My family in Michigan drove to the UP this weekend for vacation. Flint to Houghton is about nine hours, so they stopped in Newberry on the way. I couldn’t remember where it was, so I looked it up on Google Maps and found this picture of the downtown area:
For most of my life, this is what I thought downtown meant. Wide straight roads. Old brick buildings. Not a person in sight. This is heaven to me. I grew up in the countryside, with the closest city being a 10 minute drive away and the actual city limits extending only one square mile. My concept of “city” was obviously skewed from the beginning.
Then I moved to Flint for college and saw what I thought city-life was. Not true however, as Flint’s population is rather low and many buildings remain empty. But traffic wasn’t bad. The roads were still wide and there were few pedestrians to watch out for. I could walk or ride my bike to school and work. Grocery stores remained a 10 minute drive away though.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting (and driving in) New York and LA, and traveling through the major cities of Europe, so now I know what “real” cities are like. But I’ll always prefer my original idea. There’s just something so serene and peaceful about the wide, open spaces. Or maybe it’s just the lack of people, and therefore noise…
Can you tell that living in a residential area surrounded by loud neighbors is getting to me a bit? I would give anything to live in the countryside again.