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Loving Where You Live + Our New Side Project

July 11, 2014  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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We are coming up on the one-year anniversary of selling our last house and moving to the small town of Rexburg, Idaho. In so many ways, we can’t believe it has already been a year. Having been born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, there are aspects of small-town living that I am still trying to fall in love with. I am not used to wide open spaces and farm smells and limited recreational activities and only a handful of restaurants. Utah’s restaurant scene is actually quite diverse and we so enjoyed trying new places every week.

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Something I have learned throughout all of the relocations in my life is you fall in love with where you’re living by being involved with where you’re living. Volunteer! Host a gathering! Attend Events! Sometimes it just takes making a new friend–which is kind of the most difficult thing to do. I could sense some negative feelings creeping back in earlier this year–there’s nowhere to eat here. There’s nothing to do! It’s freezing! And at that moment, I knew we needed to get involved in our community somehow and that’s when the idea for our new side project, RexburgEats.com came up. Over the last several months we have been working on this website that is a complete listing of restaurants in our area–turns out we have close to 100 and several we haven’t even been to–or heard of! It allows guests to write reviews, search for foods or restaurants they are craving, and we’ll be blogging about our own dining experiences there, too.

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There’s only a small percentage of you that live around here, I know–but we wanted to share this on this site because it has been something we have been working so hard on behind the scenes. Even through our research and planning and building the site, to the launch yesterday, I am feeling so much more connected to where we live–which is not only important, in my opinion,  but so rewarding. No, we don’t have very many restaurants or a lot of shopping or events, but I can feel my heart growing fonder of this place with every passing day and I know this local project, this new website, has played a major role in that.

Have you had the same feelings when moving to a new place? How do you connect/fall in love with where you are living?

Ps. For our local readers and friends, feel free to use RexburgEats.com as a tool to search for restaurants, or even a specific food item to display restaurants in our area that serve it. (The site is mobile friendly as well.) Also! You can win 1 of 5 $10 gift cards to Karie Anne’s Delectable Desserts (for those of you not in the area here, it’s an Italian ice place and it truly is, well, delectable) we’re giving away to celebrate the launch. Visit the RexburgEats.com Facebook page to enter. 

What do you think?

  1. jaclyn says:

    Have you ever used Yelp? It’s a great tool for finding places to eat or shop or whatever you need in a new town/city or even another country.

  2. Lydia says:

    I have lived in Rexburg my whole life besides a few small stints in other places. We are moving soon and I have been really excited for a lot of reasons, but am starting to get really sad. I love the people here, living in the country, all the outdoor recreation. Mostly I’m sad to leave family and all the good memories (we met and married here!) Really hoping I can learn to love our new town where I know no one and have only been to once. I’m nervous!

    Also, the original Thai resteraunt on Main Street is amazing!! It’s kind of a hole in the wall but the food is incredible.

  3. Megan A. says:

    I moved to St. Louis for college (and then stayed here) and I found it really helpful to talk with locals. Whenever I’d go out to eat or for a drink, I made it a point to ask the waitress/bartender for a couple of their favorite places in the are and I created a list that way to start exploring. Events, eateries, parks, museums, etc were things that people had mentioned. It took me until I graduated college to really fall in love with St. Louis. Getting to share and experience that list with other friends really made me feel connected to the city. And finally being able to give directions to someone made me feel like a native.

    PS…If ever you get a chance, spend a weekend in Ketchum and drive up through the Sawtooth Mountains. We only made it to the Smiley Creek Airport before turning around because of snow and available daylight, but the Galena Pass/overlook is beautiful! My husband’s company is headquartered in Hailey, so we spent a long weekend up there back in March and I loved it.

  4. Christina says:

    I love what you said about loving a place by being involved in that place. My husband is in the Navy and right after we got married he was stationed in Portsmouth, NH. I worked in a store at the mall in our previous home port and was making small talk with a customer who had just moved from there. She looked me straight in the face and in all seriousness said “You’re going to hate it.” then left the store. I was flabbergasted! How could it possibly be that bad? When we did get to New Hampshire we had a blast, granted it was before we had kids. We went camping, and to the local theatre, and to shows in the park, and awesome restaurants. I found a new job and we attended church. We were an hour from Boston. I’ll always remember that lady and her sad attitude, and I’ve made it my goal that wherever the Navy sends us we will enjoy what there is to enjoy. As we’ve added kids to our family that means fewer shows and restaurants, but definitely more friends. We will be transferred again in the next 6 months and its truly bittersweet. We are ready for a new adventure, but sad to leave the people and places we’ve gotten to know here.

  5. Kristin says:

    I moved from Minneapolis to Twin Falls so I totally hear ya! Although it looks like you have better restaurants than Twin!

  6. Heather says:

    Boy, you are speaking right to me… I moved to a tiny town in mid-state New York just over a year ago – from Las Vegas. As a single woman in her 30’s with no children, it has been a culture shock. The town is adorable and very family friendly – which would be great if I had one. :) I’ve really had to learn how to live again – especially coming from a place that had 24 hour everything. I’ve had the hardest time making friends, especially because I am shy. I think that’s why I recently decided to move back. (Oh and the winters here? Seriously?!) I do wish I had volunteered more, but my job won’t allow it (the schedule is very fluid – I may not know I’m working 12 hour days until I’m at work). I wish I had read this a year ago! :)

    • Julia says:

      I hear you, Heather. The first time I moved here before college–I was not a good sport about it. I didn’t WANT to make friends. I didn’t WANT to be social. I just was going through the motions to get out of here as soon as possible. Of course things change and people change as time goes on. I met Chris here (!!) and now that we’re back, I have a fresh perspective.

  7. Jennifer R. says:

    I totally get where you are coming from. Something about where we are raised forms the basis of what makes us comfortable. I moved around a lot but always lived in small towns in the south east. My husband and I moved for a year outside of New York City and I hated every single stinking minute of it. Too busy, too loud, too many busy, loud people! Sooo cold! Too much to do! lol so it goes both ways.

    Now we live in a medium sized town in North Alabama. Calm, quiet, but great schools and a lot of things to do because of nearby Huntsville city. I would be fine living here every day of my life and just traveling other places. :)

    • Julia says:

      Haha. Funny and true! Our last house in Spanish Fork, Utah felt like the perfect mix to us–similar to where you are living now.

  8. This seems like a great way to connect to a new community! Both for you as the creator of the site and for others new to the area to discover and explore. Really cool, nice job!

    We moved to our village (Oak Park, IL) about two years ago, but we are from the general Chicago area anyway, so it wasn’t too much of a change. But we do love our new community. Our blog revolves around designing and fixing up our home (Oak Park is full of older homes with lots of character) and we attend events around town (like the farmers market, park district events, etc) as much as possible. I think buying a house in a place with so much architectural and historical focus has made us really aware of respecting our own house’s background and features while we improve it. And our blog (Rather Square, a nod to the house’s American Foursquare design) keeps us on track and accountable for that!

  9. lovey says:

    I went to school in rexburg so I was totally excited to see this post and too funny that ramirez mexican is on the top of the best rated on your site. That was the place we’d go cause it was the only thing open past curfew but I dont have any fond memories of the actual food. Big Juds and new york burrito were my favorite. And now I heard there is a cafe rio in IF so much good food up there!

  10. Linda says:

    What a great service this will be to the community. I have not been back to Rexburg since I left college there many years ago (back when it was a 2 year college – shh..I’m not THAT old or so I keep telling myself haha). It has changed so much, I need to go back for a visit and see the changes. I too remember leaving a big city as an 18 year old college freshman and getting dropped off in Rexburg. Not used to a small town and as a college student with no car, my world was even smaller. Now that I have experienced living in cities around the globe (including my 3 year stop in PGH – woot! and the so called “glamorous life” as some have referred to it as, small town living is sounding mighty good these days. interesting how perspectives change.

  11. Cara Sullenger says:

    My favorite place to eat around there is chizs in st Anthony. Hands down the best shrimp I’ve ever had!

    • Julia says:

      We need to add that to the directory today! Thanks, Cara.

      • Rachel Brown says:

        I have never eaten there, but would ALWAYS buy their ranch at the local grocery stores. It is the best! I had to stop bc I realized it wasn’t vegetarian, sad day haha.

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