Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Question of Small Towns

This weekend I ventured out to the East Coast with my mom to visit my brother and sister-in-law. The 10 hour drive from Grand Rapids, MI to Littlestown, PA is nothing short of exhausting. That is not to say it is with out bright spots. There is nothing like the rest stops on the Ohio turnpike, they are fully stocked oasis dotting your drive through hell. If it was not already clear, Ohio is low on my list of states to visit. Back to the bright spots, if you are driving this way and have the opportunity to drive through Pennsylvania and Maryland in the day light, do it. It is beautiful country side through the mountains with forests and rivers, it's really quite lovely. 
Each valley reliably has a small town of some kind, even as you move into the flatter terrain closer to the coast you will find small towns almost evenly spaced through out the country side. And with the exception of our visit to D.C. we spent the majority of the weekend in small towns. This got me thinking, "What would it be like to live in one of these tiny towns?"
I grew up in a moderately sized city that is no NYC or Chicago but it was a proper city with many of the perks and pitfalls. I have visited many cities and lived in several others learning that, I love cities. They are full of life, culture, food, impressive skylines, and there is nearly always something going on to do or try. I am not blind to their faults though, they are loud with higher crime rates, and people are mostly out for themselves. Not to mention questionable smells. But weekends like this make me wonder what the flip side is like. I really appreciate small towns as an adult. They are cute and charming. No one is ever in a hurry, even the most high strung of individuals are forced into a slower pace. There is also good food, some of the best breakfast potatoes I've ever had were in small New York town. There is always that little show that sells the strangest combination of useful and non useful items. History and tradition is sometimes more preserved because it's not just history it's family.  But each side of the fence has its weeds and small town life can not be as simple as it seems.
If I had grow up in one of these quaint little places that I enjoy exploring would I like doing that still? Would it have made me different some how? Would I still like cities or would I be afraid of them? Would I be more of a homebody and travel less? Would I place more value on traditional values or would it have the opposite effect? I love retreating to small towns and I enjoy playing the "What if?" game in my mind but the truth of it is, I am a city girl and I think I will be for some time yet. Perhaps when am retired I'll try out small town living...

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