Working late on Friday afternoon, my co-workers Jennifer and Rose popped into my office. “Hey, we’re going to a concert tomorrow night in Adamant. Do you and Doreen wanna come?” Of course we want to see a concert in Adamant! You may remember Adamant (pronounce ADemANT) from the Art Tour in Episode 10. It’s a funky little village on the border of Calais and East Montpelier, and is certainly worthy of it’s own Episode. Perhaps we’ll pop over in a couple of months for the Black Fly Festival.
After an afternoon of clothes shopping in the greater Montpelier-Berlin-Barre metroplex, we were off to meet Rose and Jennifer and their partners George and Paul at the Whammy Bar in Calais. Continue reading
Town Meetings are a longtime tradition in New England, though a seemingly dying one in recent years. At its core, Town Meeting is democracy in its purest form – people gather to decide the direction their town will take in the coming year. Most votes wins. However 18th-century democracy has been met with increasing apathy in the 21st century. Furthermore, many towns have adopted a council-style government and dispatched with town meetings altogether. It’s a different story in Vermont, however. Continue reading
In Vermont, as with Maine, winter is inevitable. Cold weather is unavoidable. For us, the effect is exacerbated by the fact that we moved from the coast to the mountains. Brunswick’s average annual temperature is a full 2.5 degrees warmer than Montpelier’s. But this comes with seasonal fluctuations – because of the moderating effect of the ocean, Brunswick is a full four degrees warmer (less cold?) in the winter months, while the temps are nearly even in the summer.
Which is a long-winded way of saying we are finding Montpelier to be damn cold this winter!
Because the cold and snow are inevitable, Vermonters have found ways to adapt, even embrace them. Indeed, much of the population seems to have self-selected precisely because snow and ice are abundant here. There are a lot of expatriates who are here for the skiing, as well as hiking during the warmer months. And the natives seem to wear it as a badge of their upbringing. Winter is accepted as fact of life here. Continue reading
Well, we made it until 2015!
We’re now almost five months into this adventure, and the new year brings new opportunities. The past several months have been filled with basic things like figuring out how to live here. By which I mean, where do you buy stuff? Like clothes, for example. Back in Maine the national chains have come to dominate retail, so we were practically forced to shop at Target and TJ Maxx.
One thing Montpelier does not have in abundance is national chains. That’s a good thing – we are champions of the local retailer. However there is a fair amount of work in figuring out who sells what, and what we can afford on 1.25 incomes. So many weekends over the past few months, especially as we geared up for the holidays, were spent driving around and checking places out. Much of this took us to Burlington, which has malls and outlets that feature (sigh) familiar national retailers.
Compromises sometimes must be made. Continue reading
I originally intended to document the weeks spent selling our house, finding a rental, packing our house, and preparing to move to Vermont. But life got in the way and there was no time for all that. So we’ll have to start the tale of our grand adventure with the start of the actual adventure – the move to Vermont.
On Monday morning Bisson Moving arrived at our house in Brunswick and loaded (almost) everything we own into a 26-foot truck. Doreen and I did a final cleanup, locked the doors and drove ourselves to Montpelier. Because our belongings were sequestered in the van, we spent the evening at Betsy’s Bed & Breakfast, an inn that I became well acquainted with over the last 8 years of traveling to Montpelier for my work. Unfortunately I slept very poorly, lying awake worrying about several details for the move in. Not the least of which was the tricky driveway to the house. Continue reading
Back in 2008 we moved from our lovely little home on the outskirts of Brunswick to a less-lovely, somewhat littler home in downtown Brunswick. I was longing to eliminate the carbon from my commute and most of my daily activities, and this house is just a half mile to my office, and a mile or less to the grocery store and all the other businesses that we frequent on Maine Street. As an added bonus, we were able to cash in a lot of equity gains on our old house and secure a mortgage that was hundreds of dollars less than we would pay for a decent rental unit. Continue reading
A big milestone in my life is coming soon – for the first time ever, my wife and I will be living outside the state of Maine. I have accepted a job in Montpelier, and we will be moving there (or thereabouts) by the beginning of September. The back story to how this came about is pretty interesting, and might make a good post on another day and in another blog.
In this blog, I will strive to chronicle our life in our new surroundings. We want to embrace Vermont and all that it has to offer. Skiing! Hiking! Swimming! Beer! There are lots of beautiful natural areas, lots of great breweries, lots of covered bridges, and lots of small towns bursting with history. We intend to explore them all over the coming months and coming years, and I will share our experiences here.
I will strive to get this blog up to speed in the next few weeks, and maybe share with you all our experiences in selling our house, finding a new place in Montpelier (or thereabouts), finding a job for Doreen, and making the big move. It’s going to be fun, and maybe a little scary as we head for some great unknowns. Join us for the journey.