Small Town Living
    -- Welcome home!

Here we explore real small towns, small town living tips, and community activities that can be duplicated almost anywhere.

At Small Town Living -- whether you're:

  • searching for your ideal small town,
  • wondering how to fit into a new one,
  • or wanting to enhance your current one,

...this hub may be for you. Small towns are incubators for great group activities. They're like a patchwork of group activities that overlap to make up the small town.

Please enjoy the articles below on living in small towns.

- My favorite real small town -- Living in the small island town of Anacortes, Washington.

- Dynamics of small town living -- What’s really up with the supposed small town mentality, and how to work it.

- Living in a small town -- The hidden community within the community, how to find it, how to plug in.

- Small town businesses -- From family or friend group home businesses to boosting town economy with rural and local small town tourism.

- Finding local group outings in your own hometown -- The sources we sometimes overlook when living in locations without blaring neon to show us the way.

- Potlucks with a local and/or traditional cuisine "Slow Food" theme

- Hosting old-fashioned barn-raisings but with smaller structures like backyard chicken coops or small greenhouses. This still builds a sense of community and sharing.

- Planning a home food preservation gathering -- Template for a great group gathering for putting up the harvest (even if you don't have your own harvest). Plus resources for food preservation how-tos.

- Block party ideas -- Bring the small town neighborhood together with these fun group activities.

- Rural community spirit and clean energy -- great opportunities await for rural small towns.

- Bicycle tourism -- enjoying many small towns this way -- or using it to help revitalize revenue in your small town.

- Moving to your new small town with young kids -- ways to make the transition smoother.

More thoughts on small town living:

Today, there are new types of people moving to small towns, and these little communities can take on many flavors: When searching for the ideal small town to live in, one can choose amidst progressive, conservative, those that reflect more rugged independence and individualism, artsy and laid back, remote resort towns, towns that contain a balanced mixed cross section of the culture, communities leaning towards certain ethnicities, or instead miniature melting pots or artisan food and eco-agricultural mini mecas -- just to name a few.

Because technology has made home offices so workable -- more people no longer have to “live next to the factory” to have employment. Even if one wants their income to come from the small town itself, small town tourism and agri-tourism have grown so popular that one can also enjoy small town entrepreneurship in ways that cater to out-of-town visitors, and therefore, meet people from all over the world.

The slower pace of smaller communities takes a while to sink in, but when it does, it’s as though time has expanded. Your inner voice has room to speak to and inspire you. And in some ways, small town living is actually faster -- it can take 5 minutes with guaranteed free parking to drive to any destination in town.

Many people feel the pros of small town living outway the cons. One con that some complain about is that it can take longer, for example, for a washing machine or refrigerator repair person to show up. I think in some locations that might be true.

While I have found that in my small town, they’re there within the hour, I’ve also found that if my refrigerator isn’t working or my washing machine does need to wait over the weekend for repair, local community is happy to be there to bring a casserole for dinner while our refrigerator is out, and will offer their own washing machines or at least keep you company if you want while you do laundry at the local laundromat, sharing any quarters they have at the moment, and not expecting you to pay them back. What goes around comes around, and they know the next time, it may be them who needs the helping hand.

There are certainly exceptions -- people who don’t like newbies or are suspicious of different philosophical outlooks or new ways of thinking are everywhere, including some small towns that may be havens for this type of human thinking. Crime can be far lower in small towns unless the town is a very rare exception, and that can usually be noted just by the condition of the main street and the lack of vibrancy of the businesses. Be thoughtful if you have a choice of which small town to make your own. But friendly ones that may be a perfect fit for you are more available now than they once were.

Another con that some complain about is that while it’s great for many people in town to know you and care for you, you also have to behave properly at all times. I do believe that if you’re looking for a great place to commit robbery, arson, rape, drug dealing, and car theft, you’ll probably get caught easier in a small town.

However, after having lived in a small town for more than a quarter of a century after living in a bigger city for the previous quarter century, I found something magical about human nature that I never would have known without long-term small town living. I both experienced and saw people I knew go through negative, difficult situations -- mid-life crisis, divorce, teens making bad choices, failing at businesses and so on. At first, it’s easy for us all to take sides or judge or shake our heads (or have that happen back at us).

But what happened instead was that the majority empathized. As we watched each other be imperfect and emerge out of those issues, and have imperfect things appear to happen to us, we learned to stop feeling judged about being imperfect. Our good or bad fortune is yet another human mechanism that happens to all of us, and the best antidote is to cheer each other on when things are going well, and lend a hand when they appear not to be.

Recently, a local restaurant owner had to close his doors. Mistakes in management choices led to deciding that would be the best thing to do. The town rallied to make his last week in business the best he'd ever had. And if he chooses to return with another endeavor, we'll be cheering him on.

As another example, a mobile barbecue restaurant was planning to relocate to a larger brick and mortar location in town. But their investor backed out last minute. So the town rallied again. We "cash mobbed" them and offered donations. A town baker brought cupcakes for the cash mobbing day. As a result, they were able to open their new restaurant after all.

Not all small towns are rural, edging the countryside, but for those that are, you may also be interested in our Living in the Country hub.

Also, small towns are havens for backyard and small plot local eco-farms. You may also enjoy our sister site:

Center for Micro Eco-Farming.

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See also our hub on micro eco-farming as a stream of income for small town or rural living

Hosting community & tourists on your farm or rural community. Increased farm profit. Enjoyable lifestyle