Heart of the Country

Five examples of urban-to-rural culture shock

Kathy Copeland Padden


Home sweet home Photo by Kathy Copeland Padden

In 2007, I moved to my father’s bucolic hometown on the MA/NH/ VT border from Boston, my hometown. Located out here in the hinterlands of western Massachusetts, our beautiful burg boasts a population of 700 or so. We are greatly outnumbered by trees as most of the town is state forest and conservation land. We don’t have a single traffic light, never mind a gas station, grocery store, or anything else for that matter.

And that’s how we like it.

Our town has a rugged, rural beauty that has largely disappeared from Massachusetts. I love watching my city friends’ faces when they come to visit the first time. The awe peppered with disbelief is priceless.

Some things took some getting used to, of course. The backwoods isn’t Boston by a long shot. Here’s some city-to-country culture shockage to give you an idea.


I fondly remember when I could make a phone call, and a lovely delivery person would materialize at my door bearing pizza, subs, and Chinese food.

*wipes a tear*

Oh, how I miss those days. My town is so remote that no one delivers here, and even 14 years later I still miss it. Now if I want pizza, I have to schlep to a neighboring town and get it myself. This doesn’t happen too often because what passes for pizza here is an abomination. I have dreams about pizza from the Pleasant Cafe in Roslindale, the Boston neighborhood where I grew up.

*wipes another tear*

This is probably the perk of city living I miss the most, considering I’d rather walk hot coals than cook.

Plowing, or the lack thereof

According to local custom, if there are tire treads left by the intrepid souls who’ve gone before you, the curvy, hilly roads with formidable drops on either side are perfectly fine. I respectfully disagree.

Our highway department is great, but our town is sprawling with many, many miles of challenging roadways. Clearing them all, especially after a nor’eastah, is a monumental task. So if there’s a big snowstorm, get comfy in front of the fire. You’re not going anywhere any time soon.



Kathy Copeland Padden

is a music fanatic, classic film aficionado, and history buff surfing the End Times wave like a boss. Come along!