Small towns are great.
When I was in Bar Harbor, Maine last spring (population 31,437) my car battery died. It was my fault. I ran my computer on the DC outlet in my car for too long without running the engine. I have a membership for CAA (AAA in the US) but I didn’t have my card on me and I didn’t know the phone number.
How it worked…
So I walked down the street to a local gas station. Here’s the sequence of events that followed…
- I asked the woman at the desk for the AAA number and if I could use the phone.
- She yelled to the owner at the back telling him what I needed.
- A guy standing off to the side with his girlfriend stepped up to say that he does most of the AAA calls in the area.
- He pulled out two cell phones. He used one to dial AAA for me and told the woman the situation and put me on. She confirmed who I was, checked the database and got my number.
- In the meanwhile, he used his other phone to call his boss to tell him that he had a job coming in.
- I passed the phone I had back to the guy and the AAA woman gave him an order number.
- He gave the order number to his boss using the other phone.
- We walked the block back to my car, he went around the corner to his house, picked up a portable battery booster and boosted my car.
- Problem solved.
You can’t beat that!
Yes, small towns are great. Here are a few more reasons to travel solo, off the beaten path, and enjoy small towns.
- The pace is slower. It’s extraordinary how much of a difference this makes. The energy of a small town is quite different than that of a big city and it’s good for the soul. It’s relaxing. It’s a time to reclaim your personal rhythm without the imposition of a city rhythm.
- Easy to get around. It’s easy to learn the lay of the land of a small town and they are usually very walkable making everything accessible in a healthy way.
- The people are friendly – get the history. Go into the local greasy spoon or coffee shop and you can meet locals, learn the local history and find out what home-grown entertainment is happening while you’re there.
- Enjoy local events. Whether it’s a pancake breakfast, a harvest festival or the annual rodeo, small towns have events that are not on the scale of city events — and that’s a good thing.
- Easy to get out of town. Because the town is small, outside the town is close making it easy to go hiking, fishing or swimming — whatever is near by.
- Slip into the local culture. Local vendors, whether at the market or a store, are great for sharing the best local restaurants or letting you know if there is a local specialty food.
- Get adopted. Everyone in a small town knows everyone else. You, the traveler, will stand out. And, by standing out, being friendly and curious, you could be adopted by locals, treated to a beer or whatever is on offer.
Big cities are great but for the cost and the comfort, you can’t beat a small town.