Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How Small Town Is Small Town?

I grew up in the suburbs.  From the house I lived in, you never had to travel more than a mile to get to  shopping malls, restaurants, drug stores or gas stations.  We had multiple movie theaters, bowling alleys, golf courses and a water park.

After Mr. Willoughby and I got married, we lived in an apartment in that same suburb for a few years. From there we moved to another suburban area, and then the city.  It was while we were living in the city that we started spending our weekends on country drives and shopping at flea markets and farm stands.   We found ourselves charmed by the small towns with their farmhouses and quaint shops. When it was time to get out of our house in the city, we decided that we wanted to live in the country.

It was an adjustment at first.  The closest place to shop (other than Kmart or the supermarket) is 20 miles away.  We have no movie theaters and only a handful of restaurants.  If you're in a hurry to get someplace, you better hope you don't get stuck at the railroad crossing when a train is coming through.  On the plus side, there are only five traffic lights in the whole town.

So how small town is small town?  Have a look and judge for yourself.  All of these pictures were taken between my house and the supermarket.

This is the view across the street behind the supermarket.

The Lutheran Church.

A local convenience store.

Local chicken farmers.

Up the road about a mile.

The weathered sign on top of a building in town.

Silos next to the railroad tracks in the middle of town.

The tractor dealership.

More silos.

The local produce store, all decked out for the holidays.

Abandoned railroad tracks.

You know you're in a small town when the local dealership advertises "Hit a deer, fix it here".

A local restaurant.  I haven't been there since it changed ownership (forgive the quality of this picture, I leaned out the window at an intersection to take it).  It used to be painted hot pink.

Looking down Main Street.

This mural is painted on the side of the fire station.

Some of the businesses on Main Street.

The Wednesday Farmer's Market is a local tradition. 

An antique shop (which is currently for sale).

Outside the local tack and saddlery shop.

Part of the walking/biking trail that runs for miles through the county.  This used to be more railroad tracks.

Where do you live?  Small town, suburbs, big city?

~I'd like to thank everyone for the get well wishes.  After taking a week to relax and recover, I'm feeling much better!~



Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

First, I love the pictures, so gorgeous!

Second- We live inbetween. We are definitely near the country, but not quite suburbs. The nearest real city is about an hours drive away; the biggest city in our county is not very big but it has a university. I'm confusing myself here!

What I'm getting at, I should just post pics! I will say, the actual town we live in is 1.3 square miles "big."

Liz in Virginia said...

Welcome back to you, too!

I love small towns -- yours looks perfect to me. And it appears to be thriving -- unlike my family's town in Oklahoma. Don't you feel lucky to live there?

Meals by Misty said...

After seeing your pictures, I miss living in a small town. I grew up in small town Mississippi and since then have moved to a somewhat large city in Alabama. Small towns have their perks, for sure. For some reason I can't get the Cheers song out of my head...where everybody knows your name :)

Lissaloo said...

I am so glad you are feeling better, Small Towns are the best! We are now small town people :)
I have an award for you over on my blog :)

5thsister said...

Yea! You're back!

My town is a mix. It's its own town but can be considered a suburb of the ever sprawling Charlotte. It has enough population to be considered a small city. And yet it still has small town charm. They just put up a house in the field behind my house. There are pygmy goats 1/2 mile up the road, along with a local who sells produce and eggs. There are horses up the other way and still a bit of open spaces. I fear that will be going away once the economy and development picks back up.

ChristineM said...

Great photos! That's the type of area I'd love to live in...

I live in a town of about 15,000, but my house is 1/4 mile from the second largest city in New England (although, you'd never think it was that big...) The northern part of my town is very rural - farms, woods, conservation land, while I'm in a more residential area. We have a nice town center, though not as charming as some of the other New England towns. I grew up in a mill town - the whole town sprung up around one giant mill/factory complex. We had one convenience store and one gas station...everything else you had to travel a couple miles for! And finally, where I was born - typical New England farm/mill town, charming architecture and main street, lots of open space, farms, woods...if I had my choice, I'd be living there now!

Love the fire station mural!! (of course, I have a thing for all things firefighter related...)

Purple Flowers said...

I live on the outskirts of a small city, yet it's suburbia. We get deer and fox running around. There's lots of beautiful old trees that reach up to the sky (they've been there for years). I like it here. It's a healthy walk into town. I think there's too many restaurants. I like the other small town we're sandwiched between. It's a college town, and I love the atmosphere and shops.

Glad you are up to your young self!

Heidi said...

Your small town's huge compared to mine!! The whole town is 2 blocks by 6 blocks. I live on Main Street and the part I live on is gravel and I have a field 10 foot behind my house. I wish my small town had all the good stuff yours did. Your's is adorable.

Raoulysgirl said...

Beautiful pics! town doesn't even HAVE a "Main Street." We have "the square" which is home to the Courthouse, a few small stores, a couple of lawyers offices and a bank. However, we are a 5A school and just outside of "THE LAKE" which I believe I've told you about.

I don't mind. I like the quiet. It's not a long drive to go to the movies, the mall, etc. It IS absolutely CRAZY in the summer when the tourists flock in, but I'm used to it.

However, I would gladly move to your town...beautiful!!!

Matty said...

Your town looks very appealing. I prefer that atmosphere and way of life. The quiet, serene, laid back style is for me.

I would say our area is somewhere in between. We have rural country areas, with a mix of suburb scenes. Shopping isn't too close, but not real far either. We have farmland, and shopping centers. A bit of a mix.

Chicago Mom said...

I had to look at your profile to remind myself where you live. For some reason I thought you were in the Northeast with Christine from Marvelously Mundane. Oops!

I was raised in the suburbs, but live inside the city limits of Chicago now. We are definitely not downtown, but it is much more 'crowded' here. Everything is a stone's throw away and public transportation is easy to access, as are all the highways. But we are lucky because at the end of our block is a huge park district park with the north branch of the Chicago River running through it and wetlands and a pond. (We dream of retiring in the country.) Love your pictures!

kys said...

I'm glad you're feeling better! I live in the suburbs of a small town. Does that even make sense?

Great pictures.

Donna-FFW said...

I so so so enjoyed your pictures. Your town is charming. It must be wonderful to live there.

I live in a suburb in NJ. I love the convenience of being close to everything but still small enough to be called a town if that makes sense.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hi Willoughby, Glad you are feeling better.

I grew up in a small town that looks about as small as yours. But I never saw a "Hit a deer, fix it here" sign so you're might be smaller. (That's a hoot!)

Now I live in way (too) big Los Angeles with no sense of community or any of the small town flavors and sights. I miss living in a small town.

Thanks for sharing yours. It made my day.

Rook No. 17 said...

It looks absolutely lovely! The farm fresh eggs, the farmers' market, the antique store...I'm sold!

I love the small town where I live. It's a quaint Victorian seaside town in Central California. It has small town charm, but has a lot of art, culture, and wonderful restaurants. If we crave the city, San Fran is just 1.5 hours away. I love being able to walk everywhere know nearly everyone I pass when walking down the street.

P.S. I have an award for you at Rook No. 17

Holly said...

I want to live there! Your town looks perfect!

When I lived in So California, I lived in the perfect small town...16,000 people, 1 square mile of residence, the perfect Main Street, and secluded from the big bad city of L.A. but within an easy traffic-filled drive.

I know live on a peninsula of about 60,000. Our town is about 16,000. The big cities are at least an hour to two hours away. It is a weird place, I cannot even describe it.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

I just about melted when I saw these photographs..I LOVE anything FARM....I LOVE LOVE LOVE these pictures...they just make me HAPPY....

thanks for sharing them.....

I'll check back later...

p.s. I live in a smal city..San Luis Obispo, California on the Central Coast.

elvira pajarola said...

Wonderful, dear are feeling better!!!!!!

.....and I live ...can I say a place like in a fairytale...: on top of a hill, inmiddle of a protectet natural parc....close to the mediterranean sea..a few miles away...only a three minute drive to the next 400 soul-fairytale-little- village....and 1 hour and a half from Siena, Florence, 40 minutes from Volterra and so on...!
what shall I say . COME, JUMP in a PLANE and VISIT me...!
I'd LOVE it !!!!

Have a beautiful day

abby jenkins said...

Oh my heart aches to live in a small town again.
I am back in the major suburbs, about 45 minutes north of NYC, where I grew up and spent most of my years.

I did live in a small town in Vermont, Southern VT, where everyone knew your name, The gal at the post office would give Cheddar cookies and ask how the show was going. Yes I could bring my dog in the post office. My favorite memory of moving up there was the first time someone gave me their was just 4 digits. The last 4 digits as everyone has the same exchange. I thought that was cool.

But alas, my true love was down here, his business is down here, my industry is concentrated in NYC so....when we started dating I knew it was inevitable. We are putting my house "Silver Lining Farm" back on the market. So if there is anyone out there who is looking for a small town home sweet home, let me know.

That being said, Jeff and I want a more rural life. Our time frame (he is big into time frames) is that we will move to a place with more land in the next 18 months. I want chickens and goats and a HUGE veggie garden. More land=more rural. Yeah!

If I had a veggie garden and chickens and we lived in the same town I would have made you homemade chicken soup and brought it over. Left it on your milk box :^D Glad you are felling better!

abby jenkins said...

wow, that is certainly my longest comment ever! Guess that needs to be a post!

Cameron said...

ok, that is a small town!!!! i thought I grew up in a small town but you got me beat. Still, I think there is nothing like that type of upbringing....
new to your blog, will be following!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Thank you for stopping by and leaving such kind comments...


My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Your blog is lovely and I am following too......


Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

Oh, your town is so pretty :) According to the sign that greets me as I drive into my neighborhood each day, I live in an "urban seaside village." But I grew up on 5 and 1/4 acres out in the country and some days I just want to return....

BashfulToast said...

I didn't realize how pretty out town actually is. And I had no clue we had a place that sold saddles. lol

Christine Forest, M.D. said...

Your small town looks very pictoresque. I live in Los Angeles, in the heart of it. I love it more than I hate it, since I haven't been tempted to move anywhere else. It is exciting living here although sometimes I feel I had it with the super congested traffic and the driver's egos who think they are all part of the Nascar.

Kathy said...

Well, I think I can beat you! When we lived in Maine, it had only one Main Street and no stop lights. There was a movie theatre above the grocery store but it was very old. There was actually a piano in it for music at silent films! Also, food and drink were not allowed and you had to eat and drink the food they sold to us in the lobby!

Over the 9 years that we lived there we did witness the installation of a traffic lightonly because McDonald's moved in and created a *traffic situation*!

Graceful said...

Love the picture of the sign that says "Hit a deer? Fix it here!" It made me laugh...and it's not even 7 a.m.!

I used to work in New York City and lived in Westchester County; now I live in a mid-sized city in Nebraska. And I have to say, I am much better suited for Nebraska life, though the idea of moving here 8 years ago scared the daylights out of me!

Deidra said...

Thanks for the tour of your town! I live in a cross between a small city and a big town. It's the capital city of our state, but not the biggest one. Lots of small town quaintness.

prashant said...

I love small towns -- yours looks perfect to me

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The girl with the flour in her hair said...

Great pictures! Your town actually looks like a thriving metropolis compared to where I live! We have one stop light, but there is talk of another! Woo hoo! We're going big time! It would take about 3 minutes to walk from one end of main street to the other. And that's at a nice leisurely pace... :)