July 30, 2014, Washington, DC: Happy summer, neighborhood nomads! What better way to celebrate the season than by visiting family and friends in New England, an area of the country we called home for many years and have revisited ever since. This month, we followed the scents of salty air and charcoal grills up the East Coast during our ten-day vacation, stopping to play in its parks and waterways along the way. On the itinerary was a wedding in Portland, Maine, brunch in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, and a paddle with my dear sister out of Connecticut’s Southport Harbor. All around not a bad way to embrace the heat of July.
November 4, 2012, Washington, DC: A storm like Hurricane Sandy pushes to the forefront many of the topics discussed regularly here on Neighborhood Nomads. In alignment with the tagline at the top of this site, storm stories are stories of our homes, our neighborhoods, and the power — and vulnerabilities — of the physical places we inhabit. The devastation left behind has us focused on our communities, our neighbors, our infrastructure, our cities and our towns. It’s clear at times like this that our connections to the places we call home are both physical and emotional. The structural is personal.
October 29, 2012, Washington, DC: Suffice it to say this is no typical Monday. Already laundry is in the dryer and chili is on the stove. Crossword complete. Floors vacuumed. Leftovers gone. Nearly nap time. Hurricane Sandy is approaching my East Coast hometowns, and she’s making a longwinded entrance. Southport is evacuated. Wall Street and the subway are closed. The federal government and DC schools sit empty. Our cities are rainy and windy, but mostly they are very grey.
I sit down and begin J.K. Rowling’s latest book, The Casual Vacancy. Chapter 1 starts like this: ‘Monday. Brace yourself.’
Now is the time to hunker down. Sandy has miles to go before our hometowns get back to business.
Miles from Monday is a weekly series focused on venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine.
Related Posts on Neighborhood Nomads:
- Hometown Southport: Hurricane Irene (August 28, 2011)
- Shelter from the Storm (August 27, 2011)
- Remember That Winter (January 27, 2012)
- Nights I Love This Place (May 22, 2012)
- On Places, Puddles and Plans (October 12, 2011)
Miles from Monday is a weekly travel series focused on venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine.
September 17, 2012, Washington, DC: The three King brothers opened King’s Kitchen in June on Connecticut’s Southport Beach. It’s a tiny shack with fish tacos and lobster rolls on the menu, Chuck Berry and Johnny Cash on the playlist, and Adirondack chairs and picnic tables on the sand. It’s a spot where books are strewn about tabletops inviting customers to stick around. Not that we needed an excuse to linger last week during my first visit to King’s Kitchen. On a day like Tuesday with a sharp view clear across the water to Long Island, it was easy to let time slip away.
“We need our rooms to align us to desirable versions of ourselves and to keep alive the important, evanescent sides of us.”
-Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
June 21, 2012, Washington, DC: I’m planning to take a little staycation. I’m not going anywhere and I’ll most certainly be back — just taking a brief hiatus from regular blog posts to reflect on this year’s project and collect my thoughts concerning what happens next. New ideas are keeping me up at night and I couldn’t be more excited. I look forward to sharing them with you soon.
Before I go, I invite you to participate here on Neighborhood Nomad. Your stories about why you love where you live are intriguing and inspiring. They reinforce the power of place and they remind us of the extent to which our geography shapes us. Collecting and producing reader interviews has been one of the best parts of this effort so far, and every single one of you has distinctive stories to tell about the rhythms of your home, your neighborhood, your town or your city. Shoot me a note. Tell me more about your hometown.
More to come! As always, I’ll keep you posted.
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had the familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
June 19, 2012, Washington, DC: In June 2011, I embarked on a year-long project that would bring me back to each of my hometowns to learn more about the places I’d lived. There were many that had shaped me — from Montreal and Toronto to San Francisco and New York — and I wanted to get a good feel for their geography, their people, their neighborhoods and their pulses. I also wanted to examine, broadly speaking, why people live where they do and what makes a place feel like home. With ample vacation days, multiple frequent flyer tickets, many tanks of gas, several bicycles, and a few good pairs of walking shoes, I covered extensive ground in twelve months. The project, Neighborhood Nomad, is documented on this blog, derived from a love of travel and a longstanding obsession with the power of place.
The study came full circle this weekend, ending up where it started on a Virginia vineyard. And so with the advent of summer comes an opportunity to revisit the year I spent traveling back to my former neighborhoods. I’ve come miles from one year ago, and I’ve logged all of them in hopes of better understanding the places we called home.
Read on for a chronological overview of this year’s travels back home…