In a recent post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed posted these words –
“Do you want to live on Flip Flop Lane in Margaritaville?” (Parade Magazine 8/12/18) The new trend in housing is to develop neighborhoods which attract people with common interests: singles, children, Boomers—even one for veterans with PTSD. “The hot word is communal! People are looking for a new kind of living, real neighborhoods. “The old has become new.”
Perhaps that is why the little Village of Milford where I live and work has become so popular of late. I’ve posted here before about what a great place it is to live, with a very walkable and useful downtown and a density that allows and encourages neighbors to get to know each other. It is probably just a fortuitous thing that it located far enough off the major highways (about half way between I-96 to the south and M-59 to the north) that it did not attract the attention of the big box stores. Local merchants and locally owned restaurants remain viable in the Village.
I don’t think of the Village of Milford in Margaritaville terms. For me it’s more like the fictional town of Mayberry in the Andy Griffins show Mayberry R.F.D. That image is a romanticizing things a bit too much, but it is a little more like that sleepy little town in South Carolina than like a party town such as one imagines with the name Margaritaville.
While Milford certainly has its little cliques, there is a sense of belonging and community that one feels which seems to transcend any feelings of exclusion. If one was not born and raised in Milford, they will forever be an outsider to those who were; but, that group is now a minority of the overall population of the Village. Things are changing in the Village and, for the most part, that’s a good thing. The changes are mainly associated with the growth of the Village and growth is certainly better than the alternative being faced by many small towns in America which are slowly dying out (quite literally).
We are fortunate in Milford that most “newcomers” to the Village appreciate its historic housing stock and the quaint downtown stores to want to keep it looking that way. There are no restrictive ordinances in place to prevent making updates to the old homes, but most do so with an eye to maintaining the style and appearance that make them so appealing. Inside they be very modern; but, from the street, they still look much like they looked when they were built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Perhaps the biggest draw to the Village is its walkability – the fact that most Villagers can walk to the stores and restaurants in the downtown area and to the parks and the concerts and the Farmer’s Markets and all of the other activities and events that are staged during the year. Probably 75% of the Village residents live within 5-6 blocks of the downtown area, and 85 % within 10 blocks. Combine that accessibility with a downtown that still has useful places to shop, as well as wonderful restaurants, and a plethora of services locations and churches, and you have the formula to support the feeling of community.