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Old 04-24-2016, 10:31 AM
 
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I wanted to start a discussion to hear some experiences from VT snowbirds out there. I'm younger than a typical snowbird age (45), but semi retired, no kids and can work from anywhere. So considering VT, ME, NH, WA, MT from May-Oct and FL, AZ and SoCal for Oct-May.

I know a fair amount about VT and have spent a lot of time there. I'm curious with snowbirds how you make it happen. What type of house do you have in VT for summers? Any issues securing it and winterizing it? How expensive is it? Anyone stay in an RV in summers? Anyone have a "tiny house"?

Where do you go in winter? Do you have a house, trailer, condo, or RV there? How do you secure your winter house when you come north? Have you had any issues with this?

How do you like your snow-birding lifestyle?
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Old 04-24-2016, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Venus
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Unfortunately, I am a snowbird. Don't want to be but I love my husband very much and he doesn't care for Vermont winters so we leave for about 6 weeks in mid January and come back either the last week in February or first week in March. If he had his way we would stay longer.

Where do we go? Puerto Rico. Why? Because he has family there. His sister lives there along with a whole bunch of cousins. (His mother was from there.) We have a house there about 15 minutes from his sister's.

As far as the house here, we have 3 cats who stay home while we are gone. I have a good friend who comes in to feed them, and take care of them while we are away. He also keeps an eye on the place and lets us know if anything is amiss, (like when our pipes froze and we didn't have water).



Cat
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Old 04-24-2016, 11:49 AM
 
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Hi Cat, that is another way to snowbird just get away for a month or two somewhere vs. the whole winter. Even just getting away say Jan/Feb would help a lot of people cope with the winter.

One of the issues with being a snowbird is that the winter areas are generally weak IMO. I'm not a FL fan at all really, and I think a lot of people that go there in winters go there just for the warmth, not because they really like much about FL at all. Not really a big fan of Phx/Scottsdale or Tucson either, but again snowbirds tolerate it because of the weather. San Diego I have lived and it's OK, but not ideal.

On there other hand I think there are a ton of great summer places in the U.S. (VT, ME, Western WA State, Western OR, parts of upstate NY are pretty nice, tons of places in Canada.) VT may be my favorite all of all.

So there is this imbalance, lots of great places in the north to spend summers, but a lot of crappy, overcrowded, mass produced, no culture places in the south to spend winter.
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Old 04-24-2016, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
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I am interested in this conversation. Regarding the winter areas being "weak," for me it helps to focus on what aspect of winter in Vermont you are hoping to get away from. If it's the cold, that's one thing. But if it is the darkness, then somewhere in New Mexico might be great, even though it's still very wintry -- having it be bright and sunny nearly every day makes a huge difference. Or if it's cabin fever, then you could do what my sister did: Take 4-6 weeks for a leisurely trip around Greece and/or Italy. That SOUNDS really extravagant, but it's off-season there, and after the airfare, I think her costs were really reasonable. (She wasn't in luxury hotels, but she was not in low-low-budget ones, either.) It's not WARM there at that time of year, but there's lots to see and do, and it breaks up the very long winter.
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Old 04-24-2016, 01:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini1963 View Post
I am interested in this conversation. Regarding the winter areas being "weak," for me it helps to focus on what aspect of winter in Vermont you are hoping to get away from. If it's the cold, that's one thing. But if it is the darkness, then somewhere in New Mexico might be great, even though it's still very wintry -- having it be bright and sunny nearly every day makes a huge difference. Or if it's cabin fever, then you could do what my sister did: Take 4-6 weeks for a leisurely trip around Greece and/or Italy. That SOUNDS really extravagant, but it's off-season there, and after the airfare, I think her costs were really reasonable. (She wasn't in luxury hotels, but she was not in low-low-budget ones, either.) It's not WARM there at that time of year, but there's lots to see and do, and it breaks up the very long winter.
Yes it's the length of the winter and probably both the grey and cold. Santa Fe and Taos in NM have a lot of sun. I just being outside a lot more FL I would probably think about areas around in Pinellas Co. like St. Pete, Dunedin, Safety Harbor. I do not like the east coast of FL at all below St. Augustine.

Greece and Italy are pretty cold from Dec-March, of course a lot warmer than VT. I have been there on vacation but it's kind of far for snowbird consideration. But taking some vacations can be an alternative to a straight snowbird. But the winter is long in VT, and I just like to be outside more doing thing on a regular basis.
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Old 04-24-2016, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Venus
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Originally Posted by ctr88 View Post
Yes it's the length of the winter and probably both the grey and cold. Santa Fe and Taos in NM have a lot of sun. I just being outside a lot more FL I would probably think about areas around in Pinellas Co. like St. Pete, Dunedin, Safety Harbor. I do not like the east coast of FL at all below St. Augustine.

Greece and Italy are pretty cold from Dec-March, of course a lot warmer than VT. I have been there on vacation but it's kind of far for snowbird consideration. But taking some vacations can be an alternative to a straight snowbird. But the winter is long in VT, and I just like to be outside more doing thing on a regular basis.

My brother who lives in upstate NY is a snowbird to St. Augustine. He loves it there in the winter but won't live there in the summer.

As for Greece, been there, done that. I was station there for 9 months way back in the dark ages.



Cat
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CatwomanofV View Post
My brother who lives in upstate NY is a snowbird to St. Augustine. He loves it there in the winter but won't live there in the summer.

As for Greece, been there, done that. I was station there for 9 months way back in the dark ages.



Cat
St. Augustine is one of the few places in FL with any character. Pretty touristy I hear though with a lot of day trippers. Jax Beach, Atlantic Beach, Amelia Island is not bad either further north, but not as warm Dec-March as Pinellas Co. area on the Gulf.
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:51 PM
 
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What areas of VT do snowbirds like living from May to late Oct? Any opinions of VT vs. ME? I would probably not live right on the coast of ME because of the heavy tourist traffic and high cost. Maybe on an inland lake but not too far from the coast. Also I like to try to keep housing expenses down as much as I can. I like the hills of VT vs. ME which is not as mountainous unless you go far inland. I've only been to ME once on a drive up the coast in early Sept about 5 yrs ago. Initial gut feel was I overall liked VT better. But I have spent a lot more time in VT and know it a lot better.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:23 AM
 
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I am a VT snowbird. I live in Southern VT. After the leaves fall off I head to ameila Island. Go home when it starts getting brutally hot in FLA, sometime before July 1st. 30 years of Vermont winters and I have had enough of that. We lived on a sailboat in the winter for 4 years then bought a little cottage on the island. I close my house down in VT, turn the power off, drain the pipes. The cost savings in that is equal to my expense of staying here. In other words it costs no more to be a snowbird. If you don't need to be in a particular spot I would just move around. Boats are good for that, as are RV's
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by squarpeg View Post
I am a VT snowbird. I live in Southern VT. After the leaves fall off I head to ameila Island. Go home when it starts getting brutally hot in FLA, sometime before July 1st. 30 years of Vermont winters and I have had enough of that. We lived on a sailboat in the winter for 4 years then bought a little cottage on the island. I close my house down in VT, turn the power off, drain the pipes. The cost savings in that is equal to my expense of staying here. In other words it costs no more to be a snowbird. If you don't need to be in a particular spot I would just move around. Boats are good for that, as are RV's
Thanks for sharing squarpeg. July 1st sounds a little late to head back to VT, June is such a nice month in VT. How do you like Amelia Island? I liked that part of FL a lot when I visited (although it's a little chillier up there Dec-March then further south). I think I would probably do at least May 15-Oct 15 in VT. Have you ever had any problems with break ins to you VT house or FL house when you are not there? That would be a worry I would have. I would probably just keep minimal furniture in each and not a lot worth stealing. Living in a RV full time is an option for me too at least initially until I figured out where I want to live both in VT and south. Hard to know how I would like full time RV living until I tried it. I live pretty simply and pretty light so I may be able to pull it off. I would have to research the best RV parks in VT and south...I'm sure they fill up fast with snowbirds peak season.
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