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Guyon: Immigrating To Vermont

Before I was born, my Mum, Dad, brother and sister moved across the pond from England to Canada. Both of my Mum’s sisters had married American GIs they’d met during the war, and came to the states with them when they returned home. My Auntie Pat’s husband Dave was from Maine so, at the age of 25, she became what they called a downeast flatlander. My immediate family came over because Mum missed her sisters so much, and Uncle Dave’s Kingfield, Maine family welcomed us to North America.
It was during this visit to Maine, before settling in Canada, that our love affair with New England began.

My folks moved to Ontario… had me a few years later… and then we moved to California. What got us there is another story altogether, but suffice it to say, we stayed.

Throughout my childhood, though, we often visited Pat and her American family in Maine, and by the time I turned ten, I knew I wanted to live in New England someday. The seasons, the farmhouses, the rivers, the mountains and the small communities all spoke to me. Compared to the concrete, traffic, smog and suburban sprawl of the Bay Area, New England seemed like another world, and one that I hoped I could eventually call home.

Fast forward thirty years, and I was still in California, by then married with two young kids, scanning the paper one sunny Saturday afternoon. The paper in question, however, wasn’t the San Francisco Chronicle. It was Maine real estate listings, which had lined a package sent to us by Auntie Pat.

“There’s a zero missing from these property prices!” I exclaimed to my husband.

We were living in a lovely but tiny tract house, with dot-com millionaire-funded McMansions sprouting up all around us. Knowing our careers would never keep up with that trajectory, home prices in New England looked mighty attractive.

One year later, on the last day of a family road trip through Vermont, we put an offer on a farmhouse situated alongside a river, with mountains for a backdrop and a lovely village nearby. Our offer was accepted, and within a few months, we were living on the slopes of the Green Mountains.

It was the biggest move either of us had ever made and because there was such a drastic difference between Silicon Valley and scenic Vermont, it truly felt as if we had emigrated from one country to another - only we didn’t have to change our currency.