Having a fair bit of time here in New England now, I feel that I finally have some merrit in writing this post. Although I have not experienced the optimal exploration seasons yet, I’m sure I will update you all on my adventures as they come. For now, let’s just talk initial impressions.
Amidst my chaotic life trying to settle into a new career and region, one of the most outstanding characteristics I notice in the people here is kindness. It’s not only seen in my coworkers and new housemate, but it’s in the stranger I met at church, in the guy who sold me my car, and the casheirs who ring my groceries. Instance after instance uncommon kindness has been shown to me in a time where I feel I need a bit of extra. For that I have been so thankful.
The geography here is interesting because they have mountains, yes, but not the ones I’m used to. Living in Colorado for a year, the Rockies were really my only impressions of what mountain ranges look like, but Appalachia is much different, much older. I would call them giant hills, slowly rolling and curving the landscape. Covered in trees, it makes for beautiful morning drives when the light hangs low. My only hesitation about them is that becasue the road system is so intertwined in the range, any bit of weather significantly affects road conditions. In Colorado, weather could be terrrible in the mountains, but you would never know down in town where your roads were flat and clear. Driving here has been an adjustment. Also… there are no street lights! When it gets dark, its dark and you’re left on your lonesome to try and navigate the two-lane highway. Lots of New England states are not heavily populated, meaning a lack in taxpayer dollars. So I get it, street lights are a optional thing.
Small town living has been interesting out here and much different than I anticipated. In Minnesota, small-town life is isolating and almost always tied up in farming or mining. As you leave the Twin Cities, the population gradually dwindles down, until finally pettering out to the boondock, Up-North cabin feel. Everything revolves around the city, with a few other main towns sprinkled throughout the state. But here, there are only small towns. Thoroughly well connected, but with each having it’s own distinct feel, you have the freedom to drive half an hour and be in a much different surrounding.
In line with that, I thoroughly enjoy the accessability New England offers. It’s like the best of both worlds! I live in the small town where people are kind and quirky, but am only a few hours drive away from Boston, New York, Montreal, Toronto, and DC. Not to mention an Ivy League school is a stone’s throw in any direction! Some of the most influential cities, universities, and people are practically at my fingertips, but yet I get a quaint and quiet everyday life, having the freedom to visit when I so choose.
My town in particular are quite quaint. I technically live in a nighborhood built around a lake, between two very different towns. Brattleboro, Vermont is very hippie-forester with a large co-op grocery store, only local businesses, and an established circus school just outside of Main Street. Here, you can see amazing art, shop funky boutiques, and get an excellent cup of black coffee at an underground coffee house. Bratt has the coolest antique store I’ve ever been to and is basically crawling with old hipsters. It’s cool.
Keene on the other hand, is across state lines in New Hampshire and is very much like the college town of Fort Collins that I know and love. Centered around a university, it has a classic main-street and a few fun shops, but is surrounded by residential houses and chain stores like Target, Michael’s, and Starbucks. Due to it’s younger average age, I find that I’m doing most all my after-work activities in Keene, with some weekends in Brattleboro. It’s a great mix becasue I, again get the best of both worlds. I can prentend I’m an artsy hipster, but don’t have to give up on my Target runs. I call that a win!
Overall, my time here had been awesome, but I know that there is SO much to explore. Keep your eyes peeled for an update once spring is sprung!