The Growing Trend of Metrognomes
By Stacy Milbouer and Tom Long
Fiddlehead Contributing Editors
For the past three decades we weren’t exactly country mice. More accurately, like so many people raising families in the Granite State, we’ve been suburban settlers with children attending good public schools, supermarkets within close driving distance and the occasional neighborhood block party.
We loved it, but our public schooler is off to university, we would rather walk than drive to the store and we can’t and won’t scoop another flake of snow.
In other words, we’ve joined a growing movement in America. Moving to or back to a city. We now refer to ourselves as metrognomes.
According to recent Census Bureau data, there are 2.3 million more people living in metro areas today than there were seven years ago. The trend in city living is driven primarily by two groups: young professionals and Baby Boomers, who are retiring and moving back to the cities they left when they started families, according to William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. He, in an article in USA Today, described the trend as a “180-degree switch from the exodus to the suburbs over the last decade.”
Our new home city – Nashua – is large by New Hampshire standards but small in comparison to mega-cities like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. But it’s a city nonetheless, with plenty of third places like cafés, restaurants and theaters, all within walking distance of our new digs – a nearly-200-year-old converted mill building on the Nashua River.
We’re not alone. Millennials and Boomers alike are filling up newly built and converted downtown apartment buildings almost as fast as doors are opened. There are dogs. Lots of dogs. Unlike the old days when it was almost impossible to rent a nice apartment that allowed pets, apartment management not only recognizes the attachment pre-parents and empty nesters have for their cats and dogs, but accommodate them with poop bag and disposal stations and in some cases, pet-washing docks.
Attention is also paid to environmental awareness with in-house recycling, energy-efficient appliances and HVAC systems.
It suits these Fiddleheads’ commitment to shopping local and avoiding malls and chain restaurants and supporting small and independent businesses.
Do we miss our former life? We miss our neighbors, but we keep in touch and have made new friends on the elevator and on our dog walks along the river.
Was it easier to let our Kiki out the backdoor to our fenced-in yard when she had to “make a deposit” on a snowy winter’s night? You bet, but now we’re forced to take at least three walks a day whether we want to or not.
And there’s no doubt about it. One of us laments the loss of his old Franklin stove wood fires and the other can’t just walk out to her deck to sunbathe on a warm spring day. And we both wish we could just walk next door or across the street to visit Kelli, Linda and Joan.
But we are living the vida local big time. We find that’s a lot easier in the city. It’s a 10-minute walk to City Moose Café to pick up our share of local eggs and produce from Oasis Springs CSA (Community Sourced Agriculture).
We are leaving the house when it gets dark and walking down Main Street to the Flight Center or Peddler’s Daughter for trivia nights, and we are regular attendees of the New Hampshire Symphony when it performs at the Keefe Auditorium downtown – the tickets for which we picked up (on foot) at the Nashua Public Library.
Who knew, as Boomers, we’d be so trendy.