Middlebury, Vermont

The Bread Loaf

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What's it like to live in Middlebury?

SINK Focus

Middlebury locals? What's it like to live there?

Vermont is the 2nd least populated state. It is very very family oriented and there are many hermits. Middlebury is a very quiet college town. There is more diversity in the college community but in general Vermont is not diverse and very sheltered and they appear to conflicted on the need to change and adjust.
I moved here about a year ago. I’m not planning on leaving but I’m a little surprised by somethings I’ve experienced here.
There are restaurants but in all honesty the food is about a 2 on the scale of 1-10. It’s very very flavorless and expensive in general. Learn to cook bc the farmer’s market are incredible. Bring lots of hobbies and extra money.
I’m over 20 years older than you but I can tell you from my perspective it has been very difficult to meet people here. Do visit. The summers are incredible but it’s a few short months. There are also many tourists. Get snow tires. Learn to ski. Google Snl Vermont skit. It’s funny bc it’s oddly accurate.

Family Focus:

Redditors that moved to Vermont after posting here, how did it go?

Upper Valley
We moved with our family from GA in Sept after 14 years in ATL. Never visited VT before, but I had spent several winters in MN so the cold was neither unexpected nor intimidating. On the whole, it's been a fabulous decision.

We ended up buying 20ac in the Upper Valley with a house and barn to expand our farm for not much more than we sold our 0.2ac suburban lot in ATL for. We have high speed internet with EC Fiber to come sometime this year or next.

Hard bits

Honestly, the hardest part of the whole move was the buying process for our home and getting used to this 200+ yo farmhouse and its personality. Closing took over 2 months whereas we're used to 30 days. There was a last minute hiccup with the appraisal coming in quite a bit below the contract price so we had more negotiations and were weeks from being homeless in the winter (airbnb running out). All this with 2 young kids, 2 old dogs and an old cat! But we made it with days to spare.

Nothing else has been hard really, more of a learning curve. Like we had our pellet stove stop working in the first couple of weeks and had to figure out how to fix it ourselves. Ended up replacing it with a Harman later in the winter (AAA decision).

Availability of childcare was tough initially during our 3 mo airbnb stay in the MRV— no options. Once we bought our place, we still had to wait to get both kids started in the local daycare.

Eating out— we knew this would be a big change from the quality of food we were used to, and not having the option of picking up a variety of cuisines has been a little annoying.

Not-so-hard bits

The community has been amazingly welcoming to us flatlanders. Plus I'm a brown male and I've not felt one iota of discomfort. They're super excited to hear about our plans (farm + restaurant) and can't wait for us to get going. The kids are in daycare which has been an amazing blessing after almost a year of being stuck at home.

The winter has been gorgeous. The right clothes and attitudes make all the difference. Winter tires on a Forester means no issues getting around. Next winter will be even better as we get more gear (start skiing, get some snowshoes, maybe a snowmobile??!) and weatherize and insulate this old house. The pellet stove going non-stop in the kitchen and a fire in the fireplace most evenings is cozy as heck.

The first week we moved in, we got hit by that nor'easter that dumped 40" of snow on us in a day. A kindly neighbor we had never met just drove up in his tractor and dug us out, probably having watched us all day shoveling our car out. He continues to come each time it snows and clears our driveway and won't take anything in return to say thanks. Is this what y'all meant by Vermonters aren't too welcoming of outsiders?! And he is a Vermonter, lovely genuine person, him and his wife.

Other neighbors (native Vermonters and transplants) have also been welcoming and some have stopped and introduced themselves.

It really does feel like there's so much more a sense of community and place here.

High-speed internet (Xfinity right now, EC Fiber later) was a key must-have since I work remotely and a major reason we looked hard at the Upper Valley. No issues so far.

There's decent elementary school choice here, which we were not expecting. We're going to be sending our kindergartener to a local school that spends a lot of time outdoors in all seasons. Something we had wanted but had no idea was available till well after we moved in.

We're 2 hrs from BOS, and we foresee several trips when things open back up. We're rural enough to have so much freedom and space and be somewhere so liberal, I still can't believe we get to live here.

What helps

There's no getting around it, having a decently paying remote job + significant savings helps. We were able to move quickly to replace appliances and buy the necessary items but we have 14 years of good habits and sound financial decisions to thank for that too. Coming here like we did without that buffer would have been very stressful.

The right attitude, especially when it comes to the winter. We haven't felt any depression; not getting regular exercise is a bit tough but we need to fix that with snowshoes etc next year. As the kids get older, it will be easier to do more things with them. It's so beautiful compared to the dreary brown winters in the south. We've had folks back in GA tell us it's already 80º there like it's something exciting that they think we must be missing. No thanks, that means the pollen is about to explode in a few days and stay like that for a month, by which time temps will start hitting 90+ and stay that way for half the year. You can have that disgusting swampy weather, we came here for the snow!

The montshire— we got a membership early and have used the heck out of it. We're there at least 1x/week. Lifesaver during these times, can't wait to see it when things are back to normal.

We know there's SO much more to see and do here than we've seen and done, and that's very encouraging. Can't wait for the glorious summer and fall.

**College Focus: **

I’m not 100% set on Middlebury yet. Can anyone give me a bit more info?

I’ve heard that the students at the school can be pretty elitist. Have you run into this problem frequently and would you say it’s more prevalent there than at other LACs?

Expensive schools with low admission rates are bound to have lots of elitism and lots of elites. I went there on lots of financial aid, and my friends were all pretty down to earth. If students were flaunting their wealth, I didn't notice it in my day to day life. Sometimes certain events would make you realize that you were in the presence of very wealthy people (like when someone's parents picked them up in a helicopter), but overall people self-sort. I think being in a rural environment with lots of people on campus made it easier to find my friend group. I highly recommend substance-free housing your first year. Lots of chill, serious people (and no obligation not to use substances -- just not on that floor of the dorm).

2) Are the student fairly welcoming and what would you say about the social scene in general?

I always thought people were welcoming. When I was a tour guide, one of the comments I always got was how nice students were and how much they were smiling. The social scene is rural Vermont. The college does its best to have tons of events happening on campus all the time to ensure that students aren't so bored that they turn to booze and drugs as their only refuge (though parties are a reliable presence and alcohol is not hard to find if you want it). But it's not going to be bustling like a city would be.

3) Why did you personally choose Midd and would you make that same choice again if you could?

I went there to learn foreign languages, and I got a great education. I loved my time there and encourage everyone who's interested to seriously consider it. My financial aid was great too, competitive with my state's public flagship university. I now teach at a very different university, and my advice is to choose the school where you will be happiest to go and to have gone. If a Midd education makes you happy over 4 years but saddles you with a ton of debt (because financial aid follows rules and policies that don't always work out in your favor), maybe those 4 years aren't worth it. Or maybe they are. But figure out what environment makes you happy, what areas of study make you happy, and what debt levels you are comfortable with, and go from there.

Young Professional Focus

How safe is Vermont?

I moved here from Queens, NY in 2013. The first night I was here, I was trying to fall asleep as I had work the next morning at my new job in Middlebury.

I couldn’t sleep.

In NYC, I had a front door key to my apt. building. There was also the mailbox key, the top lock on my apt., the bottom lock on my apt., the basement key, the car key, the key to the Club on my car, and the key for the lock on my bike.

I now had a keyfob for my car, and one key for my house.

I wasn’t scared, just uncomfortable. That night was a new moon. It was SO dark. It was SO quiet. There were no buses, sirens, boisterous bar-goers, or planes going overhead.

I managed to finally fall asleep around 4. I had to get up in 2 hours.

After making it through my “urban withdrawal”, I can now say that my backdoor is always open in case I lose my house key. I rarely lock my doors. If I hear a gunshot, my go to isn’t “Aw shit, someone got capped.” Now it’s “Cool! I bet George will have some venison sausage for me soon!”

I’ve never seen a fight in Vermont. I’ve never seen anyone screaming at each other in Vermont, and the only time I’ve seen someone flip the bird is when a person who had some mental issues flipped me off because I stopped my car so he could cross the road. He apologized and told me he was off his meds. We smiled at each other and I went on my way.

Vermont also has VERY lax gun laws. Normal for a rural, agrarian state, but weird for a traditionally democratic state.

I’ve never felt safer than I do now.

Young Professional/College Focus

Middlebury Vermont [What it's like to live in Middlebury 2022]

Considering moving to Middlebury Vermont or going to Middlebury College? In this video I'm going to show you what Middlebury Vermont is really like. Starting with the history and covering things to do in Middlebury, best places to visit, and information about both visiting and living there.