Gaining Perspective on What Makes Carmel a Great Hometown
Writer / Jeff Worrell
I am originally from a small, typical suburb in Iowa call Urbandale. It is just north of the capital of Iowa, Des Moines, and I have always said it reminds me a lot of Carmel. I am proud to be a native Urbandale boy and I have fond memories of growing up there, in the state known for pigs and corn. I always look forward to heading west for visits with family and attending special occasions. While I am there, things are pretty much the same, as I remember the community while growing up. I don’t recall ever being impressed by anything spectacular or wishing I could bring my friends from Carmel to see my hometown.
So it struck me as unique and curious when I had the opportunity to talk to some Carmel graduates over the holiday break. During these casual conversations with sophisticated, successful, flourishing Carmel High School graduates, I noticed a theme. These visitors to Carmel were gushing with praise for their hometown. They were proud to be from here, and excited to tell me about how they found something new, different or improved since their days growing up.
Once such Carmel alumnus is Sarah Urbanski. She is now happily a southern girl, having lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and now Athens, Georgia, successfully sharing her skills with students at the University of Georgia as a graduate school student affairs administrator. She was especially kind about how she sees the place where she grew up.
“I always look forward to coming home to Carmel because of the nostalgia of my hometown, of visiting my family and community, and the places that I grew up alongside,” she says. “But a trip home to Carmel also always brings with it the excitement and anticipation of seeing how the city has changed and grown while I was away, and exploring the new spaces and places that Carmel has to offer.”
Urbanski pointed to Midtown as an example of a place she likes to go when she visits Carmel.
“I was amazed by the vibrancy of the area surrounded by Allied Solutions, Sun King, and Fork and Ale,” she says. “I see families together making it feel like a small town. It is so easy to walk to another part of Carmel and have a completely different experience, just like in a big city.”
I routinely heard the group praising how easy it is to get around in Carmel due to roundabouts and no stop lights. Urbanski compared her current home of Athens to Carmel. “I am spoiled when I am in Carmel for a few days and then have to go to the Target in Athens,” she says.
A trip in Carmel that would take minutes turns into a stop-wait-go, stop-wait-go frustration in Athens. “It takes a while to get over the convenience and efficiency of [roundabouts] after experiencing the luxury of constant movement, when I return to stoplights,” she says.
I couldn’t help but think about the difference between my hometown visit conversation and these former Greyhounds. When Carmelites come home, they too see family and friends, but they also get to enjoy a Carmel they didn’t grow up with, offering something new to do, see and enjoy. I hope that makes their visits many and often. Welcome home.