Tips for Adjusting to a Small Town Lifestyle | Destination
Rural life has a lot to offer. The space between neighbors allows families to enjoy a little wiggle room, raising animals, planting gardens and exploring their surroundings. The vast open grasslands and rolling hills also allow for privacy and serenity in a busy world.
Whether moving to Sheridan County from another state or simply moving from a property in town, several factors can help those deciding on the best location for their new home.
Find out how rural you are
Definitions of rural differ, although many base a description on their own experiences. For example, the town of Sheridan may seem rural to someone from New York, but large to a family from Ucross, which has about 25 residents.
The US Census Bureau defines rural as any population, dwelling, or territory not within an urban area and defines urban areas as those with a population of 50,000 or more. By this definition, only Cheyenne and Casper correspond to urban areas in the state of Wyoming, with populations reaching 62,132 and 59,038, respectively. Gillette is the second largest city in Wyoming with a population of 33,403.
Although not urban by US Census Bureau standards, Sheridan County offers many amenities from which to thrive. A consideration for families looking to move, however, should include amenities they can and cannot live without.
Match expectations to what is available
While Sheridan County has a few national chains and other conveniences found in metropolitan areas, the stores, services, and people make small-town living special.
The nearest mall is a few hours away in any direction, but downtown Sheridan is home to retail stores, cafes, and restaurants that rival any major city in quality. If a local business owner doesn’t have what you need in stock, they can often order it for you, and they may have it on hand in the future if they know you will need it.
These dollars spent locally help support jobs, families, community initiatives and youth through donations and sponsorships.
Sheridan also offers top-notch travel accommodations, including direct flights to Denver from Sheridan County Airport, limited taxi services, and national bus service that stops in Sheridan.
And while public transportation isn’t as robust as a big city and most people need a vehicle to get around the community on a daily basis, many use the Sheridan City trails for commuting or hop on the fixed-route bus service provided by Goose Creek Transit.
Find the basic services needed for your home and family
While the town of Sheridan itself meets the definition of rural with a population of approximately 18,000, the other communities in Sheridan County offer even more rural conditions, which has proven to be a draw for many many people settling in the area.
Before moving to more remote areas of the county, check with previous owners, your real estate agent, or neighbors to find out which utility companies provide electricity and necessary services to your home. Several utility providers serve Sheridan County, and where you live determines whether a home will have access to city, county, or well water; natural gas or propane; and Internet by cable, fiber or satellite.
Sheridan County also experiences four full seasons, with the winter months sometimes creating difficult travel conditions. While local, county and state road crews are working diligently to maintain streets, crews are prioritizing emergency snow roads and major roads. Allowing extra travel time in winter and preparing for bad weather is vital for rural life. Residents of larger communities may also be surprised by wildlife along the roads. Whether it’s cattle roaming loose on country roads or deer crossing a highway, rural driving requires sharp attention and preparation.
Familiarize yourself with local authorities
Six legislators—two state senators and four state representatives—serve Sheridan County in their roles in the Wyoming state legislature. Additionally, the Sheridan County government includes five elected county commissioners, and each incorporated town or village has an elected council.
While in larger communities some struggle to connect with elected officials, Wyoming’s citizen legislature and small towns mean elected officials are often neighbors, friends, coaches, teachers and family. They often pride themselves on being accessible and open to meeting and communicating with constituents.
The Sheridan County Courthouse, located at 224 S. Main St., houses the county commission and the county offices and departments needed to perform vehicle registrations, receive marriage licenses and attend court in Sheridan County Circuit and any 4th Judicial District Court hearing.
Sheridan City Government operates out of Sheridan City Hall, located at 55 E. Grinnell Plaza. City Hall houses a customer service office and is the place to apply for building permits, liquor licenses, public records requests, and other needs.
Chat with locals
When trying to find the best dentist in town or a local favorite restaurant, talk to neighbors, business owners, and other people you meet in your daily interactions. Most people will be happy to respond to your requests with their personal preferences.
The Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce or the Downtown Sheridan Association also have offices downtown, providing resources ranging from brochures to staff familiar with local offerings.
Get involved in local groups
The best way to learn about a community is to get involved. Sheridan, Dayton, Ranchester, Clearmont and each of the unincorporated towns offer myriad options for meeting other people – whether it’s a local gym membership, volunteering hours at a non-profit organization or an art class, options exist for almost every interest.
Many service organizations hold monthly meetings, fundraisers, and events for all age groups. Youth activities center around schools and health facilities like the YMCA, Sheridan Recreation District, and Tongue River Valley Community Center. A quick scan of The Sheridan Press and magazines will prove beneficial in finding a group suited specifically to one’s priorities and values.