For Anyone Thinking About Moving To The Montpelier, Vermont Area
The pros and cons of living in Montpelier, VT, are on tap today. So, let’s explore small-town living in the heart of what is known as The Green Mountain State.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Montpelier, Vermont
My top 10 list of living in Montpelier pros and cons includes the following:
- Charming small town
- Scenic outdoor beauty
- Plenty of jobs
- A solid school system
- Attractive public services
- Challenging winter weather
- High cost of living
- An excessive income tax burden
- Limited diversity
- The middle of nowhere
Before I cover these ten essential points about living in Montpelier, please allow me to address the big question of the day.
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Is Montpelier, VT, A Good Place To Live
Montpelier is an excellent place to live. Residents enjoy living in a small scenic New England town, reaping the benefits of job opportunities, good schools, a safe environment, and efficient public services. In addition, the town’s location is ideal for access to the Green Mountains, Lake Champlain, and the extensive amenities in the nearby cities of Montreal and Boston.
With those highlights addressed, let’s dig into the ten advantages and disadvantages of life in Montpelier. Since living here will only be for some, not for all.
1. Charming Small Town
First, this is a lovely New England town sitting on the banks of the Winooski River in central Vermont. Based on its population of about 8,000 residents, it is the smallest state capital in America.
You will find tree-lined streets, charming old homes, and a historic downtown area.
The area is void of fast-food restaurants and other forms of modern commercialization. Thus, the atmosphere gives rise to community-minded small-town living and a local business environment that residents enjoy.
Things To See And Do After Moving To Montpelier
As you explore the area around Main and State streets downtown, you will discover:
- North branch of the Winooski River
- Vermont Historical Society Museum
- Independent restaurants
- Local ice cream shops and bakeries
- Boutique shopping
- Locally owned bookstores
- Live music
- The Capital Theater for movies
- Lost Nation Theater for live acts
- Memorial Civic Center Ice Rink
- Capital City Farmers Market
- Vermont State House
Now, I have given you a feel for the town. So, let’s discuss another one of the benefits of living in Montpelier.
2. Scenic Outdoor Beauty
After moving to Montpelier, you will discover its beautiful scenic location.
Regional Splendor Living In Montpelier
First, the nearby Green Mountain National Forest and Lake Champlain highlight the scenic beauty.
Furthermore, falls turning leaves are spectacular, bringing many tourists to the area each year. At the same time, you will find several ski resorts located within a 30 to 60-minute driving time.
Finally, pastoral lands and small farms are abundant in the area. Thus, those interested in putting a financial stake in the region should consider investing in local farmland.
Outdoor Access Close To Home When Living In Montpelier
Then there is Hubbard Park, located just north of the Vermont State House. Hubbard park is one of the local perks of living in Montpelier.
The park’s land is more than 200 acres and includes the following:
- 7 miles of trails
- Picnic areas and shelters
- Sports recreation fields
- River access and ponds
- Sledding hill
- Stone observation tower
Next, and switching gears, there is more to life than entertainment and relaxation. If you are like me, work and education play a significant role in choosing where to live.
So, let’s address those good reasons to move to Montpelier next.
3. Plenty Of Jobs
A surprisingly large number of jobs for a rural town with only 8,000 residents leads to a consistently low unemployment rate within the business community. Industries that lead the way include government, insurance, retail, education, and professional services.
Several significant employers include the following:
- National Life Group
- The state of Vermont Government
- Vermont Mutual Insurance Group
- Capitol Plaza Hotel & Conference Center
- Vermont College of Fine Arts
Then for anyone with children or adults seeking additional education, I have another one of many good reasons to live in Montpelier.
4. A Solid School System
Moving to Montpelier offers solid education opportunities for you and your family.
K-12 Public Schools
The public schools are part of the Montpelier Roxbury Public school system (MRPS), including:
- Union Elementary School
- Main Street Middle School
- Montpelier High School
Colleges And Universities For Montpelier Life
For higher education, there are:
- Community College of Vermont
- New England Culinary Institute
- Vermont College of Fine Art
About 15 minutes in nearby Northfield, Vermont, is Norwich University. Norwich is one of the oldest private military schools in the country.
Next, here are a few other good things about living in Montpelier.
5. Attractive Public Services
Unlike some other areas of Vermont, residents here have convenient hospital access. Specifically, Central Vermont Medical Center, located in nearby Berlin. The facility is just 4 miles away for health-related services.
For a small town, good public transit is also available.
First, fixed-route bus travel centered around the Montpelier Transit Center opened in 2019. It includes city routes and stops at popular destinations.
Also, MyRide by Green Mountain Transit (GMT) is a new flexible-schedule, flexible-route option. The service features technology-enabled vehicles that provide curb-to-curb service. Thus, taking riders when and where they need to go.
For air travel, Burlington International Airport is about 45 minutes away. Surprisingly, the hassle-free airport services many non-stop flights to major travel destinations.
Okay. That concludes my discussion about all the best things about living in Montpelier.
However, please allow me to address some reasons not to move to Montpelier next. Since living here will only be for some.
6. Challenging Winter Weather
First, this part of New England has nasty winters. They are long and cold with lots of snow.
Wintertime Temperatures As Part Of Montpelier Living
From December through February, average high temperatures never reach 30 degrees. While the nighttime lows frequently drop into the single digits.
Snowfall Will Impact Your Montpelier Lifestyle
There is abundant snowfall from November through April, with peak snowfall occurring in February. Sixty inches of the fluffy white stuff each year is typical. However, a brutal winter might bring up to 100 inches of snow.
Of course, the area ski resorts love it, as do wintertime outdoor enthusiasts.
Moving along, the following two reasons not to live in Montpelier will hit squarely on your wallet.
7. High Cost Of Living
Starting on a positive note, the cost of living in Montpelier is close to the United States national average. However, a few areas may strain your budget. Thus, living here could be beyond your financial means.
So, let’s discuss these budget items next.
Heating Costs After Moving To Montpelier
First, two factors increase heating costs that will jack up your winter utility bills.
There are the frigid winter temperatures that I just outlined, coupled with an older housing stock lacking modern insulation.
Property Taxes When Living In Montpelier
The other costly area is real estate taxes.
You should be aware that Vermont has one of the highest property tax rates of any state in the country. So, real estate taxes will drive up your cost on a median-priced house compared to many other places you might choose.
Finally, we use Rakuten for cash rebates on all our online purchases to offset high costs like these. I mean, why pay more if you don’t have to? Every little bit of savings adds up.
Next is another one of the financial disadvantages of living in Montpelier.
8. Excessive Income Tax Burden
This state exposes residents to high-income taxes. Specifically, new residents of Montpelier are subject to Vermont’s tax laws.
Income Tax Rates When Living In Montpelier
First, Vermont runs what is called a progressive income tax system. So, you are asking, what does that mean?
It means that the more money you make, the greater your income tax rate.
For example, the top tax rate is almost 9%. Fortunately, only a tiny percentage of residents pay that rate, mainly because it takes a significant income to trigger it.
On the other hand, a family with an average household income will end up paying somewhere in the range of 3%-5% of their income to the state in the form of taxes. These tax rates are no bargain considering a move to New Hampshire is just a few miles away. Most noteworthy, New Hampshire does not tax earned income.
Income Taxes When Living In Montpelier During Retirement
For all of the retirees reading, you won’t catch a break either since Vermont includes most forms of retirement income in taxable earnings. Specifically, Social Security retirement benefits and income from most retirement accounts.
Regarding taxes, I have outlined some general guidelines for your consideration. Of course, everyone’s tax situation is unique, so consult with your tax advisor on how moving to Montpelier will impact your taxes.
Next, depending on your perspective, the following point may be one of the worst things about living in Montpelier.
9. Limited Diversity
After moving to Montpelier, you will find little racial, ethnic, or political diversity. So, if you enjoy being surrounded by an ethnic mix of people with diverging views, you won’t find it here.
First, more than 90% of the population is white. Second, the majority of residents have very liberal political views.
Okay. Rounding out the not-so-good things regarding the pros and cons of living in Montpelier, I have number 10 on today’s list.
10. The Middle Of Nowhere
Moving to Montpelier means you are signing up for moving to a small town. Also, rural living in the middle of nowhere in central Vermont. Furthermore, the surrounding area and towns are, for the most part, quite tranquil.
So, access to extensive city amenities, numerous career advancement options, high-end shopping, and plenty of nightlife does not exist.
Yes, you can seek out more from the region. For example, you can find additional shopping and entertainment options in nearby Berlin, Barre, or Burlington, the largest city in the state.
To sum up, remember that this area is relatively remote near the Canadian border.
Other Places To Consider Living In Vermont
For the most part, Vermont is a collection of small rural towns. Thus, you will never find a big city to move to in this state. However, there are other good places to consider.
First, southeastern Vermont borders the great state of Massachusetts and the state of New Hampshire.
First, a lovely place to live is in Newfane.
Farther north, in central Vermont, is Rutland. Not too small but not too big either.
Rutland sits at the base of 2 ski resorts and is close to Lake Bomoseen for boating, fishing, and summer recreation. The lake rests near the border of upstate New York.
Finally, there are many quaint New England villages outside Rutland to explore.
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 Montpelier, VT
Montpelier may offer the perfect traits of a charming, peaceful, safe, low-crime community for anyone interested in New England living.
However, moving here may only be ideal for some. People searching for a warmer winter climate or the amenities and diversity offered by larger metropolitan areas should look elsewhere.
As a result, carefully examine all of Montpelier’s pros and cons.
Finally, if you would like some other living options beyond Vermont, check out our other:
To find your perfect place!
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.