The Lake Champlain Basin serves as a treasure trove of oddities and rich history. This month finds a gem hidden amongst a region full of recreational experiences.
Founded as a sophisticated lakeshore resort hotel in the 1870s by the St Albans Boating and Fishing Club, the site is now home to Vermont’s Kill Kare State Park. According to the Vermont State Parks website, “this state park is named for Kamp Kill Kare, a summer camp for boys, which operated on this site from 1912 until 1966. Located on the southwestern tip of St. Albans Point, a three-mile peninsula that defines St. Albans Bay, Kamp Kill Kare is surrounded on three sides by the sparkling water of Lake Champlain.” These waters continue to provide ample recreational opportunities for those who seek them out.
Those people familiar with Burton Island State Park have likely spent some time at Kill Kare. For about the cost of a large coffee, campers, hikers and fishing enthusiasts can take the Island Runner ferry to nearby Burton Island. An onsite boat ramp ensures access to Lake Champlain for boat owners and kayak rentals are offered as well. Swimming at the sand and shale beach, picnicking and birding round out the outdoor activities available at Kill Kare.
In the mid-1970s, poor water quality in St. Albans Bay prompted greater recreational use of this nearby park. Now host to a variety of gatherings, Kill Kare State Park makes an inviting seasonal location for weddings and family reunions. From the Rocky Point House meeting space to the 26’x 40’ pavilion to an expansive lawn ringed with trees and grills, there is no shortage of space to enjoy Vermont and Lake Champlain up close.
Collaboration between the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the Vermont Division for Historical Preservation resulted in the 2010 renovation of the Rocky Point House to its original lakeside resort architecture. The building was rededicated in 2012, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Kamp Kill Kare at St. Albans Point. Now home to a museum of Kill Kare history and a venue for small gatherings, the building formerly known as “The Main House” is the only one remaining from the summer camp years. Though all of the other original buildings were auctioned off and removed from the property when the state of Vermont purchased Kamp Kill Kare in 1967, one of the cabins remains nearby as a lakeshore cottage addition.
Make a note today to enjoy this hidden jewel of the Lake Champlain Basin this summer and fall. Kill Kare State Park will not disappoint. Look forward to another Lake Champlain “secret” next month.