Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
What does it mean to move to Vermont? The group Fountains of Wayne summed what most of us think about this northern state when they sang,
“Sometimes I think I might just move up to Vermont,
Open a bookstore or a vegan restaurant”
And to be fair, that granola image of the Green Mountain State is well deserved. This is a state where vegetarians and organic goat farmers thrive. And it’s the destination of choice for many a corporate or Wall Street runaway who decides to trade in the suit and BMW for flannel and a farmhouse.
But there’s more to this New England state than that. So here’s our list of the top ten places to live in Vermont.
The Capital of any state is usually a town filled with innovation, the arts and great schools. And Montpelier fits that standard to a tee.
AARP named this community one of the five best for living a low stress life, thanks to the area’s relatively low cost of living, low crime rate, and abundance of art and music.
Housing is one of the key factors that make this a top choice…a single family home is averaging under $200,000!
Median resident age: 43.3 years
Median household income: $51,186
Median house or condo value: $213,281
If the organic farming and granola image of Vermont appeals to you, check out Cabot. This small agricultural town (population about 1,200 people and considerably more cows) is home to the Cabot Creamery, makers of healthy cooperatively produced cheeses and other dairy products.
Cabot is the kind of place where church suppers, parades, and holiday gatherings trump nightclubs, so skip this location if you’re hoping to blend the Vermont vibe with a late-night club scene. But do choose it for its sheer beauty and close-knit sense of community. And the low cost of living: an average single family home here lists for only about $150,487.
Median resident age: 39.4 years
Median household income: $35,605
Median house or condo value: $148,261
There are lots of reasons to choose a new city, but how about having the best water in the state? That’s a honor Brandon recently received.
Not enough to get you interested? How about picturesque covered bridges, access to the Green Mountain National Forest’s 400,000 acres? Or winter snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and nearby downhill? This is the town that the Governor called the “Art and Soul” of Vermont.
With a population a little under 2,000, a location within an hour or so of Burlington, and an average home price of only $177,159, this town has earned its place among the top 10 in the state.
Median resident age: 45.2 years
Median household income: $41,200
Median house or condo value: $177,159
How can you go wrong with a town that is home to Vermont Public Radio, the VT. Youth Symphony and St. Micheal’s College, all on beautiful Lake Champlain? Add in that this town (the third largest in the state) is only minutes from Burlington, and you have a winning combination.
Even CNN put this town into its Top 100 Places to Live and Launch, because innovation is definitely a hallmark of this deceivingly sleepy New England community.
As with most of Vermont, housing prices vary widely depending on view and acreage, but with a median of only $269,305 for a single family home, this town remains within reach for people moving up from the northeast or in from pricey California.
Median resident age: 32.6 years
Median household income: $65,496
Median house or condo value: $249,999
Waterbury is probably one of the towns the Fountains of Wayne guys had in mind when they described Vermont. Home to socially active Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, this central Vermont community is the stuff that idealists are made of.
Waterbury is filled with restored historic properties, antique shops that will make it a breeze to decorate your new home in style, and restaurants that will make you wonder why you ever wanted to cook at home. And the best of the rest of Vermont is all with a short drive.
Housing is about average for the New England area, with single family homes going for about $257,721.
Median resident age: 39.0 years
Median household income: $46,336
Median house or condo value: $271,184
At least one place on this list had to be truly rural Vermont. Westmore is that place. With less than 400 permanent residents, this northeast area community is located on Lake Willoughby, giving it truly unmatched views of nature in all four seasons.
The area is popular for lake-front cabins and camps, but even the summer influx of tourists doesn’t spoil the peaceful nature of the town. There’s only one catch…this unspoiled oasis has caught the eye of people seeking to get away from city noise to write or work remotely, and housing prices have risen to a median in the $300,000’s, with some well above that number.
Median resident age: 45.9 years
Median household income: $35,993
Median house or condo value: $164,800
Located only about 80 miles from Boston and less than an hour from renowned colleges like Smith and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Brattleboro combines the best of big city access with small town Vermont life.
This unique mixture of sophistication and old-fashioned charm earned Brattleboro a spot in Smithsonian Magazine’s 20 Best Small Towns in America list. This town’s downtown is lined with galleries, studios and historic treasures, and on weekends is usually host to one of the many festivals that dot the town’s calendar.
Housing is surprisingly affordable, given the town’s proximity to Boston. The mean single family home goes for about $206,378.
Median resident age: 41.0 years
Median household income: $37,382
Median house or condo value: $196,999
What’s so special about Bennington? Check out the five covered bridges, walk the beautiful historic districts and explore the exceptional access to outdoor activities including hiking, camping, canoeing and more, and you’ll know.
Part college town (home to famed Bennington College and Southern Vermont College) and part arts and history, this lovely town in Southern Vermont is still quite affordable, with detached homes averaging about $161,952.
Median resident age: 43.0 years
Median household income: $37,037
Median house or condo value: $164,220
If small town life is what you want, Dover might be the perfect choice for you. Located in south central Vermont, this is the kind of place where neighbors know neighbors and crime is practically non-existent.
But it’s not an isolated town. Nearby ski resorts and artists draw in tourists, and ensure that Dover residents have an abundance of fine restaurants and world-class arts at their fingertips. But surprisingly, there aren’t the premium prices you might expect for all of this northern perfection. Housing is just about at the national average, with a single family home listing for about $316,367.
Median resident age: 41.3 years
Median household income: $53,647
Median house or condo value: $273,976
Consistently rated as one of the most livable cities in the U.S., Burlington is the city of choice for many Vermont newcomers. Why?
This is a city that takes “Location, location, location” to a whole new level. Outdoor fans have prime hiking, mountain biking and skiing all within easy reach. Boaters and water skiers point to Lake Champlain as their water destination of choice. People who love the college town are happy here with the University of Vermont, as well as several nearby small liberal arts colleges.
And people who love cities are happy to have easy access to Montreal, one of Canada’s most sophisticated cities. Housing here is affordable by East Coast standards. Single family homes average $301,728.
Median resident age: 26.5 years
Median household income: $39,296
Median house or condo value: $264,020
Source: all statistics from city-data.com