A friend of mine is moving to Verona. There were lots of factors that helped her and her family make the move. Verona residents know the town is a great place to live: a great school system, a wonderful park, community pool, close proximity to the city…the list goes on and on. But it’s not just the big items that make Verona a place you want to call home. There are many little things that make our town special.
A safe place: As many of you know I’m an early morning walker. Many times I’m up and out there before the sun and I’ve never felt uncomfortable or unsafe. My biggest fear when I’m walking in the pre-dawn areas is running into a skunk! (Something that almost happened the other day as I walked out my front door. The tail started to go up and I quickly went back inside!) In my ventures around town (I try to vary my route) I inevitably see a police car somewhere. Is Verona crime free? No, but in general you can walk around any section of town during any time of the day and feel comfortable.
Pizza: With a name like Verona you know that pizza is going to be a staple of life. Verona has more than its share of pizza places within the town limits and plenty of restaurants that serve it as well. Maybe it’s time someone did a pizza survey in Verona; eating one slice from each location. My stomach might be up for it, but my waistline definitely would not be.
Street Signs: Our street signs show our pride with maroon and white. You KNOW you are in Verona just by the colors. The town also honors its fallen heroes by name on corners near where they once lived.
Flowers: They hang from the lamp posts that line Bloomfield Avenue and are watered just about every morning (before most of us are awake) by the public works department. But it’s not just the town that knows the value of a blossom. There are planters outside of the majority of Verona business filled with a variety of blooms.
We’re green: I’m not just talking about the grass and the trees. We have solar panels on utility poles, at our community center and township garage. Verona has an environmental commission (celebrating its 24th year) that hosts a green fair in the spring. There is a thrift shop where you can be green by donating gently used items (instead of throwing them away) and save green (money!) too. And in May there’s a town-wide garage sale!
Decorations: Sure there’s the holiday lights that go up before Thanksgiving, but there’s also Halloween window painting. Walk around town in the fall and you’ll see decorations that are scary and some that are goofy. Brave enough to walk in the cold, check out the winter decorations too. And any time of year you can see who’s got the Hillbilly spirit with a wide variety of lawn decorations.
Hills: Not necessarily fun to climb (particularly if you’re carrying a backpack full of schoolwork), but in the winter, coated with snow, Verona is a great place for sledding. There’s always the park, but there are plenty of yards that are just a good.
Celebrations: I mentioned the Green Fair, but there’s also the Fair in the Square in December. Memorial Day the town honors its fallen heroes with a great parade and then a more solemn ceremony at the town square. Several neighborhoods hold annual or semi-annual block parties. (If your street doesn’t have one; maybe it’s time to start a tradition!)
Sports and Other Events: With a plethora of playing fields in Verona–Everett Field, Centennial Field, Doc Goeltz Field, etc.–it doesn’t seem to matter what season it is there is a game going on. Football and baseball immediately come to mind, but there’s also soccer, softball, lacrosse, tennis and swimming (at the community pool in the summer.) If you’re not a sports fan there’s the annual Festival of Bands at the high school in the fall and spring concerts from the elementary schools, middle school and high school. Or, the summer concert series in the town square. (There’s still one to go on August 24, but this one is being held at the community pool.) If theater is more your thing, both the middle school and high school feature musicals and plays that can please the whole family.
Ice Cream: It is summer after all, so I have to end this list with one of MY favorite places (and my son’s as well), The Towne Scoop. Small and out of the way, there’s nothing better on a hot day (or a not so hot day.) You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into a different era when things were a little slower. Be sure and check out the old photos on the walls (as well as some letters from some appreciative customers).
These are just some of the “little” things that I think makes “my” Verona a special place. If I haven’t touched on yours, be sure to include it in the comments section. I may be a long time Verona resident, but I know there’s always more to explore and appreciate in Hillbilly country.