Sounds like you're in that part of southern Vermont that's part of the Boston market. Am I in the right ballpark?
In your case, you're right. There was a time, probably in or before the 1970's, when people either invested in huge antennas to get what they could get or invested in CATV, but those people watched Boston, and thus that area is now considered to be in the Boston DMA. In fact, that area used to have a full-power repeater station, WRLP-32, which rebroadcasted the signal of WWLP-22 in Springfield, MA. But everyone watched Boston, they made no money on it, and they shut it down in 1978. And so now it's almost impossible to get more than one or two stations in that area. (I think WEKW in Keene, NH might be doable for PBS without too huge an investment, depending on specific location, but that's basically it.)
Many other rural areas do still have translators, like rural Utah and much of the west. Even in urban areas, I've spoken with plenty of people who either don't know OTA TV exists anymore, or who assume it won't work for them, and in large part it's because of buying crap equipment that's sold at Walmart.
(For the record, the FCC does not assign the DMAs, private company Nielsen does. There are many people, myself included, who hate this and wish it was done differently. I need to write a white paper about the market ranking and assignment system I use on my website, and then see if I can get the FCC to adopt it.)