City Mouse or Country Mouse?

by Karen Shughart

Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? Does the thought of rural life make you yawn? Or does the idea of living in a city send electric shocks of anxiety through you?

I grew up in a city. I enjoyed concerts performed by the symphony orchestra and boarded a streetcar with my mother for shopping excursions and lunch at downtown department stores. Our family went to the zoo and major league sporting events, visited museums, and in the summer enjoyed rides and games at a big, regional amusement park. A branch of the Carnegie Library was a short walking distance from our house.

One set of grandparents lived in a small, rural town in Ohio. From their front porch you could see the Ohio River, and there were meadows and fields at the end of their road. We weren’t allowed to swim in that river, but I remember hikes through sweet-scented clover fields; picnics in a sun-kissed meadow crowded with delicate Queen Anne’s Lace, spiky purple thistles, and bright, cheery sunflowers. You could hear the train whistle, and wave to the conductor from their backyard. I loved those visits.

 After college I married and moved to a mid-sized town in south central Pennsylvania. It had decent amenities, was safe and secure, but had lots of traffic, it was close to major east coast cities. We took our kids to museums and historic sites in those cities, and to eat at restaurants offering a variety of ethnic and regional cuisine. As adults, they’ve chosen to live where ample job opportunities and an abundance of cultural and entertainment attractions outweigh the stress of gridlock.

Granted, there’s energy in a city that you don’t find in a rural setting. Where you can walk or hail a cab to get just about anywhere in minutes. Where Grubhub is takeout. I sometimes long for that lifestyle. But after a few days of dealing with honking horns, jostling crowds, and too many choices, I yearn for the peacefulness of the place we call home.

We discovered our lakeside village in the Finger Lakes years ago and bought a cottage. Soon after, we relocated from Pennsylvania. We love the small-town vibe; friendly, supportive people; proximity to wine country; defined seasons, and spectacular scenery. There’s a stillness and beauty here that encourages reflection and creativity. When we want a taste of urban life, it’s an easy drive to Rochester, Syracuse, or nearby in Canada.

So, am I a city mouse or a country mouse? I’d say I’m mostly a country mouse. I’d rather listen to the roar of the waves than the rumble of vehicles and prefer to feast on grains of serenity, with occasional forages to cities for more exotic fare. What about you?

Karen Shughart is the author of the Edmund DeCleryk cozy mystery series, published by Cozy Cat Press. She has also co-written two mysteries with Cozy Cat authors, two non-fiction books, and is a blogger at Ladies of Mystery,  A member of CWA, N.A. and F.L.A.R.E. (Finger Lakes Authors and Readers Experience), she lives with her husband in Sodus Point.  Her books are available at local gift shops, bookstores and at Amazon:





  • Cheryl says:

    I agree with you. While I love visiting cities, hiking and being in nature are far more important to me. We are lucky to call the Finger Lakes home.

    Lovely post, Karen.

  • Jim Moon says:

    Country is where I was born and it is where I feel most at peace. We are lucky to live on Keuka Lake yearround. Rochester,Syracuse,Buffalo and Corning are only a short drive if
    you want to be in the city. Today there is more winery,distillery,cidery,brewery,Watkins Glen International Raceway,concert venues everywhere you go . Jim M

  • Judy Karsten says:

    We grew up in Pgh. But, Dad was a Cornellian and thought that this area was “God’s country.” However, he loved! Pittsburgh! It ihas a warm, small town feel to it. Now we live in Fairport so are definitely country mice.

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