The average American commutes 25.4 minutes to work daily. So, on average, they plan to spend at least an hour getting to and from work. For the zip code 26101, the average commute time is 17.2 minutes, one way. Personally, my commute time is around 12 minutes given that there is no roadwork or any red lights. That can fluctuate between 10 to 20 minutes depending on how late I’m running or how many cars are backed up as they repave Route 47.

The distance between where I enter the interstate on the Staunton Ave exit to Marietta is roughly 19 minutes (16 miles). The distance between my house and the mall is 20 minutes (8.2 miles). Now, if you’ve made it this far, I promise I’m not segueing into a difficult math word problem. My point, and I do have one, is that although Marietta and Parkersburg are so close together, locals consider each city a trek.

For example, I go to the mall at least two times per week because my husband works there. It’s not a stretch to say that I drive past the mall going deeper into Vienna almost daily. However, if I know that I’m going to Marietta, I feel the need to set aside a portion of my day to go there. I can’t simply run to Marietta – for heaven’s sake – it’s in a different state!

It’s possible that because both communities are small and self-contained that you need a solid reason to go the other city. I travel to Marietta to shop on Front Street because of its unique offerings. People from Marietta travel to Parkersburg and Vienna because of the mall and the ease of access for shopping and chain restaurants.

However, perception may have a lot to do with this. When discussing this among our staff members, we determined that the cities may seem so far apart simply because of their stark differences.

As staff member and Parkersburg resident Joe Stephens said, “It’s like meeting two people and later finding out they’re siblings and then wondering how they came from the same family.” Joe also mentioned that he recently purchased a car in Marietta. The dealership asked him if he planned to have the vehicle service there, but he said it was too far away – and then realized that it had only taken him 15 minutes to get there from home.

This phenomenon of real and perceived distance may only be something that those who live “in-town” really experience. Waterford resident Brittany Hapney points out that she “frequents both cities because, to me, they’re about the same distance.”

Overall, our residents are lucky to have easy access to everything they need. In most larger cities, people are faced with a 20-minute drive to get anywhere. Not only can we just run down the road, we can continue down that road and find another vibrant community. Moving forward, I am going to try to visit the town across the river a little bit more.

How do you feel about real and perceived distances between the two cities?