In a society where bigger is usually considered better, ones decision to live in a small, rural town is generally met with societys confusion and trepidation. In order to make the decision to raise a family in small town, America, or whether to spend the twilight years retiring to one, there are several advantages and disadvantages to consider.
When evaluating the pros and cons of rural living, the obvious number one advantage is the natural beauty of less populated areas. In addition to fresh, crisp air, there is an abundance of green space, plenty of safe places to enjoy with the children and peace and quiet here in East Tennessee.
Another advantage is less traffic, thus less hustle and bustle. No traffic jams, nor freeways, nor bypasses. Although there is an occasional speeder or sightseer, Johnson County roads and streets are pretty safe, thus, there are fewer accidents than that reported in large, metropolitan areas.
Theres a character and an atmosphere of charm that develops when a community is small enough to become intimate and know each other. When someone becomes ill the entire community quickly jumps in to help the family. When someone dies the community quickly comes to the aid of the grieving family proving community spirit is alive and strong!
Raising children in small, close-knit towns is ideal for most parents. Kids can be raised in a well-structured and safe community with excellent and less crowded school systems.
With super mega-center conglomerates popping up on every corner and ultimately squeezing out the eclectic collection of small town specialty stores, it is most refreshing to visit a towns Main Street district that still provides a nostalgic glimpse into days gone by. Hinting of the mom and pop department stores and full-service gas stations prevalent in the south nearly a century ago, Mountain Citys quaint, brick-laden downtown still has a lot to offer.
While the Main Street area still reeks of natural charm and amazing beauty, few would argue that it has been neglected in the past years, even though it still has much to offer. Even now, visitors and residents can purchase handmade, local crafts, browse an enormous gallery of antiques, and enjoy shopping in an army surplus setting. Additionally, the area is still home to wonderful furniture stores, a hometown drug store, a modern funeral home, and a well-equipped service station. After having lunch at one of the unique restaurants still within walking distance, folks can shop for jewelry, have their hair and nails done, and get a therapeutic massage while visiting Main Street.
Several offices are also happily located along Main Street, Mountain City, including a doctors office and several attorneys offices in close proximity to the historic courthouse that remains in the center of downtown. One can also purchase insurance, complete banking transactions and attend church on the same street their ancestors did over 100 years ago.
The most obvious disadvantage revolves around the lack of employment opportunities. Job choices tend to be very limited in small towns forcing many residents to commute long distances for a paycheck. I remember seeing a report a few years back indicating the number of Johnson County residents working outside the county, and the number was absolutely astounding. Perhaps in the coming years this gorgeous place can entice some additional businesses and industry. One can hope.
There tends to be limited shopping choices, too. When searching for a name brand product, one must visit the local drug store or grocery store. While there are several gutsy local entrepreneurs, it is difficult to compete with the large shopping centers and Wal-Marts in neighboring cities.
While residents of a small town are usually friendly sometimes some can be too friendly. One of the disadvantages of rural living is a lack of privacy. It seems everyone knows something about everyone else and most are willing to share the knowledge. More private individuals may resent an intrusion into their lives by their small town neighbors, who are typically more bored, although well-meaning.
Perhaps the saying the grass is always greener on the other side fits well after the decision on where to live is finally made. If you came from a small town you are probably missing it right now. If you are crazy and stressed in a big city or even a suburb of a big city, then you may be wishing for some small-town living. The choice is yours.