Preparing for a challenge

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By Inge Schaefer

The Colchester Parks and Recreation “Muck It Up Outdoor Challenge” is coming, Sept. 13, 8:30 a.m. This event is not for wimpy athletes — not with 7 miles of trail running, 6 miles of paddling (Malletts Bay over to Niquette Bay State Park) and 7.5 miles of mountain biking. And that’s the easy part. What really makes it fun are the “mystery challenges” thrown in along the way. It will test your fitness for sure, but as I recall, there’s also lots of laughter along the way.

Now, before you jump to the absurd conclusion that I participated in this race, let me assure you that it was as a volunteer that I know of this. The Rec folks could use your help if you are available to assist that day. They are also encouraging you to consider entering either individually or with a team of two: $50 for individuals and $100 for a team. This includes a very nice t-shirt that I happen to be wearing today, which is why I am reminded of this upcoming unusual competition. You will need your own kayaks or canoes and bikes (to include life jackets, helmets, etc). For more information and a list of race rules, visit Muck It Up on the Colchester Recreation website at: http://colchestervt.gov/recreation/muckitup.html. Challenge a friend or bring the whole family and have fun mucking it up on Saturday, Sept. 13, beginning at Bayside Park.

Whenever I can, I do business in Colchester, so when I recently needed new drapes/curtains for my living room, I was delighted to be told about the services of Marcia Devino – aka “Curtains by Marcia.” She was highly recommended by Tina’s Home Designs, where I buy my fabric, and by Mary Bessette of Colchester, who recently made beautiful slipcovers for me. Well, I was not disappointed. Marcia helped me through the fabric selection, offered suggestions for the design and produced a flawless and beautiful window curtain accent for me. Some of you might know her hubby John Devino who taught math at CHS for many years. Anyway, she’s a treasure, so if you are in need of curtains, give her a call at 863-5403.

Normally, anything I share in this column is about Colchester and only Colchester, but, while not located here, the Vermont History Center in Barre might just interest you. Actually, truth be known, Barre is also worth a mention. This small city, usually overshadowed by its capital neighbor, Montpelier, has experienced a renaissance in recent years with a charming redo of its main street that happens to lead right up to the doors of the History Center at 60 Washington Street. Vermont Historical Society Executive Director Mark Hudson gave our small group a tour that included their library where lots of Vermont research by historians is conducted, a look at their art and map collections and their three Vermont Heritage Galleries. Incidentally, the VHS has its Museum in the Pavilion Building in Montpelier, but this new center, in a classically designed building formally the area high school, is worth the extra miles on Interstate 89. For more information, visit www.vermonthistory.org. Hudson did mention that they are happy to have a copy of the 250th Anniversary “Colchester – A Living History” DVD, so there you have it, there is a connection. That DVD, should you wish a copy, is available through Lake Champlain Access TV where it was produced.

If you had to describe Colchester to an out-of-town friend, what would you say? What if that friend was looking to relocate his business to a new state, how would you convince him to consider Vermont, and especially, Colchester? OK, so Vermont might be a hard sell with our over-the-top taxes, high energy costs, etc., but what we do have, and especially in Colchester, is a quality of life. For instance, if your business is in Colchester, you can leave work at 5 p.m., drive maybe ten minutes to get home, jump on your bike, or put on your sneakers and, while exercising, take in a view of the Adirondack Mountains on one side of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains on the other, and be back for dinner before 6:30 p.m. Of course, that doesn’t work as well in the winter, but then, my friend, you can put on your head lamp, grab your Nordic skis or snowshoes and walk under the stars for a bit.

I remember hearing the story once that the only reason IBM came to Vermont was because Tom Watson, its founder, loved to ski. Which leads me to the Colchester logo designed by local resident Lindsey Colburn who won a town-sponsored contest for the same. It is now being worked on as our official town logo. A committee formed to “brand Colchester,” included the creative director for the KSV Advertising Agency Brian Mullins who, together with Community Development Director Kathi Walker-O’Reilly, presented the logo and its message at a recent Select Board meeting. The logo illustrates the Causeway and some of its recreational opportunities. What’s wonderful about this Causeway is that it is free and open to the public, so not just a CEO will enjoy it.

Yes, we have other areas in town we could highlight, other components that make Colchester special, but it’s our quality of life – like the Causeway and our other parks and paths — that gives us an edge. And this logo does the trick, in my humble opinion.

For a tag line, the following was suggested: “Land, Lake, Life,” “Work, Life – Balance,” “Where business and leisure connect,” or “There’s no place like it!” I rather prefer the alliteration, “Land, Lake, Life,” How about you?

If you want to share your thoughts, contact Kathi Walker-O’Reilly, Economic Development Director (264-5508) before too long because they hope to make a decision next month. Many thanks to Brian Mullins, and these other committee members – Tom Bacon, Jay McKee, Select Board member Tom Mulcahy, Parks and Rec Director Glen Cuttitta and Kathi, for their efforts on our behalf.

Colchesterite John Abry of Re/MAX North Professionals recently shared some interesting town real estate statistics (his website is: colchestervermonthomes.com). As of July 10, and for the second quarter of 2014, 34 homes in Colchester were sold which was up 6.25 percent from the same time last year. A median price of these sold homes was $307,500, which was down 2.23 percent. $307,500 seems high to me as a median price but I guess a couple of high-priced homes can kick that up easily enough.

The average amount of days for a home to be on the market was 77 days, down 28 percent from the same time last year. John says, “These numbers are based on a small point in time and can vary.” For more statistics, he suggests checking his website. For specific info on your property, give John a call at 861-3278.

That’s it for now. Enjoy this wonderful summer weather and God bless!