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Old 07-21-2009, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Las Cruces, NM
40 posts, read 100,759 times
Reputation: 19

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Hey Folks!

I'm now living in southern New Mexico, but my wife and I would like to move to New England. Lately I've been reading a lot about Burlington and Portland. We are both professionals in our late 20's/ early 30's. We love outdoor activities and charming cool vibe towns. Which one do you think will fit us better? If you have any other small/medium size town/city in New England, please let me know.

Thank you, Quelo
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Boston Metro
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there are alot of awesome towns in New England but you should visit Manchester New Hampshire. Its a great small city with an airport and is fairly close the Boston,MA.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:14 PM
 
Location: New Hampshire
2,257 posts, read 7,497,546 times
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Burlington and Portland are definitely both sizeable cities by New England standards (although they're certainly no Boston). Portland has the edge in size, with a bit over 60,000 people versus about 40,000 in Burlington. Both cities have an artsy, cultural vibe with plenty of outdoor activities nearby. I guess it just depends on whether you put priority on the ocean or the mountains.

Burlington is very close to the heart of the Green Mountains, say, a 15-20 minute drive or so. From Portland, it's a bit over an hour drive to mountains of comparable elevation (the White Mountains in New Hampshire). By contrast, Burlington is over 3 hours from the coast. However, it does have Lake Champlain, which is more swimmable than the ocean water in Maine during the summer (current water temps are about 69 degrees at Lake Champlain and 64 degrees off the coast of Portland). Portland is also close to a number of sizeable lakes, notably Sebago Lake.

In terms of quaint New England charm and historic architecture, both cities fare well, at least compared to most places in the country. I think Portland has an edge in historic architecture and charming streetscapes because its history dates to the early 1600s, versus the mid-1700s for Burlington. However, much of Portland's colonial housing stock was destroyed in the Independence Day Fire of 1866, so neither city can really hold a candle to the paragons of immaculately-preserved New England colonial towns, like Portsmouth, NH or Newport, RI.

In my experience, Portland has a more "urban" feel than Burlington, which may or may not fit your preferences. Portland is also more well-connected to other urban centers in New England, being closer to the cities in New Hampshire and with direct train service to Boston. A drive from Portland to downtown Boston can be done in under 2 hours, versus about 3 and a half hours from Burlington. On the other hand, Burlington is about 45 minutes from the Canadian border and a little over an hour and a half from Montréal.

Portland has slightly more temperate weather due to its proximity to the ocean, with average daytime highs of 31 degrees in January and 79 degrees in July. Burlington averages 27 degree highs in January and 81 degree highs in July. Both cities get decent amounts of snow, with Portland averaging 70 inches per year and Burlington 79 inches. Portland's climate is also a bit sunnier.

In terms of other New England cities with easy access to the lakes, mountains, and oceans -- Concord, NH comes to mind. It's about the same size as Burlington, but it lacks the same kind of cultural offerings and youthful vibe. On the other hand, Portsmouth, NH is a very artsy, vibrant, charming, and beautifully preserved New England city, but it is considerably smaller than the others, with just about 20,000 people. One advantage, though -- it's only an hour from downtown Boston.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Las Cruces, NM
40 posts, read 100,759 times
Reputation: 19
Thank you so much Verseau, this is way more from what I expected. All this information is really helpful. I appologize from some grammar mistakes I'm making, I'm originally from Argentina and just move to the US 2 years ago, so I'm still trying to work on my english. I also heard that Northampton, MA is a cool city. We a great vibe an lots of cultural/natural activities. Do you have any info on this city?

Thanks again, Quelo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Verseau View Post
Burlington and Portland are definitely both sizeable cities by New England standards (although they're certainly no Boston). Portland has the edge in size, with a bit over 60,000 people versus about 40,000 in Burlington. Both cities have an artsy, cultural vibe with plenty of outdoor activities nearby. I guess it just depends on whether you put priority on the ocean or the mountains.

Burlington is very close to the heart of the Green Mountains, say, a 15-20 minute drive or so. From Portland, it's a bit over an hour drive to mountains of comparable elevation (the White Mountains in New Hampshire). By contrast, Burlington is over 3 hours from the coast. However, it does have Lake Champlain, which is more swimmable than the ocean water in Maine during the summer (current water temps are about 69 degrees at Lake Champlain and 64 degrees off the coast of Portland). Portland is also close to a number of sizeable lakes, notably Sebago Lake.

In terms of quaint New England charm and historic architecture, both cities fare well, at least compared to most places in the country. I think Portland has an edge in historic architecture and charming streetscapes because its history dates to the early 1600s, versus the mid-1700s for Burlington. However, much of Portland's colonial housing stock was destroyed in the Independence Day Fire of 1866, so neither city can really hold a candle to the paragons of immaculately-preserved New England colonial towns, like Portsmouth, NH or Newport, RI.

In my experience, Portland has a more "urban" feel than Burlington, which may or may not fit your preferences. Portland is also more well-connected to other urban centers in New England, being closer to the cities in New Hampshire and with direct train service to Boston. A drive from Portland to downtown Boston can be done in under 2 hours, versus about 3 and a half hours from Burlington. On the other hand, Burlington is about 45 minutes from the Canadian border and a little over an hour and a half from Montréal.

Portland has slightly more temperate weather due to its proximity to the ocean, with average daytime highs of 31 degrees in January and 79 degrees in July. Burlington averages 27 degree highs in January and 81 degree highs in July. Both cities get decent amounts of snow, with Portland averaging 70 inches per year and Burlington 79 inches. Portland's climate is also a bit sunnier.

In terms of other New England cities with easy access to the lakes, mountains, and oceans -- Concord, NH comes to mind. It's about the same size as Burlington, but it lacks the same kind of cultural offerings and youthful vibe. On the other hand, Portsmouth, NH is a very artsy, vibrant, charming, and beautifully preserved New England city, but it is considerably smaller than the others, with just about 20,000 people. One advantage, though -- it's only an hour from downtown Boston.
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:05 AM
 
Location: Dallas
4,621 posts, read 9,562,624 times
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I've had to work in BUR & PTL quite often over 15 years. I'd take PTL. Reason? PTL is on the ocean by great beaches, has a daily train or a two hour drive to all that is BOS. My experience is I just like the people of PTL better, they are just nicer. Seems like everyone in VT is a wiseass. I don't like that. And PTL just has to be warmer. And I HATE driving in mountains in the winter, it's just treacherous.


OTOH, BUR has access to Montreal, an even competitor to BOS perhaps better - certainly more decadent. PTL also has something of a homeless problem.

Overall I'd take PTL by about 5 degrees celcius.

That all said, I wouldn't live in either. If you're gonna live in New England, live in BOS or PVD.
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Old 07-22-2009, 12:27 AM
 
Location: Las Cruces, NM
40 posts, read 100,759 times
Reputation: 19
Thanks for your reply Bostonian08. I really appreciate your opinion. I think Boston is too big for what we are looking at, and providence, well, my wife is from Warwick, RI. All her family lives over there, and we will need a little more distance from them !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bostonian08 View Post
I've had to work in BUR & PTL quite often over 15 years. I'd take PTL. Reason? PTL is on the ocean by great beaches, has a daily train or a two hour drive to all that is BOS. My experience is I just like the people of PTL better, they are just nicer. Seems like everyone in VT is a wiseass. I don't like that. And PTL just has to be warmer. And I HATE driving in mountains in the winter, it's just treacherous.


OTOH, BUR has access to Montreal, an even competitor to BOS perhaps better - certainly more decadent. PTL also has something of a homeless problem.

Overall I'd take PTL by about 5 degrees celcius.

That all said, I wouldn't live in either. If you're gonna live in New England, live in BOS or PVD.
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Old 07-22-2009, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia,New Jersey, NYC!
6,966 posts, read 19,254,125 times
Reputation: 2687
Burlington brah
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Old 07-22-2009, 05:13 PM
 
Location: where my heart is
5,642 posts, read 8,748,232 times
Reputation: 1661
Couldn't choose because I like both.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:48 PM
 
5,806 posts, read 14,725,175 times
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Default Northampton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quelo View Post
Thank you so much Verseau, this is way more from what I expected. All this information is really helpful. I appologize from some grammar mistakes I'm making, I'm originally from Argentina and just move to the US 2 years ago, so I'm still trying to work on my english. I also heard that Northampton, MA is a cool city. We a great vibe an lots of cultural/natural activities. Do you have any info on this city?

Thanks again, Quelo
Northampton is smaller than Burlington or Portland, really qite a lot smaller than Portland if you consider the entire surrounding population that it serves. Northampton is a medium-sized to large town, not really a city. It does have some nice little restaurants, and the colleges in the area provide some culture in the form of speakers and traveling performing arts troupes. Overall, though, there is less in the way of nightlife and culture in the vicinity of Northampton than you would find in the other two cities. The area around Northampton is rural. Because of the colleges in the area, there is more nightlife and culture than you would find in most rural areas, but less than you'll find in Portland or Burlington.

The landscape around Northampton is beautiful. There are some nice clean ponds that are good for swimming, and some hills where you can do some hiking. These opportunities mean there is some pleasant everyday outdoor recreation near Northampton, and the Berkshires are about an hour to hour-and-a-half drive to the west, but either Portland or Burlington would put you closer to a greater variety of major outdoor recreation, such as mountains, big lakes, the ocean, white-water rivers, and deep forests where you can really get away from civilization.

All in all, Northampton is nice if you like funky, artsy, college-oriented towns, has pretty good nightlife for a somewhat small town, and pleasant local outdoor recreation opportunities, but overall it offers quite a bit less in the way of both outdoor and urban recreation than you'd find in and near Burlington or Portland.
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Old 07-23-2009, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Las Cruces, NM
40 posts, read 100,759 times
Reputation: 19
Thank you very much Ogre. That was really helpful! Any tips on other small/medium size cities in NE?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogre View Post
Northampton is smaller than Burlington or Portland, really qite a lot smaller than Portland if you consider the entire surrounding population that it serves. Northampton is a medium-sized to large town, not really a city. It does have some nice little restaurants, and the colleges in the area provide some culture in the form of speakers and traveling performing arts troupes. Overall, though, there is less in the way of nightlife and culture in the vicinity of Northampton than you would find in the other two cities. The area around Northampton is rural. Because of the colleges in the area, there is more nightlife and culture than you would find in most rural areas, but less than you'll find in Portland or Burlington.

The landscape around Northampton is beautiful. There are some nice clean ponds that are good for swimming, and some hills where you can do some hiking. These opportunities mean there is some pleasant everyday outdoor recreation near Northampton, and the Berkshires are about an hour to hour-and-a-half drive to the west, but either Portland or Burlington would put you closer to a greater variety of major outdoor recreation, such as mountains, big lakes, the ocean, white-water rivers, and deep forests where you can really get away from civilization.

All in all, Northampton is nice if you like funky, artsy, college-oriented towns, has pretty good nightlife for a somewhat small town, and pleasant local outdoor recreation opportunities, but overall it offers quite a bit less in the way of both outdoor and urban recreation than you'd find in and near Burlington or Portland.
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