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.

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West Shore Inn postcard. Image via West Shore Cabins.

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

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

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

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

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Cabins 4 and 5.

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Cabin 1.

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

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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!

Tourist Cabins: Injunjoe Court, West Danville, VT

After eight years of driving by these tourist cabins on Joe’s Pond in West Danville, VT, I finally stopped to snap a few photographs. I figured if I waited any longer, I’d be tempting fate. This collection of tourist cabins is known as “Injunjoe Court”. No, it’s certainly not a name that would be given today. However, it is reportedly named after a St. Francis Indian of the Canadian Coosuck tribe. This site was used for summer hunting grounds, and Old Joe was a scout and guide on the side of the Americans in the Revolutionary War. He protected the builders of the nearby Bailey-Hazen Road. (Source: Vermont Hsitoric Sites and Structures Survey, page 70 of this PDF.)

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You will see this sign on your right as you travel eastbound on US Route 2 through West Danville, VT.

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View from the Joe’s Pond side of the road.

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There are 15 cabins on the property, all slightly different and of varying sizes. Most have novelty siding and a small porch.

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Exposed rafter tails, old screen doors, lots of charm.

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The office sits up on the hill.

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View from the office and upper cabins.

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This one has an original window (2nd from left) and fieldstone chimney. Note the window flowerbox, too.

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A row of cabins.

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Spectacular views from all of the cabins.

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Even the cabins closest to the road offer privacy.

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An undated postcard. Note the signage. It appears that today’s sign is the same, except for the color and the headdress removed on the left side.

Scroll to Book III, page 70 of this PDF of the Danville Vermont Historic Sites & Structures Survey for a detailed history and architectural description.

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From the VHSSS, an undated postcard. The cabin at the road and the entrance gate are no longer extant.

Likely constructed in the earlier decades of the 20th century, the cabins and cottages appear to have changed very little since them. An old brochure (no date, but it is from a 2013 environmental review file) indicates that Injunjoe Court had cabins, cottages, and RV spaces. Guests could borrow canoes, rowboats, and paddleboats for free. Rates included housekeeping, cable tv, heating, refrigerator, microwave, and bathrooms. Some cottages had fully furnished kitchens. Click on the brochure link above to see an interior photo. The distinction between the cabins and cottages was that cabins were smaller (think tourist cabins, no kitchens) and cottages were larger with kitchens and could accommodate four people. At one point the owner was Beth Perreault.

Based on the lack of No/Vacancy signage and the website that is no longer up (injunjoecourt.net), I’d say that Injunjoe Court is not open in 2018. If you know anything about it, please share in the comments.

Tourist Cabins: Marshfield, Vermont

Former tourist cabin clusters are easy to spot on the roadside, as they have recognizable massing, size, and settings. Unfortunately, defunct tourist cabins tend to be the norm, and now they sit empty, used for storage, or converted to housing. Often these forgotten groupings have a few cabins left, a few missing, remnants of sign post, or a driveway to the cabins. Others have been relocated, and are harder to spot. But, look closely along U.S. or state highways and you’ll spot them. My most recent find is this grouping off U.S. Route 2 westbound in Marshfield, Vermont.

Spotted while traveling on US Route 2 in Marshfield, VT. This is a common arrangement of tourist cabins.

Spotted while traveling on US Route 2 in Marshfield, VT. This is a common arrangement of tourist cabins.

Adjacent to the cabins is a dirt road and farm complex. Perhaps the same property owner?

Adjacent to the cabins is a dirt road and farm complex. Perhaps the same property owner?

Tourist cabins in a row. The cabin in the foreground is larger, perhaps for the owner or for a larger family unit.

Tourist cabins in a row. The cabin in the foreground is larger, perhaps for the owner or for a larger family unit.

The cabins are quite similar: corner screen, centered front door, novelty siding, gable roof.

The cabins are quite similar: corner screen, centered front door, novelty siding, gable roof, former light to the right of the door. 

Cabins, in the woods now.

Cabins, in the woods now. Note the window on the left side of the cabins, next to the corner screened window. 

A telephone pole in front of the cabins. No evidence remains of a driveway shape or other elements to this tourist cabin collection.

A telephone pole in front of the cabins, perhaps once supplying electricity to the cabins. A relic of farm equipment sits next to it. No evidence remains of a driveway shape or other elements to this tourist cabin collection.

I am unable to find any information about these Marshfield cabins. If you have the name or any information, please comment below or send me an email. I’m so curious. In the meantime, other tourist cabins in Vermont:

Happy travels!

Tourist Cabins: Wallinda Cabins

Perched on US Route 2, just west of Marshfield Village are the Wallinda Cabins. For years I’ve seen this sitting quietly on the side of the road, presumably unoccupied but having a neat and tidy appearance. Just last week on my way through Vermont, I decided that I would finally stop and photograph these before they disappeared. Unfortunately, I was just a few days or weeks too late — only three of the five remained!
This sign used to be posted on the roadside for passersby. It was only recently removed.

This sign used to be posted on the roadside for passersby. It was only recently removed.

The view from the driveway. The missing cabins are on the far left and the right.

The view from the driveway. The missing cabins are on the far left and the right.

One has been removed.

This one has been removed.

The cabins still have beds in them! Perhaps they were recently occupied.

The cabins still have beds in them! Perhaps they were recently occupied.

A key!

A key!

Front of a cabin.

Front of a cabin.

Rear of cabins.

  Rear of cabins.

It's a picturesque spot.

It’s a picturesque spot.

Novelty siding, original doors and windows, interior furnishings: these cabins seem more intact than most. It’s a shame that the land and the cabins are for sale. If you have any information, please share. And here’s my lesson: if you want to photograph something, don’t wait four years!

Tourist cabins have not been easy to photograph, but here’s another one.

Summer Travel: Historic Tourist Cabins

It’s summer! That means it’s time for winding road trips and exploring roadside America. Where do you stay when you travel? If you transported yourself to another era, where would you stay? Perhaps a tourist cabin along a state highway, a convenient rest stop. Tourist cabins are part of the evolution of roadside lodging (mentioned here). This summer I’ll be keeping my eyes open for tourist cabins on the Vermont highways, and wherever else my travels take me. If you find any, send them my way.

Here’s one to start off our summer travels. This is located on Route 17 near Chimney Point, VT. Each gable front cabin has novelty siding, a metal roof, exposed rafters, a small front porch, and cinder block foundations.

The faded sign seems to say that the cabins are no longer in operation.

The faded sign seems to say that the cabins are no longer in operation.

There are five cabins.

There are five cabins. Cabin five (all the way to the left) is lived and has an addition.

The front of a cabin (all look the same).

The front of cabin #3 (all look very similar).

The rear of the cabins.

The rear of the cabins.

Side view. This one appears to have some ongoing work. Or, it's a good place to store a ladder!

Side view. This one appears to have some ongoing work. Or, it’s a good place to store a ladder!

View across the road from the cabins. Beautiful Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains of NY State.

View across the road from the cabins. Beautiful Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains of NY State.

Would you stay in a tourist cabin?