“One thing about Basin Harbor”, says 4th generation manager and co-owner Pennie Beach,“ is that it’s really hard to get it before you get here.” I think what she meant is that you don’t get a true feeling of the place until you arrive.
What started out as a working farm in the 1800’s has been transformed into a cozy lakeside community located on the shores of Lake Chaplain in Vergennes, VT. Crowned by a lovely main building which houses the main dinning room and overlooks the water, Basin Harbor also offers many amenities including an 18 hole golf course, tennis courts, boating and of course, lots of Adirondack chairs to sit in and just relax.
Basin Harbor has a total of 147 accommodations including 77 dog friendly cabins. Lincoln (the wonder dog) and I and our friends, Sarah (the human) and Patrick (the dog) were assigned Gardenside two, a cute little cottage with a lovely porch where the humans and dogs could sit and look out at the fruit trees that were just in bloom. A short walk up the road was the beach for humans where I spent a couple of hours relaxing with a book and a bit further on was the beach for dogs where we took Patrick and Lincoln for their daily swim.
Basin Harbor is a very dog friendly place. The weekend we were there, the resort was hosting The Festival of Fidos–a day long, dog-oriented event. The festivities kicked off with a 5K race and throughout the day there were demos, purveyors, food and music and my favorite, Dock Diving all to benefit the Lacey’s Fund, which was established to care for the health needs of retired Vermont Police Dogs.
This summer, the specialty show for Scottish Deerhounds returns to Basin Harbor after a four year hiatus. Four years ago, the dog at that specialty show also won at Westminster. It was a great moment. “It was like our own dog had won”, Pennie said with pride. She added that they have had such great success with the Deerhounds that they would love to host more dog clubs.
There are a few things you need to know about what’s expected of you and your pooch at the resort. All dogs must be leashed when they are on the grounds and you must clean up after your dog—there are no pick up free zones. Luckily, there are poop bag dispensers and trash bins conveniently located all around the resort to make it as easy for guests to do the right thing. If you leave your dog alone in your cottage, he or she must be kept in a crate. The concern is that dogs might be destructive or that having dogs loose in the rooms wouldn’t be fair to the housekeeping staff, some of whom are afraid of dogs. As an alternative, the resort’s concierge can arrange to provide someone who can dog-sit for your well-behaved dog or to come and walk your dog while you’re away from your cabin.
Lincoln and I very much enjoyed our stay at Basin Harbor Club. The staff was friendly and courteous and our accommodations were pleasant and well appointed. We liked the fact that everything was within walking distance and everywhere we went we felt welcome. We look forward to another visit to Basin Harbor—to swim, to dognap and to just enjoy the beautiful scenery. Woof.
About Elsa Larsen:
Elsa started her dog training career as a volunteer for an organization in Santa Rosa, California that trained dogs for people with disabilities. In June 2000, Elsa moved to the east coast and created My Wonderful Dog, a non profit that that engaged at risk youth in the care and training of service dogs. Sadly, the non profit had to close its doors in 2008 due to lack of funding, but under the original banner of My Wonderful Dog, Elsa continues to bring her expertise and knowledge to bear in her quest to create harmony between pet dogs and their owners in and around Portland, Maine and the greater Boston area. With over 15 years experience, Elsa has had the pleasure of working with hundreds of dogs on issues as diverse as dog aggression to puppy management and care.