A little bit about our Vermont country store
Hero's Welcome is located in N.W. Vermont, on one of the Hero Islands in the middle of Lake Champlain. The century-old building was originally built by John Tudhope in 1899. Here it is in the early 1920s. The Tudhope family ran the Store for ninety years. That's John himself standing out on the porch.
Later, hard times fell upon the place and it closed. The town of North Hero wasn't the same without that store...it had been the honored gossip spot for so long, the town rumor mill suffered!
We bought the property in 1993, restored the structures, and re-named it Hero's Welcome. There are three buildings, resting cheek-by-jowl at the water's edge. If you pay us a visit in the summer season, you'll find thousands of items...and customers from one end to the other! It is an exciting place, even for us.
We also roll out a big summer dock less than a hundred feet from the store, and welcome lake travelers from all points of the compass. You can get here by car, bike, horse, ferry, seaplane, kayak, canoe, water skis and even ice skates!
We welcome thousands of folks every year, and in our busiest summer months, might see over 2000 visitors in a single day. It's not uncommon to step outside the building and wonder at the collection of bicycles, ski boats, Harleys, seaplanes, SeaDoos, cars and trucks that have piled up around the store.
My wife Beverley and I returned to Vermont in the early 1990's, and not long after decided to make it our permanent home. With several decades of retailing between us, and a famous (but closed) general store begging for new owners, we jumped in. All these years later, we've come to look forward to the summertime thrill of Hero's Welcome, followed by the chill of Vermont's famous winters. Our jackets are warmer these days, but the ice on the lake beckons us to venture out.
The Hero Islands are a true gift of nature, resting in the North-Center of the nation's sixth largest lake. Four very distinct seasons arrive and depart each year, tormenting local barn thermometers to keep up with the 125 degree swing.
Summer nights can leave sweat on your brow. Winter days can pile frost upon your whiskers! The stars are almost always spectacular, thanks to the low count of resident humans. The sunrises and sunsets never fail to encourage photographers.
Somehow, the Hero Islands have escaped the crush of year-round travelers, so often found nearby high density communities. If you took a piece of string 500-miles long, tied one end to a pencil and drew a circle around North Hero Village, you'd find nearly 40 million folks dwelling within the circumference.
Lake Champlain is less than a day's drive from cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Manhattan and Hackensack. The density of dwellers in those towns is...well, dense, but the spectacular beauty of our lake has yet to capture the imagination of most of them!
One day it will happen, but for now take comfort that you can come to this place, paddle into the middle of the lake, and feel almost like you discovered it yourself.