Happiness Is Your Hometown

So, we’ve done it.  We’ve done the thing we always swore we would never do.  Yes, we consciously decided to live in the town that we grew up in to raise Gia.  In high school I remember silently vowing to myself that I would never move back to sleepy little Benicia.  Look at us now – we’ve sold our first home here and are in contract with our next.  Go figure.


Picture of downtown Benicia:

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When I was a teenager, specifically during my high school years I didn’t dislike my hometown, but I also didn’t have a lot of love for it either.  I was often bored because most of my friends lived over the bridge.  (I went to an all girls, Catholic high school.)  Actually, I should retract that – I wasn’t bored.  My time was always filled with softball practice after school, homework and late night hitting + catching lessons that sometimes took me as far as San Jose.

In my early 20s, after graduating college, I moved back in with my parents for a little while, which meant the return to my Main Street town.  After finding my way, getting my first real job and saving money, I booked it out of Benicia and lived in Walnut Creek – a place where I still like to spend time.  I lived there for a year and during that time, I found myself constantly gravitating back towards Benicia.  I don’t know if it was the fact that my parents were there, or that I was beginning to appreciate the friendly, small town I called home for almost all of my life.  (Maybe it was a combo of the two?)

Fast forward to the present….Craig (he’s also a Benicia native) and I feel like we couldn’t have made a better decision about settling down here.  We are within walking distance of both of our parents, are close to cities where we like to spend our free time adventuring, and we feel like we are truly part of the community here.


Photo of Gia trying to join the seagull community here in town:

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I think it’s such a nice feeling that I know all of the faces at my gym and I can say hi to them when I see them at the Farmers’ Market, or in the grocery store.  I love the fact that when I walk downtown with Gia, the security guard at the bank always goes out of his way to say hi, or ask about our day.  Some may not like that type of thing and think that in a town like this everyone is in your business.  I’m sure there is some truth to that, but I only see the positives.

These are some of the reasons why I’m so happy to be living in our hometown, raising our daughter:

  • Support events and local vendors – Benicia is always good for a Fair or Festival.  Yesterday I made a quick trip downtown to the Fine Arts & Crafts Fair that I mentioned on my Instagram.  Gia and I strolled up and down First Street, then picked up some YUMMY macarons from Wildflour Bakehouse.  (Go check them out and thank me later!)  I’m sure there will be another fun event here in town soon, but I don’t know when.  You can always visit the city website to see the list of happenings around town.

Picture of the Fine Arts & Crafts Fair:

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  • Reconnect with people who also grew up here – I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with or even reconnecting with since living here as an adult.  A lot of it has to do with my lifestyle and having a child.  I’ve gotten to meet other parents who want to get together and made great friends through my husband.  It’s nice to see that people other than my husband and I have the same idea of “coming back home.”
  • Gia will go through an “I hate this town” phase too – It’s pretty likely that Gia will go through the same phase that I went through, but if that helps her find her way through life then that’s fine.  If she one day chooses to move back here, then I will be happy knowing she went through a similar thought process to mine.  If she lives elsewhere, whether it be 15 minutes away or a 15 hour drive, it will also make me happy knowing that she’s content being there.

If you’re a resident of Benicia, comment and let me know what you love about our town! I’d love to hear about other cities as well.  Let me know what you love most about where you live.  As much as I like living where I do, I know there will be days where I will feel like my high school aged self and “hate it.”  Just remember to stop and smell the flowers on days like that!


Picture of Gia smelling the flowers at yesterday’s event:

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