Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (Vermont, USA)
The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is located in North Harbour, just south of Mile Point, in the southeast corner of the bay. It is just across from the Palissades. We sailed past it many times before and somehow never noticed the full size replica of Benedict Arnold’s gun boat: Philadelphia.
The museum can be accessed from a small cove in the bay. If you pull in close enough to shore, there will be room to tie up the dinghy in about a foot of water. Just make sure to trade your outboard engine for oars when you get close to the green detergent bottles - yep that's correct - green detergent bottles, they warn of heavy lines securing the dock to the shore and bottom. In the brown waters of the lake, they can easily be missed and they will foul a prop.
The bay is crowded with moorings, mostly unused. We found room for one boat to anchor in 25 feet of water in the center of the bay, just west of the moorings – not sure that a second one would fit as the area without mooring balls is quite deep. However, we didn’t spend the night. Hundreds of seagulls call this area home and the sight of some of the resident boats convinced us to keep moving as soon as our visit was over. This would have been one stinky mess I wasn’t ready to clean.
The museum is well put together. It spreads over 16 different buildings and sheds. It is quite interesting and traces back the military and commercial history of the area which is surprisingly rich. It provides a complex and different perspective on this lake that most of us consider a weekend destination. It moves the visitor from naval battles, to commercial shipping all the way to recreational boating. There is a lot to see and a lot to learn. Make sure to catch the documentary about the Battle of 1776, you will never look at Valcour Island the same way.