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Growing Up In A Small Town

Updated on September 15, 2009

The greatest place to live

the great sand dunes
the great sand dunes

The San Luis Valley

Hello I would like to talk to you about what I think is one of the most beautiful places I've been to. I was born and raised here and now I visit from time to time. Most of my family has moved to the city now so I only go back to see friends or to camp and fish.

I grew up in the San Luis Valley. In a small town by the name of Antonito Co. We are only twelve miles from the New Mexico border. And we are surrounded by mountains. So camping and fishing are a big source of recreation in the valley. And the hiking is amazing there are so many beautiful places to hike.

The town it self is very small. We call it the mild long city. And the thing everyone says is if you blink when you're going through you'll miss it. Which has some truth to it as far as the size of the town. We have one grocery store,a tiny post office,tiny bank. A few gas stations and bars and some excellent restaurants. A small doctors office,pharmacy and of course the schools. However as far as clothing and shoes and things like that you have to drive thirty miles to Alamosa to shop there.

Now I'm not complaining I love my home town. Everyone is nice and we all know each other. The crime rate is next to none. Unless you count the weekend fight that breaks out because someone drank too much.

The classes in school are small so you get alot of one on one with the teacher. I wish that it was like that in bigger cities because so many kids just aren't doing good in school. And if you don't do good in school more than likely your gonna have a not so bright future.

Now you're probably wondering if I love this place so much why don't I live there. Well the one thing there's not enough of is jobs. Alot of the business is family owned and so the family runs it. And the few employees they do hire never quit. They work there for years and years. Usually till they retire.Most people have to drive to other small towns in the valley to get work. But most of them work in Alamosa. There's alot going on in Alamosa as far as work.And there's a college. Maybe you've heard of it Adams State College.

But Antonito's big attraction besides the beautiful mountains is the Narrow Gauge Toltec Railroad. We get people from all over the world who come to ride our little train. I worked at the restaurant that gets most of the business from the railroad and I was amazed at how far people came to ride that train.

They show specials of it on tv sometimes and I get so home sick. But if you ever get up this way take the train ride you won't be disappointed. You go through some of the most beautiful mountain sceneries you will ever see. And the people you meet will be some of the friendliest you will ever meet.

Now some people would say this place is too small and too slow. But I think it's just right. You might have to travel a ways for a shopping mall or a fast food restaurant but that's ok. The restaurants we have are excellent. Nothing like good home cooking. Oh did I mention there is next to no pollution. I mean the air is clean and crisp. And the water is delicious. It comes out cold from the faucet. You don't even need ice. It took me forever to get used to the water here. i couldn't stand the taste or the fact that I couldn't drink it without ice. I still can't.

And of course every hunting season you will see tons of hunters. If you hunt Elk or Deer this is the place to come. I personally couldn't kill a deer but I have to say I do love the meat. And the fishing is excellent. Gotta love that rainbow trout.

Another attraction is the Great Sand Dunes. Nothing but sand everywhere and millions of people come here to see the tall mounds of sand surrounded by mountains. It's a place where the families go and have fun for the day. Have a picnic,climb the dunes and make sand castles of course you have to provide your own water.

Alot of people like to take their four wheelers and bikes and things up to the mountains and ride the trails. But the most favorite thing is to have your family reunion in the mountains. Just pick a campground invite all the family. Now your ready for fishing,swimming,hiking, and whatever else you can find to do. Sometimes it's hard to get a spot because we get so many tourists in. They make up alot of the revenue for our small town. So if you want a nice place to take the most peaceful,inexpensive vacation you've ever had come on down to the San Luis Valley.

As I mentioned there are alot of surrounding small towns. But Antonito is my favorite because the mountains are about twenty minutes away. I worked there in the small grocery store before I got my brain tumor. I was a cake decorator in the bakery. I really liked that job. I got to see my friends every day. And there are alot of them because we all know each other. Now I know there are always some bad seeds in the bunch, but what can you do. You have to enjoy your life and just let them live theirs. But for the most part everyone you meet will be a very kind person.

The family trees here go on for generations. Although alot of the younger people move out to large cities, they always move back when they're older. And we always get new people moving in from other cities. It's the most inexpensive place to live . I lived in a three bedroom home and the rent was only three hundred and fifteen dollars can you believe that. You can't even get a one bedroom apartment for that price. And if you live right in the town you don't even need to spend money on gas if you don't want to. All the shops and stores and so on are in walking distance.

You still see children playing outside and riding bikes. Horse back riding is a great pass time here also. We have carnivals that come in sometimes and those are always fun. On Frontier Days there is a big parade and rodeos and carnivals. Lots of entertainment. So we all look forward to that. There are parades for different things including homecoming which is always fun.

I guess it's almost like stepping back in time. And maybe that's why I'm so facinated by it. I honestly believe there is no place like it. Of course this is my own personal opinion. But I think if you visited there you might agree.

The people are warm and friendly and love to chat. So if you happen to go there and you start up a good conversation hope you're ready for a long one. The people will be more than willing to tell you all about the valley and it's people. And they love to chat that's one of the things they do most. You might see them sitting around the restaurant just chatting up a storm. But they do have some interesting stories and maybe a tall tale or two.

Well I have alot more to tell you about home but that will come later on. I just wanted to get you started so you can get an idea of my upbringing and what kind of person I am. I was brought up in small town U.S.A. And I truly love that fact. I think because of it I'm a warmer,kinder person. I don't ever remember people fighting over shoes or jackets or anything like that. But I remember all the things that we did do as a community. And they all involved being good,kind and respectful to each other. And for that I am most grateful


My babies

Can we have a treat we were good at the groomers?
Can we have a treat we were good at the groomers?


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    • Tracy711 profile image

      Tracy711 7 years ago

      bluebird, wow that is amazing..most people have never heard of Antonito..I'm so glad to meet you..I probably know your family..And yes it is a beautiful place..I hope to move back some day when I'm older. But all my family lives in the city now so that's why I'm here. thank you for reading my hub and will be over to check out yours too..God bless :o)

    • bluebird profile image

      bluebird 7 years ago

      It's a small world after all- I was born in Alamosa and lived there for 30 years before I got married and moved to Arkansas. Your article is very nice, informative and you describe the San Luis Valley well. It is a beautiful place, even if it is a desert! I love the sand dunes. Actually, Antonito is my mom's birthplace. Would love to keep in touch! Look forward to more articles from you, you did a great job describing everything!

      PS Your dogs are so cute!

    • Tracy711 profile image

      Tracy711 7 years ago

      Peggy W, I have to agree with you I loved my childhood..I lived on a farm with lots of animals to play with and horses to ride..and yes it's beautiful there surrounded by mountains and clean sick when I first moved to the city my lungs were not use to the air use to it now though..but hope to return back some day when i'm older..thank you for visiting my hubs and God bless you :o)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I also grew up in a very small place in the countryside of Wisconsin. We have now lived in the 4th largest city in the country and there are really nice aspects to that also. But there is nothing quite like the small town values that become a part of the fabric of a person who experienced that type of upbringing as a child. Your town and surroundings look beautiful. Thanks!

    • Tracy711 profile image

      Tracy711 7 years ago

      hello sky small love the small town life nothing like it I tell babies are shi-tzu brother and sister a year apart...they are very loved and they are good babies..xoxo

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Hi Tracy. I love this story. I am a Rocky Mountain girl. I know where you speak of. I spent many years in Eagle, Colo.

      I worked in Beaver Creek by Avon. I know the small town feel I loved it. I would move back in a minute. Very nice writing Tracy.

      Your babies are darling. I love little doggies. Are they mini Pekingese? Stay in touch. Love ya. ( - :

    • Tracy711 profile image

      Tracy711 8 years ago

      thank you scott, i'm sure i will return also...there's nothing like it small town life...glad you like my hub..God bless...

    • scott bailey profile image

      scott bailey 8 years ago

      I too am a small town person, born and raised in small town usa, loved the small town values and someday I am sure I will return to the ozarks. enjoyed reading your hub, thank you

    • Tracy711 profile image

      Tracy711 8 years ago

      Kadmmiels, I'm glad you liked it. I loved growing up there I think small towns make us different maybe more caring and sympathetic. I'm not saying people who live in the city are not but something about growing up in a small town that just makes people different.

    • Kadmiels profile image

      Kadmiels 8 years ago from Florida

      i grew up in a similar place your article made me nostolgic for home. I enjoyed reading it thanks

    • Tracy711 profile image

      Tracy711 8 years ago

      Thank you for your comments. I read a hub the other day about ufos in the valley. I was so surprised. In all the time I've lived there I never knew about the ufo sightings there. I guess it's all in who you hang around with and what you spend your time doing.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 8 years ago from California

      Other than being born in a small town - Exeter, California - I don't much about them. Thanks for telling me about one in the San Luis Valley, where people see all those UFOs. Later!

    • profile image

      cosette 8 years ago

      how touching and sweet. i love little towns too, and wish i could have grown up in one. very nice hub!

    • TamCor profile image

      Tammy Cornett 8 years ago from Ohio

      What a nice tribute to your hometown! It sounds like a wonderful place to be. :)