by Jeanette Langston

Recently the leader of the Rutland Concierge Program asked if I would write a blog post for this blog. She suggested that I write on the topic of why my family and I moved to Rutland – something like a top 10 list. There are so many reasons why we chose to move to Rutland, Vermont out of literally this entire country, and the first time I tried to write this blog post, it ended up nearly twice as long as we needed it to be. I am a woman who is rarely at a loss for words, and so I have a lot to say about why we chose Rutland for ourselves and our kids. The Rutland Region is full of all the awesome Vermont-y things you have read about so I will not be writing a list you have already made on your own. This will be a different take on why to move to Rutland.

Our move to Rutland two years ago has been one of the best moves that my husband and I have ever made – and trust me, that is saying a lot for a couple that has moved 10 different times, including five different states, in 20 years of marriage, not including Vermont and the places we lived before we met each other. But that is another story for another time. Today, I want to tell you why we chose Rutland and I hope it will help you to decide for yourselves if our beautiful region of Vermont is right for you too.

My husband and I have enough moving experience to know what we are looking for and not looking for in a forever community/home. There are many beautiful places to live in this world but not all have the kind of community that cares and works together with the way Rutland does. We know deep in our hearts, that everywhere has its issues, but it is how a community deals with their issues that make the difference in the power of a place. We have lived in places where it is so fiercely independent to its detriment, where the true community does not even exist and many people are left behind, struggling. We have lived in places where things are very pretty on the surface, but the community issues are never really talked about or solved because the collective courage is not present for people to acknowledge and work together to solve them. Rutland is different.

Of course, it is beautiful around here – it is Vermont, where the landscape surrounding our community truly looks like a rural farm dreamscape with fairytale forests full of lakes and waterfalls, mossy covered logs, and wildlife; and world-class skiing is 20 minutes away. In Rutland County, you can have all the local organic farm produce, foods, ciders, and microbrews your heart desires. And do not even get me started on the maple syrup. Rutland is the hub of a widespread County and hosts all the major services for the region so this is where everyone gathers for all the necessities of life you cannot find in a small village. All of this you know already, or you would not be reading this blog.

Let me tell you about Rutland’s community. I am sure you have heard the famous quote from Greek philosopher Epictetus “It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.” Rutland embodies this as a community and so we acknowledge our issues head-on, name them, then get to work together to solve them. And we do this together – all of us contribute in the ways we can. Remember that school study group where one or two people did all the work? It is not like that here. Rutland is a place where anyone and everyone can have a voice, no matter what that voice is saying. It is a place where you do not have to have a Ph.D. to be considered an attractive candidate for a good job. People here see you for what you are and support you in contributing what you wish to the community. We have brand new residents on our Board of Aldermen, and I was chosen by the Mayor to be a Police Commissioner after living here only a year and a half. Rutlanders are true to their word when they say we are welcome.

These past couple of years have been just as difficult in Rutland as they have been elsewhere in the country and world. Just like the rest of the country, we struggle with bias and racism, crime, money and facility upkeep, etcetera, etcetera. But last week, after all, Rutland City has been through, our Board of Aldermen, (read city council), and our Mayor unanimously adopted a Declaration of Inclusion voluntarily written by four members of our community that states: “As a city, we formally condemn discrimination in all of its forms and commit to the fair and equal treatment of everyone in our community. The City of Rutland has and will continue to be a place where individuals can live freely and express their opinions.” We are unanimously dedicated to ensuring all voices are heard and valued. This my friends, is what I felt as I researched the Rutland Region, and this is what we have felt from the moment we have arrived. We are not “outsiders” here even though we have only lived here two years and do not come from five generations of Vermonters. We are respected as equal residents of this community, we are supported and encouraged, and we are surrounded by people who care.

Here in the Rutland Region, we have all things Vermont that your heart and soul are craving. But in my mind, the most important thing we have in Rutland is a genuinely caring community that actively works together to make life here the best it can be for everyone.

When considering your move here I challenge you to ask yourself questions like – What does community mean to you? What do you want to get out of the place you live, the people you share a neighborhood with, and the town you live in and hope to thrive in? For my family and me, Rutland is the obvious choice above all the places we have lived in and traveled to. I hope it will be for you as well.