By now, we should be used to our town being included on various lists of “best” places for whatever reason the survey takers set out to prove.
This may be old hat to us, but truth to tell, each new mention is still kind of neat.
Chagrin Falls has been Best Town in Ohio and Best Small Town in Ohio and (deep breath here) our Chagrin Documentary Film Festival is the perennial choice of Movie Maker Magazine’s best film festivals “worth the cost of entering” in the world for seven straight years.
Chagrin Falls High School was named best in the state recently, but the other “best” town recognitions have escaped my memory. We tried to round them up by Googling “Chagrin Falls best listings” and came up with a page of real estate ads. But, I digress.
Now we have reached another pinnacle. According to the Internet, the Discoverer Blog has tapped Chagrin Falls as one of the “10 Best Towns Stuck in Time” in the U.S.!
The nine others are Yellow Springs, Ohio; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Cape May, New Jersey; Mackinac Island, Michigan; Williamsburg, Virginia; Tombstone, Arizona; Sonoma, California; Cooperstown, New York and Mineral Point, Wisconsin.
Being a best “stuck in time” town could be read a couple of different ways by the unknowing public: A) Chagrin Falls is best at being provincial in its social mores, or B) Chagrin Falls is best at maintaining its old-time look and feel.
Writer-blogger Bradley O’Neill, an international travel explorer, meant the latter. Here is how the blog explained how “lost in time” applies to his ten choices:
“The USA is full of towns that have stayed true to their customs and lifestyles. So next time you have the urge to escape the modern, fast-paced cities, consider these wonderful towns scattered across the country.”
Writer O’Neill says Chagrin Falls fits into that definition because “antique dealers, independent fashion boutiques, quaint bookstores and vintage sweet shops give this gem of a village an authentic old-fashioned feel.”
We understand space is limited even on blogs and the writer did well with the space allotted, but there is so much more to our stuck-in-time town than those few lines. Let us count the ways:
The Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society, for years and years, has held regular free and public star parties in Riverside Park. Members promote the cause of old-time dark skies over new age light pollution as they assist novice star gazers in locating heavenly landmarks and astral events.
Chagrin Falls had summer concerts in Triangle Park before every town in America adopted the tradition. Ditto for the Valley Art Center’s Art by the Falls outdoor art festival, whose roots can be traced back to the 1950’s.
There is no other town in the world named Chagrin Falls. Look it up.
The decades-old unauthorized pumpkin theft and roll down Grove Hill. Question: Do we need to explain this unparalleled event and why it makes the Chagrin Falls’ timeless list? What other town in the world does this?
No other town birthed a guy who, each spring for many years, perpetrated another unauthorized adventure by setting himself on fire, diving off the Main Street falls into the river. This was to the dismay of village fathers who outlawed the practice then threw him in jail when he persisted. Stuntman Ted Batchelor remains a valley resident and is a several-time Guinness record holder for various (authorized) fire feats. “Fire diving” originated on a dare, and he is still at it – just not within Chagrin Falls corporation limits.
In recent years, thanks to the Chagrin Arts organization, Chagrin Falls re-established its past by resurrecting its long-ago history as a summertime Chautauqua town.
This year the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre celebrates its 90th birthday as Ohio’s longest-lived community theater.
These are just a few pieces of evidence that prove Discoverer was right. Chagrin Falls is a “stuck in time” town, and that is just fine with us.