Driving through Stowe on my way home, I cannot help but notice the difference in traffic from when I first discovered this gorgeous community 44 years ago.
We got around in a 1965 Ford Mustang then. My parents had heard an announcement on the radio about the “quaint little town south of the border”. One day, we simply packed up for one of our occasional “nowheres” and ended up in Stowe, Vermont. It would some day become home.
Cars have changed, and so have our driving habits. We drove slower then. Also, it seems people did a lot more walking in the sixties, even though there were no sidewalks outside of the village at that time, and no recreation paths.
As tourists, we tend to be in our bubble. We are not aware of the occasional disturbances we may cause in traffic, even indoors standing in line at the grocery store. As tourists, we simply do not move about as we do in our home town, on our own turf and on our own time.
In this sense, when relocating to a vacation destination, amidst restaurants, inns and tourist-centric merchants and activities, the daily pace must bend to a new rhythm; much like water adopts and shapes the river shore.
How much of a difference in perspective is there for people who have watched their neighborhood develop into a full-fledged vacation destination, as is the case in Stowe, as opposed to those who choose to move here after having experienced it as a tourist only?
A March 2010 Front Door article observes that, “For some residents, Orlando’s popular tourist attractions are the reason they call the city home.” The same article quotes a resident. He says, “I’ve heard of people deciding to move to Orlando because they were such a fan of the theme parks.” Like Orlando, but in its own unique way, Stowe offers a wealth of experiences.
A resort-rich community is vibrant, for by definition it must evolve in such a way as to provide a culturally-rich array of activities, resources and entertainment. In this sense, living in a vacation destination also means we have the opportunity to experience a truly diversified lifestyle.
While some may set residency in a Walt Disney-esque community; others prefer the atmosphere of a New England town such as Stowe. Perhaps it is a sort of personality match. We are in search of the perfect community in much the same way, and perhaps for some of the same reasons we are drawn to the most compatible companion.
44 years later, Stowe is still gorgeous. Expansion and development, when done in a manner that adheres to the integrity of the landscape and the spirit of the community, add character rather than diminish it. And the diversity of people who come to the conclusion that this is home also contributes to the character of our town.
Living in a resort community, then, draws you out of yourself, because there is so much to be lived beyond your front steps.