Ask a Local – Vermont

Originally from Maine, Kate McCarthy lived all over the United States before settling in Montpelier in 2011 as the sustainable communities director for the Vermont Natural Resources Council, a statewide nonprofit environmental advocacy organization.

My job is about living and building sustainably and taking care of the places we live in and love. Living here allows me to do what’s important to me personally and professionally: live more sustainably by driving less, patronizing local businesses and being connected to community members.

I walk to work, enjoy local restaurants and run into people I know on the street. There’s energy being put into downtown, including farmers’ markets and festivals. There’s bicycling infrastructure, and good restaurants opening up too. It’s a compact downtown with surrounding nature to enjoy. There are lots of beautiful, quiet, water-paddle places. When snow’s on the ground, there’s cross-country skiing everywhere.

We’re the smallest capital city in the country, but the only one without a McDonald’s. If I look uphill from my house, I see a mountain range. If I look downhill, I see downtown. I love having access to both.

I like to get out and about on Saturday mornings and walk to the Birch Grove Bakery or the Bohemian Bakery. I take visitors to Three Penny Taproom, which serves local food and brews that have won international regard. It’s fun to show off Vermont’s beers to people who have read about them before but haven’t ever tried them before. They’ll say, ‘Wow, you can really get that here?’

I also like to take people to the Vermont State House. It’s a really beautiful building and it’s accessible to the public, showing that the government of Vermont is there for the people. In the summer, we’ll do picnics on its lawn. In the winter, we’ll go ice-skating at the rink that opened there this winter.