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Old 08-14-2007, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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As someone used to a big eastern city, I am wondering what it is like to transition to a small town in Vermont.

What is it like to lose your big city anonymity? Does it feel nice to be known, or does it feel intrusive, with a loss of privacy? Or both? Or each at different times? Does it feel like a job or elementary classroom, where you see the same people each day? If you like them you have a kind of family, but if you don't, you are trapped. Some workplaces are enmeshed and everyone is in everyone else's business.

Speaking of jobs: in a small town, it is a lot harder than in the city to escape a job you don't like and find another. To a greater extent than in the city, you have to accept what you can get. I'm not saying it is easy to find work in the city, but there are more choices and possibilities than in a small town. How restrictive is this? How stressful? I imagine it is very restrictive and stressful. But my point of reference is a big city.

Do city people go nuts with the slower pace of life?

Do they get frustrated with the relative lack of urban amenities?

Do they get bored or restless with less to do, or at least less choices?

How long do they maintain their big city suspiciousness of people? How long do they maintain their paranoia about crime?

Do city people miss the ethnic diversity of small towns?

I'm not too concerned about feeling accepted, as the town in my sights is Brattleboro, which has lots of transplants. Also, regarding diversity, Brattleboro, although almost entirely white European-American, has an international community at SIT. And there are more urban-style amenities than in a lot of other small towns.

At least one person on this board has, in effect, urged me to move to Burlington, not Brattleboro. I can see some advantages of Burlington over Brattleboro, and I may someday move there, but right now, my sights are on Brattleboro. After some time there, I can decide whether to stay, or to move, and where.

I guess the ideal place, at least for someone like me as I am right now, would combine the best of small town and city living. That sounds like a small city or large town. Maybe a small city or large town within easy traveling distance from a major city. Burlington offers these, I know.

Also, since I am in my fifties, I have to think of elderly resources. Within 20 years I'll be respectably old, and within 30 years I'll be seriously old. I am pretty healthy now, and hope to be for as long as possible, but, barring premature death, I will probably need eldercare within two or three decades. Brattleboro is known for its care of its elderly, and Burlington is coming around. It was mentioned in the AARP magazine as a good city for seniors.

Anyway, back to topic: What does it feel like to transition from a big eastern city to a small Vermont town?

Last edited by arel; 08-14-2007 at 06:34 AM..
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
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Adjusting depends on the person. I moved here from outside of New York City and found the transition a little difficult. I went a little crazy with the much slower pace of life. There aren't as many options in many ways. This is a small state. There are not as many different types of markets, jobs, restaurants, entertainment, museums, and the list goes on and on. For example, I live in the Burlington area and my family is a member of the ECHO Aquarium and Science Center. This is a nice center, but it's a little disappointing in comparison to the science centers located in NYC and southwestern CT that we have visited. You may become bored with what Brattleboro or even Burlington has to offer after living there for a while. We enjoy fine art and Broadway plays and find that we end up in NY 6-8 times a year to get our fill (we have family in and around NYC, so it's a better choice of cities for us). Most people adjust and if they need more there is Boston, NYC or Montreal close by.

It depends on your likes and dislikes. If you like ethnic diversity you may find Vt a little tough to get used to. People who live here think it's diverse, but there is no comparing it to NYC. There aren't as many amenities as you will find in NYC. Due to our population size there is less competition so some of those amenities will be more expensive.

I don't think you will have any problems feeling accepted. More than 50% of Vermont's population is from outside of the state. Most people are friendly, but you do have some who can be as rude as anywhere else you go.

I think that it's nice to be known at work, but that depends on the person. Some of my coworkers think to many people get into your business. If you enjoy being around the people you work with, than you shouldn't have an issue with that at all.

As far as crime goes, crime is less than you will find in a large city, but you should never let your guard down. You need to be as cautious as you would be anywhere else in the country. Crime still happens like anywhere else. There is much less in rural towns, but in suburban areas you need to be more cautious. We have had several issues with cars burglarized and vandalized on our property and a couple of homes in our neighborhood were burglarized with the owners home. This doesn't happen all the time, but you need to be cautious.
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:51 PM
 
Location: ~~In my mind~~
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I have also been wondering that question. Thanks for asking it arel.
In my town, I am literally minutes away from almost anything I could ever want. But along with that convenience is the way over crowding, traffic like you wouldnt believe, etc...hence one of the reasons we want to move. Being born and raised in So Calif, I am used to having many things at my disposal (not trying to sound spoiled...lol. That is just how it is out here) So I was wondering if I would freak out at the thought of not having everything at my disposal at all hours. I have thought about this long and hard. With my panic disorder, I do get scared sometimes at night (just one of the many side effects from anxiety/panic), and I need to be near a hospital or someplace I can go, just for my own peace of mind. So I am sure it will take some getting used to, but I am counting on the trade off to be worth it. My thinking is getting away from the heck pace of life here, might help me in some way with my anxiety. Also we want to get away from the crowds, the HOT weather, the extreme traffic, the illegals that are a HUGE problem out here, and after the other night, I want to get out of here before the "big one" hits. I dont know if I could live through 3 mins of the earth shakin under my feet. That thought scares me almost as much as floods do. So how about it, any of the "city" folk living in Vermont now, how are you adjusting?
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Old 08-15-2007, 02:21 AM
 
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I have lived in big cities all my life, and New York City isn't the largest of those. I immigrated from Asia, and some cities there are definitely larger sometimes even more chaotic than NYC. All of the big cities I've lived in though have a wide variety of restaurants, cultural activities, people, modern conveniences, extensive public transport, and jobs which proportionally pay you enough to afford the cost of living as long as you live within your means.

Then everything changed the summer of last year after I graduated with my master's degree. I was offered a (rare) good job in the Burlington area. I was initially scared of Burlington being the smallest town I was ever going to live in, but I thought a good job would allow me to save a lot for the future while still enjoying a nice lifestyle. Although those were true for the most part, I still wasn't really happy. After 1 year and 2 months, I requested for an internal transfer and I'm now in the same company's offices in the NYC-area.

I have mixed feelings about that move, but overall I think I'm happier in my present situation. That is not to say though that I don't like Burlington, because I thought it was a wonderful small town. I'll definitely visit again in the future for the weekend or something. I think it's really just that for me... a small town where I'll go to visit for the weekend to recharge from the hustle and bustle of city life, but not a place where I'd like to live.

To answer arel's questions....

1. Yes, I go nuts with the slower pace of life. It may be that I just got used to such a fast pace all my life and I'm the one who needs to slow down. But I guess for everyone, they have their own pace to get them through life.

2. Yes, I get frustrated with the lack of urban amenities... I do have to admit that for a town of 40,000 people, it's definitely better than most others 2x it's size, but still not enough for me.

3. YES!!! I easily get bored from non-urban activities, and outdoor activities aren't exactly my thing either.

4. I don't think I've come across a whole lot of suspicious people in the Burlington area when they find out I've lived my whole life in large metropolitan areas. For a small town, Burlington has very progressive-minded people who are very open to all other people.

5. Yes, I missed the ethnic diversity. This was reflected in the range of cuisines and cultural attractions available.

Overall, I think you may notice that I only talk about Burlington, and not Vermont in general. While I was in Vermont, I spent most of my time in Burlington. I had the occasional weekend drive to Montpelier, Stowe, and mostly, Middlebury. But after maybe one or two months in Vermont, I tried to spend as many of my weekends as possible in the major northeast cities.... NYC (5 visits while I was in VT), Boston (3 visits), Philly (4 visits), and DC (2 visits). So that's 14 weekends spent going to a major city just to "have my fix" while in my 1 year in Burlington, and does not count my Christmas in Asia to visit family and friends, and my Thanksgiving long weekend in NYC.

So does this say anything about whether living in a city or living in a rural area is better? Absolutely not, since everyone enjoys their own lifestyle and own pace. All of this was just my situation, and just speaking about my own experiences.

Last edited by middle-of-nowhere; 08-15-2007 at 02:39 AM..
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Old 08-15-2007, 03:44 AM
 
Location: Vermont
1,442 posts, read 5,905,035 times
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I think I need to clarify my situation, as it has bearing on the difficulty of transitioning to a small town.

I live in southern Brooklyn, which is somewhat suburban. It takes me about an hour to get to Manhattan, door to door, and longer if midtown. Uptown takes about 2 hours. (NYC is huge). If I drive on the Belt Parkway, there are lots of open spaces looking north, and water - Jamaica Bay or Gravesend Bay - looking south. The Salt Marsh Nature Center has restored what was an ugly dump of a salt marsh into a beautiful and natural place. I now go there to unwind. I can go there and forget I am in the city.

Because I work largely in southern Brooklyn, I rarely go into Manhattan nowadays. I recently turned down a good job in the South Bronx because of the huge commute, because I would often be leaving work after dark (it is a dangerous area at night) and because I feared not being able to check on my diabetic cat at some point during the day if I were worried.

I love what I do for a living, so it often doesn't feel like work to me. It is simply what I do. I wish I were making more money, but I can remedy that.

So my pace of life is not the frenetic pace of a super-urban Manhattanite on Wall Street. I'm not rushing, and I'm not trying to impress anyone or compete with anyone. I have realistic concerns about finances, but I am not really materialistic. I do not engage in conspicuous consumption.

I am not constantly running off to Broadway plays, fancy restaurants, museurms or even Central Park, although I like the cultural amenities in NYC and I love Central Park. Central Park's designer considered Brooklyn's Prospect Park his masterpiece, but I really prefer Central Park. And I am not into world class shopping. I prefer to buy my clothes from LL Bean. Really. My fashion statement usually involves quality, honesty and utility. I do not wear high heels, for reasons of health, safety, comfort and mobility. Even my dressy shoes are flat.

I do not need to eat pizza or bagels. I have largely stopped eating pizza, because of the refined flour (unless the crust is whole wheat, which is hard to find) and the full-fat cheese. Contrary to the impression I may have given on these forums, I can survive without bagels. Or I can eat what is sold. Or I can even make my own.

I have described myself as a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, and I think I am, but I am not the stereotyped New Yorker. When I visited my cousin in Fort Lauderdale, he asked what I wanted to see and seemed at a loss when I said the flora and fauna. I suppose he expected me to want to visit malls or stores or other things. Actually, though, I did go to a mall one day and I liked it. I do like the ambience of malls, in moderation. There's a big mall in Brooklyn, called Kings Plaza. I rarely go there. But I visited an upscale mall in New Jersey once and it was a completely different experience. I do enjoy browsing in stores.

So my personality, I think, is some kind of hybrid between New York and Vermont.

But I'm still wondering if I would regret a move to Brattleboro. My next door neighbor said she used to spend summers in Putney, but got bored. I think a lot of New Yorkers would get bored outside of New York, or at least outside of a big city.

I also think a lot of my resistance to moving is my resistance to leaving home. This is a different issue from leaving the city or leaving New York.

I have posted elsewhere about some of my reasons for wanting to move: natural beauty, clean air, clean water, clean food, less crime, a more intimate community (hopefully not a suffocating one!). Of course, Brattleboro has some serious drawbacks, especially the hated combination of high cost of living, few jobs and low salaries. It also has rough winters (probably not much worse than those in NYC, but the roads can be winding and hilly, and there are places where you can skid off the road and go into the river or, in New Hampshire, a lake.) There have been recent problems with the police tasering, with a bear, with nudity and other things. I have heard complaints about gossip, complacency, racism and hypocracy. But most people who live there like or even love it, in spite of the drawbacks. Lots of ex-New Yorkers live there. I was told a lot moved up after 9/11.

I think that Brattleboro offers a more healthy and natural lifestyle than we have here in NYC. Cleaner, safer, calmer, prettier. And the people are lagely educated and cosmopolitan. And it is not too far away from cities, if you need an urban fix. Small cities like Keene and Northampton are within an hour. Bigger cities like Hartford or Springfield are about an hour away. Portland and the major cities are further away - further than I would like - but they are accessable. You can drive to New York or to Boston after breakfast and get there at lunchtime.

I have also been counseled that Brattleboro has a lot of New York influence and that I would not experience culture shock. I actually relish the bohemian quality of Brattleboro. My favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan are Greenwich Village and the Upper West Side. So it wouldn't feel alien, but I still wonder if I can live happily in a small town. I used to live in a small town in southern Rhode Island. I never went up to Providence, or even to New York, unless I absolutely had to. I think I went to Boston only once. I liked most aspects of small town life, and if I liked it in Rhode Island, where I found people to be often quite unfriendly and inaccessable, I would probably like it much more in Vermont, where people generally seem more welcoming and accepting.

But visiting, researching and analyzing do not fully prepare you for living in a place on a daily basis.

I guess I am trying to avoid risk, which is impossible. But I still need to reduce and manage the risk as much as I can.

Last edited by arel; 08-15-2007 at 04:03 AM..
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:14 AM
 
1,134 posts, read 3,627,575 times
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As someone used to a big eastern city, I am wondering what it is like to transition to a small town in Vermont.

What is it like to lose your big city anonymity? Does it feel nice to be known, or does it feel intrusive, with a loss of privacy? Or both? Or each at different times? Does it feel like a job or elementary classroom, where you see the same people each day? If you like them you have a kind of family, but if you don't, you are trapped. Some workplaces are enmeshed and everyone is in everyone else's business.


The Vermonters in my neighborhood(Proctor) kept to themselves.
Very nice people...never in your biz. The people at my job however
were diametricaly opposed to this. Gossip and other provincial repasts
were the norm. Easy enuff to ignore....Also, I worked right outside of
Rutland. Not a good representation of Vermont.



Speaking of jobs: in a small town, it is a lot harder than in the city to escape a job you don't like and find another. To a greater extent than in the city, you have to accept what you can get. I'm not saying it is easy to find work in the city, but there are more choices and possibilities than in a small town. How restrictive is this? How stressful? I imagine it is very restrictive and stressful. But my point of reference is a big city.

Been discussed to the point of redundancy. You most likely will not
find the exact job you are looking for and if you do, it will pay 1/3 to 1/2
less than your are making now. Mental Health professionals are getting
15.00 an hour with a Masters !!!! Count on about 11.00 or 12.00 without.

Do city people go nuts with the slower pace of life?


No, very nice ! Being able to leave your doors unlocked is not hard to
get used to Drivers who are courtious.....Not too hard to like !

Do they get frustrated with the relative lack of urban amenities?

I must be a flatlander....it drove me nuts ! One needs to factor a lot
of car/travel/gas time and $$ into partaking of any cultural affair which
were very limited to begin with.

Do they get bored or restless with less to do, or at least less choices?

Yes.

How long do they maintain their big city suspiciousness of people? How long do they maintain their paranoia about crime?

Not too long. Its so refreshing to be surrounded by people who might
actually look out for your welfare instead of what they can steal from you.

Do city people miss the ethnic diversity of small towns?

Yes ! In Rutland, people still called Blacks 'Colerts'. No ethnic awarenss at all.
You better like Flannel, Toby Kieth and Camo, too !!

Anyway, back to topic: What does it feel like to transition from a big eastern city to a small Vermont town?


I have made my opinion clear on this many times.
Your real life experience is probably going to be very different
than your expectation. Mine was. Im a perfect candidate for the
Vermont lifestyle...ie; old liberal freedom hatin' hippy kommie,
artist, musician, animal lover, use alternative trans etc....But I
couldnt take it any longer. Between the cost of living, the winter
that NEVER ends and the lack of stuff to do, I was going nutz !
I have very fond memories and will go back to visit, but for me
the area of old Florida Im in now is a waaaay better fit to live.
Florida....who woulda thunk
I know Brooklyn well.....I can see why you would want to move,
but my opinion is you better do lots of homework cuz thats a BIG
swing in the opposite direction. I might even direct you to checkout
Lambertville, NJ or New Hope, Pa if you want Vermont with more
amenities.
I love Vermont for some things, glad Im gone for others.....

Last edited by KoZmiC NinJa; 08-15-2007 at 07:24 AM..
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Western views of Mansfield/Camels Hump!
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KoZmiC NinJa - do you think if you had lived closer to Burlington you would have felt different, and perhaps have stayed? I know Rutland does not have a good reputation, so I'm curious if you had been in a different environment if it would have made a difference.
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
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You may fit into Brattleboro just fine. It depends on what your needs and expectations are. If you are inflating Brattleboro to be this perfect place with everything you ever wanted and needed, then you may be in for disappointment if it isn't. Brattleboro is a nice town, but it's a small town. From what I'm reading, I'm same as you are as far as how I dress and my personal needs and likes. I thought that I wouldn't miss any of the cultural or urban amenities that I was leaving behind. I was wrong. One of my favorite places outside of Central Park is the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. You won't find anyplace like them here. If you can go to those places 6 or 7 times a year and be happy then that will be fine. Now that I don't live in the area anymore I find that I go into NYC more than when I lived in the area.

In a small town like Brattleboro getting a job in a specific field is hard enough, but then finding one where you mesh and fit in and really like it is even harder. The point I'm making is that there are sacrifices that you have to make in order to live here. It could be convenience, cultural, work, forms of entertainment, amenities and the list goes on. If you can live with those sacrifices then you will do OK. Some can deal with this and others can't. If it was the perfect place to live we wouldn't have one of the smallest populations in the US.
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Old 08-15-2007, 07:43 AM
 
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Default Brattleboro is not the same as Rutland

We live in Brattleboro, though I still work in Manhattan (thank heaven for the internet) and I can honestly say that one of our favorite things about living in B/boro is just how easy it is to access culture and events. We've been to really wonderful concerts, theater, etc., and we leave our in-town home and are settled in our seats ready to watch 15 minutes later. And parking is mostly free--or we can even walk! So compared to our many years of life in new york, we're actually able to do a lot more, with less stress and much less $$. Obviously, you don't have all of broadway and Lincoln Center, etc., to choose from, but now we make time to do those events 2 or 3 times/year, and are very happy with the Brattleboro offerings. Shopping is a bigger issue for me, but if you're an LL Bean kind of girl, they deliver!

In our experience, living in town--or at least close to town--has been the way to go and makes a huge difference in your everyday experience. We have nyorker friends who lived way out in the country and it really is much tougher.
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Old 08-15-2007, 08:02 AM
 
1,134 posts, read 3,627,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkln View Post
KoZmiC NinJa - do you think if you had lived closer to Burlington you would have felt different, and perhaps have stayed? I know Rutland does not have a good reputation, so I'm curious if you had been in a different environment if it would have made a difference.
Most resoundingly..."YES"
I have also mentioned here before that I think anyone
who thinks of moving here should only think of the Bratt,
Burlington or Montpelier if they can find a nice apt. with
parking. Then, after a year, reprioritise
Our situation was that my wife got a nice contract from Rutland
and I was going to open my own business so we took a chance on
Rutland even after determining Montpelier or Burlington is where we
were going to go originally. To make a long story short.....it was a
disaster !! We really should have stuck with our original plan.
I love Burlington. I truly believe that if we went there from the start
I would be posting nothing but great stuff about VT. Rutland reminded
me of a deperate Tom Waites tune subject matter. Soooo dismal !
We lived in Proctor in a beautiful setting but since Rutland was where
we worked and banked etc...we always had to suffer it.
But yes....If I could be walking on Church St. every night or along
the waterfront and reading books outside in a lively setting my
views would be very different than the "gimme Prozak" ones I
post here.....Im really not trying to be a forum downer, Im just
trying to explain to people some of Vermont isnt sleigh rides thru
Norman Rockwell type settings and be careful where you choose
to locate.
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