The American village, that is.
The place we hang our hats and settle in when back in the States these days.
We've become what you might call 'the village people', preferring this small-town lifestyle to that of the city.
Manson, our U.S. village, sits on the shore of the glacier-fed 55-mile long Lake Chelan in the north-central part of Washington State. Manson got its roots as an agricultural town and was once surrounded by apple orchards. In the last decade, though, many of those orchards have given way to vineyards and the Lake Chelan AVA (American Viticulture Area) in which Manson is a part now boasts some 40 wineries or tasting rooms!
|Vineyards have replaced orchards here|
Little is written about Manson history, I've discovered in writing this post. A Google search will turn up far more on the notorious Charles Manson (one of America's more famous murderers) than on our little village. I've learned the population here in 2016 was 1,284. This little unincorporated town got its name back in 1912 when it was named for Manson F. Backus, president of the Chelan Land Company. It is seven miles from the larger, more well-known town of Chelan. . .where The Scout was born and raised several decades ago.
|Wapato Point in Manson|
Manson became our part-time home base in the U.S nearly two years ago. We'd had 30 years of big city suburb life and had been spoiled by the wide open spaces we have in our expat life in Greece. We went in search of similar wide open spaces in this part of the state when we decided we needed roots back here as well. While there are any number of charming Eastern Washington towns that offer alternatives to the fast-pace of the city, we've landed here.
|Strolling in Manson on a winter's day|
As we settle in and become more familiar with the village and its surrounding area, we notice how similar our Greek village is to this one. For instance, they each have a single main road through town, which is bordered by small home-owned businesses. The road here is wider but the vibe when walking on it is much the same as Greece: people still greet each other and make eye contact - whether they know each other or not. Seldom do you see anyone pass with their head bent over immersed in their handheld device. It is just plain-old small town friendliness.
|Countryside near Manson|
Both of our villages are distinctly - and refreshingly - rural. Each is situated on large bodies of water and surrounded by agriculture. Tourists have discovered both villages and bring a dynamic to them during the warm weather months. Both are building new tourist accommodations.
For fear of making them out to be Mayberry, USA ( 1960's television show starring Andy Griffith), there is a bit of Mayberry charm about them both. Take the church bells - you can hear them ring out in both villages. And people still attend worship services. It is a normal part of life.
|Businesses display American flags year-round along Main Street|
Patriotism and flag displays are also common traits of the two villages. While the blue and white stripes wave in the wind in Greece, the red, white and blue flags are on display in Manson.
|Tasting rooms and a brewery are among Main Street businesses|
In winter, both villages slow their pace. Businesses that cater to tourists take a much needed break, often reducing their hours or closing for weeks on end. (In Greece it is usually to allow the family members to harvest their olives, here it is for a bit of vacation time.) The places that do stay open become gathering places for the locals. And even as part-time as we may think we are, we have become 'locals' in this small community.
|Sign at a local eatery captures the mood of Manson|
'You are back!' the waitress called out a couple nights ago, throwing her arms around me at one of our favorite eateries here. It was a hug much like those received in our Greek village before we left in January. It is something we didn't experience when dining out in the Seattle suburb.
|Full moon spotlights downtown Manson|
In Greece we are often called, 'the Amerikani' and here our moniker is 'the ones from Greece'.
Speaking of Greece our time in the States is coming to an end this weekend. It is time to return to our other village. The next time you hear from these two 'village people' will be after we are settled back into our Stone House on the Hill. Until then, safe travels to you and yours ~
Linking sometime in the next few weeks with:
Our World Tuesday