I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Glacier National Park in northern Montana, where I spent a little more than a week hiking, boating, reading, cooking, relaxing and unplugging. It was a much-needed break from hectic everyday life and I satisfied my wanderlust (for now). As much as I adore traveling, I also love coming home. There’s something incredibly comforting about driving through familiar streets on the way home from the airport noting what has changed while you were away. So today, I’m writing about five things my vacation made me appreciate about my home, Somerville.
The people. Glacier National Park is truly the wild West. There are lots of animals and endless wide open spaces. There’s little to no cell phone service and Internet access. This made it the perfect vacation spot for two harried people who spend the majority of their days chained to the computer and phone. But a place like Glacier seems like it could be deeply isolating and lonely. It snows 300 inches a year there and most of the towns we drove through flashed by in the blink of an eye. In Somerville, you are never alone. There are always people out and about, going to and from work or school, going out to eat or to the dog park, heading to the Somerville Theatre or just strolling the streets. And these people make this city what it is, a vibrant place to live and work and play.
The food. While in Glacier, we camped and stayed in hotels and cabins. This meant that we prepared most of own meals, mostly simple stuff like yogurt, fruit and granola or veggie burgers with baked beans. We did eat out a few times while we were away and were pretty disappointed in the low quality of the food we found. It really made us appreciate all of the wonderful food we’re surrounded by here in Somerville. Between the bustling farmers markets, stores selling local goods and an excellent selection of diverse restaurants, we are really spoiled.
The vital economy/local businesses. Many of the small towns we drove through were populated with broken down businesses, homes, cars and people. It seemed like the economic crisis of the last several years had been stretching on in some of these places for decades. Somerville residents have surely been affected by the downturn, but we’re a resilient bunch. We’ve opened many new businesses, worked to keep our city looking beautiful and injected so much life into this place.
Green spaces. One of the best parts about Glacier was the wide open spaces. We took many miles-long hikes into the backcountry to appreciate the splendor of the place. Along the way we saw bears, moose, deer, mountain goats and bighorn sheep, as well as many varieties of beautiful birds and dozens of different delicate wildflowers. Somerville has more than 60 parks providing green space to the city’s many residents. You may not see a lot of wildlife here, but you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a bit. These places play vital roles in our community, providing large outdoor gathering spaces for people from all over town to play, picnic and unwind.
Home. As I mentioned above, I love traveling, but I also love coming home. And the longer I live in Somerville (four-and-a-half years now), the more it truly feels like home. The first thing we did upon returning was to get on our bikes and head to 3 Little Figs for coffee and breakfast. A few days later we were at The Independent enjoying drinks and dinner with many familiar faces from around town. As much as I love visiting new places, it’s good to be home.