• Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 292 other followers

  • Blog Stats

    • 321,579 hits

Places I’ve Never Been

The Space Needle is nice, but I'd like to get to know the street scene in Seattle.

As I approach 60 years of age, I sometimes think about places in the U.S. I’ve never been to. I suppose it’s a self-indulgent fantasy; I can’t afford to travel much anymore. The poorhouse is one place I’ve never been to, but I just might move in one day.

I offer this partly to ask you, What are the places you’ve never seen, but want to get to? I bet we all have a list; here’s mine.

• The Pacific Northwest. I hear it rains all the time, and seldom gets what I’d consider warm. But Seattle sounds like an interesting place, and a good friend of mine is a native Oregonian who loves that state.

Also, I think a person should visit every part of the country if they can, to see what’s unique and distinctive there, so someday I’d like to go to the Northwest.

Trinity Church, Milton, Connecticut

• New England. I took a train from New York to Boston once for a memorable weekend with Avon “Pete” Gillespie, but we didn’t see much of the city. He was a music educator, one of the premier proponents of the Orff method, and what I most remember about the trip – well, besides what happened in the hotel – was his conducting, and my participating in, a workshop he held at a Catholic church. He taught me how to dance; he could teach music and movement to anybody. That weekend I saw what a star he was in his business. I miss him.

Besides Boston I’d like to go to the small towns. Recently a friend sent me his Beacon Guide to the Churches of New England, which I’ve always wanted to visit. The Episcopal Church, which I belong to, was given birth and nurtured after the Revolutionary War by the Diocese of Connecticut; I’d like to see Bishop Gene Robinson’s New Hampshire and meet all the Lesbians in Vermont. I’d like to taste real maple syrup for once; I’ve never had it. I’d like to get up to Maine and go to Acadia National Park. My first real mentor in life was married to a Cajun girl from Louziana, but the Acadian story starts in that area between Maine and Quebec.

• The Grand Canyon, which is on everybody’s list. I’d like to go through it rafting on the Colorado River, as well as see it from up top.

Recently the government build some kind of projecting observation point, which I’m really dubious about, but maybe I’d like it.

The sainted Queen Emma of Hawai'i

• Hawai’i. If there’s a paradise on earth and I know where it is, why do I not go there?

I’d like to visit places associated with King Kamehameha and Queen Emma, less because they were royals than because they were saints. I’d want to honor the Native Hawai’ians; every American should know and appreciate our Aboriginal peoples.

• The Gulf Coast. I’ve been to Central and South Florida several times, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Gainesville, Orlando, Daytona, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, but I’ve never been on Florida’s west coast. Never been to Key West, for that matter. I was in Tallahassee once, taking a Greyhound after a visit to my father, and saw a Colored Only waiting room. I couldn’t wait for that bus to come to get me out of there.

Totally out of order. (Life Magazine)

Now I have a standing invitation from Calvary Church, Indian Rocks Beach in Southwest Florida, and I hope to get there. I’d like to visit Savannah and Mobile, too, maybe on my way to New Orleans and Lafayette.

• I haven’t really seen California very well. I’ve never been particularly attracted to Los Angeles with all its smog, but I’d like to see the redwoods and giant sequoias, so immense that they make a person feel very, very small and think about God.

I’ve been to San Francisco and Sacramento, but everyone ought to drive Highway 1. Big Sur would be nice, and there are lots of Gay visitors to Russian River, but I think the big attractions are the trees and the Pacific.

• Maryland and Delaware. I spent a night in Baltimore once, but it’s changed a lot since then. I think I’d like to visit Annapolis and eat my way through all the seafood shacks.

• U.S. Virgin Islands. I’m sending my fictional characters Jamie and Kent there on vacation, but all I know about the place is what I’ve gleaned online. Did you know that St. Croix has a national park with a snorkeling trail? It’s just a few miles from where Christopher Columbus first made land.

Snorkeling at Buck Island, USVI

Finally, one place in the United States that I have no intention of going to: Alaska. I don’t care that it’s big and beautiful and has a wonderful Native culture and all the other great resources in the state. It’s freakin’ cold up there and I ain’t goin’, not even in July. The whole idea of Alaska turns me off, and I haven’t even mentioned Half-Gov. Sarah Palin yet. A body like mine does not do Alaska, I would be miserable there. My skin would itch all the time. Give me heat and humidity, which Alaska ain’t got.

Did I mention that on St. Croix it’s always 83º? THAT’s my kind of place.

Where do you want to go?++

When Peter visited from Amsterdam, I took him to Abraham Lincoln State Park. Abe was elected president 150 years ago today.

4 Responses

  1. You know my country is small compared to the states of the US. The Netherlands are about 1.5 times the size of New Jersey.

    I still want to visit Zeeland and Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. I only visited Vlissingen [Flushing] once to pick up the documents for my administrative voluntering job. And ages before that to come home to that port on the ferry from England, where I lived/worked for a year.

    Just the other day we talked about places we still liked to visit. We = my friend/neighbor Corrie and me. We have 6 Wadden islands we both have never been to. One of them belongs to our province. Same goes for the city of Ootmarsum in the east or Thorn in the south of the country. [Passed the last one a few days ago, it was just 3 miles of the route, but alas…]

    Something we all forget is, how beautiful our own city/village/country/state can be. I’m still discovering new and interesting places in my own hometown, and new people. Like yesterday, when we met a woman on the terrace of a coffeehouse and had a great conversation with her. [Turned out Corrie was head over heals with her] So I think we’ll have a seat reserved there for next Saturday 😉

  2. Peter, I was hoping you’d see that Lincoln sign.

    I hope you go to Zeeland; was New Zealand named for it? If so, how did that happen?

    I’ve been to Flushing, Queens, and I don’t particularly recommend it.

    Your reminder about the beauty right at home is true. Today I watched a short documentary, “Last Address,” about artists in New York who died of AIDS. All the filmmaker did was show the exteriors of the artists’ last homes and show their names; Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, Vito Russo and 15 more. Most lived in Manhattan, with one in Brooklyn and two on Staten Island. Besides being a remembrance of the artists and their work, the movie consisted of streetscapes – once again I was a bit shocked and appalled by the conditions people put up with in order to live in New York: the crowds, the noise, the smells, the garbage cans right at the front door; people living in apartments right above the grubby Chinese take-out or the flashy sign of the movie theater. One gets used to all these things fairly quickly, “that’s city life,” but they’re such a contrast to life in my Indiana village. Stinky garbage belongs in the garage or back alley, not at your front door. “Noise” here consists of a barking dog, not the roar of traffic and screaming emergency sirens. Even the most modest houses have a patch of grass, some flowers and landscaping, and every last house has some trees. I love New York, but the movie made me appreciate my own neck of the woods. I’ve been very impressed, during walks with my dog, with the beauty my neighbors surround themselves with. No, we don’t have the Metropolitan Museum, where beauty is encased in a building you pay to enter; we’ve got it growing outside. Renoir painted it; we’re living in it.

    I love the Midwest and the people here; my next favorite region is the South. So on your last visit we did the Best of Indiana and the Best of America, which to me means the Smoky Mountains and Bucky Pinkston’s hometown.

  3. I did notice the sign,

    And yes, Flushing, Queens was named after Vlissingen in Zeeland.

    The first European name for New Zealand was Staten Landt, the name given to it by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who in 1642 became the first European to see the islands. Tasman assumed it was part of a southern continent connected with land discovered in 1615 off the southern tip of South America by Jacob Le Maire, which had been named Staten Landt, meaning “Land of the [Dutch] States-General”.

    The name New Zealand originated with Dutch cartographers, who called the islands Nova Zeelandia, after the Dutch province of Zeeland, which is also spelt “Zealand” in English. No one is certain exactly who first coined the term, but it first appeared in 1645 and may have been the choice of cartographer Johan Blaeu. British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand.

    New Holland, which was also discovered by Tasman, became Australia. Only Tasmania got his name and the Tasman Sea.

    Both are a bit far away from home, but I still would love to visit those places.

    Do you know what I missed most when I returned home last summer, next to you of course, the cargo-trains during the night sounding their horns when they crossed the seven streets. And the siren wailing just before noon. Comfy sounds in the middle of the MidWest.

  4. The Pacific Northwest–I was born in Spokane, Washington and left for Los Angeles when my Dad got promoted in 1957 (Christmas Eve we arrived).

    WASHINGTON is gorgeous. It took me a couple of years to recover from not seeing Emerald Green, not swimming in crystal clear lakes, not having my childhood friends and not drinking that PURE Washington State water (I love water). When I saw the Seattle picture I remembered something. My sister went to the University of Washington/Seattle and we would sometimes go to Seattle to visit her and stay in a round hotel named the Edmond Meany…I don´t know if it still exists (very near the campus of U of W) but as a early teen I remember looking out over the glitter of Seattle on many nights (all alone as my folks slept in the adjoining room) and dreaming dreams of love and great romance and wondering how many people out in that vast night love one another…I think those were the first times I ever connected ¨love feelings¨ with the vastness of everyday life…imagine, all those people who love one another and are hopefully together and happy…still a nice thought.

    Thanks Josh.

    I´ve always wanted to go to Egypt and Turkey.

    Dreaming never stops and I love the journey.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: