Colchester, Vermont, is a town of 17,067 people (2010 Census) in Chittenden County. It is a north suburb of Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, and it is situated along 27 miles of the eastern shore of Lake Champlain. The town is 95 feet above sea level and encompasses approximately 58 square miles, of which about two-fifths is water.
Colchester was chartered in the Province of New Hampshire by King George the Third on June 7, 1763, an approximate area of 36 square miles bounded by Lake Champlain to the west and the Onion or French (now Winooski) River to the south. It was named for the Earl of Colchester.
Colchester’s weather is synonymous with Burlington’s weather. Annual rainfall (33.8 inches) is close to the national average (36.5 inches). However, the area sees 75 inches of annual snowfall—three times the national average. The average high temperature in July is 80°F, and the average low in January is 9°F. Factoring in relative humidity, Colchester and Burlington are considerably more comfortable than most cities in the U.S.
The Chittenden County Transportation Authority provides bus service in Colchester. Primary roadways are I-89, U.S. Highway 2, and State Roads 127, 15, and 2A. Air travelers rely primarily on Burlington International Airport, about eight miles south of Colchester. Short line passenger rail service is provided by the Green Mountain Railroad, with closest station access at Burlington.
Cost of Living in Colchester
Living in Colchester will cost about 15 percent more than you would pay on average in other U.S. cities. The biggest differences are housing and utilities, which carry premiums of 19 percent and 32 percent, respectively. As for taxes, you’ll pay seven percent in local and state sales tax, and 3.55 percent on the first $37,450 of taxable income. How much can your earnings buy in Colchester? Click below to find out.
Colchester School District provides public education with three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. For higher education, Colchester is home to St. Michael’s College, a private Catholic college. Several other colleges are but a few minutes away in Burlington: University of Vermont, Burlington College, Champlain College, Vermont Technical College and the Community College of Vermont.
There are six hospitals within 30 miles of Colchester, including the University of Vermont Medical Center (formerly Fletcher Allen Health Care) in Burlington. This 426-bed facility is rated high-performing in COPD and Heart Failure (US News and World Report). The U of V Health Network also operates the Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, a 300+ bed facility in Plattsburgh, NY.
Colchester Real Estate
The latest available figures show Colchester has 7,204 housing units, with 4,586 of these occupied by owners and 1,909 occupied by renters. Proportionately, there are slightly more renters in Colchester (29 percent) than there are statewide (29 percent). The median asking price for homes in Chittenden County is $262,400, and the median contract rent is $1,136.
For a comfortable and affordable stay in Colchester, you might like the Quality Inn less than five miles from Burlington International Airport. There are plenty of other properties to choose from, depending on your budget and your need for amenities. The Residence Inn is a three-star hotel with fully equipped kitchens for your extended stay, plus free breakfast. The Hampton Inn Burlington is another three-star option, and it offers airport shuttle, fitness center, and pool.
Come hungry to Colchester and enjoy a variety of culinary choices. The Lighthouse Restaurant and Lounge specializes in prime rib, steak and seafood seven days a week in a casual atmosphere. Junior’s Italian Restaurant couples fine food and wine with a sweet bonus of authentic Italian pastries, cookies, breads, and cakes. Or, wet your whistle with a cold pint at McGillicuddy’s Irish Pub, and dig into an O’Rourke’s pulled pork sandwich with a side of ale house slaw. Begorrah!
Things to Do in Colchester
Vermont’s natural beauty beckons you outdoors, and Colchester offers plenty of fresh-air venues to enjoy. This is a great place to go hiking and/or biking—with smooth ways as well as less-traveled options for the more adventurous. During the warmer months, you will see a number of farm stands selling fresh produce. Or, rent a paddle board or kayak and meander the scenic coast of Malletts Bay and Lake Champlain. Before you do anything, a good place to start is the restored log schoolhouse at Airport Park, which now serves as a visitor center.