Old Montreal rectory welcomes Witches

MONTREAL – The Pagan community in Montreal, Quebec has a new community space called The Rectory. It is the brainchild of T.Scarlet Jory and Robyn, two witches who identified the need for a new venue for Pagan classes, rituals and events.

Located in the actual rectory of an Anglican church, The Rectory is promoting itself as “a multifaith sacred space aimed at supporting community.” The adjacent church is St. Thomas’ Anglican Church and part of the diocese of Montreal.

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[Courtesy Photo]

The story of The Rectory began last August when Jory received a phone call from the landlord who was renting space to the literacy program for whom she was working at the time. That program was sharing rent with Jory’s own Crescent Moon School of Magic and Paganism. The landlord was calling to give them notice that effective October 1, 2016 both programs would no longer be able to rent the space.

In need of a new venue, Jory and Robyn began the search. They eventually chose the main floor of the old church rectory, which features a large temple room and adjoining office space. Additionally, they have access to a communal kitchen and a bathroom.

The building itself is a 175-year-old stone structure with period charm and interesting features, including leaded windows, hardwood floors, and an impressive fireplace. The exterior has the old-world charm right out of a Harry Potter story.

It is uncommon for Pagan groups to be operating out of an Anglican church facility, which begs the question: how are the Pagans and Anglicans getting along as neighbours?

Jory cannot say enough about how accommodating and cooperative the relationship has been. “They are fine with us doing our Pagan stuff indoors, they just say please don’t do rituals outside, because not everybody will understand. So, that’s our respect for them, we are on their ground.”

This relationship has provided opportunity for both sides to work together on interfaith projects. “They do a bunch of interfaith stuff. They wanted to do something that would help build community,” Jory explains.

“Some of the projects that we do are community building specifically. We are going to petition to clean up their tea garden. They have an old tea garden in the back yard that hasn’t been touched in decades. We want to refurbish it, and replant all the roses, put in more tea garden related stuff, put down more flagstones and host tea services and things out there.”

The duo took possession of the space on October 1, 2016, and a soft opening followed. “We haven’t made it very public until just recently,” Jory says.

Period features inside The Rectory [Courtesy Photo]

Period features inside The Rectory [Courtesy Photo]

“The first few months have been very rocky, getting set up, figuring out what we want to do and what the plans are, and what the gods want of us. As December rolled through we saw this is really working, this is the direction things are going to go. We will run with it! The gods have said: “Here is what you can do, if you follow this, it will go well!” And I think it really has.”

Other groups have joined the team at The Rectory, to share space and operating costs. These groups include: Etudiants Savoir Faire, a tutoring service, offering support to children in English, French and math; the Maplestone Academy a monthly, Hogwarts-like magical immersion program for children and adults; Sophia Rising, a Wiccan coven; The Sisterhood of Avalon, a non-profit, international Celtic Women’s Mysteries Organization; Montreal Reiki; The Crescent Moon School of Magic & Paganism; and the Temple Oracle, a French eclectic Wiccan group.

This wide spectrum of groups and individuals represents both of Canada’s official languages: French and English. In Quebec, French is the most commonly spoken language; however, in the Pagan community, it is not always easy to find events that are held in French or that are bilingual.

“Montreal is very much two Pagan communities” explains Jory. “The language is such a big issue in Quebec as a whole. It almost divides the things that are going on. We have two very distinct Pagan communities and on occasion they cross over, like for the public Sabbats, but they don’t have any other cross over points.”

The Rectory is poised to fill that need. Jory adds, “One of the women in [Temple Oracle] is one of my level two students and they were looking for a space as well, so they were not bouncing all over from one person’s house to another; they wanted something central. She wanted to get into community stuff, so I said why don’t you tap into the French community, because they have nothing. So that’s what she did. She is hosting French workshops and French rituals and that is working really well.”

Many form of divination will be available at the Divine-In Fundraiser (courtesy photo)

Many forms of divination will be available at the Divine-In Fundraiser [Courtesy Photo]

With the new year comes the grand opening of The Rectory, and there are many different types of events in store for visitors. Jory explains, “When we were setting up our calendar of events, October through to the end of December was kind of scarce with just dark moons (ceremonies), Crescent Moon School and the odd workshop. Then we looked at our January calendar, and it is so packed.“

The calendar holds an array of classes, workshops, healing opportunities, and fundraisers. The next big event will be held Saturday, January 7 when doors will open to the public for a Divine-In Fundraiser to help support the organization. Tea & treats are on the menu, and guests will be able to get a tarot, tea leaf, lithomancy, or rune reading, to name a few, from one of the students or teachers of the Crescent Moon School.

The fundraiser held in October has already become a tradition for The Rectory. Just before Samhain, the organization hosted an Elder’s Tea, in order to get people together to see the space, and listen to the stories of the Montreal community’s elders. Participants were encouraged to dress up Downton Abbey style, and antique tea sets were used to serve tea and dainties to the guests, who were waited on by Crescent Moon School students. Invited Elders were entertained for free and encouraged to share their stories.

“It was such a beautiful experience, we were asked if we could do something like this every year. So now every year, we will hold an Elder’s Tea.” explains Jory. The next one is already scheduled for October 22, 2017.

Teacher and Rectory organizer, T.Scarlet Jory [Courtesy photo]

For Jory, running this venture has become a full time job, but is it supporting her as well as the community she serves? With a sigh and a laugh, she says “Running all of the community stuff, that is my day job. Does it pay for things? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Paying the rent on that space comes first and then whatever is left over becomes income.”

So what motivates her? “When I got to 3rd Degree, one of the vows that I took was to be in service to the community and to the divine. We do rituals here; we do healing services; and spiritual counseling and the workshops. We also provide space.”

The Rectory is not the only Montreal Pagan space operating. Sacred Cauldron is back after closing its old location and relocating to a new address. It also offers classes and workshops. And while Jory’s former business, Melange Magique, a keystone of the local community was forced to close its bricks and mortar location in 2013 (it is still operating online), another shop, Charme & Sortilege continues to cater to the French-speaking community.

But the size of the population, language barriers, and large geographical spaces dictate that this small sampling is not enough, and Robyn reflected on that, saying, “We need a place like The Rectory because our community lacked a place to gather. While we recognize and appreciate that there are other shops and a couple of centers in Montreal that do offer courses and rituals, we have seen that people feel that the distance is an issue to get to them, or else that they do not always ascribe to the same beliefs as those holding them there. We are doing our best at The Rectory to be open to all, and to renew some of the sense of community that the Montreal Pagans used to have.”

Jory and Robyn have negotiated a slight break on the rent for the first year, and are working to ensure that this new venture is sustainable into the future.

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Reveal: My Dining Room Design with One Kings Lane

I have a particularly exciting home tour for you today – because it’s a tour of another room in our house! You’ve seen sneak peeks of this space (here & here) when my design was still in process, but over the past couple of months, I worked with One Kings Lane to finally bring the whole room together. The final result is exactly what I was looking for: a classic, timeless space with a modern touch.

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I’ve waited a long time to have a formal dining space. Years of apartment living and 4-person dinner parties definitely put a cramp in my entertaining style. Finally having a dining room gives me what I’ve longed for – a spaced dedicated to bringing people together over good food. I had a strong vision for the room and was thrilled to learn One Kings Lane had a Design Studio and in-house designers who could help bring my dream room to life. I met my designer, Chelsea Conrad at the San Francisco Studio at One Kings Lane. I came armed with my reams of pins – mostly of Parisian pre-war apartments – and Chelsea immediately got my vibe. Witha firm design plan crafted, I was able to set Chelsea out to source the perfect pieces – and she was certainly successful.

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Her first find, and possibly my favorite piece in the whole room, is the dining table. It’s an eight-foot long beauty made of reclaimed pine in a soft ash stain. The lighter hue and ornate trestle base keep the table from looking too rustic.

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Such a stately table required equally substantial chairs. We tried a variety of options but many dining chairs felt dwarfed by the dining table’s heft. The traditional Louis XVI-style chairs,  that were ultimately selected as our final winners, are stately with nice tall backs that help balance the room’s proportions. I also love how the chairs juxtapose classic detailing with chic black leather upholstery, adding an unexpected edge to the room. The black gives the chairs a glamorous update, while the weathered wood brings the formality back down a notch. And perhaps most importantly, they’re really comfortable.

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The dining room is long, rectangular and relatively narrow, but there are little nooks on either side of the fireplace – perfect spots for having a little fun. To the left of the fireplace, I repurposed shelving I used in my old Apt34 studio to house a selection of my tableware collection. After years in this blogging business I have quite a lot. I intentionally kept the color palette neutral and muted. I didn’t want the bookcase to feel too busy. A few of art books and a vintage portrait add some additional texture. I’m also a sucker for a good occasional chair and the high-backed piece placed next to the shelving spoke to me immediately. Right now a shot of my husband holding our son when he was just days old takes prominence of place against the chair-back. I love leaning art rather than hanging it on the walls. It gives a space a more relaxed, undone feel. It also lets you play as your mood and decorating whims change!

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When it comes to setting the table, my love of contrast continues. I like a mix of natural organic elements like woven placemats, bouquets of eucalyptus and natural edged dishes, all paired with my modern black flatware. Did you spy the marbleized vases, both on the table and on my bookshelf? Obsessed!

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I wanted to bring in some bench seating to both soften the room and break up the formality of the table. I fell in love with the texture and rounded corners of the linen tufted bench immediately. By matching tones in different finishes you can create depth and interest in a room without having to bring in color. The bench also the perfect soft spot for my toddler to scramble up and sit at the table. He loves to “talk” with the rest of the adults.

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One of the biggest challenges with this room is proportion. The 12-foot ceilings seem to dwarf things so finding furnishings with just the right scale became key. I firmly that is where you can benefit from outside design expertise the most. You can probably pull together color palettes or identify the style of things that you like with relative ease, but if the scale of your furnishing don’t work together, the whole room is thrown off. To help deal with our crazy ceiling height Chelsea chose a sideboard with tall, narrow legs and a surface that sits higher than the dining table. It draws the eye up. I also love that the sideboard has ample closed storage, allowing me to keep even more of my serveware in the dining room without adding clutter or breaking up all the clean lines. An étagère likewise adds lift to an empty corner.

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I firmly believe that you cannot entertain without a proper bar area. On the opposite side of the fireplace from my book shelf, we leaned a floor mirror (which adds depth to the narrow room and also bounces around even more light) and then placed a vintage-inspired – fully stocked bar cart. I love the mixed metallic finishes and the nod to the historic elements of the house.

All told, I couldn’t be happier with how this room came togehter. It’s now a place we not only gather for parties but for nightly family dinners and I often take up refuge for a power blogging session! Because the dining room is connected to the rest of the house it is a key part of the heart of our home.

For a peek at the dramatic before of this room CLICK HERE

For the entire feature on the room’s design CLICK HERE

To shop this space on One Kings Lane CLICK HERE

And if you want to get a really personal view of how the space came together check out the One Kings Lane instagram account at 11:00 AM PST TODAY! I’m going to be doing a live tour of the room – eek!!

photography courtesy of one kings lane, photography of The Studio by OKL delbarr moradi 

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decor8 Booth at imm and LivingKitchen Fair in Cologne!

Hello everyone and a very happy new year to you! I’ve been trying to blog less over the past month to focus my energy on a big project coming up AND to spend more time with my little boy who will turn THREE next month. We are doing well and he is such a wonderful child, I couldn’t be happier as a mom and definitely had such a nice time with him during our pause time. My husband and I really enjoy him – he is a super energetic, a comedian and already speaking in sentences in both German and English, so he’s definitely keeping us on our toes.

decor8 Booth at imm and LivingKitchen Fair in Cologne!
(my imm mood board above, to give you a general idea of the decor8 booth concept)

Okay, so! I have to tell you about this very exciting and a very big FIRST TIME project I’m currently assigned to by the imm and LivingKitchen fair (more info here and here). But first…Do you know about the imm and LivingKitchen?

If not, it’s one of the largest fairs in the world, and certainly most influential, for home and kitchen. It’s THE fair to attend if you want to catch all of the largest trends from the leading companies plus, to see all of their brand new collections before anyone else. What is even MORE special is that this time, they are including a special hall just for Blickfang, which is an International Fair for independent designers, so they are giving small brands a chance to be seen and experienced by their visitors. I find this very fresh and inspirational.

But that’s not all… They have partnered with me and also Desiree from Vosgesparis, so we each were assigned a booth in one of the halls to present our own trend show. This is so exciting for us both, I’m certainly looking forward to it! The theme for our booths is “immspired – the bloggers’ trend show” and we were asked to design a booth from the ground up and source and order in all of the products we’d need to loan from some of our favorite companies, and we had about 6 weeks (including the holidays) to do it. This proved to be challenging but exhilarating because I was traveling for my European book tour during the planning stages AND since it landed right during the same time as my family “pause” time for the holidays among a thousand other things I have going on in my business!

So far, so good! Thing is, it was nice to work on something like this with such little planning time because I had to just make FAST decisions, improvise, and not over-think anything. For a creative/perfectionist/semi-control freak like me (at least for work-related tasks, definitely not in my private life), it was nice to have a very short planning and execution time because I would have doubted and revised and perfected to death every step along the way. The pace of this project has been intense and quick, but I’m still confident the results will be very nice and the fair will be so pleased with the results, as well as our guests. I really hope you will come to meet me and see the booth in person if you can! I feel so relaxed, not nervous at all, though with an estimated 70,000 people flooding to this influential fair, you think I’d be a wreck but I’m surprisingly so chill about it because this is something I love so much – combining my vision with meeting people and being immersed in a beautiful setting with inspirational people and products. HELLO HAPPINESS.

The decor8 space is planned at 11 meters by 7 meters, so it’s a decent size spot with a small kitchen nook, dining area, seating area and a fun Instagram printer for you to use, free coffee, wifi and a big mood board project where you are invited to take part. I’ll have tools for you to use AND we’ll be posting on Instagram (you too!) where we will have a winner who will get special prizes from me shipped in the mail after the fair that you will love from my favorite companies.

decor8 Booth at imm and LivingKitchen Fair in Cologne!

I’ve finished my booth design (at least the major pieces), so I will show you more in the days to come… Then, during the fair on Instagram, I’ll show you on Instagram Stories (@decor8) with live video AND with photos on my stream so you can see the booth. I have a bunch of bloggers visiting me at the booth too, so I’ll be sure to share them with you when they stop by on my Instagram feed. You can follow the fun on Instagram with hashtag #immspired. Come visit me and if you want tickets at a special rate, click here, so you can come during the second weekend between January 20-22. I will be at my booth to meet my visitors on Monday, January 16, Saturday, January 21 from 11-and Sunday, January 22 from 11-4. If I’m not there when you stop by on those dates, just ask the person who is in my booth (we have a host present at all times) to send me an SMS so I can come by to meet you – I may be off touring the fair or working elsewhere for a bit. If I know you have come to meet me, I’ll do my best to see you so please do stop by.

For now, I want to thank some of the companies in advance who are lending me products for this wonderful project. They include:
FERM LIVING – Lighting and accessories
SKAGERAK – furniture
MENU A/S – furniture, lighting and accessories
WOUD – furniture and lighting
PIET HEIN EEK – furniture
N BY NABER – kitchen
CONNOX – furniture
ATELIER SUKHA – accessories
FARROW & BALL – paint

I will also have special paintings from SANIA PELL and small ceramics from DIETLIND WOLF along with magazines to read and enjoy as you lounge from KOEL, FETE PRESS and BELONG.

I expect to add a few more collaborators our list above in the next 48 hours, so I’ll update this post when I do to share them with you.

TO ATTEND AT A SPECIAL PRICE (8 Euro for the entrance on the private visitor days including free train ride) CLICK HERE and enter this code at checkout: 2017lk+imm

I’m so happy to share this project with you… More to come in the next days, so stay turned and again, a very happy new year to all of you.

Love and peace,

Holly

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Classic Style: In Fashion and At Home

Ralph Lauren Fall 2015 collection show at New York Fashion Week

{A Classic Look by Ralph Lauren}

It seems that at the beginning of each new year, everyone begins predicting trends that they anticipate will be big that year. I can’t say that I am interested in what has been declared the color of the year, the hot new metal finish, or trendy pieces. What happens next year when the new hot thing comes along and you’ve committed the design of your home to his year’s trends? Things can feel one-dimensional and dated really quickly. I don’t think it’s as bad to follow trends in fashion since it changes so quickly and represents less of an investment than home decor. I am completely guilty of buying the hot, new earrings, shoes, top of the season (Les Bonbons– check! Gucci loafers– check! Although, I’d argue that they may be having a moment, but are a classic that has been around for decades. Off-the-shoulder tops? Check! I have plenty in my closet.) I do consider myself to be trend-averse, though. I think it’s important for things to feel fresh and current, but always prefer for the undercurrent to be classic and timeless.

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{A Chic Room that Blends Modern and Traditional Elements by Delphine and Reed Krakoff via Architectural Digest}

This got me thinking about what classic style means. Of course, tastes are subjective, but when it comes to both design and fashion, there are certain things that define classic style for me. For example, both in fashion and for the home, I think a neutral palette with a few carefully selected color accents immediately reads as classic. Camel, black, white, gray, and navy are classic and always in style. A carefully curated mix of old and new, traditional and modern, and pieces with meaning are timeless and much more interesting than something that looks like a page out of a catalog or trendy pieces from head to toe.

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{A Classic Ensemble: Black Tee, Black Coat, Great-Fitting Jeans, and Black Suede Mules}

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{What could be more classic than an iconic interior by Albert Hadley, the master of mixing traditional and modern pieces in a timeless way?}

classic-navy-coat

{A Chic Combination featuring a Navy Coat, Camel Sweater, and White Jeans}

classic-christopher-burns

{What’s the design equivalent of the previous outfit? How about a cozy chair in sumptuous blue velvet and a room with great architectural details? | Design by Christopher Burns}

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{Elin Kling in a Timeless Striped Button-Down}

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{Stripes in a Classic, Elegant Bedroom by Bruce Budd as featured in Architectural Digest}

classic-lsd-moda-london

{Former Vogue Editor and Style Icon, Lauren Santo Domingo in a Beautiful, Embroidered Dress at the Opening of her Moda Operandi Showroom in London}
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{Lauren looks like the embodiment of Spring as does this glamorous, classic room by Rose Uniacke}

classic-nina-ricci

{A Soft, Feminine, and Undoubtedly Timeless Look as seen on the Runway at Nina Ricci– What could be more classic than delicate lace and a black velvet ribbon?}

classic-anne-coyle

{While not a direct interpretation of the Nina Ricci outfit above, this living room by Anne Coyle embodies a similar spirit– feminine, elegant, romantic, yet modern.}

How do you define classic style? Do you find yourself following trends in fashion or design?

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Gramercy Park Goodness

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The new February 2017 issue of Architectural Digest is due on newsstands soon but until I get a copy, I’m enjoying their Web Exclusive Home Tours. The latest is the Gramercy Park pre-war apartment of interior designer Bennett Leifer that was a disaster when he found it. He transformed the one bedroom into a show stopper in just seven short weeks. Too bad every design project can’t be completed that quickly.

To find credits and read the entire story, click here.
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Colorado Rockies Presale Passwords

The Colorado Rockies have some presales going on and we know you want to get your hands on these tickets before everyone else. Here, we will provide you with the presale passwords needed to help you get the tickets you want. Check back later for more updates! Want a special discount off your ticket price? Use […]

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Arizona Diamondbacks Presale Passwords

The Arizona Diamondbacks have some presales going on and we know you want to get your hands on these tickets before everyone else. Here, we will provide you with the presale passwords needed to help you get the tickets you want. Check back later for more updates! Want a special discount off your ticket price? Use […]

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A Tri-Coastal Woman: Small Town Girl

Friendswood Friends ChurchI was born in Houston, but most of my childhood was spent in Friendswood, a tiny town just beyond the Houston suburbs (it later became the suburbs) founded by conservative Quakers.

We lived on fifteen acres, with a creek and woods and pasture and horses. Our creaky old house was well-stocked with books. I have lots of memories of riding my horse the two miles into Friendswood to get a coke at the grocery store and other memories of spending hot August days curled up in an easy chair, a fan turned directly on me, reading.

We didn’t even have a key to our house and left the keys in the car when we drove into Friendswood. Everyone in town knew everyone else.

Sounds idyllic, and in some ways it was. You didn’t run into huge crowds unless you went into Houston to go shopping or off to Galveston to go to the beach. People were friendly in that laid-back southern way.

But small towns are a lousy place to be different. What you learn, if you know you don’t fit in, is to either copy the ways of other people or keep your mouth shut.

The only thing about me that fits into a small, conservative, southern town is that I’m fifth-generation Anglo Texan. Meaning I can pass if I keep my mouth shut.

I’ve never been good at keeping my mouth shut.

It’s not just that your social life tanks if you’re different, particularly when you’re a teenager. It’s that there’s nobody to talk to.

I was fortunate in my parents, who were always different despite living in their native culture. I could talk to them. But it’s good to have people outside the family to talk to: friends who share your passions for ideas or stories, teachers who give you a new way of looking at things. Those things were in short supply.

You get very little exposure to different kinds of thinking – not to mention different kinds of people – in a small town.

I left home to go to college at eighteen and haven’t lived in a small town since.

Austin and the University of Texas opened the world up for me. Ideas and people to talk to about ideas everywhere you looked. I was hungry and I gobbled them up in my usual disorganized way.

For a couple of years, I lived in a small city – Wichita Falls – that was just as narrow as a small town. There I figured out that the dividing line between a narrow place and one vibrant and full of intellectual life is not necessarily based on population. A hundred thousand people live in Wichita Falls and the city has a college, but interesting conversations were in short supply, at least back then.

There’s nothing like big cities for providing the ferment and yeast and diversity that allow human beings the freedom to be the person they’re supposed to be while providing them with challenges along the way so that they can grow and expand.

Austin led me into co-ops. Washington, DC, expanded my martial arts opportunities and gave me the opportunity to be the only person of my race in the room (or on the block). I’m still finding my niche in Oakland, but the diversity and culture are giving me more ways to be and act.

Many people accuse us all of living in a “bubble” these days. They usually mean social media and the internet, and imply that we’re all getting fake news because we share things with our friends who agree with us.

As far as I’m concerned, the small towns of this country are the original bubble. The internet opened the doors for those stuck in those towns to realize how much else was out there.

There’s a reason the educated people leave the small towns and migrate to the cities, and it isn’t just jobs. They’re all looking for new ideas, opportunities, people worth talking to about something more than the weather and where you go to church.

Some of them – like me – would love to live in a smaller place if it provided the intellectual ferment and diversity of a big city. But big cities are not just the future, but the present. 83 percent of people in the US live in urban areas these days.

The solution for getting the best of both worlds might be to come up with ways to bring the community spirit found in the better small towns into city neighborhoods.

We’d better leave the horses behind, though.

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