The Green Mountain State of Mind

The state of Vermont has many personalities: rustic and quaint, quirky and festive, a barren wasteland of arctic cold. You choose. Take a second and think about what you know about Vermont. Everyone has different impressions of this small but distinctive state, so you might be thinking something like:

“OMG, those leaves! Fall is the best season”
“It’s full of uptight liberals!”
“The people are nice… maybe too nice sometimes.”
“They are a bunch of maple syrup guzzling Appalachian mountain people!”
“They take cheese way too seriously.”

For my first post-grad, real life adventure, I will be moving to Vermont. And to tell you the truth, the most I knew about this state was what I had learned from my step-mom who had lived there years ago. That, and the array of previous dramatized stereotypes above. I realized I knew very little about the place in which I will be living for the foreseeable future, which is a bit unsettling. It’s not that I’m particularly nervous or scared to move away from my home state of Pennsylvania, but it’s more of coming off as the uneasy outsider; everyone is always self-conscience about being that typical, oblivious tourist. I want to feel like I belong, and that this is the place for me.

Recently, I spent a week up in Vermont, signing leases and setting up my apartment, but I also got to see and get a feel for the new place I will be calling home. I learned that all of the previous impressions were correct in some way; they do love maple syrup and cheese, believe me! But there are a few other Vermont quirks that I picked up on that gives it a very unique personality and makes it an almost magical place.

Champ

champ

Credit: Jay Parker

What magical, waterfront city is complete without its own Loch Ness Monster folklore?! Burlington, VT is nestled right next to Lake Champlain, which borders Vermont, New York, and Canada. It is said that, much like Nessie from Loch Ness in Scotland, Champ is a monster who roams around the depths of this vast lake. Hundreds of sightings have been reported about Champ’s existence but none have been confirmed.

After walking on this frozen lake a week ago, I must say that I am glad Champ didn’t decide to pay my boyfriend and I a visit by coming through the 12 inch thick ice. However, it could be cute in the summer to see Champ sun bathing on one of the lake’s peninsulas. With a name like Champ, you gotta love ’em.

Craft Beer

Alchemist Tripel

Credit: Christopher Lehault

If there is one thing I learned while spending my short week in Vermont, it was that they love beer. And not shitty beer like Bud or Miller (don’t take offense, I drink them too. Poor college problems) but Vermont’s own local craft beers. In menus they have a whole section devoted to Vermont’s specialty beers, from The Alchemist Heady Topper, to Magic Hat, to Switchback Ale, we’re talking some wild and crazy brews; all of which are delicious, quite filling, and super interesting.

THOSE MOUNTAINS OMG

Morning in Vermont

Credit: Vaibhav Bhosale

It’s true what they say, Vermont is very scenic with tons of breathtakingly beautiful mountains, rivers, and fields. I’m telling you, all of those images in calendars, you know, the ones with the pretty field of flowers with the rolling hills in the background, they have to be taken in Vermont.

On any given day I could see the snowcapped mountains of New York across Lake Champlain or of central Vermont. I will be surrounded on all sides by glorious mountains and I cannot wait. Plus the hiking is going to be boss!

Rolling Stop, No More

Untitled

Credit: Dave Morris

After living in Philly for almost 4 years now, I can say that its driving styles and flow of traffic have rubbed off on me. I have perfected the rolling stop, charged the light at times, and have even shied away from consistently using my turn signal. Shame on me, I know. But in Vermont, this isn’t going to fly.

All of the drivers are super courteous and cautious; turn signals galore, perfectly executed merging, proper yielding, and of course, coming to a complete stop at those red octagons. I love it because  I feel safe and less stressed on the roads, but now I need to step up my game.

Maple Syrup

Vermont syrup on display

Credit: Adam Fagen

Whether it’s on pizza, in beer, in coffee, or just a widely used condiment like ketchup, Vermont’s maple syrup is EVERYWHERE. And I must say, maple syrup topped pizza is probably the best pizza I have ever had the pleasure of introducing my mouth to. Now, they could just be egging on the tourists with all of their syrup shenanigans, but I don’t think so. It’s a way of life.

Ben and Jerry’s

After work treat (IMG_2650)

Credit: Andy Melton

They originated in Vermont, need I say more?!

Good, I’ll just leave you with this shot of ice cream!

Green Freaks

Trash Recycling with Disposal Containers

Credit: epSos.de

One of the greatest things I’ve found is their love for the environment and working towards sustainability. It’s only fitting that the Green Mountain state has a green thumb! In Vermont you can find recycling bins just as easy, if not easier, as you can find trash cans. I saw my first ever recycling redeeming center while I was there, they do exist!

You see, Vermont has laws for universal recycling and composting. First off, recycling is MANDATORY! There is a list of recyclable materials that are banned from being put in any landfill. Also, recycling containers must be provided in public spaces and haulers are required to provide citizens with recycling and trash containers, and eventually with containers for yard debris and food scraps.

But also, businesses are required to donate food scraps if they produce over 104 tons of scraps a year, and that weight is constantly dropping. I’m a huge fan.

While it may not be the “sexiest” thing about Vermont, it is incredibly promising. They’re taking huge steps towards sustainability and that’s something we can all appreciate.

From my brief stint in Vermont, I’m certain that this eccentric state is the one for me. After spending 21 years in Pennsylvania, I need a change and these many personas of Vermont, from the people, to the food, to the environment, sound like heaven. I can’t wait to make this place my home.

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