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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Small-Town Joys

So here I am in the middle of nowhere. Really. What I would generally consider a small town would be a big town in comparison to this. The big town in the environs boasts about 1,000 inhabitants. Just to give you a frame of reference and let you know: I’m not making this up.

It’s an area where everyone says hello to everyone else. You never know: you might be related, or the friend-of-a-friend who went to school or church with a different friend.

The closest hotels are miles down the road. Most of our team is staying at an environmental research station full of bunkrooms and boats, charts of tides and posters of ecosystems.

In my daily encounters, I bump into a few of the small-town charms and try to snap a pic or two:

There’s a Town Hall the size of a doll house. Kind of hard to get into zoning battles or environmental pushing and pulling when maybe only the mayor can fit into the building big enough to house possibly one table and one chair!

From what I have heard, a lot of the “business” of the community is carried out by folks in Wellington boots or waders, walking the expanse of their hundreds of acres. Or, somebody throws a dinner at their spread, inviting 20 or 30 “neighbors”— consensus-building at its finest.  Local fishermen will soon enjoy the annual “blessing of the worms” prayer.

There’s homemade chicken and dumpling soup at the local diner, or meatloaf, or drum fish accompanied by collard greens or breaded and fried green beans. Nothing like turning a healthy dish into a teeming-with-fat free-for-all. But the young waitresses have been taught how to smile and keep the coffee coming. The patrons on the stools at the counter or in the booths nod and say, “How y’all doin’?”

Comfort food with a good dose of friendliness will never go out of style.

There’s a train station from long ago. I haven’t heard any train wheels or whistles in the middle of the night, nor in the day, so I believe that all service has been suspended. Each tiny town appears to have inherited a caboose or an engine or some other train car from their historic past.

There are cars here and there from the train. This may explain lots of the demise going on. About 50% of the historic homes, from tiny farm workers’ bungalows to large plantation homes, appear to be in ruin and decay. Motels from the 1930s to 1950s have been abandoned. Now I realize: the train is not bringing in the tourists any longer. The small, coastal towns offer schools and churches for sale, the biggest businesses on back roads seem to be modest medical centers, with dentistry offices still in doctors’ homes.

There are horses running in a foggy field of flowers. They see me slow and turn to look— a carrot, perchance? Life in a small town gives way to life in the country on their periphery.

It doesn’t get much better than that, even for those of us visiting from the city.


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