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Fave Little State: Climate Migrants From Around America Are Seeking Refuge in Vermont

Fave Little State: Climate Migrants From Around America Are Seeking Refuge in Vermont

Cheryl Lubin adored her Cape Cod vacation home. The cedar-shingled retreat featured a chef's kitchen, wraparound deck, views of a salt marsh and easy access to famed beaches. After years of renovating the 3,400-square-foot property in Chatham, Mass., Lubin and her husband retired there in 2017, expecting to stay for the long haul.

The climate crisis had other plans for them.

The next year, Hurricane Michael dropped six inches of rain on the Cape, flooding roads. Rising sea levels eroded beaches and made roads impassable during big storms. But it was twin tornadoes that uprooted them from their increasingly anxious life on the coast.

In July 2019, the twisters tore across the southern Cape, toppling hundreds of trees, knocking out power to thousands, and filling Lubin with a sense of personal and financial dread.

"The tipping point for us was the extreme weather," Lubin said last month. "People ask me why I left Cape Cod. They say, 'It's so beautiful.' And all I can say is, 'Climate change is real, folks.'"

So last year the couple did what a growing number of people alarmed by the climate crisis are doing: They moved to Vermont.

After reviewing national climate maps that predicted less severe climate change in northern New England, the pair snapped up an old farmhouse on two acres outside Norwich. They even adopted the farm's dog, Mitzi, who had lived in the home until her owner died.

Now they're renting a condo just over the state line in Lebanon, N.H., while they have the home updated for energy efficiency. They have joined a local gym and look forward to becoming part of the Upper Valley community.

"I think Vermonters understand that there are people looking to find higher ground, not only for themselves but for their families," Lubin said.

Americans fleeing coastal storms, relentless heat and western wildfires are finding refuge in the Green Mountain State.


Cheryl Lubin adored her Cape Cod vacation home. The cedar-shingled retreat featured a chef's kitchen, wraparound deck, views of a salt marsh and easy access...
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