My two sisters are part of the exodus of young people from Vermont that the New York Times covered recently (“Vermont Losing Prized Resource As Young Depart,” Mar. 4). I emailed them the NYT story and they had some interesting observations, which they’ve allowed me to quote.
One, who lived in Burlington, Vt., and lives in a semi-rural suburb in Connecticut now, wrote:
The reporter writes about VT as a monolith but it’s made up of three very different areas: Burlington, non-ski towns and ski towns. (Remember that old joke?: The best thing about Burlington is that it’s so close to Vermont…) The issues for each are completely different. I drive 20 minutes for milk in CT where I used to drive 2 minutes in Burlington. CT feels like a straitjacket to me, Burlington never did.
My other sister, who’s now in a rural part of upstate New York, wrote:
It’s an interesting article. My eye was caught by what the UVM pres said about VT not being able to afford its “anti-sprawl” policies if the population continues to shrink. It would seem environmentally positive for there to be fewer people, but I guess maybe that’s not the case. I look around my very small town and it would seem that I can count on one hand the number of educated young single adults living [here]. I’d never live here if I weren’t already married—you’d never find someone to partner with. The other thing that is starting to hit home is that choosing a rural location in which to raise children doesn’t guarantee you a rural lifestyle. It seems that popular culture is just as powerful here as anywhere. The kids may not be able to afford the ipods and x-boxes and whatever else has to be had these days, but they certainly are aware of them and covet them. And just like anywhere it seems a lot of them would rather be in front of a screen than out enjoying the beauty of the place their high-minded parents chose to raise them. …I’m proud that my non-journalist siblings are more articulate than I am.
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