With some exceptions, riding or biking along this route means you won’t miss too much. Going north, the spacious public beach is on your right. It’s Sandbar State Park (vtstateparks.com/sandbar.html), open every summer day from 10 A.M to sunset. It looks a lot like the famous George Seurrat painting, “Sunday on La Grande Jatte“ without the parasols but with shade trees and picnic tables. There’s a per person charge of $4 per visit.
Two apple orchards along the way are the Allenholm, (Alleholm.com), a seventh generation family-owned orchard that offers tours, and a smaller farm, Hackett’s (hackettsappleorchard.com), most proud of its $1.25 cider doughnuts and 47 different varieties of apple. The orchards are not only about the fruit you can pick yourself in fall, but feature home-made pies, jellies, and anything that could possibly tempt Eve.
Bernie Sanders lives lakeside right on Route 2 as well, directly across from the North Hero elementary school.
A much older elementary school, the 1814 Block Schoolhouse, is on the same route in Grand Isle. Inside there’s a coal stove, inkwell in each desk, and a posted sign that outlines rules teachers must obey. Number 8: “Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity, and honesty.”
Right next door is the historic Hyde Log Cabin (grandislevt.org/municipal-directory/historical-society), moved twice from its original site, it’s now restored and furnished. Built in 1783, Jedediah Hyde Jr. raised ten children in this farmhouse, smaller than the size of a two-car garage. For the next 150 years, Hyde descendants also called it home. Visit both the school and farmhouse for $3 per person.
Not far away is Grand Isle Art Works (grandisleartworks.com), filled with temptations offered by 75 Vermont artists, including Jim Holzschuh, its artist-owner. Built about the time John Adams was president, the farmhouse is chockablock with glassware, ceramics, wood-carvings, alpaca shawls and sweaters, and Vermont-y things like Sarah Rosethal chicken paintings and maple candy. In back is a small weekend café with indoor/outdoor seating. Weekends are also farmers’ market days, Saturdays 10-2 at St. Joseph’s Church and Wednesdays, 3-6 at Rose’s Lima Church, both on Grand Isle. It’s not just about tomatoes, corn, and asparagus, craftspeople display everything from mittens to honey, and homemade pies are very popular. Wally’s, a local lunch spot/bakery, sells its fresh-baked sourdough bread and bagels here too. The Farmers’ Market (champlainislandsfarmersmarket.org) is also a wonderful occasion for a friendly meet-and-greet with the locals.