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Old 01-26-2007, 07:26 PM
154 posts, read 624,679 times
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My family and I are thinking of relocating and I'd love to hear opinions about great VT towns in which to live and raise a family. Our criteria is someplace safe, good public schools, and affordable ( i.e. house for under$230,000). Ideally someplace smaller than 60,000 would be good, though not completely necessary, with some kind of access to arts and culture, even if it's a couple towns away. We've ruled out Burlington for a crime issue we discovered, same with Middlebury and Brattleboro. Any other recommended towns?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. We're also considering New Hampshire, Conn., Rhode Island, and upstate New York. Actually anywhere in the country would work but low crime, good schools, and affordability are the must-haves.

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Old 01-26-2007, 07:56 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,879 posts, read 54,180,694 times
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Nothing in Vermont is "affordable." No place on earth is free from crime since Vlad the Impaler died. Now that those issues are out of the way, Waterbury is centrally located and a nice place. Swanton is a stone's throw from Montreal and an international culture.

If you are willing to get out of the area, Athens Alabama has nationally high school test scores, a quiet safe environment, a super low cost of living, and a surprising number of people working in high-tech jobs in or near Huntsville.
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Old 01-27-2007, 12:20 AM
Location: hinesburg, vt
1,574 posts, read 4,421,590 times
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All cities in Vermont are under 60k in population. The outlying towns of Burlington in Chittenden county are rural, but housing is very expensive. If you live further out you will have to live with high transportation costs as our gasoline is higher here in VT. Don't plan on buying a new diesel car as VT is one of six states that will not let you register it. In today's paper an absurd notion was presented to increase the gas tax by .50 the logic being that people will then live in town and not drive as much. I always hear of mass transit options being proposed, but due to our geography and the fact that many folks work odd jobs and hours this will never work. It is this kind of talk which is forcing more folks to rethink their futures here. It's too bad since VT is really a nice place to live.
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Old 01-27-2007, 08:21 AM
Location: Vermont
1,442 posts, read 5,906,392 times
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Why did you rule out Brattleboro? The wording on your post suggested that Brattleboro had a such a serious crime problem that you would rule it out as a place to live. From what I have been told, Brattleboro has a very low crime rate. Yes, Bulington recently had a nationally publicized murder, but a realtor in Brattleboro said that murders are very rare in Brattleboro, so rare that if one happened, it would be first page news every day until the perp was put away. I did hear of a local robbery or two, though.
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Old 01-27-2007, 08:27 AM
Location: Vermont
3,330 posts, read 8,785,497 times
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I'm curious as to why you ruled out Middlebury as well. Crime? Pretty much non-existant except for domestic violence, which is a pretty big issue here in Vermont. Also, there is a college there, so you read of the occasional theft from a dorm room here and there. I live between Middlebury & Burlington and know quite a lot about both towns.
I would suggest you look at the areas surrounding Lyndonville & St. Johnsbury as well as the towns themselves. Population of both towns and surrounding areas is probably around 15,000-20,000. Both towns have GREAT schools (at the high school level anyway) and housing is relatively inexpensive compared to the rest of the state.
St. Johnsbury is home to St. Johnsbury Academy & Catamount Arts which offer lots of art/music/theater etc and Lyndonville has Lyndon State College.
BUT....what about work?
check out the local newspaper: www.caledonianrecord.com
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Old 01-27-2007, 05:01 PM
Location: hinesburg, vt
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The rate of crime in Vt compared to other places is very low. Murders almost always involve the victim knowing the assailant, so even if you read of a few in a given area that does not mean there is a threat to the population at large. One of the most shocking murders involved those two teenagers from the Norwich area who crossed over to NH and killed the two Dartmouth professors. Robbery was the motive and of course quite a bit of mental instability. They almost killed a homeowner in Vt, but when one of them knocked on his door acting creepy the man had a handgun which was visible and it thwarted the robbery and possible murder. Vermont does have a disturbing trend toward extreme leniency toward sex offenders (and other felons) and this will in the future create a problem. Gas station/mini-mart robberies are becoming much more commonplace which almost exclusively involves drug addicts. There have been two in my area in just the past few days.
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Old 01-28-2007, 09:21 AM
Location: ♥State of the heart♥
1,118 posts, read 4,377,158 times
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Check out the towns around Stowe (which itself might be too pricey) - Morristown, Waterbury, Cambridge, Johnson (which is on the other side of Mt. Mansfield. The location keeps the prices low).
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Old 01-28-2007, 04:59 PM
Location: Apex, NC
1,341 posts, read 5,642,268 times
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Originally Posted by karelise View Post
Any suggestions would be appreciated. We're also considering New Hampshire, Conn., Rhode Island, and upstate New York. Actually anywhere in the country would work but low crime, good schools, and affordability are the must-haves.
You don't pick Vermont for it's affordability. You pick Vermont for it's character and how well it's environmental practices matches yours. One issue to note is that as your income and assests increase, Vermont becomes one of the least affordable places to live. $230,000 for a house doesn't go as far as you think it should in such a rural state, primarily because you have affluent folks from metros visiting Vermont as tourists and then falling in love with the natural beauty and buying a second home.

I grew up in Burlington and it's a great city. I lived in Orwell, VT for six years on my in-laws' farm and it was a picturesque little town with a great sense of community. It had a great little elementary school but the county high school was of grave concern for us. I mean no disrespect to the Vermonters on this forum, but since you're asking about other possibilities, I'd like to suggest you check out the Roanoke Valley in Virginia:

http://encyclopedia.quickseek.com/images/Roanokeaerial.jpg (broken link)

I live 20 minutes south of Roanoke in Franklin County. For those familiar with the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont, let me introduce you to Cahas Mountain:

http://www.oakhillstablesva.com/images/photo_cahas.jpg (broken link)

Cahas Mountain (3,571') in Virginia is on the very same mountain range as the Green Mountains of Vermont (Appalachian). Folks in the Champlain Valley might actually be struck by the familiarity of Cahas even though it's about 700 miles further south. Anyway this is the view that I wake up to each day and it makes this Vermonter feel right at home.

We moved down to Boones Mill, Franklin County, VA in 2005. Insofar as cost of living is concerned, day to day living costs are 20% cheaper to live down here, at least. Add to that the fact that people tend to get paid abuot 20% more down here and it's really a stark economic contrast. Property tax in my county is only $0.52/$100. If memory serves most places in Vermont are up around $1.80/$100. When family visits our farm in Virginia from Vermont they never fail to notice how much cheaper fuel is down here (usually by about $0.18/gallon). Heating and cooling bills are much lower down here and electricity is much, much cheaper. Our county has a fantastic public school system. We have countless mountains, dozens of state and national parks, the blue ridge parkway, right next door. Roanoke Valley population is spread out over four counties and the MSA includes about 240,000 people. Our county is a very large county by area, +/- 750 square miles and the population is only 51,000. And we have gorgeous Smith Mountain Lake and Fairystone Lake, they are 30 and 45 minutes away respectively.

Roanoke City itself is quite liberal while the surrounding counties are conservative. Still, I'm a damn yankee, and to make matters worse, I'm a fiscal conservative social progressive athiest, so you'd think they'd shoot me down here! Surprisingly, virtually everyone I come into contact with down here is obscenely nice to me, and I to them. It's quite inspiring, really. You're treated like kin in awfully short order.

A considerable factor for our selection of this area beyond the obvious economic and recreational benefits are climate. Down here, you have a Spring full of flowers and green grass, instead of the mud season I grew up with Spring lasts for months, Summer lasts for months, Autumn lasts for months down here and Winter rarely has a day that doesn't get above 32F. In Vermont, winter seemed to kick in around October 1st and hang around until April 1st. Which, if you ski every weekend, is a damn good thing! For us, not so much. Here, it snows, the kids spend all morning on sleds, and by breakfast the next day the snow is gone.

Still, Vermont is unparalleled when it comes to natural mountain beauty in the USA. Primarily because of the very political measures that impede the economy (no billboards allowed, very very difficult to overcome zoning requirements for development, etc). If you want a beautiful natural setting and are willing to make real economic sacrifices, Vermont is hard to beat.

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Old 01-28-2007, 07:49 PM
Location: Vermont / NEK
5,773 posts, read 12,321,576 times
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What a great post! Pic #2 looks like anywhere, VT and Roanoke doesn't look too shabby either.
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Old 01-29-2007, 10:34 AM
Location: hinesburg, vt
1,574 posts, read 4,421,590 times
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Sean, another outstanding post. Thanks for your post on the Va forum clarrifying some of the economic and tax comparisons. The area does look like Vt. For those reading the Vt forum, Sean was right in describing Vt. It is a very nice place to live if you can appreciate winter and deal with mud season. The reality is that the state will probably never get its fiscal priorities in order and this is plainly evident if you follow the actions of the legislature. We lose much of our young talent and for those saving for and planning for their retirement years the prospect of life here is stressful. I am amazed at how many life long Vermonters are taking the steps to research other locations to move to. Most candidly admit that they don't have faith that the state government will change and by leaving they are essentially voting with their feet giving the legislature a vote of no confidence. Having only lived here for two years I have to admit that I am starting a Plan B option. I have a few commitments which ideally require me to remain for four more years and by then if there is no positive action I will at least be prepared. For those who are looking to move to Vt I don't want to create an atmosphere of gloom, but it is always best to know the facts and then decide.
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