Priced Out of Vermont. How My Family Is Adjusting to Life Away from VT


In July, my family moved from Vermont to South Carolina. You can read about our journey. To summarize: my family was priced out of Vermont due to the rising cost of rent and lack of appropriate housing options.

I want to be clear. I did not want to leave Vermont and I did not plan on leaving Vermont. But right now, in Vermont, a family with two working parents can not necessarily find safe and affordable housing.

the ocean view on a sunny day
I never tire of visiting the ocean.

It’s been a few months since we moved to South Carolina and I think we’re finally settling in. We’re starting to adjust to life in the south. Recently someone said to me,

From the outside, it looks like you’re handling everything really well.

That sentiment is true and also wildly untrue. I miss Vermont and I miss the way I planned on raising my kids. I am also trying to be open to new experiences. I’ve had several “you’re not in Kansas (Vermont) anymore” moments. 

There are free plastic bags in every store. 

People smoke at the community pool.  

There are fire ants and alligators.

large fire ant mound
Large Fire Ant mound

Mostly though, we are handling our move well. Here’s a peek into what we’re loving and where we’re still struggling. 

Life in South Carolina is much busier than our life in Vermont ever was, and the traffic here can be overwhelming. Since we’re new here, we are still figuring out which back roads to take and roads to avoid. The fact that it is busy is a blessing and a curse! Living in a city means there is so much to do and it’s been really fun to explore and watch my children experience so many new things. 

Here are our favorite experiences so far!

  • All the swimming! In the ocean and pools
  • Feeding stingrays at the aquarium
  • Trying new foods – seafood and hushpuppies! YUM!
  • Playing Top Golf and Disc Golf
  • Visiting the Upside Down House and other area attractions

two children are standing in the ocean gazing out at the horizon

While gas prices have gone up everywhere, we are still seeing relatively low gas prices. Saving money here is easier too. Our utility bills are quite a bit less expensive than they were in Vermont and we aren’t spending money on winter gear, shovels, plowing, and snow tires. Seriously, not having to replace 17 lost sets of hats and mittens is huge. Not having to worry about my kids outgrowing their snow pants, boots, and parkas is fabulous too. The “winter” here was a breeze. I think I put my boots on three or four times in all of January and February. 

image of a young girl holding a starfish in her open hands

The south offers new animals, habitats, and ecosystems to explore. I am loving the ocean and the wildlife. The waves and the sunshine give me life, in the same ways that the rivers and mountains of Vermont did. I have to get to the beach at least once a week to feel grounded. We also get a lot more sun, both in terms of hours of sun each day and in the strength and brightness of the sun’s rays. My husband hasn’t experienced any seasonal depression, something he struggled with in Vermont. 

In Vermont, I felt like I lived IN nature, but here, in South Carolina, I have to GO to nature. This isn’t my favorite. 

More than anything, I miss the people in Vermont. My people. In Vermont, I knew my neighbors and saw them often, even if only in passing. We knew our mail carrier. Here I don’t know anyone in my apartment building or complex, and often go all week without even seeing any neighbors. My kids and I walk the community path daily and rarely see anyone else. I think people stay inside more here? 

I’m taking my own advice and working hard to meet people. It hasn’t been easy but we’re getting there! We live in an area that is nicknamed “Yankee stadium” because there are so many transplants here. We’re never alone in being new here. We’ve joined a homeschooling group that meets regularly and I push myself out of my comfort zone to meet and socialize with new people. 

Since I am an entrepreneur, I joined the local Boss Moms’ group and recently attended a mix and mingle. I signed myself up to bring food so that I wouldn’t back out. I am so glad I did this. I met some really amazing women that night. 

My kids are trying out different activities here.

My daughter loves ballet and my son has tried karate. Facebook homeschooling groups have been so valuable for us to meet other families and there are a lot of homeschoolers here, which surprised me. A huge perk of living here has been the options for homeschoolers. There are groups, co-ops, and classes of all kinds offered at the local art museum, the library, Brookgreen Gardens Wildlife preserve, the YMCA, and the local college just to name a few. 

This move has not been easy for me or my family but we are making the best of being priced out of Vermont. I have learned and grown too.

These are some of the lessons that I want to stick with me:

  • Living away from Vermont doesn’t have to be permanent.
  • I will be happier if I make the best of my situation now, rather than dwelling on the past or the future.
  • I can do hard things. What I thought was going to kill me, didn’t. It felt impossible to move here and yet, here we are. Making friends, establishing routines, and living. In the sun.
  • I can live with less stuff than I thought. In order to move here, my family had to drastically cut down on our belongings. This stressed me out at the time, but now I feel like it was a blessing. It forced us to make decisions about what we truly needed.
  • This time with my mom is precious. I will cherish the memories we’re making while we live so close together.

I will continue to follow my own advice and make the best of my new life in South Carolina. Being priced out of Vermont wasn’t something I anticipated but such is life. Have you ever moved to another state? How did it go?



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  1. Vermont tears out your heart and hopes you’ll come back for more, much as WV does. It’s a weird kind of dysfunctional love that is worthy of attention, and also worthy of moving on from with lessons learned. TY for this beautiful and open-hearted narrative.

  2. OMGoodness, Ashley – I could have written this word for word about our move to Florida. I never really planned to leave Vermont. After 23 years it was home. I still refer to it as “home” and I have no family there nor was I raised there. I constantly hear how well it looks like we’re adjusting and while I’m finding the silver linings, I miss the people. I miss the familiarity. I couldn’t be happier that my kids have new and amazing opportunties to explore, but there’s that little ache in my heart that is still homesick 8.5 months later. I am right there with you and I couldn’t have said it any better myself. I’m glad to see you and your family are adapting. Enjoy the southern warmth – I will say, I don’t miss the brutal winter!


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