Category Archives: Points of Interest

points of interest, locations and attractions related to the history of the Lake Champlain Valley

Schuyler Island – Lake Champlain Islands

Schuyler Island

Schuyler Island

Schuyler Island, also known as Schuyler’s Island or Whitney Island, is part of the Town of Chesterfield in Essex County, New York. It’s located between Port Kent, New York and Willsboro Bay, across the lake from Burlington, Vermont.

Schuyler Island is a 161-acre uninhabited island, managed as part of Adirondack Park, with several unimproved campsites available. It is part of the Lake Champlain Islands Management Complex (LCIMC) – owned and operated by New York State.

 

Schuyler Island - Lake Champlain Islands

Schuyler Island

History:
 

On October 11, 1776 after the Battle of Valcour during the American Revolutionary War, the battered fleet of American General Benedict Arnold used Schuyler Island to regroup and attempt repairs. Two small ships of the fleet were beyond repair and were scuttled near the island at that time.

 

Schuyler Island - Lake Champlain Islands

Schuyler Island pebble beach

The island passed through a series of private owners until the  mid 20th century, occasionally being used for farming. During this time the island became alternately known as “Whitney Island” in reference to the Whitney family, who owned the island from 1891 to 1950. In 1967 the island was sold to New York State,

 

Other Notes:

Schuyler Island

Although the shoreline around Schuyler Island is ringed by a forest of white pine, hemlock, and birch, the center of the island is an open meadow, with patches of marshy wetland and large stands of ferns.

Beware that the island also has poison ivy.

Other Articles About Lake Champlain Islands:   List of Lake Champlain's Islands

 

Montys Bay Wildlife Management Area

Montys Bay Wildlife Management Area

Montys Bay Wildlife Management Area signMontys Bay WMA is located on Lake Champlain’s western shore in Beekmantown, New York. This WMA contains two parcels of land acquired in 1966 with funding provided by the Park and Recreational Land Acquisitional Bond Act of 1960 and the Environmental Bond Act of 1972.

 

Habitat

Montys Bay WMA totals 318 acres in those two parcels. One piece includes a hardwood swamp at the south end of Montys Bay; the other features wetlands and agricultural uplands bordering Riley Brook.

On the parcel east of the Lake Shore Road, is an old-growth silver maple-ash swamp. It covers most of the edges of Point Au Roche swamp, like a horseshoe that grades into shrub swamp and emergent marsh at the south end of Montys Bay. Access to the marsh is from the western right of way – off Harmony Lane – by using the parking area. A short 500 yard foot trail leads to the stand of trees.

Black Duck at Montys Bay Wildlife Management Area

Black duck

Entering the flood plain you’ll notice massive cottonwoods, oaks, and silver maple; this is probably one of the oldest forest stands along Lake Champlain. This old growth forest provides hollow nesting cavities for tree nesting species like wood ducks and songbirds. Hollow trees used for winter dens by raccoons, squirrels and other animals.

The wildlife management area west of the Lake Shore Road hosts an active agricultural field. Every five years, farmers bid on the rights to the 110 acres of prime farmland to plant crops needed in the local dairy industry. Lessees must observe basic requirements or restrictions for good farm practices that are not in conflict with wildlife management for the Montys Bay Wildlife Management Area plan.

 

Fish and Wildlife

The shallow waters of Montys Bay offer fishing opportunities for yellow perch, sunfish, largemouth bass, bowfin, northern pike, pickerel, and bullhead. The foot trail from the parking area at the end of Harmony Lane provides access to Lake Champlain for fishing from shore, or for ice fishing.

Bowfin

 

Seasonal migrations of waterfowl delight wildlife observers. Spring rains and high lake water from winter’s thaw fills troughs and potholes in the area’s grain fields attracting many varieties of puddle ducks and other migratory birds. In fall, these fields are stop-overs for flocks of Canada and snow geese as they make their long journey south from their northern breeding grounds.

Snow geese at Montys Bay Wildlife Management Area

Snow geese at Montys Bay Wildlife Management Area

Usage

Montys Bay WMA operates year-round for the primary purposes of wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. New York State DEC Division of Fish and Wildlife manages Montys Bay WMA for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing/photography).

The following activities are not permitted in Montys Bay WMA:

  • Unless specifically stated, using motorized vehicles, including:
    • all-terrain vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • motorboats
  • Swimming or bathing
  • Camping
  • Using metal detectors, searching for or removing historic or cultural artifacts without a permit
  • Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs or other property
  • Overnight storage of boats
  • Cutting, removing or damaging living vegetation
  • Construction of permanent blinds or other structures such as tree stands
  • Littering
  • Storage of personal property

 

Notes

Ticks are active at temperatures above freezing, but especially so in the late spring and early fall. Deer ticks can transmit Lyme and several other diseases.

Also, practice ‘Leave No Trace’ principles when using state land. Enjoy the outdoors responsibly and reduce the impact on the natural resources.

 

Directions

Montys Bay Wildlife Management Area map

Montys Bay Wildlife Management Area map
(Click map to Enlarge)

Take Exit 40 of the Adirondack Northway (I-87). Turn east on Spellman Road; follow Spellman Road east 0.5 mile to State Route 9. Turn right on State Route 9 and take Route 9 south for 0.4 miles to Point Au Roche Road. Turn left on Point Au Roche Road (County Route 22) and follow Point Au Roche Road 1.7 miles east to Lake Shore Road. Turn left on Lake Shore Road.

  • To access the agricultural lands and surrounding forested swamplands: Take Lake Shore Road north for 1.6 miles to a parking area on the left side of the road
  • To access the shore of Lake Champlain and the silver maple swamp: Take Lake Shore Road north for 0.2 miles and turn right on Cemetery Road. Take Cemetery Road 1.7 miles to Dickinson Point Road, then take Dickson Point Road north for 1.7 miles to Harmony Lane. Turn left on Harmony Lane. The parking area is on the left 0.1 mile, just pass the 90° turn in the road.

Please note: Harmony Lane is a private road, please do not park on the road. 

 

 

Other Articles on Lake Champlain Valley WMA's:

 

Diamond Island – Lake Champlain Islands

Diamond Island

Diamond Island - Lake Champlain Islands

Diamond Island is a very small island located in the middle of Lake Champlain between Split Rock in New York and Grosse Pointe in Ferrisburgh, It is just north of Fort Cassin Point in Vergennes , VT.
Diamond Island Meteorological Station
The Vermont Monitoring Cooperative maintains one of its three Lake Champlain meteorological stations on Diamond Island.
Diamond Island - meteorological stations

 

History:
There are two shipwrecks found in the vicinity of Diamond Island:
  • The Stone Boat lies in 12 to 23 feet of water immediately off the southeast side of Diamond Island (44° 14.10N 73° 20.04W). It is about 93′ x 14′ and was a canal boat used to carry quarried stone.    Read history
Diamond Island wreck- Lake Champlain Islands
  • The  Water Witch is located about 1000′ south of Diamond Island (44 13.93′ , 73 20.13′) at a depth of 90′. She was an 83′ x 18′ steamboat that had been converted to sail. Built in 1832, she sank on April 26 1866 while carrying iron ore. Read history
  • This is a sensitive dive site; registration is requested please!
  • Currents may be very strong at both of these sites!
Diamond Island Regatta 
 
Diamond Island regatta
The Royal Savage Yacht Club’s headline sailing event each season is the Diamond Island Regatta. It is a one race event held in the waters of Lake Champlain near the Point Bay Marina.
Sailed in August, the Diamond Island Regatta is part of the Lake Champlain Championship Series (LCCS) and counts towards both the Cannon Series and the Champlain Series. Boats from all over Lake Champlain compete in the regatta.

Other Articles About Lake Champlain Islands:   List of Lake Champlain's Islands

Lake Champlain Communities

 

Articles About Lake Champlain Communities:

Ethan Allen Homestead Museum

Ethan Allen Homestead

Ethan Allen’s Burlington Home 1787-1789

Ethan Allen Homestead

Ethan Allen Homestead

In Burlington Vermont’s’s Intervale, on a small rise above the Winooski River – safe from the reach of flood waters – is a small “Cape Cod” style house. Although modern siding makes it look quite ordinary, this house has stood for over 200 years. This modest farm-house was the last home of General Ethan Allen, Vermont’s Revolutionary War hero and leader of the Green Mountain Boys. It was built by him, and it’s where he died.

Just a short drive from Burlington, Vermont’s downtown the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum offers hands-on history, spectacular scenery along with riverside picnic areas and walks. The Homestead offers a view of 18th century life, and an intimate look at Vermont’s most colorful – and controversial founder Ethan Allen and his wife, Fanny.

 

Ethan Allen Homestead: The Early Years

Ethan Allen in his later yearsEthan Allen was fifty years old when he came to Burlington in 1787 to take up farming. Until 1777 Ethan Allen’s family had lived at Sheffield, Connecticut. They moved to Vermont while he was a prisoner of war during the Revolutionary War, and settled in Sunderland that year. Mary Bronson Allen, Ethan’s first wife, died in 1783. In 1784 he met Frances (Fanny) Buchanan and they married later that year.

 

On February 11, 1789 he and his hired man, Newport, drove his oxen over the ice to South Hero for a load of hay from his cousin Ebenezer Allen. Returning early the next morning, Ethan Allen unexpectedly died.

 

Ethan Allen Homestead: Later Years

After his death Ethan Allen’s widow sold Ethan’s Intervale farm in 1814 to Cornelius P. Van Ness. For the rest of the 19th century it would be known as the Van Ness farm.

 

Ethan Allen Tower

The Tower in Ethan Allen Park

The Van Ness family continued in possession of the farm until 1862 when it was to Alfred Brookes of New York City. In 1902 William J. Van Patten bought it from Brookes.

Van Patten set apart about 12 acres and offered it to the Sons of the American Revolution on condition that a stone tower, a memorial to General Ethan Allen, be erected on the top of the ledge and a road built leading to the tower and to Ethan’s former house. The S.A.R. built and dedicated the present tower in 1905.

 

By 1914 the farm was run by Van Patten as a dairy farm. And in that year a large fire destroyed its barns, no doubt the original ones built by Allen in 1787. Ethan Allen Park with its monumental stone tower became a landmark in Burlington and overshadowed the modest little wooden house standing nearby on private land on the Intervale, nearly forgotten.

This was how matters still stood in 1974 when Ralph Nading Hill, while working on a book on Lake Champlain, took an interest in the small house, which was still lived in, and decided to confirm its identity. A committee, including experts from the Shelburne Museum, visited the site and determined the authenticity of the basic structural features of the building. Although the interior was remodeled, and an ell and new exterior added, physical evidence confirmed that it was the original Ethan Allen house.

 

Ethan Allen Homestead: Today

Ethan Allen Homestead

Ethan Allen Homestead

The Ethan Allen Homestead Museum is at 1 Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington, VT 05408, and is open seven days a week for General Tours May 1st to October 31st from 10 a.m. to  4 p.m.
Group and School Tours are available on request

Admission Prices:

  • Individual: $10
  • Seniors: $9
  • Students 5-17: $6
  • Children under 5: free
Ethan Allen Homestead inside

Inside Ethan Allen Homestead

Learn more about Ethan Allen in Ethan Allen: His Life and Times by Willard Sterne Randall. It tells the story of Allen’s life from growing up in frontier Connecticut, through the early years of the Green Mountain Boys in the New Hampshire Grants, the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, and Allen’s capture by the British at Montreal, through to the founding of the Republic of Vermont and its eventual statehood.

Other Lake Champlain Points of Interest:

Weird New England
Joe Citro's classic look at local legends and oddities from all over New England.
Click on the image above to buy this book today