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View Full Version : the strange and exotic land of Vermont



Ria13
01-31-2012, 03:05 AM
I have visited Vermont a number of times though I don't really anything about it. (I figured that since the MC of my WIP wouldn't know much about it either, it would make a good setting.) could someone go over the different parts of the state and the major cities and towns there? something less technical and dry than I would get from, say, Wikipedia. thanks.

jaksen
01-31-2012, 06:06 AM
Umm that's spreading the net rather wide, isn't it?

But I await native Vermonters ready to extol on the virtues of their state.

Snick
01-31-2012, 06:38 AM
I am not intimately familiar with all of Vermont, but there is only one city of any size; to wit, Burlington. Brattleborough and a few other places are big enough to have centers, etc.

Vermont is the green Mountain state, and that name is quite appropriate, because there are these green mountains all over the place. There are corners in the North that aren't all that steep, and the hills aren't as high as the Himalaya, but from top to valley there are a lot of places with four to five feet in between (Well, I'd have to look at the details to be sure).

Then there is the matter of culture. There was an article in Yankee magazine, maybe a half century ago, that described how they froze their old folks for the winter. They'd store them on the North side of the barn and thaw them out in April.

But what do you want to know about Vermont?

There's someone who uses Brattleborough as the setting for crime novels. The main character is a cop, so I don't especially like the novels, but it gives a slight taste of the sourest part of Vermont. Then there is Bennington, location of Bennington College - The Secret History by Donna Tartt It is a widely known novel that was set at the college. Then there's Lake Champlain, where Burgoyne's army was slowed for months, thanks to the great Benedict Arnold, who defeated Burgoyne at Saratoga, N.Y.

It is a wonderful place. Go there and find out what part you want to use.

Sea Witch
01-31-2012, 11:30 AM
My $0.02. I've spent lots of time there.

It's a very poor state. One of the poorest states in the union after Louisiana.

A lot of on the west side borders on Lake Champlain, and that's beautiful.

Some really good (famous) ski areas like Killington.

Great place to buy maple syrup.

jeseymour
01-31-2012, 07:12 PM
There's someone who uses Brattleborough as the setting for crime novels. The main character is a cop, so I don't especially like the novels, but it gives a slight taste of the sourest part of Vermont.

It is a wonderful place. Go there and find out what part you want to use.

That would be Archer Mayor. The books are great, well written and do give a feel for Vermont. I live in New Hampshire, so I have been to Vermont a lot. I went to Bread Loaf, which is one of the top writing workshops in the US, located in (well, near) Middlebury. I also worked at a summer camp in southwestern VT, and I've competed in horse trials at GMHA and Huntington. Can you be a bit more specific in what you'd like to know? There's a lot of trees, lots of farmland, and you're hard-pressed to find a flat enough area to run a dressage show. :)

Ria13
02-01-2012, 01:31 AM
Umm that's spreading the net rather wide, isn't it?
true! I knew more, though, I wouldn't have asked.

Ria13
02-01-2012, 01:34 AM
But what do you want to know about Vermont?
scenery and cultural differences between, say, central versus northern versus southern Vermont (and eastern and western Vermont), so that I know where to situate my WIP.

I do plan on visiting the state once it gets a bit warmer. thanks for your help.

Snick
02-01-2012, 02:38 AM
scenery and cultural differences between, say, central versus northern versus southern Vermont (and eastern and western Vermont), so that I know where to situate my WIP.

I do plan on visiting the state once it gets a bit warmer. thanks for your help.


Look up the northeast Kingdom online. It used to be somewhat distinct, but there has been homogenization over the years. I'm not familiar with enough different parts of Vermont to explain the differences, and the differences have changed dramatically in the last few decades. There used to be a large machine tool industry in the area of Springfield, but that is all but completely gone. As someone else mentioned, Vermont is relatively poor, and the dairy industry helps that. there probably still are more cows than people, but milk prices aren't what they used to be in purchasing power equivalent. The scenery is quite similar until you get to the Nor and Northeast It levels out, especially in the corner toward the st. John's River.

The mountains are quite nice, if you like mountains, and some of them are quite high when you measure from valley floor to peak, but the surrounding area isn't a mile high, so the total altitude isn't much.

Politically, the state is unique. Not only have they elected a declared socialist to Congress, but they have introduced socialist programs in the state. That it both cause and effect of the poverty.


Then there are the Abenaki Indian tribe. They have not been recognised, but they have been there since before the New Hampshire Grants became Vermont.

The history is somewhat odd. Before the Revolution That area was not really part of any of the colonies. Both New Hampshire and New York claimed it, and most of it had been part of Massachusetts until 1722. It was called New Hampshire Grants, because the governor or Massachusetts and New Hampshire (for much of the colonial period one man help both offices) granted land and town charters in the area.

In 1777 some people got together in Windsor, Vermont and set up their own government. No one else recognised it until Vermont was the first state added to the U.S.A. after the initial 13.

And remember that Vermont Cheddar is the best cheese made in the U.S. in mass quantities.

randi.lee
02-01-2012, 03:57 AM
I live in MA, just south of Vermont and spend most of my vacation time there. If you can line up some less vague questions I'll be happy to answer them for you.

Ria13
02-01-2012, 04:11 AM
If you can line up some less vague questions I'll be happy to answer them for you.
well, as I said, I would like to know how the parts of Vermont break down in terms of "character" the way that I could with Massachusetts.

Jersey Chick
02-01-2012, 04:17 AM
Everything closes at sunset. (Okay, maybe it doesn't really, but it does seem that way.) :D

You have to pump your own gas (the horror! Here, the quickest way to get a gas station attendant to help you is to make like you're going to pump your own gas. In NJ, murder is more acceptable than pumping your own gas. :D)

It's beautiful in the summer, except when the black fly season starts. (I think they're black flies. They bite and you get huge itchy welts from said bites.)

I spent a lot of time in Wilmington when I was a kid. Now I want to go back...

Dave Hardy
02-01-2012, 04:54 AM
The history is somewhat odd. Before the Revolution That area was not really part of any of the colonies. Both New Hampshire and New York claimed it, and most of it had been part of Massachusetts until 1722. It was called New Hampshire Grants, because the governor or Massachusetts and New Hampshire (for much of the colonial period one man help both offices) granted land and town charters in the area.



I have ancestors who settled in Vermont after the French & Indian War. My ancestor was a Yorker (New York grantee) and his uncle was a New Hampshire grantee. They all supported the rebels in the War of Independence, and my ancestor's uncle was a friend of Ethan Allen and a war hero. But after the war things got a bit out of hand and my ancestor ended up kidnapping his uncle the war hero (but only for a little while). So that's why my ancestors moved to New York.

Snick
02-01-2012, 05:24 AM
You have to pump your own gas (the horror! Here, the quickest way to get a gas station attendant to help you is to make like you're going to pump your own gas. In NJ, murder is more acceptable than pumping your own gas. :D)

.

NJ is the only state where it is illegal for anyone other than a paid attendant to hold the nozze of a gas pump. I seldom go there, but it reminds me of the old days, when the profit in selling gasoline was enough tha they could pay for people to run the pump. someone shoud do a goodly piece on the weirdness of NJ and gasoline. Maybe it's because they have so many oil terminals. Are there still refineries?

Snick
02-01-2012, 05:31 AM
well, as I said, I would like to know how the parts of Vermont break down in terms of "character" the way that I could with Massachusetts.

If that's all you wnat, then remember that Vermonters are just humans. There is no single characteristic that sets them apart from other humans, except that they live in Vermont. When uou cut them, they bleed, and so on.

jeseymour
02-01-2012, 09:44 PM
NJ is the only state where it is illegal for anyone other than a paid attendant to hold the nozze of a gas pump. I seldom go there, but it reminds me of the old days, when the profit in selling gasoline was enough tha they could pay for people to run the pump. someone shoud do a goodly piece on the weirdness of NJ and gasoline. Maybe it's because they have so many oil terminals. Are there still refineries?

And yet, gas is still cheaper in New Jersey than it is anywhere else in my trips up and down 95 all summer long.

Chase
02-01-2012, 10:40 PM
NJ is the only state where it is illegal for anyone other than a paid attendant to hold the nozze of a gas pump.

Maybe the only state on the east coast. Here on the west coast, Oregon also bans self-service for the general public.

http://www.infoplease.com/askeds/bans-gas-pumping.html

But as Jerseymour notes, it doesn't seem to affect the price of gasoline along I-5 north and south of us. Sometimes it's even cheaper here where we're too dumb to pump our own gas.

Chase, with apologies to Ria for aiding and abetting the derail

randi.lee
02-01-2012, 11:29 PM
If that's all you wnat, then remember that Vermonters are just humans. There is no single characteristic that sets them apart from other humans, except that they live in Vermont. When uou cut them, they bleed, and so on.

This, this, a thousand times this. There aren't many individual "cultures" in the state. People are what people are, which is mainly neighborly.

From what Iíve seen, people in Vermont are extremely friendly and accommodating. A few years back I went skiing and locked my keys in my car. A couple with a young child (complete strangers) stayed with me for four hours until Triple A showed up. They called it their "church" for the week.

I've stayed at several B&Bs and each time the owners have been gracious and helpful, pointing me in the right direction when lost or unsure. Also, some of them have given me discounts on room and board ďjust because.Ē

In fact, the only unpleasant people I have encountered in Vermont have been tourists. In the southern Rutland area there are three ski resorts: Bromley, Mt Snow and Stratton. Long Islanders and Jersy-ites vacation here, own property here, and are very rude here (not to say all New Yorkers and Jersey-ites are rude, don't take offense, but the majority of the ones who vacation here are.)

Montpellier is the capital (although itís the smallest capital city Iíve ever seen). Being somewhat at the base of the Greens, it floods a lot here. It's also home to the most amazing Italian restaurant I've ever been to: Sarducci's.

Bennington County is in southern Vermont. Thatís where youíll find Brattleboro (one of possibly a dozen cities) which is known for having a large lesbian community. There are lots of farmerís markets and art/history societies as well as many, many places to go antiquing. (Actually, this is true for most of the state.... lots of antiquing and historical societies.)

Rutland (central) is home to a wave of tourists because one of the largest ski resorts (Killington) resides here. They rely primarily on monies earned during the winter season, although recently thereís been a spike in summer tourism as well (many, many places to hike and camp in the Green Mountains and a lot of ski resorts are opening their hills up in the summer now.)


The thing about Rutland is that half of the county is full of extremely nice mansions (vacation homes) and the other half is full of dilapidated buildings and condemned houses. So you have an even mix of rich and poor.

Once you get up into Franklin (Canadian border) you experience an influx of French Canadians and they predominantly set the tone for the culture. Itís a mix there of people whoíd lose an arm for you and people from Quebec who pretend they donít speak English.

There are also a good amount of people from southern New England who own property in Vermont and make their money elsewhere as professional/executive level jobs are somewhat lacking. Semi-retired make up a percentage of the population, working half the year and spending the warmer season up north.

Oh, and then thereís the Vermont cheese trail! Vermontís known for excellent cheese and there are people who, much like a wine tour, choose to go on a cheese tour.

Thatís all I have to say about the state. The people are kind, the hiking/ skiing is phenomenal and the maple syrup is the best Iíve ever tasted. If there were more positions in my line of work in the state Iíd move there in a second.

ironmikezero
02-01-2012, 11:40 PM
Just to add to the mix... Vermont's Route 100 is an outstanding motorcycle touring road.

Ria13
02-02-2012, 01:13 AM
If that's all you wnat, then remember that Vermonters are just humans. There is no single characteristic that sets them apart from other humans, except that they live in Vermont. When uou cut them, they bleed, and so on.
well, I didn't assume otherwise.

Ria13
02-02-2012, 01:13 AM
Just to add to the mix... Vermont's Route 100 is an outstanding motorcycle touring road.
thank you! I can most certainly use that bit of information.

Ria13
02-02-2012, 01:14 AM
This, this, a thousand times this. There aren't many individual "cultures" in the state. People are what people are, which is mainly neighborly.
thank you. very useful! not this one paragraph, I mean. all of it.

Jersey Chick
02-02-2012, 01:16 AM
NJ is the only state where it is illegal for anyone other than a paid attendant to hold the nozze of a gas pump. I seldom go there, but it reminds me of the old days, when the profit in selling gasoline was enough tha they could pay for people to run the pump. someone shoud do a goodly piece on the weirdness of NJ and gasoline. Maybe it's because they have so many oil terminals. Are there still refineries?
Actually, I think it's illegal in Oregon, too. And I don't ever want it changed because I don't want to do it myself. Ever.

oh, the refineries are still here. You can smell them if you drive through Linden. :D

randi.lee
02-02-2012, 01:27 AM
Actually, I think it's illegal in Oregon, too. And I don't ever want it changed because I don't want to do it myself. Ever.

oh, the refineries are still here. You can smell them if you drive through Linden. :D

Off topic, I know... but Jersey Chick I just have to tell you that I LOVE LOVE your avatar.