Parliament Hill

Bittersweet Transition: Why I WON’T Miss Huron County

(not to be confused with yesterday’s post: “Why I Will Miss Huron County“)

Parliament Hill
Me hanging with some of Canada's most famous ladies on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Last night I wrote about the reasons I will miss Huron County, my home since I was five. But this transition to the city truly is a bittersweet one. Yes, there are many things I will miss about Huron County, and the family and friends I leave behind are at the top of that list.

Still, there are some very enticing things about the city that contribute the “sweet” part. For one, you can go to the grocery store or the bank or Wal-Mart and expect to see no one you know. Yes, there really is something beautiful in total anonymity sometimes!

Then there is the much wider variety of stores and goods. I will be able to shop at a farmer’s market all year round! Or have my pick of several health food stores and specialty markets. So many furniture stores and antique shops and clothing stores and thrift stores!

I have access to a trail that goes clear across the city, and I can use it to run or walk or bike on. I no longer have to worry about getting run over by cars on the country road (not that that was ever a major problem). I can actually use my bike to get places and leave the car at home for an entire day!

Finally, I might actually use the membership I’ve been paying for at the gym at school, because I can go at times when I’m not already carting a bag with books and meals for an entire day.

In the winter and late at night, I will have more activity options than bowling, house parties, and Tim Horton’s. Imagine that, rural-ites! Tons of bars and restaurants and shows and galleries, more than I will likely ever get to see or experience.

Street meat!
The BF and I enjoying street meat in Ottawa a couple summers ago. Yes, I gained weight that trip.

I will always have a wide variety of movies to see without having to drive over an hour to get to the city. I never felt like I suffered for being from a town that screened only one or two movies, but it is still pretty cool that a wider variety will be more convenient for me.

Then there are the regular hours of stores and libraries. This is one of the most frustrating things about small town life for me. There are places that aren’t open the same hours from day to day or week to week, or have different winter hours, and it’s annoying. Yes, I get it. I know that business dies at certain times of the day or season, but still. There are few things more irritating than when you make a special trip for something only to find that the place is only open 10-3 today and it’s 4:15.

While it’s true that none of these things are as powerful as that smell I talked about at the end of yesterday’s post, they are all reasons to be excited about moving to the city.

Like I said, bittersweet.

 

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winter sunrise out my window

Bittersweet Transition: Why I will miss Huron County

shores of an Ontario lake

My time as a resident of Huron County is rapidly ticking away: only four  sleeps left!

As excited as I am to move in with Johnathan and have our own place together with out own backyard and laundry room, and as much as I anticipate being able to regularly visit specialty grocery stores and discover new restaurants and take the bus or a bike instead of my car, I will miss rural life.

a backyard party
A backyard party with lots of yard... and a tent trailer

There are many aspects of life in Huron County that make this transition bittersweet. First, there’s that sense of community that is only possible in small towns and rural areas. I’m talking about when you can count on knowing a percentage of every group and gathering, or on running into someone you know in every store and on every street.

Then there are the small stores where you know the owner and at least a part of their personal story and they recognize you and maybe know your name.

Out of the Storm
After last August's tornado, Goderich held a fundraiser concert called Out of the Storm. It took up half the downtown square, and everyone we knew was there!

Small-town events are the highlight of each season, like Goderich’s Winterfest or Clinton’s Pluckinfest or annual beer tents and parades. That’s not to mention the stag and does/buck and does/Jack and Jills that happen every weekend from April through Thanksgiving in every town, and where you can expect to meet up with friends new and old and be greeted with the same selection of cheap domestic beer and plastic cups with shots of vodka, rye, and rum await ice and Coke.

I will also miss the vistas. Yep, I used the word vista. For example, I live across from a corn field. It likely sounds boring, but I love being able to look out my big dining room window and see not other houses, but corn almost as far as the eye can see, or a snowy field, with a line of evergreens at the far side of the field.

winter sunrise out my window

Who could forget the proximity to the beach? One of the very best parts about Huron County and one of the things that I missed the most when I lived in Mexico is how you can get to the beach of one of North America’s biggest lakes in less than half an hour. Huron County is Ontario’s West Coast, after all! Did you know that several of Lake Huron’s beaches have earned the Blue Flag organization’s designation of quality beaches? Yes, we’re proud, and rightly so.

What I will probably miss the most is that certain smell. It’s clean, fresh, slightly sweet, and I believe it’s unique to Huron County. But I could be wrong. If you haven’t experienced it, you won’t know what you’re missing. Having been raised on it, that smell is home to me. Nothing about having my own house in the city could replace that scent.

Luckily, Huron County is only a relatively short drive away, and I have plenty of reasons to visit.

Flo on a rainy road
My '52 Chevy, Flo, on a rainy country road
Local Huron County apples

Locality: Getting excited about what’s in your backyard

Local Huron County apples
Local Huron County apples

Though this series is only a few weeks old, the majority of my blog feedback since I posted about Coastal Coffee Company has been in response to local stuff, and it’s getting exciting! Other people are catching on that sometimes the best thing around isn’t the big-name from-the-city brand; it’s 20 minutes from you. It’s in the store with the homemade sign. It’s at the farmer’s market.

The little guys, though they often have the best products and services and events, are usually unable to compete with the marketing budgets of the big kahunas.

That’s where I come in, and other bloggers and local writers like myself. We need to be the voices for the local businesses, using our resources to promote them, to keep our rural and local communities alive.

Your job is to use your social media and your networks to share stories like the ones I post, and also to try local products, to visit farmer’s markets and farm produce stands, etc.

I heard on the CBC recently that if every household committed to buying something like 10 – 25% local goods, it would be the equivalent of taking several hundred cars off the road every year. That’s a lot of gas consumption and emissions we’d be preventing!

If you’re not sure where to start, check out the following: