The story of the United States Navy begins on Lake Champlain. The year was 1776, and the fledgling American Revolution seemed doomed to failure almost before it began after a naval retreat to the town known today as Whitehall, New York. Then the Continental Congress issued a command on June 17 of 1776 "to build, with all expedition, as many galleys and armed vessels as ... shall be sufficient to make us indisputably masters of the lakes Champlain and George." By August, eight new gunboats were afloat on the lake—just in time to face the British in the Battle of Valcour.
That story and hundreds more come to life in the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's collection of more than 15,000 artifacts, images, and documents. Visitors can marvel at the massive 10' x 8' rudder of the steamboat Champlain II, and explore her shipwreck in real time using a remote-operated vehicle. In the Hazelett Watercraft Center, the 111-year-old ice yacht Storm King towers over 90 dugouts, bark canoes, kayaks, rowing skiffs, and sailboats. But the core of the museum is the Key to Liberty exhibit, where visitors can read eyewitness accounts of the Battle of Valcour and marvel at a 9-foot scale model of a gunboat. On fair days, the full-size gunboat replica Philadelphia II sets sail, giving passengers a glimpse of a distant era without the bother of going though a time machine broker first.
No matter what direction their houses might actually be facing, most of the roofs in the United States point toward Slate Valley, a 24-mile-long stretch between New York and Vermont. That region not only produces most of the nation's roofing slate, but also has an intricate history that reaches all the way back to the 1800s.
Eye Catcher: a worn-down and beat-up 1951 LJT Mack Truck, which once hauled finished slate?and then blocks and rubbish?for the Tatko Bros. Slate Company
Astride their trusty snowmobiles, the knowledgeable guides at Jay Snowmobile Adventures help visiting adventurers conquer the winter landscape during tours of picturesque Vermont snowscapes. One- and two-person tour packages begin at the outfitter’s home base, located 3 miles from the entrance of Jay Peak Resort. From there, groups wind through the wilderness of Jay, Vermont and parts of Westfield for up to two hours, exploring the snowy nooks and frost-covered crannies of Jay State Forest and the nearby countryside. They rarely make the trip alone, though; moose and white-tailed deer often dot the secluded paths, ready to pose for snapshots in their most photogenic outfits.
Staff Size: 25?50 people
Pro Tip: Allow at least 2?3 hours, but don't try to do everything on your first visit.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: 125+ exhibits, it's hard to pick one
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
The Montshire is a 100-acre science center delighting visitors of all ages with diverse exhibits and programs.
Apart from your business's main attraction, do you offer any "hidden" services or activities that visitors are always delighted to learn about?
Andy's Place is a special area for children five and under and the museum store is full of carefully selected gifts, books, puzzles, and toys.
Whitewater Challengers' certified guides steer paddlers as young as 5 across the skipping surf of the Poconos’ Lehigh River Gorge, the Black River Canyon, and the Adirondacks’ Hudson, Moose, and Salmon rivers. In the rafting industry since 1975, the guides have collectively traveled more than 16 million miles of rapids. They chart courses that satisfy a range of experience levels, from beginning jaunts down gentle rapids to advanced battles through coursing foam and wicked currents.
The crew’s ultimate goal is to make rafting a fun adventure, which means that they take care of the business end, providing all safety equipment, transportation to launch points, and lessons for novices. When not on the water, the outdoors-loving crew also organizes mountain-biking and camping trips in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
The Italian countryside has inspired poetry, music, paintings?and after a visit from George Landis and Sue Small?a new business venture. When the duo toured the Tuscan region, they did so at the helm of a Fiat 500 while a tour guide in another car ahead of them narrated the history of the undulating, vineyard-rich area over the radio. After returning to the States, the duo established Country Driving Tours of Vermont to give visitors to their area their own car-based tour.
Guests head out in BMW Z4 sports cars?nicknamed Bruno, Deiter, and Fritzi?for all of Country Driving Tours' trips. During the picnic tour, sightseers leisurely traverse through the Champlain Valley, making stops at vineyards and shops before dining on a catered picnic back at Country Driving Tours' home base, Dreamhouse Country Inn, also operated by George and Sue. The Dinner Tour treats guests to views of the sweeping countryside on the way to Tourterelle Restaurant, and the Classic Tour zips visitors around and over the Green Mountains and past its waterfalls that run with maple syrup.