Ten essential places to find in your new hometown

This would make a fun Sunday project – a sort of recent-transplant treasure hunt. If, like me, your new hometown is teeny-tiny, you may have to venture outside the town limits to find some or even all of these places. Bring a friend, if you’ve have one, and make a day of it.

1. Greasy spoon That is, a place to get cheesy omelets, buttery pancakes, hash browns gleaming with oil, Belgian waffles a la mode… mmm.

2. Park Depending on your tastes, location, and logistical constraints, this could be a landscaped urban park full of jogging yuppies or a rugged wilderness area where you can hike your stresses away.

3. Library So you have something to read when you’re sprawled on the grass in the park.

4. Bank Unless your existing bank has branches nearby, you’re going to need a new account. It’s a pain in the butt, but it has to be done.

5. Post office Potentially profitable tip: look carefully through your “confirmation of address change” packet. It will be stuffed with coupons from local businesses, most of which will be completely useless to you. Resist the temptation to just chuck the whole lot of them. When I leafed through mine, I found a coupon from a local bank offering $100 just for opening a new checking account. Hell yeah.

6. Co-op/Grocery store You do plan to eat, right?

7. Museum Bonus points if it’s a strange one. In Duluth, Minnesota, where I went to college, there was a manuscript museum. All manuscripts, all the time.

8. Thrift store This is where you can find sweet vintage duds so you’ll fit in when you hit #9.

9. Cool indie coffeeshop How do you know if you’ve found a cool indie coffeeshop? Check the walls in the entrance area. If there’s a bulletin board crammed with posters for upcoming protests, open-mic nights, and poetry jams, you’ve probably got one.

10. Late-night convenience store For when the midnight munchies hit and you just have to have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. I recommend their newest flavor. I don’t remember the name, but it has Stephen Colbert on it and it’s vanilla ice cream swirled with caramel and studded with chocolate-covered chunks of waffle cone and oh lord I have to have some right now okay I’m outta here.

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Author My First Apartment

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Outdoors/adventure writer. Living proof that you can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl.

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