Vermont's Northeast Kingdom | Change Coming to the Kingdom
At Brenda’s Homestyle Cookin’, I chatted with server Tim Daley. “The things that are coming along are really good,” he told me. Daley owns a house and feels optimistic that development would bode well for home values and community vitality in general. “Our neighborhood is becoming the historic district,” he said excitedly. “It used to be a drug neighborhood, but now it’s becoming a little more gentrified.” He pointed across to the Tasting Center, which was bustling with visitors sampling artisanal wares. “The local people say, ‘It’s expensive.’ And they’re right. But what it does is bring in the people who find it not so expensive. And they look around and say, ‘What else does this town have to offer?’”
And sitting at the Vermont Pie & Pasta Company with Scott and Emily Wheeler, I listened as Scott summarized his feelings regarding the impending transformation of his hometown: “This is a place where people realize that happiness can’t be found in a wallet, and I don’t want us to lose sight of that. Tell you the truth, I feel like I’m caught between two worlds. I like the world I grew up in—hardworking, poor, but honest. I love the world I grew up in. But we do need change.”
He leaned back for a moment, as if reflecting on what all of this really means: “We’re changing for the good, and we’re changing for the bad, but history is neither good nor bad: It is what it is.” Emily rolled her eyes; she’d heard this particular speech more than once.
“One thing’s for sure,” Wheeler added. “Whether you like it or not, we’re at a turning point, and it’s more important than ever to record the stories.” He grinned hugely and picked up his sandwich.