Button Bay State Park on Lake Champlain

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Overlooking Lake Champlain from our campsite, the perfect location for coffee and breakfast each morning.

Overlooking Lake Champlain from our campsite – the perfect location for coffee and breakfast each morning.

Wednesday, July 16 – We arrive at Button Bay State Park

Once again we blindly follow the GPS, this time to Button Bay State Park on the shores of Lake Champlain. Our destination is about 100 miles north from our previous camp at Winhall Brook in southern Vermont. I’m beginning to understand why Vermont is so appealing. It seems each town we pass through is a picture perfect New England community with an old-timey general store along with a few inviting restaurants and inns.  We’re traveling up Vermont Highway 22A which parallels Lake Champlain. As we near Button Bay, the GPS tells us to take the next left. It looks iffy but we do as instructed. After a couple hundred yards, the road turns to gravel and continues between corn fields to the left and right. The road narrows to a single lane. Hopefully no one is coming the other way.  After a mile or two, the GPS tells us to turn right. This dirt road is worse than the previous but we continue on. After another mile or so, the GPS tells us to turn left again. Yeah, we’re back on pavement! I need to do some better route planning next time.

Every small town in Vermont seems to have one or more similar establishments to this South Londonderry cafe. If you want McDonald's, you're out of luck.

Every small town in Vermont seems to have one or more similar establishments to this South Londonderry cafe. If you’re looking for McDonald’s, you’re out of luck.

Advance Planning Pays Off Again

We made a reservation for Button Bay last winter and were able to get one of a few sites that overlooks Lake Champlain.  Hookups are not available at Button Bay State Park but with July temps in the low 50s, who cares?  No hookups means we can’t run the A/C or microwave but this is a minor inconvenience as long as the weather is cool. Without trying to conserve water, we’re able to go 4 nights without having to refill and dump tanks.

Site 50 overlooks Lake Champlain to the south.

Site 50 has a clear view overlooking Lake Champlain to the south.

Thursday, July 17 – Hike to Button Point

We’re hiking out to Button Point today. Button Point is a little over a 1/2 mile from the campground and is located at the end of a peninsula that extends out into Lake Champlain. There’s a nature center there as well. We leash up T&E and hit the trail. The trail, which is actually a restricted access dirt road, runs along the shore offering some great views of Lake Champlain along the way.

Button Point and Button Island in the distance.

Button Point and Button Island with the Adirondack Mountains of New York State in the distance.

As we near the end of the trail, we arrive at the nature center. Cindy and I take turns staying outside with T&E. While Cindy’s inside, T&E and I wander around outside.  In a wing off to the side, we see a collie dog staring back at us.

Mitsy, the resident Nature Center dog, says "Hi" to T&E.

Mitzi, the resident Nature Center dog, says “Hi” to T&E.

A few minutes later, Cindy returns and now I go in. The nature center is pretty much what you’d expect for a state park. There’s a few stuffed birds and small mammals representing the local fauna, old photographs and maps hanging on the walls and glass cases displaying rocks, insects, animal tracks and so on. But what I find most interesting is the building itself. It seems this building was not constructed to be a nature center.

A few minutes later I rejoin Cindy and the goofballs to walk the remaining hundred yards or so to Button Point. T&E can smell the water and are desperate for a swim. I’ve never known terriers that loved the water so much. The word Terrier is  derived from the latin word terra  or “earth”. In other words, Terriers are known for digging in dirt and not for their swimming ability. These two must be an exception.

We get to the point and Eddie wades in. Trixie steps off a rock ledge into water that’s over her head. She bobs back to surface and swims around, no worse for wear.  15 minutes later, they’ve had enough and we head back.

Trixie and Eddie take a swim at Button Point with Button Island in the background.

Trixie and Eddie take a swim at Button Point with Button Island in the background.

On the way back, we pass by the nature center once again. This time, the collie dog, who’s name is Mitzi, is outside while one of the staff unloads groceries from her car. We chat for a few minutes. We learn the staff that mans the nature center gets to live in it as well. We also learn that the nature center used to be someone’s lake cabin in the days before the park existed. What a great job these rangers have.

Nature Center at Button Point with a view of New York across the lake.

Nature Center at Button Point with a view of New York across the lake.

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