April 16, 2019

Ausable Point Campground - Adventures on Magnificent Lake Champlain

Last fall, Alan and I enjoyed a short camping trip to State Parks in Vermont and New York that were completely new to us, followed by a week at a waterfront site on our beloved Great Lake Sacandaga.  I detailed the first leg of the journey in a recent post about Half Moon Pond State Park and our adventures in the Vermont countryside (link HERE).  Our family time at the Northampton Beach Campground on Sacandaga was covered in a post back in October (“I Just Love these Guys to Pieces” - link HERE).  So this post is the third and final one recounting the time we spent on the middle leg of our journey, camping at Ausable Point.  I know that was completely out of order but family always comes first! 

When Alan and I left Half Moon Pond State Park in Fair Haven, Vermont, we turned our wheels westward and made our way to Ausable Point Campground in Peru, New York.  To say that we were excited about this next stop would be an understatement.  Since we are campers and boaters, the opportunity to camp directly on the shore of Lake Champlain held a huge appeal and we were most definitely looking forward to our first stay at Ausable Point.

This seems like a good time to point out that our travels are generally a combination of old and new.  While Alan and I enjoy road trips of any kind, exploring places we’ve never been and trying on new and different campgrounds for size, we also have favorite places that we return to time and time again (like Northampton Beach on Great Lake Sacandaga).  This type of traveling really works for us since we enjoy the excitement of the new, along with the comfort of the old.  Although this was our first visit to Ausable Point, I can guarantee that it won’t be our last.

The Campground Host welcomed us to our site at Ausable Point.

Lake Champlain is a little over 100 miles long and about 14 miles across at its widest point.  It lies almost entirely between the borders of New York and Vermont, but a tiny portion at the northern end is actually in Québec, Canada.  The lake is enormous and it’s used for both recreational and commercial purposes.  Several ferry landings connect the two states making it easy to explore the entire region without having to find a bridge or drive all the way around the lake.

Ausable Point (like Northampton Beach) is a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) campground.  It’s situated on a piece of land that juts out into Lake Champlain with quite a few campsites right on the lake and on the Ausable River which flows into it.  As with the other DEC campgrounds we’ve visited, it’s clean, appears to be well-run and has no hookups (although a dump station is available).  Plus, there is a large beach in the day use area.  Ausable Point adjoins a marsh and wildlife management area so I imagine it would prove to be an excellent spot for birders – which we are not – and others who enjoy the many critters who share our campsites.  I believe the photo below is of a Great Blue Heron, but I won’t swear to it.  We saw him (or her?) several times fishing in the shallows.

A Great Blue Heron . . . I think.  Maybe.

I had reserved our campsite based on the photos available on the Camp ADK web site and we were not disappointed.  (Thanks, Dave!)  Camp ADK is an excellent resource for anyone who enjoys camping in New York’s State Parks because there are multiple photos of almost all of the campsites in many of the Parks in the state.  You can always link to Camp ADK from the list of my “Favorite Places” in the column at the right.

Just arrived and we're lovin' it already!

Our waterfront site on Lake Champlain was absolutely gorgeous.  You may recall that one of the features we love about our new Creek Side trailer is the big back window.  I can assure you that many delightful moments were spent enjoying the views up and down this impressive lake during those cool fall evenings.

A room with a view!

Due to the expanse of the lake and the prevailing winds, kite surfing was popular here and we spent a bit of time watching the surfers take advantage of some very windy conditions.

Gusts of wind would sometimes lift the kite surfers right out of the water!  Amazing fun!

When we could finally drag ourselves away from the views and the kite surfers, we drove north to the city of Plattsburgh and boarded a ferry for Grand Isle, Vermont.  From there, we drove into the city of Burlington, our destination for the day.  I love being transported by ferry for a couple of reasons.  One is because it’s an unusual experience – somehow, driving a vehicle onto a boat is just plain fun and it continues to entertain me no matter how many times I do it.

Waiting for our ship to come in . . .

A second reason is that the ferry simply represents another way for us to get out on the water.  We certainly enjoy being out on our powerboat, and we love paddling our kayaks, but we haven’t added a ferry to our fleet yet, so I really do like those few-and-far-between ferry rides.

Hey!  That's our truck crossing the "border" into Vermont!

Alan, God bless his soul, exhibits great patience during our ferry crossings as I lean out my window for shots of the ship’s infrastructure or across his line of sight to catch pics of passing watercraft as we make our way toward our destination.

The eastbound and westbound ferries were like ships passing in the night morning.

Burlington is the largest city in Vermont, but it’s certainly not big and boisterous by any stretch of imagination.  It’s a lovely and smallish city with a population of around 42,000 and an upbeat but laid back kind of attitude.  We had a few destinations on our “poking around” list, the first of which was the Burlington Greenway Bike Path.

Wide, paved trail + awesome scenery = excellent bike path!

The Bike Path runs for about 7.5 miles from the southern edge of Burlington to its northern terminus at the Winooski River where it connects to the Colchester Bike Path.  The Burlington Greenway Bike Path connects six waterfront parks, and it was at one of these parks that Alan and I parked the truck and unloaded our bikes.  We had such a wonderful ride!  How could we not with interesting sights and magnificent views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains of New York beyond it?!  We had so much fun that I’m pretty sure this will be a regular activity for us any time we’re back in Burlington.

Tranquility with a capital T . . .

By the time we finished our excursion along the Bike Path, we had both worked up an appetite and went looking for lunch.  Full disclosure here, folks: Almost any time we jump in the car (or truck), I pack snacks and water bottles for Alan’s safety.  I am one of those people who, once I reach a certain level of hunger (and it doesn’t take much), I cannot control my irritability, so I try hard not to go too long between meals.  Usually there’s a 30 minute window of opportunity between the time I start to get hungry and the time I NEED TO EAT so, as long as I pay attention to that, all is well.  I don’t like the term “hangry,” but I do favor the plaque I’ve seen that reads, “I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry.”

As for lunch, it was the August First Bakery & Café that captured our attention due to some excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.  Offering sandwiches on home baked breads, soups and salads, with options for a sweet treat following lunch, it sounded like our kind of place.  And so it was.  The sandwiches and dessert were excellent and we enjoyed the busy, but welcoming atmosphere.  August First definitely goes on our “return to” list of restaurants.

Dessert first, please?

Having visited Vermont many, many years ago, we knew there was one other stop in Burlington that we had no intention of missing.  When Alan and I were in Vermont in the mid-80’s, we visited a fairly new chocolate shop in a rundown factory building.  Now, 35 years later, Lake Champlain Chocolates (LCC) is housed in a gorgeous building that includes both the factory and a retail store.

Yup, a sign made of chocolate

The factory tour is not so much an actual tour as an interesting lecture about the history of LCC and the production of chocolate, but you can see the factory floor and all the equipment that’s used to make these scrumptious treats through gigantic glass windows.

This is the left half of the factory floor . . . 

and this is the right half.

Normally my frugal heart wouldn’t allow me to pay $23.00 per pound for factory seconds but, remembering exactly how delicious these chocolates were, Alan and I dropped a chunk of change on our way out knowing we wouldn’t be back this way for a while.  We carefully portioned out one exquisite piece of chocolate per day for each of us, stretching our supply as far into the future as we could.  Yum!

Our day in Burlington was one of quiet contentment and pure enjoyment.  There is much to do in this city and we’re certainly looking forward to a return visit.  With our bikes secured in the back of the truck and the chocolates safely tucked away for future enjoyment, we made our way back to the ferry landing in Grand Isle, rolled off the boat in Plattsburgh and headed toward Ausable Point with its incredible views of Lake Champlain and the perfect campsite from which to enjoy them.

One of Lake Champlain's many moods

Our stay at Ausable Point was even better than what we had hoped for, but it was with happy hearts that we pulled out on a crisp fall morning and began counting the miles until we would join up with the rest of the family at Northampton Beach Campground on Great Lake Sacandaga.  It wasn’t exactly like going home, but it sure felt like it.

Great Lake Sacandaga draws us back time and time again with her lovely vistas.

Thanks for stopping by today to visit.  I truly appreciate the fact that you all take time from your busy schedules to see what’s going on around our virtual campfire here.  Have a good day and please do come back soon!


  1. Hi, Mary,
    Helen and I spent some time in Burlington three years ago (can't believe it has been that long) on our first retirement road trip. Love the area, but the weather was lousy. We will have to go back. Great pics!

    1. Alan and I really liked Burlington's "vibe," Joe - it's more like a small town than a small city. Lots of fun to explore, that's for sure. By the way, I'm really enjoying your Easin' Along blog posts about your current trip. Hope you don't mind the fact that I'm living vicariously through your adventures! Thanks for taking the time to stop by - and travel safely!


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