Back Where You Belong, and My Weekly Summary

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I have talked about moving my family from Massachusetts to New York for my job during the recession back in 2008. The Corning area is beautiful and has loads to offer, from natural beauty and loads to do outdoors, great schools, and a job at Corning that has been fantastic.

But it isn’t ‘home’, and this week I was reminded of that. We headed to Massachusetts and Rhode Island for college visits, and from the moment we crossed into Massachusetts on the Mass Pike it was like being home again and everything just felt ‘right’. This is where we ‘belong’. And it made me think about how all of us have a place where we feel most at home, regardless of where we live now.

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That Place You Belong

I had a friend in college who would refer to New York as ‘THE City’ … when he was going home one time and someone asked where he was going he said ‘THE City’, and they asked ‘WHICH city’. He said ‘Boston and Chicago and other places are all nice cities … but New York is THE city’. Being that we were all a bunch of engineers the logic was hard to argue in terms of what it offered and breadth of experience – so no matter what we actually thought we left it alone.

But the reality is that all of us love different places for different reasons.

I enjoy reading Lauren and Lisa and Cori and others talk about Baltimore, and Hollie talk about New Jersey and Caitlin about Pittsburgh and Susie about Chicago and Harold about Maine and on and on. For some of the blogs I follow the person is living in the ‘best place ever’, and for others it is just the place they are living.

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The Visit

I frequently write that I will always consider Massachusetts my home, but never was it more clear than these past few days. Everything is just a little different than in New York, and as we got to Rhode Island and the Narragansett Bay, I could just feel the stress drop off of me and I was totally relaxed and felt that although I’d never been to that beach before, I was home.

I could think back to the myriad trips to Providence when my brother lived there, or down to Newport for jazz fest or just to visit, and to our vacation in Jamestown.

For this college trip we had two main points of focus – Johnson & Wales University in Providence and Boston University. Johnson & Wales is one of the premier culinary institutes which Chris is interested in, and Boston University has a great film and communication school that Danny had wanted to look into.

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Spending the day at Johnson & Wales was a reminder of how different a culinary school is from other universities. After your freshman year you can get housing in ‘apartment style’ housing, with a benefit being a fully functional kitchen where everyone can show off skills and practice techniques and recipe planning. Very different than the focus of pretty much any other school I have visited!

The Cuisinart Center on campus is a huge building with food labs to explore pretty much anything having to do with all aspects of the food and drink world. Your education isn’t just cooking – all students learn how to run a business, and the most popular major is a combines culinary arts and food service management, which is pretty much a dual cooking and business major.

So in those labs aside from creating majestic pastries and plates, you are learning cost modeling, forecasting, inventory and supply chain management and so on. I honestly thought Lisa wasn’t coming home with us – she was ready to enroll immediately! It was an amazing school … fortunately Chris has a year to decide between culinary arts or music (or something else, multi-talented kid!).

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Boston University is different from the other schools Danny has visited for film because it doesn’t offer a BFA degree – it is in the school of communications and is more of a ‘technical’ than an ‘arts’ program. There is a great business tie-in, which is something he has wanted from the beginning. BU is a great school in a fantastic location along the Charles River starting in Kenmore Square. Is it the one for him? That remains to be seen, but nothing has given him the ‘butterflies’ like NYU.

Walking through BU brought me back to so many years of Boston visits growing up, and so many times Lisa and I walked the streets together, and the many trips into town with the kids to do the aquarium, Children’s Museum, Museum of Science, and also just to enjoy the city and take in a show.

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Coming Home

While we had just a quickly couple of days, we got to enjoy an awful lot of the area and culture while also touring the schools. The beach in Barrington RI, then we headed up 95 to 93 (sitting in plenty of traffic long enough to point out things like the exit to 138 in Stoughton I took hundreds of times while working in Billerica), and out to Hingham to go to Wahlburgers.

Wahlburgers is the subject of the TV show, and is a restaurant created by the Wahlburg brothers, and run by Paul and his brothers Mark and Donnie as well as the family. It was a total tourist visit, and as we came up to it the film crew was doing an external shot, and while waiting for our table dozens of people strolled by and took pictures. The premise of ‘great food and great prices’. The food? Decent – the boys said they prefer ‘5 Guys’, so nothing special. The prices? Burgers, fries and soda for four people was $65 including tip.

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After the BU visit, we hung around Kendall Square for a bit before heading on the T to Park Street to walk down to the Faneuil Hall area (yes, tourist central). We got to show the boys the location of our ‘two Dunkin Donuts’ story, and it was fun in a world that changes so fast to still have those landmarks from a quarter century ago still in place. We ate dinner outdoors, strolled through and chose a dessert, and headed to Long Wharf to sit looking out on the water for a bit before heading back to the hotel.

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Final Thoughts

We left home and the hotel a mere 48 hours apart, had 6.5 hours of driving each direction, visited two colleges thoroughly and still had a great visit to the area. Even though we were just here on vacation (mostly Cape Cod) two years ago, it was a new experience all over again for the kids.

As Lisa and I sat this morning drinking coffee, we reflected and talked about how we would move back in a second. Right now we have two years before both boys are out of high school – and this school system IS worth staying here! Then they are headed to college somewhere and who knows after that. I have no clue what the job market will look like in a couple of years, but I know that I would love to get back to Massachusetts … and don’t want to wait for retirement to do it.

It is my home.

My Running Summary

Last week was solid at almost 55 miles, and I assumed four running days this week due to the trip and with a crazy work schedule knew I wouldn’t have any time for doubles or extended runs. But I wanted to get in a solid week of around 40 miles. How did I do? Let’s take a look:

Sunday: 12.75 miles
Monday: 9.75 miles
Tuesday: 10.1 miles
Wednesday: 8.75 miles
Thursday: Travel to Boston
Friday: Boston
Saturday Travel home

I managed to get ~41.5 miles this week, which is not bad and met my expectation. Lisa and I brought workout clothes and scoped the exercise room – and I plotted a potential course around the JFK Presidential Library – but when Friday morning came there was no way we were getting out of bed any early than necessary to make it into Boston … and that was already a 6AM wake-up!

These college visits are exhausting and exciting all at once! Whereas in New York most places I looked and thought ‘wouldn’t want to be running here’, in Boston there are just so many more runner-friendly places it was a dream – and don’t think my family missed an opportunity to give me a rough time!

Where do YOU consider your ‘true’ HOME? How was YOUR week?

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27 thoughts on “Back Where You Belong, and My Weekly Summary

  1. As much as I want to leave where I live due to the winter weather (Milwaukee and southeast WI), there’s not doubt to me that where I live is “home”. I have lived a couple other places and traveled, but this is where I was raised until 13 and it’s where I raised my own 3 kids, home! Your college visiting sure sounds fun and a great family time.

    • Thanks – yeah, it was a fantastic time. I have been very lucky to get lots of travel through the years, and have seen places I love and don’t love so much all over the country.

      And I did have a great trip 5 years ago to Milwaukee to a conference for ASQ (American Society of Quality), had extra time and it was September so I could stroll the streets … fun city with such a strong German heritage 🙂

  2. Home will always be the New York suburbs for me even though I technically lived in Queens for the longest amount of time. Long Island specifically feels like home, even though I’ve been in NJ for several years now. Sounds like another great college tour weekend!

    • Thanks Michele! I have known people who couldn’t wait to get out of that area, and loads of people who love it to this day 🙂 It is all about having that feeling. I think it is the college tours that drive it home – you go from school to school and what each of us likes is different, and the same is true for urban/suburbs/rural, east coast/west coast, and so on.

  3. I know many of the places you were talking about, since I was stationed down in Mass. a couple of times, but it isn’t home for me. I am now living within 50 miles of where I lived in Maine, before going in the Coast Guard and will probably live here until I can’t. It is home for me.

    • Thanks Harold – I frequently check things you mention on the maps (oops, stalker alert!) … because we took so many vacations and long weekends up the coast of Maine through the years it is great to hear about the various places 🙂

  4. My home is Massachusetts as well, specifically central Mass. I live in the northeastern part of the state now, and while I love it, I have the same reaction when I get to central Mass that you mentioned once you got to Rhode Island… it just feels like home! Sounds like you and the fam had a fun trip, and I hope you can get back to MA sometime soon! 🙂

  5. My home is definitely Michigan. Growing up, I hated it because of the winters, but I’m starting to develop a sense of pride for living here in the bitter cold. This state is so diverse that I can go on vacation without going out of state. It’s really just incredible and beautiful. My mom always talked about wanting to move away and she is finally moving to Texas, so I’m happy for her, but I think I will be sad to move away after graduation if I get hired out of state.

    • Thanks Rach – my parents moved south to SC to retire a couple of years before we moved to NY, and it was an idea they had for years, but I think after moving they miss much of what they left behind in New England. It is always tough to move around … but sometimes necessary. I have friends I grew up with who moved to various places and are truly ‘at home’ there. You never know.

  6. You know its funny because I don’t really think I have found “my place” yet. I talk about Baltimore and its perfect for me right now, but since i grew up in the suburbs of NY I will always consider NYC “the city”. But I don’t think I would want to move back there. That was my home from when I was born until I was 18 but now I feel like I’m sort of a different version of myself than I was back then. Part of me still has a hard time thinking of Baltimore as home even though I’ve lived here for 12 years now. And since Rob grew up in Cleveland but has also been in Baltimore for 12 years we kind of feel the same way about it- neither of us have the desire to go back to the places where we grew up, but we also don’t feel a true connection to Baltimore and still feel a little like outsiders.
    I’m glad you guys had a good trip, and awesome week of running once again!

    • Thanks Lisa – I think that many people as adults struggle with where they HAVE to be versus where they WANT to be, and that works for location as well as pretty much everything. We definitely feel like oursiders in New York in many ways, but don’t let that stop us from enjoying stuff. Hopefully you guys find out where you want to settle!

  7. I’m torn. My “home” is def in Wisconsin, but is it Milwaukee where I lived until I was 10, or up north, where my momma lives? Part of me thinks home is where your mom is, no matter what. But yeah, there’s still something about Milwaukee, streets, parks, neighborhoods that I remember from my childhood. But I have ZERO desire to live there. I hate being cold so much and it’s so miserable there for much of the year. I’d choose Texas in a heartbeat.
    Have you ever thought about running Boston? Would be a cool way to combine running and home in what I consider the best marathon in the world.

    • Thanks Carina – yeah, definitely think about running Boston. Funny that in 40+ years living there it was never even a consideration, but now I know it is something I could do if I really set my mind to it!

      That is tough with the sense of home … but it makes sense as well!

  8. Well, you know VT is more “home,” but Cape Cod is definitely my home away from home. I know what you mean about that relaxing feeling–Ben and I used to get it every time we went back to VT for a visit while living in Boston. Now we get that feeling all the time 🙂

  9. I’m from NYC, but I have never actually felt more at home anywhere than in New England. When I explain this to others, I always preface it with “NYC definitely has its gems but…” because many people find it unbelievable that I don’t adore being in the city, especially as a native New Yorker. I’m planning on making a move to New Hampshire soon, and though I’ll miss friends and family and certain elements of being here, I feel like I belong in New England!

    • Thanks for sharing … love NH as well (we lived for 13 years right near the Mass/NH border). It is all about finding what works best for you … and you’ll still only be a few hours away 🙂

  10. Pingback: Being the Runner in a Non-Running Family {Guest Post} |

  11. I always enjoy going to Massachusetts. In a lot of ways, it’s like home to me too. I moved around a bit as a kid of a GE corporate guy, but I was born in Massachusetts and my grandparents lived there, so we visited frequently. And now my son goes to Northeastern. A piece of my heart will always belong in Massachusetts.

    • Ah – didn’t realize your son was at Northeastern – good school, had a nuber of friends who went there. I find it interesting that I feel no specific pull to my home town of Stoughton or to Townsend where we lived for 13 or so years and had the kids … but I do feel the pull to the region.

      • What … and undecided engineer? That is surprising! haha Seriously, though, being at BU and having them talk about 40% undeclared entering freshman … and an engineer myself that is just mind-boggling 🙂 And hear you on the partying … big concern 😡

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