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Old 11-04-2014, 06:28 PM
Location: Enfield, CT
3 posts, read 9,993 times
Reputation: 10


I'm 26 years old and I live with my girlfriend of two years in Connecticut. We both originally grew up in Western, MA (just outside of Springfield area). I bought the house that we currently live in a little over a year ago and we're already considering moving. My girlfriend's parents used to take multiple vacations up to Vermont every year so she is very familiar with the state, while I am still very new. She took me up for a long weekend this past summer and I fell in love. While we don't currently live in Hartford or a busy city of that magnitude, we do live in a congested, hectic small city. We are tired of the constant stopping and going for traffic lights, all of the people that we have to encounter every day, the chain restaurants, the perpetual humming of the interstate highway that runs through our town, the houses that all look the same stacked next to each other on these tiny plots of land. It just isn't what we want in the long-run. With that said, the home that we live in is in great condition, it is conveniently located, and with the over-commercialized environment, every type of shopping you will ever need to do is .25 miles around the corner. I bought the home because at the time I was looking at real estate I couldn't find anything in Western Mass that was in my price range that didn't require serious work or that wasn't located in the slums of Springfield or Holyoke. The city we live in now is closer to work and was something we could move right into and not sink a lot of cash into. Our city now has lower property prices, but VERY high tax rates. Yes, I know Vermont has some expensive taxes, but nothing compared to CT. It's outrageous.

We both desperately want to live on acres of land where it is void of excessive man-made noise, beautiful, natural countryside views, and Mother Nature greeting us every morning when we wake up and step outside. We love being outdoors to go for hikes, bike rides, fishing, or simply just walking with our dog Brinkley. We also are absolutely obsessed with the "eating healthy/farm to table" lifestyle up there, and love local craft brewers. We literally talk about moving to Vermont every day, but are very concerned about our source of income when getting up there. I graduated from a small college in Western Mass with a double major in Accounting and Business Management and I will be finishing my MBA in the middle of March 2015. My girlfriend currently works in an Alumni Relations office, but is really looking to get into event coordination and event management. We have a lot of questions about this potential move to VT, but I'd love to hear honest opinions from people who currently live there or have lived there for an extensive period of time.

We have visited Burlington and really enjoyed it, but have been trying to check other areas out as well. We recently heard about Newport, VT and it sounds like a very intriguing place that is on the cusp of a major growth spurt. We'd love to know (in no particular order)...

*What do you love/hate about VT?
*Are the winters THAT much different than Western Mass?
*Is the weather dramatically different depending on where in VT you live? North vs. South?
*How difficult is it to find and keep a job/career?
*What towns are small, but friendly, and are in a reasonably located area to restaurants for the occasional date night, gas, farmers markets, etc...?
*Anything else of importance that an outsider should consider

We feel much older than our age in the sense that we are just looking for a slower paced lifestyle and it seems like Vermont has so much to offer. We are simple people and don't require the million dollar McMansion on the top of a mountain with our own helipad that most of the country seems to be infatuated with and spends their entire life trying to obtain.
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:00 AM
150 posts, read 177,264 times
Reputation: 415
The first item is this: don't idealize VT. Yes, it's beauty is abundant, the pace of life is slower (generally) than in the 'burbs, and you won't get stuck in traffic too often, but if you let VT become a fantasy world of wonder, then you'll surely be disappointed if you move here because it won't be as you'd imagined it. Don't misunderstand: I love this state and have lived here (in SW VT) for nearly my whole life, and enjoy much of what you've said you're looking for. VT however is not an easy place to live. It's hard to make a living (and harder still to afford to raise a family while enjoying the sumptuous farm-to-table meals you crave and the other luxuries that the glossy magazines portray as routine here; for me "farm-to-table" is when my work colleague brings me some of the venison from the deer her husband "harvested"); winter is long (and even longer in Newport; you can find many threads here on the subject) and can be lonely for those new to the state; good-paying jobs are not plentiful (you and your wife should each secure one before you move here); socially and culturally, it's not sophisticated in many of the quiet, remote areas you think you might like. I'd suggest you look at a town like Brattleboro or Bennington (in the south) both of which are small and offer amenities and, importantly, are close to larger towns and cities. I'd stay well clear of Rutland and Springfield (my opinion-don't want to offend anyone). Burlington is a cool small city but is crowded and expensive, making it a great place to visit, but not in which to live. Further north, St J is near to some of the best mt biking and skiing anywhere, but it's pretty remote.

You'll find many threads here that can answer some of your questions. Good luck to you.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:22 AM
Location: Vermont
3,329 posts, read 8,780,741 times
Reputation: 1996
Ditto everything above. Vacationing here and living here are very different animals.
I also suggest you come with jobs. If not, come with hefty savings and expect to spend some of it.
That said..Burlington is the state's largest city. Burlington and it's burbs are about 150k population. This area has the most job opportunities. That said-you can live close by and be totally in the country. Hinesburg, Underhill, Jericho, Charlotte etc. You'll have a bit of a commute and little traffic the closer you get to Burlington but nothing like the traffic you see in the more populated areas of southern New England. Middlebury is another town to consider if you can find employment there.
Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2014, 03:10 PM
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,064,158 times
Reputation: 925
I moved from CT 20 years ago and one of the reasons we moved to Vermont was how affordable it was. Everything mentioned is accurate in my book as well. I will give you my experience because it sounded similar to yours. I grew up in SW CT, but in an expensive rural/suburban town. I got married and could only afford to purchase in the NE of Bridgeport. It was a lovely area, but it was urban and there was traffic. I knew if I left the house after 0600, I would be stuck in horrible traffic on 95. We decided on Vermont because it was on the east coast close to family. We purchased a home in Brookfield, VT because we wanted to have peace and quiet. You need to be prepared living in a rural or semirural area. I was somewhat used to it because of where I grew up, but in Vermont you are much more isolated. It wasn't like where I grew up because I could drive 10 minutes from home and be in a city. In Vermont I had to drive 15-20 minutes just to get to a grocery store let alone shopping for my other needs. Income was much lower, but the cost of living was very low. Incomes are still very low in the state, but the cost of living is one of the highest in the nation.
Two priorities are get a job before you make a move and make sure the income is enough to live on. Renting and owning a home in state can be very expensive. Add you other bills such as fuel, food, heat, utilities, etc and you will quickly see what you get in Vermont compared to areas with higher population and competition. Right after you get an offer don't accept it on the spot. Tell them you will think about it and look for a place to rent first. You may or may not be cut out for rural living and may want to kill yourself after 6-12 months. You then have the option of moving. Also, you may pick a town to live in and find you don't like it. There isn't a large number of rentals in the state for our population size. It can be difficult and time consuming.
If you buy in a rural area and you don't like it. You will be stuck with it for a while before it will sell. I had a completely renovated farmhouse that sat on the market for a long, long time before we decided to keep it and rent it.
This was already mentioned. Living somewhere is completely different than vacationing somewhere.
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Old 11-05-2014, 03:26 PM
Location: The Woods
16,945 posts, read 22,255,374 times
Reputation: 9051
The taxes here will be worse than CT if some healthcare plans of Shumlin go through. The economy is abysmal, VT Yankee shutting down will result in higher electricity rates and further damage the economy in the future, I'm certain the IBM plant will be leaving as soon as Global Foundries can do so. Don't count on anything you've heard about Newport, that's very much not a sure thing right now. I'm seeing real estate sit longer on the market with price drops, I don't know if that's a statewide trend or not, but I think a lot of people are trying to get out of VT for financial/economic reasons.

I think you could find the lifestyle you're after here, but you will have a hard time making the money to pay for it. Steer clear of the snowmobile trails if you are bothered by that noise. You'll hear guns being fired in rural areas. ATV's are everywhere now. Some towns open all their back roads to them, some don't. Southern VT is most similar to Western MA as far as weather goes. It gets colder as you go north and east, or up in elevation. Driving up I91 through the upper valley to the northeast kingdom around St. Johnsbury you might notice a distinct change in the forests, from the types of hardwoods you'd see in a place like MA (lots of oaks, etc.) to pines to the spruce-fir and northern hardwoods such as birch and maple. The climate changes dramatically as you drive up VT, from mild by New England standards in places like southern VT (you can find black gum swamps in Vernon) to cold (Bloomfield holds a record low of -50, and that's without the wind chill). Parts of the Nulhegan Basin could almost be further north in the boreal forests of Canada or northern Maine if you didn't know better.
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Old 11-05-2014, 04:33 PM
Location: Enfield, CT
3 posts, read 9,993 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you very much for your responses. I really do appreciate the honesty. One of the common themes I noticed in your responses was the fact that you have to get used to living in a rural environment. I grew up in a town in Western Mass that had a population of 6,500 people. My parents still live there and I actually enjoy the town even more now that I'm older. It's about a 30-35 minute drive to Springfield (closest city). Would you say that this is relatively comparable in terms of "ruralness" to what you all are referring to? My main concern when it came to shopping was groceries and gas. With the internet now, it seems easy enough to order things online, if they can wait of course. I also don't mind a 30-45 minute commute to work.

Another commonality is the means of income. I have read that VT's unemployment rate is "well below the national average" (5.3% I believe is what I last read, which also could have been for a couple years ago). So it sounds like finding a job isn't impossible, but the level of income you will likely receive is far lower than southern NE? Does that sound accurate? We don't plan on moving unless we have jobs anyways, but I'm concerned about the "VT is not an easy place to live" comment. I am a firm believer in hard work...it's what makes America great. With that said I don't want to "struggle" living my life either.

I'll keep looking on these forums to answers of more of my questions, so I'm sorry if I am responding too quickly.

Lastly, I realize I am just like all of the other Vermont Wannabes, which probably drives all you natives absolutely nuts. I apologize for that. Every state has its issues; not one is perfect, no doubt. Life for my girlfriend and I right now is just much more stressful than we want it to ever be which is the purpose for this post and why the lovely state of Vermont is sticking out to us right now. Thank you again for all the insight.
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:46 PM
150 posts, read 177,264 times
Reputation: 415
Re: VT is not an easy place to live.

It's not about a work ethic. Especially in rural areas (which you seem drawn to) the winters are long. You'll get up in the dark, drive to work in the dark (and on snowy, icy roads) then drive home in the dark. This will last for five months. It will not be easy to meet people your own age, because in rural areas there aren't many 20 somethings; like my children, they've left for warmer, more urban areas to find better employment opportunities, and a more vibrant social and cultural life; as well, VTers, while not unfriendly, can be aloof, and because you're in a rural area, there just aren't that many people to meet, or are there many places to go. This may introduce a new sort of stress into your life: boredom.

Economically, you can make a go of it here if you both have decent jobs and low spending requirements. Everyone isn't poor, but very few rise above middle class, and that's shrinking by the day it seems.

I'm not trying to scare you off; really, we need more professional-type 20 somethings to move to VT in areas other than Burlington. And I think I can speak for most natives when I say you don't drive me nuts with your VT-is-a-utopia-when-can-I-move-there fantasy. At 20 something, it's good to have fanciful goals and aspirations. But before you pack up, make sure your due diligence is thorough and objective. Good luck.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:32 PM
809 posts, read 676,769 times
Reputation: 1333
Move to Vermont if you want to make a difference in the community, bring in fresh ideas, provide fresh energy to fading organizations, halt the decay in the quality of life and make changes to improve it. If you want to make a lot of money, New Jersey beckons. If you want to meet good people and live a life where happiness is defined by having the scope necessary to exercise your talents, you'll find Vermont suitable.
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Old 11-07-2014, 10:52 AM
Location: Vermont
5,439 posts, read 14,773,378 times
Reputation: 2630
I'd start with a job. But decide if where the job brings you is a place you like or at least near a place that you'd like. Like vter said you can work in Burlington but be pretty country within 45 minutes.

I don't think you will have a hard time with winters coming from Western mass especially if you like snow sports.

Gas is like $3.45 a gallon or something right now. Groceries are pretty expensive here IMO but I think you can shop sales, internet, and maybe stock up at Trader Joe's and do OK.
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:25 PM
Location: Enfield, CT
3 posts, read 9,993 times
Reputation: 10
To sovertennis - I have heard the winters can be a bit "challenging" to put it lightly. Being from Western Mass, I'm used to getting up and going to work in the dark and then coming home in the dark. Right now is a great example. I'm glad you brought up the boredom topic because that is one that I have thought about extensively. I look at my life with my girlfriend now and we actually try very hard to stay home as much as possible. Yes, we have a lot of friends and a vibrant social life which is fine, but that seems to be part of our frustration. We have very little time to relax at home after working a full week. Lately our weekend activities have been more of a source of stress and a burden than enjoyment. The weekends we have been able just stay home while doing chores around the house, working in the yard outside, and watching a movie seem to be the times we are most happy. And in the winter we love nothing more than bundling up on the couch and watching the snow fall. I have a pickup truck with 4-wheel drive and am used to driving on crappy roads (it's probably weird to say, but I kind of like driving in the snow). I can't thank you enough for your fair honesty. This is just the type of feedback I'm looking for.

To cgregor - I'm really glad you brought those things up because that is exactly what I have been itching to do lately. I would love to move to a quiet community and get involved to make a positive impact. Let me be very clear about this too. By no means am I saying I want to be the outsider invading a town to "shake things up". You won't hear me saying, "Well if we allow billboards that will maximize revenue opportunities thus creating more jobs." That's one of the best parts about Vermont...less is more. The draw to Vermont is not having those hideous advertising monstrosities on the highways, but being able to enjoy the natural environment. I would only be interested in improving the things that the majority of the residents of Vermont deem necessary.

Does anyone know if accounting is in high demand in VT? I'm currently an Accounting Consultant for a large insurance company so I've been leaning a little more towards Montpelier, but obviously open to other areas. I have four years experience and make $60k+. What should I expect/negotiate for a salary in VT/Montpelier region? I'm not entirely stuck on accounting for the rest of my life, but I figure if it can get me settled in a new area, and then move onto something different one day, why not.
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