Vermont stole our hearts
We just wrapped up 8 days in Vermont: a week in Brattleboro plus a crazy day shuttling between Montpelier and Burlington. Vermont absolutely stole our hearts.
Here’s how Vermont compares to other places we’ve lived and traveled:
- In Virginia, the signboards in front of the churches say: “God Bless Our Troops.” In Vermont, the church signs say: “Peace on Earth.”
- In Vancouver, there’s a Starbucks coffee shop on every corner. In Vermont, there’s at least one bookstore on every block.
- In Texas, people tended to be extremely large, or emaciated and (in the case of women) surgically “enhanced.” (Dallas leads the country for plastic surgery and breast implants after Los Angeles.) In Vermont, people weren’t huge, and they weren’t scrawny. They looked like normal, healthy, active people.
The 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign makes more sense after being in Vermont. People seemed aware and involved. Every community we spent any time in has a food co-op. It is illegal to idle your car because of the environmental damage. The bumper stickers made me smile instead of frown. There seems to be huge community support for local Vermont food producers. It is incredibly easy to find healthy food and vegetarian meals. Billboards are outlawed.
Vermont has a kind of Gortex / tie-dyed / locavore / mountain-climbing / veg-positive / tread-lightly-on-the-earth feeling that reminded us of Vancouver in a very, very good way.
Vermont is the first place we’ve visited on the trip that felt like home. It is the first place I could imagine living. It is definitely the first place where I feel like, if we stayed, we might “fit in.”
At dinner on Thursday night, I was chatting with our server, who turned out to be a transplant to Vermont from Massachusetts, about the secret of Vermont: Vermonters eat like kings. The quality of life is spectacular. The state is beautiful. How do they keep everyone else out?
“The winters,” he replied. And laughed.
He continued that the cost of living is high but wages are generally low. The people are wonderful partly because it is a hard place to live: the people who stay are really committed to being there.
(Any Vermonters reading this is welcome to weigh in and let us know how accurate you find his assessment to be!)
We aren’t ready to stop traveling yet. We’ve had our fill of high living costs. And, I’ve fulfilled more than my lifetime quota of harsh winters.
But we still fell in love with Vermont: the wonderful people we met, the food, the culture, the attitudes.
We won’t be making a permanent move to Vermont soon, but I really hope we can spend more time there in the future.