Once I got onto a dirt road in some random state park that I’ve never heard of, I knew I was nowhere near Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Massachusetts. All I wanted to do was ski, but that was going to be delayed for about an hour as I explored a place so untamed that not even Google knew what was going on. Somewhere from Albany, I had taken a wrong turn.
I had an inkling of how lost I was when I didn’t see the name of the road I was on for half an hour. I called Katie, a wonderful friend and navigator, to look up where I was online. The problem was that most of the side streets weren't listed on Google Maps. Then, I lost my cell phone reception.
Driving through Cherry Plain State Park was scenic, but the unplowed roads and steep cliffs with no guardrails was a bit of a turnoff. I ended up going in circles, so I saw a lot of the area even though there wasn’t much to see. The place was so barren that seeing a home was a highlight. Seeing a business, like a restaurant, was like spotting a unicorn: elusive, mystical and hard to fathom.
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The most important that came out of this was not that I was so late to the mountain that I was able to get the discounted evening rate, which was delightful to someone eking out a meager living as a reporter. Rather, I realized that my fantasy of living out in the quiet countryside is something I don’t want to pursue anymore.
In a city like Bridgeport, where I live, I think a lot of people would want to get away from the crime, the abandoned buildings, the traffic that’s common in the area. None of this really exists in the country, aside from the occasional dilapidated barn or outdoorsmen hunting without a license. With all the problems in Bridgeport, I yearned for the quiet countryside, where I could spend my time hunting rather than cursing at the awful drivers.
I think I still want something like this, but not to the extent I saw it as I roamed these roads I've never been on before. These weren’t even villages I was passing through. It was just the occasional trailer. The outdoors are great and all, but I need places to shop, movie theaters to go to and bars to hang out in. None of that existed in this part of upstate New York.
So I guess I can cross out totally rural areas from the places I want to live in. That still leaves Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix and anywhere outside of the United States as possible future homes. Maybe a summer place outside Cherry Plain State Park would suffice for a couple months a year.
The Year In Review: 2017
5 months ago