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Old 06-22-2007, 08:55 AM
Location: Journey's End
10,189 posts, read 24,876,147 times
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I have read it, and have recommended it to others.

Originally Posted by chaz longue View Post
btw - anybody read the Tracy Kidder book about Northampton?
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Old 06-22-2007, 12:46 PM
Location: Journey's End
10,189 posts, read 24,876,147 times
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While I haven't figured out for myself what the differences are, as you say, the Valley is not restricted to one single place. By example today I was over in Turners and Miller Falls, and Montague. This area is totally different than the towns around the 5-colleges, and different from towns along the Mohawk Trial. The Valley falls is spread out over 3 counties, I believe and even within those counties vast differences exist.

In Turners Falls, just over the bridge, I had a bite to eat--all fresh, all home made, and a delight to chat with the wait-staff. The total for a club sandwich (fresh turkey), a cup of home made chowder and a take out dessert $7.93. All the pies and cakes are made on the premises.

This same lunch in say Amherst would cost about 1-1/2 x more, not be home-made and although folks would greet me like they know me, then wouldn't be all too concerned whether my soup was good.

I still have to cogitate on the differences culturally, but one small observation I always make is just as you get about 5 miles to the Vermont border, the colour green gets darker.

Originally Posted by MRVphotog View Post
I lived in Putney, just north of Bratt, for 6 years, currently live in Waitsfield, never lived in Burlington.

The Pioneer Valley is a big area, any particular part? Not a big fan of Springfield, I find the Amherst/Northhampton crowded but do like the Greenfield area, northern Bershires and North Adams area.

My wife and I participate(food vendors) in the Green River Music and Balloon Festival in Greenfield every summer which is an awesome event. We have served food to hundreds of people in the area and they seem to be really nice. A bunch of top rated colleges plus the huge UMASS campus is in the area which is cool. Got to see Julius Erving play at UMASS before he was Dr. J, unreal!

I guess I don't feel all that comfortable commenting on Pioneer Valley cause I'm a over educated Vermont woodchuck who when I cross the Vermont/MA on I91 I always honk my horn as I am glad to be home so my take on the Pioneer Valley is abit jaded.

I really like the Bratt area, very ecletic mix of longtime farmers and highly educated transplants, many who are working artists who have lived in and left their mark on the area for the last 40 years. You have old liberal hippies from the 60's who are now town selectmen and conservative Vermonters who's families have lived in the area for many generations and are on that same selectboard. They come from diferent sides of the aisle but get along well which is something that is important to me. People are open minded.

They might argue vehemetly about an issue at the annual town meeting but afterwards they are sharing an apple pie made from a local orchard. They might be diferently politically but caring about the schools, the roads, the environment, the importance of family farms are just a few of the common bonds they hold dear to their hearts.

I see lots of "I Love Vermont" bumper stickers in the Pioneer Valley but have never seen a "I Love the Pioneer Valley" bumper stickers in southeastern Vermont. See, what did I tell you...I'm totally jaded. I bet there are lots of folks who live in the PV area that think's it's the cat's meow, understandbly so.
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Old 07-23-2007, 04:30 AM
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arel the only reason I made the negative remark is that it was stated that "there are MANY run down, dreary parts of the town." Without trying to be rude I have to say that this is a FANTASTIC misstatement.

Ok, compare Brattleboro to asthetically challenged areas where spawl is a problem: such as certain areas in southern Maine, many parts of Connecticut, literally anywhere in eastern Mass. In comparison you would probably say that Brattleboro has practically NO run down looking, dreary areas.

You would be extremely hard pressed to find as nice a looking of a town in even MOST of the affluent areas in the United States. For example, wealthy areas in California, Colorado or Utah are full of unsightly track homes, and an abundance of other general sprawl. Besides this, many affluent areas lack a true, real cultural scene like Brattleboro has, or the abundance of natural areas that Brattleboro has. In addition, many affluent areas in the United States are void of the priceless traditional/ historical feel that Brattleboro (and other New England towns) have.

Yes Brattleboro does have a extremely small section of town where you will find a home depot and a staples and a mcdonalds, but my goodness it is a small area, and is even scenic as far as sprawl areas go. Furthermore, all this stuff is isolated onto one part of one single street. And with a town so full of localism, sushi bars, hippy restaurants with free meals and the like, it is a welcome change and even somewhat of an adventure to actually enjoy a meal in an "exotic" chain restaurant.

Besides this, there is maybe one single street in all of Brattleboro that is considered "a troubled area," and this street is full of stately old victorian houses, colorful and clean looking, converted to apartments where lower income people can live. In addition this street has nice parks, pleasant walkways and interesting and captivating locally owned shops and restaurants.

There may be lower income areas in town, (and this is a good thing,) but these
areas are vastly nicer looking than lower income areas of most other towns or cities. See, the low income areas (and the town in general, especially around downtown Brattleboro) is full of older houses. Older houses are beautiful and have character, especially when well maintained. And the overwhelming majority of the older houses in Brattleboro are exceptionally well maintained. So what I'm saying is that there is alot of really nice neighborhoods and buildings in Brattleboro that low income people can actually afford to live in.

To top all this off, this is a big, fresh looking misty mountain overlooking the whole town. How dreary is that?

I know Brattleboro isn't completely perfect. There are other places I'd rather live. But I know that nothing beats Brattleboro as far as community/culture/nature/small town goes. Just because I don't want to live there doesn't mean I don't know its the best place possible.

Again, Im sorry if I was rude in the previous post. Its just that the notion that Brattleboro has many dreary and rundown parts was a gross misstatement, in all due respect. I only reacted so strongly because its literally one of the very few VIBRANT places left, at least in virtually all of New England, that ISN'T somewhat dreary and run down looking.

Last edited by cullen90; 07-23-2007 at 06:03 AM..
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Old 07-23-2007, 05:54 AM
Location: Vermont
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Cullen, your point is well-stated and your apology is accepted.
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Old 07-23-2007, 03:30 PM
1,396 posts, read 2,997,140 times
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Originally Posted by cullen90 View Post
its literally one of the very few VIBRANT places left, at least in virtually all of New England, that ISN'T somewhat dreary and run down looking.
In other words, virtually all of New England is somewhat dreary and run down looking? I am very proud of New England and I find that statement very offensive!
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Old 07-23-2007, 03:41 PM
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No I am a proud New Englander too and I am sorry for putting down other places in this great area. I just went a bit over the top in my opinion there. Didn't mean to offend anyone.
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Old 07-23-2007, 03:58 PM
Location: hinesburg, vt
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A part of the dreary and rundown appearance one notices while travelling through various towns is directly linked to the economic reality of living here. When you see houses in obvious need of painting and other repairs don't assume it is the owners intent and willingness to let the property become an eyesore. I just had my house painted this summer and the bill was an absolute shock in comparison to other houses I had painted out of state. I just wish I had the time to do it myself, but work hours and ever changing and unpredictable weather could have taken a major part of my summer. As far comparing Vt to Mass, my son goes to U-Mass Amherst so I take trips down every now and then. For some Mass can be heaven, for others the intellectual and tolerance lifestyle is just hype. Everyone knows what they like and don't like so between Mass and Vt there are many pros and cons depending on individual preferances. I find the scenery and atmosphere of NW Mass to be very nice with plenty of places to explore.
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:31 PM
Location: on a dirt road in Waitsfield,Vermont
2,186 posts, read 5,980,359 times
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Spent the weekend feeding the folks at the Green River Music and Hot Air Balloon Festival in Greenfield, MA, stayed in Brattleboro. Always amazed at how many crunchy folks in the northern part of the Pioneer Valley. Never saw any naked people in Bratt all weekend.

Took a leisurely drive back up north via Rt 5. Here's a pic of the Vermont Christmas Tree Farm near Windsor
http://forums.skimrv.com/albums/album33/vtxmasfarm.jpg (broken link)

My youngest daughter and friend seem to be in good spirits despite having 50lbs of carrots to chop up.
http://forums.skimrv.com/albums/album33/carrotgirls.jpg (broken link)

some of the festival crowd
http://forums.skimrv.com/albums/album33/greenrvfest.jpg (broken link)
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:23 PM
100 posts, read 351,867 times
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Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
I am just wondering how folks see and experience the differences between say, Brattleboro, Guilford, et al and the neighbouring towns in MA: Amherst, Sunderland, Montague, etc.

I've lived in the Pioneer Valley on both sides of Rte 9, but seem to get a sense that living in Vermont only a few miles North is vastly different.

But, I can't put my finger on it.

Any ideas?
The PV is quite a bit different than Brattleboro.

I LOVE Brattleboro for many reasons.
I love the small towness about it, the Co-op, the busy downtown, the ability to be able to drive 5 minutes out of town and be in the country.
The worst traffic we ever see on I91 is when the tourists are coming up or going home on the weekends. LOL really not traffic at all but many more cars than we are used to seeing.
I also love that people speak their minds here, you may not agree or like what they have to say but at least they get you thinking and talking about your opinion.
Great place to raise a family, that's why we came but now that our family is raised we are considering a move west. Just getting by isn't working for us anymore, so we need a change.
But Brattleboro and VT will always be dear to my heart with many fond memories.
The one major con I can think of, is that winter lasts way too long, winter is changing and seems to be warming a bit but it's still the longest season we have.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:03 PM
Location: Vermont
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Well, one major con is the winter. But the Big Major Con is the economy.

It's nice to be free of the materialism of the city. But idealism does not pay the bills.

That is my biggest concern. I don't think I mind the winter. I find that when spring comes I don't feel ready for it. But one thing I need in the winter is heat in my home. And that needs to be paid for with money.

I am fearful of financial problems. I don't mind economizing on discretionary spending. But I do need to pay electric, heat, phone and other bills. I need to pay rent or mortgage. I need to pay for diabetic supplies for my diabetic cat. Insulin is expensive. Test strips are very expensive. Syringes are less so, and lancets even less. But I need to pay for his diabetic supplies out of pocket. And then there are the taxes. In New York City, you have to be 3 years in tax arrears to be at any risk of tax foreclosure. In Vermont, they take your house if you are about $1000 in arrears. I saw auction notices arrears approximately that small. If I'm wrong, somebody please correct me!

I can't believe that you, an RN, were offered such an insulting wage. I'm surprised you couldn't get a job at the Retreat. Right now they are offering substantial hiring bonuses. And I think they hire medical nurses as well as psychiatric nurses.

Social workers are used to insulting treatment, so I can only imagine the kind of wage I'd be offered. But there are several areas of social work, and I can also go into private practice. And in Vermont, unlike in New York, a private practitioner can see Medicaid patients. I also want to get involved in real estate, if I can hack the headaches of being a landlord and the headaches of renovations. We'll see. Photography is another option, especially pet photography.

I read today, on the NYC forum, that Brooklyn is, I think, the most paved over county in the country. Food for thought. Very concrete issue. Time to move to a greener space.

Last edited by arel; 07-24-2007 at 09:13 PM..
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