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8 Things to Know Before Moving to Manchester, VT

Written by Adam Berns

Nestled in the mountains of southwestern Vermont, the small town of Manchester has long been a popular getaway destination thanks to its natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and thriving arts scene. 

This charming New England gem boasts a gorgeous landscape that transforms with each season, attracting visitors and residents alike to its vibrant community. The allure of the town lies not only in its scenic surroundings but also in the cozy ambiance of its streets lined with historic buildings and boutique shops. 

However, before deciding to make this idyllic town your home here are 8 important things to know about living in Manchester, Vermont.

1. Manchester’s cost of living is 18% higher than the national average

As a resort/second-home community, Manchester has a cost of living about 18% higher than the national average. Housing in particular can be expensive, with the city’s median home price being $583,693.

A single adult in Manchester spends $42,712 a year for housing, food, child care, transportation, healthcare, taxes, and all the other essentials. This is higher than the national average of $38,433.

2. You get to experience all four seasons in Manchester

Manchester experiences quintessential New England weather with four distinct seasons. Winters are cold and snowy, with average highs around 30°F and lows dropping to 10°F between November to March. Multiple feet of snow accumulation is common. Come spring, temperatures reach into the 60s as snow melts and foliage emerges. 

Summer brings warm weather in the 70s and 80s along with storms and humidity. By October, crisp air and colder 50-60 degree temps usher in fall foliage. Each season provides its unique activities and charm.

3. Go skiing at nearby Bromley or Stratton Mountains

The outdoorsy culture is a huge part of daily life in Manchester. Skiing at nearby Bromley Mountain and Stratton Mountain is a favorite winter pastime, from downhill runs to cross-country trails. Hiking trails wind through the Green Mountains year-round for all ability levels. 

Fishing is popular on the Battenkill River and local lakes. Cyclists take advantage of the winding roads through stunning scenery. With state forests and nature preserves right in town, Manchester residents fully embrace the surrounding natural splendor through boundless outdoor recreation.

4. Manchester has low violent and property crime rates

Manchester has lower rates of violent and property crime compared to national averages. The town has 9.5 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, less than half the US average of 22.7. 

Property crime rates in Manchester are also below average, at 22.5 per 100,000 versus 35.4 nationwide. Overall, Manchester is a relatively safe place to live with minimal crime.

5. Check out the Southern Vermont Arts Center

Manchester has a vibrant arts and cultural scene. The renowned Southern Vermont Arts Center located right in town features performances, exhibits, classes, and more. Annual events include the Manchester Music Festival showcasing classical artists and Broadway stars.  

Equity professional theater company the Dorset Theatre Festival draws audiences from around New England. For a small town, the array of artistic and creative happenings is truly impressive.

6. There’s a strong sense of community

The small-town feel of Manchester fosters an enviably strong sense of community. Popular events that bring locals together include the Apple Fest in late September celebrating peak foliage season with rides, crafts, contests, and food. 

On summer Fridays, the town hosts block parties with live music and activities for all ages to mingle with neighbors. Year-round, residents support local businesses, attend school events, participate in town meetings, and contribute to an engaged, welcoming community.

7. Job openings in Manchester are limited

Manchester offers some white-collar professional roles in sectors like finance, insurance, healthcare, and social services. The retail and hospitality industries provide service jobs to support tourism. However, in total the local economy generates a limited job market. 

Many residents of Manchester commute to work in Bennington or even further reaches of New York and New Hampshire. There are not a wealth of high-paying jobs or large employers actually based in Manchester.

8. There are great schools in Manchester

Despite its small size, the Manchester public school system consistently earns high ratings for its quality of education. Manchester Elementary Middle School provides PK-8 education with an engaging curriculum and a 13:1 student-teacher ratio. 

Burr and Burton Academy is a top-rated 9-12 private school located right in Manchester. Student test scores exceed state and national averages. With both strong public and private options, Manchester ensures excellent learning opportunities.

In Summary

Before you decide to move to Manchester, Vermont, it’s important to consider both the good and not-so-good aspects. This town is beautiful, with great seasons, cool outdoor activities, a lively arts scene, and a strong sense of community. However, it’s a bit expensive to live in Manchester, especially when it comes to housing. Jobs might also be hard to find since the job market isn’t very big. 

Thus, even though it’s a safe place with good schools and lots of things to do, the high cost of living and limited job opportunities could make things a bit tough. So, while Manchester has its perks, it’s smart to think about the financial side before making a move here.

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