vermontlife.com spring 2014 • 33
mont water and ship it West to make a living,”
Instead, they used a small inheritance from
Moulton’s great-grandmother to buy a 10-acre
hayfield high up on a hill in Huntington in the
shadow of Camels Hump. They pitched a tent.
Lots of friends came and pitched tents too and
lent a hand as the couple began building their
own stone house, based on the method popularized by Scott and Helen Nearing, using forms,
concrete and field stone. With their FHA loan
of $16,000 at 0.5 percent, their monthly mortgage would be just $86 per month.
During construction, Moulton drove their
clunky old truck back and forth to Starksboro,
where a farmer allowed her to collect field-
stone, and with 2-year-old Eli on her back, she
hauled loads of stone for weeks. She says she
felt strong and invincible: “Life was beautiful
in 1974 in the middle of July,” she remembers.
In retrospect, Moulton is incredulous — and
ultimately grateful — they were so clueless.
“What were we thinking? Who starts building
their own house in July in Vermont?”
The couple did not get away with it com-
pletely — they had to spend the winter at a
friend’s home while Rick completed the roof
— but eventually a second child, Mariah, was
born in their finished house. Moulton made
the decision to stay at home with both kids
and help Rick complete a documentary, “Leg-
ends of American Skiing,” which eventually
aired nationally on PBS. Together, they raised
$200,000 in grants and private donations for
the film, and Moulton learned she was a natu-
ral at fundraising and marketing.
oulton first became involved with
developing the waterfront in 1983.
The Alden Waterfront Corp., owned
by Lisa Steele and her then-husband, planned an
enormous multimillion-dollar, 26-acre project
and needed an operations director. They ran a
want ad, and Moulton applied for the job. “We
needed the money,” Moulton says. For three years,
she threw herself into the project, dealing with
budget projections and marketing studies and generally helping guide the project through the public
process. Still, the project died in 1986 when Burlington voters didn’t muster a two-thirds majority
vote for a bond issue. Moulton took it hard: “It felt
like a personal failure,” she says. p h