Photo by: Gregory Lesch

Brattleboro, VT — one of Outsidemagazine’s Top Dream Towns — is hip and charming all rolled into one. Where else can you find classic New England covered bridges, tall steeples, and majestic maples alongside trendy bookstores, a co-op featuring local foods, and a downtown shop called Save the Corporations from Themselves?

Chartered in 1753, Brattleboro was an industrial hub by the early 1800s.  Today, the two largest employment sectors are service and retail, but there are more than ninety manufacturing companies in the area as well.  Key businesses include Windham Southeast Supervisory Union, with 800 employees; United Natural Foods, Inc., which employs 487 people; and C&S Wholesale Grocers, which provides 795 jobs.

The landscape surrounding Brattleboro only adds to the quality of life in this quintessential Vermont town. Nestled between the West River and Connecticut River and bordering the Green Mountains, Brattleboro offers outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers numerous places to recreate.  No matter where you are in town, hiking, biking, skiing and fishing are just around the corner.

Downtown Brattleboro is also a great place to start a business, thanks in part to Building a Better Brattleboro (BABB), a community development organization that was formed in July 1988 to maintain and enhance downtown Brattleboro’s image and economic vitality.  Since its formation, BABB has helped the Town secure Downtown Designation status, raised funds for infrastructure and facade improvements, and attracted new businesses to the downtown district.

Housing is surprisingly affordable given all of the amenities the town has to offer. Windham Housing Trust — whose Executive Director, Connie Snow, was the recipient of Smart Growth Vermont’s Art Gibb Award for Individual Leadership in 2006 — works continuously to provide housing for low to moderate income families.  In keeping with smart growth principles, the organization renovates old buildings and applies energy conservation measures whenever possible.

Whether you’re looking for an eclectic, laid back environment or a classic New England experience, you can find it in Brattleboro. The possibilities are endless, so stroll downtown and grab a bag of popcorn at Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters while you contemplate your next adventure.