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Old 12-22-2013, 09:04 AM   #1
ausfahrt OP
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Florida boy buys Vermont cabin

So what do I need to know?

First a little background; my wife and I have three great kids and the youngest is 18 and the only one still at home. We are fiftyish and tired of the heat, traffic, crime, and overall hassle of living in Florida so several years ago we decided to start planning our retirement in a cold weather rural state and when we visited Vermont we loved it.

We recently paid off our Florida home and promptly went shopping for what will initially be a summer vacation home that we want to retire to within the next 3 years. This past July we found a 2/2 log cabin on 15 wooded acres and fell in love with it, after a few offers and counter offers it was ours!

front view...


back view...


My wife and I both grew up in cold climates but have spent our entire adult lives in Florida and I had not ever driven in snow until 2 years ago and I am a little concerned that we don't have the cold weather experience to deal with Vermont winters.

I rented a truck and hauled a load of furniture to the cabin the week of 12/9 and here is the same back view...


The cabin has an oil fired furnace and I had a low temperature alarm system installed on my recent visit and I also have a caretaker checking the house and plowing the driveway on a weekly basis. I poured RV antifreeze in all the drains and shut off the well pump before I left.

Any other tips or recommendations from you lifelong northerners?
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ausfahrt screwed with this post 12-22-2013 at 09:18 AM
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Old 12-22-2013, 09:37 AM   #2
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"Any other tips or recommendations from you lifelong northerners?"
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:15 AM   #3
ragtoplvr
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mice, will stop at nothing to chew their way into what is now your beautiful cabin. You will learn much about mouse proofing. The mice will still win.
'The only thing they never chewed thru was stainless steel scrubbers imbedded in Durham's Rock Hard Putty. They just chewed a new hole.

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Old 12-22-2013, 11:48 AM   #4
jeep44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragtoplvr View Post
mice, will stop at nothing to chew their way into what is now your beautiful cabin. You will learn much about mouse proofing. The mice will still win.
'The only thing they never chewed thru was stainless steel scrubbers imbedded in Durham's Rock Hard Putty. They just chewed a new hole.

Rod
Looks like the mouse is losing here.....

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Old 12-22-2013, 12:02 PM   #5
Beezer
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buy at least one 4 wheel drive, get some kind of backup heating source, and a decent generator.
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:14 PM   #6
GH41
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My suggestion would be to buy a comparable cabin in rural Florida to winter in. Fla isn't bad if you get away from the coast and Orlando. The wife and I did a trial run over Thanksgiving to Astor Fla. We could easily spend our retirement between there and our family cabin on Rainy Lake Mn. GH
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:21 PM   #7
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Be careful if your neighbors are named Larry, Darryl, and Darryl
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:31 PM   #8
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Congratulations!
You are true contrarians - moving from FL to retire in VT! (I'm about the same age, and getting real tired of winter).

That's a very pretty spot - and a long driveway. Mine's about the same length, and I have a 4wd tractor with a plow and a walk behind snowblower (sometimes, there's so much you can't push it). So, plan on 2 ways to move snow (or hire a local with a good rep).

Make some friends of your neighbors - especially if you are absentee for long periods - someone to check on that low temp alarm, or hire to keep the snow cleared.

My parents had a mobile home as a vacation place in NH, and my dad and I would always blow out the water supply lines as well as putting non-toxic antifreeze in the traps and toilet, and emptying the toilet tanks.

Mice - yeah - lotsa mice - the electronic chasers are probably the best bet, as the d-Con isn't fool proof, and who wants to come back to a stinky (successful) snap trap? Mice eat ANYTHING - even bar soap on the sinks, if you leave it out.

Generator to run well pump and essential appliances during (long) power outages (ask the neighbors what to expect).

High ground clearance 4WD or AWD vehicle with appropriate tires, for sure.

Oh, and you need another (bigger) garage!
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:42 PM   #9
filmfan
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Welcome to the neighborhood!
We didn't come here for retirement, but did move from Florida 20-some odd years ago. My wife grew up in SoCA, and I had lived in warm climates the previous 20-ish years.
The first few winters were kind of expensive heating-cost wise

If your cabin doesn't have a wood stove plan on getting one. For one thing, wood is way cheaper to heat with, it will save you money even if it's only augmenting the oil heat. And wood stoves don't require electricty when the power goes out in the middle of winter. (rest assured, it will at some point).

Learn to embrace the winter, that is, (assuming you are outdoors types), plan to take up skiing, snow shoeing, sledding, skating etc.
Remember that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.

A 4wd is not a bad idea, Subaru's are very popular. But you can get around perfectly well with FWD too. Just pay attention to what you're doing and get good snow tires.
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:48 PM   #10
greenmtndave
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Welcome to VT

Hi,

I have lived in North Central Vermont my whole life. I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have about living here. Just PM me.

A couple of suggestions for when you land in VT year round. First, a wood stove really takes the chill out of the cold in the winters and can be much more economical than oil. Also, I have and would recommend a wired in generator transfer switch so that you can safely run critical circuits off a generator if need be. Also, I would have your caretaker keep and eye on how much snow accumulates on the roof and use a roof rake to remove some if it gets too deep & heavy. I see that you have a metal roof, so it may slide off on its own if the pitch and exposure permits.

Dave
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:49 PM   #11
Sethro303
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GH41 View Post
My suggestion would be to buy a comparable cabin in rural Florida to winter in. Fla isn't bad if you get away from the coast and Orlando. The wife and I did a trial run over Thanksgiving to Astor Fla. We could easily spend our retirement between there and our family cabin on Rainy Lake Mn. GH
Uh, he already bought a cabin...in Vermont.......

Ausfahrt - Congrats on the new digs! Lots of folks in the PNW have been swapping out older fuel oil heaters for propane, mainly due to cost. Also a wood stove/fireplace works great as a backup or for those super cold stretches.

Probably the most important suggestion I can make is go buy a nice woods bike and a chainsaw. You can make a pretty decent trail system with 15 acres of woods!
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Old 12-22-2013, 07:05 PM   #12
NJjeff
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Congrats.
As greenmtndave said, and I will re-post it.

have your caretaker keep and eye on how much snow accumulates on the roof

When I had a house in VT it had a metal roof and the pitch was very steep, snow still stuck to it. Your roof appears to have a modest pitch, you'll need someone to over look it if you spend most of winter in FL.
My property was also a vacation home. I was warned by my insurance Co. to keep the driveway clear of snow in case of a fire. I'm guessing their thought was no access to property = no insurance coverage.
Good luck and avoid the 5th season with a 2wd car. Mud Season.
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:04 AM   #13
ausfahrt OP
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Great replies and lots of things to contemplate. You all brought up some great points, some of which I have already addressed and others that I will need to look into.

Winter tires- Duly noted and I bookmarked the link.

Mice- I had no idea but there was a dead one on the garage floor last week.

Blower & plow- I thought that I had to choose but I probably need both.

Alternate heat- The cabin has a propane hearth stove that will probably be replaced with a pellet stove.

Neighbors- So far I've met Tom & Dick. Tom is cool as hell and Dick seems....different. No Larry yet, or Harry for that matter.

4wd- We have a Subaru Forester that we bought a couple of years ago in anticipation of this move. We are actually considering a second 4wd vehicle since the Civic had trouble with the driveway last week.

Roof snow- Our caretaker is supposed to look after that but neighbor Tom is going to keep an eye on it as well.

Generator- The cabin appears to have a switch panel of some sort next to the breaker panel that I will need to look at closer when I get back up there. I took a small portable generator to the cabin last week and I have a slightly larger one that will go with us when we retire.

Thanks for all the tips and well wishes. Grnmtndave, I'll be in touch.

Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:47 AM   #14
Twinz
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Welcome to Vermont! Can you tell us what town you're in?
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Old 12-23-2013, 11:43 AM   #15
k-moe
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My daugher and a friend learned this fine lesson from a local when she was going to college at Marlboro: "If I had the choice 'tween taking a plowed road, and one that isn't, I know which one I'd pick. But then....I'm not in college."
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