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It seems like perfect timing that my family's mechanical episode occurred and can be used as an example of how truly wrong Mr. Richichi is regarding his opinion of the friendliness of the local residents. The Valley is loaded with wonderful people who welcome and assist visitors every day. That friendly community feeling is what keeps me and my family traveling the eight hours back to town whenever we are able.
I am curious to know where Mr. Richichi's resentment stems from?
During my 14 years of living in The Valley, I cannot tell you how many
people I came in contact with that spoke about how "wonderful it would
be to escape the rat race and move to Vermont and run a B&B just
like Bob Newhart."
Perhaps he is reassessing the decision that was made to purchase a B&B, on the outskirts of town, at the height of the real estate bubble (that has since imploded). Perhaps he is realizing that he did not do enough research into the target demographic of his current location or the proper marketing approach for his venture. Are you upset with the local folks or yourself?
In my opinion The Valley is considered an active lifestyle community with the primary target age of 25 to 45 (skiers, wedding clients, hikers, bikers, etc.). Those folks you are calling "low end bohemian counter culture" are spending plenty of their hard earned money at local businesses every day. Don't judge a book by its cover.
There is a secondary demographic being the 45-plus age group who either own a primary/secondary home in the area or patronize many of the numerous lodging and dining establishments that are offered.
It's obvious that he is a fan of Manchester, Woodstock and Stowe (commercialized areas that I would hope The Valley never turns into). Every Vermont town has its own character or personality: embrace it, adapt to it or as you say, "pass through."
When it comes to marketing, I will say this: The most powerful marketing tool in a small town is word of mouth. The last thing I would ever do is berate my neighbors and fellow community in a public forum such as the local newspaper.
Mr. Richichi -- You have shot yourself in the foot, my friend. If for some reason you end up shooting your other foot or your car breaks down on the side of the road, I'll bet you a pint of Lawson's Finest that a friendly local will wander by and be kind enough to offer you assistance. If you're lucky it will be Pete with his Leatherman; or Ian or the GLM with their jumper cables; or even Keith, the master of diagnostic prognostication. (By the way, thanks again, everyone.) It is only during the worst of times that people can see through the fog of everyday crap and appreciate what they have in their life.
The Valley is an amazing area. I suggest you treat people the way you want to be treated or you may be the one who rots on the vine.
TJ Greenwood is a former Valley resident who now lives in Northfield, NJ.