Simple Life in Treasured Towns

Published: December 21st 2014
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McMansion's AboundMcMansion's AboundMcMansion's Abound

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
Dave's apartmentDave's apartmentDave's apartment

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
Lovely highwaysLovely highwaysLovely highways

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
The Brick HotelThe Brick HotelThe Brick Hotel

Newtown, PA
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.
Coffee Coffee Coffee

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.”

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


All across AmericaAll across America
All across America

Small town welcome
Gourmet PizzaGourmet Pizza
Gourmet Pizza

Newtown, PA
Lovely architectureLovely architecture
Lovely architecture

historic homes

Well cared for homes
A lawyer & chef sharing spaceA lawyer & chef sharing space
A lawyer & chef sharing space

Only in a small town
Cafe Con LecheCafe Con Leche
Cafe Con Leche

Worth a visit
Mara & Merry JoMara & Merry Jo
Mara & Merry Jo

haven't seen each other much in 40 years
Jack, Mara, Dave & Merry JoJack, Mara, Dave & Merry Jo
Jack, Mara, Dave & Merry Jo

Mara is a high school friend

Liberty BellLiberty Bell
Liberty Bell

The beginningThe beginning
The beginning

Snowy day in November
Holiday TreeHoliday Tree
Holiday Tree

Apartment size
The Brick HotelThe Brick Hotel
The Brick Hotel

Hallloween DecorationsHallloween Decorations
Hallloween Decorations

Newtown decorates

23rd December 2014

so right! lol!
The only places I can think of when planning a trip to the US are New York, LA and Vegas baby! (Vegas always precedes baby wherever you're from). I'll be in the US Spring next year. I will start in Vancouver and make my way down to San Diego, California. Thanks for mentioning Sequim and LaConner. I'll include them in my itinerary :)
24th December 2014

Small towns
In a couple of weeks I'll send you a list of other stops along the way for you. Vancouver to San Diego is a wonderful drive.
23rd December 2014

Lovely small, old Newtown!
I'm with you two--I love small towns. The people are often so friendly--smiles and hellos, as you encounter each other on the streets, and they take pride in their town, with the historic markers that you mention. Not only that, you can often walk to the edge of town and be on an earthen trail which I love. How lucky that Dave got to work/live in such a sweet space. You two have carved out a great way to live, get around and see the world!
24th December 2014

Old Newtown
I'm certain you'd love this burg. It is cute. Plenty of great walks nearby. Yes we have been able to use our jobs and to move around the country. We are fortunate.
24th December 2014

I'm one of those.....
..... who never went past New York, DC, LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston. Oh wait, i did like Pensacola in Florida! And the 10 hr train ride from DC to Charlotte. I shd be getting that list from you too!
24th December 2014

I'll put together a list for you any time. Hope you come back to the states soon.
27th December 2014

long live small towns
I agree - its a shame if visitors to US don't get any further than Vegas or Orlando - we loved all the little towns in New England and when I do my house swapping I get to go to places the "normal" tourist doesn't go. Time to plan for 2015 . Where we will be I wonder. XX Lynne
28th December 2014

Small towns
Eager to hear about your 2015 plan and hopefully it will consider some lovely small towns.
26th January 2015

" There's not even an alley to hang out in"
Those were words my kids said when growing up in Colrain, MA ( pop.1,500 or so). To them the 'big town' was Shelburne Falls ( pop. 1,850 or so). Sh. Falls has been used as a back drop to several movies- 'Labor Day' with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin ( a dud of a film), and 'The Judge' with Robert Downey, Jr., and Robert Duval. It showed off the town and the surrounding countryside beautifully- even used the road that went right by my kids' school. I grew up in Boston and now lie in a big city but I loved living in a small town. I miss the hill of Western MA and the wonderful community of strong self reliant men and women. Thanks for giving small towns a shout out. Carolyn
26th January 2015

Small towns
Good hearing from you Carolyn. Smalls towns have a great deal to offer for the right people. I'm more of a city girl who likes to visit them at festive times of the year. Thanks for reading along.
9th March 2015

Small, that´s better
I bet I can find some similarities to some of our country´s small villages, it looks so warm and cosy, nice trip!
9th March 2015

Small towns
Hope you will blog about more of them.

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