We moved to a town of 1700 people five years ago. We never went through the cold shoulder clannish thing that so many seem to. But there are reasons. First, it is on the periphery of the Five Colleges area in Massachusetts. A lot of retired professors up here, even though they might look and act like New England farmers. And a good mix of people who weren’t born here, although mostly they are from nearby. Second, we really love the whole package of New England Small Town and we seem to fit right in, culturally, here. Locals appreciate when people move in who like things the way they are and want to learn about them. I go to church, and have horses and other livestock, my husband is on the Community Pool committee and likes to fix machines. All these things have created friendships.
If you are hoping for big city amenities and choices, or the anonymity of city life, you’ll probably be unhappy, and locals won’t warm to you either. But it also depends on the town.
This, 100%. Step up to help out, and people will do the same for you.
Our stable was struck by lightning one night last summer and burned to the ground, total loss (the animals were rescued). Before we crawled out of bed the next morning (having gotten a couple hours of sleep) people were showing up with all kinds of help – horse tack, feed, equipment, offers to house the animals … and they kept coming, day after day. We didn’t ask them! But everyone knew by breakfast what had happened. It was amazing. We had an enormous mess to clean up and people showed up to shovel the burned everything into the giant dumpster. Nothing like that would have happened where we last lived, although we had been there for forty years.
A small town in a PA resort community is much different than in a small town in Wyoming, or even Oregon where I live. My experience living in a small town is if you don’t intentionally disrespect someone, they won’t disrespect you. Anyone can fit in if they want to, but it’s easier to stand out in a small town than in the city.