I have two homes, one in Southern NH in a town full of big box stores and busy roads, but is very convenient to work in the city of Boston. My other home is in Milton NH which is in northern NH, well northern if your from Boston and don’t ski. A few years ago we bought the second place that was a total steal built in the 1700’s I couldn’t say no to its many charms (and expensive repairs). I used to work from home over 50% of the time and would stay at that house as much as possible. Unfortunately jobs change and I am away more than I would like to be and hope to make this more of a full time home again soon. That being said there is still truly something special about small town living.
The town of Milton is small, about 5,000 residents and has a pretty low-income rate. The town is picturesque with several bodies of water and I am lucky enough to live on one of them. I also happened to have grown up in a small town, albeit one that was much more affluent and clearly I can’t stay away from the charm. I see many of the same ideals between both places. These are the kinds of towns where your vote truly makes a difference. If you’re unhappy show up at a selectmen’s meeting and trust me your voice will be heard. In our town we communicate with each other heavily through Facebook. We have a page for sharing information and a second page for healthy public debate on policies, budgets, lifestyle, etc. It’s really amazing to have all these people jumping in to answer your questions or to help you out when needed.
In the town I grew up in they wanted a playground and in turn we all got a giant lesson in community. The playground was funded by grants, private donations and good old-fashioned hard work. It was all wood and amazing, the people in town donated labor and materials, children over 12 could be in the construction site and help hammer nails and hold wood and smaller children could be dropped off next door to scrub rubber tires and sand boards. We all worked together and in turn built something great, because in small towns the littlest thing can make a huge impact.
Currently a large company wants to build a landfill in my small town. Our ballot this year was 6 pages long with something close to 19 warrant articles. The people in town created presentations, detailed descriptions, attended meetings, asked questions and truly created a hugely informed voter population. Many of the more vocal residents are against this landfill and for good reason, we have so many beautiful natural resources it would be a shame to lose our farming community and summer recreation to this so-called opportunity. But what has really amazed me are the residents and what they are doing to help.One guy drove around for 4 hours putting up signs letting people know which of the 19 warrant articles would ban the dump, two other residents divided the town in half and offered to drive anyone to the polls to vote who needed a ride and everyone has been getting the word out about same day voter registration and what you need to bring to register. No matter how the vote goes next Tuesday it is truly amazing to see everyday citizens stepping up and working so hard to support the town, the town departments and each other.
I’ve never been more grateful for small town living than after what I’ve seen these past few months.
Are you from a small town? Have you had these kinds of experiences? Lets us know.
(Photo: My house in Milton, NH a week after we first bought it in 2012)