As you probably heard, Ohio Magazine recently named Medina as the best hometown in Northeast Ohio.
That’s hardly news to those of us who live here, but it’s nice to hear that from others who admire the picturesque townsquare with its charming gazebo and well-kept Victorian-era buildings. That brilliant red-and-white fire station, with its iconic flag-topped tower, stands smartly against the blue sky, and the plethora of restaurants and shops offer great opportunities for shopping, relaxing and even conducting business. Where else can you go to buy one obscure screw to repair an old baby crib, or select camping supplies and Boy Scout patches? Medina Hardware and Whitey’s fill those bills quite nicely.
But of course what makes Medina a great community goes much further than the townsquare. We have wonderful people, a mix of down-to-earth farmers and urban executives who escape the cities each night to enjoy the peace and quiet here. With our blend of quaint shops and chain retailers, for most shopping needs, you really don’t have to leave Medina. Despite the budget crunch, the schools remain good, by and large populated by families and teachers who genuinely care about education. We have vibrant churches and active community groups that promote the arts and culture, sustainable living and Shakespeare, cultural diversity and local sports.
In short, it is a well-rounded community.
For some reason, my son Ryan did a Google Images search last week for my father’s Oak Ridge Farm here in Lafayette Township — and was pleasantly surprised to see that someone who travels around the country had included a photo of my dad’s jams and jellies in his blog (http://www.roadmuse.com/2009/08/15/funky-cold-medina/). From what I can tell, the writer is traveling the country and documenting his journey in a blog. One Saturday last summer, he stopped by Medina on a fellow camper’s recommendation. It is interesting to read about our town (and my father!) from someone else’s perspective. (He refers to my beloved but corny jelly-making-and-selling father — who probably missed his calling as a salesman — as a “can-artist”… ha!)
This writer also noted that Medina is “close to the renowned Oberlin College, and against a backdrop of lush farmland, complete with Amish farmers riding in horse and buggy” — I never really thought about us being close to Oberlin, but then again, when you’re from Montana… He also liked the free Shakespeare in the square (“any place with free Shakespeare in the park must be pretty cool, if you ask me”), and the farmers’ market, complete with grass-fed beef for sale.
I have my own list of reasons why Medina is the best hometown:
1. My children can tumble out the door and find friends for a pick-up wiffle ball game.
2. We have good friends and reliable neighbors on whom I know I can call in any emergency and they will drop everything to help. They pay attention when an unknown car comes down our cul-de-sac. If we need to move a heavy piece of furniture, or if someone is sick and we are out of Motrin, we know who to call. They’re also great for a spontaneous backyard volleyball game!
3. We have a church community that supports our family’s efforts to come to know and love God.
4. We have trees and grass and flowers and birds. After visiting hot and sandy Las Vegas earlier this year, I came to appreciate how much the greenness that generally surrounds us here feeds my spirit.
5. I never question our safety. If anything, I wonder if my children feel too safe, and wouldn’t know how to live in a city where they have to watch the traffic more carefully and worry about strangers. But then again, there is time for that when they’re older. No child should have to worry about those things.
6. Target and Walmart. Buehler’s and Giant Eagle and Kmart and Aldi’s. Old Navy and Kohl’s. Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s ETC. Medina Hardware and Home Depot. McDonald’s and Arby’s and Wendy’s. It’s good to have choices! So many towns our size are lucky to have one in each category.
My list could go on and on. What’s on your list?