Editor's note: When Ann and Len Rowell opened up the mail at their home in Middlebury, Vt., a while back, they found a copy of LifeTimes, mailed by a Clearwater friend. In that issue, New York native and columnist Alice Graves recounted her move from St. Petersburg to Vermont — and her hurried return. Here are excerpts from the Rowells' response.
We regret that Alice Graves' short sojourn in the Green Mountain State did not go well.
Our experience has been just the opposite, and we would not want others to be discouraged from coming to Vermont to live.
We have lived here for nine years, having moved from New Jersey. After much discussion about living in the country, where the views are indeed beautiful and the enjoyment of nature and wildlife is abundant, we opted to live in town. . . .
It does get cold in the winter and it does get dark at night (as Alice Graves had noted). Our little neighborhood does not have street lights, but (that) allows us to see the marvelous display of stars on clear nights and to enjoy the "moonlight in Vermont."
This last winter seemed long, but the bursting of spring this year has been beautiful.
We are 74 and 72 years old and thoroughly enjoy being in a college town (Middlebury College), taking the opportunity to attend many events there.
My husband is a retired United Methodist minister and has served a number of churches as a part-time interim pastor as well as working part-time as the executive officer for the Vermont Council of Churches and Bible Society for three years.
He is active in Rotary, Middlebury local TV and the Festival on the Green, a wonderful week of music here in town every summer.
Since moving here, I have taught elementary music two days a week at two wonderful schools in small towns . . . and for several years I directed a musical group comprised of students and community members in the town of Ripton. I am currently the organist at a Methodist church about 25 miles away.
All of the things in which we participate just kind of opened up, as we made friends and became part of this area.
Retired? We like to say that we "reframed" our life.
Our son and his wife and their three children live in Tallahassee, so we do get to Florida to visit.
Ann and Len Rowell, Middlebury, Vt.