I Heart Rutland: How I ended up here
By Reed Wilcox
Commentary | November 14,2013
My mother always told me to tell the truth, so I'll start with that in mind. The truth is I'm not originally from Rutland. I was neither born, nor raised in Vermont, let alone New England. Instead, I grew up smack dab in the middle of the country, just west of St. Louis, Mo. When I first meet someone and they find out I'm from Missouri, the question that inevitably follows is, “So, how did you wind up here?”
At first I thought it a normal question, but then I realized that people were asking as if shocked that anyone would want to move to Rutland. For me, it was simple. Rutland and the surrounding area offer exactly what I am looking for in both my professional and personal life. To start, Rutland is a town of about 17,000 citizens, making it large enough to have all your basic necessities (several grocery stores, Rutland Regional Medical Center and Gill's Delicatessen).
Now, don't get me wrong, Rutland isn't a shopper's mecca, but I am convinced I could find about anything I would need. Although large cities have the box stores and conveniences, they do not have the sense of community found here. I quickly found that the people I met were genuinely friendly and wanted to make me feel welcome. Considering I didn't know a single person when I moved, this was much appreciated.
Digging deeper, this town has a new event happening every weekend, it seems. This summer I spent many weekends exploring the sights and the sounds. Whether I was taking a stroll through Art in the Park, the Farmers Market, or the downtown Sidewalk Sale, I enjoyed myself quite a bit.
Let's quickly recap what I've said so far: Rutland has the shopping, conveniences, and things to do of any larger town, as well as friendly people. But, this is supposed to be an “I love Rutland” column. So what do I love about this place?
I'm glad you asked. The first time I drove down Merchants Row and saw the beautiful buildings, the mountains, and people bustling around I knew I had found my home. We live in an absurdly gorgeous valley, surrounded by rugged peaks, rivers, and forests. Within a 20-minute drive, you can be at the largest ski resort on the East Coast.
Oh, and along the drive you are subjected to lakes, the Appalachian Trail, another ski resort, and most likely one or two moose. It could be worse. When I tell my friends and family about my adopted home, I say, “Think Boulder, Colo.; Bozeman, Mont.; or Bend, Ore.; but on the East Coast.”
I absolutely love it here and promote it every chance I get. Hopefully someone reading this will start doing the same. After all, if people keep recklessly disparaging this town, how are we going to convince outsiders to love Rutland enough to bring their businesses and families?
Reed Wilcox is a financial advisor at Edward Jones in downtown Rutland and an avid snowboarder.