Through the lens of small town living, let’s celebrate the beauty, mystery, joy, humor and significance of moments big and small which strung together, constitute life. These moments - this moment - are your life. Make them count.

25 Reasons I'm Grateful for Chardon

25 Reasons I'm Grateful for Chardon


The best method I’ve discovered for amplifying positivity and counteracting negativity is through the expression of gratitude.

1. I’m grateful for spring – for Maple Festival with its accompanying swell in town pride, the proliferation of pancakes, maple syrup production, foggy mornings and for rain making everything grow, for sporadic days of sun and warmth that give us hope, inspiration to walk more than drive, for King Kone opening, cafes and restaurants optimistically assembling patio seating, American flags going up, for the weather’s unpredictability keeping us on our toes and making predictions to anyone who’ll listen.

For more on spring in Chardon see:

2. I’m grateful for summer – the excitement of school getting out, the highlight of festival season especially Brewfest, Old Glory Day and the Flea Markets, for overflowing flowering baskets surrounding the Square, sun and heat, the farmers market by day and concerts by night, the opening of the municipal pool, hearing the ice cream truck on our street regularly, for everyone enjoying the outdoors – Geauga Parks, city parks, backyards – for being barefoot more than wearing shoes, the library summer reading program, close proximity to Lake Erie beach fun, for vacations – feeling blessed to go and equally blessed to return.

3. I’m grateful for fall – for kids heading back to school full of optimism, leaves changing color, pumpkins and hay bales on the Square, Halloween activities uptown, the Park School Halloween parade, for the house on Huntington Street with the elaborate ghoulish decorations, for s’mores and make-your-own-scarecrows at Fall Fest, the Harvest Handmade Market, fall-themed shop windows, apple picking and donuts at Patterson’s, for perfect temperatures, meandering hikes and for eating on picnic blankets more than dining room tables.

4. I’m grateful for winter – for the red mailbox to Santa outside Antiques on the Square, the end of lawn mowing season, the sledding hill and chalet opening up, for nearby ski slopes, for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the gazebo, for not just one decorated tree on the Square but something like twenty and a near life-size nativity scene too, for thinking of others more than ourselves, hot seasonal drinks at Beans Coffee Shop & Bistro, reindeer uptown, a personal audience with Santa, the exhilaration of the first big snow and school snow day, for red bows on all the lampposts.

5. I’m grateful for beauty in unexpected places – for the community garden behind the shops on Main Street and the mural on the side of the Wantz Building uptown; for those who made them happen and those who maintain them.

6. I’m grateful for the teachers, staff and administrators at CMS and Park School – for their awareness and compassion, knowledge and energy; that they and the schools themselves are integral to our community; for Park School’s presence on the Square, for the efforts of PTO’s to bring kids and families together at fun events throughout the school year; for Park School nurse Erin McKnight who’s a pro at all things and has a special talent for pulling loose teeth.

7. I’m grateful for the way the City takes care of the city – for daily tending of the flowering baskets, maintaining our beautiful trees, plowing sidewalks, vacuuming up our leaf piles and for brush collection, for trash day (so awesome it gets its own number – see 9), for negotiating city-wide trash services at a significant savings to residents, for all they’re doing to help keep the Courthouse on the Square, for literally buffing the sidewalks after Maple Festival to remove bits of smooshed French fry, corn dog and funnel cake, for restoring the grass in the Square after the crowds, food trucks, carnival rides and rain conspired to make it a mud pit, and for continual improvements and beautification projects.

8. I’m grateful for trash day – for the thrill of hunting through our neighbors’ tree lawns to poach each others giveaways before the City trucks show up to haul away the remains (for FREE!) and for people driving around after midnight with their headlights aimed into the massive piles of once-loved objects in search of treasures.  

9. I’m grateful for the library – for a place to hang out solo or with the family, the smell of books, for being such an important part of the community and an anchor on the Square, for programs geared to all ages, lifelong learning opportunities, clubs and groups to develop new interests, the Bookmobile, enthusiastic librarians, for the Friends of the Library book sales, book club, books on every subject imaginable, inter-library loans, for nearly everything being free (candy bars and copies notwithstanding).

For more on Chardon Library see: &

10. I’m grateful for our independent shop and restaurant owners – for high quality services and products, places where all are welcome, for their creativity and involvement in everything Chardon, for special events like craft nights, book clubs, cookie-decorating classes and cardio drumming that bring community members together, for owners who aren’t just familiar faces but friends, for those who’ve put the time in and for newcomers like Polished, CLE Brewing, Salty and those to come, for everyone with an entrepreneurial spirit out there making it happen.

11. I’m grateful to live in a safe community – for the ability to walk at night without worry, for Pat helping us cross the street from Park School, living in a place where kids can still be kids, kindergarten field trips to the fire and police stations, the visibility of our first responders and for knowing names and faces, for their participation in festival fun and for being at the ready in our most stressful moments.

12. I’m grateful for Beans Coffee Shop & Bistro - a place where we all claim ownership on certain days and times of the week, where friendship accompanies food and drink, for being a Chardon institution, and especially for Sylvia who watches over us all.

For more on Beans see: &

13. I’m grateful for our town organizations and volunteers – for Chardon Tomorrow and Chardon Square Association, our churches, non-profit organizations, for our crossing guards; everyone willingly giving of their time and talents, for opportunities to get involved and truly feel the difference you’re making, for keeping tradition and history alive and making Chardon a wonderful place to live now and in the future.

14. I’m grateful for our sports and extracurricular programs – through our schools, the City, the YMCA and private organizations keeping us and our children active, healthy, strong, creating friendships, learning and enjoying the outdoors; for volunteers and staff within these groups who devote significant time and energy to create positive experiences for everyone.

15. I’m grateful for Geauga Theater – for the movie Groundhog’s Day on Groundhog’s Day, for entertainment throughout the year, for the concession stand, the flashing bulbs of the marquee and anticipation of the next show, feelings of nostalgia, for laughter and nights out on the town, memory-making with my girls, for inspiring acting, singing and dancing, for the actors spilling out of the theater after the show to greet the patrons, for being invested in our community.

16. I’m grateful for the warm, welcoming people of Chardon – for taking the time to stop and talk, smiling at complete strangers and holding doors for each other, for people of varied passions and backgrounds sharing ideas and opinions, for friends we can count on, for the characters we’ve come to know and love who are as much a part of the identity of Chardon as any physical landmark.

For more on Chardon’s characters see: &

17. I’m grateful for our parks and trail systems – for programs for all ages, skill levels and interests, for the knowledge and enthusiasm of park rangers, the number and diversity of nature parks in our county, the ability to enjoy the parks year-round, for our bike trails and walking paths, for those who maintain them and organize an abundance of events.

18. I’m grateful for the Square – for the big, beautiful white gazebo, for the new sidewalks, for the Heritage House and the Courthouse and plenty of grass to run, for benches to sit in the shade with a good book, for picnic tables to lunch on, for its history, for its versatility in every sort of event, for its role as our central gathering place and as the heart of Chardon.

19. I’m grateful for our churches – for the sound of bells from Pilgrim Christian Church throughout the day, for people congregating on sidewalks after service and in meeting rooms over coffee and pastries, for kids’ ministry, for messages that inspire and unite us.

20. I’m grateful for the community on my street – for friendships that may have been brought about by proximity yet have developed roots and depth beyond what I could have imagined, for neighbors caring for each other, for block parties, holiday gatherings, coffee meetings and backyard hangouts, for celebrating and for comforting, for giving and receiving.

For more on Ferris Avenue see:

21.  I’m grateful for building owners developing their properties on spec - if you build it they will come…and they are!

22.  I’m grateful for all the ‘Now Hiring’ signs throughout town - opportunities abound!

23.  I’m grateful for our house - a not too big, not too small, just right landing spot after our Airstream travel adventure, for it’s proximity to the Square and walkability to all the places we’ve come to love in town, and that it resides on Ferris Avenue.

24.  I’m grateful to live near a big city and other great small towns - for sharing in celebration and vexation over the records of our professional sports teams, for places to venture on date nights and weekends, for museums, foodie spots, theater, culture, etc.

For more on great small towns see:

25. I’m grateful for the quintessential experience of small town living – for the light-heartedness, silliness and joy it inspires in me; for Chardon, a place which is nearly perfect and therefore always striving to be just a little bit greater (all as it should be).

For Chardon silliness see:

Clean Slate

Clean Slate

How to Fall in Love in Chardon:  at Beans

How to Fall in Love in Chardon: at Beans