Vermont is a unique state and is likely not to be on many retirees’ shortlist for retirement destinations. However, this state is a hidden treasure. There are many places to retire in Vermont and those who take the time to see past the negatives will reap the many rewards Vermont has to offer.
Seniors looking to settle down with wide-open spaces, friendly people, amazing craft beer, and tranquil scenery will fall in love with the many small towns of Vermont.
Vermont is cold in the winter and ranks 49th for affordability according to Wallet Hub’s 2020 Best States to Retire survey. And unfortunately, Vermont is not a tax-friendly state for retirees.
The state taxes all forms of retirement, 3.35%-8.75%, depending on your income. Additionally, Vermont has some of the highest property taxes in the country. Finally, it carries an estate tax as well.
Now that all of the bad news is out of the way, let’s get to the many benefits Vermont offers. Vermont is a dream retirement spot for seniors looking to settle down in a quiet, classy, comfortable spot. It is the ideal location for active retirees who love the outdoors.
Vermont offers a coastal feel in the cities and towns dotted along Lake Champlain’s shores. Lake Champlain boasts 587 miles of coastline along this 120-mile long lake. Many who live in the area liken the shores of the lake to being along the sea.
And there is a reason Vermont is known as the Green Mountain state. The Green Mountain range spans 250 miles connecting into Connecticut and Massachusetts. Plus, the Green Mountains are part of the Appalachian Trail.
In addition to the mountains and Lake Champlain, Vermont also has made a great effort to retain a certain charm, tranquility, and natural beauty. One of the biggest differences visitors will notice as they drive the beautiful countryside is the lack of billboards, which is because the state passed a law to ban billboards in 1968.
Vermont’s countryside is full of small towns and agricultural communities. Those who love fresh food and farm to table dining will appreciate Vermont’s strong community ties, which support local farmers and small businesses.
So if you are looking for a place with plenty of space to stretch out, a casual atmosphere, and an active lifestyle, Vermont is the place for you. And though the state is a bit on the expensive side, you will soon forget about the price tag as you lose yourself in Vermont’s beauty.
Where to Retire in Vermont
- Middlebury Town
- Percent of Senior Population: 11.7%
- Overall Population: 42,819
Burlington is a popular city to settle down in. Though 42,000 people may not seem like a lot, it is the state’s largest city. One of Burlington’s appealing aspects is that it is home to the University of Vermont, adding to the city’s culture and vibrancy.
In addition to being the closest thing to an urban area in Vermont, Burlington also sits along Lake Champlain, which attracts many of its residents.
Those who live in Burlington tend to love the outdoors as much as they love the convenience of an urban area. The city also has several great parks and outdoor attractions like Waterfront Park, Apple Tree Bay, North Beach Park, and Mount Mansfield.
And mountain bikers will love being near The International, a nearby trail with a challenging climb followed by intriguing downhill sections. Though, you don’t need to have a mountain bike to enjoy the warmer weather in Burlington; the rail to trail path that extends eight miles runs along the lake is perfect for runners, walkers, and bicyclists.
In the winter, residents enjoy hitting the many ski hills in the area, including Sugarbush Ski Resort, Smugglers Notch, and Mad River Glen.
Plus, being a largest city, Burlington, is a hot spot for the arts, festivals, and entertainment venues, such as:
- Fleming Museum of Art
- Vermont Brewers Festival
- Burlington City Arts at The BCA Center
- Burlington Discover Jazz Festival
- Burlington Wine and Food Festival
- Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival
So if you are looking for a “big” city in Vermont yet with easy access to the nature, Burlington is the perfect place for you.
- Percent of Senior Population: 19.6%
- Overall Population: 11,332
Brattleboro sits along the Connecticut River in the southern area of Vermont. Retirees attracted to the Battleboro area tend to enjoy the art scene and the outdoors.
Brattleboro is home to a fairly significant 65+ community, with some living in the area year-round and others heading south to warmer areas once the snow falls. Whichever your preference is, Brattleboro is an excellent town for active retirees.
For those who love the arts and history, you will enjoy exploring the Vermont Center for Photography, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Naulakha Museum, and the Brattleboro Historical Society.
But truly, Brattleboro is the outdoor enthusiast’s dream. There are several local outdoor attractions that residents enjoy, such as:
- Madame Sherri Forest – Perfect for hiking with your dog
- Retreat Farm – A wonderful place to bring the grandkids
- Living Memorial Park – Great year-round with its pool and ski slopes
- Mount Pisgah – Ideal for hiking and mountain biking
When you are done hiking, biking, or skiing and are looking to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a cold beer, downtown Brattleboro is the place you will want to go. The downtown area is full of shops, galleries, craft breweries, and excellent dining.
- Percent of Senior Population: 17.2%
- Overall Population: 8,780
Middlebury, in western Vermont, sits along the New York border. Also, Middlebury is less than an hour’s drive from Burlington, making visiting the city easy and convenient.
But what brings many baby boomers to this town is the famous liberal arts college, Middlebury College. Middlebury College has the classic appearance of the traditional college campus.
What makes this college town all the more alluring is the various writing conferences held here, like the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, which also happens to be the oldest writer’s conference in the country.
But the liberal arts college is not the only thing that attracts retirees. The scenery and small-town atmosphere hold a great appeal to many, especially the views of the Green Mountains and Adirondacks from the city limits. Plus, there are several beautiful parks like Middlebury Falls, Otter View Park, Hurd Grassland, and Lake Dunmore.
In addition to the views and the college Middlebury has various museums perfect for history buffs and art enthusiasts:
- Henry Sheldon Museum
- Vermont Folklife Center
- Middlebury College Museum of Art
Downtown Middlebury offers shopping, restaurants, and craft breweries. And though the town is on the smaller side, it is home to the Porter Medical Center, which is part of the University of Vermont Health Network.
- Percent of Senior Population: 26.45%
- Overall Population: 4,250
Manchester is a small town found in western Vermont and is best known for its historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. The Equinox House Historic District is the center of the village and has been a favorite tourist spot since the late 1800s.
But what really draws people to Manchester is the outstanding shopping. Manchester is home to the Manchester Designer Outlet Mall, which features more than forty designer outlet stores. And it isn’t just any ordinary outlet mall; instead, it stands out from others because the stores are all located in restored Vermont buildings, creating a beautiful shopping area.
But shopping isn’t all that Manchester offers; it also lures outdoor enthusiasts since it sits in the Green Mountains. The summers here are warm but rarely hot, and the winters get cold but not too frigid, making it the ideal climate for enjoying nature year-round. Some of the top outdoor sites include:
- Lye Brook Falls Trail
- Equinox Mountain
- Equinox Pond
And though there aren’t any hospitals within Manchester, there are three hospitals within an easy twenty-mile drive.
- Percent of Senior Population: 29%
- Overall Population: 2,931
If you are looking to retire to a picturesque small town full of charm, Woodstock could be the place for you. Woodstock has a park green in the middle of town surrounded by churches, homes, and the courthouse. And the Ottauquechee River finishes this picture-perfect scene with mature trees lining the river, which display brilliant colors in the fall.
It is a town known most for its charm and beauty, but it is more than just a pretty face. Woodstock is another city with several historic properties, including a general store that is 125 years old.
And the Rockefellers also help put Woodstock on the map. They played a significant role in the development and preservation of this town. The Rockefellers put great effort in growing the town while at the same protecting its natural beauty.
And the Rockefellers are not the only ones with their name stamped on this town; Calvin Coolidge’s childhood home is here too. You can see the Coolridge name throughout the area, including the Coolidge State Forest, Coolidge State Park, and the Calvin Coolidge Historic Site.