Saturday, July 10, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation (the first one, anyway)

It’s an eclectic place; a mixture college-town activities, arts and crafts, big business, and back-to-the-earth living. It’s a hard place to make a living, but it makes me feel alive when I visit. It’s like watching a bee hive, buzzing with movement. I am drawn to the activity. After a few days I am energized and inspired.

At the core of the town is the college. The surrounding houses have almost all become off-campus rentals for students. They are easy to locate by the bicycles parked outside. By local law, cyclists must follow the same rules of the road as drivers and they must be given consideration by motoring vehicles. Students are not the only bicyclists; some folks choose to cycle to work in good weather in this hilly place. And the waterfront bike path is used by some as a safe route from their home in a neighboring town to their work here.

The belief and hope of the human spirit are evident everywhere. This vehicle was parked outside a small deli on a side street. It is sporting a planter on top with a very healthy tomato plant, just like the Truck Farm in NYC. Too cool!

The grocery store in the center of town promotes local and organic products. I love shopping there and stock up on bulk products when I visit. Along with a generous variety of legumes, grains, and flours, they offer local syrup (yum!) and Dr Bronner’s liquid soaps by the pound. You can bring a container or purchase one there. I brought mine, and weighed it on their scale before filling.

The place to be on Saturday mornings is City Hall Park, where dozens of vendors offer everything from free range chickens, cleaned and vacuum packed, to fresh flowers or hand-crafted goods. There’s local syrup, fresh eggs, cheese, beautiful veggies, artisanal bread, and good-eating food. I can’t leave without a samosa from one of the busiest vendors there.

After four days of swimming, playing, working, sight-seeing, and visiting with family and dear old friends, I felt alive and renewed even though I was tired and homesick for my own bed. There’s a lot to do before I go back to work. I have some material sitting on my dining table. My bike is sitting by the door. I need to bring photos to my mother of her great-grandchildren. And there are missed phone calls to be returned. What did/will YOU do on your summer vacation? Make sure you include some fun!

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