Having served on the Village Board for the last four years, I have noticed a curious term that pops up from time to time. It is generally used by someone outside of our community as a description. Something or someone is identified as being very “Long Grovian,” and it has taken me a few years to properly nail down what that actually means. Is this an insult or a compliment? And I’m not really sure I can accurately identify the characteristics, but in an attempt to clarify, here goes…
Something is “Long Grovian” if it has a quaint, rural appeal. A resident wrote to me recently and used the term “pastoral” repeatedly. While I’m not aware of any shepherds tending to their flock here in town these days, I think this is a reference to our abundance of open space. Having large, wooded lots and many ponds and prairies in our backyard vistas gives a certain feel to our area that is certainly not typical of suburbia. Our low density lends a calm and bucolic feel to our neighborhoods, and the occasional deer or coyote crossing the roads adds to the rustic charm. To love Long Grove is also to have an appreciation of local history. Many of the buildings in our downtown crossroads date from the late 1800’s, and our covered bridge was constructed to appear as if it belongs to that era as well. Our Village Hall (pictured above) is a renovated tavern from the 1850’s, and gives a distinctive impression about our community to all who visit. But our “Long Grovian” ways mean that many things they did not have in the 1800’s are still absent today: public restrooms, wheelchair accessible buildings, wireless fire & sprinkler systems, city sewers, stoplights, and Lake Michigan water, to name a few.
Someone is “Long Grovian” if they embrace this agrarian vibe, along with a certain sense of self-sufficiency that comes along with it. An appreciation of nature and wildlife is necessary as well. I’m describing the kind of person who upon discovering racoons in the yard, would be inclined to feed them rather than immediately call the relocation specialists. Recently, a group of residents petitioned the Board to be allowed to keep chickens in our Village, and we do still have a few horse properties scattered about. True “Long Grovians” embrace our minimal government philosophy, and many place a high value on free will and understand that a certain degree of volunteerism and community involvement is required to operate with such a small municipal staff. I am also going to go out on a limb and say that many “Long Grovians” are viewed as economical, in a Mid-western thriftiness sort of way. I believe we also have a reputation of being stubborn about the protection of our green spaces, and for resisting urban sprawl and the related development that comes along with. But our unique character is seen as very compatible with the arts and artistically minded individuals, and this lends a distinctiveness to our historic downtown and to our festivals.
So how “Long Grovian” are you? I know many residents who would say they find nothing in this blog entry that remotely describes them. I will admit that I fit some of the stereotypes, but certainly not all. And in reality, there is no such thing as a “Long Grovian.” We are a collection of individuals who have chosen this community for a variety of very good reasons, many of which having nothing to do with wildlife and old buildings. Maybe it is the great schools, proximity to your job, O’Hare, or Chicago. Whatever it is that attracted you to Long Grove and keeps you here today, that is part of the attribute that makes you a true “Long Grovian.”