The allure of country living

Ashley Callan / Castleton Spartan

Castleton students prefer rural locations to city life.

College days don’t last forever.

Neither does the opportunity to keep living with your parents.

But when the time to move on comes, where shall we go?

Statistics show that more young Americans are now choosing to settle down in modern urban environments, rather than beautiful rural areas.

Census info from 2014 highlights urban condominiums and high-rise apartment buildings as the new trend in first-home buying. In 2005, high-rises and condos accounted for just 17 percent of first-homes Americans purchased. In 2013, vertical urban living was the first-choice for 33 percent of first-home purchases. High-rises and condos accounted for 40 percent of new U.S. construction in March of 2014.

Bright lights and city life; the trend of urban living appears concrete.

But the Castleton University community is not too eager to pack up and move to the concrete jungle.  

Castleton junior Katie Haseltine smiles as she explains how little she enjoys the noise and traffic of the city.

“I went to New York City once and it was really overwhelming … Where I live, my driveway is like three miles long. You don’t hear anything, other than maybe coyotes killing something in the middle of the night.” Haseltine said she enjoys being able to do whatever she wants on her property, “without worrying about disturbing your neighbors.”

Writing Specialist and long-time professor Bill Wiles is on the same page as Haseltine. His house rests 500 feet from the road, on an unmarked, private dirt highway. Wiles has lived in the country, in the suburbs and in the city, but he likes where he’s at now.  

“At the end of the day, I can go home and don’t have to be bothered with sirens, activity, all those kinds of things,” he said.

Of 15 students surveyed, nine said they would rather settle down in the country. Four students surveyed said they believe they want to settle down in a metropolitan area. Castleton Vermonters Jimmy Britt, from rural Hubbardton, and Eva Clark, from suburban St. Albans, plan to live in the city first before eventually moving back to the type of settings they grew up in.

Although Britt wants to live in and experience the city, he also looks forward to raising crops and animals one day in the country.  

Rachel Elliott agrees that urban living has its serious setbacks. She cites a lack of privacy and the absence of natural scenery as main reasons why she would not want to live in a big city.

“I like seeing nature more than just buildings,” she said.

But the varsity women’s hockey player also doesn’t see herself living out in the middle of nowhere, either. Elliott explains how she grew up in the country, having to drive 30 minutes just to be able to buy everyday things. She also hated not having any neighbors to “play with.” Elliot sees herself settling down in a “suburby area, kind of like Burlington. Close to enough stuff where you can shop and get everything you need, but not so-city where you can’t see nature.”

Suburban living poses as the happy medium, the middle ground of the debate. While being able to enjoy various aspects of both urban and rural living, some of the downfalls of both also find their way into suburban life. Professor David Blow says he enjoys his home in Queensbury, New York, a mix of country and small city. He admits that “long drives” are something he’s learned to deal with.

English professor Flo Keyes grew up in suburban New Jersey but maintains she was always a country-girl at heart. Keyes enjoys the slower pace of life and admits that “Human relationships are less superficial in the country.”




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