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Published: December 21st 2014
A very wealthy neighborhood
October to December 2014
The small town life is disappearing in the States, as more and more people each generation leave for the city life with most not returning. It’s a trend that has seen the total rural population shrink to less than 20 percent of the total population. It’s a shame, as smaller towns can still offer us a glimpse of what a community really looks like. There are many great small towns in America and we had the fortune to live in one for a short time……Newtown, PA. Don’t be confused by the name, Newtown has been around a few years, actually since 1684, when William Penn (yes that famous one) founded this small hamlet just north and east of Philadelphia, which oddly enough is the fifth largest city in America.
As you know we have been doing interim work the past few years, which has allowed us to live in many, really cool locations around the country. When Dave moved to Newtown fall was in the air, the air was brisk, the breezes were blowing, and the leaves were dancing in the wind as they fell to the ground. Fall is always
clean & basic apartments
so vibrant and colorful. Dramatic and subtle changes occur in the environment each day. As we walk or drive the neighborhoods we embraced the rich reds, the muted orange, goldenrod colors, the tans and browns as the leaves began to fade away. A soft rain comes; the winds blow and the trees stand naked in the park and along the highways. In just a few weeks time the look of the countryside had changed greatly and winter was on its way. Thanksgiving weekend brought frosty weather and a shallow coat of white fluffy snow for a few hours. It was lovely.
The few weeks we spent in Newtown, Pennsylvania were enjoyable. We’ve said in the past we believe the best way to get to know a place is to settle in and live there for a few weeks and so we did. Small town America has so much to offer. When Dave and I travel to far away lands our goal is to immerse ourselves the best way we can in the culture. That generally means leaving the cities and tourist destinations to get a feel for day-to-day life in a “normal” area. As we sat in
fall colors are coming
the Starbucks one Saturday morning sipping our Americano and latte (yes, Starbucks is everywhere) we assume we watched about 30% of the towns population stop in for a coffee. It was crowded but the lines moved at a good clip.
A conversation ensued about foreigners who come to the U.S. to visit and never make it past LA, NYC and Vegas baby! All great cities, worth visiting at one time or another but we believe you would have a tainted view of America if that is all you see. There is so much more to this country. The “real” America still off the beaten path in the small towns and villages dotted across the land.
Newtown would be a perfect locale for someone who wanted to experience small town America. The National Historical Society has preserved many buildings and has markers for historical events. Newtown is 25 minutes northeast of Philadelphia and on the edge of Amish Country so a few days in one of our more historical cities followed by some time in Newtown would give you the diversity you might be seeking. Newtown could be explored in two hours or stretched to
a couple of days. Small towns like this go all out decorating for holidays and in support of local sports teams. The downtown area was very cute for Halloween and they have a park you can drive through to see a multitude of Christmas decorations.
Many of the residents commute into the city for work and enjoy the solitude of a small town. Generations live nearby. These towns generally offer a real hardware store and many family run businesses. In America, the box stores and Walmart are always there but you often have more choices and it is very nice. There is a closeness, a freshness and a sense of community.
For a town of 2,500 people it had a surprising number of restaurants and most of them were pretty good. Our three favorites were Café con leche, an Argentinian restaurant, Vecchia Osteria and The Brick Hotel restaurant.
We’ve enjoyed sitting around joking about the city planners naming this town Newtown. We had a series of jokes about the stimulating conversation that must have occurred in the community meeting until we decided to google it and learned the history.
A fine ending
One weekend we did a day trip into Philadelphia to meet up with Mara and Jack Lavoice. Mara and Merry Jo were friends in high school and have only seen each other for a few minutes twice in the past 40 years. It was a lovely brunch and we enjoyed catching up.
Other small towns across the country that we might recommend you check out are Sequim Washington, LaConner Washington, Cheraw South Carolina, and Langtry Texas. If you are traveling the U.S. we can provide you a much longer list if you are interested.
Composer Burt Bacharach might have said it best. “A small town is a place where there’s no place to go where you shouldn’t.”
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