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Moving to Vermont...Not

Updated on February 13, 2017
Mountains in Stowe, Vermont
Mountains in Stowe, Vermont | Source


Love at First Sight

I love Vermont. When I was in middle school, my 7th-grade French class took a trip to Quebec. I grew up in Connecticut and had never been to Vermont before. As the Greyhound Bus headed north to Canada, we drove through the state of Vermont, and I fell in love with the mountains there. I suppose those Vermont mountains were the first real mountains I had ever seen at that age. I loved the country scenery, the fields, and the woods, but was mesmerized by the mountains. Right then I was determined to go back as much as possible. By the time I was in high school, my dream was to live in Vermont someday. I remember looking through college catalogs way back in the seventies to see what colleges had majors in Social Work so I could go to college in Vermont.

But alas, at that time, Social Work was only being offered in colleges in cities. I ended up going to a college in New Haven, 3 dayCT. Nice college, but certainly no Vermont. And no mountains. My roommate and I once drove from Connecticut to New Hampshire to visit a friend of hers at New England College. On the way, we passed into Vermont and I made her stop and take a picture of me in front of the welcome to Vermont sign, so I would have it to remember on days I needed a pick me up.

After college, I took vacations to Vermont as much as possible. And each time I went, I would pick up free real estate magazines in little stores along the way. I would read them and dream of someday living in Vermont. I was single and had a good job but not enough money left over to buy anything in Vermont. But I kept dreaming. A guy that I was seeing loved to ski and asked me to go to skiing at Okemo in Ludlow Vermont. Terrified that I would fall and break a leg, I went anyway because I didn't want to pass up a trip to Vermont. I will never forget my first sight of that mountain as we drove up to the parking lot. He actually helped me relax a bit by reminding me I that if I fell, I wasn't going to fall off the side of the mountain, just down a few feet to the ground. That did help me and I enjoyed the skiing, which was mostly spent on the bunny slope. Another time, I had a friend at work who loved to bike ride, and she found a company called "Vermont Bicycle Tours" which off3-day bike trips around Vermont. We signed up for one, and pedaled our legs off for 3 days. It's not easy to bike up and down those Vermont hills, at 20 or 30 miles per day. But we did it and I was loving it through the pain because we were in Vermont. We stopped in the quaint little town of Woodstock, and rode over the covered bridge there. I fell in love with a teddy bear in a gift shop in Woodstock, Vermont and he became the first bear in my collection of teddy bears. I named him a not very original name, "Woodstock". We went the next day to Plymouth, Vermont, a very small town, and saw the house where one time U.S. President Calvin Coolidge was born.

A year later, another friend from work had an uncle with a hunting camp and asked if I wanted to go up there for a weekend with her. I didn't even know what a hunting camp was, but I wanted to be in Vermont. Theirs was a rather big camp by hunting camp standards. A kitchen, which entered right into a large living room area, with a bathroom off to the side. Upstairs was one whole room dedicated to bunks, for when the men in the family went hunting. It was in the middle of the woods, with a long dirt driveway leading up to it and no other houses around. We brought along her dog, a golden retriever, and took a hike along a stream. Although it was November, there were a few inches of snow on the ground. I was in heaven! At that point, I thought maybe a hunting camp would work for me. Primitive, but still a place in Vermont, and cheaper than a house. I saw hunting camps in those real estate magazines with little more than a central room and a roof, and that would have been okay. Even just an acre or two would have made me happy...I could get a tent and camp out in the Summer, if an acre was all I could afford. But it didn't make sense, nor did I have the money.

After a break up with someone I had hoped would be "the one", I took my dog with me for a 3 day weekend in Vermont. We did fine the first day, but that night, he repeatedly got sick in the hotel room, and I found a 24 hour vet in the town of Rutland the following day. They told me he had the flu ( Huh? Dogs get the flu) and he would have to stay overnight. I was sad about that because I had wanted to hike with him. But his overnight stay gave me the opportunity to do a 1/2 day of skiing at a place near Rutland called,"Suicide Six." The name may seem intimidating but it has a 1 mile beginner's trail that goes around the side of the mountain and it took about 20 minutes to ski down nice and slowly. With the snow, the freshly scented mountain air, the pine trees, and the mountains in the distance, I felt like I was in Heaven! And the dog was fine when I picked him up.

First Marriage and No Hope of Vermont

I started dating someone who liked to ski. We skied in Vermont. I was not very good at it. I stayed mostly in the beginner slopes while he was on the diamond runs with friends, but I didn't care. Alone, in the crisp, fresh Vermont air, looking out at snow covered mountains, I was in my element. The beginner slopes suited me fine as I could slowly ski down the mountains and enjoy the views of snow covered pine trees and mountains in the distance.

We got engaged. The week before the wedding, I decided I needed to go on a trip all by myself...to contemplate saying goodbye to the single life, and saying hello to marriage. I wanted to go to Vermont. A friend told me about Newfane and what a wonderful little town it was.I went and found a nice little hotel just around a river bend. I found the Williamsville covered bridge and sat underneath it and wrote in my journal. I stopped at the Newfane Country Store and admired the quilts and quaint items it had for sale. I stopped in antique shops. I came back refreshed and the next week we got married. He liked Vermont, but certainly did not want to live there. He liked to ski there, but that was about the extent of it. No year round trips for him. Only Winter would do, and only to ski. But I secretly harbored someday saving enough to buy my hunting camp, or an acre somewhere in the wilderness, imagining now camping in a tent with my 3 kids during the summer, on an acre of wooded land with a possible mountain view.

When my kids were 11 and 8, any their Dad had a weekend event he had to go to, I took the kids to Vermont. We stayed in a hotel in Brattleboro, and used the area as a base to explore. We went to Adams Farm in Wilmington, Vermont. The kids loved the petting barn where they could go in and pet animals. My son befriended a cute little bunny rabbit that was so friendly he was allowed to hop around and visit with the guests. We had a picnic lunch by at the Williamsville covered bridge in Newfane. I had a chance to share my favorite state with my children so they could see why I loved it so much. And of course I collected more real estate magazines to peruse and dream.

Second Marriage and the Hope Burns Brighter

That marriage ended after 17 years. Now I was a single mom, in a huge financial crunch, but still the dream of Vermont lived in my heart. I reconnected with a man I had known in high school. On one of our first dates, he told me his dream was to live in Vermont. I thought he was joking...that he had found out from a mutual friend about my Vermont dream and said that to earn a few Brownie points in a new relationship. But he was not. He even showed me his yearbook from high school where his lifelong dream was printed under his picture: To own a dairy farm in Vermont. When he was a child, he grew up in the city of Philadelphia and would go visit his aunt and uncle in Vermont during the summer. This experience was so positive for him, that it led to his own dream of moving to Vermont. I was thrilled to finally find someone who had the same dream as me. I could see that life in Vermont more clear than ever now.

We got married in 2010. We talked at the reception about someday fulfilling our dream of living together in Vermont...when my kids were grown, etc. He no longer has the dream of the dairy farm, having headed toward a different career in which he is very successful, but Vermont was our goal none the less. We visited Vermont numerous times, and never to ski. One year we rented a condo at Okemo in the summer, and enjoyed the work out center and outdoor hot tub, surrounded by mountains. The next year we rented one at Stratton Mountain and enjoyed a meal at the Stratton Mountain Village. We loved to go to the Vermont Country Store in both Weston and Rockingham. Although this store has mail order catalog, you can't beat going there in person to check out the old time toys, food, housewares and warm winter clothing they have in stock. And the free samples of cheese, crackers, dips, cookies, salsa, fudge are half the fun of going. Last year we even went to a Christmas celebration in Weston, and saw Santa Claus, the whole town decorated, and enjoyed a festive lunch at Bryant's restaurant next door. And it even snowed a few flurries for us while we were there. More recently, we stayed in Northern Vermont. We spent 3 deliciously relaxing and romantic days at the Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford. The innkeeper told us about the tasting tour of the area and we had great fun checking out Cabot's Creamery ( love their cheese) and Ben and Jerry's for absolutely delicious ice cream...yum!

Shopping Around

After the wedding, we decided to start shopping around for a home in Vermont. It was too early to actually purchase anything because my girls were still in high school, but we couldn't contain our excitement ( or maybe it was just me who couldn't???) and we started to look. We didn't want to have to shovel snow so we were going to look for a condo. I was still happy with pretty much anything, but my new husband is partial to new homes...newer than the year 2000. So, I started my search. I found some wonderful homes. He is a boat owner and loves to be on the water, so I searched for towns near a lake. The search for condos near a lake that were newer than the year 2000, and had all the amenities we wanted, led me to the Burlington/South Burlington area. I fell in love with many of the condos and the town of Burlington. I heard from many people that there is lots to do there, and it seemed like the perfect fit for us.

Then, reality started to rear it's ugly head. Condos in that part of Vermont are expensive. And the taxes are as bad as they are in Connecticut, and in some cases worse. It was depressing. We are getting nearer to retirement age, and don't want to have to work just to pay taxes. Whenever I would mention Vermont and how much I love the snow, I could see my husband balking a bit at the cold, and certainly the snow might interfere with his traveling for work. My heart started to sink a bit because I had thought we were on the same page about moving to Vermont. We also began looking into the politics in Vermont. Thinking it was a state filled with good old fashioned yankees, we thought the political climate there would be conservative. But we were sadly mistaken. Apparently the native Vermonters are often conservative in their political views, but there is a new crop of younger Vermont residents, moving in from other states who are very liberal. I don't think my husband would be very happy in that environment.

Reality Hits

And so came the fateful conversation one day. We came to the conclusion that the environment in Vermont, in terms of climate, politically, and financially is just not going to work for us as a couple. At first, I was saddened by this realization a great deal. This was a lifelong dream of mine. I wasn't ready to give it up. But I love my husband more than I love Vermont. You must be able to surmise by now that that is quite a lot! And I had to admit that Vermont didn't really make sense for us. I started to try to figure out what it is about Vermont that I really love, and to see if we could find those things in another state. I loved the mountains first of all. And the wilderness. And the snow. I loved the beauty of the land there. I loved the more relaxed way of life. I loved the craftiness of the people who live there.

We are still in the discussion stages, but it looks like we may end up moving south one of these days. The south has states with mountains, and woods. The homes are cheaper in many southern states, and the taxes are lower. There are some that have a bit of snow in the Winter, without it getting too cold. And generally, southern states are more conservative in their political views. Although we will probably end up moving south, I will always have a love for Vermont in my heart, and maybe I can convince him to buy a small condo that we can rent out in the Winter and visit in the summer yet! I will add an update to this story if that ever happens! And I will always love Vermont.


Update:

In August of 2014, my husband and I moved into a beautiful home in the mountains of...wait for it...


Northern Georgia!


And although I didn't think I would like it as much as Vermont, I must say I LOVE living here. We live in a gated community of 8,000 acres called, "Big Canoe" and we have a view of the mountains from our back deck. We see wildlife including deer and wild turkeys almost every day. Supposedly there are bears living here too, but so far I haven't seen any. Each morning I wake up and look out the window of our bedroom to the mountains and feel blessed to live here. I still do and always will love Vermont, but I must say I also love my life now living in the mountains of Northern Georgia with the love of my life.



Mountains in Rutland Vermont
Mountains in Rutland Vermont | Source

The Dream Lives On...

I still do and always will have the dream of owning land in Vermont. And my goal is to someday buy just even a small plot of land there and put a tiny house on it, or a small log cabin. I don't like to damage land, so I may just get a camper and drive it up there in the summer when it's too hot in Georgia. I encourage my children and friends to never give up on their dreams, and I need to set the example. So someday...stay tuned and I will be sure to let you know when I have bought it! And my advice to you: Never, ever give up on your dreams!

Vermont Poll

Have you ever been to Vermont?

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The author at Christmas in the gazebo at the town green in Weston, Vermont.
The author at Christmas in the gazebo at the town green in Weston, Vermont.
The Von Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont
The Von Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont | Source
Mountains in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont
Mountains in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont | Source
I still go home to New England once a year and always make a visit to Vermont if possible. Here you can see how happy I am to be back in the mountains of Vermont in August of 2015!
I still go home to New England once a year and always make a visit to Vermont if possible. Here you can see how happy I am to be back in the mountains of Vermont in August of 2015! | Source

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    • profile image

      Dawn Favreau 5 years ago

      My dear, dreams are wonderful, and so are dreamy vacations. I love the beautiful mountains in New England, as well, but I know that your brother whould not want to live there, but I always keep the option open to visit. I was also amazed when we went to both Yellowstone in Wyoming, and also the Grand Tetons in Montana, to see the SIZE of the mountains, there. Our LITTLE mountains in New England are worn down and rounded, compared to them. If you have never been, have Chuck take you to see them...You will be awed. It is funny, too, how it can be so flat, and then the mountains just jut right up.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks dawn. I know there are mountains that are larger than Vermont, but Vermont will always be in my heart! Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      Crystal 5 years ago

      Loved this hub and your passion for Vermont. It brought back memories of my college days which were some of the best times of my life. The location had much to do with my college experience. How many college kids can sled right outside of their dorm or ski at a moments notice, hop in the car and go! Or look out the window each morning and be surrounded by green hills, mountains, and beautiful foliage. Thanks for sharing and bringing back some terrifice memeories for me.

    • profile image

      Arline 5 years ago

      This was a fun read. We loved having a kid in college there as an excuse to visit and enjoyed the many tiny towns with wonderful shops. How I so wish that New London would get a "satellite" King Arthur Flour store, one of my favorites! I do think I could totally retire in Middlebury. But, that is coming from a liberal tree hugger, lol!

    • profile image

      Ruth 5 years ago

      I guess you know I was born and grew up for about 10 years in Vermont. I enjoyed hearing about the places you visited there,so familiar to me. Its sad that you won't be getting your Vermont dream house, but you can still visit there. The winters are brutal anyway. We are planning to head south for retirement, already have a spot picked out on the southwest coast of Florida. Guess we will have to visit our kids to see mountains.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      If I ever do get a small vacation home there, I will rent it out to all of you...LOL! Thanks for the comments. I do love it there so.

    • donnaisabella profile image

      Donaisabella 5 years ago from Fort Myers

      I sure hope there will be an epilogue some day! I was drawn in by your passion for Vermont and was hugely disappointed when you made such an about turn. But well, I guess we all have to make decisions in our lives and that seems to be yours. I respect you for that and thanks for sharing.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      donnaisabella,

      I am sorry for your disappointment. But there are 2 of us in my marriage, and I am more in love with my husband than I am with Vermont...although I still have the dream and fortunately, my life is not over yet! Stay tuned...there will be an epilogue some day! :0)

    • MobyWho profile image

      MobyWho 5 years ago from Burlington VT

      I commend you for letting your head rule - but, 2nd husband and I met on FL west coast, married and learned we both had always had a love of Burlington, VT. We moved there in 1999, loved it, but moved back to CT to be near our assorted kids if we needed help (he's 92, I'm 81). BTV is a 5 college town, filled with the excitement young people generate. It is liberal minded; but don't blame that on young transplants. The old timers are weary of the "same old, same old" too.

      You might like the mountains of the Carolinas, or the hardwood area of the FL panhandle. Have you considered renting an RV and driving around the country for a while? We did - and learned of so many great areas.

      Good luck to you and your husband in your search for "The Place".

    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      MobyWho,

      Wow, that's a great story. Sounds like you and I have a lot in common. That's great that you both had the same dream and followed it together. Yes, we are starting to look in the Carolinas or the North Georgia Mountains because 2 of his kids live in the Atlanta area. City life is not for me though, so we are still looking in the mountains. We are planning on renting an RV and going cross country once...not for an extended period of time but just to do a cross country trip. I see you're on your second marriage. I am so happy in this second marriage that I started a blog about it! LOL...hope you are too!

    • profile image

      Esther Hellier 5 years ago

      I left a comment before and it was showing up, but now it isn't. I'll just say it again, though. I loved your article - so beautifully written. It would make EVERYONE want to live in Vermont. I like the article much better even, now that you have pictures of both you and Charles on it. Love you...

    • profile image

      Captain_Dg 5 years ago

      Very interesting article. I will correct you on one small point, the "mountains" of Vermont are really just hills compared to real mountains. (For example see, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b... ). I mean, the elevation of Lake Tahhoe in the Sierras is about 2,000 feet higher than the highest peak in VT. And Lake Tahoe is not even half the elevation of the Sierras' highest peak!

    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      Captain_Dg,

      Thanks for reading. I see your point but since they are called "The Green Mountains" I will still call them mountains, and agree with you that they are much smaller than others in the U.S. I love mountains so they are all beautiful to me, big or small. Thanks for the comment, and the link.

    • profile image

      Captain_Dg 5 years ago

      Glad you like the Sierra pic link, and BTW while our mountains are bigger I actually prefer Vermont's too! It's like the difference between a high castle wall and a picket fence. I'll take the picket fence any day.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      I like that analogy Captain_Dg! All this mountain talk is making me want to go back and visit some...any mountains will do. They are just so peaceful to look at.

    • profile image

      MobyWho 5 years ago

      At what elevation do the Sierras start to rise from the surrounding flatlands? Lake Champlain, or the base of Mansfield, Camel's Hump, etc is 600 feet +/- above mean sea level. Isn't Denver the 'mile high city'? And Mt. Washington ain't no shirker - has the worst weather in the US, and maybe further. Not starting a geographical fight - just want to protect my territory *tee hee*

    • profile image

      SnowDog 4 years ago

      New Hampshire!! Everything you like about Vermont and a conservative populace.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Hi SnowDog,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, we have heard good things about New Hampshire. Taxes on the houses we looked at were still pretty high, and I think my husband really wants to look down South, but we keep N.H. in mind. Love your name!

    • MobyWho profile image

      MobyWho 4 years ago from Burlington VT

      Depends where you want to pay your share...NH property taxes are high, but there is no income tax. Have lived in both states and love both; tough choice.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Well, unfortunately my husband has become concerned about living in the cold and too much snow. I am disappointed but we may go where there is some snow in the Winter but not nearly as much. The jury is still out on our next home state. Thanks for the info. though.

    • MobyWho profile image

      MobyWho 4 years ago from Burlington VT

      Good luck wherever you land!

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks. I may need it. I hate the heat but we may end up in the mountains in the South. At least I will have my sweet husband and air conditioning if that's where we land!

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 4 years ago

      Poor baby ! :-{.....Vermont is heaven! , and I understand your journey , living here though isn't as easy as many would think , I live in the "Northeast Kingdom " almost untouched by modern day conveniences although its changing slowly ! Travel , for work , is a must if you live here , there can be few great possibilities for work , some things like the health care or education fields allow for a decent living but not many ! Anyway , I hope you continue to visit , you know some dreams are better left to dreaming ! Be well ......Ed

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      ahorseback,

      Thanks for your comment. We were actually looking to move to the Burlington area so we wouldn't have been so cut off. But thanks for the tip on the Northeast Kingdom. Enjoy it. It sounds like paradise to me. We are getting a foot of snow here today in CT from a blizzard, but even that is not enough for me!

    • MobyWho profile image

      MobyWho 4 years ago from Burlington VT

      Gotta laugh! We moved back home to Burlington last week (Feb 2) from Mystic, CT. Thanks to NEMO, we're looking out at a lovely 8" blanket of glistening snow and my son in Madison, CT has 32" on ground and 14" atop car! When you get here (to BTV) send a message - would love to meet you!

      Woops! just saw the past tense in your answer...sorry about that, but the offer still holds; stranger things have happened.

    • profile image

      norm 3 years ago

      have a 11.34 acre property that mostly anyone would love it is for sale

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 3 years ago from Georgia

      MobyWho,

      So sorry, I just saw this comment from 11 months ago. Wow, you only had 8" during that storm last year? It was terrible here in CT and we lost power for a very cold 3 days. The temp in the house got down to 47 degrees! I will look you up if we move to Burlington. The house goes on the market in April and if it sells, it looks like Big Canoe,GA will be our new home. I am enjoying the CT snowstorms this year though because they may be my last real snow for awhile.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 3 years ago from Georgia

      Wylie Smith,

      Yes, I don't know what it is exactly about Vermont, but the state has stolen my heart!

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 3 years ago from Georgia

      norm'

      Wish I could buy it! Good luck with the sale.

    • profile image

      Michael 18 months ago

      Vermont has been my lifes dream since I was a kid watching Newhart. As a Pennsylvanian I was blessed to spend a lot of time in Vermont. It's my first love among states. Earlier this year it was finally time to leave PA. But the cost of living and politics (Im conservative ) drove me south instead of north. I'm in western North Carolina now. Plenty of mountains and its politically conservative. But its not VT and everyday I wish I was in VT. I may have to try to find a way. I'm afraid I'll never be happy until I live in VT. I just can't convince myself this is paradise.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 18 months ago from Georgia

      Michael,

      I live in Georgia now and feel the same way. I still haven't given up the dream of Vermont. Even just to have some land to camp on up there would work for me! Good luck to both of us. May we get there someday!

    • profile image

      Michael 18 months ago

      I pray that God makes both are dreams come true about VT. I believe you know as well as I do that you can't find that charm anywhere else. There is something there. Something, and I can't put my finger on it, but I don't even find it in NH and ME. At least not to the same degree. VT has some sort of magic about it. Once you're smitten by it you'll never get it out of your system. As a Christian (Pastor) and a Conservative Republican it should be the last place I would appreciate but instead its my favorite. I've not found its equal.

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