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living in a small town

December 2, 2010

Yesterday marked eight months of living here; with some time to kill in between the Care Center and going to church supper, we happened upon the most wonderful coffee shop we’ve evereverever been in, ‘Two Doors Down’. A building built in 1912, that used to house the town doctor’s business upstairs, it meandered back and forth with rooms whose walls were filled with books for the borrowing, chairs tucked into corners in pairs or solo. Someone playing an old upright, and eventually a group gathered and sang Christmas carols. Antiques and funky stuff, our eyes had a feast. What a delight! What future delights!

How easy it is to write off a small town as having little or nothing to offer.

Our town of 25,000 is stand alone. it doesn’t bump up next to another one; what you see is what you get. The closest Target is over an hour’s drive away. So is Olive Garden. Joann Fabric is two hours away.  You don’t even want to plan to drive to Starbucks for a latte! All the stores I thought I couldn’t live without when we moved from Pennsylvania.

Instead of Olive Garden, we discovered Napoli’s, an Italian restaurant tucked on a brick paved side street of downtown. Run by a family who moved here from Sicily, atmosphere oozes. We never have to wait, lights are always dimmed, they have a salad to die for, the wine is not expensive and the chicken parmesan is fabulous. Who needs Olive Garden? We’ll take all our out of town visitors to Napoli’s.

A few blocks over is Elaine’s fabric shop, filled with beautiful quilting fabric, patterns, notions, and great conversation with Elaine when I stop in. She was the first girl talk I had after moving here, a fresh well when I felt like I was living in a dry desert land. Elaine is a bit of a purist – her shop sells fabrics, not seasonal decor and trinkets. I like that. Elaine hires out to sew wedding and christening gowns. The last time I had fabric cut at Walmart it was by a man who told me he normally works in the hardware area! I started sewing when I was all of seven, so I love buying fabric from a seamstress who can answer my questions.

Jerry and Gay run The Ark, a sweet little Christian bookstore. Their shelves are not loaded for bear, but they have the essentials, and they’ll order in anything I need. They’re PA natives so we have conversations about cloudy days and snow and summers that don’t hit 90 degrees.

The Palace theater and The Warehouse offer live entertainment in quaint settings that speak of decades of past events. After we saw ‘Hello Dolly’ there a few weeks ago, the entire cast came outside and greeted the audience.

Driving down Main Street jars the car a bit as the streets are all brick-lined, but the beautiful, old Christmas decorations hanging across the intersections are more than enough pay-back. The antique stores scattered up and down the street, beautiful gift shops, funky diners that still serve malts to customers who lean over the counter, perched on red vinyl stools – downtown is bustin’ at the seams with wonderful offerings. After spending some time in ‘Two Doors Down’ we vowed to come back once a month, beginning in January, for a day of discovering our small town.

How about your town? Big or small, there are probably quaint little shops with interesting people who’d love to chat. I have never seen an Olive Garden or Target or Joanns close their doors due to lack of business. We’re going to do our part to be sure Two Doors Down and Napolis and The Ark and Elaine’s are alive and well, tucked into the brick-lined side streets of our small town.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Jackie permalink
    December 2, 2010 9:23 am

    Sounds absolutely heavenly. I currently live in Virgina and would kill (well maybe not kill) to live in a small town with your atmosphere. Enjoy

  2. Jana permalink
    December 2, 2010 9:49 am

    Your post reminds me of the town we lived in when I was a little girl. Enjoy your new small town life.

  3. December 2, 2010 10:00 am

    And I can’t wait to visit you and see this little town.
    Sounds like a “walk back in time.” Sorta like going to Juliette, and eating at The Whistle Stop Cafe.
    Hubert is talking about coming in a few months.
    Get ready!!

  4. December 2, 2010 11:20 am

    Oh my, it looks like a “lovely” little town! Sounds like we both made GOOD choices……Our local town is a very small mountain town with the essentials grocery story, day spa and restaurant!!! Then 15 minutes away is a “little” larger town with a Walmart, art galleries and more services……… I love it here too and can’t wait for you to come visit.

  5. December 2, 2010 11:32 am

    What an adorable town… So quaint and charming.

  6. mary jo permalink
    December 2, 2010 1:24 pm

    Your town sounds lovely. It’s the kind of town I dream of living in someday…thanks for sharing.

  7. December 2, 2010 1:36 pm

    Sounds like heaven to me! Maybe on your monthly explorations of your town you will share more pictures? I’m thrilled to hear of a small town that hasn’t been gobbled up by fast food restaurants and chain department stores.. what a great place you chose to retire to.

  8. December 2, 2010 7:48 pm

    I was just thinking that when you said it … how nice it is to support the local businesses and not have to shop in the big box stores or eat in the chain restaurants. That is wonderful. And you are enjoying more and more of your retirement. Perfect!

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