Well, our first 6 months in our small town (population 2500) is behind us. The Irishman and I were talking about the pros and cons of small town life and we came up with the following list.
1. You never have to wait. Not in traffic, not at the doctor’s office, not to get into a movie on opening night and not even to make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned. It’s amazing – whatever services you need, you get right away. For a South Floridian who used to dread driving to the grocery store because it was guaranteed to be a 1 hour trip, this is phenomenal.
2. The quality of service is great. When we first made an appointment to see our local dentist, I was imagining something a kin to the dentist’s office that I visited in Greece (a story to be told at another time) – small, older, etc… Imagine my surprise when I saw that the facility here had more sophisticated machinery and tools than our dentist in Tallahassee. That’s consistently been what we’ve found here. Similarly, our pharmacist knows who we are and is amazingly helpful. I’m used to just being a nameless person waiting in line to pick up a prescription.
3. When you support local businesses, you know exactly who you’re supporting. In a community this size, you become friends with small business owners and there’s a whole network of support out there to keep their little businesses up and running. I feel invested in this community and try my best to buy locally whenever possible.
4. Because there isn’t a lot to do here, we spend a lot of time at parks, playgrounds and driving around to visit neighboring towns. Also, the university hosts a ton of events – from plays to sporting events, there isn’t a lack of options if you look.
5. People go out of their way to help you. We buy an organic dog food that is supplied by the boarding facility that we use (also a top notch facility). If we can’t make it out to them to pick it up, they are more than happy to drop it off at our house and bill us later. Isn’t that amazing?!
1. Everything you want isn’t available locally. For example, I went to every supermarket in town and I could not find red curry paste or coconut milk. In one place, they didn’t even know what I was talking about. I finally found it at a tiny market that specializes in organic and ethnic canned goods.
2. Similarly, we don’t have a mall, or even a department store. The closest Best Buy or Office Depot is 15 miles away and our only large retailer here is Wal-Mart. As a plus, this means that I don’t spend nearly as much money on a regular basis as I did in Tallahassee.
3. A lot of the locals have never lived anywhere but here. While I’m not prone to making sweeping generalizations, there is much less cultural diversity here than what I’m used to. Fortunately, Asheville is less than an hour away and is quite diverse and culturally-oriented.
4. We’re at least an hour away from even the smallest airport and 2.5 hours away from an international airport (Atlanta or Charlotte). Honestly, this isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s something to consider if you’re planning to catch a morning flight.
5. This hasn’t happened to us yet, but in the event that you have a disagreement with someone or you don’t want to run in the same circles as someone, it’s sometimes hard to avoid them. For a hermit like me, that isn’t really a big deal since I’d rather be left alone anyway, but the rest of my social family may have an issue with this.
Overall, I’m loving small town life, but that’s mainly because I don’t much care for a lot of human interaction. The scenery is gorgeous and I love driving, so I don’t mind going to Asheville for groceries or Atlanta for flights. Our 4 month old Subaru, however, DOES mind since we’ve already put 9000 miles on the car! Oh well, good thing we bought and didn’t lease. Now, please excuse me while I look into purchasing an extended warranty…which will require a trip into Asheville.