By Liz, missing the sun over the last few days!
I’ve been spending a lot of time this summer getting to know my neighborhood.
I know that sounds funny since I’ve lived here a year and a half. And admittedly, I’ve gotten very well acquainted with the sushi place across the street and the yoga studio around the corner. Shaggy and I walk down to the fountain area every day and she does her
sniffing routine. When the weather isn’t too hot for her, we walk down to the water. But I haven’t been letting my surroundings live up to their full potential.
When I was a kid, my neighborhood was my street with three houses on it. I picked wild blackberries behind my house and played Battle of the Planets in the woods with my neighbors. It was the first neighborhood I had, so of course I felt connected to it. When I lived in various apartments as an adult, I never felt a sense of community, never mind actually cared about the neighborhood. And the last couple of places I lived were more of the same. (There was also that one disastrous condo community I chose that was a living nightmare, but that’s another story.)
My point is, I’ve never actually connected to a place I’ve lived in my adult life. I always felt more affinity for places in which I spent a lot of time, so there was always a gap there. Until I moved to my current neighborhood. I spent my first summer here wrapped in a lot of things and didn’t get out much. But now, I’m discovering it little by little.
And it’s totally up my alley. It’s a tiny little city that’s hopping most nights, with restaurants and galleries lining both sides of the street, trickling around the corners. The water is right down the street, and even though it’s the Sound (yes, I’m kind of an ocean snob) I can smell the salt air and hear the seagulls every morning. I’ve even come to love the trains that run right behind my building.
The people at the sushi place know my name – it’s kind of like Cheers – and now that I’m branching out, I’ve found so many awesome things. Like the little market up the street with good coffee, gluten free options and “treats” for Shaggy (i.e., ground beef and an occasional steak). The fish place near the marina. The farmers’ market. The little area with souvenir shops and beachy-type places near the water. The park near the beach where dogs can play.
Shaggy loves to “walk the street” when it’s busy at night, because she gets lots of attention. She’s pretty much famous. She also loves to visit the zen garden downstairs and watch the fountain.
We made a good choice with our new neighborhood. And we’re fully committed to getting to know it even better, now that we’ve made it our own.
Readers, tell us about the neighborhood closest to your heart in the comments below.
I’m living in the third trailer on the same half-acre I bought almost 44 years ago. I’m out in the sticks and, although I know the neighbors either side of me, I don’t know who owns the place across the road now. Originally a summer get-away section, ours is one of the few areas in our county permitting “mobile homes”/trailers, as contrasted with more upscale “manufactured housing” (which comes in on a flatbed instead of on temporary wheels). It’s peaceful and I’ve grown accustomed to the occasional deer wandering into the yard for apples even if I would prefer skunks, possums, and raccoons to visit elsewhere.
That sounds like a lovely slate of neighbors!
I’m so pleased you are loving your neighborhood, Liz, and delighted that I can truly picture it, because I visited on my way through last year! The evening views are so pretty, and Shaggy’s happy, too – all good.
Thanks, Edith! Glad you got to see it firsthand.
Thank you for this, Liz. It’s a wonderful thought-starter for others! I think the neighborhoods of our own childhoods and those where we raised our kids probably hold the most memories.Here’s a neighborhood-memory starter I heard about from friend and fellow writer Annemarie Micklo. Write down the zip codes of all the neighborhoods you’ve lived in. Then, for each one, write a five line descripttion–(a poem of sorts I guess), by using the numbers to determine the number of words in each line. (I was born on Mall Street in Salem–01970, so that poem would have only three lines –one word, nine words, seven words. Current zip is 33772–lots more words.)
That’s a cool idea! I will definitely try it!
I recently moved back to my favourite neighbourhood ten years after leaving it. Now I’m back with a baby and it’s so fun to see all the sites and sounds that he will get to enjoy as he grows up. Neighbourhoods are so important to me, and I think that’s why I like cozies so much — the settings are always so welcoming and warm and the best cozies are usually set in places I want to live.
This is a great post. Really fun to read your descriptions. 🙂
I love that, Lil. And I agree about cozies!
It sounds wonderful — I’m ready to move up there! I’ve lived in lots of great communities. Last week I was a my class in reunion and am so impressed with how they’ve revitalized downtown!
I can’t wait for you to come visit!
Liz, your neighborhood sounds wonderful! The perfect place for you and Shaggy! Enjoy.
I think we are living parallel lives. Bill and I moved to Portland, Maine last September, but we were so subsumed in the move itself, plus a lot of other stuff, I feel like this summer is the first time we’re gotten to really explore. I’m still psyched about living here and we have a lot more to discover.
Funny, Barb, I thought of you when I was writing this, figuring you were in a similar boat! Enjoy getting to know Portland!
Living in the suburbs, there’s not much going on in my neighborhood. This is probably why my daughter gravitates to the city life.
Yep, I feel the same.
What a cool place you live in! I have been living in the same neighborhood since most of my 36 years in Anchorage. To me, places have their own vibe. It’s not the people. It’s not the amenities. It’s not the roadways and shops. It’s the land itself. I live in an area of Anchorage called Jewel Lake, so named because when small aircraft pilots flew over it, there are so many lakes that they sparkled like jewels. In approx. 25 square miles, there are six lakes and bog, and to the west is a 1,500 acre state park. Even though we are right next to Anchorage International Airport, and the airport’s drone is audible in many parts, there is a cozy and clean feeling to this place.
Sounds lovely, Keenan!
I don’t know that I’ve ever felt that close to any neighborhood. The closest is probably the neighborhood where I grew up and where my parents still live after 40 years.
Heck, there’s a Mexican restaurant half a mile from my condo. I’ve ealked and run by it for 15 years, but I’ve never eaten there. And I love Mexican food. At some point soon I need to fix that.
Yes you do! Actually, I’ve never been to the Mexican restaurant on my street either – maybe we can virtually have dinner together…
I like that idea!
It would help if I were reading one of your books, but I’m going to finish your latest tonight, and tonight won’t work for eating in this Mexican restaurant.
I think our favorite places are the ones in which we have the best memories. I’ve lived a lot of places and my favorites are New Jersey and Sao Paulo, Brazil. The worst? Pocono Mountains in PA. Not a mountain person!
I don’t think I would be either, Karoline!
You have really hit on something I notice in myself. I moved to my new house more than four years ago. I have a route to TJs, another to the dry cleaners, a freeway exit that drops me closest to the road to my house, but I never deviate, never explore the side streets. It took a visiting friend to teach me that the coffee shop I drive past also serves great hummus and Greek Salad!
Yum!! Glad you discovered it!
I moved last year, so am slowly discovering my new area.
Enjoy! I hope you find lots of gems.
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