Young couple from TX looking to start life in VT (Brattleboro: school, college)
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No we've never lived any where with a full winter, so we figure it will probably take us four or five years to actually get used to it. The first few winters will probably be really rough, but we figure if we're ever going to escape Texas, we'll have to face a winter or two. We're up for the challenge!
It may take you a winter or two to get into the rhythms of winter driving and all the personal, home, and vehicle maintenance it takes to do winter safely and comfortably.
As far as getting used to winter itself, my observation is that some people's bodies and emotions are better suited to Vermont winters than others. For example, I'm a South Florida native and it took me zero time to get used to winter. I've now been up here 23 years and I continue to feel comfortable outside in very low temperatures. Whereas my husband (originally from Connecticut) has limits: when it's bitter cold, especially with wind, he simply cannot be comfortable outside for more than a few minutes no matter how much he bundles up. We're just different that way and neither of us wants to leave Vermont.
Emotionally I'm comfortable with winter. Feeling comfortable and staying active outdoors goes a long way toward keeping me sane (whereas I miss being outdoors during Vermont's hot, humid summer -- I just can't do it).
However, even I feel a bit wacky in early winter when it gets dark REALLY early, like dusk at 4 pm. By late January, I can see that the light is lasting longer in the afternoon and my spirits lift considerably. Once that happens, the rest of winter is joyful for me.
It's hard to convey how bleak it is in the dead of winter to some one that has never experienced it. I'd say its the lack of daylight more than the cold. I like the cold, but I start to feel like I'm living in a cave in December and January.
Jeebus people………..you make it sound like we all need a light box in the house for positive affirmation. ;-)
Winter anywhere in the northeast has the light limitations, but it isn’t like Alaska or northern Canada with 1-2 hours of daylight…….or light all day………
My personal experience is that we find winter in the NEK a heck of a lot more enjoyable than Southern New England and a heck of a lot easier to deal with in the NEK than Southern New England.
I’ll take a boat load of snow every other day with low population density driving the roads than ice and mix coupled with 1000’s of people who failed physics class and think a AWD BMW can still do 80mph on ice…..
Feeling comfortable and staying active outdoors goes a long way toward keeping me sane (whereas I miss being outdoors during Vermont's hot, humid summer -- I just can't do it).
Oh, I don't know about that. We all enjoyed your photos of kayaking through Vermont this summer. You looked like you had a pretty good time.
Those of you who are saying the winter's cold is not that bad - get real, people! These folks are coming from Texas, in the southwest, where there is plenty of sunshine, warmth and a more arid, dry climate. How many people have we seen not just on this forum, but on others with cold climates, where people are just clawing the walls in the winter, hate the cold, driving on ice, etc. but then can't leave as easily as they thought because of economic reasons. I would strongly suggest this young couple visit for a couple of months, not a couple of weeks, during the middle of winter to get a taste of it, and then make an informed decision. Or at least take temporary jobs, if they can, until they are sure they want to put down roots in Vermont. That way, they are not totally cutting their ties to Texas.
I think a visit in late Jan - early Feb would be ideal...coming from Texas you are going to have a huge adjustment. If you are gung ho, that's great, but you should experience what you are up for before making the move. There are a lot of people who thought they could handle it and couldn't...participating in lots of outdoor activities goes a long way in enjoying winter, not just 'getting through it'. Winter is looong...you can't just get through it.
I personally find it easier to deal with the winter up there than in NY - winter in NY is dark and gray. At least up there, the snow brightens everything up. At least that's how I see it.
Definitely come visit in the winter and tour the areas you are interested in to get a good feel for the area. You just don't know whether you'll like on area vs. another unless you visit. For example, while i LOVE the NEK (I grew up there), its just too isolated for me. Now I live in the country about 40 minutes from Burlington and it suits me much better. It may be the opposite for you but you won't know unless you come for an extended visit.
I would imagine that winter here will be shock for you coming from Texas. Regarding the lack of sunlight...it bothers some more than others. It's not that its dark all the time, it's just that there is a lot of cloudcover in the winter so it can be days before we see the sun. Personally it bothers me...thats why a week or 2 down in Florida is part of my winter plans. I need that sunshine! The best way to get used to winter here is to get out and enjoy it - skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing etc. Just because its cold out doesn't mean that you can't go outside!
Granted, I'm originally from the Midwest, but I spent two years in Dallas and would take a cold winter over a Dallas summer anytime! You can only get so naked, but you can keep piling on the layers til you look like Ralphie's little brother - Randy - on A Christmas Story.
I really appreciate all of the concern and thought expressed on this board.
Just to clarify a bit, We're not completely ignorant of winter; I lived in Chicago as a young kid and most definitely remember the lack of sunshine. And I learned to drive in the Texas panhandle so I'm actually used to driving on ice (now driving in an actual Vermont winter I'm sure is a whole other situation).
I'm sure plenty of people moving to Vermont say this, but we're not terribly worried about the winter. We have an idea of what to expect, plan to visit in the winter, and most of all we're absolutely desperate to escape Texas! Plus we're very excited for a real winter. We're dying to experience some winter sports, some winter hunting, it is really a big deal for us that'll we be able to walk outside in snowy weather! So hopefully with that enthusiasm and a hefty dose of realism and stick-to-itness, we'll pull through.
As I mentioned in a previous post, we're both fully aware that we'll probably be absolutely miserable the first two winters so we'll prepare for that. Consider your advice well heeded, we will indeed visit in January and February.
I also kind of see it as this: we're both from North Texas, in this part of the world, April-September are unbearable. The humidity is at 100% by 7 in the morning, and the temperature doesn't dip below 95, even at night, until October. Combine that with the concrete, blinding, blistering sun, the pollution and all the allergens, six months out of the year, you really cannot go outside and it is just unbearable. We're just exchanging the heat for the cold as I see it. They is a gross oversimplification of course. But I just cannot see us turning tail and running from the winter.
Another quick question for any who feel like fielding it: Could anyone help us out with what Churches are like up there? I keep reading that besides New Hampshire, Vermont is one of the more secular states you can live in. I also keep seeing that the majority of Christians in the state are Catholic. Could any protestants kind of maybe give us a feel for what the Christian community is like up there? Kind of the feel of your average protestant church. We've never even seen a Congregationalist Church down here (this is big time Baptist country) so we're just very curious.
Thanks again! I am completely overwhelmed with how friendly and helpful y'all have been.
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