I am from a small town and proud of it! When I graduated from high school all I wanted to do was “get out” and move to the big city, which I did. I have lived in Seattle ever since and I love it. But I sometimes yearn for the goodness of small towns which can be hard to find in the big city. Especially now that I am a parent of a young child. Life is slower, friendlier, easier there. It’s just different….
This past weekend we made our annual fall journey south to Hood River, Oregon. Actually we stayed across the river with dear, old friends in White Salmon, Washington, a town so small that we refer to it by its sister city’s name – Hood River – the big, small town directly across the Columbia River. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place and it’s always hard to leave. We are already planning our winter ski trip down there.
Everyone knows your name.
It was so fun to walk around town with my good friend, Glacier, a local boutique owner. She knows everyone and everyone knows her name. I even ran into someone who knew my name and I don’t even live there. I love that! It reminds me of growing up in a small town. I don’t get this much in Seattle. It’s a pretty big deal to run into someone you know in the big city. In a small town, it’s a way of life.
Kids can run free.
Growing up, I spent all of my time outside, running with the boys, building forts, riding bikes, doing kid stuff! It was so fun to let Sofia run free outside this weekend. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous when the girls were out of sight, running free in the big, open yard because I never take an eye off of her in the city. I think she really enjoyed the freedom and getting a taste of small town life too. It was probably good for me to let her explore on her own without my watchful eye.
The local coffee shop is king.
It is the hub of town. Growing up in Olympia, it was Batdorf & Bronson. In Hood River, it’s Doppio Coffee & Lounge. It’s friendly, welcoming, laid back, clean (very important), cool, warm, hip, colorful. All the things a good coffee shop should be. I have no idea how the coffee tastes – I prefer tea these days. But they go above and beyond to make the experience special from the cute writing on my cup to exquisite teas (my fav is Harney and Sons Paris) to a relaxing environment, outfitted with a variety of current magazines and children’s book. Locals ~ young and old ~ were meeting and greeting each other. It has a great vibe and is truly local.
To me, this sign says it all! Three moms took our young kiddos, Genevieve, Chance and Sofia, to a great farm about half way up Mt. Hood on Sunday morning before it “opened.” But not to worry, it’s “always open.” Just help yourself to pears, apples, squash, jams and ciders, and pay, on your honor. I know for sure this is a small town thing. You would never see this in the city! It was so refreshing and gave me faith that human beings can be trusted. I’m sure the owner gets ripped off every once in a while but the message this sends is so positive. I couldn’t stop thinking about it the rest of the weekend.
We ended the long weekend with a hearty, home-cooked lunch at my husband’s aunt and uncle’s house in Hood River. It was yummy, and homey and familiar. Such a great way to end our long weekend.
More small town goodness.
Back in Seattle for less than 24 hours and I’m already missing the small town goodness. So I’m planning to make another voyage south to my favorite small town this week – my hometown of Olympia, Washington! I’m going on Thursday for a holiday open house at Drees – an exquisite gift/home shop where I worked during high school and college – and to have lunch with my best friend from childhood. Oh, small town goodness awaits!!
Check out the other small towns I adore and I think you’ll understand what I’m talking about!
Port Townsend, Washington
Tahoe City, California
Winslow, Bainbridge Island
Do you have a favorite? Please share!