Monday, October 08, 2007

Small-town life

After spending three days in and around Shepherdstown, WV, I've decided I could adjust to small-town life, provided it's the right small town. Shepherdstown would do quite nicely.

It has a small liberal arts university there, Shepherds University, which draws academics and scholars to it. Saturday was homecoming for the University, so the town was filled with students and alum and parents. We missed seeing the homecoming parade by about half an hour, but we saw the stadium filled with fans. Shepherds won.

It's close enough to DC that some residents commute to the city. It has a thriving downtown filled with small shops and restaurants and gallerys. Plus the buildings and architecture and scenery are beautiful. And there's not a Walmart in sight.

It's also the kind of town where everyone seems to know everyone because all the residents care about the town and are involved in activities and foundations and volunteer groups.

The history of Shepherdstown is fascinating. It's the oldest town in W. Virginia, and many of the buildings predate the formation of the United States. It's a few miles down the road from Antietem, and after the battle there, thousands of injured and dying soldiers ended up in Shepherdstown. The first steam-powered ferry operated there, years before Fulton started his ferry service in New York.

I could quite easily settle in there and live happily. I think the kids would love it there, too. Every day I'd see five or six things that would make me say, "The girls would just love this!" When I mentioned to Ella that there were lots of places that she could have gone bouldering, her eyes lit up. Lily would have a grand time just marching around the downtown looking in windows and dancing to the musicians playing on the town square. And they would both love the little library and the sweet librarian, who seems to be keeper of all information relating to the town and its activities. The only one who would need convincing would be B, who is a Texan born and bred and who thinks Austin is the only place to live.

But I bet that if I could get him to sit on the back deck at Jean's, listening to crickets and watching the Potomac going by, I could convince him to move.

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