It’s been almost 15 years since I moved away from Cedar Rapids to put roots down in Vinton. As a born-and-raised Cedar Rapidian, I wasn’t sure how I’d do moving to a smaller town so far away from the amenities of the city. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
Even though the town has a modest population of just over 5,000, there are lots of things to love about Vinton.
It was easy for me to see the pride Vinton takes in their sense of community and family. Even before I had kids of my own, I recognized the effort the city put into certain events and activities. It first started with Party in the Park, Vinton’s annual summer celebration that lasts three days.
First, there is a kiddie parade. Kids in town decorate their bikes, scooters, and wagons and become the center of a short parade down Main street. The parade starts with a hot dog dinner provided by a local bank and ends with a huge celebration on the lawns of the courthouse. There are also carnival games, inflatables, face painting, prizes, and live entertainment.
Did I mention it’s all free?
And that’s only day one. Over the next two days, the city turns into one huge party! There is a petting zoo, pony rides, more inflatables, dodgeball, pickleball, bags, music, fireworks–a little bit of something for everyone!
After experiencing my first Party in the Park, it was clear to me Vinton was a wonderful place to start a family and raise my children. But it didn’t stop there.
When we moved, it was before my first-born entered the school system here in Vinton, but I knew a number of teachers personally and had high hopes.
Now that my son has five years of the Vinton-Shellsburg school system under his belt, the experience he’s had actually exceeded my hopes. We’ve been blessed with some amazingly thorough, hard-working, and dedicated teachers in his schooling career. They’ve all seemed to take a special interest in my son and his success in academics. As a parent, I was so thankful for their determination as well as astounded by their ability to manage so many children and still find time to know my son so well.
I’m a big fan of the success of the district. It has great test scores and attendance, high graduation rates, and many, many opportunities outside of academics at all age levels. The system has smaller class sizes and fewer buildings, meaning my son will be able to maintain his friendships throughout his entire schooling career and get the personal time he needs with his educators.
Big Town Feel
Despite the fact that we’re a half-hour from the outskirts of Cedar Rapids, and about 45 minutes from Waterloo, Vinton still offers enough of the big town amenities to make it feel bigger than it actually is. There is plenty of local shopping: not just franchises like Fareway, Theisen’s, Dollar General, but small-town shops that offer unique gifts, custom or personalized items, and something for nearly every occasion.
While I’ll admit, it’s not always convenient to have things close early or on the weekends, I’m still thankful I don’t have to drive a half-hour for every little thing I need.
Peace of Mind
There are many things I would do differently in day-to-day life if I didn’t live in a smaller town like Vinton. I think I’d worry more, for one. My 10-year-old spends his summer days riding his bike all over town to meet his friends, go to the pool, use the rec center, or visit a park or two. He wouldn’t be able to be as adventurous or independent if we lived in a larger city.
Because of the low crime rate, my sense of security is at an all-time high. I feel safety for myself, my children, and safety for my home. I don’t feel paranoid or the need to keep every single thing under lock and key at all times.
Plus, the cost of living is more than manageable; it’s much more affordable than if I were living in a bigger city. I get more bang for my buck.
The beautiful town of Vinton has proven to be the perfect place for my children and me to settle.
Make sure you never miss out on a parenting or community-related blog post: sign up to receive Cedar Rapids Moms posts in your inbox. While you’re at it, join our VIP List to ensure you’re one of the first to know about upcoming Cedar Rapids Moms events and promotions!!