For Kelley Faucheaux, the urge to move back to Vermont felt like a migration.
Faucheaux, a customer service specialist, put everything she owned into storage less than a month ago and made the move back to Vermont, where she lived for several years before heading to Florida in 2007 to get married.
Faucheaux didn’t have a job yet, or a place to live, but to her, Vermont made sense.
Fresh on the heels of a divorce, and with an adult son living in Burlington, Faucheaux said hearing that Vermont’s looking for more people to call its own was all it took to remind her of what she loved about her life in the Green Mountains.
She found herself at Burlington’s Stay to Stay Weekend reception Nov. 8, hoping to meet others looking to call Vermont home.
Stay to Stay Weekends are coordinated by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing to encourage more people to consider making their Vermont vacations permanent. Stay to Stay attendees spend the weekend in a bustling Vermont city or village, attend networking meetings with employers and realtors, and get to know the community that could become their new home.
Faucheaux heard about the Vermont Department of Economic Development’s Remote Worker Grant Program, which offers relocation expenses reimbursement to new Vermont residents who work remotely. That planted a seed.
She thought, “Wow, move back to Vermont? It sounds rewarding either way, whether you get paid or not. I think it’s actually time for me to get back there,” she said.
Faucheaux snagged a job in customer service at Burlington International Airport, and started Nov. 7, the day before the Stay to Stay reception.
“What I can say right now is, I already know that I’m going to like it a lot, because it’s kind of like a boutique international airport. It makes it more of a family type feel,” said Faucheaux. “I can just tell already that I’m going to enjoy it.”
At the reception, she could be heard chatting to other potential new Vermonters about her love for her new home.
“I think it’s a great place to raise a family. There’s so much for kids to do here. I feel like there are a lot of things in other places that kids are exposed to that are just not great for their upbringing. In Vermont, there’s a lot more options when it comes to activities that are healthy. I’ve always felt that I learned how to eat better in Vermont, I learned how to be more active in Vermont. There’s always a lot of support in every direction,” she said.
Vermont’s vistas struck a chord, too.
“I love the change in seasons here. I think that in Vermont, the beauty is a full 360 (degrees), and you can really literally look in any direction and see beauty, and that’s what’s so appealing to me about Vermont. It doesn’t matter how cold it is, it’s just beautiful, any time of year,” Faucheaux said.
Her son agrees. He moved to Vermont before Faucheaux, and she says living in Vermont has been beneficial for his epilepsy.
Faucheaux says she feels at home back in Vermont already, and part of that is due to the strong community she’s becoming part of in Burlington.
“People are real. It’s just the best thing I can say about Vermont. People are real. There’s nothing fake about it,” she said. “I am happy to be back, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for me in Vermont.”
You don’t have to have lived in Vermont beforehand to want to make the move. Callie Morris and Kiel Newhaus, both current residents of Colorado, got to Vermont about two hours before the Stay to Stay reception began.
“Vermont was always a place I’d wanted go and wanted to see and visit,” said Newhaus, a college adviser at Colorado State University. After a trip nearby, “I’d always kind of wanted to come back. The way it looks in the pictures online, it just makes it seem awesome.”
“It has a very homey feeling,” Morris said. “It’s a very historic feeling, but also very inviting.”
Newhaus is excited about the opportunities to get outside. He’s into skiing, and “having that close, but then I also love the lake, and just everything that’s around,” was important, he said.
When considering a place as a contender for their new home, Morris says, “for me, it’s all about the people. If the locals are welcoming and really nice, that’s probably No. 1 for me.”
More than 60 people attended the Nov. 8 Stay to Stay reception, and several have already made the move to Vermont. Since the Remote Worker Grant Program was announced, 290 people, including grantees’ families, have moved to Vermont.
Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing announced a new round of Stay to Stay Weekends in Newport, Brattleboro, Rutland, and the Shires of Vermont, including Bennington and Manchester, with access to Jay Peak Resort, Bromley Mountain, Mount Snow ,and Killington Resort for skiers to get a taste of Vermont life.