Community Spotlight: North Hero
Nestled in the middle of the islands of Grand Isle County in beautiful Lake Champlain, North Hero is home to 900 full-time residents and hundreds more seasonals. Visitors are attracted to the town’s strong sense of place, historic features and abundant recreational opportunities. Local and state owned parks offer trails, beaches, boating, and canoeing. The Islands Line Bike Trail provides access to great biking. This summer, North Hero Island celebrates Lake Champlain’s Quadricentennial by hosting the Lois McClure, a replica of an 1862-class sailing canal boat.
North Hero epitomizes the creative economy. One of the state parks, Knights Point, is home to the Islands Center for Arts and Recreation, which hosts Shakespeare in the Park (on sabbatical for 2009, returning in 2010), fireworks, concerts, local and county-wide community activities, and a Farmer’s Market. Great Ice in Grand Isle, started three years ago to revitalize the winter economy, has grown to cover each weekend in February with ice skating, a kid’s fishing derby, a regatta for people-powered vehicles, and other ice-based activities.
The restored older buildings in the Village keep the town revitalized and inviting to visitors. For instance, St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church, which was closed by the Diocese last year, has been converted into an art gallery. The Village’s historic buildings include residences, Hero’s Welcome, the Chamber of Commerce, two inns, a church and the county courthouse. Several small businesses are also located in historic buildings.
The North Hero Historical Society is renovating the Community Hall. Thanks to community action, private donors and the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the Hall’s original exterior will be restored, the roof repaired, and the interior updated with bathrooms, a catering kitchen, a classroom and other amenities. A pending Byways grant will help the Historical Society include a Waypoint Center with information, displays and public restrooms.