The Best and Worst Things About Living in a Small Western Town

Well, It’s been exactly a year since my sweet husband and I moved to the West. It’s been a year of ups and downs, but through it all, we’ve fallen in love with our little town. In honor of our Western anniversary, I’ve compiled a list of the Best and Worst things about living in a small town in the West. Let me know if you agree, or if you have anything to add!

Top 10 Best and Worst Things About Living in a Small Western Town

No. 10 Best thing about living in the West is 300+ days of sunshine each year. Worst thing about living in the West is having to put on sunscreen just to check the mailbox.

No. 9 Best: Cool breezes that can make even summer days beautiful. Worst: Winds that could pick up a moose and carry it 3 counties over.

No. 8 Best: Diversity. We have retirees, hippies, artists, gourmets, wanderers, laborers, and everything in between. Worst: You can’t always tell them apart. The lines get a bit blurred when you run into a wandering gourmet hippie. Just embrace it.

No. 7 Best: Having a Walmart one mile from home. (This matters to me because I grew up in one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country, and yet I managed to live in the one black hole that was 30 minutes from any of the 30-40 Walmarts in the area). Worst: There are no other big stores within 100 miles. No Targets, no large home stores, no Whole Foods, no malls…you get the picture. If you can’t buy it from Walmart or order it from Amazon, forget it.

No 6. Best: There is no such thing as traffic. You can get anywhere in town in under 5 minutes. Worst: Everything else is so far away. To get anywhere that’s not in town, you have to drive an hour or more. That includes the Home Depot, any form of mall, and the airport.

No. 5  Best: The West is a much more casual environment. There is no occasion for which a good pair of cowboy boots is not appropriate. Athletic wear is okay for just about anything, because you’re likely to be participating in a sport directly before or after your other engagements. Worst: Wardrobe confusion. Should I wear my jogging skirt to dinner? Can I wear my boots with a linen skirt? Do I wear my fancy jeans (read: no holes), or just my regular ones?

No. 4 Best: A myriad of outdoor sports. We have biking (road and mountain), hiking, running, rafting, kayaking, fishing, rock climbing, rappelling, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc, etc, etc.! If you hate the outdoors, you can’t live here. Worst: Outdoor sports draw a myriad of tourists from other states that aren’t as blessed (I’m lookin’ at you, Texas and Nebraska).

No. 3 Best: Great local restaurants. We have 2 great Mexican restaurants, a yummy Chinese place, 3 great pizza joints (plus the chains), several home-style restaurants, some great riverside spots, and even a cute little Cambodian soup shop. Worst:  We do not have a Chipotle or a Chick-fil-a. As the saying goes, every silver lining has a big dark cloud over it.

No. 2 Best: Wildlife everywhere! We have seen deer, foxes, coyotes, bears, elk, rabbits, and all kinds of birds and fish. Who needs the zoo? Worst: Being late for an appointment because you got stuck behind the 12 deer meandering across the road at 10 in the morning. (This amends No.6 above; you can get anywhere in town in under 5 minutes, as long as you don’t get stuck behind the wildlife.)

No. 1 Best: Everyone knows everyone. You’ll always have a friend around when you need someone to help you out, to look out for your kids, to lend you tools, to make sure you’re doing alright. Worst: Everyone knows everyone. You no longer have any secrets, and you will have the secrets of everyone else in town inflicted upon you. There is no such thing as gossip in a small town, only the sharing of very helpful bits of news and the heartfelt passing on of genuine concerns about one’s neighbors.

4 thoughts on “The Best and Worst Things About Living in a Small Western Town

  1. Jess, you are a wonderfully witty writer. You made me laugh many times! And you made me want to see this lovely place – but I couldn’t live there – not if there is no Chick-Fil-A. I have to draw the line. LOL

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