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By Lisa Davis
Why do you live in the Mad River Valley? What brought you here? What is keeping you here? Are you considering leaving or will you live out the rest of your days in this rugged and majestic place? Being that it was not so long ago, I vividly remember how my family came to live here.
"This is Vermont," I exclaimed the first time we traveled down East Warren Road. It was the day of the 2012 Mad Marathon and we were out for a Sunday drive. The Mad River Valley epitomizes what people consider to be Vermont – covered bridges, red barns, round barns, cow pastures, local organic food, artists, small businesses, entrepreneurs and ski mountains. I know this because these are all the things I imagined Vermont to be before my husband and I relocated here in March 2012. My husband accepted a position at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Waterbury. I was seven and one-half months pregnant.
Before we lived in Vermont our experiences in The Valley were limited to skiing at Sugarbush and Mad River Glen. We came for the mountains. Upon moving to the area, we established residency in North Duxbury, but before long we were lured to The Valley. It started with dinners and movies at Big Picture. Then, we started to explore the trails and swimming holes. In August 2012, we moved to Waitsfield. We found that the community offered the Vermont experience we were seeking. Even though we find it financially challenging, we have stayed for The Valley.
While I don't expect Valley living to become more affordable anytime soon, we as a community can work together to utilize The Valley's positive attributes to strengthen the economy and ultimately make all of us more profitable. How can we preserve the history, culture and landscape of our community while growing our economy? How can we utilize the best parts of The Valley's past to move The Valley into the future?
To explore the answers to these questions, you are encouraged to attend the Mad River Valley Economic Summit and Community Picnic on June 4 at the Lareau Farm pavilion. This community gathering will allow us the opportunity to better understand where we are and explore opportunities for our future. Determined to maximize participation, the organizers of this event, the Mad River Valley Planning District and MRV Chamber of Commerce, have even arranged for a kids' play area so the whole family may attend.