I've been spending time in the Boston area for a couple of months and I visited a couple of "villages." I visited the lovely Rockport, MA and the larger but still wonderful Newburyport, MA. Both are on the seaside and both have been around for quite some time.
Visiting them made me question what a village is (or should be, maybe)...I noticed that both of these little towns had numerous shops selling items of questionable value to tourists (Rockport, more so). Yes, I know there are tourist towns and that in them one can expect shop after shop filled with bumper stickers, cheap jewelry and shot glasses upon which the town's name is emblazoned.
But what about a real village? Do they exist today?
I'd love to find the one that dwells picturesquely in the back of my mind.
I think a functioning village needs a few basic things. Here are a some of my requirements...you may disagree.
*a school or schools
*a few food stores selling healthy veg, fruit and other 'real' food for making one's food at home
*some healthcare practitioners
*a store or two that sells clothing
*a couple or more cafes or restaurants where people gather for discussions and to have a meal or drink good coffee.
*a newspaper (or the equivalent)...newsletter, weekly happenings mag or the like
*a place that sells all things garden-ish such as seeds, baby chicks, straw and the like
*a place that sells items specific to that particular community (mountain gear if it's a mountain village, surfboards if near a good surfing area)
*a place for artisans to sell and display their wares
*a functioning farmer's market
*a dance hall
*a winery or a place that sells wine/craft beers/liqueurs
I know there's more. Everyone might have his/her own picture of what those things could be.
One thing I do know is that towns and villages seem to be filling up with tanning salons, nail studios and before such extensive internet access, movie rental places.
Those businesses will never be elements of what I think a real functioning village needs to be what I want it to be.
Then again, perhaps I'm living in the past, valuing simplicity and my own interests over so much choice...but then I would, wouldn't I...older folks do that sometimes.
I would love to know if anyone has other or additional things that need to exist in a fully functioning village.
At any rate...how lovely both these spots on the earth were when I visited and how lucky am I to have gotten to visit them.
Visiting them just made me think a bit...that's all.