by Dwight Hutchinson, board member of Main Street Middletown
In the mid 1980’s, my wife and I became a little restless in our home in a very settled and friendly neighborhood in Bethesda, MD. We moved there in 1972 when I was transferred with the Navy to the Washington area. I was coming from an unaccompanied tour with our submarine base on the island of Guam and the family was in Charleston, SC where I had been previously stationed for five years.
Over the years, we both saw Bethesda change from a “small town” to a rising “city” with the coming of the Metro, high rise constructions, and a huge increase in traffic. Our three children were completing their schooling and we decided to begin our search for new surroundings away from the “hustle-bustle” of suburban Washington.
Since both of us grew up in small town settings (Lydia from NW Connecticut, I from the low country of South Carolina), our search began in outlying areas in VA and MD. I knew that my second retirement (first from the Navy, second from a small high tech company in VA) was imminent and Lydia’s hobby of raising and showing pure bred dogs required a new environment. We concentrated our search on properties with some land either in or very near to a small community and still within commuting distance from my work site.
So, after much searching, we “discovered” Middletown in the summer of 1986 and fell in love with the area. Shortly thereafter we purchased an old farm house on the outskirts of town from a lovely native Middletown family who were in the process of moving to a new nearby home
We began moving slowly into our new home which, because of my working schedule and Lydia’s aging father living with us, took several years. However, we did, immediately find friends when we joined the Middletown Valley Historical Society in 1986, and shortly thereafter I was elected as their president. We were warmly welcomed by the town’s burgess, office personnel, and many others. We soon felt very much at home.
It was so wonderful to be able to drive or walk into the small town center, shop and visit, get reasonable help when needed and see how a small town operated as we remembered from our past experiences. Everyone was so helpful with recommendations and suggestions whenever we inquired about needed services, where to shop, what to do and other activities such as the best nearby places to visit. Although I don’t advise it, I could understand how safe it was to leave one’s vehicle unlocked when parked in town (with no parking meters!). We were also enchanted with the history of the town and the entire nearby area and how so many of the citizens still derived their family backgrounds from the earliest settlers in the Middletown Valley.
Since our arrival in 1986 we have seen changes but are so grateful that they are mostly very pleasing and well thought out by very careful and sensible town leaders. In short, Middletown is a town that was a very smart fit for us and we highly recommend all to take advantage of the many attributes the town offers.