Little Outdoor Giants and friends aboard the 38-foot houseboat they floated from the southern end of Lake Champlain to its northern islands, exploring coves, lakeside villages, and local farms along the way. They began as boating
novices, but “when we got back we definitely had sea legs.”
Photo Credit : Little Outdoor Giants
On an early Saturday morning last July, a houseboat left Chip Taube’s marina in Orwell, Vermont, near the southern end of 120-mile-long Lake Champlain, and began chugging its way north at 8 mph. Steering the boat—and decidedly “out of our comfort zone”—were Jarrod McCabe and Dominic Casserly, a pair of Massachusetts photographers known as Little Outdoor Giants. They, along with a few friends, had rented the floating home from Taube; it’s one of two he maintains for intrepid travelers. Previously for Yankee, Little Outdoor Giants had followed Thoreau’s wilderness paddle in Maine and hiked across New Hampshire’s Presidential Range. This time the plan was simple: to see what would happen during one summer week on a houseboat on New England’s biggest lake. At the end of each day, they wrote and drew in one of their signature leather-bound journals. It’s funny how on all trips I feel anxious that by the end of the trip I still haven’t relaxed, muses one of the entries. Here I find what I was looking for. All the adventure, the natural beauty, the opportunity for a one-of-a-kind New England vacation….
There were some tense moments during the trip—when winds made the waves crest as if at sea, and when throngs of pleasure boats required both patience and attentive steering—but the days proved largely carefree. The travelers learned to navigate coves and narrow streams, chatted with people from around the country, snorkeled, fished, ate well and often, lazed on beaches, walked and biked on shore (and, yes, swatted mosquitoes), and discovered that when you make a slow boat your home, it can take you places you never knew you could find. —Mel Allen
IF YOU GO: Champlain Houseboat Charters rents 38-foot houseboats for cruising Lake Champlain in the summer and early fall. Each boat is built to sleep six, but can accommodate eight, and costs $250 per day plus fuel and a cleaning fee. Booking well in advance is highly recommended. For more information, go to champlainhouseboatcharters.com.