Two years ago, I moved to the secluded country town of Newport, Arkansas with a minuscule population of about 7,800 people. Let me tell you, as a self proclaimed city girl, it definitely took some getting used to. No more quaint coffee shops, not a Target (my favorite store) in sight and since there’s literally nothing but rice fields for miles and miles, no more sense of community or any fun things to do. Period.
Does this sound all too familiar? Don’t fret just yet! Here are my tips for finding a great time, even in the dullest of areas.
Dig Deep. Let Facebook and Google be your guide. For Google, search “Things to do in *insert town name here*”. Or look up your towns name in the Facebook search engine. Join groups and fan pages and ask where to eat, stay, and play. You can also download apps such as Nextdoor, Eventbrite, and LivingSocial to discover what’s going on in your neck of the woods.
Converse. Get recommendations straight from the locals by word of mouth! Ask friends, family, or even a random person in line at a grocery store what is going on in town this weekend.
Suggest. Have a friendly visit to your local Chamber of Commerce and inquire about activities and programs they have that interest you have. Nothing you like? Suggest something to the mayor or the town’s executive director! They are there to listen to you and deeply value your opinion as a part of the town’s population.
Gather. What better way to have a blast than by hosting a shindig right in your own home or backyard? Break out the nice china, turn on a good playlist and whip up some of your favorite recipes for a night to remember.
Go outside. Sometimes the best way to curb boredom in a small town is to simply drive around. Here’s a fun idea: bring a friend or significant other along on your journey, and tell them to pick a number between one and twenty. Whatever number they pick is the number of turn you have to take. Flip a penny…heads equals a right turn and tails equals a left. Every time you have to stop at an intersection, flip the penny again. On the final flip, turn and see where you end up. That’s the location you will explore!
Keep an open mind. Going fishing or touring a museum (or whatever your town offers that you’re not too sure you’ll like) may not seem like much of a ball at first, but try to give it a chance. There are reasons some people find it fun and continue to do it. You might just find yourself a new hobby and a plethora of new friends to share it with!
I thought Newport to be the most boring, mundane town in the universe when it turned out to be quite the opposite. They have an incredible farmers’ market full of delicious foods running from March to October, a historical museum dedicated to Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash with vintage pictures and memorabilia galore, and funky flea markets where you can purchase one of a kind objects. But my favorite thing of all has to be the newly built dog park where I can play fetch with my pups and they are free to walk around and sniff and meet new friends along the way.
Research and the right perspective can make any place your dream town to live. And if you absolutely cannot find anything and are dreaming of moving to the city, take heart and have patience. Even the great Los Angeles wasn’t the “it” place to be once upon a time.
Kaitlin is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.
Feaured image via Unsplash