Hero’s Welcome to Canadiens* September 18 (Day 17) Vermont

While driving from one Champlain Lake island to another it was our first overcast day on this trip. We hoped to find a nice breakfast spot but didn’t expect much in this fairly isolated area. Kudos to anyone not from the area who can name any of these islands without going to the Google machine. A hint: Ethan and Ira Allen of the Green Mountain Boys requested and were awarded North and South _ _ _ _ Islands because they were heroes in the Revolutionary War.

flags over Lake Champlain

flags over Lake Champlain. even an overcast day is inspiring

We passed a small sign for “café and bakery” and turned back to see if there would be anything worthwhile. What a pleasant surprise!

Everyone's a hero here

Everyone’s a hero here

Hero’s Welcome is an all-in-one general store, bakery, café on the island of North Hero, Vermont. It even has its own post office and marina and a booming mail order business for Vermont specialty items.

Pat with the mail order business

Pat with the mail order business

Maybe it’s successful because it caters to all, no political discrimination. The red bench is for Republicans, the blue for Democrats, and for those not from the area, the “Sandernistas” plaque alludes to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent you may see running for president in 2016.

red, blue and Sandernisters

red, blue and Sandernistas (Click photo to read plaque)

People were standing in line to get coffee and doughnuts, almost like Starbucks, without the “Fourbucks” prices.

maple frosted doughnuts just like Nelson's Bakery in Menominee (30 years ago)

maple frosted doughnuts just like Nelson’s Bakery in Menominee (30 years ago)

The store actually has three buildings and an upstairs, filled with infinite treasures.

candy for kids, liquid sweets (and dry wines) for adults

candy for kids, liquid sweets (and dry wines) for adults

As it turns out, we’re not the only travelers to discover this gem. It was established around 1898! After 90 years in operation it closed. The current owners purchased and renovated it in 1993. Yankee Magazine has called it “the finest general store on the planet.” Take a virtual visit on the website.

As we drove along, Verizon welcomed us to Canada, announcing that we were going to be charged $2.05/MB for data. But we weren’t in Canada yet, just approaching. I wonder how the data plan recognizes the true border…

Rouses Point is the last stop in New York before you hit the Canadian border. Or as we arrived, it was the first stop from Canada, and apparently a popular location for Canadian border runners looking to save money. Canadians who are out of the country 48 hours or more can claim goods worth up to CAN$800 without paying any duty and taxes. Montreal is just 40 minutes away, so our friends to the north can have a lovely weekend in New England and then make a quick stop here on their way home to pick up pre-purchased items, sold at US (or rather online) prices, with no Canadian sales tax. Even big ticket items like TVs cross the border facilement (unlike the stopped-at-gunpoint difficulty Nancy once had bringing milk from France to Switzerland.)

Welcome to Canadiens!!

Welcome to Canadiens!!

O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command.

We’re now leaving New England, a very successful test run for our big trip.

*Wheel of Fortune has a “before and after” category that mixes two expressions into a single missing-letters puzzle. Ergo, a place: Hero’s Welcome and an expression: Welcome to Canadiens!

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