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Live Off Pavement

Posted on 9/26/2022 by Brian Kitchens

In 1960, approximately 65% of the country's roads were unpaved in America. As you can imagine, this figure has steadily declined over the past decade. Roads are meant to promote high-speed transit and efficient commerce between population centers. Moreover, pavement can sustain excessive daily use in high population density areas. 

According to the Vermont Agency of Transportation, 8,579 miles of the state's total 15,761 total miles of statewide roads are not paved. This means over 50% of the state's roads are dirt! This statistic includes all interstate, US highways, state highways, as well as class 1,2,3, and 4 town highways.

There are many advantages to dirt roads that dovetail with Vermont culture. There is no rush hour on a dirt road. Dirt roads are also a lot cheaper to maintain than pavement. Maintenance is done with basic excavation machinery and trucks readily available at the local town garage. Also, with reduced traffic on these roads, a driver can stop their car, walk across the road to sniff a budding flower and get back on their way, all without having another vehicle pass by (please always do so safely). Dirt roads here are seemingly the quintessential paradox of our time.

In rural Vermont, slower is simply better. Dirt roads foster a reduction of speed allowing time to soak in the views on your drive. Road trips become a feature of the journey rather than a nagging inconvenience. Dirt roads can be 300+ years old encouraging undisturbed old-growth trees to line the edge. These winding roads hover above naturally flowing brooks and streams. They can take you up audacious climbs that would never justify as pavement. Simply said, paving roads requires civil engineers, and heavy machinery, and can often disrupt the natural landscape. Dirt roads keep you at the edge of Vermont's natural terrain during your journey.

So next time you visit Vermont, go ahead and explore beyond where the pavement ends. Take a turn around the next bend and see what adventures you might find on your travels. Slow down and enjoy the abundance of beautiful natural terrain here in Vermont. Perhaps you too, someday, will find yourself living off the pavement.

Can you take a guess at how many members of the Mad River Valley Real Estate team live on a dirt road?

5513 Main Street, Waitsfield, VT 05673 | 802-496-5000 |