Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 7-11-11
Do you long to have a place where you can go to “get away from it all,” but have a small budget? Let me suggest Stratton, Neb., as your destination. Located in the far southwest area of the state, in a prosperous farming region, the small town bills itself as, “A Good Place to Grow.” The low-key, laid back town and its people are as welcoming as their slogan says.
After spending a weekend in Stratton I can vouch that you won’t have to worry about having your respite interrupted with wireless access to the internet; it didn’t seem to be commonly available in Stratton, according to my searches. Residents mentioned it’s due to the high cost dictated by companies and it has something to do with how near it is to Colorado. That proximity to another state’s borders also causes havoc with time zones shown on cell phones. Stratton is on Central Time; Colorado is on Mountain. It is common to have the hour from one time zone show up on your phone while standing, then across the room, the other time zone will appear on the phone. It is mindboggling when first realized though the simple fix of wearing a watch alleviates the confusion. Communication in planning is crucial.
The ringer may have been the lone gas station which opens at 8 and closes at 5. We arrived at 5:30, and the clerk was inside but there was no hope of having her open the door except to say they’d be open in the morning at 8. There are no credit-card activated 24 hour pumps; don’t plan on arriving in Stratton on fumes.
There is one motel which has recently renovated rooms, very clean and right out of the 1950s. Satellite T.V. is in each room, but there are no clocks nor telephones. With the current popularity of cell phones, who needs them? Showers instead of tubs and window air conditioners/heaters are the norm. Located next to the highway, the window fan was run to mask the noise of the autos as they passed. The motel owner is delightful and most accommodating. She also works other jobs so when you call, you leave your name and number and she calls you back. It’s the same thing when you arrive at Stratton. Make arrangements for the key if you don’t want to wait to get into your room. The place was full during our visit and later in the season, hunters flock to this motel.
The 370 or so residents are surrounded by agricultural endeavors, farms, a commercial grain elevator and cattle. A grocery store, retirement home, elementary school, clinic and churches along with older stately homes make for an interesting, quiet town. It is just plain nice. All in all Stratton seems to be an opportune place to unwind and unplug from the world.
Peggy likes to venture to unusual places when she leaves the farm in southwestern South Dakota. Her internet latchstring is out through Peggy@PeggySanders.com.