All in all, Vermont is a jewel state, small but precious.
–Pearl S. Buck (author)
The Best Thing About Middlebury?
The locale of Middlebury is fairly unique. Home to utterly gorgeous New England architecture, amazing farm-to-table food options and farmer’s markets, some of the best hiking and snowshoeing in the country, multiple ski spots, and some of the cleanest air on the east coast, Middlebury works for those looking to live life off the beaten path, amongst nature in all its splendor. Additionally, Middlebury is home to the legendary Bread Loaf writing conference, one of the oldest and most prestigious writing programs in the world. Even if one is unable to attend the conference itself, the area is perfect for an aspiring writer due to the inspiration afforded by the natural world and the strong literary environment that permeates the local culture.
Finally, due to the town’s unique geographic location, it is difficult to find better maple syrup anywhere else in the United States.
In the words of one local:
It’s an amazing place! I lived there for 4 years, and it truly felt like a vacation state…The lakes are amazing, and during the fall, as you scan the mountains before a hike, you’ll be able to see the hues of red, yellow, and green leaves of the trees. It’s a really beautiful sight.
For more reviews of Middlebury from locals check out the Buzz: https://lookyloomove.com/locations/middlebury?page=buzz
The Worst Thing About Middlebury?
Middlebury is in many ways an isolated community. It is deep in the mountains, in a part of the country prone to long, snowy winters. As such, driving and even commuting can be excruciating endeavors. Additionally, healthcare coverage for specific issues or conditions may require a long drive into Burlington, New York, or Boston, all of which are within driveable range but do require patience and, in the winter, snow tires, to access. Spotty internet connection is also a common complaint, as is the somewhat rigid divide in the town between natives and students at Middlebury College, with both sides often complaining that the other is standoffish and elitist.
Lastly, as is common to New England, Middlebury is prone to hot, humid summers with an abundance of mosquitos and other insects that newcomers should be wary of.
One reviewer on the loneliness: If you’re looking to just walk around in the woods and homestead- you’ll be fine. But with most humans there is a level of cognitive dissonance, even here in Vermont. I’m not necessarily” lonesome” since I have friends all over the world I regularly communicate with. I guess I was looking for more genuinely forward thinking people and only finding a vail of that here.
Lifestyle of Middlebury
The people of Middlebury pride themselves on a simple lifestyle. The many self-employed farmers of the area, as well as the outdoorsmen and women, live closely with nature. However, for this reason, it is difficult to recommend Middlebury to those who prefer the greater diversity of people and experiences of city life. Middlebury is a small town, and the majority of people either attend school there for a few years or have lived there for their entire lives. If you are young and single, you may have a difficult time developing a social life. Couples, particularly, those with children, however, will find lots to do between the art and history museums, college sporting events, apple picking, skiing, hiking, and fishing.
It is also worth noting that Middlebury, as a northern New England college town home to a private liberal arts school, is both politically very liberal and ethnically heavily caucasian. If one or both of those factors are either deterants or endorsements, bear them in mind before relocating.
Experience Middlebury has a nice events calendar for those looking for details on yearly happenings: https://www.experiencemiddlebury.com/events/
Worklife of Middlebury
The economy of Middlebury is largely based around Middlebury college. The majority of jobs are at the university, be it teaching or other staff and faculty. As such, if you are a professor, particularly of literature or foreign languages, the college’s legendary programs will offer a highly prestigious job opportunity. If you are looking for more entry-level or service-oriented work, schools always need cooks, custodians, nurses, secretaries, and administrators. In addition, like much of Vermont, Middlebury has a high number of independently owned farms and orchards, so if you would like to own your own farm or simply pick up seasonal work as a farmhand, you can make it work. Finally, if you have a work-from-home job, then you may find Middlebury provides excellent scenery while you work. This is especially true if you are a fiction writer, as you will find yourself amongst many of your fellow literary types who may be able to help with your work, or simply foster an environment of academic comradery in your shared passion for literature.
Why You Should Move Here Now
If you're looking for a simple, quiet life in a patch of unspoiled northeastern wilderness, Middlebury will be to your liking. While the town can be a bit factional, students and locals are generally known to welcome newcomers into their fold. Middlebury offers a peaceful life with friendly, laid-back people, and in spite of the glut of writers in the area, it is an experience that defies written description.