Hero's Welcome staff pose with Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is the proud new owner of a summer home in the Champlain Islands, Seven Days has confirmed.
The Burlington resident last week plopped down nearly $600,000 on a lakefront camp in North Hero.
Sanders’ new crib has four bedrooms and 500 feet of Lake Champlain beachfront on the east side of the island — facing Vermont, not New York. The Bern will keep his home in Burlington and use the new camp seasonally.
“We’ve traveled up to the islands many times over the years — almost always on day trips,” Sanders’ wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, told Seven Days in a written statement. “We’ve been impressed with the North Hero community, eaten at the North Hero House and Shore Acres and have suggested them to friends who were looking for a beautiful place to stay or have dinner. St. Anne’s Shrine in Isle La Motte is my favorite church and it is nearby.”
Last Tuesday, the day of the closing, a relaxed-looking Bernie Sanders posed for a photo at Hero’s Welcome General Store on Route 2. The store, a bit south of his new abode, serves a sandwich called “Feel the Bun” in the senator’s honor. The $6.99 deli delight consists of a “HUGE” homemade roll, sliced turkey, fresh apple chutney, hot pepper relish, lettuce, tomato and provolone cheese.
“It’s not fair that the Billionaire Class controls 99 percent of the bread,” the menu description reads. “Here’s a sandwich for the rest of us … to keep us nourished until everything cool is free!”
Sanders ordered the sandwich during his visit last week. Hero’s Welcome owner, Robert Camp, told Seven Days the store once offered a Sanders sandwich that poked fun at the senator, but later pulled it. The new version captures the essence of his rise to national prominence, Camp said.
The popular general store has a line of chairs out front — one side labeled “Republicans,” the other “Democrats.” In the middle, until recently, sat a lone “Sandernistas” chair, Camp said. That chair will be back — as long as the new neighbor doesn’t mind, Camp joked.
“He’s just been great,” said Camp. “This is going to be his home, so we won’t encourage autographs.”
The small Grand Isle County town has been abuzz for the last several days with the news. O’Meara Sanders said: “The entire family is very excited about it.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, at a rally in Reno, Nev.
“My family had a lake home in Maine since 1900, but we hadn’t had the time to go there in recent years — especially since my parents passed away,” she said. “We finally let go of it and that enabled us to buy a place in the islands — something I’ve always hoped for. ”
The Sanders also own a row house on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and a house in Burlington’s New North End.
Island locals are happy to see a man of Sanders’ stature choose the town, which had fewer than 1,000 residents as of the 2010 U.S. Census.
“We couldn’t ask for a nicer person to move in — that’s my opinion,” said Eileen Mitchell, a member of the town selectboard. The place isn’t just for senators, she added: “We welcome anyone else that moves into town.”
Camp, who’s run Hero’s Welcome for 23 years, predicted Sanders would fit right into island life.
“He’ll be a welcome neighbor, everybody up here loves him,” Camp said. “We’re all ornery and so is he!”