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Old 10-10-2006, 08:53 AM
Location: Vermont
1,442 posts, read 6,242,407 times
Reputation: 452


How does a Vermont winter compare with a New York City winter (or a Rhode Island winter)? I mean, in terms of length, snow, cold, etc.

What about ice on those heavily inclined roads? I hate skidding on flat roads. I can't imagine skidding on one of those steep inclines.

Also, what do people generally use for heating? I've noticed, in real estate pages, that oil and propane are popular. Do people use natural gas? Also, do people also tend to use wood stoves or pellet stoves a lot? Or simple fireplaces? Once, in Rhode Island, my heater broke in the middle of the winter, and it was not fun. I had no alternative fuel.

My current home uses natural gas. I don't like the expense, of course, but I do appreciate not having to deal with deliveries. My next door neighbors, on both sides, use oil.

When I lived in Rhode Island, I had a propane tank. When I needed a delivery, I had to stay home for it. Once, I was given the whole day to wait for a delivery. The delivery didn't come and there was no call to cancel. I called the company to ask what happened and they said, cavalierly, that they never got to it. I was angry, but, if I remember correctly, there was only one other company I could defect to.

What is the situation with fuel delivery in Vermont? Is there enough competition so that the consumer has leverage?

Are there a lot of ice-related accidents (not just car accidents) and/or cold-related problems?

I am specifically interested in Brattleboro but all comments are welcome.

I just love this forum. It is so generous of locals to answer questions of outsiders. I really appreciate all the help you are giving me. Thanks.
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:49 AM
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Vermont winters are very long and cold, but I've gotten used to them in the 5 years I've been in Vermont. Whenever we have visited our in-laws on Long Island, it is always much more mild there. Might be the same with Rhode Island - due to the effect of being close to the ocean(?).

The roads are kept fairly clear in VT, much better than after a snowfall in the midwest. Part of the reason for this is VERY heavy salting of the roads. I drive an old Escort wagon, and have never been stuck or needed 4WD, although I live and work on primary streets. There aren't nearly as many accidents in the wintertime as I had anticipated would be here - people seem to know how to drive when it is icy.

Lots of people, including us, use oil for heat. On the coldest winter day, our steam radiators have heated our old Victorian just fine. They deliver oil automatically whether we are home or not. We've run out twice in 5 years -due to mistakes by the oil company, but they were immediate to fix it.

Winter weather doesn't seem to affect people here. I remember in Indiana, a foot of snow and/or 15 degrees below zero would keep kids and people home - but in Vermont, everybody still shows up. Just make sure to use good winter tires and a good battery and you'll be set!
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:12 PM
Location: Vermont
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Growing up we had a wood furnace with an oil furnace as back up. Now, we use propane. The delivery comes as a result of a formula oil/gas companies use called heating degree days. We've never had to call because we've run out.
Roads stay generally clear here. Life goes on when it snows. Schools don't close that often. More than likely they will delay opening by an hour or two (to give a chance for bus routes to be plowed, busses won't start etc).
For a winter vehicle, a front-wheel drive will do. Add snowtires on and you're good to go.
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:44 PM
Location: Burlington VT
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arel -

You've gotten some great answers here (above).
I love Winter, so I may not be the best source for an opinion on some of this stuff, but a lot of it has to do with the way people address things.

Cautious drivers fare better than those who don't plan and always rush. People who know what a pellet stove is, like you, are going to be just fine!

You're going to love Brattleboro!

Do have a look at the various threads here - things like driving, dressing, R.E. prices and fuel cost have been covered fairly extensively...
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Old 12-03-2006, 06:05 PM
21,339 posts, read 63,994,483 times
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I agree, great answers. I have some webcams in Vermont that I watch on a regular basis. Truth be told, winters in Vermont aren't what they were when I was growing up, and those weren't what they were when my parents were growing up. I have family photos going back for years, and a few of mules in a snow cut where the snow is over their heads is the most startling, but that was pre-1940.

Snow tires - if they are still available, the tires with ground walnut shell in the tread are THE best, even more than studded. I remember one icy morning when everything including trucks, 4WD, and studded vehicles were slipping off the interstate hill leading to Burlington from Richmond, and my little Nova was able to just zip right up. Part of it was good driving (we do know how to drive in snow) and a lot was due to the tires.
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Old 12-03-2006, 08:04 PM
Location: Vermont / NEK
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Yeah, winters are getting shorter and milder so it seems. Here in the Northeast Kingdom on the Canadian border we still can have a.m. temps of -40 in January. Last time that happened was 2005 though and I think we set a record for annual snowfall sometime in the 00's. But overall, winters are setting in later and petering out sooner. My mom tells me stories of skating on Thanksgiving when she was a kid on the 1920-30s. As of today, I haven't even seen a thin skim of ice on any body of water.

Anyway, heating is still essential and we use wood with a backup of oil. Our house (100 yrs old - 3 bedrooms up) uses about six cords and one 275 gallon tank respectively. Wood is great! It's renewable energy and the steadiest source of heat I have known and is still affordable. This year I spent $130 a cord; cut, split and delivered.

And yes, HC, those tires with walnut shells are out there. I believe they're made in Iceland and have "Diamond" somewhere in the name. I put 4 Cooper Weathermasters on our cars and seem to do fine with them. And I agree with you that knowing how to drive in snow makes a world of difference. Ice, however, can still cause very unpredictable things to happen to a vehicle. I'd like to try those diamond tires, but no dealer around here has heard of em.

Cheers / Jim
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