<%image(20050923-Swimming VT2.jpg|174|233|equinox pond)%> Around the clock diners, greasy cheese steaks, sweltering summers, bottled up traffic jams, rolling hills, and the occasional patch of trees. These are my images of the Philadelphia (and its suburbs) that I left behind in moving to Arlington, Vermont. (Picture shows us swimming in Equinox Pond in front of Mt. Equinox)
Surprisingly enough, it has not been an extreme culture shock for me to live in the Green Mountain state after residing in the suburbs and city limits for the majority of my life. Save for the two bats that somehow wiggled into our house, the obnoxious July bugs, and the really dark nights (no street lights around here!), my entrance into the Vermont life has been like putting on a pair of worn and comfortable jeans. The people have been friendly, the pace has been pleasing, and the scenery is always perfect.
What connected with me more than anything in Vermont are the values I share with so many up here. Almost everyone has moved up because they love it. All who find the Vermont life-style disagreeable seem to have moved out. Though work can be found in Southern Vermont, it’s not the employment opportunities that draw people. It’s the beauty, the space, the isolation, and the simplicity. I have found many up here who share my value: live where you want, and then find work. So often people in Philadelphia live by the opposite of this.
Though many in the Philadelphia area genuinely love the city and its suburbs, I found a much higher concentration of people who were not pleased with the area, hanging around because of the job market or the convenience of shopping and entertainment. Few seemed quite as attached to the landscape as the people of Vermont are, as Philadelphians find things to do in the developed areas rather than in nature. In fact, it’s really hard to find places to hike or swim around Philadelphia, though many from Philly will deny this. Of course there are no hikes near Philly with sweeping views of the country side, nor would such a thing be very desirable any way.
Vermont is clearly not as populated as Philadelphia and it caters to tourists in this part of the state. In light of this, you will never find a store or restaurant open past 9 pm, if even that! Even the lone diner in Manchester has fairly limited hours. For those who love the night life of the city, Southern Vermont is clearly not the place to be. Yet, it does abound with long, meandering hikes through genuine wilderness that guide hikers to fantastic views. These are what we love to do, and they help explain why we love Vermont so far.
Tommorrow I will explore the Vermont look and the kind of people I have found around here.