Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Whither Wander

Drifting, nowhere to land
Thought this was home
but turns out it's just a place
Where I keep all the stuff
I don't need and need none
of the stuff I have access to
Helluva quandry ain't it

Welcome to my world. But just when you're about to give up, out comes yet another Top... Ten... list. If you're rootless, restless, or simply feeling rustic these days, Progressive Farmer says these are the ten best places to consider when you're ready to get rural:

1. Fauquier County, Virginia

"Rural, proud of it and trying to stay that way" could be the unofficial motto of this county lying 45 minutes west of Washington, D.C.
2. Oconee County, Georgia

A transitional county that retains its rural flavor, Oconee has been discovered as a great place to live by people just across the river at Athens, home of the University of Georgia.
3. McPherson County, Kansas

First things first—pronounce it correctly. It's mac-FUR-son, and any resident will tell you: "There's no FEAR in McPherson."
4. Callaway County, Missouri

Located almost in the middle of the U.S., Callaway County is a special place, as any Callawegian (that's what a native calls himself) will tell you.
5. Grafton County, New Hampshire

Though geographically large (it's twice the size, for instance, of Callaway County, Mo.), Grafton County is dominated by the White Mountain National Forest.
6. Gillespie County, Texas

Scenic granite hills to the north and fertile pastures to the south, all dotted with oak and cedar, give nearly anyone with a rural bent something to love.
7. Sauk County, Wisconsin

A surprise waits around every bend in the road and over every crest of the hill in this lovely county.
8. Wilson County, Tennessee

The eastern neighbor of sprawling Davidson County (Nashville), Wilson County retains much of its good farmland but with subdivisions and small farms playing a more prominent role now.
9. Eagle County, Colorado

Rocky Mountain peaks, ski resorts including Vail and secluded scenic valleys have made Eagle more of a playground for the rich and famous than an ag stronghold.
10. Rankin County, Mississippi

Rankin County, which lies just across the Pearl River from state capital Jackson, is growing quickly. Still, it manages to maintain its rural flavor.

They all sound wonderful don't they? And there's no way in hell, I could live in any of them. I'll have to find something else to do with this spring fever. For those interested, the other 90 places are equally riveting, and despite my earlier comment, I mean that quite seriously.

The editors note that "More than ever before, people are choosing the country lifestyle over the bustle of the city. The reasons are numerous: better quality of life; a great place to raise a family; a return to the simple things. Progressive Farmer understands this trend, and for the first time ever, we've compiled a list of the best rural counties in America. We looked at the many things we all desire. Quality schools. Low crime. Good health care. Clean air and water. We also looked for counties that have access to large cities for culture and shopping, but are still rural with plenty of elbow room." They go into greater depth regarding the methodology used in putting together the first of its kind Best Places to Live in Rural America, as well as offering an enticing mini movie of some the places and articles, stat sheets, and gorgeous photo galleries of all of them. They even breakdown Regional Top 20s for the Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, West, and Northeast.

Goddamn, so much of this country is truly beautiful. I wish I could do it, but I'm a city slicker. I could not even imagine unless I had the right person(s) to do it with—and, no by invoking the plural, I'm not talkin' polyamory. That's for the birds, baby, and I'm sure there's plenty enough of those out in the country.

Progessive Farmer is a great magazine and web site by the way. I can't honestly say that country living is my thing, but it's well written and conceived, and I always find myself more than a little intrigued by all there is to know about livestock, homes & gardens, tools & equipment, outdoor sportsmanship, etc. Just another pipe dream. Heh.


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