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The Price of a View in Vermont

The Price of a View in Vermont
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Frost, for his part, was referring to the way the soil of the New England hill country shifts in its seasonal freezes and thaws, dismantling the region’s familiar stone fences. The force opposed to the integrity of our view to the east was equally inexorable: the upgrowth of forest trees.

For some years, I labored to protect our glimpse of the mountain. As long as that was a business of pruning, chopping, and clearing roadside trees and brush, the job was easy enough. In these last several years, however, it has grown difficult and at last impossible as more-distant woods have put on mature growth that blocks the view — not near at hand, but from farther and farther away.

Today, to get a look at Monadnock from our place, you have to climb the hill behind the house to the edge of the woods, or you have to get up on the roof of the woodshed. Fortunately for me, I regularly find reasons to do both.

The mountain is still there, in its distant azure realm, and although it’s no longer available around a corner of the house or through a window, it still affords the onlooker unfailing refreshment and repose. Whatever that view had cost, it was worth every dollar we’d spent. Or, at least, it was to me.

What had it cost?

Once, jokingly, I asked Dottie the Realtor that question. What did a view of Monadnock really add to the price of one of her properties? She smiled.

“It depends,” she said.

“Depends on what?”

“The buyer,” said Dottie. “Is he a grown-up? Is he practical? Add 1 percent, 2 percent. Is he … the opposite? Add 5 percent.”

“How much did you add for me?” I asked.

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