild-berry sauce.

ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain

As part of the revitalization of Burlington’s waterfront, the city opened the ECHO Center in 2003 to celebrate, preserve, and promote Lake Champlain. Across two glass-walled floors, there are dozens of exhibits on biodiversity, history, and culture, including a frog world, indigenous peoples display, and a 7,000-gallon fish tank. The fluid layout and bright colors are especially attractive to children, as are animal demonstrations by staff, the petting zoo, and the play area. Upstairs, children can utilize green screen technology as weather reporters, edit the recording, and burn it to DVD.

Inn at Shelburne Farms

Built in the 19th century as a summer getaway by Lila Vanderbilt Webb, this stately, brick mansion with bay windows on the shores of Lake Champlain has 24 rooms and four cottages that are available from May to October. Many include original furniture and decoration like poster beds; gilt, marble-topped tables; vanities; and floral wallpaper. Lake swimming, tennis, canoeing, and croquet are available as are guided tours of the 1,400-acre property laid out by Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted. The acclaimed ground-floor restaurant sources many of its ingredients from the on-site organic farm.

Charlotte-Essex Ferry

Take the Charlotte-Essex Ferry to historic Essex, NY, a former shipping hub now home to stone houses and antiques shops. Drive along the scenic lakeshore on Route 22 and hop the Ticonderoga Ferry in operation since 1756, to cross back to Vermont and the village of Shoreham. Head north (through Bridgeport and Addison) to Vergennes, a historic city surrounding a 37-foot-high waterfall.