There’s a remarkable little town in southern Wisconsin called Cambridge that G took me to shortly after we started dating. His grandparents had lived there on the lake and G (who grew up in a neighboring town) had so many wonderful memories of being there. He showed me the house where his grandparents had lived, and then took me to a beautiful hiking trail just outside of town. Afterwards, we walked up and down Cambridge’s historic Main Street lined with antique stores, quaint coffee shops, and art and pottery galleries.
It was the most charming town I’d ever seen.
A few years later we bought our first house close to our jobs in Madison, WI…but Cambridge always called to us. When driving to G’s parents’ house we’d often opt to “take the scenic route,” going the long way just so we could set our sights on that beloved little town. We visited as often as we could and found it absolutely mandatory to get there at least once each autumn to explore our favorite hiking trail (Cam-Rock Park), unplug for a day and enjoy the views.
When it came time to purchase our second house G asked, “What about Cambridge?”
At the time I was working in downtown Madison and the 8 mile commute from our westside Madison suburb was unpredictable, lengthy and draining the life out of me. I couldn’t imagine tacking another 20 miles on to it, so we decided to stay in Madison, close to our jobs.
Eight years and one little girl about to start kindergarten later, G and I were back to discussing where we were going to live. This time around, however, the stakes were higher. We weren’t just choosing a house – we were choosing our daughter’s school district, and a community we could call our home. G and I are both from small towns and small schools and we knew we wanted Kate to have a similar experience, so we started looking at real estate in towns bordering Madison.
And then G asked, “What about Cambridge?”
We discussed it for weeks.
What about Cambridge?
That charming little town that we’ve always adored. It was a lot further from the city than anything else we’d been looking at, but I no longer had a commute to worry about now that I work from home. On the flip side, G’s commute would double, but he doesn’t loathe driving like I do and was confident he wouldn’t mind. We’d be much closer to G’s parents and the rest of his family which was a major plus, although downsizing from a city of 250,000 to a town of 1,500 would be an adjustment – one that appealed to us more and more each day. It was the small town life we’d been imagining for our family, with the convenience of the city only 20 minutes away.
The only question left was the school district. We didn’t know anything about it, so we started researching and were amazed to discover it offered so much! The elementary school, for example, has a school forest – utilized as an outdoor classroom – with a system of trails built and maintained by the students. There is also a school farm, and many other extracurriculars. In addition, the Cambridge School District is rated in the top 10% of school districts in our entire state. It became clear to us from everything we’d read and through feedback from local residents that this was a town that valued educating its young people.
“So…what about Cambridge?” G asked again. “Should we do it?”
We could do our research and weigh the pros and cons all day long, but sometimes it all comes down to a feeling – that feeling we both had so long ago when G first introduced me to Cambridge, WI and I fell in love with a town.
I’ll never forget that day.
As I mentioned above, we had just finished our hike and were exploring the shops along Cambridge’s beautiful historic Main Street. And it was right there on Main Street, walking hand in hand, that we looked at each other and said, “Someday we’re going to raise our family here.”
I was 19 years old. G was 22.
That feeling has stayed with us ever since, and it was stronger than ever when I looked at G – giddy as a teenager all over again – and replied, “Let’s do it!”
Cambridge, we can’t wait to call you our home.