Hello again, blog world! My wife and I returned several days ago from a week long trip to Boston (and have spent the subsequent days catching up on life). What a fantastic time we had! At the risk of exposing myself as a rube, it was a dizzying opportunity for me. This was, in all honesty, my first real expedition outside Utah—or at least, outside the Mormon Culture Zone. Oh, I’d gone on my mission to the exotic local of Anaheim California. And when I was considering grad school, my wife and I took a few days to visit Eugene Oregon (which we loved). But my family wasn’t much for vacations or traveling, and I’ve never had much in the way of excess funds since leaving the nest, so I’d never in my life really gone anywhere new. The East Coast, New England, home of all sorts of academic/intellectual/cultural fermentation and important history; that was a place I’d long wanted to see. We finally decided that we could spend some of our meager resources (since my wife is writing a paper on Boston’s urban development for a class in her architecture grad program, we figured we could justify it as research).
It didn’t disappoint one bit. The Freedom Trail, The Minuteman National Park, Quincy (home to the two Presidents of whom I’m perhaps most fond), the various monuments of Plymouth and the Plimouth Plantation, Salem—The history geek in me was in nirvana. We had a blast exploring the varied architecture, both historic and modern (from Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church to the bizarre MIT Stata Center and the brilliantly “green” Genzyme Center). The density of the city was energetic and dynamic. Most from Utah might find the winding and narrow (compared to Utah’s obscenely gargantuan streets) roads cramped and chaotic, but we felt they created a social energy and dynamicism we don’t see in Utah. And people were actually on those streets and sidewalks! Rather than relying on automotive transport anytime they need to go more than one-hundred yards, Boston is filled with people walking! We in Utah can learn a lot from the area of how effective public transportation and feet can be.
We barely had time to scratch the surface of Boston on our trip, let alone the surrounding communities and the rest of New England (I sure wish we’d been able to see some of New England’s historic lighthouses, and we were apparently just a tad early to see the colors turn in all their autumnal splendor). I could probably have spent a couple of hours at each location on the Freedom Trail alone! While I’ve read a great deal on revolutionary history and New England’s part in that history, nothing can quite compare with actually being there at the locations. For a geek like me, its positively breathtaking.
We’re determined to go back—either on another vacation, or to live. I’d always been intrigued by the idea of living in urban New England; now I’m sure it would be a good fit. We stayed for a few days with a grade-school friend of mine who has been living there not too far short of a decade. It isn’t perfect of course, but he couldn’t think of a single thing he disliked about living there that isn’t an issue anywhere you live. I’m pretty certain I’d feel the same way. Wonder what sort of library and architecture might be available out there in about a year?