ADVICE FOR CITY-SLICKERS VISITING A SMALL TOWN
I've been a New Yorker for 20+ years but now spend close to half my time in small-town Vermont. Here are some things I've learned.
- •Say hello to people. Including people who work in the store you just entered, random people walking their dogs, basically everyone.
- •Likewise know that strangers will chat with you. Do not panic. It is okay. They are not going to ask you for money or be insane or mug you. Do not just stare back blankly. Engage.
- •If you go for a run or a walk on a country road, stay on the left side of the road. If you are biking, stay on the right. Nod hello to the nice drivers who slow down and cut you a wide berth. Feel free to flip the bird to anyone with a New Jersey license plate who does not.
- •Be careful who you talk about in restaurants or other public places. Everyone knows everyone. Really. Everyone.
- •Don't ask people the question "What do you do?" At least not right off the bat. People in small towns don't often define themselves by their work the way city people do. They will think you are a total dickweed if this question is your conversation opener.
- •Slow down. Just in general. What are you rushing for?
- •Try all the local specialties. Embrace them. Compliment them. Enjoy them. Buy them as gifts.
- •Ask for recommendations on things to do and cool local places to visit, eat, hike, explore, etc. You will get inside scoop on the little-known treasures for locals only. Unless you have a New Jersey license plate.