Some small towns speak more softly than others. The small town that was once humble and modest became loud, overhyped and congested all in the name of tourism. The small town that held onto its character and original community blueprint never became something it wasn’t. People can be themselves there — residents and visitors, alike.
Peterborough, N.H., has done an admirable job holding onto its small town roots. Yes, the town has grown with more restaurants, theater and locally-owned retail stores and services. The beauty of the town, however, is that no matter how much growth occurs the community will always feel small town. Surrounding mountains provide a feeling of shelter from the world in Peterborough. People stop to say hello on the main streets. The Peterborough Diner brings the best of local conversation over cups of coffee and bacon, eggs and toast.
Across from the Peterborough Diner, a small park with benches, big trees, and rolling land (pictured at the top of this post) creates a beautiful downtown oasis. Here, peace and quiet take center stage — a place where the harsh world has stopped and grace and scenery has called home.
Thornton Wilder suggested that life goes by too quickly for the everyday citizens of Grover’s Corner as one of the main themes in his 1938 play Our Town. Thornton’s inspiration for Our Town actually came from Peterborough and other small towns in the Monadnock Region. Even in Peterborough, life goes by even faster today for many tethered to the fast-pace and the proverbial deadlines and commitments as Bob Seger once sang in Against the Wind. The chance to slow down, however, and give gratitude to the natural symphony out there in the form of trees, water and big sky remains a way of life in a small town like Peterborough.
That natural symphony surely exists in your town, too. You just might have to search a little harder to find it. So, enjoy your journey in finding that precious gift from Mother Nature instead of chasing that dead-end neon road.