Built on an old railroad bed that juts across Lake Champlain, the 12.5-mile Island Line Trail in Burlington, Vermont, is one of the most stunning cycling experiences in the Northeast. Though it was badly damaged by floods in 2011, a $1.5 million rebuild has allowed the trail to reopen just in time for a late-season trek. Serious cyclists will want to connect to the 363-mile Lake Champlain Bikeway, and its 1,000-plus miles of themed tributary loops, for a four-day tour of rigorous distance rides. For all the scenery with less time in the saddle, ferries and bridges can shorten the ride.
Biking Lake Champlain, Day Four: Burlington, VT, to Whitehall, NY (80 miles)
The final leg veers south toward Vergennes, Vermont's oldest city, whose downtown is a bohemian outpost of cafes, galleries, and shops. Breakfast at the 3 Squares Café caters to cyclists. From there, it's all orchards, roadside maple-sculpture stands, and long views of the lake. At Orwell, the route turns inland and uphill, past wetlands and the occasional alpaca farm, leading you gently back to your base.
More information: The Whitehall Marina and RV Park is a woodsy campground near grocers, cafes, and bars, where you can ditch your car on Day One and retrieve it at the end. If you're itching for a little luxury after such a grueling tour, head 38 miles west to the Sagamore Resort on Lake George for king suites with fireplaces and a spa for soothing your aching legs.
Credit: Paul O. Boisvert