We thought this story by Tom Slayton from Vermont Public Radio really hit the nail on the head as to why Northern New England towns and villages are worth saving:
I like Vermont villages, first of all, because they are unique expressions of their time and place. Villages anywhere in Vermont are almost always complex accretions of history, custom, and hardscrabble economics, amalgamated over time. Every one is different. And for that reason alone, they are interesting – more interesting than the uniform highway culture that has sapped the uniqueness out of many other parts of rural America.
Rugged little Island Pond, for example, is as different from white-steepled Craftsbury as can be, even though the two towns are less than 35 miles apart. Yet both are interesting places to spend time. Newfane isn’t Brattleboro, and Brattleboro isn’t Bellows Falls. Each and every one of those places is distinct and, in a sense, irreplaceable because of that distinctiveness.
Villages and small cities are good places to live because they are built on a human scale. Most of them are pleasant places to walk, and when you walk you almost always meet people. There’s a social virtue there – and an environmental one, since walking doesn’t burn gasoline and thereby minimizes the walker’s carbon footprint. Villages make good environmental sense.
Downtown and village architecture is a daily reminder of our shared past – our history. The historic preservation movement did a lot more than preserve individual buildings – it gave us a shared historic fabric that we can live in today. And a reminder that life has been lived here for a long time – more than two centuries, in fact.
Of course, this is exactly why we shouldn’t just vinyl over our “shared past.”
Hat tip to Bristol Downtown Community Partnership