I live in Durham, NC, part of the Research Triangle area, home to a great number of companies that employ user experience / human factors designers. We're fortunate to have enough people doing interface design work to support several active organizations of designers. I'll mention two: TriUPA, the local chapter of the Usability Professionals Association, and HFES Carolina Chapter, the local chapter for the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
I went to lunch last week with about eight others in the TriUPA group. We talked shop, traded business cards, and caught up on everyone's news. Chapter president Abe Crystal gave me a nice new book, The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun, on the condition that I write a review of it for the TriUPA website. I'll do that soon, I promise.
Having other designers around to talk to and trade ideas with is invaluable. I was in a town for many years that couldn't for various reasons support a community of designers, and it was a long, tough slog. If you're fortunate to be in a place that supports an active community, be grateful for what you have, and say a thanks to the people who do the work to pull events together (thanks Abe and Jackson). If you don't have that community, think about what you can do to build one. It's a lot of work, and I'm sorry to say that I haven't done my part, but it's a valuable thing, and credit accrues to those who make the effort.