Little Cities

Sometimes I feel like big cities get all the love. All the travel guides, the focus on television shows, the tourist websites.

In Boston, we lived just south of the city and there were wonderful things about our little city. And yet, in most guidebooks, it merited just a page or two, out of hundreds. No mention at all of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had.

Now we live in a little suburb of Austin, and I spend a lot of time thinking about how wonderful a place it is to live.

An event on Main Street last fall

I love our library, the many beautiful parks, the excellent restaurants, and the friendly community. We don’t need to go into Austin to have a pleasant afternoon or a fun evening; our city, though far smaller and less well-known than Austin, makes me just so happy.

One of the things I love about our city is a little Indian grocery store and restaurant a few miles from our house. It’s inexpensive (Bart and I can both eat for a total of $10), the man who runs it with his wife is delightful, and it’s some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had. The naan bread makes my heart sing.

Tell me about your own little cities or towns. What do you love there that makes you not care that you don’t live in downtown NYC?

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  1. I live in a decent-sized city these days, but I used to live in Rochester, NY and that was a very nice little city. It had so many festivals – food festivals, art festivals, a lilac festival – that made it seem like a really celebratory place. And it's home to the BEST grocery store in the US – Wegmans.

    One of the other good things about it was that you could drive for 10 minutes and be in the middle of the beautiful New York countryside. Farms and rolling hills and beautiful trees. It was a very nice place to live.

  2. I live near Detroit. It often feels like a "little city" because there are very few areas suitable for wandering about. Detroit isn't nearly as dangerous as it is made out to be in the news, but you do have to be sensible when you go.

    We also depend a lot on our 1-3 block Main Street areas of Royal Oak, Ferndale, and Birmingham.

    We love our little eateries, the affordable prices, and the diverse culture you find in our little melting pot.

    I'd rather be able to walk around with ease, park with ease, and afford my city than be in downtown NYC any day. 🙂

  3. Texas has always interested me, probably because I've yet to visit. Someday!

    I'm right with Kaitlyn on this one, maybe because we are both proud midwestern girls? 🙂

    Minneapolis is affordable (relatively), easy to navigate, safe, beautiful and #1 for Fortune 500 companies 🙂

    We have long winters, that's true. But, if you dress accordingly and find hobbies and a gym you'll be fine. Our spring, summer and fall makes up for it ten fold.

    I love that I can walk to a co-op, pay less than $1,000 for rent in a nice, 1 bedroom apt and still afford to go out and enjoy the city with my friends.

    I love that my city is safe. People watch out for each other. Ever get a flat tire in MN? Six people will pull over to help… er DO the job for you.

    People here go to church, but they're not "close minded" or hateful. In my city it's easy to love the Lord and still love and care for all of His children.

    Can you tell I'm kind of passionate about Minnesota?

  4. That's what I love about Provo. So much culture packed into a tiny town. Don't want to live here forever, but we are enjoying it for the next while until we move!

  5. I gotta admit that my heart sort of belongs in New York City, but, that said, we are in love with Palo Alto. Our library is also fabulous, there is a definite vibe different from the other neighboring little cities, and the downtown is so alive and quaint. When Steve Jobs died, his home and our local Apple Store were covered in stuffed animals (most of them Pixar) and flowers and notes. Not to mention having Stanford down the road gives it that wonderful college town feeling, which is especially great when football season starts. And then of course there is the perfect weather, which is surprisingly markedly different even from SF. When we first moved here, I thought for sure that I would want to get out quickly and either move 40 minutes up the road to San Francisco, or find a way to move back easy again, preferably to New York. And while I wouldn't mind living in NYC, I can honestly say I would prefer Palo Alto. We love it here. I'm glad that Jack gets his first few years here – maybe even to Kindergarten.

  6. Well, since I live right in Washington, DC, and the suburbs scare me a bit, I can't say too much here!

    Though yesterday, we went to a pumpkin patch and farm about an hour outside of DC, and I told Steve that we should move there and live on a farm!

  7. I love the crazy mushroom culture, lack of chain stores, and really really good food and ice cream in Kennett Square. I also love how the town will close off a street for any excuse to have a parade.

  8. I love, love, LOVE the seasons in Colorado (and seriously missed them when we lived in Texas.) But there are 2 things about where we live now in particular that make me love it.

    1) I grew up here, so I know where EVERYTHING is. I'm not a big fan of learning my way around new places because I hate to be lost.

    2) My parents and one of my siblings (plus his wife & son) live here. I didn't realized how much I missed being near my family until we were back. And since my parents live here my other siblings all visit often and I get to see them too!

  9. I think that the best way to enjoy a little city is to have it be close to a big city. I live in a very small town right now, and I am not enjoying it as much as I want to because it doesn't have the influence of a big city.

  10. Hmmm. I live in a very, very small "city". The good things are: the beautiful scenery; closeness to rivers, mountains, and farms; it is a fairly safe place to live; we know so many people; my husband has an established business. Culture here consists of school sports, the annual rodeo and parade, and occasional pretty bad concerts in the park. (We avoid school sports and the rodeo. We cannot avoid the concerts unless we leave our house.) The restaurants serve okay meals, but they're nothing to brag about. You've already heard me complain about the library. (I guess we are lucky to even have one.) There are two grocery stores and a discount store and a few other shops, but no shopping as such. It is a minimum four hour trip to Spokane, Boise, or Missoula. (I have a love/hate relationship with this place.)

  11. I live in Hernando, MS and alwasy brag about the charm it has. It is more of a town than a city. It has all the small town charm but it only 20 minutes from Memphis so we get to enjoy all that a large city has to offer…but leave it all to come home to out safe little bubble.

    We have an adorable town square where lots of craft fairs and festivals happen. On one corner of the square is a fantastic library. For the size of our town we are really lucky to have such a great library. The square is also home to cute little boutiques and local eateries.

    Our Fall and Spring are amazing!!! sooo lovely…our Summer however it pure torture. Such brutal heat…that is my main complaint…and that many bugs like to live here (and the rest of the South).

    Ilove that I can drive 3 hours in any direction and be somewhere cool…Nashville, St. Louis, Little Rock,Jackson(semi-cool).

    The schools are fantastic. We have 4 really great parks to choose from.

    Soo…obviously I love it. The city staff keeps the place clean and crime at bay. I would love to find this same town…only north to avoid such torturous summers:)

  12. I honestly never care that I don't live in NYC! 😉 But, I have to say that what I love most about my little city is the library. And not even because I work there…I said the same thing before! I also like that we have a ton of green space in parks and sports fields. And lots of trees. And hiking that's 5 minutes away!

  13. We live in a cute little town just outside of DC and I love it. We're close enough that we can go in and experience DC and it's events whenever we want, but we don't have to worry about the yuckiness that can also come with DC.

    We also have a fantastic library, historic downtown, and a bunch of amazing historic sites (that barely get a page mention in guide books) right here. I love it.

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