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Old 04-05-2008, 09:00 AM
 
15 posts, read 34,820 times
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I've been reading many of the postings on this site, which by the way, is a wonderful place to get insight about Vermont from natives and transplants.

The bottomline question is: What does a NYC person have to do to survive and hopefully thrive in Vermont? The spirit is willing, but...

I've read that there are jobs that are, for the most part low-wage ones; the state economy is worsening; the population--especially young people--is declining; the winters are a little short of brutal; cost of living is not that much lower than NYC; and crime is increasing.

It all sounds so discouraging, and perhaps that is what keeps young people from staying and transplants from coming. Vermont (I've visited many times) is gorgeous--clean, peaceful, and I find most of the locals that I've met to be friendly--but not overwhelmingly so.

My spouse has been offered jobs in Vermont--decent paying ones but my situation would be the difficult one... I see no listings for what I currently do.

We'd like to plan for the future and spend the remaining days of our lives in a state such as Vermont. Is that more a pipe dream than reality?
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Old 04-05-2008, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Rutland, VT
1,822 posts, read 4,572,519 times
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Whether Vermont is the right place for you & your situation is unique to your own lives. It works fine for my husband and me.

I've lived in NYC (and Boston, and Miami, which is where I'm from) as well as New Hampshire. I've been in Northern New England for 20+ years and Vermont for 12 of those years.

People who experience Vermont's cost of living as similar to NYC's are living lives very different from my husband's & mine! My COL here is far lower than anywhere else I've lived except SW New Hampshire, which was comparable. My friends in other parts of the U.S., urban & rural, have much higher costs-of-living than my husband & I do in Vermont. Certain items may be cheaper, but overall we simply spend less than they do on just plain living.

As for working in Vermont, it is challenging, but we earn enough to live, save, and enjoy our lives. We have a small massage & craniosacral therapy business. My husband teaches drum lessons & plays gigs. I work as a field organizer for a nonprofit and do some freelance writing. We do a LOT of volunteering because we love it and care deeply. We also enjoy our work, which is another reward for which there is no substitute.

We find the rewards of living in Vermont to be just that: We get to live here, which is where we want to be, and not live somewhere else where we don't want to be. I could list the pros and cons, but the fact is we just feel good here and it works for us. We might be able to identify another state (or country or planet) where the pro-and-con list would be even more favorable to us. For example, maybe there is somewhere with much lower property taxes where we could still eat almost entirely local/organic food (which we value very strongly). But we wouldn't know without actually moving to some other place if we'd be happier there than in Vermont. And neither of us wants to risk that, nor leave the connections we have here without some compelling reason to do so.

I think a minuscule percentage of Vermont residents are posting to forums. And the most passionate posts will come from people who are feeling strongly about their current situation, for better or worse. I also notice that when things are going well, people don't often make laudatory postings. But when they're going badly, post-mania!!! So you are getting a very small subset of opinions: forum members who actually post, AND who feel strongly enough about their situations to do so.
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Old 04-05-2008, 09:47 AM
 
166 posts, read 390,011 times
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Vermont is a demographic timebomb. The young are fleeing at an alarming rate. Much more than I think people realize. VT has the oldest population in the U.S. The cost of living here in comparision to what the wages pay is insulating. As a young person myself unless you have subsantial money you will not be able to afford a house and will likely spend most of your time working just to get by. Data shows that wages have gone nowhere in the last 10 years as housing, energy, food, etc are skyrocketing. The NYC/Boston area pay's 30-60% more than what you will make here. There is a huge differece between visiting VT and living here. After 4 years here I found that I got to enjoy VT much more when visiting when I lived in CT than actually living here. The weather here is nothing but depressing. The winters here are long and cold and northern Vermont has the highest percentage of cloudy days in the U.S. I suggest you maybe look into other areas if you want to get out of NYC. If you have your mind set on moving here I suggest that you do some researching and don't just move here blind like I did.
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Old 04-05-2008, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Rutland, VT
1,822 posts, read 4,572,519 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTK1 View Post
The weather here is nothing but depressing.
This is what I mean by the subjective experience. For me, born and raised in South Florida, the weather there was "nothing but depressing." I wilt and feel ill in heat & humidity. Vermont winters get a little long, but I'd take long Vermont winters over SFla summers anytime. I can always put on more clothes so I'm comfortable being outside. But in heat/humidity, I found myself trapped indoors most of the year. How do you acclimate to something you were born feeling yucky about?

I believe that Vermont does face challenges as described here. Look around the country -- every state does. Every nation in the world does. At least we still have viable agriculture to eat delicious food, which good luck getting in most states.

So it's not that things aren't tough here -- it's which challenges are you most able & willing to face? I'll take Vermont's.
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Old 04-05-2008, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Sunny Naples Florida :)
1,452 posts, read 1,939,311 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherylcatmom View Post
This is what I mean by the subjective experience. For me, born and raised in South Florida, the weather there was "nothing but depressing." I wilt and feel ill in heat & humidity. Vermont winters get a little long, but I'd take long Vermont winters over SFla summers anytime. I can always put on more clothes so I'm comfortable being outside. But in heat/humidity, I found myself trapped indoors most of the year. How do you acclimate to something you were born feeling yucky about?

.
This question is more of a personal decision on your part. Sherylcatmom comes from South Fla , as do I , I moved to NH right on the Vermont border so our weather is practically identical to what Vermont is experiencing any given day. I despise these long cold winters up here. I feel like I can't put enough on to stay warm and the sun is never present. In South Fla I could always jump in a pool to cool off and up here I feel like I'm forever stuck in the house for 7-8 months a year. Its all really personal preference to what you think you'll be able to handle. Unlike NYC where there is a constant flow of people most towns in Vermont and NH shut down in winter, festivals stop, markets close, and outdoor activity comes to a hault. If there isn't a lot of snow during a winter then winter sports aren't really do able so whats left to do?
Its very gloomy, and depressing. We're still getting snow and its April. While not unusual it just shows you how long winter up here can be. We've had snow on the ground since Thanksgiving. I suppose depending on what kind of job/career you have is going to determine if you can survive or not.
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Old 04-05-2008, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,546 posts, read 55,477,958 times
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"We'd like to plan for the future and spend the remaining days of our lives in a state such as Vermont. Is that more a pipe dream than reality?"

Everyone seems to have a great grasp of the challenges and rewards. If you thrive in colder weather, and don't mind lots of cloudy dark days interspersed with a few glorious ones, and have sufficient income and savings, then you could be successful.

You might write down a list of what attracts you. Is it mountains, skiing, agriculture, boating, peaceful lifestyle, relationship to other states or cities like Montreal and NYC? Have you visited in all seasons? If you want Vermont based on promotional photos from Vermont Life, then tear those magazines up. The images are not those of everyday life, and you would need to rent for a year to experience the real life and erase them from your mind.

For me, as I've grown older, I've become more intolerant of places that have high costs of living. I think that the tax burden in Vermont is outrageous, and prevents any realistic expectation of "retirement," syrupticiously (sic) using a state promoted addiction to beauty and sweetness to drain funds from residents that otherwise could be saved for one of the many rainy days. The state has the potential to turn into a green ghetto as citizens grow older and savings are drained.

Your background may also influence how happy you might be in Vermont. Having grown up in the state, and then lived in a number of cities, I'm reveling in now being located in a rural agricultural area that is more like what Vermont used to be than is now. It isn't for everyone, though. Dealing with ticks, loose dogs, wildlife eating the garden, a different culture, and the lack of easy shopping isn't something most people from urban areas can tolerate for any length of time without trying to citify it or leave.

Use a spreadsheet and some sample data and you can crunch numbers to see if the move is feasible. If it is, you might consider a year in Vermont as a sabbatical to see if it is something that you really want.
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Old 04-05-2008, 12:51 PM
 
6,764 posts, read 19,955,235 times
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I'm also from the NYC area (well, Long Island). We've been here 6 months and my husband got a 'good job' (across the border in NH) after 2 months being here. Of course, it's a night job, so that's less than ideal, but it enables me to FINALLY work.

We did not move here for any other reason except we looked and visited several other area of NH and found this one by chance in VT, not far from NH. We had no plans to move to Vermont and never knew about all these 'issues.'

I found the last winter very depressing because I didn't have a job. I also felt though this was a very extreme winter, it wasn't horrible. We did not lose our electricity once, though on Long Island we probably would have several times in the winter. We didn't 'run out of food' or all the other horror stories you hear about 'big, bad Vermont.'

I have a temp job now and make very poor wages for the amount of work I am expected to do. I can't say I made good money in NY because I never did, despite all my education. My husband makes a little less than he did in NY but he's happy to be in a different job.

The problems in Vermont can be applied to many states, so I believe it is unfair to say "it's Vermont." I've lived in enough places to know there is no 'dream place.' Even the nicest areas have problems.

Good parts of where we live in Vermont, off the top of my head (remember, this is the border near NH)..
1. Low crime.
2. Low minority factor--this is only here, go across to NH and it is more diverse.
3. No one expecting us to speak Spanish (tied into the second one).
4. It's beautiful when the weather is nice, even in winter.
5. People are courteous. In NY you get the 'hey, how ya doin'?' but no one really cares. They just run you off the road and say "f-you".
6. Smaller class sizes in school so that is really good for my son.

Bad parts:
1. $10 an hour is supposed to be 'great wages' but it's not when
2. Prices on food & so on are near comparable to metro NY.
3. Less people, less chance to socialize, more remote. You have to like your own company, find hobbies or spend time with your family.
4. The library is very poorly funded.
5. Too much 'sucking up' to the tourists & second home owners. These people create jobs, yes, but I am not used to having people with tons of money 'treat me like a servant or local yahoo.'
6. You need to drive much more to get to amenities like the supermarket.

Basically, if you have money, life can be good here. Or if you have a good job or can be self employed.

It's not NYC, nor do you want it to be.
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Old 04-05-2008, 04:02 PM
 
475 posts, read 859,478 times
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My husband and I have lived in Vt for about 4 years. We grew up on Long Island when LI was rural with farms and wildlife. When I see someone that lives in NYC write a post saying they want to live in VT I am surprised. We weren't the type to spend a lot of time in Manhattan but it was nice to know it was close if we wanted to go to the theater, shop, etc. Reading the previous posts, it seems that everyone loves VT but is struggling to make ends meet. I notice that a large number of people are working 2 and 3 jobs outside the home and have some type of business going on for themselves. So when is there time to enjoy the beauty of living here? I feel a person moving from NYC to a place like Rutland, Manchester, Burlington, etc. could probably adjust to living in VT but if you moved to the rural areas it would be VERY hard. GypsySoul22 wrote in her posting that she likes that her child is going to a smaller school. I am truly happy for her but I worked as a sub and did not see those children getting a good education. I was appauld at the waste of tax dollars. I am paying as much in VT (for a school consisting of 140 children) as I was on LI; over $5,000. a year just in school taxes! My husband has a good pension, Social Security, and is working the maximum he can and I still have to take money from my retirement fund to make ends meet. We bought a farm and have a few animals. Grain is going up, vets are as much as LI. Everything is as expensive or more then on Long Island. I have more land, that is the only difference. Oh, car insurance is cheaper.
Why I don't move.......because I love living in a state that doesn't like development. I love looking out my window and seeing nothing but fields, mountains and trees!! I love walking down to the river. I love the storms that come on so suddenly that I can't close my windows fast enough. I love opening my door to a double rainbow!! I love it that my animals have a pasture consisting of more than 2 acres!! This is all I ever dreamed of. But my husband says I'm not working with a full deck!!
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Old 04-05-2008, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Rutland, VT
1,822 posts, read 4,572,519 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYLIER View Post
I notice that a large number of people are working 2 and 3 jobs outside the home and have some type of business going on for themselves. So when is there time to enjoy the beauty of living here?
I work primarily from home and set my own schedule. When the weather is beautiful, out we go. Even with the massage business, field organizing, & writing, I have more time to enjoy myself living here than I ever did when I was making three times as much plus benefits, paid vacation, etc. and commuting to an office every day. Now that left me feeling seriously trapped! Now I love my work and it's integrated into my fun. If I was a real outdoorsy person, I guess I'd do park service or wildlife work.

I think you make a good point about the challenges of rural living. We live in Rutland about a mile from downtown. We pretty much walk everywhere. Some weeks we don't drive at all. Even if we moved from Rutland someday, we'd still live in a town where we could walk to everything. Just the way we like to live.

Last edited by Sherylcatmom; 04-05-2008 at 05:18 PM..
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Old 04-05-2008, 05:33 PM
 
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You all make very valid points. It seems that the biggest selling point of Vermont is its beauty and unspoiled environment. But that comes at a price... get what work you can and suck it up. That's okay--I did the career thing and it isn't what it was chalked up to be. I AM ready to breathe in some CLEAN air, stand mesmerized by the sheer simple beauty of God's creation, and become a less hectic person. "Enough savings"--that is the dilemma. What is enough? I know no one can tell me but what I believe is that when a person cuts his/her ties with NYC, there is no going back. So to have enough is the million dollar question.

What all responses indicate to me is that a struggle is a given if one moves to Vermont--not afraid to struggle but I want to make sure I always have a roof over my head and food in my stomach.

I am not drawn to Vermont because of those pretty pictures and yes I have come to Vermont in all seasons, with the exception of your mud season. I am not put off by winter (at least not yet!)--we traditionally like winter vacations--the colder the better. But that is a vacation--very different than living day to day.

If the population is aging, wages are low, decent paying jobs are scarce, taxes are increasing, then is a beautiful sunset, picturesque scenery, and delicious food (Yes, I agree totally sherylcatmom... I am a new convert to organic food and find it much better!) enough?

I know it is all rhetorical but I am not one to pick up, pack up and whatever comes, comes. Did that earlier in life and now it is time to think about that cozy home with a nice fireplace...
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