The Preservation of a Treasure

Many lovely homes, parks, hotels and resorts have come and gone along the shores of Lake Champlain with people never tiring of ways to enjoy her breathtaking sunsets and quiet waters. This property celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2003 and stands as one of the few remaining historic lakeshore hotels in New England.

Island Villa Hotel

The Briggs family of Burlington purchased Robinson’s Point and built the main building as a hotel in 1903. Embodying true Turn of the Century charm, the property was named Island Villa Hotel and soon became a spot frequented by the “who’s who” of the Northeast. In the history of the area, it tells of fancy cars with people dressed in “city clothes” arriving for extended stays. Croquet tournaments were held each weekend and guests would enjoy bridge parties on the porches well sheltered from passing rain showers. Beautiful gardens adorned the property and provided lavish centerpieces for the tables at dinner where formal attire was required. During the day, however, practicality reigned and the men were allowed in the dining room in their fishing clothes. The large central fireplace was a gathering spot after dinner where the ladies would meet to sew and the men would often play parlor games.

Camp Marycrest

The Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic order, purchased the property in 1956 and opened it as a summer camp for girls in 1957. Many of the sisters from the order taught in the Burlington area Catholic schools, and would spend summers as instructors at the camp. Marycrest was one of the Sisters’ leading ministries and was a way to offer a camp experience primarily to Vermont girls. Marycrest hosted thousands of young girls in their summer programs, many of whom would not have been financially able to attend summer camp.

Grand Isle Lake House (1998 through the present)

This property and building, which now comprise the Grand Isle Lake House, were donated as a generous gift to the Preservation Trust of Vermont in 1997. After assessing the viability of converting the existing facility, the decision to create a meeting and event facility was made. In an effort to best serve the mission of the Trust, the building was restored to its original splendor, with the help of many benefactors, and is currently used for both private and nonprofit functions. In doing so, the Preservation Trust has preserved one of Vermont and Lake Champlain’s waterfront treasures, while generating income to support other Vermont communities and organizations in their preservation efforts. In choosing the Grand Isle Lake House for your special event you will also be making a contribution to the historic preservation of this and many other Vermont treasures.

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Each year the Preservation Trust must raise the funds necessary to support their various restoration and maintenance endeavors. Each contribution, no matter how large or small, makes a real difference. If you would like to help, please contact Paul Bruhn, Executive Director at (802) 658-6647, or Preservation Trust of Vermont.
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