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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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
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?