Brattleboro Vermont: A Sustainable Living Community

Learn about Brattleboro Vermont, a sustainable living community. Described as “Vintage New England,” Brattleboro residents go to great lengths to ensure the sustainability of their agricultural heritage.

| August/September 2007

The Strolling of the Heifers in Brattleboro.

The Strolling of the Heifers in Brattleboro.

Photo by Jason Henske

A great place to live you've never heard of is Brattleboro Vermont, a sustainable living community. Brattleboro is described as “Vintage New England,” and take pride in their agricultural heritage.

Brattleboro Vermont: A Sustainable Living Community

Faced with the challenge of preserving their agricultural heritage and their beautiful landscape, the residents of Brattleboro created a local tradition that has captured New England’s heart: “The Strolling of the Heifers,” a feminine version of Spain’s famous “Running of the Bulls,” according to founder Orly Munzing. Up to 50,000 people attend this event to celebrate regional agriculture with a parade, music, food, workshops and farm tours. Munzing’s inspiration came as she talked with a neighbor in his orchard. “Pretty soon,” he told her, “there won’t be any picturesque hay bales in Vermont.” But Munzing hopes she and her colleagues can help prevent that loss.

People love Brattleboro because it’s vintage Vermont, complete with covered bridges, dairy cows grazing on hillsides and church steeples jutting into the sky. This artsy, intellectual town on the Connecticut River is known for music, art and great food. The Brattleboro Food Co-op, in business since 1975, now has 5,000 members and 16,000 square feet of space. Members can do volunteer work in the community for discounts at the store. The co-op carries 500 different cheeses, and every month a producer is spotlighted at the store and in the co-op newsletter. According to Jenifer Morier, an employee at the co-op, “Sometimes people have a hard time getting through the store because they keep running into people they know.”

Do you live in Brattleboro? Have you visited? Please post a comment below.

Brattleboro, Vermont

Population: 11,994
Climate: Winters that usually make the holiday season white (average annual snowfall is 68 inches). Average January temperature: 25 degrees. July average: 73 degrees.
Median House Value: $180,000
Natural Assets: Skiing at Mount Snow, Haystack and Stratton ski areas; kayaking on the Connecticut River; mountain biking and hiking in the Green Mountains.
Sustainable Initiatives: Civic activism to preserve quality of life (for instance, no billboards allowed). Recently, 200 residents took the “localvore” challenge in which they pledged to eat locally grown foods for either a week or a month.

Check out the other towns on our 2007 list of Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of.

6/17/2014 4:15:53 AM

This article is so refreshing. Thanks for sharing.

jerry goldberg_2
6/30/2010 3:33:03 PM

Chamber guy In 'my Brattleboro'(and I'm a transplanted New Yorker and Los Angeleno who's lived here for 14 years) folks dress just like they do anywhere (if perhaps a bit less fussily stylish than in the big burgs). I have never, I repeat, NEVER, seen a naked person of any gender, age, anywhere in town. And that includes the furthest reaches, where paved streets give way to quiet lanes. Even the babies are swathed in swaddling clothes, and even in the heat of summer. Believe me, since the average annual temperature is 47 degrees Fahrenheit, one would have to be mighty hot-blooded or just plain nuts to leave the parka home. As to pedophilia, although I don't know for sure and doubt Hit Man does either, since I live here and read the papers and listen to the local radio and television news, I daresay the incidence of that awful crime might even be lower here than the national average. If one were to use one adjective to describe the people here, it would be generous of heart. OK, that's three, but who's counting. And as to the food and service in our reswtaurants, well, I should like very much if Hit Man would contact the Brattleboro Area Chamber and cite a specific or two. So, listen, reader and you, too, Hit Man: Come to Brattleboro. Stop by the Chamber. Let us help you discover The One and Only Brattleboro. We'd be delighted! Oh, and dress appropriately!

8/14/2008 10:55:10 PM

Unfortunately Brattleboro is not a good place to visit. How about nudist pedophiles standing around playing with themselves in public. A total disregard for the feelings of others. The restaurants are overpriced and staffed by long-haired ninnies who live in their own little planet and that's if you get service in a restaurant. The drivers are as bad here as in Boston and there a lots of accidents here almost everyday. Avoid Brattleboro at all costs. Visit Vermont if you must, but skip the southern part of the state. Nothing but ripoff city!

2/8/2008 11:05:07 AM

Brattleboro, while it does have it's positive aspects, also has plenty of negatives. Over 13% of the population lives below the poverty line (compared to less than 9.5% in the county). There is also a LOT of drug use (and I'm not talking about pot). And parts of the town could definitely be considered slums (with little sign of improvement). The downtown and main street area have been revitalized, but that's about it.

8/19/2007 10:38:25 AM

It is comforting to see that the area that I live in is recognized for it's unique character. I was born there , still live within eleven miles of main street , on the east side of the Connecticut River. There is no other place on the planet that travels to it's own drummer, the way Brattleboro does. The community certainly values people and is very proud of that fact that there is no fast lane there.

8/12/2007 6:46:40 PM

I just made a trip up to battleboro (from Florida) and it was the nicest place i had been to and i also visited bloomington, IND. Me and a friend got to catch the parade of heifers, great parade so many smiles, we ran in to people we have met in gainesville, fl and they let us cook for them, we went skinny deeping(which is legal)in a ice cold river, and all around had the best time on our trip there and we only spent a day there, i can't wait to go back, but when i do again it will be in the summer....(born and raised in florida snow is a scary thing for us...... Peace and Solidarity Mark

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