Blog :: 2013

Wool - Vermonter's Winter Defense

Merino-Sheep-and-lambsI recall a few years ago driving a buyer around who shortly after we got underway, exclaimed "What's going on with this seat?" He was from the south and wasn't familiar with heated seats. After I explained, at the time, what a great option it was, he said " So that's how you Vermonter's survive winter." Heated car seats are one of hundreds of ways that Vermonter's deal with the colder temperatures of winter. One of the best ways to stay warm is to turn to yet another localvore product, wool.

Most people associate dairy and cheese production with the agricultural heritage of Vermont. Yet, the biggest impact on Vermont environmentally and economically was the huge expansion of sheep farming after the Civil War. Eighty percent of Vermont's landscape was cleared to provide grazing and hay for the vast herds of sheep. Woolen Mills were built wherever there was ample water power available. Vermont's wool production provided clothing, blankets and outer wear for a large segment of the country.

Vermont is once again recognized as being a leader in the production of wool and the manufacture of quality wool products. One of the oldest continuous makers of excellent wool products is Johnson Woolen Mills in Johnson, Vermont. Highly recognizable red checkered caps, jackets and even pants are the traditional hunter's garb. Their warmth and durability are the source of legend. Darn Tough socks in Northfield, Vermont are a favorite Vermont product. Available in many styles and weights, the socks fully live up to their name. So fully, that they come with a lifetime warranty that will replace any socks that wear out.

One of the newest front runners of wool clothing is Ibex Outdoor Clothing. They have taken a proven raw product and have designed and manufactured some of the finest performing and stylish wool clothing to date. If you have the opportunity to be in Vermont this coming Friday 10/11 and Saturday 10/12, you owe yourself a treat by attending the Annual Ibex Tent Sale on the Green in Quechee, Vermont. This event has drawn devotees from all over the country for many years. Trying on an Ibex wool jacket on a crisp cool autumn day will make you wish for cold weather.

Posted by Wade I. Treadway

Vermont Country Stores During Foliage

Vermont is quite unique with it's seasons that are all so different and all so remarkable beautiful. Clearly my favorite in terms of inner reflection and stopping to appreciate all that surrounds us is Fall. The other morning I went out early to feed the horses and I had to put on my wool Ibex vest for the first time this season. The morning was crisp and that unmistakable cool clean air had a hint of the changes coming. The trees are ablaze in brilliant colors that can't help but deliver a sense of awe. There is an uncontrollable urge to completely embrace all that surrounds you and make it last forever.

How best to enjoy this Fall season? I always like to go for drives along back roads that I haven't visited in some time. Truly, the fall colors are magnificent where ever you go. I always like to drop into country stores as I travel Vermont. A great many of the rural towns in Vermont still depend tremendously on the General Store. Many throughout the state also contain the local Post Office. You will be sure to encounter a strong aroma of coffee and hopefully home baked goods upon entering. I like to recommend to my customers and clients that are visiting this time of year to plan to be in a village that features a good General Store around lunch time. Sandwiches and drinks will be waiting. It's also a way to interact with local Vermonters and fellow visitors, all of whom depend on the General Store for their quick needs. A good source to locate General Stores in the Vermont Alliance of Independent Country Stores. Their website has many, but not all, General Stores in Vermont listed.

As to what routes to take to view the foliage, it's really up to your individual wants. All of Vermont is very picturesque, and yet the foliage changes at different times of the season in different parts of the state. The best website to check is the Fall Foliage Report. There you will find what areas of the state and what roads are showing the most color. The only thing left to complete the fall picture, is a stop at a local farm stand for cider and donuts. It really doesn't get much better.

Posted by Wade I. Treadway

Match the Hatch

For those of my readers that are flyfishers, the phrase "Match the Hatch" is easily recognized as our mantra for a successful outing. For those unfamiliar with the sport or the phrase, it is worth reviewing for it's close resemblance of a successful real estate search.

Matching the Hatch is determining which artificial fly you use to match what insect is naturally hatching on the stream or pond that the fish are feeding on. Sounds simple, but the reality is, it can be very elusive. The fish can be very selective and never consistent in their choice of what they feel like eating. It can take many attempts with various flies of different sizes to break the code.

Homebuyers can be just as befuddled as flyfishers as to why they aren't getting exactly what they want as they search for the property of their dreams. Working with a seasoned broker with a vast knowledge base and years of experience can help the cause dramatically. It's no secret that the predominant method of searching for a property is the internet. Simply plug in your search criteria and the search engines will select those properties that most closely make your choices. The price range, the acreage, the number of bedrooms are all there for you see. But it's the subtleties that can be the frustrations for a buyer. The almost intangible qualities of a property that search engines can not decipher. I recall once showing a gentleman several properties that met his criteria but were not hitting the mark. We retreated to my office and in the course of discussion he stated that as he was getting older, the need for an expansive environment was important to him. He felt that many properties were almost claustrophobic to him. The bell went off in my head and I took him to a brand new listing I had. It was only 3 acres, way less than he asked for, but the setting was at the top of a valley which created a very open expansive feel. He put it under contract immediately at the asking price of $1.6mil. A classic case of "Matching the Hatch" perfectly.

Posted by Wade I. Treadway

The Impact of Climate Change on Vermont Real Estate

The motivations of why people want to relocate to Vermont are many and varied. As a real estate professional, I keep my eyes and ears open to understand what it is about Vermont that attracts buyers. Certainly there are trends that tend to be cyclical in nature. A review of skiing in Vermont and the ownership of a second home in a ski community has had many ups and downs of the last 40 years. Dependency on nature providing sufficient snow morphed into dependence on snow making, traditional skiing attendance was hugely added to with the advent of snowboarding, and improved roads, snow removal and 4 wheel drive vehicles made access far easier.

Ciimate Change

If there is a single phrase that defines why people choose to move to Vermont, it is "quality of life". For those of us living here full time, we tend to take for granted many basic elements that the rest of the world is finding in short supply. Clean air, plentiful water, low crime and strong sense of community create the environment that attracts people to Vermont. But over the last 15 years, there have been added incentives. We have seen a tremendous amount of people moving to Vermont to participate in the "locavore" movement. The prospect of growing your own produce, boiling your own maple sap into syrup and raising animals has great appeal. The amount of cheese producers, microbreweries, and now even distilleries has grown at an astonishing rate. This has been a boom for agricultural properties.

The latest trend that I am seeing is a strong reaction to the obvious changes taking place world wide due to climate change. I have in the last two months had three international inquiries about properties that started with questions about water. Vermont is blessed to have such an abundance of water, natural resources and the legislative laws to protect them. The weather patterns of the last few years have demonstrated that our world is indeed changing and more people are looking to places that can and will adapt to those changes easily. I have always looked at Vermont as the perfect place to live and the changes that we are facing is proving that point to more and more people every day. I am experiencing a dramatic increase in inquiries, showings and sales over the last year that I can fully attribute to growing concerns about climate change and its impact on our environment. Vermont is viewed as a very desirable place to live in these changing times and the real estate industry of Vermont is responding.

Posted by Wade I. Treadway

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