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Old 02-28-2010, 03:55 AM
Location: New York, NY – on the west bank of the East River
1,978 posts, read 3,205,223 times
Reputation: 1186


So, I'm 21, and I'm about to finish college soon in Asheville, NC, and I have been dying to move to Vermont for many years, probably since I was 15 (not that many years, but it's 1/4 of my life, so that's a good while). I used to live in Worcester during high school, and I would take every opportunity I could get to make my way up to VT. It became a bit of an obsession honestly. I have never been to such a wonderful place, and the place I live in now is pretty darn wonderful. Anyways, as seems to be the case with many folks around here, I need some advice from people who know VT.

I'm looking to graduate with a bachelor's in Psychology, and I am most likely going to attend graduate school. But anyway, I hear so much doom and gloom about how VT is terrible for jobs, and it's impossible to survive, and all that business. How bad is it really? I am completely willing to live in a cheap place for a while and work my way up. To me, it is worth having an apartment instead of a house to live in a place that makes me happy.

So, I love the cold and snow and ice and just generally arctic conditions in New England very much. I understand the general mentality of the area fairly well for a non-resident, I feel like. I know that it is best to assimilate and not go against the grain, and I have no problem with that.

VT is a realistic, long-term goal for me, not something I'm going to just jump into. But for those of you who live in and love Vermont (or those of you who don't love it), please just tell me what it is like. Are there bad parts of Vermont? I don't believe I've ever seen any, and I've seen a good amount of the state. What is the NEK like? Isolated, or totally livable? Any and all info you all could provide would be most appreciated.

Oh, and by the way, I love the outdoors and mountains. That is another plus about VT for me.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:49 AM
Location: Rutland, VT
1,822 posts, read 4,531,235 times
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I think you'll get answers to your questions by doing research and then trying to live here, if you can find a job and a place you want to (and can afford to) live.

To attend grad school here, of course, you'll want to be near a town that has one. UVM in Burlington has grad programs. Grad schools I like are:

School for International Training (SIT) Institute
in Brattleboro
Antioch New England University Graduate School
in Keene, NH, an easy drive from the Brattleboro area

Much of what you asked is subjective. How are you defining "bad" when asking about bad parts of Vermont? To answer you, people may list Vermont towns they dislike, but will their dislikes be relevant to your wants and needs? Even if someone posts Vermont experiences that are absolutely true for them, others will have had different experiences.

The NEK doesn't seem totally isolated to me. But there are people who consider all of Vermont totally isolated because it doesn't have what they want.

It is very difficult to find good jobs in Vermont. It's not impossible. If survival was truly impossible, people would be leaving in droves the way families fled the Dust Bowl. Some do leave Vermont for places with more jobs and commerce, and that means higher population centers. That's a trade-off I'm unwilling to make and things are tough everywhere right now.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:07 AM
6,764 posts, read 19,769,376 times
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People (the average person) survive here by being very frugal. I am constantly shutting off lights, we keep the thermostat low, and so all sorts of soul crushing things to get through another month's bills.

I had someone tell me "Vermonters look beaten down." He is from where I am originally from and I had this ah-ha moment...he's right.

Okay, there are some doing fine, they go to work, have their own businesses.

Then you have the 'barely getting bys'--people like my family where only one has a job despite all efforts and education. Every month it's like you're waiting for the wrecking ball to decimate your life, like an extra bill for the car breaking down or pet medicine.

Bad part of Vermont...? I live closer to NH so I can't speak for all of VT. Physically most of it is beautiful. But you have a seriously large undercurrent of 'displaced people' (social services must own homes near here and house people there). I see them wandering the local main streets.

Maybe I'd have a better attitude if my life was going in the direction I tried to make it go for the last few years. But despite all efforts I am just frustrated. It bends your psyche to live somewhere and be consistently unemployed.

If someone wants my opinion of VT--or my part of VT--it's just 'somewhere' that has too high a cost of living for being next to nothing. Burlington is an 1.5 away and Boston 2.5. The cost of living is not justified (apartments and houses cost too much for being in a 'depressed area). Just because Dartmouth (college) and hospital are nearby doesn't mean rents and taxes should be sky high, especially now, when neither are hiring. (and getting a job at either is incredibly hard even in good times).

Oh, yeah, and remind me never to move to a tourist area again.

Just my view. Then again, I'm leaving. There's nothing for us here anymore.

Last edited by GypsySoul22; 02-28-2010 at 07:16 AM..
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:20 AM
Location: Rutland, VT
1,822 posts, read 4,531,235 times
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Originally Posted by GypsySoul22 View Post
Oh, yeah, and remind me never to move to a tourist area again.
I agree with this. I'm from Miami Beach and prefer to live somewhere that's very locally-based. Not zero tourism, an industry which Rutland also relies on, but I avoid areas whose primary function is serving tourists. It inflates prices and deflates community cohesion.

GypsySoul has had an especially difficult and heartbreaking time in Vermont. She's not alone. So much depends on the opportunities one does/doesn't find.

Having children also changes things. My husband and I have the luxury of living well on far less income than we were able to when his children were minors.
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:16 AM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,890 posts, read 54,220,831 times
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The answer is fairly simple - if you have a steady and above average income, there is no place in Vermont that I have ever seen that isn't a nice place to live.
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:49 AM
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I was once a lot like you. I spent quite a few years living in GA, SC, and FL and even though I lived in nice placed that I really liked, I always knew that VT was my home and I wanted to be here. Some things may be harder here for some low income families, but its definately do-able. I would recommend researching job oppertunities as well as places to live, but I think you would do just fine. A large portion of the NEK seems to have lower cost housing but thge jobs seem to pay less too (this may be different if you have a degree). Burlington area seems to pay more but the cost of living is usually higher too. Tourist towns usually cost more to live in as well. If I were you, I would do my research. Start with a job and find a place to live. Only you can decide if its something you will be able to afford. I can tell you that I certainly am not rich, I have 2 children and my husband and myself were able to buy our first home this year in a very nice town. Some things may seem to cost more, but its completely worth it to me. And its a great place to raise my children. Hope this helps you, and good luck.
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:02 AM
Location: The Woods
16,960 posts, read 22,280,061 times
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The NEK is my favorite part, for various reasons (natural beauty, lack of crowds, where I grew up, the politics aren't too extrreme, etc.), but the reason I'm not there right now is because there is a major lack of jobs up there. Whatever you do, get a job before you come to VT.

For places I wouldn't live: Burlington, Brattleboro, Montpelier (East Montpelier is okay though), Rutland, etc. There is a pattern here: I don't like cities...you might like those areas though. I think Springfield is one of the few places I'd definately stay out of if I were you.

Oh, and do avoid the real tourist towns (places like Stowe, etc.), they're simply too expensive...
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:07 AM
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VT has one of the oldest populations, outside of Burlington you won't find a lot of 21 year olds. The folks that age that still live in small towns grew up there and have an ingrown social circle(revolves around drug use and relatives) you are unlikely to get into. Crap apartment rent in VT will likely be surprisingly high compared to NC.
Job situation isn't pretty and not getting better, VT is down and both sides of the political spectrum have admitted that VT will recover last. I'd add if at all. That said you are young and unlikely to get stuck if you can just load your car and drive away- so give it a shot. Do understand living in VT is vastly different from visiting and playing in VT.
PS grad school in VT is more expensive than equivalent educations elsewhere.
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:28 AM
6,764 posts, read 19,769,376 times
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I agree having children changes what you can do and tolerate. Any job I might get is tempered by "will I be home for my child?" before my husband has to go to work. And, are the schools any good in this area. And of course, what is the crime like?

I just realize that we will not be happy here because both of us have to work. I can't spend my life in a small town where the biggest thrill of my week is driving 40 minutes to save $20 at Walmart.
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Old 02-28-2010, 01:02 PM
Location: New York, NY – on the west bank of the East River
1,978 posts, read 3,205,223 times
Reputation: 1186
Some great responses in here, thanks guys. A lot of what some of you have said has confirmed my fears that VT really is somewhat down and out as far as jobs and housing are concerned. I am definitely willing to make some sacrifices to live in a place that I love, but of course there is a limit. I am more drawn to the city areas of VT, because to me, being from Birmingham and having lived in Boston, Worcester, and Atlanta, the cities in VT are not really cities so much as big towns. Kind of like Asheville, which is what I love about here.

Honestly, New Hampshire had become my goal at a point because I had read and heard so much about the conditions in Vermont being so rough. Also, I find NH to have more sensible politics. I should add that I am not necessarily going to go to grad school in New England. I will most likely do that in Alabama because I will get in-state tuition. New England schools are simply too expensive for me. I don't want to be paying off loans for the rest of my life.

So yeah, I like more urban areas of VT (although I have had my fill of big cities), and I love to see live music. That is honestly my favorite thing in the world to do: play and see music. So, as far as Burlington goes, what are the pro's and con's as far as you all see them?
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