On Saturday Oct. 1 from 1 - 5 pm Bristol Village Cohousing (BVCH) will host an Open House to celebrate its five year anniversary. The Open House will feature free food, kids games, tours of the property and live music by local performers including Rick Ceballos and Lausanne Allen. All are invited.
BVCH is one of ten cohousing communities in Vermont and over 150 in the US, according to the Cohousing Association of the US. Cohousing is defined as a “community intentionally designed with ample common spaces surrounded by private homes.” BVCH is such a neighborhood with a very attractive balance of community and privacy.
BVCH was founded in 2017 by Jim Mendell and Meg Kamens, who had a vision for building a community that they would like to live in, a place where people live in cooperation with their neighbors and live as sustainably as possible. Sixteen families now share that vision, fourteen of which own their homes and two of which rent units. The 31 residents are between 7 and 80 years old. The residents' homes include five cottages, nine units in three townhouses, and two apartments in the community’s common house. All are built to the highest energy-performance standards. The community’s electricity is 100% solar.
The community’s 3 acres of common space includes a central green, a community garden, two barns used for storage and an art studio, and the Peake House, a lovely Italianate building built in 1863. The Peake House serves as the “common house,” which houses weekly community meals, meetings, the mail room (which fosters chance meetings), an exercise & recreation room, social events, workshops, guest rooms, and pre-Covid was used by local community groups.
BVCH residents are very active in Bristol and Addison County activities and organizations. They are members of the historical society, local churches, singing groups, the MAUSD mentoring program; and many work in Bristol or nearby. As Sarah Stott, one of the residents remarked, “We are a community of people with varied skills and interests who complement each other in making this an amazing neighborhood within an incredible town. For me there’s no better place to live.”