| | |

Small Town Living

While in college, often when I’d tell someone I grew up in a small town they would act surprised. I guess I gave off a city slicker or suburbanite vibe or something. But it’s true– I grew up in a small town surrounded by farmland in northern Indiana. Population 1,861. One stoplight.

new carlisle mural

Sometimes I miss living in my small hometown. One of the obvious reasons being that my mom and step-dad still live there. But small town living definitely has its pros and cons. Some cons: it’s at least a 20 minute drive to the nearest mall/Target/movie theater/etc., everybody knows your business, spouts of boredom can be experienced. Some pros: most people know you and your family, people are friendly, it’s quiet, not much crime.

The everybody knowing your business thing is tricky. It can be annoying because there are some things you just don’t want everyone and their brother to know. But it can also be a good thing, especially when you’re going through certain hardships, like the death of a family member. I couldn’t tell you how many casseroles, pies, coffee cakes, etc. were dropped off at our house after my maternal grandmother, Grandma June, suddenly passed away when I was in high school.

This gazebo is located in the main park in town, less than 300 feet from the house I grew up in until I was 11. My mom and step-dad were married under the gazebo. I actually broke my leg riding my bike in the park on the last day of first grade. Grandma June was babysitting my brother and I at the time, and she told me not to go because it had rain so the path in the park would be slick. I obviously didn’t heed her warning. Ah, memories.

gazebo 1

Another thing I love about my hometown is all the beautiful, historic homes.

house 6

If all the houses in town were ugly I’d probably have an easier time missing living there. Just kidding. Kind of.

house 8

This 1875 beauty below is for sale in case any of you are interested.

Want some small town-ness thrown at you? Seven or eight years ago, the current owner of the house purchased a set of crystal candlesticks at my grandparents’ estate sale. I had picked out a different set of crystal candlesticks to keep for myself, but when I was putting them in my parents’ truck one fell out and broke. Yeah. I cried. Well, when the owners put the house up for sale, my mom went over, told the owner the story of how I’m a giant klutz, and asked if she could buy back the candlesticks. The lady told my mom she could just have them.

house 5

I hope you enjoyed this little post about small town living and some of my random stories. If you want, you can read about my hometown bridal shower here and my baby shower here.

baby shower 3

Did you grow up in a small town or live in a small town now?
Any additional pros and cons you’d like to share?

Similar Posts


  1. Small towns are great and so are big cities. Luckily the downtown of my town has a small town feel but there is a target 10 minutes away.
    Great pictures! Love the old houses!

  2. Love love love small, especially Indiana small towns. I’m from a very small one in Southern Indiana. It is true that everyone knows you and your business. When I was home recently I had multiple people stop me and ask how Floyd was doing way before they asked how I was, ha!

  3. I LOVE those houses. They are darling. I just moved to a small town in the mountains of North Carolina (from Denver). My last trip to the grocery store, two men tipped their hats to me. Yes, TIPPED THEIR HATS. One even said, “Ma’am,” as he did. I couldn’t believe that. It’s a whole different world living in a small town vs. the city. But I’m loving it. I have no desire to go back to the city … except maybe for a trip to H&M!

    1. @ Stephanie M.

      What town in NC do you live in?

  4. I LOVE those old homes, and I loved growing up in a small town, too! (I had to look up the population after reading this–just shy of 4,000 residents, so I guess you’ve got me beat for small-town-iness.) It is a pain to have such a trek to get anywhere you want to go (I’m sure my mom neeeever got tired of driving me and my sister 45 minutes to the nearest mall), but I just love the hominess and friendly feel of a small town. Cozy.

  5. I live in a Southern Indiana small town (population 2, 380- I had to look it up). SOmetimes I would love to move away, but most of the time I love knowing everyone. My oldest is 8 and he has had two of the teachers I had in 1st and 2nd grades. It’s fun!

  6. I love those houses! I grew up in a small town. While I love the city I live in there are certain times when I really miss the network that exists in a small town. I have a hard time ever establishing anything near it in the city. My parents have bought and sold most of their houses by word of mouth. People I haven’t seen in over a decade still ask them about me and remember how I’m doing. People get together more.

  7. I love the small town! Your picture reminds me of Gilmore girls!

  8. I grew up in a small-ish suburb of Chicago. When I moved, the population was 25,000 which seems like a lot but compared to Chicago’s population of 2 or 3 million at the time, it really wasn’t. I miss the street I grew up on and the block parties we used to have where the whole neighborhood would get together and mingle. It was fun then but I don’t know if I could do small town living now!

  9. I grew up in a small town too. 1300 people, no stop lights 🙂 Your visit home reminds me of my little town in Central Iowa. And I agree much with your thoughts about small town living.

  10. I grew up in a small town too. Pop 610 to be exact. And no, I’m not kidding. It was a fabulous place to grow up and I still miss it.

  11. You don’t seem like a small-town girl to me either! I think because you’re not supposed to have amazing style if you come from a little town. I love all the architecture in your hometown! Beautiful houses!

  12. I have you beat, there are only about 538 people in my home town and I wouldn’t change it for anything. The town i live in is only 6,000. I love it.

  13. Love it! I am also from a small town (actually still live here), well technically I live on a farm! Our town only has a population of 50 people (I just counted it out in my head, lol). It definitely has its disadvantages (the nearest city in all four directions is exactly 2 hours away) but I can honestly say I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

  14. I grew up in a small town, moved away for a few years and then moved back to the same small town to raise my family. Our town is one square mile in size, population right around 630, no stoplights, and we are just 15 minutes away from “town”. I love it! And I totally agree with the everyone knowing your business being a good thing and a bad/annoying thing. But, I can’t imagine raising my boys anywhere else.

  15. I’ve always wanted to be from a small town because of sweet stories like that! That just sounds lovely!

    But I’d go crazy without my Target 5 minutes away!

  16. I, too, grew up in a small town of just about the same size. I think you summed up the pros and cons quite well. It’s funny how the concept of knowing everyone and everyone knowing you and your business simultaneously tugs on your heartstrings and makes you a little queasy! I miss my home town all the time, yet I am always ready to leave at the end of a visit 🙂

  17. I’m a small town girl, too, but mine wasn’t nearly as cute as yours! I definitely miss the sense of community; it’s just not the same in the ‘burbs. Thanks for sharing, Chelsea!

    ~Abby =)

  18. I grew up in a small town in Michigan. My family still lives there.my girl friends a now teachers at our high school. Another friend has a sick little girl and the whole community is ralling behind them with support. I probably wouldn’t get that in “the city.” I live in Indy now, have since1999. I prefer city. Hometowns are always nice. I would say the first thing I think of about the biggest day to day difference between the small town vs suburbia/city is that the city is constantly tempting me to spend money. I drive by 75 fast food joints in a one way trip to my job. 7-5. i counted. Back home there are like 5 restaurants total.

  19. I grew up in a small town, as well. More like a county. All the towns are about 5 minutes away from each other. Population 20,971 {yes, I did just Google that}, but it is still small. Everyone still knows everyone and their dog. Everyone still knows what you’re doing, even if you don’t. The closest mall/Target or any good shopping is about 2.5 hours in either direction. We just moved 4 hours away from my small hometown and I miss it SOOO much! I cannot wait to be back home!

  20. Today a friend needed a little “back up”. As I was looking for a poem about living in a small town and “having your back”, I stumbled upon your lovely blog. Imagine my surprise when the first picture I saw was the side of the Village Florist. I can’t even explain how I felt when I scrolled down and saw the first home I lived in when I moved to this wonderful little town so many years ago. (third picture). Sometimes things are “meant to be”. Looking through your blog and seeing your words confirm exactly what was in my heart about the pros (and cons) of living in a small town and this was comforting. Our inhabitants experience so much together. Some good, some bad, happy and sad. The High School was the sight of a memorial service for a fallen hero today. Thank you for making my day a little brighter.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Mary! What a small world! Do you still live in NC? I saw the photos of the memorial service on Facebook, and while I was home this past week I saw signs still up from the memorial service. Just shows how people in a small town stick together and support everyone.

  21. Small town, Northern Indiana….looking at the houses and gazebo, it sure looks like New Carlisle. Could it be?

  22. The charm of small towns is really something that can’t be mimicked elsewhere. Growing up in such a close-knit community can have its downsides, as you’ve demonstrated, but it’s also like one big family. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *