O'Neill is currently being explored by a wonderful family who have driven all the way from their home in Fairfield, CA... Steve and Vivian Linder and their four sons, Everest, Calvin, Trevor, and Stevenson (ages 17, 15, 13, and 7), along with Vivian's mother, Maru Barhart (a resident of Vacaville, CA), have been visiting relatives for the past week, and were gracious enough to spend a few moments with me to share their thoughts and ideas about our town and even a suggestion or two.
Steve, (who originally hails from Minnesota), is a Chemical Engineer specializing in water treatment with boilers and cooling towers. Vivian is a sales representative for a clothing line and a fitness instructor. Steve (who returned to California early for his job and is not in the photo) commented that O'Neill reminded him of the small town he grew up in.
From all accounts, it sounds as if they are enjoying the activities O'Neill and the surrounding area has to offer... The 'Tanking Trip' on the Cedar River out of Atkinson seemed to be at the top of their list, with Stevenson commenting on the frogs and turtles he spotted. Maru also expressed enthusiasm for the experience.
They were especially intent on taking in the Summerfest activities, enjoying the sidewalk sales and rodeo, although Calvin was a bit disappointed that the Mud Drags had been cancelled... The Cowboy Trail is another hit, as they had brought their bikes with them and have been making use of this scenic path. Vivian commented that in past visits, they had visited Ash Falls and everyone raved over the delicious and generous helpings at Green Gables Restaurant in nearby Orchard.
When I asked what was different about our town as opposed to theirs, the entire family commented positively on the grocery store carry-out courtesy, our volunteer fire department, no traffic, how no one seems to be in a real hurry, everyone waves (even going down the road) and seems to know each other. Vivian suggested a full scale farmer's market similar to what she has experienced in her town--she says it becomes an event with blocked off streets and even a live band.
As I see various family members walking or biking through town, they seem to be enjoying our little corner of the world...and we're happy to have them here!