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Old 10-18-2010, 01:46 AM
 
17 posts, read 16,210 times
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Default Schools-people comparison Essex, Shelburne, Charlotte, Williston

I'm planning to move to Burlington area (can retire at 50) in a couple years when my daughter will be 10 or 11. I want the best schools and opportunities for my daughter. She is extroverted and friends are very important...also likes tennis, swimming, skiing and is starting to learn to ride horses (now says wants a horse). My retirement dream is to have some land around my house, a nice country house (in good shape) and get away from cookie cutter suburbs. But I also need friends and activities. My agent is suggesting Shelbourne (my limit is about 400K), but others tell me the people are rather snooty there and it's standard suburb. On the other hand, I worry if go to Charlotte or Essex, we may be too far out and lack opportunities. Can anyone compare the schools and people for me? I've lived around the world in my career, so I would like to be in a place where many people (not all) are well educated, but still down to earth and friendly. is there anywhere with friendly small town atmosphere, educated people, great schools, land around the houses, yet near to activities and opportunites? maybe just in my dreams....thanks.
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Old 10-18-2010, 04:49 AM
 
Location: Manassas, VA
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I grew up in Essex Center back in the 70s and early 80s. When my family moved us to Northern Virginia I was almost 2 years ahead in the schooling. I don't know if it's still that way now.

Since I don't currently live in Vermont and am not planning on moving back to the Burlington area but rather the NE Kingdom, hopefully someone will chime in. However....I would think that the general area is rather similar. Everyone who lives there knows the distinction between Charlotte (make sure you know how to say it) Shelburne, Essex (Center or Junction) and Williston. None are that far away at all.

I don't think you can really go wrong. Look at what you can afford and what you can get for your money. Also - pay attention to property taxes in Chittenden County - they can be high in comparison.

You'll have lots to do in that area no matter where you pick...they are all within 15 - 20 minutes of each other.

Although I don't plan on moving back to that area (because I don't care of the city) if I was given the opportunity to move back there this moment - I would not hesitate to go to anyone of those areas.

Last edited by vermonter16; 10-18-2010 at 05:17 AM..
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Old 10-18-2010, 05:16 AM
 
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Default Thanks Vermont16

Thank your very much for your reply. Especially useful as we were just in N. Virginia last year (Falls Church City school district) where they claim to have among the best schools in the country. I also (briefly) considered retiring there, but the cost of living is horrendous, housing prices in the best school districts are out of sight and rush hour traffic lasts for hours and is a nightmare. I also heard in the best school districts in N. Va that kids are super competitive (taking after their high achieving parents) and they feel undue stress and pressure from an early age. I'm looking for an education that is just as good, but with a more balanced lifestyle. I first thought Essex/Essex Junction might be for us, then was steered toward Shelburne. Then I started to wonder, if Shelburne is a rather rich area, would the kids be super competitive and/or too materialistic and my daughter would be pressured to keep up with the Joneses? What it sounds like you're saying is that schools and type of people may be similar enough in all of these towns. Does anyone have experience with say, both Charlotte and Shelbourne elementary/middle schools? I saw on one thread where a woman wrote that "her heart sings" when she walks into the Shelburne school and "sinks" when she walks into Charlotte school. But she didn't elaborate. If you have any other thoughts or anyone else could give me advice, I'd very much appreciate it. I'm overseas now, and trying to buy my property long-distance without ever having seen the area. I'm a single mom, by the way. Thanks so much again.
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Old 10-18-2010, 05:54 AM
 
Location: Manassas, VA
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I wish I had more info on the schools there now. Maybe you can try searching online or hopefully someone will chime in. Yes, my parents moved us from lowly Essex Center at the time to Fairfax County (because of the schools) and my brother sat in his classes bored out of his mind (he is a brainiac) and I was happy that I didn't have to study . The Northern Virginia area can be competitive for schools (like Thomas Jefferson for Science and Technology) but we have been hit hard with getting rid of AP classes to have more ESL classes.

Each one of those areas has their own reputation. If you drive up there and around - you will see the changes in the towns. Yes, Shelburne is known for money - you had a Rockefeller living there at one point, but Charlotte is known for money as well. Williston....aaaah, to me no, but maybe things have changed - Williston is definitely convenient.

If you haven't gone up yet - go up and drive around. You might find that you love one area over another....they all are a little bit different. There are some nice places in Shelburne. My parents live there right now.
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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Thanks again very much. I'm taking your advice. My sister will go up and drive around for me this week (I'm stuck overseas). And I will keep researching on the net (so far Shelburne schools do look great...and they are closer to Burlington which I think is a plus). May I ask, do you think there is plenty to do up there (both for adults and kids) when compared with N. Virginia? I think the outdoor opportunities must be great (the skiing sure is closer..and other winter sports are better), and from what I see, it seems Burlington probably has enough to offer in terms of shows, concerts, theater, and then there are the various festivals. Washington/N.Va has a lot of course, but I found I often didn't take advantage of it because of the traffic congestion nightmare, and in the summer, it was simply to hot to go to anything outside (except the pool). Thanks.
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Manassas, VA
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Oh my gosh - if you are going to live in Shelburne - you are minutes from Burlington. Much to do? Oh heck yes! You kind of get the best of both worlds. You'll have traffic in that area since it is right near the city (ummm, nothing....nothing compared to No. VA (just to the rest of rural VT... so little, I probably shouldn't even mention it!). But you'll be close to all modern conveniences and also close to tons and tons of outdoor activities - skiing, hiking, sailing, swimming! Plus, you've got Montreal across the border within 90 minutes which is neat - you'd be the first to see the Cirque Du Soleil shows! So you have a city culture....mixed with all of the great outdoors! I don't think you could make a better choice...then again, I might be a little biased but...I can honestly say that I've lived both.
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Old 10-18-2010, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, VT
76 posts, read 106,133 times
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Hi Adriatic- that was me you referred to saying my heart sings when I walk into the Shelburne schools, etc. I'd be happy to elaborate, but it's such a personal decision. You have to walk into different schools and see how it feels for your child. I understand how people think Shelburne is a little snooty, but I am a crunchy granola type living in Charlotte and I find that most of my friends live in Shelburne. I just think it's an amazing little, walkable community. The school is a very special place where they work hard to foster a sense of community among the kids & they work very, very tirelessly to make sure there is no bullying/teasing that goes under the rug. Parents of SCS kids will tell you how very seriously the school takes that. Not so much the case in Charlotte. But my guy is especially sensitive, so that's why it's such a concern for me. It may not be for you, however.
Feel free to PM me with any other questions you have!
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:37 AM
 
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VermontLori, Thanks very much for elaborating a bit. I actually will "PM" you, now that I looked up "PM" on google and learned what it means. I actually have a few questions on Charlotte as well, and think I have narrowed my choice to Charlotte and Shelburne....leaning toward Shelburne. Maybe we will be neighbors one day!
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, VT
76 posts, read 106,133 times
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LOL!! I had to look up PM on Google, too, recently! I've also had to look up LMAO----check that one out!
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Old 10-19-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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We just moved to Williston from Portland, ME just 3 weeks ago and so far have been very happy with the schools and the community. We considered Shelburne and Charlotte but the commuting traffic from those communities into Burlington is horrendous (my job is in Williston) although they are both very nice places. Just in terms of test scores, Williston does not perform as well as the other schools in this county but it's still a big improvement from Portland. Housing in Williston is also very limited and the airplane/National Guard plane noise in Williston has been a real drag.
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