When I was 18, I couldn’t wait to get out of my small town. I felt I had seen all it had to offer more than once, and I was ready to experience new territory.
When I left, there wasn’t much looking back, as I was ready to embark on my own journey. After a couple years away and some new experiences under my belt, I began to think about my small town in a different way. Something was changing… when I came back to visit my parents, I wasn’t just focused on getting there and getting back to my life. I started to notice my surroundings, the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains (shown in the picture to the right taken in Ashe County near Jefferson), the friendliness of the town and everyone you pass by on the street, the small shops, the community and the fresh air. All the things that I had somewhat took for granted growing up, or didn’t know to appreciate.
The temperature immediately changes just as you reach the top of the mountain and go under the Blue Ridge Parkway Bridge that I like to call a tunnel. I always make Joel beep the horn so I can hear it echo as we pass through. The roads are curvy and fun to drive on, even when the other cars are driving slowly, “Sunday drivers” as my dad likes to call them. Everything slows down and the one thing I wanted so badly to get away from I can’t wait to get back to. There is something wonderful about growing up in a small town.
I’m from Lansing, NC, a one stop-light town, that while small, has all the necessities one could need. There’s a small grocery store, church, bank, post office, hardware store, restaurant, a handful of shops, a newly built walking trail and when I was growing up, that’s where the school (now a haunted house) was too. Lansing is located in Ashe County, known for Ashe County Cheese, Arts & Crafts, The Frescoes and the place where I used to work in high school, New River Outfitters. The population of the actual town of Lansing was 151 people in 2000 compared to Charlotte’s 700,000+. Charlotte is still considered a small city, but it’s a huge difference from what I was accustomed to.
The thing I love about Lansing the most is the sense of community. Growing up in a place with such a small population, everyone knew one another and when there was a family in need, a lost loved one or a joyous occasion, there were many families and neighbors there to provide support in whatever way needed. My church family was like my family and our neighbors were our friends. Living in a small town shaped me into the person I am today, and I wouldn't change a thing. I think I'll always be a small town girl at heart.