Have you heard of Vermont's Basin Harbor Club Club? I hadn't before they reached out to invite me and my family for a two-night stay earlier this summer. I shared a Facebook live video of Eliana painting with Basin Harbor's resident artist and a short blog post while still at the resort, but I had so many pictures to sort through and then edit that it took me until now to post the follow up. This is gonna be a two-parter, people, because I want it to be. Basin Harbor asked for one blog post, which I have already provided. I'm back with more because my daughter asked to return for her 10th birthday next year as she fell asleep on our very first night in our cabin. That, my friends, speaks volumes.
So why do you need to know about Basin Harbor Club? You want the short answer? Go. Become the hero of your family for thinking it up. PRETEND IT WAS YOUR IDEA. I don't need any credit. Just call and reserve your own cabin. Visit the Basin Harbor Website. Realize that no matter how detailed the website happens to be or how the personal touch on the BH Facebook page feels like they already know you without it feeling weird, nothing will prepare you for the uncanny feeling that you are coming home the moment you arrive. And when you leave? You'll be wishing you could extend your visit and not groaning about how much you miss your own bed.
I hated my bed when I got home. It's been a month. I'm just starting to get over it. It's a process.
The private cabins (which vary in size, with some sleeping up to eight), are exquisitely kept, comfortable, and I want one in my backyard for my writing shack. There are no TVs in the cabins. No one is going to technology-shame you for showing up with your iPhone, but the point is clear: you aren't at Basin Harbor to binge watch the last season of Orange is the New Black and your cabin isn't meant to be just four walls and a roof you won't remember when you leave. You are there to kayak or rent a boat or take a narrated tour of Lake Champlagne with Captain Jeff. You are there to enjoy the swimming pool, take part in a Paint & Sip event, and rent a bike for a peaceful ride through the property in search of all the different Big Chairs, just so you can say you did.
Do you have dogs? Because your family pup isn't just tolerated at Basin Harbor; they are truly welcomed. You even get a bag of dog treats in your welcome bag. (Finnigan and Nibbler absolutely love these things.)
Eliana fell in love with the servers. So did I. I got my first job at 13, bussing tables at the same Mexican restaurant my father was waiting tables at. He taught me to always give every customer my absolute best because that is how you become the best at what you do. I'm a tough critic when it comes to the service I receive, always holding it up to the service my father taught me to provide.
We are homebodies. We don't jet off to exotic destinations and I don't think that's really ever going to be who we are. A "vacation" is hard, if I'm being honest. I can never sleep the night before we leave for Anywhere Ever because anxiety is A Thing. Maybe this is why I found myself wondering if maybe I should call my contacts at Basin Harbor Club with Any Excuse I Could Think Of because Maybe They'd Meant to Invite Someone Else because Why Me?
No matter how much I wanted to stay home and hide, Eliana was so very excited about the trip, and I couldn't let her down. That's how we found ourselves in Vermont and dreaming up plans to return. After arriving, I couldn't figure out what the hell I'd been so afraid of, because that's how anxiety works. If we are lucky enough to make BHC a yearly tradition, we will be sure to take another ride on the narrated Escape Cruise every chance we get. Captain Jeff is amazing.
Eliana and I are usually on our own for travel because The Husband has a Real Job and can't just take off when he feels like it. This time, we got lucky. The Husband was able to take a few days off of work, which made our BHC experience that much better.
One of the biggest highlights of the trip was the moment The Husband and I watched a professional artist Not Throw Up as he watched 9-year-old Eliana take a paint brush to the scene was was creating on canvas. The Basin Harbor Club's Artist in Residence says it's his thing - let BHC kids add to his paintings in an effort to make art accessible.
"She's painted before," he said, laughing, as Eliana grabbed a paintbrush with confidence and immediately got to work adding light green accents to the grassy scene. "No qualms," he said. "That's good. Not every child isn't afraid. But it's art. They shouldn't be afraid, which is why I do this."
Before we left, Eliana asked for a picture on the big red chair. I love this picture.I want to go back.
I'm writing this because I was invited to a sponsored vacation, but I'm going to be sharing a little but more because this I truly enjoyed every moment. If the universe is nice to me, maybe next year, I'll have a photo with my kid in this very same chair.
I might even sleep the night before we leave. Thank you, Basin Harbor Club. We love you.
** This post was written in exchange for a two night stay at Basin Harbor Club in Vermont. All opinions shared are my own. But I'm pretty sure you already knew that.