I didn’t always love Vermont. Writing those words, I realize how odd that may sound to people. But the truth simply is, I didn’t love Vermont.
You see, I’ve lived in Vermont since I was born, except for those few years in my 20s that I lived in New Hampshire. The truth is, I never really saw my state for what it is. Instead, all I could focus on was what I felt the state lacked, mainly related to, the smells, the sounds, and the solidarity. In my youth (who am I kidding, I still consider myself youthful) I mean, in my teens specifically, I was adamant that I would not live in Vermont when I graduated.
I was firm that once I was done with college, I would get as far away as I could. I felt that Vermont had nothing to offer me outside of my parents living here. Consequently, I was bored as a teen in Vermont with these major blinders on, and refused to look past the fact that I had to travel 40 minutes for a movie theater or that there was no mall or place to really shop other than going to Burlington which was a 90 minute drive.
The smell of the farms, the sound of… well, nothing, and the sense of just being alone all the time and having to drive miles to “fun.” Oh, and forget cell service!
To me, Vermont was the definition of boring. And it’s actually funny now when I think back on my complaints because Vermont’s not boring at all. There is so much opportunity out there in our incredible state, you just have to be willing to open your eyes. There’s hiking, biking, water recreation, covered bridges, incredible history, and local shops with plenty of goodies to please just about anyone.
Perspective is what it comes down to. I left the area for a couple of years, traveled a little bit and I think that’s what it really took for me to realize what I had right in front of me.
The smells, the sounds, the solidarity. These factors suddenly seemed so positive. Maple syrup, maple creemees, blueberry, apple, and strawberry picking, craft breweries and cheese (oh, the cheese). These are just some of the reasons I love Vermont and am truly honored to be able to raise my family here. I live in a rather small town on the eastern side of the state. A town where I vowed I would never raise my children. As it turns out, I couldn’t think of a better place to be raising our children. We have incredible neighbors that the children have grown so close to. Neighbors that I’ve known since I was in school, which only gives us the most perfect feeling of comfort and familiarity.
My family often takes take day trips within Vermont. We explore what our state has to offer and it’s incredible how we can still find something new in a state that I thought was so small and boring. One of our favorite locations is just over an hour north of us (barely 15 minutes from the Canadian Border): a perfectly serene lake known as Seymour Lake. This is a place where I have vowed we will someday own a camp. To this day, I still can’t believe my dream vacation home exists within the same state where I live. The same state I vowed I would never call home.
Day trips in any direction can bring us to Burlington, Killington, Bennington, Middlebury, and all the small, quaint towns in between.
One of our regular vacation trips is going north to Burlington, and coming home south on route 7 toward Shelburne and Middlebury for views of the farms. After we visit Middlebury, we love to drive through Bristol and Waitsfield.
But travel isn’t required to enjoy Vermont either. My favorite day starts with a coffee on our deck. Where all I can hear are the birds chirping, maybe some dogs barking, and faint sounds of cars in the distance. I watch the leaves turn as I sip my coffee. It’s my favorite place to write and work. If we do decide to venture out, we have an incredible outdoor store that has grown from so much more than the one room feed store it was when I was a kid, just a minute down the road from my home.
We live in a town where, within a 10 minute drive in any direction, we have the oldest continuously operating ski tow in the USA, a drive-in theater that has been operating since 1950, and a gorgeous lake with an equally gorgeous golf course. We have three local farm stands that I can think of off the top of my head with amazing pick your own, and seasonal offerings.
I can promise you that no matter what town you live in within Vermont, you can make a list equally as impressive. This is my favorite place to live and the best place to raise my family.