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Old 06-19-2011, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
6 posts, read 18,886 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello all!

My wife and I are expecting our first child. I am self employed. Our current location, which we are ok with but not overjoyed (moved here for a job that disappeared, now self employed and have a bit more leeway for location), just became way uncool due to changing viewpoints of what is important now that we've got a bun in the oven. Mainly because of the ridiculous laws regarding pregnancy- no midwives (they actually arrested one recently- its kind of a "grey area"- some still do it but some get arrested), its impossible to buy private health insurance with a pregnancy (its a "pre-existing condition") and schools here aren't great. So we've gone from ambivalent-but-we-can-deal-fine to we-should-do-better-for-our-kids.

I am self employed (I repair and sell saxophones for a living) and she helps out with the business. We are interested in growing our own food, raising chickens and so forth, using solar and wind energy- general hippie stuff. But I also like to build things and we like to target shoot and I would like to hunt and fish for some of our food as well.

So, Vermont seems really cool. The laws and culture seem to match pretty damn close (closer than anywhere we have been so far) and I like the idea of voting with my feet and giving my kid(s?) an awesome place to grow up.

We will be visiting soon for the first time. I am originally from DC, she from FL, we lived in NYC for a while, now NC, been all over the east coast for trips, half of my family is from upstate NY, half from MD. Been to Vermont once when I was young- all I remember was being blown away by the first time I saw real snow (around DC its really ice or slush most of the time). That's the extent of my NE experiences.

We've got a car (Honda hatchback) and a scooter. I have a feeling this will not be enough. Whats the deal with winter driving therabouts? My wife is due in Jan- do most midwives up there have snowmobiles? (joke) But seriously, whats the deal with winter driving?

How about self employment? Any particularly onerous or generous state laws I should be aware of?

Anybody play saxophone in Vermont? Hehe.

Where is a good place to live if I would like to be driving distance (and perhaps train-able) to NYC and Montreal? Low rents with a big garage or outbuilding for my work is necessary, and like I said we are interested in growing our own food so a nice yard would be good, acres would be awesome.

We plan on settling down permanently pretty soon after living lots of places on the East coast, and so far VT is what we are interested in most.

Anybody want to show us around when we visit? Anybody want to meet up for coffee to give us the low down? Anybody want to drop some precious wisdom on me?

Thank you for reading what must be the zillionth help-me-move post here, and thank you in advance if you decide to spend a little time helping out a fellow human!

Last edited by thatisnotafrog; 06-19-2011 at 04:25 PM..
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:03 PM
 
Location: in a cabin overlooking the mountains
3,079 posts, read 3,708,380 times
Reputation: 2253
It certainly does sound like you could be happy in VT.

Just about anywhere that isn't near a tourist trap (like Manchester or Woodstock) or population center (like Burlington) will have cheap real estate. If you are self-employed and aren't dependent on an employer you can pick where you want to live.

I'd recommend looking at Randolph. It's close to I-89 and has an Amtrak station, also it's home to Vermont Technical College and has a little bit of music culture that might be of interest.


Good luck and I hope all goes well for your family and esp with your wife's pregnancy.
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
6 posts, read 18,886 times
Reputation: 10
Good advice, thank you! We can't wait to visit. Randolph goes on the list.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:15 PM
 
Location: Vermont
3,328 posts, read 8,763,998 times
Reputation: 1991
Randolph is a good central spot. It also located near Ellis Music which is a large musical instrument dealer-you may be able to piggy back off of them for jobs.
Ellis Music | Instrument Sales, Rentals, Repair & Accessories - Bethel, VT
Other towns I would consider would be the Middlebury or Vergennes area. If you stay closer to Lake Champlain you'll have a slightly longer growing season than the rest of the state.
The Upper Valley is another nice area - close to Dartmouth College on the NH side of the river.
Winter driving? Unless its a humungous storm the roads are kept clear. Life doesn't shut down in VT just because it snows. Though this last winter we had 2-3 feet (depending on where you were) in one storm which did cause things to shut down but that was pretty abnormal. A good front wheel drive vehicle with snow tires is a perfectly sufficient vehicle. If you choose a property way out on a back road I'd consider a 4x4.
Are you planning a home birth with a midwife? WE have family friends that have had hospital births with midwives and were very happy with the care they received.
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:08 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,935 posts, read 22,198,202 times
Reputation: 9019
If you want to hunt or fish for some of your food, be aware that Vermont's hunting and trapping season's aren't the greatest, and if you don't own a farm full of corn or fruit that's overrun with deer, you really have to put some work in to get even one legal deer here.

Taxes are higher here. Heating is expensive unless you have a woodstove and a source of cheap/free firewood. As for winter driving, I'd prefer a 4X4 with good winter tires. Even main roads can have bad spots (especially "low salt areas"). Don't drive like it's summer in the winter, better to take your time than die. There's accidents every year from people thinking conditions are good then hitting a patch of black ice or something that's hard to see (sudden drop in temp or a cold pocket can do that). On some backroads one might even want tire chains...actually, some backroads are snowmobile trails in the winter.

For your business you may need to be closer to a population center which could mean much more expensive property. Just keep in mind the mostly low population here and the lack of customers in the more rural parts. I'd stay away from touristy towns like Woodstock though in spite of business possibilities (my father once joked that the first time he drove through Woodstock he expected all the building fronts to fall over like a hollywood movie set coming apart, because everything feels fake lol).
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:20 PM
 
159 posts, read 348,990 times
Reputation: 163
The best advice I can think to give someone moving to Vermont in search of their utopia, especially someone who has never lived in Vermont, is not to unpack for at least two years and don't buy any property, stay liquid.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Inis Fada
16,789 posts, read 28,995,932 times
Reputation: 7377
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrugalYankee View Post
It certainly does sound like you could be happy in VT.

Just about anywhere that isn't near a tourist trap (like Manchester or Woodstock) or population center (like Burlington) will have cheap real estate. If you are self-employed and aren't dependent on an employer you can pick where you want to live.

I'd recommend looking at Randolph. It's close to I-89 and has an Amtrak station, also it's home to Vermont Technical College and has a little bit of music culture that might be of interest.


Good luck and I hope all goes well for your family and esp with your wife's pregnancy.
I will second Randolph.
My friend's son lives up there with his wife and daughters (elementary school age) and they are very content with the choice they made. They are living well, have many young friends, and enjoy the town.

I've only driven through there an a few occasions, but it looks like a nice place to settle down.
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,056,149 times
Reputation: 925
I lived in Randolph for a few years and Brookfield (15 minutes outside of Randolph) for about a decade. This is a great area, but it has a few drawbacks. The small issue is the population density of the area. If you had a music business, customers may need to travel a fair distance to use your business. The big issue is Ellis Music Company in Bethel. They do not just sell instruments, they also base a fair amount of their business on repair. This is a well established company that has been around for more than 60 years and their business is statewide. I belive most schools in Vermont and New Hampshire deal with them as well.
The area is great in many ways, but the competition may be tough for a new business in the area. Chittenden County is much more expensive, but it's an area that this type of business would have better success.
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:06 PM
 
15 posts, read 37,653 times
Reputation: 11
I love this thread - You clearly have real VTers chiming in here. Do check out randolph, but I honestly think you will feel too isolated there with the places you are coming from. In Randolph you are a solid hour of driving fast to get to Burlington or Brattleboro.

One problem you have is the travel to NY, the train honestly sucks in VT. If travel to NY is important I would recommend something closer to the burlington airport, but there are other small airports in the state you could look into. It is impressive though, to get to burlington you have no traffic, and you can check in and get through security in under 20 minutes most of the time. Montreal is easy, it is 3 hour or less drive from central VT, and boston is 3-4 hours.

Based on everything in your post I think the Brattleboro area would be of great interest to you. Lots of small towns surrounding that would be very cheap. Burlington area would be more expensive, but again the airport, and a little more going on if that is something you would like.

As for winter driving, front wheel drive is okay if you live in town and are using main roads, otherwise you will most likely get stuck. With a baby on the way you really want all wheel or 4x4, especially in case of emergency. As other posters said though, things do not shut down. Roads are kept pretty clear, you just need to go slow, and if you can avoid it you wait to go out until the next day.

Would love to show you around, but not really sure what area ou are looking at or if the timing would work out, but good luck!
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