Tourist Cabins: West Shore Cabins, North Hero, VT

Summer is winding down, but fall in Vermont is a perfect time of year to visit. The humidity has decreased, the leaves are changing, and you can readily find apple cider doughnuts to go with your craft beer. Take a drive on U.S. Route 2 and you’ll pass through the Champlain Islands (or “the Islands”). The Champlain Islands offer a completely different feel than central Vermont. The land is flatter, mountains are in the distance, the lake is visible for much your drive, and fall arrives a bit later than in the mountain towns. It would be a lovely time of year to stay in a tourist cabin on Lake Champlain. I’m happy to report that there are more tourist cabins operating in Vermont!

The West Shore Cabins are operating tourist cabins located adjacent to Lake Champlain on U.S. Route 2 in North Hero, part of the area known as the Champlain Islands. What began as the West Shore Inn in 1927, became the West Shore Cabins in 1945. At that time it was run by the Donaldson family who saw how a motor court would be a good economic venture as automobile traffic increased in the mid-20th century.  Some cabins were relocated to this site and others were constructed on site. Today the family operated business offers five cabins for daily or weekly rentals from May – mid October.


West Shore Inn postcard. Image via West Shore Cabins.


The vintage sign between the lake and U.S. Route 2.


West Shore Cabins sit on U.S. Route 2 with a clear west view to Lake Champlain and its sunsets.


The cabins retain much of their historic integrity including siding, porches, windows, and fenestration.


Novelty siding, exposed rafter tails, screened porch and a barbecue out front; Cabin 5 is adorable.


Cabins 4 and 5.


Cabin 1.



The cabins are set back from the road, with no obstructions to the lake views.


Ca. 1880 (with later alterations) residence associated with the owners of West Shore Cabins.

Happy end of summer! Let me know if you find more tourist cabins and/or stay in one!


Frozen Sunday

Shining sun, frozen Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT.

Shining sun, frozen Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT.

Standing on the breakwater.

Standing on the breakwater.

Looking back to land.

Looking back to land.

Walking on a frozen lake is still a novelty to me! Hope you had a lovely Sunday.

Preservation Photos #216

South Willard Street, Burlington, VT. The sunset over Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks reflecting in the windows of this house.

South Willard Street, Burlington, VT. The sunset over Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks reflecting in the windows of this house.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to sit in the cupola and watch the sun set over Lake Champlain? What a beauty. South Willard Street has some of the most beautiful houses in Burlington.

Sunday Snapshots for Summer #12

Oakledge Park in Burlington, VT looking towards the city.

Oakledge Park in Burlington, VT looking towards the city.

A perfect spot for a summer day, all or part of it. Where have you been lately? (More about Oakledge Park.)

Bridge Memories

And the days of work at the Lake Champlain Bridge and Chimney Point are coming to a close. Every day out there brings back memories to my early days in Vermont. A preview here is Pier 3 of the old bridge with Pier 6 of the new bridge in the background. What a difference!

Sunday Snapshots for Summer #6

The new dock at Chimney Point, VT.

The new dock at Chimney Point, VT on Lake Champlain, VT. 

Whether a fisherman, boater, or someone who loves the water, who doesn’t enjoy a nice, long dock out onto the lake?

Preservation Photos #97

The (new) Lake Champlain Bridge is getting closer and closer to completion. The middle span, the arch, will be floated and raised by the end of August, according to the NYSDOT press release. In this picture, New York is on the left, Vermont is on the right, and the Adirondack Mountains are in the background. Beautiful!

(Picture taken with my phone, but you can still click for better details.)

Friday Vermont Links

Today is the annual downtown & historic preservation conference (combined this year!) in Poultney, VT. The entire conference sounds like fun, but I’m most looking forward to the Streets as Places theme.

Some news from Vermont:

The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation has awarded $186,000 in grant money for preservation and restoration projects throughout the state.

Lake Champlain has reached its record high water level and it seems as though the entire state is flooding. The Charlotte-Essex (NY) ferry is shut down due to high water levels. Rivers and lakes throughout the state are flooding towns across the state. This will create damage for all buildings and displace people and businesses for a time.  If you are aware of a historic building in danger, be alert, now and when the water recedes.

On the night of Sunday April 17, a fire broke out in the historic Brooks House on Main Street in Brattleboro. The five-story French Second Empire building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was home to many businesses and apartments; their fate is unknown at this time.

On a lighter note, the site of the University of Vermont’s first baseball diamond will be recognized on April 30 in the Old North End of Burlington.

Have you heard of the Checkered House Bridge project in Richmond, VT? The metal truss bridge is going to be widened. You can learn more about this unique project on its website.

In connection to Vermont and its tourism, what are your thoughts on covered bridge preservation? A Richmond (Virginia) Times Dispatch article seems to debate the fate and purpose of such a thing. A necessity? An obligation? Too much money? Would a state like Vermont, known for its covered bridges, think it’s a frivolous expense?

A Very Fine Appearance: The Vermont Civil War Photographs of George Houghton was released earlier this month. The book includes over 100 photographs from the Vermont infantry experience during the Civil War. Photographs were all taken by Brattleboro resident George Houghton. You can buy the book in hardcover or paperback through the Vermont Historical Society.

Happy Spring! Happy weekend!

SIA Vermont Tour 2010: Part One

Each year the Society for Industrial Archaeology hosts a conference and a separate fall tour for its members. The fall tour is no papers and all fun (kind of like field trip days at school, but for a few days!) The Society traveled throughout Vermont during September 16-19, 2010. They were based in Montpelier, which allowed for easy access to the Barre Granite Quarries, the American Precision Museum, the Orange County Copper Mines, Burlington, walking tours of historic towns, and of course some covered bridges.

While in Colorado Springs in June 2010 for the SIA Conference (see previous posts: SIA 2010 Overview. Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four), I had the pleasure of presenting a paper and meeting many members, some of whom were fall tour organizers. Well, they were psyched to meet someone in Vermont to help with aspects of the fall tour. Before I knew it, I volunteered to help with the Vermont tour! And I’m glad I did. While I did not have the opportunity to attend the entire tour, I joined in for the day on Saturday September 18. What fun we had! Without making this post too long, I’ll divide it into two parts. Read on for part one.

The bus departed from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier at a bright and early 7:30am (you can’t waste those touring days by sleeping in!) We headed north I-89 through the typical heavy morning fog, but by the time we arrived at the Green Mountain Power Plant No. 19 in Essex Junction, the shine was shining beautifully. Here we had a plant, which has been generating electricity at Hubbel Falls since 1917.  The 10,000 horsepower plant was at that time the largest in the state.  Today, Plant 19 provides power to 4,000 area homes, saving roughly 60,000 barrels of oil annually. {These facts are borrowed from the SIA Fall Tour brochure.}


Interior of the Green Mountain Power Plant



The power plant as seen along the river.


After the power plant, we headed to Shelburne Museum, where we visited the Ticonderoga, a restored 220 ft steamboat, which is a National Historic Landmark. This boat was in service on Lake Champlain from 1906-1955, when it was transported two miles overland, on a railroad specifically built for it. Today the steamboat is restored and visitors can walk inside. The guides were terrific, and one of them remembered traveling on the Ticonderoga as a young boy.


The Ticonderoga.



Just part of the machinery which attracts the SIA crowd.


From Shelburne Museum we traveled down the road to Shelburne Farms, where we saw perfect views of Lake Champlain, the impressive structure of the Breeding Barn, and partook in some cheese tasting! (It’s absolutely delicious.)


Overlooking Lake Champlain towards the Adirondack Mountains.



You can never have too many views of Lake Champlain.



Inside the breeding barn, which is currently undergoing restoration.



Inside the breeding barn, looking up at some of the metal ties.


Shelburne Museum and Shelburne Farms are absolutely beautiful and both warrant much longer visits if you have the time. However on limited time, you’d want to see both, which is cause for our busy day. After Shelburne Farms, we stopped at Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington. (Who doesn’t love the process of brewing and some free samples?)

Already it had been quite a busy day and we were only at about 4pm by the time we left Magic Hat. What’s next? A barn in Richmond, VT and a dinner and lecture in a NHL. Stay tuned for more SIA fun!

Read Part Two.

Vermont in Pictures

As I’ve proclaimed, I love Vermont.  For Part 2 of my love letter to the state, to show rather than tell, here is a collection of some of my favorite Vermont photographs that I’ve snapped throughout this past year. Enjoy this entirely subjective selection, much of which is landscaped focused.

Our drive up I-89, August 2009.

Lake Champlain, August 2009.

The Lake Champlain Bikepath, September 2009.

Charlotte, VT, October 2009.

Charlotte, VT, October 2009.

Windham County, October 2009.

Windham County, October 2009.

Overlooking Burlington and the Adirondacks at sunset in December 2009.

Overlooking Burlington and the Adirondacks at sunset in December 2009.

Snowfall at UVM in February 2010.

Lake Champlain sunset as seen from Burlington's Battery Park, March 2010.

The long awaited spring sky, April 2010.

Snow at the end of April 2010.

Playing by the river, May 2010.

The Lake Champlain Bikepath, June 2010.

Billings Farm in Woodstock, VT, June 2010.

On my drive to work in Addison County, June 2010.

Summer sky, July 2010.

Calais, VT, July 2010.

Calais, VT, July 2010.

Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks as seen from Chimney Point VT, July 2010.

Cottonwood on Lake Champlain, West Addison, VT, July 2010.