My, have things changed from the time I first proposed this as a Tendrils topic and the time I actually sat down to draft the text. I thought I’d be living in Dover for the rest of my life, but now we’re actually looking to relocate to somewhere, well, for us more dreamy. I’ll leave it at that for the time being, and besides, that prospect just may turn out to be a very pleasant pipe dream.
What I am sensing that much of the dream has to do with location, beyond the house itself. This week I’ll focus on the locale. Next week, the walls, floor, and roof.
Walkability: Pedestrian-friendly, with suitable restaurants, stores, parks, medical facilities within an easy stroll. What we like to call civility.
A Quaker Meeting: Kindred spirits and spiritual friendship.
Natural wonder: At the moment, that includes a view of the ocean. Nearby trails a plus.
Cultural amenities: Classical music, live theater, classic film series, that sort of thing. A good choir to join, poetry readings, especially. Plus a decent library.
Medical facilities: At my age, having qualified doctors and a hospital or well-equipped clinic at hand has become an important consideration.
Good neighbors: We’ve been quite lucky in Dover that way.
Community spirit: A sense of common good makes a huge difference. I’ll include local and state taxes here, with an eye to what’s provided for the buck. (In Dover, for example, my indoor swimming pool activity would fit into the equation.)
Public utilities: Hard to think that in our times, the reliability of the electrical system or broadband access has to be questioned. Water and sewage become considerations, too.
Visual balance: This includes houses, gardens, and retail areas that are well maintained and have personal expression. That rules out most suburbs.
Safe and secure: Low crime rate, as well as fast fire and ambulance response, are definite considerations.
Washington state isn’t the only part of the country where ferry service is important. The Staten Island ferry makes appearances in my Subway Visions novel, strange as that sounds. Check it out.
A bit further to the northeast, here in New England the boat service can also be impressive. Most of my trips here, I should add, have been as a walk-on passenger.
Now for a look.
Casco Bay. Portland (as in Maine, not Ory-gone) overlooks Casco Bay and some of its neighborhoods are on islands. A state-created ferry service makes daily stops on four islands within the city limits plus two in towns beyond. The little yellow-and-white boats are rather picturesque, truth be told, and the fares are quite reasonable. We’ve become quite fond of the mail run, which has six stops on five islands out and then back.
Portland to Nova Scotia: Also out of Casco Bay is a catamaran ferry that zips to Nova Scotia in half the driving time. (Looks like there’s one stop en route, at Bar Harbor.) Back when it was a conventional boat, much of the appeal was in overnight gambling, once you were out in international waters.
Nantucket. There are several routes, mostly from Cape Cod. The island likes to think of itself as a world all its own.
Martha’s Vineyard. Like Nantucket, but maybe more exclusive.
Boston to Provincetown. The catamaran zips from downtown Boston to the Cape in just 90 minutes, half of the time of driving in good conditions. I might mention some Boston Harbor commutes for shorter ventures.
Block Island. Out from commercial fishing Port Judith in Rhode Island, it’s a fine daytrip. Rent a motor scooter when you land for a quick tour.
Isles of Shoals. Just downstream from us, there are several services linking Portsmouth and the Isles of Shoals. The small islands split by the New Hampshire-Maine boundary include the Star Island summer retreat run by a Unitarian-Congregational church arrangement.
Mohegan Island. Penobscot Bay in Maine has several ferry trip choices available. Mohegan Island is a prime destination served from several points onshore.
Lake Champlain. Several crossings connect Vermont to New York State. Of the ferry trips on this list, these are the only ones on freshwater, not saline. One even follows a cable from one shore to the other.
Campobello Island. OK, that’s in New Brunswick, Canada, but it’s once again served by a small ferry from Eastport, Maine. Sometimes the boat goes further, too, out on the world’s biggest tides.
Ever been on a ferry or whale watch? What’s your experience?