I have to agree with tvccrn about the people in this region. And for the record Boston sucks.
Burlington and Vermont in general are beautiful. If you like winter sports like skiiing and snowboarding and summer activities like hiking and kayaking, you will probably like Vermont a lot. I've enjoyed a bit of snowshoeing and kayaking now and then. But don't let the face fool you.
I currently live in South Burlington and work in Burlington. It is SO EXPENSIVE to live in this area, the entire state included. It's in the mountains, so it's definitely off the beaten path. The nearest major metropolitan area is Montreal (which is actually a plus), but for Burlington to be the largest city in Vermont...kinda sad. You will easily pay 1000 dollars monthly to live in a subpar apartment here. Many of the apartments are in old Victorian houses/manisons. Sounds romantic. But these places are run down. That 1000 monthtly will not include utilities but will probably involve a 3 floor walk up (no elevators, so consider that if you're going for a "cheap" 800 dollar apartment on a third floor Victorian). Many people end up getting roommates, and as someone who is almost 30, I am getting too old for it myself. I make a decent amount of money in my current job, and I will never be able to afford a house here on my own. The local weekly (Seven Days, http://www.7dvt.com/
) recently had an article about how horrible and horribly expensive housing is here. The cost is due to all of the ski resorts and, in my opinion, the racial and ethnic exclusivity of Vermont. Which leads into my next point.
Vermont is the whitest state in the USA. Burlington is the most diverse city in Vermont. But something like 93% of the population is white. So if you are not white, you will stick out like a sore thumb. Most of the diversity here comes from immigrants from countries that currently have issues (think Somalia and Sudan), and these people are both revered (i.e., "We are doing a good thing," "Burlington welcomes all!") and hated (i.e., "I do not want to live in the Old North End! Burlington is diverse and all, but I'd rather my kids go to school in Shelburne where the schools are 'better'.) , from children who have been adopted from Haiti, China, etc, and from the student population. My roommate readily admits that Vermont is a white flight area, but she "Wants Vermont to stay Vermont." I am a visible minority (African-American originally from the Deep South), and I was very taken aback by this. When the majority of the students leave for the summer, the minority population drops with it.
It helps if you have no detectable southern accent, because many people here assume that all southerners are dumb as evidenced by their dialects. I am "fortunate" to have never had one, so people often assume I am 'one of them' regionally.
Many people here I have come in contact with have been passive aggressive and unfriendly. They will smile in your face, and as soon as you leave they are saying how much you suck. There is a lot of regional pride here. In New England, it's just being from New England. In Vermont specifically, it's being a native Vermonter (i.e., my family has been here for generations), and not a "Flatlander" or "Transplant". There is this view that southerners are obssessed with the Civil War, football, and race issues.....well New Englanders are obssessed with the Revolutionary War, baseball, and thinking they've got race issues resolved.
People here claim to be accepting of diversity (I mean, they did pass gay marriage here almost a year ago), but it's not really. Not for visible minorities. I've had people say some of the most close-minded, racist things here compared to anything I have heard growing up in the Deep South.
Also, it is winter here for pretty much 6 months of the year, and it's extremely cold. But what's worse is if you are coming from an area of the country that gets a lot of sun, you will see there is markedly less sun here in Vermont. It's often overcast, and seasonal affective disorder is very real, especially in the dead of winter.
There are good things about Vermont: because it's so small, you can easily talk one on one with government representatives (I'm talking up to Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders). So you as an individual will feel very powerful in that way. Vermonth received A LOT of that stimulus money.....you'd be amazed. This is a very rich state. Also, there is a big focus on the environment and preserving nature. People here also enjoy living in what many say is one of the healthiest states in the country. People here are very active physically year round, especially if you have the funds to go to the many ski resorts in the area and have a boat or like camping. Burlington looks to the Adirondacks in the West, and the Green Mountains to the East so there are a lot of breathtaking views. Lake Champlain is pretty (but filthy), and there is always something going on down on the waterfront in summer. There is maple syrup galore in spring and you can visit local sugarhouses. It is also very easy to buy into the entire healthy lifestyle here by eating local. There are chain stores here like Walmart (there is no Target), but it's a joke (even though people flock to it for the prices). There is a Costco. There are tons of food co-ops and natural/organic food stores and options. You can easily join a CSA if you want. In addition if you are counterculture or like alternative lifestyles compared to the defaults in our country (neo-hippie, socialist-lite, Teabagger, etc.) it runs the gamut. Oh, and if you smoke weed, I would say the attitude toward it here is much like that of Canada: it's illegal but not strictly enforced. Unfortunately I don't, so it's just extra pollution of the otherwise clean mountain air.
I moved here because I had lived in the Deep South my entire life and I wanted to try something new and become more exposed to how other people in the country live. Considering everything, it has been a good learning experience. This is a great region to visit (or if you have money, retire to), but I cannot live here. I'm planning on leaving myself as soon as I can find another job. I would love to have a sheep or goat farm one day, Vermont would definitely be the place to do it. But the lack of diversity, expense, and the regionalism is a big turn off.
If anyone wants more info, send me a message. I'd be glad to answer any questions about the Greater Burlington Area.