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Category Archives: Vermont

The highest “stump” for our communities

Town Meeting Day brings out conversation between neighbors on FPF.

“Thank you FPF Member Support for your clarification and endorsement of political discussion. I have no ‘dog in this fight’ but think the Reading election discussion is totally fascinating. I have enjoyed reading all the posts and if I didn’t, I simply wouldn’t. I almost can’t wait for the next installment. You all are exerting your democratic rights of free speech. And, what a great place we all have for doing that very thing – Front Porch Forum. FPF the highest “stump” for our communities and available for all to express their views on most issues. CHEERS to all the contributors on all sides of the discussion and thank you FPF for being there.” • Neil in Brownsville

It looks like it is that time of year again, when we start seeing/reading heated discussions here on FPF. As your neighbor I would like to stress , as I have in the past, we are in this together. We all need to take a few minutes, calm our thoughts, and remember that most people want to do the right thing. We also should remember that we all make mistakes, no one ever learns anything without them. The key is to understand what went wrong, learn from it, and become a better person. I love living on this Island, and it is not only the location that I love, its also the community that is around me. It’s time to be respectful to one another, because “We are in this together.”  • Matthew in Grand Isle

“I wanted to write and thank FPF for moderating our town bulletin board. The world seems like it has changed so much over the past few years…but I guess there have always been tough conversations to have about how certain people share in public. It must be incredibly challenging for you all to make decisions on what content to ban. Your platform has brought towns together in such a lovely way, and I appreciate the way it connects us in rural Vermont.” • Mary in Underhill


Welcome to Vermont

From maple creemee tours to swimming holes, farmers markets to local writers, there’s plenty of hidden gems that any new Vermont resident simply must check out. One perfect example is the locally grown VPR podcast, Brave Little State; it will tell you all you need to know about making your home in the Green Mountain State! We think their tip about joining FPF is especially good 🙂


Peak foliage inspires staycation adventures

Have you taken time to soak in the beautiful scenery or take a tour de creemee to sample fall flavor offerings? Front Porch Forum members share some ideas!

“Seeking recommendations on your favorite fall foliage drives, apple orchards and other fall activities/spots you enjoy?”  • Rebecca in Stowe

“You probably notice that the color is popping out on the Maples around Montpelier. We drove to Burlington today and it is gorgeous! We plan to head up RT 12 to Morrisville and Stowe and loop back around to Montpelier on I-89 this weekend. We encourage you to get out there and enjoy it as soon as possible!” • Johanna in Montpelier
“Thanks to all the Aficionados who sent me suggestions for their favorite Maple Creemee. Plenty of choices to keep “us” busy (at a respectable social distance) while driving through our beautiful state, supporting small VT businesses and be sweetly rewarded in the end!”  • Julie in Stowe

“Now that the Island Line Trail’s bike ferry is back in operation, you might want to consider a mini-vacation in the islands. It’s a fairly level 30-mile bike ride from Charlotte to South Hero. My friends there at Health Hero Farm have two campsites that can be booked through https://hipcamp.com/vermont/islands-base-camp. They have a stretch of private beach on Lake Champlain that you might enjoy. Once on the island, you have numerous cycling opportunities — many of them on back roads past apple orchards, vineyards, mini-castles, and creemee stands. Here’s a link to our friends’ trail suggestions: http://cycletheislands.com . You can even rent a bike from https://www.localmotion.org/, if you don’t own one already.” • Wolfger, Charlotte

Share your staycation adventures and tips on FPF to inspire neighbors and help show some love for local businesses in our beloved small towns!


“What Vermont and Its History Might Teach the Nation About Handling the Coronavirus”

Vermont has the lowest number of cases of COVID-19 in the United States and it begs the question “why?” In Bill McKibben’s July 28 article in The New Yorker, he explains the state of Vermont’s unique history and social structures that likely pay a big part in preventing the virus’s spread throughout the Green Mountains.

In addition to Phil Scott acting quickly when the first few cases appeared, McKibben credits much of the spread slow-down to neighborliness and social trust:

“Vermonters entered the pandemic with remarkably high levels of social trust. Only thirty-eight per cent of Americans say they mostly or completely trust their neighbors, but a 2018 Vermont survey found that seventy-eight per cent of residents think that “people in my neighborhood trust each other to be good neighbors”; sixty-nine per cent of Vermonters said that they knew most of their neighbors, compared with twenty-six per cent of Americans in general…

…All that is a reminder of how social trust has been squandered across so much of our nation as we’ve divided into red and blue teams, concentrated on individual advancement, and had our worst instincts yanked at by social media. In this case, Vermont is extremely lucky to be living a little in the past. The governor didn’t immediately mandate mask-wearing because almost everyone mandated it for themselves…”

Read Bill McKibben’s full article in the New Yorker here.


Apply now for economic recovery grants!

As a result of the federal CARES act, the State of Vermont has recently made available new Economic Recovery Grants for minority and women-owned businesses with 0-5 employees.  There’s also special funding for nonprofit arts and cultural organizations as part of a special allocation of funding through the Vermont Arts Council.

Learn more and apply for the economic recovery grants for Vermont small businesses owned by minorities and women.  $2.5 million has been set aside for women-owned businesses and $2.5 million for minority-owned businesses with 0-5 employees.

Vermont nonprofit arts and cultural organizations should use the same portal to apply for these grants. To learn more about what it means for Vermont’s creative sector check here.


It is a lovely day in Vermont

We couldn’t agree more with one of our state representatives who shared words of hope on FPF:

Looking east over Missisquoi Bay, I see a panorama that includes Jay Peak, Camel’s Hump and Mt. Mansfield, big gray bumps in a blue horizon. To my left is Chapman Bay and a green strip of Canada. A northeasterly breeze creates a chop with occasional whitecaps on the water. In the distance a white-hulled fishing boat creates its own whitecaps with its spreading wake.

The thermometer reads 72º, but the breeze coming off the water feels cooler.

This morning I threw a line in the water and caught a fish on the second cast. Lucky.

The crabapple tree in the yard has flowered. All over the area flowering trees and bushes provide bright splashes of white, purple and pink against the spring-fresh green of new leaves.

Four pairs of Canada geese swim past, each couple with babies, 11 goslings in all.

It is a lovely day in Vermont.

It’s nice to be reminded that natural rhythms go on with little regard for the turmoil we create among ourselves. It’s also a reminder of a major reason why we choose to live here.

We need to take care of this state and its people.”  • Tommy, State Representative, Washington-3, Barre


Front Porch Forum on WCAX’s Across the Fence

As the world adjusts and adapts to social distancing and self isolation, communities in Vermont are looking to connect with and help their neighbors safely. They’re doing so on FPF.

Listen to Front Porch Forum’s co-founder, Michael Wood-Lewis, share how the service is being used across the state (and in parts of Upstate NY) during the COVID-19 crisis.  He joins Fran Stoddard for an interview, below, on Across the Fence, the country’s longest-running locally produced program.

 

Learn more about how Front Porch Forum is being used during this time here.


Signs of Spring Arrival

The days are getting longer, crocuses and bluets are springing up from the ground, and birds are returning to the Northeast from their winter vacations: signs of spring! Neighbors are sharing their observations. Have you seen any signs of spring? These FPF members have:

I’m so grateful to be a part of this community in this time. Thanks to you all. Also! I really love spring, and I miss the spring arrivals board at Sterling College. So…I have a poster board at the Genny up for us all to document our observations of spring (bring your own pen). I also created a google doc that I think should be accessible to all to add observations.

Let’s not let the craziness of this spring allow us to miss this gorgeous and amazing time of year!”  • Hannah in Craftsbury, Vt.

Sunrise.

Late-spring snowfall, inspired ways to keep the kids busy, crocuses, and random acts of beauty and neighborly kindness.

Home schooling, long walks.

A creative home desk made from–wait, is that an ironing board?

That’s what Middlesex looks like this spring as we all hunker down to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Check out these creative shots of our community taken by your Middlesex neighbors, at:

https://www.whatsnextmiddlesex.org/calendar–pictures.html

Enjoy!”   • Susan in Middlesex, Vt.

Share your spring sightings and observations on your Front Porch Forum today!


FPF celebrates two decades of service

Sunday, March 29, 2020, marked the 20th year of Front Porch Forum providing a means for helping neighbors connect.  It’s been our mission ever since and it’s never felt more meaningful than now.  Here’s how one of those first FPF members from Burlington’s Five Sisters neighborhood reacted:

“Look what I got in the mail today.

You opened this Front Porch Forum account 20 years ago TODAY. Happy anniversary! Thank you for being an important part of connecting neighbors and building community.

Impossible to have lived life without FPF!  I have found help with my biz… I have an annual Caroling with Carolyn on Caroline St. and people from all over the neighborhood join us each December. New wonderful friendships have developed because of FPF. We are all so lucky to have this incredible resource.”
• Carolyn in Burlington