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Thread: Vermont experience & stories ?

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    Senior Member EarthSky's Avatar
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    Vermont experience & stories ?

    Do any of you live in or near Burlington, Vermont? If so, would you please share your experiences of living (or even visiting) there? What might life be like there for a single professional with children? How does the school system serve the needs of students with special needs? What are your impressions of the political, economic, social justice, community services, religious and spiritual landscape there? Thanks for sharing.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I have three adult children living there. My second son went to University of Vermont and just didn't want to leave, so he really, really got lucky and got his dream job right there--working as a adjunct professor/student advisor for the Community College of Vermont. He could probably tell you a lot about it, much more than I could. He's single, and he certainly has a lot of connections in education. So, please PM me, and I can put you in contact with him.

    I was just thinking of that town today because I really love it and have zeroesd in on it as one of the possible places to move to. It's a very vibrant community for all ages. Politically, it's liberal and populated with crunchy/granola typas of people. There are co-ops and zip-cars and you name it in terms of how the community looks after itself. Economically, it's a little pricier than most towns in Vermont, but it has its mixed neighborhoods for sure. My son just bought a home in one. Social justice-wise--that's one of the reasons my son loves it. He was able to get his own house through through this very unique Housing Trust program they have to help certain income-level people be able afford the downpayment. There seems to be a lot of vibrant churches as well

    It's so centrally located, and there are tons of places that are within walking distance of downtown. And the downtown is SO CUTE.

    Honestly, I can't say enough about it. If my DH weren't so attached to our house, I'd move there in a heartbeat.

    Only downside: winters are COOOOLLLLD.

    In terms of getting a flavor of the culture there, I think BoBos in Paradise, the book, was written with Burlington in mind. If you recall, a BoBo is a Bourgeous Bohemian.

    Let me know if you want me to connect you with my son.

    BTW, I know that the house that my son was renting that he just moved out of to move into his new house will be up for sale shortly. It's a very cute house with a fenced in yard. I don't know how many kids you have, but if you have one--maybe two, it could work. Nice size kitchen, living room, two bedrooms and a bath, and a nice little upstairs workspace/tv area. Washer/dryer on the main floor. Walking distance to town. [ETA: I just recalled, from another post, you have 3 kids, 2 at home]

    One more edit: I could also speak to the cultures of the Manchester/Stratton area, Ludlow/Weston, Mad River Valley because we've spent summers in each of them.
    Last edited by catherine; 3-17-12 at 8:05am.
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    From someone who visited Burlington, loved it for all the reasons Catherine mentioned. It reminds me of Bloomington, Indiana which is the home of Indiana University. I bet it could be compared to a lot of other major college towns. Love the coop food store downtown.

    However, make sure you have a stable job. We went all over the state and the constant comment from any local we met were jobs were scarce and prices high. Many out-of-staters come and buy up homes to use as second homes and that has helped keep the prices on real estate high. Several people mentioned they have 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet.

    However, it is our first place to go on vacation as it is truly lovely state.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post

    However, make sure you have a stable job. We went all over the state and the constant comment from any local we met were jobs were scarce and prices high. Many out-of-staters come and buy up homes to use as second homes and that has helped keep the prices on real estate high. Several people mentioned they have 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet.
    Point well taken: as I mentioned, my son got very lucky landing his dream job, but there are many, many people who fall into the "Burlington Trap"--they love Burlington and want to stay there after college, but there are very few jobs. As a result you get a lot of highly educated people serving tables in restaurants there.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    We used to rent a cabin on Lake Champlain about half hour north of Burlington as kids/young adults. Going to Burlington was going to the Big City for us. I love the pedestrian downtown area, and the bike paths. I used to love visiting the wild flower farm, not sure if its still there south of town.

    My brother lives about an hour north, and has had a tough time finding a job, but currently is working part time at Gardeners Supply. His SO works at Ben and Jerry's. Outside of Burlington/Essex, there aren't many employers.

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    Senior Member Jemima's Avatar
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    I've only visited Burlington, but a cousin and her husband moved there from Maryland some years back and they hated it. They were "outsiders" and their next door neighbors wouldn't even say hello to them. They are a professional couple, my cousin a speech therapist and her husband a Ph.D. level psychologist, and their children are two well-behaved and musically talented girls. Not exactly the kind of scum nobody wants next door. They moved back to Maryland just as fast as they could find new jobs.

    Visiting and living there just aren't the same thing. I've heard stories of others who moved to small New England towns and were shut out by the natives. (The same, of course, is true in many small towns in Pennsylvania.)

    And as several people have mentioned, jobs are few and far between. A lot of New England is dependent on the tourist industry, which explains why visitors enjoy it so much but transplants have a hard time getting accepted. Beautiful as it is, there's no way in h*ll I'd ever move to New England.

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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Us New Englanders tend to be very slow to warm up to "outsiders". We tend to be polite for the most part, but don't easily make friends or share intimacies with people we don't know well. I was really startled on my trips south of the Mason Dixon line where people appear friendlier and more interested. I never knew there was another way of being!

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I would agree with the fact that if you move there you will NEVER be a Vermonter in the eyes of your native neighbors. I was joking with a justice of the peace up there--when he told me that his family went back to the 1850s, I said, "So, you're ALMOST a Vermonter!" He laughed--he knew what I was saying. I think the people who have the most respect up there are descendants of the Green Mountain Boys.

    And New Englanders are reserved. One of the reasons the Nearings left Vermont (besides the fact that the ski industry was going to encroach on their territory) was because there was no desire on the part of their neighbors to manifest community in any way. The Nearings, having socialist ideals, felt that they could initiate all kinds of cooperative ventures in the area--but no one bit.

    However, there are a lot of transplants in Burlington which I think mitigates any potential feeling of being an outsider.

    At the same time, there is a shocking lack of diversity. My other son (who now lives in VT, but moved up from NYC) was stared at by people in the downtown area because instead of wearing L.L. Bean-like flannels and jeans, he was wearing his "hip" NYC outfit, which was by NO means outlandish. It was just simply... different from L.L. Bean.

    Personally, I found everyone very friendly. But I was raised in as a New Englander in Connecticut so I guess "friendly" is a relative term.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member HumboldtGurl's Avatar
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    Ooooh, one of my favorite cities in the country. I LOVED it. In fact, when DH and I were traveling the US looking for our ideal place to live, Burlington ranked very, very high. It reminded us of Humboldt County, where we started, only with a better economy and more options for businesses.

    You can read our review in our blog post, But Can We Stand The Weather?
    http://www.liveworkdream.com/2007/09...d-the-weather/

    I didn't live there so my perspective is only that of a visitor, but I after coming from CA I found VT to be extremely refreshing and authentic.

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    I don't have any Vermont stories as such except that I love the all of Vermont and had considered Burlington to be one of the top places I'd like to live if I were ever to settle in New England (portland, Maine was number one and I had lived there before). But living permanently in New England is off the table for me now as the costs to live there are too expensive - property taxes and especially home heating bills. The weather is also a factor even though I love snow and cold, I just don't know if I could deal with blizzards and heavy snows as I got older. Then there is mud season (i.e. spring) to contend with. That can be a pain! So while I decided not to live anywhere in New England permanently, I would definetely spend summers and fall there in a rented place. I had planned to do that last summer (even had a vacation rental place set up near Killington, VT) but they had torrential rains and massive flooding that wiped out the whole area - as well as had major damaging effects thru out vermont. So I ended up not going there but it was something to think about when determining whether to live (and buy a house) in Vermont. Otherwise I absolutely love it there!

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