Welcome back, skiers! Whether this is your first visit, or you’ve visited often, you should consider the many advantages of living and working in the Rutland region — most of our towns are just a 20-minute drive from Killington!
Since COVID has remade the world, residents of big cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, became more compelled than ever to flee to Vermont. They left cramped homes, long commutes, high costs of living, relentless noise, and mounting crowds, opting for a safer and more serene environment, for themselves and their families, for leisure and for work. Note, the digital economy here is stronger than ever.
I am one of those “ex-pats,” after nearly four decades living and working in midtown Manhattan. Before 2020, Rutland was mostly a second home. Now when someone boasts they’re a 9th-generation Vermonter, I proudly reply, “I’m a fourth-decade Vermonter,” and flash my new driver’s license. If you’re a city person flashing side-eye or eyerolls at me, wait just a New York minute!
Trading my Manolo heels for muck boots wasn’t an overnight decision, nor was I hypnotized by binge-watching holiday movies. I fell in love with Rutland when I worked here a few years ago as a college professor and fundraiser. Although I immersed myself in the Rutland community, on many Fridays at 8 a.m. I would hop the Amtrak in Rutland and, by 1 p.m., was cheering as I arrived in Manhattan. Rutland’s short-flight airport is minutes from downtown, and the Albany and Burlington airports, respectively, are two hours away.
Engaging in the community here changed my life, and my husband’s, forever. Over the past seven years, we have hosted more dinner parties in Rutland than we ever have in Manhattan. We have welcomed local Millennials and wizened Boomer icons alike — the latter spilling the best gossip of all.
When Covid quarantine hit, we hunkered down here.
During the past two years, my husband and I have worked with ease from our Rutland home, even as he has returned to New Jersey for work. We have enjoyed greater productivity, unlimited health resources, and a community spirit that defies the limitations of online platforms. We have enhanced our careers, rather than exhausting ourselves at city-based jobs that left little time for other meaningful pursuits.
Here are just a few other reasons to relocate to the Rutland region.
Of course, Rutland has an enthusiastic marketing organization, Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region (CEDRR). About five years ago, CEDRR launched Real Rutland, a compendium of resources about health, housing, business, dining, education, arts and culture, shopping, and much more. The business resources alone will impress even the most seasoned executive.
Real Rutlanders are corporate executives, civic leaders, small-business owners, nonprofit directors, and students. CEDRR’s director Lyle Jepson (first row at the right end, blue shirt, maroon tie), is a former educator who is one of our most beloved Rutland leaders. Also in the photo: citizens who participate in the Real Rutland Concierge Program, which matches individuals who have an interest in moving here, with locals who share similar backgrounds.
Rutland County is home to 26 small towns and Rutland City, which has a vibrant, walkable downtown with unparalleled mountain views. Some of our downtowns indeed have storefronts, homes, and steeples that resemble those in holiday movies, but Rutland County is also home to several large corporations, ski resorts, colleges, and hospitals.
In addition to the Killington resort, (owned by Powdr), other career opportunities within a 30-minute to an hour’s drive of Killington, include General Electric Aviation, Keurig Doctor Pepper, Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Vermont Country Store, Hubbardton Forge, King Arthur Flour, Ben & Jerry’s, and Seventh Generation, to name a few.
Rutlanders are unabashed organizers of and participants in fundraising festivals and other social causes, including championing our elementary schools and high schools. Stafford Technical Center, adjacent to Rutland High School, offers courses for adults as well as younger students. Mount St. Joseph Academy describes itself as “a place to belong” that welcomes all students. The annual Gift of Life Marathon blood drive sponsored by Castleton University, Green Mountain Power and Catamount Radio draws hundreds of people, landing in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013 with 2,337 pints of blood, beating the national record for a single community in one day.
Rutland is also a terrific launching ground for entrepreneurs. Attorneys, accountants, management consultants, and marketing specialists have thriving businesses here, and the state has made racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion an explicit priority. Last May, Governor Phil Scott signed a Proclamation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that “…condemns racism and welcomes all persons, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, age, or disability, and wants everyone to feel safe and welcome in our communities.” Rutland Regional Medical Center, the largest community hospital in Vermont and the second largest hospital in the state (after UVM Medical in Burlington), consistently wins awards. Its orthopedic practice is well known among overly enthusiastic skiers.
Also close to downtown Rutland are safe and accessible walking and hiking trails, golf courses, and parks for trail running, snowshoeing, backcountry Nordic skiing, fat-tire biking, and more.
Those who aren’t outdoors enthusiasts will find so many other options, they’ll have to devise new excuses for not exercising. Most impressive is the Vermont Sports and Fitness Club, a 39,000-square-foot facility with three indoor tennis courts, state-of-the-art weight machines, an abundance of treadmills and ellipticals, and group classes for every age and fitness level. There also are smaller yoga and Pilates studios downtown, and the Pyramid Holistic Wellness Center, which features a Himalayan salt cave, immersion rooms and workshops.
As for culture, Rutlanders have an enduring love for the historic Paramount Theatre, which attracts live musical acts from all over the country, taped performances from the current Metropolitan Opera season, and drive-in movies. There are galleries and museums; murals that showcase Vermont on the walls of Rutland’s 19th Century buildings; a sculpture trail featuring world-famous Rutland-born leaders; and the WonderFeet Kids’ Museum, the brainchild of a passionate group of parents and educators.
We shower with love our artisans that craft everything from handmade wooden toys to maple syrup and award-winning cheeses, and of course, pies of every conceivable configuration. Though the holiday-movie trope of hot chocolate with mountains of whipped cream should have its own Twitter feed, the selections in the Rutland region’s cafes and micro-breweries are far more creative.
The Rutland Farmers’ Market, the largest in Vermont, is open all year, and our restaurants, diners, sandwich shops and cafes serve many locally-sourced ingredients. Roots the Restaurant is a popular networking enclave, and the Rutland Country Club’s excellent Baxter’s restaurant faces its scenic golf course. Also notable is Southside Steakhouse, with its eclectic menu and bartenders who welcome everyone as if they are regulars.
So, what are you waiting for? Put your Manolos away and pull on some Darn Tough (Vermont-made!) socks. Grab a hot chocolate or micro-brew and get Real – Real Rutland!
For more information, visit: realrutland.com
Photo Credit: Real Rutland