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Old 01-21-2014, 08:24 PM
 
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My family and I have narrowed down a couple towns that we may want to relocate to. On paper, St.Johnsbury looks almost perfect. The schools look to be fantastic, there's a couple colleges to choose from and of course all of the outdoor activities. So what I have questions about so far - how is the healthcare - anyone have any great doctors or ones to stay away from? How long realistically does it take to get to Burlington? The capital? What are the grocery stores like? Some of my family and I are vegetarians, some have a gluten allergy - are there any restaurants that cater ( or at least have menu options) to us? How's the hospital? Where does everyone shop for necessities - are there local specialty shops or do you drive somewhere else? We will want to rent for at least the first year - are there any available? We have a large family and pets, so I know that will make it more difficult.

Where I live now, can be very "clique-ish", we're not big church goers, but do get involved in sports, schools, community activities - generally speaking, are people accepting? Will my kids not be invited to do things because we're not from there? I hope that didn't come off as rude, and I know no one has a crystal ball, but there have been places we've lived where my kids weren't asked to do anything ( or allowed to come over) because we weren't local. Lol, hope that came out right.

I'm really open to hearing about anything you can tell me. We've wanted to make this move for about ten years now, and feel like this is the time. So thanks in advance for any advice / info you have.
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Old 01-22-2014, 06:34 AM
 
Location: Vermont
3,329 posts, read 8,780,741 times
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St. Johnsbury is an interesting town. I find it very isolating. Not much else for miles around (though you may like that). It is very quiet. Think sidewalks rolling up at 7:00.
There is a vibrant arts scene (see Catamount Arts), a great high school (St. Johnsbury Academy). The public graded school does not have a great reputation - I know quite a few folks who send their grade school age kids to private school and then the Academy.
St. Johnsbury also has a very depressed economy. The economy is blue collar. Lots of unemployed. Its pretty run down in a few areas. There are very few good paying jobs. What are you going to do for jobs?
There are some local shops and a small mall with a JCPenney and about 5 other stores (Green Mountain Mall) but most people head to Littleton NH to the big box stores (Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes et) or the Super Walmart in Woodsville NH.
Burlington is an hour and a half drive in good weather. Montpelier 45 minutes to an hour depending on weather again.
Hospital is decent. Its affiliated with Dartmouth Hitchcock. For anything serious you'd be sent down to Dartmouth.
St. J has a great farmers market during the warmer months. Otherwise you're shopping at Price Chopper or White's Market(locally owned small grocer). There is also Natural Provisions which is a great natural/organic food store (I frequent their location in Williston) and the St. Johnsbury Food Co-Op.
Restaurants....not many. Many people can't afford to eat out. Bailiwicks is good, Creamery in Danville, Tamarack Grill in Burke.
There are 2 colleges? Lyndon State is nearby. There is a CCV campus and Springfield College has a very small commuter campus but really, you would'nt even know they were there.
Unless I had high school aged kids St. Johnsbury (again, the Academy is FANTASTIC) would not be my personal choice.
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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Also:

The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Central Maine
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Lived in St Johnsbury during the 1990s. Wife and I both worked for the town. It's gone downhill a bit since then. vter said it pretty well. Not much left there except the school.
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:50 AM
 
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Ugh. That's exactly why this forum is so wonderful. We definitely do not want isolation. Small town is great, we prefer that actually and don't mind driving 45 minutes to an hour or so if we absolutely need something from a big box store. We prefer shopping local, so as long as we can get everything we need locally, we're good with that though.

Is there anywhere you can suggest? We do need to be fairly close to a state college.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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You can definitely get anything you need locally in St. Johnsbury and nearby Lyndonville. By isolation I meant that if you crave a larger town/city with more options nearby you are going to be driving 1.5 hours to Burlington, or 2 hours south to Manchester NH. 2 hours to Montreal. 3 to Boston. The people I know who live in St. J regularly drive to Burlington, Manchester, West Lebanon for more shopping options, restaurants etc.
Do you absolutely need a state college nearby? Middlebury is probably my favorite town in Vermont. Home to Middlebury College. Castleton State College is about 40 or so minutes away. 45ish minutes to Burlington.
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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When I moved here thirty-one years ago St. J. was one of my possibilities and it really seemed like an outpost; I don't think it's really changed.

A key question is what you're going to do for work.

I'm not clear on the state college question, but Montpelier (I've lived here for over thirty years and I love it) has most of what you're looking for. University of Vermont is about 45-60 minutes away, same with Johnson State College, Vermont Technical College is about 45 minutes away, and the Community College of Vermont is right here.

We also have good schools and a good, welcoming community, good restaurants that probably include any variety of vegetarianism and gluten-freeness you might want.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happeemommee View Post
Ugh. That's exactly why this forum is so wonderful. We definitely do not want isolation. Small town is great, we prefer that actually and don't mind driving 45 minutes to an hour or so if we absolutely need something from a big box store. We prefer shopping local, so as long as we can get everything we need locally, we're good with that though.

Is there anywhere you can suggest? We do need to be fairly close to a state college.
sT j is not isolation and most towns are not. You can be in the middle of plenty of local colleges if you don't mind driving 30-45 minutes....mind you. Vermonters think a drive over 20 minutes is forever. Depends where you are coming from. To me, it is all just down the street. I traveled 18 miles each way to work in Houston for 1.1/4 hours each way. And darn, NO scenery.

Personally I think VTer is dead on accurate with most aspects. I did not choose that town for different reasons but would have if I had high school aged children.

Have you been up to visit in different seasons? Have you looked around local colleges? Have you sent out resume feelers? You need to know where you want to be and what feels right before you decide. For you it might be a town of 100 or downtown Burlington. Visit us at it's harshest weather (or mud season) If you can like a place then???? You can love it anytime.

p.s. Coming from Houston,,,I don't mind driving an hour for a box store...if I wanted box stores I would have stayed put and saved a lot of money. Quality not quantity for a lot of us silly transplants.
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:24 PM
 
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p.s. There is a CCV campus in St J and also over the hill in Newport. Even Morrisville too!
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Idaho
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Don't know where you're from or if weather is a factor but when I was in St J area in December 1989 it was like -40 below (and I was climbing phone poles, if we could get the van started )

But I enjoyed the area and was surprised at the diversity. Even got a day of skiing in and a trip to Montreal.

Beautiful place and fun people.
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