The siren song of small towns

Have you ever gone to a small town for a weekend getaway and thought about moving there? If you’re coming from a large city, some things look instantly appealing: lower house prices, relatively little traffic, and plenty of what seem like friendly folks. You think about how your life would change, how things would be better, and how you would be better if you just had the guts to move.

I’ve had these pulls for a long time. When I was a child and The Andy Griffith Show was on prime time, I dug out a map of North Carolina and tried to find Mayberry. In Tennessee, at a much later age and at various times, I’ve thought about moving to Greeneville, Leipers Fork, Cumberland Gap, and Sewanee.


This past weekend, TennesseeWife and I took an Amtrak train (that’s another story) to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, a town along the Colorado River. We have been there several times, and always eat breakfast in the Glenwood Cafe. The breakfast there is good, but it’s not all that hard to serve up a good breakfast. What makes this place is the staff, genuinely friendly people who make customers–out of towners or locals–feel welcome. They kid each other and appear to be having a wonderful time.

We walk around and look at buildings for rent and think about opening a gallery, maybe a restaurant–Glenwood Springs needs a good barbecue place–and ponder how things would be different if we moved here. The only people I know who have actually done something like this are Anne and Bob Scruggs in Bell Buckle. They bought a 19th Century row of stores, put in some interesting shops, and put Bell Buckle on the map.

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