Moving from an area with a population of over 380,000 to a small town of less than 8,000 is quite a change.
Last month my husband and I said goodbye to the Quad Cities.
We have spent this last month learning all about our new home in the middle part of Michigan (lower peninsula) – St Johns.
As someone who loves trees, the tree-lined streets are so beautiful, especially this time of year as the leaves all turn glorious colors of yellow, orange and red. In the Quad Cities I could find areas of trees here and there but not like in St. Johns. Just driving to the grocery store, Wal-Mart, the post office – there is no where I can go in the town without beauty all around me.
The town has such charm as historic, turn-of-the-century homes line many of the streets. In the neighborhood where I live the houses are not set right on top of each other as they were in my old neighborhood.
While enjoying small town charm, friendly neighborhoods we are only 30 minutes from the capital, Lansing, so if I get too bored, there is the big city close by.
St Johns is surrounded by agriculturally rich land known for raising mint. The growing of spearmint and peppermint is unique to this area, using the rich black soil that prevails. Mint farming began with a two-acre crop of peppermint in 1913. The county ranks first in the production of mint in Michigan, with approximately 5,000 acres of mint farmed. Each year the mint farming heritage is celebrated at the “St. Johns Mint Festival”. The Festival is a weekend long celebration of activities for all age groups which attracts over 60,000 people to the City.
For its size, St. Johns offers many amenities that enhance the quality of life for residents. “Points of pride” for City residents include:
- Concert in the Park series of weekly musical performances in the summer
- The historic Wilson Center Auditorium which hosts rock concerts, open-mic nights and theatrical productions throughout the year
- Farm Market located in Court House Parking Lot during growing season
- Old US Route 27 Motor Tour with classic cars
I also wondered if there would any really good places to eat. THERE IS!
Main Street Cafe – great food and even great homemade pies – especially our favorite coconut cream pie.
And the greatest thing is the friendliness. Back home walking down the sidewalk everyone seemed to avoid making eye contact. Sometimes I would smile and say hi. Often the response I would get was “Did you just speak to me? Are you some kind of nut?”
So great to walk down the sidewalk and everyone you meet smiles and says hi and might even stop and talk for awhile.
So – the verdict is in – I’m a happy resident of a small town – St. Johns, Michigan.