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Old 08-27-2007, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Vermont
1,442 posts, read 5,894,384 times
Reputation: 450

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How do people see the differences between Burlington and Brattleboro? Both are artsy, both have lots of things to do, both are known for liberal politics, both have high costs of living and low salaries and both, I think, have milder winters than other places in Vermont.

Burlington in in the northwest part of the state. Brattleboro is in the southeast part of the state. Burlington is a small city. Brattleboro is a large town. Burlington is within driving distance of Montreal. Brattleboro is within driving distance of Boston and NYC. Burlington has an airport (and a plane to NYC). Brattleboro uses the airport in Hartford, an hour away. Brattleboro is close to the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. Burlington is close to what? (Montreal?) Brattleboro has the West River and the Connecticut River. Burlington has Lake Champlain. Burlington has some relatively tall, steel buildings. Brattleboro has none, or at least none that I've seen.

Brattleboro feels cosmopolitan, to a point, but it still has aspects of a rural town. Burlington, on the other hand, is the defining town of the state's population center.

What I want to know about are the cultural differences, the "feel" of the place. Does Burlington have an urban "feel"? Or does it feel like a large town? How yuppified is it? Do UVM students create drunken, rowdy crowds that cause problems? Does it have, or lack, the sense of intimacy they seem to have in Brattleboro? I have visited Brattleboro frequently within the past year. I have not been to Burlington in over a decade, perhaps more. Thinking about it now, Butlington didn't seem city-like to me. Maybe things have changed since then. Or maybe my view is skewed, considering that my point of reference is a very big city.

Last edited by arel; 08-27-2007 at 03:23 PM..
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:23 PM
 
Location: hinesburg, vt
1,574 posts, read 4,412,601 times
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The Geico commercial comes to mind, the one with the caveman and when asked for a response responds, "what?"
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Vermont
1,442 posts, read 5,894,384 times
Reputation: 450
I figured I'd get some responses like that, as if I am trying to compare apples and oranges, or, better, grapes and coconuts. Or millipedes and giraffes. Or Montpelier and Tokyo. As in, Huh?, Duh? What? or Are You Nuts?

I know the differences are pretty dramatic. But remember, I am "from away" and I do not have the local familiarity that you do.

I'm trying to get a sense of what living in Burlington feels like, as opposed to living in Brattleboro. I strongly suspect that the difference is huge, but I need a way to understand it. I realize the difference is hard to put into words, other than "Burlington is a city and Brattleboro is a town!", but to me there is little difference between a big town and a small city, except that small city is a little bigger, with bigger buildings that are closer together.

I have seen that video on Youtube, Burlington and Lake Champlain Burlington definitely looks like a city, at least in the video. But when I visited, it didn't look like a city. It looked like a town.

Maybe I just need to visit again.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,053,091 times
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I would plan a visit. Things are different than they were 10 or more years ago. Mostly for the better. Burlington is by far the best city or town in the state. Actually not only the state, but in the whole country. This isn't my opinion by the way. All of the listings published on best small cities in the country rank Burlington usually number one or two. The cost of living is higher, but the salaries are better than anywhere else in the state. Burlington has a town feel. It's far from a city. Church St is closed to auto traffic and has this great feel to it. There are musicians playing in the marketplace and every type of shop you would ever need. It's a very open and friendly place. The same can be said about waterfront park and most other places. In fact if you step out in the road cars will actually stop to let you cross. There usually isn't an issue with drunken collage kids hanging out downtown. There is always a heavy police presence downtown especially on weekends. You need to come and spend at least a weekend here. Walk Church St and go to the farmers market, then head down to the waterfront. You will be amazed at how much Burlington has changed for the better. It's one of the few cities left that has a focus on it's downtown.
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Old 08-28-2007, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Vermont
1,442 posts, read 5,894,384 times
Reputation: 450
I have been impressed with all the posts that wax rhapsodic over Burlington. There have been very few negative or even indifferent posts. One poster hated it. I was never clear as to why. I think part of it was financial. Another poster, from big cities in Asia, left Burlington because he/she needed to be in a big city; the poster transferred to a job in New York, but still spoke fondly of Burlington.

I have been set on Brattleboro for about a year. Basically, I would be moving to leave Brooklyn, and also to help my faith community in Brattleboro. But since it is a major move, I want to make sure it is a good fit. And so far, it seems to be. Not perfect. But it seems to have most of what I want (beauty, professional resources in my field, low crime, arguably an intimate community life, good quality of relationships, or so I've read). And very little of the things I want to leave behind in NYC (crime, terrorism, materialism, dirt, dishonesty, rudeness, congestion, potential for devastating hurricane and no way to evacuate with my animals).

Truthfully, I have been wanting to move for years, but life got in the way. And procrastination. And inertia. And, until I began to consider Brattleboro, I had no idea where I wanted to go. I had briefly considered New Paltz, NY, but that didn't stick.

I am looking forward to experiencing small town life after the indifferent anonymity of NYC. In Brooklyn, people in familiar neighborhood stores know you, but casual social contact is very superficial, often little beyond hello and goodbye. Friends are from common interests and activities, and they are usually scattered over a large geographical area. And people do not seem to make relationships, except for their primary ones, a priority. I have heard that in Brattleboro you meet great people, that the great people introduce you to their friends and that the quality of friendships is much better than you usually find in New York. I have also heard that the town is cold and that it takes years for people to make friends. If the latter is the case for me, then it may be time to move to Burlington.

I will look at Burlington, but right now, my plan is to live in Brattleboro for a year or two. If I don't want to stay beyond that, Plan B is Burlington. I'm sure Burlington has more going on than Brattleboro, but I want to have the experience of small town life. And Brattleboro is near Boston, New York, Rhode Island (I have friends there), the Pioneer Valley and southern coastal Maine and seacoast New Hampshire. (The New England Coast is my old stomping grounds. That's one reason I like gray floors - they remind me of the New England coast.) If I go nuts in Brattleboro, I'll know that I need a bigger town. BTW, Burlington had a blurb in the AARP magazine as an up-and-coming place to grow old in. Since I'm 54, that means something to me. The article, in which the blurb appeared, maintained that cities were better for retirement because they had more to offer. Brattleboro is also known for its care of its elderly, and it offers lots of urban-style amenities for a small town, but it is not a city and cannot offer what a city can.

So, I think I'll go for the Big Change from the big city to a small town, and then, if it doesn't work out, I will compromise with the big town/small city of Burlington. After all, it's only a 45 minute plane ride to New York from there, as opposed to a 4-5 hour drive from Brattleboro. Hopefully, by that time, I won't be thinking in those terms.

But I will have to rethink this plan if the economic realities of Vermont get in the way, which they very well might.

Last edited by arel; 08-28-2007 at 10:29 AM..
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Old 08-28-2007, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Vermont
3,327 posts, read 8,757,437 times
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Arel - Jet Blue is offering a $59 each way fare from JFK to Burlington and back. Go for it!
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Old 08-28-2007, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Vermont
1,442 posts, read 5,894,384 times
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I think I will. Maybe in September, when I have some time off.

What is Burlington like in the winter?
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Old 08-28-2007, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,053,091 times
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Most of the winter is somewhere between the teens to twenties. We sometimes have a warm spell in Jan. or Feb. I can't remember off the top of my head, but for a week or so it will get up in the forties. On the other end of extremes it can go to about 20-25 degrees below zero for a few weeks. Some winters are worse than others. Last year it was warm until just after New Years. I went out on New Years Eve with a fleece on(not typical here at all). Then after New Years we paid for it. There wasn't a large amount of snow besides Valentines Day, but it was very cold with temps below zero more than a usual winter. The lake keeps Burlington more mild than most of the rest of the state. I live on the lake and my biggest complaint is the wind can be fierce. It cuts right through you when it's cold out. Another of my complaints (I'm just whining) is that winter on average is about 2 months longer than southern New England or NYC.
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Old 08-28-2007, 02:16 PM
 
Location: hinesburg, vt
1,574 posts, read 4,412,601 times
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Burlington is OK and does have a nice aesthetic to it, but it is not really a city. Yes, there is some housing density there, but I repeat, it is not a city. I prefer living 18 miles out of the Burlington/S. Burlington area in order to have a nice quiet natural landscape. A short ride is all it takes to get to town to do whatever. Just this morning I had to pick up something and the ride is pleasant without traffic and miles and miles of streetlights. As a former New Yorker I will tell anyone that the best feature here is that you can live close enough to "town" and not have town follow you home. This is something that to a degree used to even exist in Long Island, but no more. For those that agonize over leaving the city and leaving whatever aspects behind I suggest you take several long trips to the country during all seasons and stay as long as you can. For some you may find out that periodic or even frequent visits to Vermont will suit you better than moving here. Myself, September 3, 1976 the day we left NYC as residents is a highlight of my life. I like coming back to visit, but just cannot see putting up with life there on a daily basis. So, I guess I would like to sum it up by saying that anyones comparisons of town "A" to city "B" or country life to suburbia should be taken in very general terms since each person as their own unique likes and dislikes and only you can judge for yourself what you want out of life. The forums are a great way to get both the pro and con aspects plus tips, but everyone is different and nothing beats boots on the ground experience.
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Old 08-28-2007, 09:08 PM
 
Location: Vermont
1,442 posts, read 5,894,384 times
Reputation: 450
Quote:
Originally Posted by 68vette View Post
Most of the winter is somewhere between the teens to twenties. We sometimes have a warm spell in Jan. or Feb. I can't remember off the top of my head, but for a week or so it will get up in the forties. On the other end of extremes it can go to about 20-25 degrees below zero for a few weeks. Some winters are worse than others. Last year it was warm until just after New Years. I went out on New Years Eve with a fleece on(not typical here at all). Then after New Years we paid for it. There wasn't a large amount of snow besides Valentines Day, but it was very cold with temps below zero more than a usual winter. The lake keeps Burlington more mild than most of the rest of the state. I live on the lake and my biggest complaint is the wind can be fierce. It cuts right through you when it's cold out. Another of my complaints (I'm just whining) is that winter on average is about 2 months longer than southern New England or NYC.


:eek
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