New England and the upper Midwest are SO different. In North Dakota there is a joke that you can watch your dog run away for a week. This is due to how flat it is. Some find this flatness boring. I think it is beautiful. One can see and feel the “amber waves of grain” when the wind blows (and it is ALWAYS blowing). The sky hugs your body while the earth blankets your feet. In New England, the beauty is in the vast amounts of trees and hills. The curves of the roads, even the major highways, are like the outlines of a voluptuous woman’s curves. There is a sexiness to the land of New England that I haven’t seen in any of my other travels. Full trees mask the road ahead of you which adds to the unknown. New England has this way of making me feel like I am in a new relationship – it is that scary part of the unknown along with the curiosity and excitement to discover more.
When I left Lisa and Sylvia’s, I headed south towards Boston. My soul sister, Lacey, lives in a small town surrounded by a plethora of other small towns north of the city. Greenwood Estates welcomed us with open arms, tight hugs, tears of joy, and ginger brandy. Charlie was welcomed by three other dogs, a vast yard to explore with ducks, geese, rabbits, and a Nana. We slipped into our roles as the welcomed house-guests quite easily.
Lacey and I have been close for the last few years when she lived near me in North Dakota. One of the first things that struck me about her was not her height (although she is a beautiful Amazonian!), but her smile and terrible Boston accent. I have missed her company so much since she moved back to MA two years ago. We quickly made up for lost time by exploring the state and sitting up late talking until we were blue in the face. I had tons of fun poking fun at the accent – Worchester (pronounced Wus-TAH) and Gloucester (pronounced Glous-TAH); however, Sacajawea is pronounced sack-uh-juh-we-uh not suh-cah-uh-we-ah. Yeah . . . Massholes (their term, not mine. I found them delightful. They have a ways to go before they become Jersey boys 😉) have a tendency to remove the middle of a word completely and then forget that there is an “r” at the end of a lot of words. Not sure if this is because they think it makes them sound tough or if they just like to be difficult. Either way, their pronunciation was fodder for my amusement. Also, no one even commented on my North Dakota accent (cough cough no lies are coming from these finger tips)! Not even the tour guide at the House of the Seven Gables commented on my “fer fun” statement. I have been told that I need to learn how to give the “Greenwood Salute” with a bit more pizzazz . . .
Yes – I went to the house that inspired Hawthorne’s novel, “The House of the Seven Gables”. I had never been to Salem, MA before this trip and did not realize that this museum even existed! Our tour guide was AMAZING!!! He either really knows his history and work OR he is a fantastic story-weaver. I prefer to think that he is a little bit of both. If you ever have an opportunity to take the tour, I highly recommend that you do so. You will not regret it. The home is a thrilling walk into the past. The house has secret passageways, old stone fireplaces, amazing furniture, secret liquor cabinets, and paintings. The paintings are breathtaking portraits of those that lived and died in the house. Seeing the faces of those that ate at the dining room table and slept in the bedrooms brings the story of the house to life.
Lacey and I did not do a ghost tour in Salem. Although they are famous for them. We did not buy a bunch of charms, even though they were in abundance and we had money we were itching to spend. We did get a few sweatshirts (twinsies!) and had some amazing food. We will need to go back there and explore some more in the future, but for that day, we walked far enough and needed to get home to our pups.
We spent another day exploring the shore, eating lobster rolls, and taking pictures of the ocean. Prior to this trip, I had never really seen the Atlantic Ocean. I have been in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but the Atlantic is a whole other ballgame. The Indian Ocean, where I saw it in Mombasa Kenya, was warm and clear, almost passive. The Pacific Ocean off the SoCal, Oregon, and Washington coasts was also fairly warm (not as warm as the Indian ocean), somewhat calm, but a bit darker with a hint of danger. Then there is the Atlantic. It does not matter where I have seen this ocean – Maine, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey – this body of the water screams danger, cold, fear, POWER! I LOVE IT!!!! I have never loved “the ocean” until I met the Atlantic. It is cold. It is dark. It is powerful. I stand next to it and I feel like it is feeding that strength into my soul. I grow stronger with each cold, salty spray. I think I have fallen in love.
Truly – I feel at home in New England. I know they still have the winters that I wish to avoid. I also know that their winters are NOTHING like the ones I have endured for the last 40 years in North Dakota and Minnesota. They may get cold. They may get the heavy snow. They may get the freezing rain. What they don’t have is 6 months of it. What they don’t (typically) have is a month of sub-zero temperatures (that is in Fahrenheit, my non-US friends). What New England does offer is access to many cities and major airports, mountains, camping, hiking, solitude in nature or solitude in a crowd. It offers history, arts, and literature. It offers jobs that appeal to me. It also offers friends. I have so many people in New England that I can call friends – and I have friends and family just outside the area to visit when I want to get further away. So far, New England is at the top of my list for a future home. Stay tuned though as I have a lot more of the country to explore.
Until the next time, find what makes you smile.