by Hannah Johnson
Population – 16,000
Median Wage - $42,746
Median Rent - $834
Housing: Bennington is currently undergoing a large building project that is going to take the historical Putnam Block building downtown and transform it into apartments. “There is a big project underway to do a historical renovation in that building and there will be apartments coming out of that building as well. So there is definitely a recognition that there needs to be a growth in the housing stock that is affordable and appealing to new young people that want to move here,” said community development director Zirwat Chowdhury
Homes in Bennington cost an average of $157,900 which is 27 percent lower than the Vermont average. The median rent is also six percent lower as well.
Culture: “Because of the location of Bennington, close to all these farms, it’s very much like the Green Mountain State atmosphere.” In the small rural town, they have a vibrant culture with farms and their farmers market as well as a growing art community. “Both in terms of small local artists and artisans and also major arts intuitions. The Bennington Museum is putting together really strong exhibitions.”
Bennington strives to bring people together outside and enjoy all that Vermont has to offer.
Recreation: This is a great place for people that enjoy being outdoors. From yoga, to hiking and running, Bennington really is a wonderful place to explore some of Vermont. There is a very vibrant music scene here as well and there is always a lot going on here, you just need to get out and find something that you love! “IF you’re thinking, ‘can I be somewhere where I can eat healthy and have healthy options, a place where there is an active downtown community but with access to basically the outdoors?’, this is definitely the place to be.”
Population of Jeffersonville: 816
Median Wage: $49,943
Median Rent: $863
Housing: Jeffersonville is filled with apartments but also has some gorgeous houses as well. The median home price is $197,800 which is nine percent lower than the Vermont average and the median rent is $863 which is three percent lower than the Vermont average.
Culture: Jeffersonville has both a very rich fitness like culture and an arts culture. “It’s mostly exercise classes, a fitness gym and indoor sports,” said the Cambridge Community Center. With so much to do outdoors, many experience everything that Vermont has to offer. They also have a Festival of the Arts on Main Street as well as the Cambridge Music Festival every year. They are also home to the Bryan Memorial Art Gallery and the Jeffersonville Country Store.
The well-known water towers as you enter Jeffersonville from Vermont Route 108 were hand painted by Sarah C. Rutherford and by painting them, she wanted the murals to bring pride to residents that live there and highlight the rich history of many generations.
Recreation: Jeffersonville is the kind of village that loves to get out and be active. From canoeing and kayaking to skiing at Smugglers Notch this village is full of things to do. There are youth and adult programs. There are a ton of fitness classes including boot camps, kickboxing, ski and ride conditioning and Zumba. Jeffersonville is also home to many swimming holes and hiking paths that could give you endless fun with friends. The well-known Sterling Pond Trail is a two-and-a-half-mile hike to a beautiful pond for great pictures and some fishing.
Population of Newport: 4,535
Median Wage: $31,038
Median Rent: $663
Housing: Newport is a great place to settle down if you’re looking for an affordable place to live in Vermont. The median rent is 25 percent lower than Vermont’s average and the median house price is around $130,800 which is 40 percent lower than the average in VT. The real estate in Newport includes everything from stacked townhomes to small condos.
Culture: Newport thrives with art galleries, historic talks and acoustic rock n roll. Filled with multiple galleries and museums, Newport is home to an amazing history. Technology is overshadowed by the beauty that surrounds this town. On the shore of Lake Memphremagog, artists and writers made their home here and created The Art Association of Newport, which is the oldest continuously run art associations in the country. Throughout this town, during almost every season, you will find arts, crafts, community events and storytelling as well as local bookshops and festivals to capture every piece of what Newport is all about.
Recreation: The town of Newport has tons of adult sports and programs, community bingo and tons of family events for the kids. Adult programs consist of Pickleball, Sharon Steward Workout’s, Co-ed pick-up basketball and basketball leagues. The Newport Municipal Gym will host indoor basketball leagues throughout the winter which are friendly and competitive four verses four teams of ages 16 and up. You can go to newportrecreation.org to check out upcoming events that have. Living only 30 minutes from Jay Peak also gives Newport residents another list of things they can do. From skiing and snowboarding to waterparks and golf, Jay Peak also has a lot going on. During the summer, Newport also puts on multiple camps and clinics for kids to get outdoors and be active.