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Old 07-04-2016, 03:01 PM
 
180 posts, read 514,516 times
Reputation: 201

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Hi everyone! Another mover requesting your expertise!

I lived with my husband previously in Burlington for a while, until leaving in 2012 to help his family in NM. After a few years out here, we're now ready to get back to VT and make our lives there. We're both early 30's, not interested in having children, and have a moderate savings. My work is remote; I can technically live anywhere as long as reliable, strong Internet is available. My husband is finishing his degree online in accounting, and wants a low-key job with the state. His job is really less important as I cover all expenses, and he's honestly kind of astonishingly good at networking.

Ok, preamble out of the way! While Burlington has the waterfront, which is frankly very hard to beat, we didn't really like the city too much. We're both basically homebodies and don't need a great deal of city offerings. It's difficult to put into words what we didn't like, but Burlington felt a bit transient / hip / too political. Hopefully that is not offensive.

The things that matter to us are: network connectivity!, being near hiking and/or rowing, within decent driving distance of a co-op (20-30 min or less), and affordable housing. We are both conservative with finances, and looking to buy a house at 1/2 or 1/3 to the amount we think we can afford (150k range). It'd be great if we could have 1+ acres, but that's negotiable. Ultimately we'd like to be in a more rural (not suburban) type of setting, and not directly in-town.

We both like Montpelier a lot, but it's just too much of a city for us. So far in our research Randolph, Quechee, and the Upper Valley in general seem to be a good fit ... and maybe Middlebury somewhat too. Essentially we're looking for a regular town with a good sense of community. Lastly, we're socially very liberal but kind not personally (if that makes sense).

Thank you for your responses, in advance!
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Old 07-04-2016, 04:12 PM
 
809 posts, read 770,430 times
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Believe me, you want Springfield! Fastest Internet in the state.

Asking price on average for houses is $172k, average selling price is $113. Half an hour drive to the environs of Dartmouth College and its fleshpots of intellectual delight, half a dozen ski slopes within 45 minutes; hiking snowshoeing and cross-country skiing available right outside your door; biking not too bad if you don't mind LOTS of hills. Full town services -- library, fire department, water, sewer, schools, pool, walking trails, parks, a Free family movie theater, (well, that is the name of the family running it), repertory group, various reading c and film discussion groups, service clubs (Lions, Rotary, Elks, Moose), privately run recreation center. The Connecticut River is a 300-mile-long lake, although climate change is making iceboating a little iffy.

Forty-five minutes to Boston from the airport (longest paved runway in the state, if your pilot is a sloppy lander). Young adults are working on creating a Maker Space, finally getting some new blood into various town committees (just be glad you don't have kids yet).

Its capital base was raped by Wall Street in the mid-Eighties (property taxes went up 247% when the industries were sucked out of town) in 1983, and it is now on the cusp of having a lot of people like you come in as pioneers and re-shape it.

Shortcomings, in my opinion: Unitarians (always too upbeat and hopeful). Due to criticism about the noise, the Methodist Church's clock chimes have been quiet for half a year now. Deer occasionally show up on streets a couple of blocks from downtown. Community dinners (voluntary attendance, of course, but nobody who grew up in a large family ever wants to eat with a large bunch of people ever again). Sugar on snow (way overrated). That's about it.

Make your mark!
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Old 07-05-2016, 05:37 AM
 
Location: Vermont
10,776 posts, read 12,078,179 times
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I appreciate cgregor's cheerleading for Springfield, but it's hard to endorse the unreserved support. I would like it if Springfield were to come back and become a healthy and thriving community, but it's important to keep in mind the very strong possibility that it simply will not happen. I'm glad Springfield has people who are committed to making it work, but I wouldn't suggest it as a great destination for someone moving from away who doesn't know a lot about the area.

I know a number of people who live in Randolph and it may be the kind of place the OP is looking for. Not a big city, close to the Interstate, and, from my friends there, there is a real sense of community.

One concern that has been troubling many people in the area, and it's hard to know how serious the threat is, is that there is a wealthy businessman from Utah who has been buying up land in order to create some kind of massive new community. Whether it will really be an attempt at Mormon colonization of some very small towns, or simply enough population influx to radically change the nature of these towns is impossible to predict at this point. Nevertheless, as I said, many residents are very concerned about this development.

Wealthy Mormon Buys Up Vermont Land for Massive Settlement | Construction & Development | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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Old 07-05-2016, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Vermont
371 posts, read 436,574 times
Reputation: 755
I would never recommend Springfield either. I would be concerned with both crime and the resale value of my home. I learned this the hard way when I bought in Windsor, in spite of everyone advising me against it. Here is a list of the cities in VT with the highest crime rates:

https://www.roadsnacks.net/most-dang...es-in-vermont/

I second Randolph. You also might find something in your price range in Sharon or Royalton. You could also cross the river into New Hampshire and look at Lebanon and points south.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:09 AM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA & Sharon, VT
168 posts, read 216,017 times
Reputation: 395
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soup Nazi View Post
I would never recommend Springfield either. I would be concerned with both crime and the resale value of my home. I learned this the hard way when I bought in Windsor, in spite of everyone advising me against it. Here is a list of the cities in VT with the highest crime rates:

https://www.roadsnacks.net/most-dang...es-in-vermont/

I second Randolph. You also might find something in your price range in Sharon or Royalton. You could also cross the river into New Hampshire and look at Lebanon and points south.
I'd agree - if you want hiking and rowing, then I'd hop the Connecticut to Lyme NH and points north or east. Very easy access to a wide range of hiking (from Smarts or Cube, to Moosilauke, all the way to the Presidential Range), and great canoeing and rowing not only on the Connecticut (thanks to the Wilder dam) but throughout northern NH.


Now don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Upper Valley booster, and we plan to retire to property in Sharon. And OP might consider Windsor, Thetford or Bradford as towns "one tier away" from the bustle of WRJ / West Leb / Hanover, but still with easy access to their amenities. But when I see hiking and rowing prominently mentioned, for me that tilts the scales to northern NH.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:21 AM
 
180 posts, read 514,516 times
Reputation: 201
cgregor, jackmccullough, Soup Nazi, and Sierrajeff - thank you all for the help! I hadn't heard much on Springfield, but it's good to know about it too.

The Mormon colony sounds a bit concerning. It seems like it'd not take too much in terms of population to totally alter a community. The rules for the residence also seem particularly religious in nature, though the engineer says anyone is allowed to live there ... as long as they abide by the rules. Seems odd to me. Also the development itself seems not very inline with other development in VT.

At any rate, glad to hear good things about Randolph! I love the co-op in Montpelier, but is there one more near Randolph? Also, I notice no mention of Quechee in the responses. Is it just more touristy in nature, or is there some other reason it might not be ideal?

Thank you again!
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
23,634 posts, read 24,029,039 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesia View Post
The Mormon colony sounds a bit concerning. It seems like it'd not take too much in terms of population to totally alter a community. The rules for the residence also seem particularly religious in nature, though the engineer says anyone is allowed to live there ... as long as they abide by the rules.
Just to ease your mind... I don't think you need to lose any sleep over the prospect of a Mormon invasion. First of all, Mormons don't bite and, generally speaking, make excellent neighbors. More important, there are Mormons all over the place, and the fact that a wealthy Mormon just bought up some land to build a community on isn't going to influence enough Mormons to move there that you'd even notice their presence. Mormons who want to live surrounded by other Mormons are far more likely to move into certain parts of Utah.
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Vermont
371 posts, read 436,574 times
Reputation: 755
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katzpur View Post
Just to ease your mind... I don't think you need to lose any sleep over the prospect of a Mormon invasion. First of all, Mormons don't bite and, generally speaking, make excellent neighbors. More important, there are Mormons all over the place, and the fact that a wealthy Mormon just bought up some land to build a community on isn't going to influence enough Mormons to move there that you'd even notice their presence. Mormons who want to live surrounded by other Mormons are far more likely to move into certain parts of Utah.
Yes, I agree. I lived in SLC for a short while and found the Mormons excellent neighbors and coworkers. I wouldn't be concerned about that.

There is a co-op in Hanover, Lebanon and also White River. I think no one has mentioned Quechee due to your budget but it may be possible to find something. Route 4 is the tourist corridor but it isn't overwhelming.

I doubt your budget would go far in Lyme but Orford and Piermont are just a little north and maybe more affordable.
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Old 07-05-2016, 02:26 PM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA & Sharon, VT
168 posts, read 216,017 times
Reputation: 395
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katzpur View Post
Just to ease your mind... I don't think you need to lose any sleep over the prospect of a Mormon invasion. First of all, Mormons don't bite and, generally speaking, make excellent neighbors. More important, there are Mormons all over the place, and the fact that a wealthy Mormon just bought up some land to build a community on isn't going to influence enough Mormons to move there that you'd even notice their presence. Mormons who want to live surrounded by other Mormons are far more likely to move into certain parts of Utah.
I don't think anyone's concerned about Mormons per se - though as someone who lived through the whole Prop 8 thing in California (before finally getting married on our property here in Vermont, yay!), it's not all (non-alcoholic) wine and roses.


IMHO, the really issues with the proposed development are (i) its physical impacts, and (ii) impacts on town governance.


In terms of physical impacts, the bulk of the land being purchased for the new community lies along one-lane roads (e.g., Fay Brook Road in Sharon, and Dairy Hill Road in Royalton). Even *if* the new community of 20,000 residents were fully self-contained - and that's a big "if", when you factor in schools, the needs for spousal jobs, etc. - you're going to have thousands of additional car trips per day on those roads. Who's paying for the upkeep (and upgrades)? And why does one billionaire get to convert a quiet country road going by someone's house into a busy thoroughfare?


And all these same issues exist with respect to water, wastewater treatment, and power.


Then in terms of governance, the four affected communities combined (Sharon, Royalton, Tunbridge, Strafford) have under 7,000 people... a new community of 20,000 people will quickly overwhelm the existing town governments, such that those 20,000 are not only governing themselves through their bylaws, but are governing all 4 towns by dint of being the majority of residents voting and at town meetings. So to me it doesn't matter if they're Mormon, atheist, anarchist, Hells Angels, or Buddhists... the concern is an outside group coming in and imposing itself on the landscape and the locals, reason-be-damned.


I happen to be one of those people who support Vermont growth - I do think Vermont needs to add people, and to do so to the tune of at least 100,000 over the breadth of the state. But that's the rub - new residents should move here and be integrated into existing communities - join long-standing communities rich with history and tradition - and not move here en masse to sequester themselves into one little area, taking it over and changing it to match these outsiders' pre-conceived notions and rules.


(EDIT: added last sentence to governance paragraph)
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Old 07-05-2016, 02:32 PM
 
809 posts, read 770,430 times
Reputation: 1355
I forgot to mention: Springfield has a co-op, too.
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