Wednesday, January 19, 2011

i can breathe in a small town

i'm from a little town in the piedmont triad region of north carolina. i was raised on a rural road, with barns on both ends. a crop field sits vacant behind and in front of my childhood home. i can always tell what season is coming, and which is quietly making its gentle exit, by the height of the corn that stretches to the sky.


i left this town for a while. spread my wings in the big city. only to return the day after graduation to that same rural road, just a few miles down from where i was raised. because that's home. and i can't pretend it's somewhere else, even on days when boredom strikes and the nearest city is 25 minutes away. and the thing is, i love big cities. i feel a deep excitement and stir in the most untouched parts of my heart when visiting friends and family in places where shopping is outside your front door and the sweet hum of nightlife lulls you to sleep. i really do revere it, and the folks who call it home. because home isn't an address, after all.


this post, however, is not about my small town, but another little hub about 45 minutes from my little cottage. lexington, north carolina. barbecue is typically associated with this spot, but when i visit, i steer clear of the little smokehouse restaurants, with their lines out the door and porcelain pigs on the stoop. of their homemade sauces and sky-high banana splits.


instead, i head toward lexington's hidden treasures. every small town has them, you know.


the little diner that only locals know about. that fills up with folks looking for an early bird special around four in the afternoon. where a pitcher of sweet tea is left on the table. where teenagers work after school and during the summer. places tourists overlook on their quest for the nation's best barbecue {and i agree, you can't find any better than lexington.}


first, we stopped at the local thrift store. where i stocked up. yes, my goods are in a {clean} trash bag. this is the country, folks! i found some delicate teal nighties, gorgeous pencil skirts and maybe even a christian dior blouse that will be in my shop soon.


from there, we went a few yards south to the lexington pharmacy. a real, live drug store that looks like the 1940s never left its black and white storefront. inside sits one of the treasures of my heart. a soda shop. with well-loved stools and sweet girls who will ask you if you want your limeade "sweet, sour or in between."



one of our last stops was right beside the pharmacy. a little pastry shop that hits you with a delicious, sweet icing heaven overload as soon as you walk in. it's brightly lit, with dozens of warm goodies waiting patiently behind the counter, hoping you'll break those pesky new years resolutions and indulge. and indulge we did. on french cream eclairs. homemade oatmeal creme pies. and my favorite, warm sugar and apple fritters.






as we drove home, with our bellies full of sugar and the sun turning gold behind us, i smiled as i passed the barbecue crowd. not because they were tourists following a billboard, though undoubtedly most of them were.


but because a hometown is more than its attractions, its shopping, its regional treasures. its carving out that little niche for yourself, which may or may not be the same niche as your neighbor.


and that's the beauty of it. no matter how small the town, its always got room for every person's dreams, aspirations and idealizations. its just big enough.

26 comments:

Jamie said...

Love this post :) Growing up in a small town I know exactly how you feel!

becca said...

you tell the best stories and i loved growing up in various small towns

Laura said...

I love this post! Though my small town is probably not quite so small or rural as yours, I still love knowing of all the little spots that are special to me and not necessarily everyone around. Sounds like a great little place!

the southern hostess said...

What a beautiful portrait of small town America.

Jenni Austria Germany said...

the diner looks so fun :)

Seams Inspired said...

Oh! I want to take a visit soon! Lexington is well within the realm of a Day Trip for me...just about 2 1/2 hours away. Thanks for sharing. Happy Wednesday! :o)

PS...I wouldn't trade my small town life for anything! (((HUGS))) Sweet bloggy friend. :o)

mskanorado said...

This is such a lovely post! I, too, grew up on a rural road and I loved it! When I moved to CO, we lived in the city but I always stilled used the expression, "I'm going to go into town" although town was outside our door and King Sooper or Safeway were both about 3 minutes away. The thing I love about small towns and even smal cities is the traffic, the quiet. In Denver I worked about 20 minutes away which equaled about an hour in rush hour traffic - now no matter how long it is away to drive where we live, it's a quiet kind of drive which makes it so much better!

Amanda Moury said...

I love this post for a couple reasons - A. I love the title, that song is awesome :) B. I grew up in a small town as well and there is nothing better! C. those deep fried balls of goodness look DELISH! :)

Brooke said...

How fun! I don't know why I wasn't following you before ha but i noticed today and definitely am now :) I live in Charlotte and oh my gosh I would love to visit that place one day! Blogger meet up :) haha

Ana* said...

There isn't a place like home. I know the feeling, I am a small town girl. I love the last sentence. You're brilliant!

bethani said...

This makes me want to visit Lexington asap! Nothing is better than the small town shops, diners and thrift/vintage shops to get my heart fluttering for an adventure. ♥ thanks for sharing!

Haley K said...

home is most definitely not just an address :) I loved that you could read the seasons as they change with the height of the corn stalks. And those little pastries looked divine!! apple fritters have always been a favorite of mine :)

Kimbirdy said...

aw, what a cute, funny little town! i grew up in a little town outside of chattanooga, TN and was born on a farm in a little town in WI, but i don't think i could ever move back to the country. i fell in love with the city, much to my partner's horror! :) it does tug at my heart though when i see little country towns like this. it was such a great way to grow up.

Shalyn said...

I love "home is not an address..." so true. The picture you painted in this post is so flawless- makes me want to move to a quaint little town back east and have days like you did all the time!

You are so gorgeous, Courtney! Even holding a trashbag;-)

the friendliest flower said...

so great! love "home is not an address". the town i grew up in was one square mile so i totally understand and relate to what youre talking about

Amber Blue Bird said...

all i can think about now is warm sugar and apple fritters

Thisisme. said...

I loved the pharmacy and the pastry shop!! Mmmm! How do you do it vintch - come up with such beautiful posts day after day. It really makes me want to be right there with you. You really help to brighten my day dear friend!

Jessica said...

Oh my, those apple fritters look divine!

{av} said...

Such a perfect post. I grew up in the town that inspired the title of this post {John Mellencamp's Small Town = Seymour, Indiana...my hometown!}. I feel so at home in Seymour, though it's been 8 years since I lived there. There really is nothing like it! I've been to Lexington, btw--and LOVED it. Great photos...and jealous of your finds! I <3 small towns :) xoxo {av}

ashley.warner said...

for a minute there I thought the beginning of this post was a country song! :) (that is a COMPLIMENT by the way pretty lady)

Love that you live in a small town...I am kind of jealous!

a whole lotta love said...

I grew up in a city of a million people.. but it never really felt like home - it was too big for me. I always loved visiting my grandparents though in their little town in Vermont - its where we spent all our holidays and always felt like home. And that is where I live now: in this little Vermont town of 12,000 people. Small towns are wonderful, but so many people who grew up there just want to leave. I'm glad you appreciate the wonders of small town life.

A Whole Lotta Love,
Adrienne

Holly said...

That soda shop looks super cute, and I love the pastries! :D

Perfect Peace said...

ah, I love small town life. I want to move to one and start a family in a small town :) by the way, I added you on my "my favorite blogs" page. I hope that's okay!

ruthy ann said...

great post...sometimes I just long to live in the country in the middle of the woods where all you can hear is the wind!

Peaches said...

Honey bear I love this post. I've lived in a big bustling city all my life and it is tiring! I am ready to live a slower life in a smaller city that's just big enough.

And after reading about your thrift store finds, you make me want to go hunting for treasures. :)

jeny said...

What a seriously beautiful story of small town life. Glad I found your blog.

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