I moved to northern Vermont from Connecticut in 1996. I love living here. It's one of the most beautiful places on Earth--I live in a place where people come to vacation.
We love the outdoors and never run out of things to do: kayaking, canoeing, hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, backcountry touring, and so forth. Since we're near Burlington, there are a lot of free and cheap events during the summer, including concerts. Burlington also has culture, including theater, gourmet dining, wine tastings, etc. Someday my husband and I want to move out West, but until then, we're happy in Vermont (he is from NH, moved here in 1978).
How do I make a living? I am self-employed because I couldn't find a good job. I met my husband here, while skiing at Jay. He has a "real job" that provides insurance.
He is also a volunteer ski patroller, which enabled him to afford getting his three kids into skiing because he gets a family pass.
Many people I know have an interesting job perk that you don't find elsewhere: A "powder day" is a valid reason for skipping work to go to the mountain.
Many bosses here are skiers too, so they completely understand.
Most people who move here DO make sacrifices: Housing is expensive, decent jobs are few, so you move here for the lifestyle and realize you may have to adjust your living standards. I think it helps you figure out what is really important in life. Sometimes, you discover living here is worth the sacrifices, and sometimes you realize how much you miss the comforts and convenience of being in/near a city. I've lived in West Haven, Boston, L.A., Raleigh, and a few other large cities, and I enjoyed them all, but I can honestly say that there are very few times I wish I lived in a city again.
You will probably never know until you try it.