I just couldn’t afford it,” said Peter Miller, Former Vermonter of the Year and author of the award-winning books Vermont Farm Women and A Lifetime of Vermont People.“My expenses were over the top and my income was plummeting. It became obvious to me that my house was a liability and I couldn’t afford to keep it and pay the taxes and energy costs. A real estate broker told me to sell and run.
“I don’t want to leave Vermont, I love it and it has been my home for 67 years, when my family moved to the state in 1947. So what to do?
“I changed my gallery into an Airbnb—four bedrooms, a small kitchen and sitting area and…get this…a library with nothing but my photo books in it. On the walls in the bedroom are framed photos I have taken in France and Vermont.
“Then I turned a production room next to the Airbnb into what I call Peter Miller’s Squashed Gallery where every wall is crowded with photographs.
“I did this with the help of friends from out-of-state and from the sales of my latest book A Lifetime of Vermont People. However, the expense left me with a lot less than a person on the dole brings in from the government.
“Well, I’m getting by, sort of. I have had guests from Costa Rica, France, Holland and Canada. They come for the beauty, the biking and the beer. They like the photos in the rooms and my inexpensive rates. I am barely able to pay my mortgage with Airbnb cashflow and hopefully my resurrected gallery will start covering some of my other expenses.
“So I have re-invented myself. No more international assignments for magazines and stock photography. I have a book to do over the winter called The Vanishing (or is it “Disappearing?”) Vermonter…an Endangered Species. I will photograph and interview a number of Vermonters and asked them what went wrong with our state.
I HATE WASHING SHEETS AND MAKING BEDS!