Just a Small-Town Girl

Jessy Cooper '13, Columnist

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…And she didn’t even know it. I know it’s not how the song goes, but that would be the truth. Growing up in suburban sprawl, the transition to small, historic Carlisle three and a half years ago was not as bad for me as some city-dwellers, but it was definitely a transition nonetheless.

There were definitely times, especially as my junior year approached, when I was ready for a change of scenery. My semester-long escape to Bologna, Italy was definitely welcome—I felt like I was in a rut and that there was not much to hold my interest here in little old Carlisle.

But little did I know that I was just not looking in the right places. One would expect after five months of weekends in Paris, London and Brussels, it would be devastating to settle back in to a college-owned apartment in a quintessential American college town. In fact, what I’ve been experiencing is quite the opposite. Finally, in my senior year at Dickinson and my last year living in Carlisle, I’ve been able to discover the beauty and charm of this quaint town in central Pennsylvania.

During one of the first weekends we were back on campus for the fall semester, my friends and I took advantage of a beautiful evening and took a stroll around the center of town. We even checked out some of the stores and galleries we had never been acquainted with before. A few weeks later I was able to share a similar experience with my father during the fall beer crawl—we not only sampled different brews but also the eclectic taste of local artists and shop owners up and down Pomfret and Hanover. The chance to walk around in beautiful weather and really get to know the town was so enjoyable. It really helped make Carlisle start to feel like home, even though it is a little late in the game for me.

Despite the current conditions of not-so-beautiful weather, I still love to walk around and check out Whistlestop or the Clothes Vine when I get the chance. And there was no better way to kick-off the semester than roommate bonding over frites at Café Bruges. Just this past weekend, I spent an entire afternoon soaking up the good vibes in Gaia with a delicious smoothie in hand. And don’t even get me started on the new and improved Bosler Memorial Library. The renovations have left us with a beautiful space that is ready to serve as any bibliophile’s haven when all of the study carrels are taken in our school library. There are some really special places around town—it is just a matter of remembering to branch out and interact with the culturally rich community that surrounds our campus.

So while it is a bit of a sad story in my book that I had to wait until my last year to discover how much I enjoy Carlisle, I am hoping that others may be inspired to venture into town on a afternoon and really get to know the place where you’re living.