Thursday, March 04, 2010
Where I live...How Remote Exactly?
So what have we got going for us isolated here in the mountains? I'll start by telling you what we don't have. No chain restaurants or fast food. No laundromats. No movie theater. No coffee shops. No Kinkos. No DMV. No malls. No strip malls. Not even one real traffic light. In all the county we have one blinking light. Here road rage is being stuck at third in line at the blinking light.

We do have two restaurants and a lunch counter. Plus the dining room at the Inn. We have M's grocery/general store, a bulk food store, and somehow a Dollar General snuck into town. We have a farm co-op and a farm store. There are two places in town to buy gas, an Exxon and a BP. The best pizza in town comes from the BP. We have the Inn and a smaller motel. Throughout the county there are dozens of B & B's. We have the SPCA's thrift store and a gallery with art and folk art/sculptures. There's a crafts cooperative and a wool & knitting store. We have a car garage that does all kinds of work and then a service station that does mostly tires. We have a business incubator and a Chamber of Commerce, set up in the old school building. We do have a liquor store; the state forced it on the county if we wanted to receive any ABC revenue. Our courthouse has all the government services you would expect. We have a post office, a library, and local public radio. All this is covered within the area of about four city blocks.

Our school system for the entire county has 242 kids. That's preschool through twelfth grade. Graduating classes usually have somewhere between 20 and 35 kids. The low student:teacher ratio provides for high performing kids for the most part. Some kids don't aspire to college and the school has wood shop, business, or ag classes for them. Our kids make it to the best Virginia colleges. I've never heard of them placing anyone in the Ivy leagues (M corrected me to say we've had one go to Harvard). However, some of our graduates have gone on to do great things.

Despite the isolation and small pool of resources there are plenty of entertainment and cultural events. The library does a family movie night once a month where the movie, popcorn and drinks are all free. The Arts Council has a gallery in the library's meeting room and they put in new shows once a month featuring local artists and artists from surrounding areas. The Arts Council also sponsors children's drama camp in the summer, adult plays, and visiting performers. We have local musicians, mostly of the bluegrass/country stripe. Lions Club sponsors regular Bingo nights. There are occasional Longaberger Basket bingos. High School sports is entertainment here as it is everywhere.

Our progress through the year is marked by the annual events of each season. February is groundhog supper, followed by the big festival two weekends in March. April brings kid's fishing day. June is the end of school and beginning of all the summer programs for the kids. July has the street dance and the little 4th of July parade in one of the villages. August is the big bike ride and the county fair, which is like a homecoming for the whole county. September is back to school and the usual routines. October brings the fall festival and Halloween carnival. November brings in hunting season, when the population in the county quadruples and several organizations hold breakfasts and dinners. December brings the wintertide festival. Round and round the calendar goes, with each event bringing you together with the same folks.

So while we lack a lot of things that define the suburban American experience, we do have a lot of unique and homegrown events. And just like teenagers everywhere, ours can't wait to leave because "there's nothing to do here."