East Hill Forest is a versatile property with potential for renovation of the old home and/or development of a new home; year-round living within an easy commute of Montpelier; and asset appreciation from the significant timber resource.
· Ideal home site area that is mostly meadow, located at the end of a quiet town road.
· Existing old home needing repairs, but suited to providing an on-site base upon purchase.
· Significant timber resource with standing timber value of $611,000.
· Excellent location with short drive to Vermont’s Capital City of Montpelier.
Adjacent to the capital city of Montpelier, Middlesex is primarily a bedroom community for Montpelier, Barre, Waterbury, and larger employers in the Burlington region. The hilly town lies just east of the Worcester Range, a scenic and popular semi-alpine hiking destination. The town is defined by the north-south Route 12 corridor that runs along its eastern border and the east-west Route 2 corridor along its southern border. Much of the town is forested, with homes dotting the back roads and a few farms along the Winooski River and scattered in the hills.
Downtown Montpelier, located 5 miles to the south, is the hub of the region and offers numerous shops and restaurants, a lively cultural scene, several colleges, state government, and an array of employers. Outdoor recreation is a popular pastime with numerous hiking and biking trails throughout the region, various ponds and lakes for fishing and boating (including Wrightsville Reservoir, a 190-acre impoundment of the North Branch of the Winooski River located just minutes from the land), and 4 alpine ski areas within an hour’s drive. Burlington, the state’s largest city, is a 45-minute drive to the northwest. Boston is 3 hours southeast of the property and New York City is 6 hours to the southwest.
The property is accessed by Tangletown Road, a gravel, town-maintained road. Tangletown is a short spur off Bolduc Road (0.4 miles), another gravel town road which runs 1 mile to Vermont Route 12 (paved). Once on the property, the road continues just past the house, where the snowplow turns around in winter and power ends. Beyond this point, a high-quality seasonal road extends 1,110’ to a stream crossing and small meadow (see maps at the end of this report for locations).
Boundaries appear to be maintained with no known boundary disputes or issues.
East Hill Forest’s attractive features of close proximity to Montpelier and end-of-the-road privacy are enhanced by its distinctive site attributes, which are aesthetically appealing and provide for a wide mix of varied uses. The land’s southern end (along the town road) contains a 3-4-acre elevated meadow, with a house and garage centrally located and offering easterly views. From this location (elevation 1,040’ ASL (above sea level)), the terrain rises to East Hill, located at the land’s western end at a height of 1,680’ ASL. East Hill forms the upper limits of a watershed wholly contained on the property and drained by a stream that bisects the forest. The overall terrain is quite variable, offering areas of gentle slopes, where evidence of an agricultural history remains, coupled with intermittent steeper areas leading to five distinct plateaus. Rock outcrops are common within both the steeper areas and level plateaus, creating an interesting, scenic mix.
Two smaller meadows are situated west of the house site at the end of the main internal road. Here, a late 1700s homestead was located, as evidenced by numerous stone walls and a stone foundation. West of the lower meadow and along the town road, several other attractive potential house sites are available for future development, including various sites along and at the terminus of the main internal road.
The forest offers an extensive, multi-use trail network covering nearly 9 miles. Over the past 15 years, with approval from the ownership, Steve Bolduc (a lifelong neighbor to the east) has made it his passion to maintain the trail system.
The timber resource is an important component of the overall property asset value, given its favorable species composition, high stocking, excellent stem quality, and proximity to maturity. Species such as the maples, yellow birch, spruce/fir, white pine, and hemlock dominate the sawlog products growing on the land. The property’s Use Value Appraisal (UVA) forest management plan identifies five stands, with the lower slope stands containing a softwood mix and the higher slope stands dominated by hardwood species.
Forest stands are generally overstocked with total cords per acre of 32.4, well above the average. The diameter distribution indicates a multiple-aged forest structure, with older age classes accounting for much of the volume. This structure will allow for a sustainable flow of income from thinning in the coming decades. The average sawlog diameter is 14.5”, and for all products combined the average is 12.5”. The red maple average diameter is 15.5”, with sugar maple at 14.5”. The majority of the forest has not seen silvicultural activity in ±30 years, though Stand 1 had a small-scale thinning operation in 2014.
The timber data indicate the potential to establish a commercial sugarbush operation. Gross taps are estimated to be 30,000 (57 taps/acre). Net plausible taps are likely closer to 20,000 taps.
The timber data are based on a January 2016 comprehensive timber inventory. Growth through 2020 has been added since the inventory, with stumpage values revised in August 2019. The current Capital Timber Value (CTV) is estimated to be $645,000 ($1,202/total acre).
This resource offers an excellent source of future capital appreciation and, given that the majority of stands have not been thinned in ±30 years, provides for immediate, active forest management. This offers the new owner a “clean plate” to design their personal stewardship program.
It is understood that the house was built in the 1880s. It is currently used as a residence by friends of the ownership, but serious joist and foundation issues are known and major cosmetic and other repairs would be required if restoration is considered.
The main footprint is 28.5’ x 22.5’, with an addition of 16.5’ x 13.5’. A small, second story over the main house provides additional living space for a total of about 1,000 square feet. Water is provided by a dug well with the functionality of the septic system unknown (likely in need of repair, and replacement of the leach field).
A detached two-car garage was built within the last 15 years and is generally in sound condition.
While the house has many obvious issues, it has a quaint appeal and can serve well as a landing place until a new home is constructed. Alternatively, the house is possibly worthy of restoration.