I moved from a town of 8,000 people to New York City — here are 10 things I do and don’t miss about small-town life

One of my favorite activities during fall in New England is looking at the leaves and boating on my local lake.

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One of my favorite activities during fall in New England is looking at the leaves and boating on my local lake.
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Erin McDowell/Business Insider

After growing up in the rural town of Woodstock, Connecticut, where the population is approximately 8,000 people, I admittedly couldn’t wait to move to New York City, the most populous city in the country. I looked forward to everything living in a big city has to offer in the realm of food, entertainment, nightlife, job prospects, and more.

Moving from a town of 8,000 people to a city of 8 million residents does, however, come with its challenges.

I’ve realized that there are certain things I miss about small-town life – and other things that make me never want to go back.

Here are 10 things I do and don’t miss about small-town life after moving to New York City.


I miss not having to rely on public transportation or Uber.

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A car with groceries in the trunk.
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Comstock Images/Getty Images

If there’s one thing I miss about small-town life, it’s the simple luxury of walking out your front door, getting into your car, and driving to your destination. Once you’re done, just hop back in and be back at your front door in no time.

In New York City, going anywhere more than a mile away can be an operation. Grocery shopping, especially, has proven extremely inconvenient. When I lived in a small town, I simply parked right in front of the grocery store and only had to carry my bags to and from my car. In New York, I have to carry my heavy grocery bags multiple blocks to the subway, and then even further from the subway stop up to my third-floor apartment.

When doing my weekly shop, I have to take into account whether I can lug multiple heavy items like pasta sauce or milk gallons back with me, or if I’ll have to split it into separate trips. Oftentimes, I’m restricted to two or three grocery bags – in the country, I could fill my car with bags and have no worries at all, knowing I could make multiple trips to and from my car if I needed to.


I don’t miss not being able to walk anywhere.

One upside of living in a bustling city like New York is that a lot of what you need is right outside your door. Delis, bodegas, convenience stores, coffee shops, and more are oftentimes never more than a block or two away.

When I lived in a small town, the nearest Dunkin’ or McDonald’s was at least a 20-minute drive away. You could roughly drive halfway across Manhattan in that same time span, and pass probably dozens of McDonald’s and coffee shops.


I miss everything being so much less expensive.

It’s true what they say – living in New York City can be extremely expensive. Restaurants are noticeably more expensive than the ones back home, and don’t even get me started on the housing market. However, I’ve found ways to cut corners that can save me money on food and rent.

Living with multiple roommates and taking advantage of New York City’s cheap eats will save you money while living in one of the most expensive cities in the country.


I don’t miss the lack of options for food and entertainment.

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A rooftop bar and restaurant in New York City.
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Gregorio Koji/Shutterstock

A lot of restaurants in New York may be expensive, but there are so many more to choose from. In New York City, we truly are spoiled for choice. There’s so much to see, do, and eat, it can be overwhelming at times.

When I lived in a small town, I’d go to the same restaurants over and over again – and none of them were half as good as the places I’ve been to here in New York.


I miss the comforts of home and being close to my family.

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Someone making home-cooked spaghetti bolognese.
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Capelle.r/Getty Images

I’m about a three-hour journey from home, which makes it hard to see my family on a regular basis. I do miss being able to see them more often, but I also know I’m only a train ride away.

More than anything, though, I do miss having my mom’s home-cooked meals more often – I’ve yet to find a spaghetti bolognese in the city that can compete with hers.


I don’t miss how everyone in my town knew everybody else’s business.

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A busy crowd in New York City.
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blvdone/Shutterstock

One downside of being in super close proximity to your family, neighbors, and the people who live in your town? Everybody gossips about everybody, and everybody knows everybody else’s business.

News travels fast in a small town – both good and bad.

In New York City, you’re practically anonymous. No one knows anything about you unless you directly tell them – they’re way too busy worrying about their own busy lives to talk about yours.


I miss the quietness — especially at night.

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A starry night sky.
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Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I do miss the days when I wouldn’t wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of sirens or car alarms going off. Whenever I go home to Connecticut, one of the first things I always notice is how quiet it is around my house. We have no immediate neighbors, so the only sounds I can hear at night are the faint cries of coyotes in the woods behind our property or the chirping of crickets.


I don’t miss the lack of diversity in my town.

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New York City’s pride parade.
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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

One side effect of growing up in a small, New England town is that there can sometimes be a serious lack of religious and racial diversity. My hometown is admittedly comprised of mostly white, straight, and middle-class people. Now that I live in New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the country, the difference is really striking. I love being in a place where diversity is celebrated.


I miss how much living space I had in Connecticut.

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My house in Connecticut.
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Erin McDowell/Business Insider

In Connecticut – granted, I was still living in my parents’ house – I had a large bedroom, sprawling backyard, and tons of spaces to hang out. Now, I live in a tiny two-bedroom apartment, and my bedroom is approximately half the size of my one at home.


Finally, I miss the natural beauty of New England.

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A rural road during the fall in New England.
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Shobeir Ansari/Getty Images

New England may have its problems, but the seasons in that part of the country are truly unrivaled. Living on a farm, I always enjoyed the natural beauty of my house and my neighborhood. Summers were hot, but I never had to stand on a crowded, dirty subway platform sweating in places I never wanted to sweat.

Driving through my hometown in the fall is nothing less than breathtaking. Growing up, I could pass a roadside lemonade or apple cider stand, historic landmarks, and multiple apple orchards on my way home from school. When I go home during the fall season, one of my favorite things to do is take a boat ride and look at the colorful leaves.

My hometown may not be a cultural epicenter like New York City, and that does have its drawbacks. However, I’ve come to have an appreciation for the quaint, picturesque, and neighborly lifestyle that is small-town life in New England.