Small Town America

New York, Washington and Los Angeles are probably the most well-known American cities to people outside of our country. Dallas might also be on that list because of the television show in the 1980s. But many people believe the “real America” can be found in small towns like the two I live near. One of them, Middletown, Maryland, has roots going back to the days just before the United States declared the independence we celebrate this weekend. It was established in 1767, was visited by George Washington before he became our nation’s first President, and played a critical role as the site of medical care after one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

Main Street - Middletown MD

Small towns seem to find a balance between modern American life and the slower-paced traditional agricultural era. There are still working farms at the edge of Middletown and I believe there is even one inside the city limits of Frederick, the nearby county seat. Frederick’s city population is under 70,000 and Middletown has around 3,500 residents.

The balance is changing a bit, however, because many people who make their living in or near Washington DC, which is about 50 miles from here, are unable to afford to live near work and are moving out here. Local lifers aren’t very happy about that.

I think about this stuff every year around Independence Day. Flags fly on many Middletown houses this weekend, mine included, and there are numerous July 4th celebrations and festivals. Small town life lured me here but the reality of the commute and the relative isolation I feel here is directing me back toward the more densely-populated suburbs of DC. I hope to be making my move in the next couple of months. It all comes down to balance; in my case trading some amount of quiet and calm for convenience and socialization. I’ll miss some aspects of small town America but the compromise will work for me. One of my target neighborhoods is a modern recreation of a small town. It is a little Disney-esque but they did a good job with it.

No clever ending to this post … just a couple of videos celebrating small town America. Watch them even if you live in New York City and hate country music. It’s good perspective.

Happy 4th of July.

Justin Moore – Small Town USA

Craig Morgan – International Harvester

Montgomery Gentry - Daddy Won’t Sell the Farm