Have you ever had a friend, work colleague, or family member state, “there is nothing to do in this town.” This is a common statement when you live in small town Iowa. Most of us have been culpable of this way of thinking, especially in our youth. Interestingly enough, I have several friends who moved to the Greater Burlington Area from larger cities. They were seduced by the quaint homes in Burlington’s numerous historic neighborhoods, the friendliness of the people and the relaxed pace of life. They soon discovered several things they believed about life outside of large urban areas were myths.
Myth number one: there is nothing to do in a small town.
The Burlington area has many excellent cultural events ranging from the Southeast Iowa Orchestra, which was organized in 1950 and recognized as one of Iowa's most prominent community-based orchestras, to the Snake Alley Festival of Film. This festival is dedicated to showcasing the best short films from around the world. For a long list of attractions in the Burlington area look here.
Myth number two: You have to be near a big city to attain a proper education.
In addition to Southeastern Iowa Community College, there are two private four-year colleges and two universities within a 3 hours’ drive.
Myth number three: health care in rural areas lags behind urban areas.
The Great River Medical Center provides health care next to none. More than 120 physicians and 1,900 employees share Great River Health Systems’ commitment to excellence in patient care and community service. If a person faces an extraordinary medical issue, the University of Iowa Hospital is less than ninety miles away.
Myth number four: it takes a long time to get anywhere in rural areas.
Even in the heaviest traffic, no location in the Greater Burlington Area is more than thirty minutes away. Common trips are less than fifteen minutes.
Myth number five: a trip to the big cities takes forever.
The Southeast Iowa Regional Airport connects the outbound and inbound traveler with frequent fights to St. Louis and Chicago. The flights are short and clearing security takes no time at all.
I once worked for a small family-owned supermarket. Their moto was, “Large enough to serve you, small enough to know you.” I think that sums up the Greater Burlington Area properly. For more information on the Greater Burlington Area, please visit www.greaterburlington.com
Russ Fry is a local author with a BA in history and an MA in liberal studies. He retired after 33 years with Iowa Community Corrections. Russ lives in Burlington, Iowa with his wife Connie.