While riding the Walkersville commuter shuttle to the train station early one morning, I got a quick history tour from a few of my co-riders.
One pointed out the site of an old abandoned mansion that had fallen victim to fire (currently the location of Bloom grocery), mentioned that one of the farmhouses that we passed was one of the original ones from the founding of the town, and told me where the historic Walker farm was, whose family gave the town its name. (And I had fancied that it was called Walkersville because so much of it seemed easily navigable by foot.)
Others remembered when the stretch of road between Walkersville and Frederick was ALL farmland -- no Giant or Wal-mart and their shopping centers -- and only two lanes, one in each direction. One lady told me that it was only up until recently that there was only one bridge (that one with the arches) over the Monocacy River, across which flows the southbound traffic on route 26.
Then the conversation turned to finding the balance between progress and development and maintaining the character of the area, which is what they said lures potential homeowners and developers in the first place.
As I listened, I thought about all the things more development could bring that would make life here more convenient. Then I realized that while some things should change (over time), others shouldn't or this town wouldn't be anymore the one I'm getting to know and growing to love.
Turns out, that's the same conclusion everyone else on the bus came to.
It's pretty cool to find out things you have in common with strangers -- it makes them seem less like strangers and more like potential friends. Now that's a development I can wholeheartedly embrace.