Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Village

The Village is a tourist trap. It is essentially a quaint, one part New England-chic, one part Midwestern-quiet town. The town is mostly shops and a few bed and breakfasts, interspersed with homes. The last census ranked the town as a hamlet, with only 1574 living souls.

The Village began as a farming community at the turn of the century and never grew larger than a hamlet. In the 1990s and early ‘00s, moneyed individuals began buying up property and setting up businesses. After the stock market crash, many tried to sell their property before the banks began foreclosing. It didn’t work and most of the houses that once were summer homes to the rich in Port City, now stand empty.

Outside of the tourist seasons, the town is mostly empty. The only shops that remain open are owned by those who live in the Village. Once Halloween rolls around, it’s almost as bad as Ghost Town. Come Thanksgiving, the place opens again for the holiday season. By New Year’s Day, it’s as quiet as Snow White awaiting her spring apple.

You have probably seen parts of town on different travel and food programs. The Tree House B&B has won several awards for its design and use of natural elements in the building. Dave’s Diner is often featured as the best restaurant you’ve never visited. Angel’s is known for their award winning steaks that are “the best this side of the river.”

The library is a quiet building full of classical reads and a few of the more modern New York Times bestsellers. While there are fewer than 20,000 books on the shelves, the library contains town records going back to the founding of the Village. The genealogy section of the library contains birth records and family trees for all of the households that have lived in here for more than two or three generations. In fact, the stewards of the genealogy department are often requested as presenters to genealogy clubs, state universities, and other libraries in the area.

The center of town features Independence Park. It’s a classical park featuring a large green and gazebo that’s perfect for weddings. The town puts on a nice Fourth of July festival, complete with a grilling contest, games for the kids, and a fireworks display. It’s not as large or fancy as what you will find in Port City or Lanark, but it is a family tradition for many.

No comments: