I grew up in a town of 2,000 people in rural Minnesota. My hometown has one stoplight, three bars, one grocery store, and 10 churches. Cheryl Strayed and I interned at the same tiny newspaper (about a decade apart, obviously) and my high school mascot is a turkey. (Yes, really.)
These days I live in the Twin Cities, which has a population of 3.2 million when you include suburbs. I know that rush hour starts at 3:00 pm, I know which neighborhoods to avoid at night, and I know which bars serve delicious $12 cocktails.
In fact, I really think you should use some of that vacation time renting a cabin somewhere in the country. Here’s why:
You will immediately feel one million times calmer
You will see the stars at night and hear the birds in the morning. You won’t sit in traffic. You can wear those Adidas sandals from 1999 and no one will judge you. The air will smell like lake/grass/skunk and you will love it. There might not be wifi and for this you will thank the stars above (the ones that you can see because there’s no light pollution.)
Everything costs one dollar
Okay, not one dollar but in my hometown you can order a round of drinks and a bag of peanuts for $9. At the golf course, the most expensive steak dinner on the menu is $15. Motel rooms are $45.
The people are insanely nice
Want to chat with your waitress for 15 minutes about the weather? It’s happening. Want to know where there’s a good swimming beach? The guy at the gas station will probably tell you five fantastic swimming beaches. Strangers will help you when they see you struggling with, well, anything.
You're supporting an economy that needs it
Many rural communities are struggling financially. There are very few high paying jobs in small towns, so many young people move to the city and the little towns are slowly drained of their most promising citizens. When you visit small towns and shop at small, independent businesses, you're supporting the entire community.
What fun things can you do in the country?
Canoe around a lake * paw through awesome, not-picked-over, totally underpriced thrift and antique stores * ride your bike on a gravel road * buy produce from a roadside stand * go to a county fair * sit on a porch and drink something cold * cook something over a fire * pick wildflowers * spot wildlife, nudge your friend and yell ‘looooook!” * read a book on a dock * enjoy a diner breakfast with pancakes and bottomless coffee * listen to loon calls * two words: tire swing
Do you live in a small town? Would you ever vacation in one?