Small Town Living

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Welcome to Ivanhoe!


My, my – what a fun day I’m having!  One really cool thing about traveling for Operation Beautiful is that I’ve been to all these places that I would’ve never seen otherwise.  Ivanhoe, Minnesota is up there on the list!  I’m really enjoying the small town atmosphere for the day.


This is big sky country. 


My day started bright and early – I had a 90-minute drive from Sioux Falls to Ivanhoe. 

Grabbed some goodies from the hotel breakfast – a banana and a boiled egg – and supplemented with a bar that I had in my purse.  I was not a fan of this Gnu bar – the flavor was good but the texture was strange.



Because there is no other way to take an interesting photograph of a boiled egg.


And then I drove and drove and drove until I hit… Ivanhoe!


My first of two Operation Beautiful presentations was this morning at 9 AM.  I spoke to the high school, and they were great.   We talked about Photoshopping, negative self-talk, and breaking out of the ‘box’ other people put you in – which I guess is a big problem when you go to school with the same people your entire life!



I have  an entire day to kill in between presentations, so I set up shop at the town’s cute little library and got some work done.


Around lunchtime, I decided to take a much-needed mental and physical break and go for a walk.  My goal was to walk up and down every street in Ivanhoe!  Thanks to my trust iPhone, I think I pretty much accomplished my goal.


I saw the playground…


The church…


The grocery store (which did not accept credit cards, hence I was screwed – I forgot to pack a toothbrush)…


The court house…


And the water tower!


I also spotted the vet, the trinket store, the hospital, the hair salon, the feed and seed store, the one restaurant (which was closed), and the gas station.


I actually ended up getting lunch at the sub shop inside the gas station.  Veggie with pepperjack:


Life is pretty different in Ivanhoe than it was in Miami, which is where I grew up.  To be honest, I cannot imagine what it’s like to live in such a small town (having to drive 90 minutes to go shopping!  Not having a movie theatre!  Not having a bajillion restaurant choices!) , but I think it’s pretty cool to experience it for a little while.  Everyone knows everyone by name, and EVERYONE said hello to me on the street. 


Do you live in a small town?  What are the perks?  The drawbacks?  The air seems REALLY clean here!  Crazy that I even noticed.



  • Cassie May 9, 2011, 3:50 pm

    My dad (and most of my extended family) grew up and still live in Sioux Falls! It’s amazing how different (and slow) country life is here in America…Sioux Falls is a big “city” by midwestern standards, and I can still only spend 4 days THERE, let alone somewhere smaller. My mom, who lives in VT, likes 2 hours from a TARGET. I might not make it if that were the case. (I live in DC).

  • Errign May 9, 2011, 3:52 pm

    I grew up in a smallish town of 4,500 people & I actually loved it. I hated having to drive so far to go shopping or for ethnic food, but I love, love, love my home in the mountains of New Hampshire!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin May 9, 2011, 3:55 pm

    I live in DC, but grew up in a small town in Connecticut. Not quite THAT small, but it was definitely a great place to grow up and raise a family.

    I travel a lot for my job to places I never would visit otherwise – Oklahoma City, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Indianapolis. It’s so great to see places I wouldn’t otherwise!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) May 9, 2011, 4:05 pm

    I live in a suburb, so no, I don’t know what small town life is like. I think being used to big cities would cause me to go crazy in a small town!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) May 9, 2011, 4:06 pm

    I grew up in a town of 1000 people! Not even!

    Then I lived downtown Chicago, totally urban and huge.

    Then I lived in NC and SC for 4 years and there were some SMALL towns there.

    And now, live in SoCal. San Diego to me is a small town coming from Chicago, and it is compared to LA, but it’s bigger than lots of places.

  • Jenny May 9, 2011, 4:07 pm

    Nope. Couldn’t do it.
    Small towns are charming to drive through but I loves me some 24 hour sushi, bright lights and traffic jams.

  • Summer May 9, 2011, 4:08 pm

    I’m from a SUPER small town in Alabama. My school had 500 kids—kindergarten THROUGH 12th grade. I knew everyone and their parents, and vice versa. When I was Yearbook editor, I would see kids in the elementary school and automatically know their names from looking at their picture for book layout—there were that few of kids!

    Pluses: Knowing everyone, being familiar with all my teachers, having a cozy, familiar town
    Minuses: Having to driving a ways into town, not feeling like I had enough opportunities in school, and having friends’ parents be able to tell your mom and dad they saw you speeding on the highway 😉

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) May 9, 2011, 4:10 pm

    I lived in Los Alamos, NM for a year – a mountain home to about 6000 scientists and their families. We were about a 50 minute drive from Santa Fe, but my lab was right near my house, which was awesome. So much space, scenery, and outdoor activity potential. It was also interesting to be part of such a tight-knit community, even though it was only for a year.

    The one thing that was really annoying was the 90-mile drive to the nearest airport…and it wasn’t even a major one. Hard to get anywhere.

  • Ellie @ The Mommyist May 9, 2011, 4:12 pm

    I couldn’t do it. I love my yoga studio, organic food and restaurants too much!

  • jen @ taste life May 9, 2011, 4:12 pm

    Oh. My. Gosh. A town that has a grocery store that doesn’t accept credit cards?? I guess little places do still exist. I moved to Montana 9 years ago and they had just gotten their first home depot – I thought that town was small! But I guess Ivanhoe is much, much smaller. Sounds really nice.

  • Josephine @ Creating a Positive Life May 9, 2011, 4:14 pm

    I grew up in small town Alaska (Kenai Peninsula) – not as small as this place – but less than 5,000 people. I would not have it any other way! Personally I would hate to have grown up in a city. I had the comfort of a small town and the big ol’ wilderness in my backyard at my disposal. I didn’t really have to worry about crime or any of that nonsense. If I ever have kids they will grow up in a small town too! The biggest drawbacks are that there are less opportunities available and no great shopping 🙂

  • Lauren May 9, 2011, 4:14 pm

    I’m from a small town and PROUD!

    I absolutely loved growing up in a small town. Everyone always says how they can’t imagine having to drive hours to go to a mall or Target. It really wasn’t that bad! A three hour drive just isn’t a big deal and you do shopping for the whole season in one trip. And well, I don’t share the Target obsession with the rest of the world.

    Life is good in a small town. You appreciate the little things. You take life as it comes. I’ve lived all over the world (NYC, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cambodia, Minneapolis, Denver) but I’d prefer to grow-up in rural, northwest Iowa over all of those places.

    There’s a good chance, much to my boyfriend’s dismay, that I’ll move back there. Ivanhoe’s actually only about a 2 hour drive north from where I grew up. I’ll have to stop on my way to the Cities someday!

  • dakota May 9, 2011, 4:15 pm

    So fun to see your reactions! I grew up in rural South Dakota, where we would drive THREE HOURS to Sioux Falls to a mall and restaurants every few months (it was the closest town with a population over 50,000!). I can’t imagine still living there, but I still live in a pretty rural area and am so so jealous of the food options you have day to day.

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg May 9, 2011, 4:15 pm

    I don’t think I could live in a small town like that — I’ve told Jason before that wherever we live we need to be close to a Target and a good grocery store! But most importantly Target 🙂

    Right now we live in a suburb of St. Paul MN and we are close to the city, and yet we’re only a short drive out of the city, so we can escape either way.

  • Morgan May 9, 2011, 4:15 pm

    I lived in an extremely small town! Less than 2,000 people lived in my “village” we actually couldn’t even call it a town. But nonetheless, I loved living there. I went to school with the same 60 kids from preschool to graduation. We never had things like “cliques,” we all just were a group of friends. People were aware of most things in your life though, so there were problems of privacy! Ha..but overall I am very appreciative of having my childhood there.

  • Kacy May 9, 2011, 4:15 pm

    That was exactly how it was for me growing up. We didn’t even have a court house. It was… interesting.

  • Angie @ Musings of a Violet Monkey May 9, 2011, 4:15 pm

    I grew up in a town in Illinois of about 2,000 people (at the time. It’s a bit bigger now). The only drive-thru we had was a Dairy Queen. There was not a single stop light. Our address was a “Rural Route #).

    Going back now it seems quaint and charming. But I could never live there again.


  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 9, 2011, 4:15 pm

    Wow, that is a small town! Did you take that photo of yourself on the swing with a self timer? You my dear, have SKILL!

  • Ricki May 9, 2011, 4:15 pm

    I grew up in a small town in Texas much like Ivanhoe. The town had less than 1000 people. Ivanhoe High School sounds a lot like mine. I think mine had 140 kids in it when I was there. It was pretty much like “Friday Night Lights” only even smaller!

    Living in a small town has its pluses and its minuses. Everyone knows you, which is great, and people are super friendly. But it is a pain when you have to drive over an hour to go shopping or to see a movie! Now that I’ve lived in Dallas for 9 years I really appreciate having so much at my fingertips, but I miss the small town, everybody-knows-your-name atmosphere.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) May 9, 2011, 4:18 pm

    I’ve always wanted to visit a small town like that. I know a girl who grew up in a really small town and hated it, but I think it seems so quaint and cute! I would love to live in a place where everyone seems so friendly. People in southern California are not the friendliest bunch!

  • Mellissa May 9, 2011, 4:21 pm

    I live in Minnesota and had no clue where Ivanhoe was! I grew up in a town of 30,000 and that was way too small for me. My significant other lives in a town of 3900 and it amazes me how tiny it is. They don’t have a grocery store at all. I could not do the small town thing, I will take my big city anyday!

  • Rebecca May 9, 2011, 4:25 pm

    I would LOVE to be there hanging out with you! I’d never heard of Ivanhoe until you mentioned it. Sounds like a fun place! Looks cute. 🙂 My hometown is around 20,000 people (according to our population sign, around 18,500, but I’m positive that’s a lie by now), and while I love my church family, I’m not a huge fan of the town. It’s TOO BIG. I like smaller towns where everyone knows everyone else and you can walk pretty much everywhere. I’m just one of those people. Ivanhoe sounds like my kind of place! I don’t really mind long car rides to places–we go to St. Cloud for fun and that’s around an hour drive from us. Minneapolis/St. Paul is around two hours from us, and I’m told people from Cloud go there for fun. 😛

  • Erin May 9, 2011, 4:26 pm

    I grew up in a tiny village. We actually had to combine 5 different little towns for our one high school. When I went to college in a slightly bigger town it was so odd to meet people who had only lived in cities/suburbs and “couldn’t imagine small towns or villages existed.” I never understood how I could grasp their way of life but they couldn’t fathom a lifestyle outside of their own. Now I live in Chicago and there are lots of small town transplants here so I feel like I have the best of both worlds. 🙂

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me May 9, 2011, 4:27 pm

    oh my!! I couldn’t deal with that. I moved to a smaller town in high school. I didn’t like the change of having to drive 15 minutes to the grocery store. Yuck!

  • Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews May 9, 2011, 4:27 pm

    I love the sign! Very cute.

  • Heidi @ Food Doodles May 9, 2011, 4:31 pm

    That’s awesome that you get to visit so many different places. Hilarious you should mention the clean air. My husband tells this story about his aunt who came to visit her parents out in the country from the city and how she was saying how fresh and clean the air smelled in between puffs on her cigarette. Gross! Haha, sorry, your comment just reminded me of that and I laugh every time I hear it.
    I love living in a small town. Not everything is such a rush, everyone knows each other and as a result everyone’s more willing to help and is nicer and friendlier. Mind you I don’t live in that small of a town, but I still love it. Couldn’t imagine ever living in a bigger city again and I grew up in one. It kind of sucks for shopping but we live close enough to bigger centers that we can go shopping for the day or whatever.

  • Andrea May 9, 2011, 4:33 pm

    I live in a fairly big city in Canada…over 500 000 people live here. I like it! I don’t think the small town thing is for me, although I’ve never really experienced that lifestyle before. I am just guessing that I wouldn’t like it, since I’ve lived in a big city for my entire life and have never had a problem with it.

  • Anne @thefitbridesmaid May 9, 2011, 4:34 pm

    I had to travel for work and spent three months in Idaho Falls one winter. It was bigger than where you are, but still. It was definitely a part of the country that wasn’t high on my list of places to go. I loved being able to experience western skiing and Yellowstone in winter. It was AMAZING.

  • Ashley @ Thefitacademic May 9, 2011, 4:34 pm

    I’m not FROM a tiny town, but I went to college in one (for 1 year before I transferred – too small to handle!) It has its ups and downs. I loved the friendliness of everyone, but I hated that there was nothing to do. And a lot of kids were getting into trouble with drugs, etc….also part of the lack of extra-curricular activities around.

  • Amanda May 9, 2011, 4:35 pm

    I’m a small town girl and every time I visit a city I think “Man, how can people live here” 🙂 I could never live in a city or even the suburbs for that matter. I like to have room and land and the ability to look out my window and not see any other houses or people. I don’t live quite that far out, yet. But I’d love to. I do live on 130 acres which is a good start. Small town life is great. I know everyone. I can tell you the name of everyone I graduated high school with and where they lived when we were in school. Without shopping, movies and restaurants, you learn how to be creative. Growing up we skateboarded (in the streets), four wheeled, camped in the woods and built forts. We made our entertainment and had adventures and we also worked. I grew up doing farm chores, helping friends with their farm chores and doing odd jobs. I’m very thankful for it all!

  • Tori May 9, 2011, 4:36 pm

    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for about two years but haven’t said hi until now. I go college at University of MN-Morris, about an hour north of Ivanhoe. I love small town Midwest! The lack of traffic and pollution is awesome. I like slower paced life as well. Quiet and open spaces make me happy. I feel relatively safe in small towns so I’m not scared to run or travel by myself! But I admit I am very jealous of your warmer weather. Enjoy your visit to MN!

  • Emma (Namaste Everyday) May 9, 2011, 4:37 pm

    I have always thought that I lived in a small town until I actually visited one. they are crazy different from my suburban home

  • Natalie @ Will Jog For Food May 9, 2011, 4:38 pm

    I think it would be nice to live in a small town for a while…but I would need a Trader Joes, Movie theater, ice cream place, sushi place, pizza… and more! 😉

  • Freya May 9, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I live in a weeeeny place! My village has a church, a village shop, and a crap pub. That’s it! There is a train station, but weirdly it doesn’t belong to my village cos it’s named after something else :/
    It’s peaceful sure..but it takes me a 50minute drive to get to a restaurant, the shops, anywehre decent….not even a gym or pool near me! I can’t wait to move haha!

  • Nikki @ BareFootPrint May 9, 2011, 4:39 pm

    How fun! This reminds me of home. I grew up in a very small town and graduated from a small school. Your message with OB will really help a small school, I find that rumors and bullying are pretty tough in a small school. Everyone knows your secrets and the secrets of your family. Enjoy your second presentation!

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? May 9, 2011, 4:41 pm

    I think there would be some definite benefits to small town living. Im not sure I could do it though. I couldnt live in a big city either though. I like country, but close to the city all at the same time. Which is why where I live is perfect.
    I drove through some super small towns in Oregon (one had a population of 200) and I really think I’d go crazy. You’d just have to become really good friends with your neighbors.

  • Lisa Fine May 9, 2011, 4:41 pm

    I live in a pretty small town now, which is nice, but sometimes it’s frustrating to have to drive a while to get to the grocery store or for other errands.

    I grew up in the woodsy suburbs, which was great. We had everything we needed nearby, but also had the quiet tranquility of trees and forests.

  • Bridget May 9, 2011, 4:43 pm

    Minnesota is the land of the clean air! I love that you noticed it, that is one of the first things I notice when I leave this lovely northern state, how lucky we are in MN to have such clean air and water, and big blue skies over the prairies.

    I am a MN girl through-and-through… can ya tell? So much pride in my home state, and I am happy you got to visit!

  • Janene @ One Run at a Time May 9, 2011, 4:43 pm

    I grew up in the suburbs, went to college in a huge city, and then to grad school in a small rural town, albeit not as small as Ivanhoe! There are pros and cons to all 3, but I definitely miss city living, mainly restaurant and grocery choices along with events happening all the time. I DO NOT miss traffic, but I guess I’ll have to get used to it again… we’re moving back to the City in 3 weeks!! 😀

  • Heather May 9, 2011, 4:48 pm

    the store didn’t tkae Credit cards? I would have been screwed, I NEVER carry cash, We use CC’s for everything to get rewards points! what a small town!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) May 9, 2011, 4:51 pm

    I am actually moving to a small town soon and I can’t wait. I want the fresh air, the hiking and the land to grow my own fruits and vegetables. There is a theater there though and a beautiful lake…oh and family. I couldn’t ask for more.

  • Michelle (The Runner's Plate) May 9, 2011, 4:56 pm

    It sounds like Minnesotans up to their “Minnesota Nice” reputation!! 🙂 (I might not live in MN anymore, but I am still a Minnesota at heart.)

  • Johanna B May 9, 2011, 4:57 pm

    Topeka is the smallest “town” I’ve ever lived in. I was born in Chicago. I grew up in New Orleans. Spent my married life in Dallas-Ft Worth. Moved back to New Orleans for 10 years and now I’m in Topeka. It feels small to me by comparision but nothing like Ivanhoe.

  • Mac May 9, 2011, 4:59 pm

    I’m glad you’re making your rounds to different schools to talk about Operation Beautiful. Where I’m from (Eau Claire, WI) there have been three middle school suicides in the area, including one of my boyfriends students who took their lives. I think your message is INCREDIBLY important for kids at the age and stage in life to hear!

    • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2011, 7:21 pm

      Thank you Mac!

      So, so terrible about the middle school suicides.

      • Rebecca May 9, 2011, 9:38 pm

        Several of those in MN, too. Two (high school/college kids) in a town around 20 minutes from me, within a week of each other; and two middle schoolers in Marshall. That was part of the reason I was so glad that OB was coming to MN! We really need the reminder that we’re great the way we are.

    • Molly May 10, 2011, 4:36 am

      were any of those related to their sexuality?
      so sorry for the loses 🙁

    • Anne May 10, 2011, 4:37 am

      were any of those related to bullying incidents? more specifically to their sexuality/sexual identity?
      so sorry for the loses 🙁

      • Mac May 10, 2011, 1:40 pm

        Bullying was reported as the primary issue for them. I did not hear about any of them being sexuality issues.

  • Michelle May 9, 2011, 5:06 pm

    How fun- I took a few minutes to read everyone’s perspectives on town vs city! Love what we like about each.

  • Ashley @ Feeding Ashley May 9, 2011, 5:09 pm

    I’ve never lived in a town that small, but I have lived in the country. The air didn’t seem that clean, it smelled like cows mostly.

  • Brittney May 9, 2011, 5:09 pm

    I don’t you and I have talked about it, but the town I grew up in sounds a lot like this. I went to private school, but if I had gone to public school there would have been 40 people in my entire class! We didn’t have to drive THAT far to get to grocery stores or movies, but it was about a 45 minute drive, so still pretty rural! I couldn’t WAIT to grow up and live near a bigger city when I was a kid!

    • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2011, 7:21 pm

      I didn’t know you were from such a small town 🙂 Now you live in the big city!

  • Paige @Running Around Normal May 9, 2011, 5:16 pm

    Oh wow!! That is pretty random! I’m sure negative talk and gossip is extremely prevalent in small towns.

  • monicanelsonfitness May 9, 2011, 5:24 pm

    great post!
    small towns pros= queit,friendly,calm, easy (parking avail.!)gossipy!
    cons=limited,distant,and usually “where are the good restaurants?!”
    I lived in CO most of my life in a small ski town and now I am in LA so I am spolied with dining. 🙂 Not lovin the jerky drivers though. 😉

  • Ashley @ Healthy Heroine May 9, 2011, 5:33 pm

    I’ve lived for most of my life in an itsy bitsy town in Minnesota (population 286!). I loved growing up here because of the utter freedom I had. I had free reign to roam around my tiny little town and to do all sorts of ridiculous kid things. 🙂

    With that said, I’m definitely more of a big city girl. I like options and new experiences which are both occasionally hard to come across in a small town.

  • Molly May 9, 2011, 5:34 pm

    I was born in Sioux Falls and my dad is from Minnesota and my mom is from Iowa. Lucky for me we moved to San Diego when I was very young. It is very different to go back and visit family though! They think we are celebrities because we live in CA 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2011, 7:20 pm

      Hahah cute comment!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) May 9, 2011, 5:38 pm

    I love small towns!!!

  • Raya May 9, 2011, 5:42 pm

    I grew up in such a tiny town, there was (and still is) only one stoplight in the entire town. So, I totally understand! The nearest mall was 45 mins away, and there was nothing to do-it was SO. BORING. as a teenager! However now I really appreciate the “small town” upbringing I had and kudos to my parents for dealing with living in the middle of nowhere so I could have a more “wholesome” upbringing!! Watching my sister go to school in such a completely different environment than I had really makes me grateful.

  • Sally May 9, 2011, 5:46 pm

    I grew up in a small town in WI of about 50 thousand people. It was the perfect size town to grow up in. Small and safe enough to bike around the neighborhood with friends to the small mall or local ice cream shop, yet large enough to have the basic necessities of city life. I also was fortunate that the city was right on the shore of Lake Michigan, so we were always at the beach and had a beautiful waterfront. If I had kids someday I’d definitely move to a closer knit community. Right now I live in Milwaukee, WI which has about 600k people in the city limits and about 1 million for the entire metro area. Not big, but certainly big enough for me.

    • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2011, 7:19 pm

      Yay for small town love 🙂 You should try out Ivanhoe!

  • Katie @ Up Fit Creek May 9, 2011, 5:54 pm

    I grew up in a medium-sized city, but currently live in the teeny tiny town where my husband grew up. Actually, it’s classified as a “village.” The population is less than 1,000 and it sounds a lot like Ivanhoe, except smaller. We have a VERY small grocery store, a Family Dollar, a gas station and…that’s about it. All grades K-12 are in one building and the total headcount there is only twice the size of my graduating class.

    Sometime I love small town life. Like you said, everyone says hello to you, there’s very little crime, it’s fairly quiet and people would do anything to help you if you needed them. Other times, I hate driving 30-45 minutes to do anything fun and I feel isolated from the “real” world. The thing I dislike most is all the everybody-knows-everybody gossip that runs rampant.

    • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2011, 7:17 pm

      I wondered about the gossip! It would be hard to escape it!

  • Lucy May 9, 2011, 5:58 pm

    Wow! What’s the population of that town? Also, random question but how did you take that picture of yourself on the swing??

    • Amy May 9, 2011, 7:07 pm

      After the 2010 census, we are at 559 people. SMALL!!!

      • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2011, 7:16 pm

        Haha I looked up the population on wikipedia!

        Self-timer baby, all the way!

        • Lucy May 9, 2011, 9:00 pm

          Ha that’s why I think you’re so great ( well among many other reasons) because you totally don’t care if someone sees you taking a self-timer pictures of yourself on the swings=) Gotta love it!!

  • Abby May 9, 2011, 6:09 pm

    I love the picture with the egg! Your eye makeup is so pretty! 🙂

    I grew up in a town of 8,000. It wasn’t too bad when I had never known anything else. Now I live in a town of 27,000. I like having more accessibility to things that I like (shopping, health food stores, the mall, coffee shops). I would still prefer to live somewhere bigger though!

  • Courtney May 9, 2011, 6:21 pm

    I never thought the town I grew up in was all that small–19,000–because it was the largest in the area. My highschool had 1,200 students, while the rest in the entire county had about 500. So, naturally, I felt sort of like a “townie” instead of a “farm kid.” We had an assortment of fast-food restaurant, a Bob Evans, and an Applebee’s, so it was the place to be, obviously. That was before I moved to the capital of Ohio–Columbus–where people get boots put on their cars, there are parking time limits (not to mention you pay your life savings just TO park), there are shootings, a Starbucks on every corner, and movie theaters in which you can actually order an entire dinner while you watch the movie. There are also vegan restaurants and organic pizza places. Needless to say, my hometown IS a tiny place in comparison. The perks of it are definitely the relaxing, forgiving environment (not too many angry drivers or meter maids), free parking, and also that you don’t have to take the interstate just to get from the west side of one street to the east side. It has a much less intimidating, more “community”-like feel. Drawbacks–the shopping, restaurants, and activities available.

    • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2011, 7:14 pm

      I definitely liked the relaxing, stress-free feel of Ivanhoe. I agree with you about parking 😉 No worries there.

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife May 9, 2011, 6:24 pm

    small towns are fun to visit….but not to live in 😉 ahhaa. I grew up in StL–love it there.

    Looks like you had fun though!

  • Kristen May 9, 2011, 6:27 pm

    I have been in STL my whole life, but my family has a farm in a small town. I have defiantly seen the difference between the two!
    (driving 90 minutes to shop! thats just ridiculous! haha)

  • Natalia - a side of simple May 9, 2011, 6:33 pm

    I’m from a smaller town and I honestly do enjoy it. It has that homey feel to it, but there are definitely those times when you want to avoid, say, Aisle 10 in the grocery store because of someone you may know… 😉

  • Laura May 9, 2011, 6:37 pm

    I LOVE that you wrote about small towns. I’m a college student about to graduate on Saturday and I’m moving away from the great state of Texas to teach in a rural Louisiana town of about 550. I’m sure it will be similar in some ways to Ivanhoe, but with a southern twist.
    At least I can drive 30 mins for shopping, restaurants, etc.
    There is always a bright side. It’ll be a great learning experience.

    • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2011, 7:13 pm

      I bet you will like it 🙂 Students here were very nice!

    • Wendy May 9, 2011, 10:11 pm

      Good luck with your new job! I’m finishing up my first year teaching – it’s been a challenge for sure, but I love it!

  • Molly @ RDexposed May 9, 2011, 6:39 pm

    I grew up in a small town-well maybe middle sized town? Population 12,000 (excluding the prison inmates).

  • Allie May 9, 2011, 6:51 pm

    Small town living seems nice :)Big city living scares me .. so I kind of like some in between and being able to travel to a big city or a small town. I hope the presentation goes well!!!

  • Elena @ GagaForGrapefruit May 9, 2011, 7:00 pm

    i grew up in a medium sized town! but everyone still pretty much knew everyone else. i liked it! but i like the anonymity of living in a big area like Tempe/Scottsdale now!

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good May 9, 2011, 7:03 pm

    I grew up in a very small town (population about 600). It was nice because I’d see people I knew just about anytime I went anywhere. There’s a nice sense of community when the town is so small. There is no rush hour traffic! The drawbacks – not a lot of job opportunities, 45 minute drive to grocery shop, see a movie, go to the mall, 20 miles away from school, long distance phone calls to some of my school friends because several small towns came together into one school district.

    Now I live 10 minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Big change.

    • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2011, 7:11 pm

      Oh man, remember the days of long distance calls?!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin May 9, 2011, 7:14 pm

    I’m glad your presentation went well! See? You have nothing to be nervous about! 🙂

    I’ve always wished I lived in a small town, especially the way they’re depicted in movies and books. They seem so cute!

  • Amy May 9, 2011, 7:17 pm

    Our family lives IN Ivanhoe, and I agree with all of the posts! Small towns are not for everyone — in fact, we are sometimes surprised that we came “back home!” The biggest “pro” of small towns is that everyone supports their neighbor. When illness or hardships hit, we are all there and ready to pitch in. It is humbling to be on the receiving end. I love the that my girls have the opportunity to be involved in nearly anything the school offers — in fact, the school NEEDS kids to be involved in many things! Class sizes are approx 20-25 students per grade. The “cons” are the long drives for shopping, restaurants, and local employment opportunities. Luckily, we have larger communities within 25-35 miles — many of us commute just like anyone living in a city. The only difference is that our 25 mile drive takes only 25 minutes!

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas May 9, 2011, 7:32 pm

    I grew-up in a semi-small town.. and I ended up going to high school out of town. What stunk about that was.. it meant having to travel at least 20 minutes to hang with my friends!

    Looks like you are having a lovely day! Enjoy the small town atmosphere!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit May 9, 2011, 7:56 pm

    Wow, I thought I grew up in a small town! My high school was about 800 students total. Ivanhoe seems cute though 🙂

  • Crystal May 9, 2011, 7:56 pm

    Yup, There is no way I could live in a small town like that. I grew up in the city- I can’t even imagine!!!

  • Morgan May 9, 2011, 8:24 pm

    I grew up in metro Detroit in a suburb that had well over 100,000 people, the metropolitan area had a population of closer to 5 million. We had 3 Targets and 4 large malls within ten miles of my house growing up.

    Fast forward ten years and my husband is active duty military and we are stationed in a tiny southern town. Bigger than Ivanhoe, about 20,000 people, but that includes the base. I will say there are pros and cons to each lifestyle. I love the lack of traffic and that parking is never an issue here, but I miss good grocery stores and healthy places to eat like crazy. I also miss shopping, the closest mall is an hour away, and the closest good mall is over 2 hours away.

    Given the choice I would never live in a small town, but it has been an interesting experience and I appreciate the lifestyle slightly more than I thought I would. That being said I am itching to move this fall, I cannot wait to go back to whole foods and trader joes!

  • Maren May 9, 2011, 8:37 pm

    I just moved from Omaha to Fergus Falls, MN a month ago. We don’t have a movie theatre. We have Target for clothes shopping. We have to go to Fargo, which is 45 minutes away…not too bad 🙂

  • Laura May 9, 2011, 8:39 pm

    What a cute town…although the no credit card machine at the grocery store would drive me nuts (maybe it would make me spend less there 🙂 ). Except when I was in college, I’ve lived in Metro Atlanta all my life, so it’s hard for me to imagine what that would be like.

    Considering its size, I think it’s all the more impressive and flattering that they were able to raise the money to bring you out there–it was a big deal to them that you spoke there, and it’s great that you were able to do it.

    • CaitlinHTP May 10, 2011, 11:10 am

      It was SO sweet to have the support of the community. You can tell they are a tight knit and supportive group of people.

  • Wendy May 9, 2011, 10:04 pm

    Ivanhoe sounds like the town I grew up in and now live/work in. Except sub out the hospital for a one-screen movie theater. 🙂

    I LOVE living in a small town. We do live ~20 minutes from a larger town with more shopping/restaurant/doctors/a hospital/etc., and a little over an hour from St. Louis, so we’re not too isolated. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I feel crowded and claustrophobic when I visit cities!

  • Maddie May 9, 2011, 11:31 pm

    Sioux Falls is big to me! Since I grew up in Mitchell, SD, it’s where we went to go shopping or eat out since our restaurant choices are slim. I like big cities to visit but would never live in one. I like keeping my door unlocked and knowing everyone 🙂 But I probably could not live without a movie theater!
    And the no credit card thing is SO true! That is definitely hit or miss in small town Midwest! Haha.

  • Khushboo May 10, 2011, 12:47 am

    I’ve never lived in a small city but sometimes it’s seems so appealing- more peaceful and intimate! When I have a family of my own, I think I would rather live in a small town as opposed to a city (I’m totally basing this on Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives 😉 )

  • Juani May 10, 2011, 5:25 am

    I grew up (and still live) in a very small town,and I have to say that even though I do enjoy going to the city to do some shopping every now and then,I much prefer living in a small town.

    The lifestyle is much cheaper,because you don’t get tempted by restaurants and lots of shops.You also become more creative with how you entertain yourself.The biggest put-off about ‘city’ life to me is traffic.I get REALLY anxious in busy traffic,and in my town,I can walk everywhere I need to be.

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy May 10, 2011, 9:17 am

    I love the small town feel but I bet it does get old after awhile. I love how friendly people in small towns can be–but they know everything about everyone and sometimes that’s not good!

  • Amber K May 10, 2011, 10:31 am

    My husband grew up in a small town similar to that (not as small) and it’s always so weird when we visit! I grew up in a fairly large city, right next to a HUGE city. So definitely different!

    I love your egg picture 😉

  • Rosi May 10, 2011, 10:56 pm

    I grew up in So Cal. Started out in the Los Angeles area, but when I was still little, we moved about an hour and a half north of there.
    This town is little like that. It takes a few minutes to drive through from one end to the other.
    We have to go about a half hour to get to anything substantial. Theaters, mall, large grocery store… you name it.
    We had a little corner grocery store w/gas station and the prices are inflated. Also, a burger place, couple of pizza joints and a mexi food spot (tasty!).
    Everyone knows everyone else. I couldn’t go into the market without knowing a half a dozen people.
    Our schools were a more packed in than that, but still small compared to most.
    I couldn’t wait to move into town when I finally could… and now I’m back on the outskirts again. haha!

  • Katie May 10, 2011, 11:53 pm

    I’m from a small town in minnesota!!! It is tough, but thank you so much for writing a positive post on your small town experience! I really really really appreciate it.

  • Chelsey May 10, 2011, 11:56 pm

    thank you for coming to Ivanhoe! i enjoyed seeing you at the school and the little notes you left on our lockers:D there were tons of post-it notes around school that day. small towns are nice but i would like to live in the big city someday:D

    • CaitlinHTP May 11, 2011, 9:33 am

      Thank you so much for having me!

  • ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska May 11, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I grew up in a small town in Texas, and now live in one in Alaska. I’m about a 4 hour drive from a mall or major airport, but we do have a Subway and a Safeway for groceries! Oh, and a Farmer’s Market that will open in a few weeks. I have a beach, mountains, glaciers, eagles, my husband, my running, and my dogs– what more do I need? 🙂

  • Emmalinda May 11, 2011, 10:45 pm

    I grew up in a town of about 1200 people. I went to a K-12 school and there were 50 people in my graduating class. I went to kindergarten with most of them. Growing up there was pretty great, but I don’t think I’d ever like to live in a community that small again. It was tight-knit, but sometimes too much so. 🙂 I would like to move to a smaller community when we have kids…not sure if I can convince my city-kid husband, though. 🙂

  • May 14, 2011, 5:49 pm

    As an American that grew up in a small town, I understand knowing just about everyone (not quite) and saying hi on the street. Americans tend to make small talk at bus stops, waiting in line, etc. It’s what we do, what our culture says is polite. Go overseas and most people think it odd to talk to other people if you don’t know them. Slowly I’m getting my street acclimated to my saying ‘hello’ – after awhile more say hello/ha/dag. What I’m saying is your seeing Ivanoe through the prism of Miami glasses just as I see the Netherlands through American glasses. The folks there may have been a little bored and wished for bigger things, but don’t kid yourself – it wasn’t Miami they were hoping for. You loved it because you grew up there and didn’t know anything different. They would’ve thought part of Miami was cool and the rest… not so much.

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