10 Pros and Cons of Living in Brattleboro, VT Right Now

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For Anyone Thinking About Moving To Brattleboro, Vermont

Today, I’m diving into the pros and cons of living in Brattleboro, Vermont. Since moving to this New England state and the town that some call Bratt might be a good choice.

Let’s get going so you can make up your mind regarding this little settlement of roughly 12,000 residents in southeastern Vermont.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Brattleboro, Vermont

My top 10 list of living in Brattleboro pros and cons includes the following:

  • Vibrant downtown
  • A modest cost of living
  • Easy access to education
  • Amazing scenic beauty
  • Close to major metro areas
  • Tough winter climate
  • Heavy tax burden
  • Drug use and higher crime
  • Poverty and homelessness
  • Lacking diversity

Before I address these ten vital points about living in Brattleboro, I will answer the big question that is probably on your mind.

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Main and High Streets Downtown Brattleboro

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Is Brattleboro, VT, A Good Place To Live

Brattleboro is a great place to live in New England. Residents enjoy living in this artsy town on the banks of the Connecticut river for its modest cost of living, abundant educational opportunities, and immense scenic beauty. In addition, the town’s location is ideal for access to Vermont’s Green Mountains or the big-city amenities in nearby Boston.

Okay. With those highlights addressed, let’s dig into the ten advantages and disadvantages of life in Brattleboro. Since living here will only be for some, not for all.

1. Vibrant Downtown

Located on the banks of the Connecticut River, downtown Brattleboro is an attractive, trendy, artsy, and historical place all at the same time. For example, historic buildings house art galleries, restaurants, shops, and microbreweries.

Local Attractions After Moving To Brattleboro

Some of the things and places you will want to check out after moving to Brattleboro include the following:

  • Brattleboro Museum & Art Center
  • Creamery Covered Bridge
  • Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery
  • Latchis Theatre
  • New England Center of Circus Arts
  • Plaza Park
  • Pliny Park
  • Robb Family Farm
  • The Brooks House
  • Union Station
  • Vermont Jazz Center
  • Wells Fountain

Okay. Now, I have given you a feel for the town. So, let’s discuss another one of the benefits of living in Brattleboro.

2. A Modest Cost Of Living

Some people complain that living costs are inflated here because of the proximity to Boston. However, I can’t sign up for that argument.

Home Values When Living In Brattleboro

First, housing costs are reasonable compared to the rest of Vermont and the U.S. national average. As of this writing, median home prices are hovering in the mid-$200s.

Thus, $250,000 or more is what you are looking at for a decent house in one of the better neighborhoods. In comparison, the median-priced home in the U.S. is closer to $400,000 as of the time of this writing.

Other Costs Of Living In Brattleboro

As for other costs, groceries are about the same as the national average. On the other hand, utilities can be a little higher. Mainly due to heating bills to keep your home warm during the winter.

Finally, we use Rakuten for cash rebates on all our online purchases to offset higher living costs whenever possible.

I mean, why pay more if you don’t have to? Give Rakuten a try here. Every little bit of savings adds up.

Then for anyone with children or adults seeking additional education, I have another one of the many good reasons to live in Brattleboro.

3. Easy Access To Education

Nearly 50% of the population here has a bachelor’s degree or higher. Thus, residents are well-educated and require good educational options for themselves and their families.

Public Schools For Brattleboro Living

The public schools are part of the Windham Southeast School District (WSESU), including:

  • Academy School (K-6)
  • Green Street School (K-6)
  • Oak Grove School (K-6)
  • Brattleboro Area Middle School (7-8)
  • Windham Regional Career Center (9-12)
  • Brattleboro Union High School (9-12)

Higher Education Opportunites

The city is also home to five institutions of higher learning, including:

  • The Community College of Vermont
  • Vermont Technical College
  • School for International Training
  • Landmark College
  • Marlboro College

All of these institutions have different missions. So, locally there is a little something for everyone in your family here.

Finally, the University of Vermont’s flagship campus is in Burlington, and the University of New Hampshire’s flagship campus is in Durham, New Hampshire.

So both schools are only 2 hours away. In this case, the kids can get away from home for the college-town living experience. Yet, be close enough to home base.

Next, here is another one of the good things about living in Brattleboro.

4. Amazing Scenic Beauty

Vermont is a stunning and scenic outdoor wonderland. Fortunately, even though located in the corner of the state, living here means residents have easy access to the great outdoors.

Outdoor Activities In And Around Town

Thus, hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, and snow skiing opportunities are just a short distance away.

Next, please allow me to provide some examples.

Locally, you can hike the West River Trail and the Mount Wantastiquet Trail. Or travel west of the city through West Brattleboro, Marlboro, and Wilmington to arrive at and explore the Green Mountain National Forest.

During summer, the fantastic Connecticut and West rivers provide excellent opportunities for water-based activities.

In addition, the rivers are clean and have scenic views. So, fish, swim, and kayak until your heart is content.

For winter, pull out your skis and snow shoes. Opportunities abound for cross-country ski buffs. Also, several downhill skiing resorts are nearby such as Mount Snow.

Southeastern Vermont Farming Community

Another thing I will mention is that the area has lots of farms. Many are open to the public via farm stands, farmers’ markets, and pick-your-own fields.

So, get out and grab some fresh produce. Then, put some farm-to-fork food on your dinner table.

Furthermore, you may be interested in putting a financial stake in the farm community here. If so, consider investing in regional farmland.

Let’s address some more good reasons to move to Brattleboro next.

5. Close To Major Metro Areas

One of the nice things about Brattleboro is the limited commercialization. The more localized business environment adds to the community’s charm.

However, your new home here is close to everything you might need.

First, residents travel to Keene, New Hampshire, for additional shopping options, including big box stores like Home Depot, Walmart, and Target.

For extensive big-city amenities, Boston is a little over two hours away. Also, New York City is reachable in about four hours by traveling across the New England state of Massachusetts and then Connecticut.

Okay, it is time to switch gears since that last point concludes my discussion about the perks of living in Brattleboro.

However, please allow me to address some reasons not to move to Brattleboro in the first place. Since living here will only be for some, not for all.

living in Brattleboro, Vermont pros and cons Pinterest pinPin

6. Tough Winter Climate

First, here is the good news. You will be moving to the southernmost region of Vermont. Thus the winter weather is less harsh compared to a northern or centrally located town in Vermont.

However, winters are still long, cold, and snowy. Please allow me to explain.

Cold Winter Temperatures Living In Brattleboro

For example, the average high temperatures rarely crack 32 degrees from December through January. Furthermore, nighttime lows routinely drop into the teens.

Plenty of Snow To Deal With After Moving To Brattleboro

The snow will start to fly in November and last into April.

Overall, the area receives about 4 feet of snow each year. So, remember to pack your ice scraper and snow shovels.

Mud Season And Your Brattleboro Lifestyle

Combine snowmelt with several inches of rain in April, and residents deal with a sloppy mess. This time of year has a name in Vermont. They call it mud season.

Thus, late winter and early spring hiking enthusiasts, beware!

Moving along, the following reasons not to live in Brattleboro will hit squarely on your wallet.

7. Heavy Tax Burden

When choosing to move anywhere in Vermont, Brattleboro included, you sign up for high taxes.

So, let’s touch on the two types of taxes that will impact your budget.

Living In Brattleboro And Real Estate Taxes

First, the state is known for its high property taxes.

So, when buying your home here, be sure to inquire about the real estate tax bill. The annual tax rates can run as high as 2% of the property value, sometimes more.

Moving To Brattleboro And Income Taxes

The more you make in Vermont, the greater your income tax rate. For example, some high earners pay 7-9% of their income to the state government.

It’s a progressive tax system, so lower earnings are taxed less aggressively. However, families with a more typical household income can expect to pay 3%-5% of that income to the state of Vermont government.

Furthermore, there are few tax breaks for retirees. Specifically, the state includes social security income and withdrawals from traditional qualified retirement plans in taxable income.

If paying a lot in state taxes is a deal breaker for you, consider moving to New Hampshire. The state has very friendly tax laws.

Finally, these are just general tax guidelines. Most importantly, everyone’s tax situation is unique. Thus, I strongly suggest consulting your tax advisor before completing your moving to Brattleboro pros and cons review.

Next, the following few points are disappointing issues with the town. These items may make you think twice before relocating to Brattleboro.

8. Drug Use And Higher Crime

First, when spending time downtown, you will see people with substance abuse and mental health issues on the streets. Residents blame heroin use and opioid addiction for the problem.

Also, the crime rates are high for a city of this size. Research at the time of this article indicates the crime rate is more than 20% higher than the Vermont average and 70% higher than the national average.

Property crime is the primary driver of lousy crime numbers. Specifically robberies, car theft, and burglaries.

Rolling in property crime rates with violent crime rates means the town has earned the unfortunate distinction of one of the highest crime rates in the state.

Next, here is another one of the bad things about living in Brattleboro.

9. Poverty And Homelessness

According to a recent American Community Survey, more than 20% of people live below the poverty line. This local statistic is nearly double the national average. Furthermore, unemployment and poverty contribute to the increasing homeless population.

To sum up the drug, crime, and homeless issues here, most people say they feel safe. However, they tend to avoid the downtown parking garage at the transportation center.

Residents also want a more significant police presence. However, according to the chief of police, the force is currently about 50% understaffed.

Finally, depending on your perspective, the following point may be one of the worst things about living in Brattleboro.

10. Lacking Diversity

For anyone considering a move to Brattleboro, take note. Unfortunately, the town and surrounding area lack racial, ethnic, and political diversity.

First, according to the United States Census Bureau, the population is approximately 93% white.

Second, residents are decidedly liberal in their political views. Thus, most people here vote for Democratic candidates.

So, do you require being surrounded by a diverse racial mix of people with varied political views? If yes, you won’t find those things.

Okay. That’s all I have for today.

So, please allow me to wrap up with a few parting thoughts.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Brattleboro, VT

As I said at the beginning, Brattleboro is an excellent place to live. However, like anywhere you choose to settle down, the town has its challenges.

So, if you would like some other living options in Vermont or beyond, check out our other:

Guides About the Best Places to Live Right Now

You will indeed get some help finding your perfect place. Happy hunting!

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Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

The Pros And Cons Of Living In Brattleboro, Vermont Explained