Monday, December 8, 2014

think of a place

Thank you this week to Steve and Paula. You make it possible. Keep an eye on your mail!
I love it here at night, when the whole neighborhood is asleep but I am awake. I can hear the strains of The Crane Wife coming from the living room where my books are laid out on the table, the pair of ugly terriers at the end of the street barking at the night, and every now and then a siren wailing from town a few blocks away. Other than that, it is remarkably quiet. 

When we first bought the house, we spent a week pulling up the heavy grey carpet, which was spongey with decay. Now I can glide from room to room in the lamplight, not making a sound on the polished wood. 

We wanted to live in a place where we could walk everywhere. This proximity usually translates into noise, the sounds of traffic and people shouting as they come home from the bars.  The quiet of our street is unexpected, a bonus. In Seattle I lived in eleven different houses and each one was on a roaring bus line; at least that's how I remember it. 

I do miss Seattle, but I don't talk about it, because who doesn't miss a place? It's surprising to me how I miss it- not in words but in vivid and specific images. I'll wake up in the morning and a picture will have emerged, floating belly up and glistening in my head: a ferryboat lit up at night. A charcoal sky with a torrent of water rushing down the street, swamping the gutters, the sound of a city swallowing itself. 


In some ways our neighborhood, West Asheville, is like Seattle shrunk down to the head of a pin. There is one of every thing I need, instead of hundreds.

Instead of water everywhere there are mountains that turn purple at sunset.


But it doesn't have the slickness of Seattle. It costs less to live here, and it lacks the brilliant shine of a city well nourished by Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing. The houses I pass as I walk into town are small and, for the most part, falling apart, with leaning door frames and sunken roofs. Their inhabitants sit on the porches and smoke cigarettes. They'll nod as I pass by, but not always. 


The main street of West Asheville is a mix of new restaurants and empty brick storefronts. There is an organic food co-op, and a tiny shop called the Asheville Bee Charmer where you can sample honey from a row of tiny jars. There is Buffalo Nickel, a restaurant that glows invitingly each evening but always seems to be empty. The old barber shop with its striped pole rubs elbows with the West End Bakery, crowded and fragrant and loud with voices and the hiss of the espresso machine. The ceiling is covered in cotton spider webs from halloween, which was five weeks ago, and the glass cases are crammed with so many cakes and tarts and round loaves of bread you wonder why a small town bakery could ever need so much. 

Although, is Asheville a small town? It hasn't decided that yet. That's one thing I love about it; it can be a small town when you need it to be a small town, and a much bigger one when you need something new to look at. I shared this place with an ex boyfriend for a year and, conscious of one another's corners, we never had a run in.


At our favorite bar, Pour, an entire wall of different beers flow from silver taps when you wave a wristband in front of them. There are darts and shuffleboard and a giant, life-sized Jenga game that collapses loudly every ten minutes, sending a roar of screams and laughter throughout the place.  The cafe where I study is in the same building. When I am done for the day I can pack up my papers and step smartly into the next stage of the evening without even going outside. 


There is is a bookstore, a cider house, a pinball museum. There is Ingles and shabby Save-a-lot food stores and the sprawling new Whole Foods that glitters with salt out near the box stores. UNCA is tucked behind the botanical gardens, while just across the river and up a hill you'll find the squat, colorless buildings of the community college where I go to school. From its perch I can look out over the Biltmore Estate- America's biggest house, a castle, with its sprawling, 8,000 acre grounds. It is brilliantly lit up for Christmas, but I only know that because of a billboard on I-40. It costs seventy dollars just to visit.    

There is much more to this town and to our house, with all its cheerful oddities, but I have plenty of time to tell you about it later. Looking at the calendar I can see that it's Monday, and I have something up my sleeve for you.  

Photo Credit: Appalatch.com
This week I am partnering with Appalatch, a local clothing company that makes exquisite wool shirts, sweaters, capes and scarves. We have a unique and lovely giveaway to brighten these dark days and keep you warm this winter.

Photo Credit: Appalatch.com

First a word about AppalatchI am enamored with this company not only for their luxurious, handsomely made products, but also for their dedication to environmental responsibility. Every piece of their operation, from the farm where their wool is sourced to the textile mill, is certifiably sustainable. Their clothes are soft, long lasting and handcrafted in small batches.

This week we are giving away a gift card for a custom-knit sweater, valued at $189 dollars.

Appalatch will take your measurements, chat with you about your specific wants, and then custom knit a gorgeous sweater just for you. "Clothing companies tend to generalize our shapes, and tell us what is good and what is bad," the marketing director, Ella, told me over coffee. "This sweater is designed precisely to fit you." Literally, a perfect fit.

In addition to the giveaway, from now until December 17th, go to Appalatch.com and enter coupon code WILDERCOAST for 15% off.


In keeping with the theme of 'A Perfect Fit,' this week's prompt was inspired by a photo, taken by Maggie Jones. Maggie loves where she lives, and does a terribly good job of making me homesick for Washington State. Follow her on Instagram- Theruralroost. She comes highly recommended. 


To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment and tell me one reason why you love where you live. 

I know we can't all live in our ideal place, but it's good to recognize at least one thing that you makes you happy where you are.  I'm looking forward to reading them and taking a virtual trip around the country and beyond. I savor these comments. They're like jewels or chocolates to me. 

The winner will be chosen at random and announced in one week. Go to town and good luck!

137 comments:

Tonya said...

Oh, I love the place we call home. It was an intentional place, this little town. We could have moved, looked for something different but this little town wrapped its arms around us until we called it home. As you drive, walk, or bike down the brick road called main street you are surrounded by local businesses. People stop, smile, and say hello. It's Midwestern living at its finest. My favorite part is knowing that our daughter is safe and a part of something. Community.

Kristen Haun said...

Melina,
I love where I live for so many reasons. I just moved here this year, a big move for me. Maybe not too far, but in my tiny, little life, it was a move of faith. A leap of faith. Who knows how life will work out, or why it moves us as it does. Anyways, Atlanta is amazing to me. I love the big city feel of it - which I guess, it is. I love being able to take MARTA, or "the MARTA" as I call it, to get to work or midtown on a weekend night. I love how the little part of Atlanta I live in, Chamblee, has a little, tiny downtown that hosts free concerts in the summer, with a, ice cream shop you can walk to right on the train tracks. (It's called "The Caboose".) I love the cultural diversity, even the attitude that comes with it. I love having grocery stores that have every food from every culture there is. I love my friends here, although they are still few. I love that my amazing boyfriend is here, the reason I moved. I love how many job opportunities there are for me in uncountable healthcare facilities. I love my beautiful, although too expensive apartment I decided to splurge on. I love that I have cousins that are here. My cousins are my rocks, my closest and dearest family. Now we can bond over silly things that GaTech folk love like throwing computers off the stadium and budgeting on excel. I feel at home here. I don't have to pretend to be outdoorsy. I won't get judged or not invited if I don't do specific outdoor sports, or wear enough Patagonia. I can be me - whatever that is today. However, I also love that if I do get homesick, I am only a few hours away from my mountains. Love you. Love David. Love the Mountains. But I'm happiest here.
Your cuz, Kristen

Lauren F. said...

I never thought I'd settle in Ohio, but then I found that Columbus was just enough city for me. I love that I can live 10 minutes away from downtown for less than a grand a month and that I can get indian food made by a little Indian man who runs the business himself and that Thursday through Saturday the streets come alive...and yet still live a short-ish drive away from my mom.

Ebeth said...

I love this town because it is bursting at the seams with rocket scientists, engineers and mathematicians. Despite all these brains and in the box thinking the town has it's own beauty. In the research park there are lush lawns with winding terraced fountains, there is a path shaped like a DNA strand that if you run it end to end and back you've done your 5k for the day. At night after the gamers have left their offices and gone home and the lights dim it's a world unto it's own and it is beautiful. Some of the big names such as Boeing and Adtran sit next door to cotton fields and its' fun to run from a manicured lawn past a field full of chirping insects and then through to a crazy fountain display with a tunnel made of willow trees. I love my town because of it's small beautifully thought out and yes engineered quirks. Heres to Rocket City USA (aka Huntsville, AL)

Ann Coletta said...

Chino, California ... grew up here love where I live since I'm about 30 minutes from any adventure ... whether it be the mountains or the beach !!!

Ariel said...

In keeping with the rhythm of your post… first, can I first post the things I miss about places I’ve lived?

Seattle:
- Right now I’m missing the fall windstorm that seems to whip through every year, taking down trees and knocking out the power.
- I miss the mossy, damp trees and the way that when the salmonberries lose their leaves in the winter, the understory opens up.
- …the smell of the beach and popping seaweed bladders with your feet.
- …the hollow, thunking sound of small waves under a dock or against a seawall.

Portland:
- Bikes everywhere. Biking everywhere. Biking in bad weather. Biking along the waterfront park when the cherries are blooming.
- Drinking beers, drinking cocktails, eating soup in a warm, glowing place when it’s wet and dark outside.
- An embarrassment of coffee shops to choose from, each with their own personality and feel.

Things I love about Boise:
- The “Idahome” attitude: people love this place something fierce. More stickers on cars proclaiming a love of place than anywhere I’ve ever lived before. Small and local businesses thrive. We just eat them up. People come out for stuff because we’re into the community – the event itself seems secondary.
- The foothills: they’re just right there! I can walk out my door and hit miles and miles (and miles!) of trails in 5 minutes. They go up-up-up, and the views of the city are without compare. I let the dog off his leash and we can rattle around for hours after work.
- The wild places just beyond the hills: drive for a couple hours (on a scenic byway nonetheless) and you’re in one of the largest wilderness areas in the lower 48. And it’s amazing. Backpacking, kayaking, mountain biking… all right there. More than you could every get through in a lifetime.
- This amazing, creative, supportive spirit. Open up a new brewpub downtown? We’re there. Oh, you’re starting up a new shop? Pop in to take a look. It’s the friendliest, most genuine place I’ve ever lived. I think we’ll be here for a while.

Stephanie Willson Barsness said...

I'm living in SE Minnesota in a little big town called Rochester. I was born and raised in MN, but hadn't spent much time in the southern part of the state until we moved here 15 years ago. What has been called "Med City" (Home of the World Famous Mayo Clinic), Rochester is soon to be a destination medical center. It is an incredibly diverse population of residents with quality schools, a vibrant downtown, and plenty of cornfields on the outskirts. It is the epitome of "MN nice" and I love calling it my hometown. This was a great prompt!

kelsey hoekstra said...

I'm from outside of Philadelphia, but right now I live in Middlebury, Vt, where I go to school. I love this place for the people. I love walking through town with my friends, admiring the mountains in the distance as we move around "to stay productive". I love that this year I had the amazing opportunity to lead a freshman orientation trip and got to know 8 bright eyed, wonderful people. Everywhere I've looked I've found amazing friends in beautiful places. I couldn't ask for more. (oh and the learning is fun too)

Alice said...

While there are other places I would love to TRY living, I love where I am right now because it's where I grew up. I'm always looking to try something new but sometimes you can't beat the familiar. On top of that, much of my family is still here in town or within a few hours driving distance, so there's always a chance to see them. My husband and I will definitely be moving somewhere else in a few years, but while we're both slaving away through grad school it's nice to have the love and support that we do here.

ashevillemom said...

I'm happy where I live because every single day without fail, the mountains will take my breath away.

Carmen said...

It's funny this is the subject. My husband is in the Coast Guard and we have been stationed in Hampton Roads, VA (near Smithfield) for the last 7 1/2 years. I am not much of a fan. I am originally from Washington State and I miss trail running there. However, I love trail running in the Fall here. It is absolutely gorgeous! Annnnnd our 16 year old son hasn't had to move and will graduate in 2016 with his class. This is not commonplace for military kiddos. It is good to be reminded to find what you love in where you are. Thank you for that. P.S. I LOVE your blog.

Kelsie said...

I love my town of Palouse, WA. It's a small town in the middle of big wheat fields. It's a town of 1000 people, and literally, everyone knows everyone. Our community is strong, we rally when people are in need, we play hard, we drink together, sing together, quilt together and gather in the throws of winter to watch Northern Exposure at our local tav. I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

jennt said...

Southern Maine! 10 mins to beautiful beaches, 10 mins to Downtown Portsmouth NH, 45mins from Portland, ME. farms and art, the ocean and the woods. Lobster and steamers. (Southern Maine enough to not be a legit Mainah - meaning a Walmart is all you've got for miles....) perfectly New England.

Kelsey Imondi said...

I was born and raised in Portland and as a kid I always wanted to move far away when I was finally old enough. But now that I'm married (my husband works for Boeing at their Portland location) and we own a cute little old house in the Hollywood District of NE Portland, I can't imagine living anywhere else (except maybe Bend...). I love all the cute little neighborhood shops but also the availability of big department stores either downtown or out in the 'burbs. I love to take advantage of the wide variety of food and drink places, it's easy to find something new to try or stick with old favorites. The accessibility of the entire city is also a big bonus for people who live here as well as visitors, my husband bikes to work at least 75% of the time and I walk or take bus/max most days. Portland is also a perfect city for anyone that loves the outdoors (as we do!), it's only an hour from the beach or the mountain with plenty of lakes and rivers for kayaking and mountains for hiking, I feel like there's always somewhere new to explore. But by far one of my most favorite things about Portland is that my family is here and so is my husband's family (we went to the same high school but didn't meet until college) so we get to spend random weekends and holidays with them without having to travel.

Annie said...

It's not close enough to mountains, and you can't hear the ocean, and there doesn't seem to be climbing anywhere, but once you live here long for five years, there's magically the best climbing gym, a huge park with endless trails, and a river to paddle. I love it for my five roommates who cook dinner every night, the coffee shop where I am most productive, and all the adult habits I've established since living here.

Katie said...

Born and raised in Cleveland. Lots of things I love about it, but nothing can top having my boys grow up within minutes of their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Melina said...

@Katie, my mother is from Cleveland! Avon Lake actually, but close enough. I have wonderful memories of that city.

KeelyO said...

We live five miles down a dirt road with no name, just a number, in a beat up old cardboard wreck of a lead-paint house. When I walk out the door, I can hitch up my skirt and pee in the yard, or pull on my boots and hike into the national forest that backs up to the property (if it's not snake season or hunting season). One of my students, grandson of a neighbor, sometimes rolls up on a fourwheeler at night with a freshly-killed wild hog on the back and offers it to us as a gift with a grin. Most days, nobody rolls by but the mail truck, and our landlady doesn't care if we raise pigs on the pasture she owns beside the house. The stars are incomparable, and at night you can hear barred owls and coyotes and sometimes a barge on the Mississippi. I love how wild it is here, how the only thing separating us from the possums and the foxes is a rotting wall. I like to sleep with the windows open in the summer so I can feel that deep south heat roll over my sticky sheet while the crickets sing and the fireflies glow on the screen.

Lisa said...

I've done my fair share of moving - 6 countries by the age of 23. Every place I live I grow to love and can't imagine ever leaving. Until the little voice starts up on how exciting a new place would be, how a new adventure awaits. And then I'm pulling up the roots and moving to another undiscovered corner of the globe. But where I live now, Maryland, is the first place I've ever moved back to. Most of the time I hate it - I hate feeling like I've taken a step backwards, that I'm living life on repeat. But slowly, ever so slowly I've come to discover while I may not like this physical location and dream about the day I can finally leave, I've realized this is exactly where I need to be. This place is my little bubble, consisting of just my parents and a safe environment to heal. After a year of sadness outweighing happiness, I'm finally dealing with the feelings. I'm working through the loss of loved ones, I'm learning to be single after the guy I thought was "the one" broke things off. This place is where I'm healing and becoming myself again. And for that alone, no matter how much I dislike this place - I will look back and be grateful that it was here for me when I needed it.

Elisa said...

I moved from my beloved Duluth, MN, this summer in pursuit of chiropractic school. I am currently at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, MN. It has been difficult to transition back into city-living, so this fall, I searched mostly for unpaved walking/running trails. This winter, I am signed up for yoga + nordic winter activities at the nearest nature center. All in all, it has been a blessing to be back in 'community' with my closest friends. I think that is what has made the transition most colorful!

Katie said...

No way! We live in avon lake. I grew up in westlake, but my husband grew up in avon lake. Neither of us has strayed very far aside from our college years.

DeNae said...

We just moved from the lovely, but flat and frozen tundra of Minnesota to the glorious mountains of Colorado four weeks ago today. My kids are pretty tired of me singing the hallelujah chorus every time we watch the sun set over a snow-capped mountain. I love our little mountain town that has a grocery store and library and little local establishments, but maintains its quaint little mountain town feel. We left the suburbs behind and love the community feel that come with our little town.

Jill said...

I don't always love the tiny town I currently live in but I do love my state of Wisconsin. I'm proud to be a Midwestern girl, though I thought I'd never say that. I love the changing landscapes and the "still rural" feel coupled with vibrant cities like Madison and Milwaukee. I love Wisconsin's history and that we embrace our German roots, scarfing down cheese and brats and beer. As for my town in particular, I mostly just love our church and the church family we've found here. We're moving to another Wisconsin town soon and it will be sad to say goodbye. But I'm excited for another new adventure!

Lauren T. said...

I have a love/hate relationship with where I live. I love it because it reminds me of the rolling mountains in south western Virginia where I grew up but it's close enough to several major cities so I have access to anything I could want. I hate it because it's so far from the ones I love most and so full of people all the time. I dream of moving away yet am terrified as well. It's complicated I suppose.

carolyn said...

I grew in the very northern part of California right on the coast and all I can think of it are grey, cold foggy and windy. I now live in Springfield Oregon and I love it. There are four distinct seasons and I love them all. I am two hours from the desert, two hours from portland, an hour from the coast. Minutes from the river and the forest but still live in town, on the edge. Another plus, Oregon is beautiful!!

Cait said...

Moving to New Haven was purely functional, in fact, so much so that I didn't bother to find out a single thing about it before moving here for nursing school. And 2.5 years later, even though there are so many things I don't love, there are plenty that I do - here in this town, in fact, on my very street, is where I met the man I love. Having a love story about the boy next to door makes me grin every time I tell it. I love the mini mountain that Orange Street dead-ends into, like it had every intention of continuing on through but looked up and saw a mountain and thought better of it. I love the trees in the fall and the hyacinths in the spring, and the little yellow house that has been more of a cozy and welcoming home to me than I ever could have dreamed.

Katie said...

Right now my place that I live/place that I love is Taipei, Taiwan. I've lived here three years, but I just decided to move back to the States in February. So recently I've been thinking a lot about the things I love about this island, this city. I've never lived in a place like this before. But here are some of my favorite things:

First, I love the river path. We run there after work. It's pretty much my backyard, and the city has created this beautiful riverside park. In the summertime it's so hot and humid, and the sun sets behind the Grand Hotel, and it reflects on the water and the sky pretty much turns orange. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

I love that I can bike down that same river path and be out of the city in 20 minutes. You can find cafes along the path and enjoy a coffee or a smoothie, whatever you fancy, and enjoy an afternoon spent reading your book in the sun.

I love the view of this city from Elephant Mountain. It spreads out in all directions. From the top of the mountain you can see the city in a basin, surrounded by mountains. Beyond the mountains, on a clear day, you can find the ocean. If you turn around and look behind you, all you can see is mountains forever.

Mostly though, I love that you can see Taipei 101 from almost anywhere you are in the city. It's the center and we all just rotate around it.

The food's pretty good, too, and the night markets are an adventure. :)

Sorry, this comment is long. But reading your post about loving your place just really hit me in the heart this morning. I could go on and on and on about my love for Taipei right now - it will be hard to leave and I'm feeling nostalgic!

I've been loving these posts recently. You're a fantastic writer, and I always leave your website feeling refreshed and also amazed at how you evoke emotions with words. Lovely!

Jess B said...

I struggle with loving where I live even though I've lived here for most of the past 18 years. I grew up in chaos with constant moving and change and though I didn't love it, I adapted to it and crave it. But we've landed in a new corner of Knoxville 2.5 years ago and we do love much of it. We live in an urban wilderness with a climbing crag that my husband is developing with neighbors just a mile away. My daughter gets to run around and watch her dad drill bolts and I get to make big meals after long days of climbing (also mountain biking!) *in our neighborhood*. Who gets to do that!? It's pretty special and after so long of feeling lost in Knoxville, we are finally finding our tribe.

Stephanie Abdon said...

I love where YOU live!

but i do love the water here

Amanda Buck said...

I met my husband in the fall of 1999, my freshmen year at UMD. In 2003 we would graduate, move to MO, stay two years. We then moved to Fargo, stayed 3 years. Then we went home. Not to southern MN or the Twin Cities(places we were born and raised), but home to Duluth, MN. It's where we both began, where we became "us". It's our little town on a big hill, surrounded by Lake Superior, our ocean. We don't make tons of money or drive fancy cars, we also don't live near family. But this is where our family began, this is our home. And we'll do whatever it takes to stay.

Candice Weber said...

I love living in rural Saskatchewan. Our sky is big, beautiful and ever changing. Blue skies, cumulous clouds, northern lights and oodles of stars.

www.buildingourhouseofstraw.blogspot.ca

CW said...

I remember when I moved to Nashville...my friends were appalled. "You're leaving Chapel Hill for NASHVILLE?!" My dad moved to Seattle a few years back and regularly tells me how much better it is than here. And I will grant you that TN is the reddest of red states. But I love Nashville. I love the rocks and the hills. I love the cows just down the way from industrial parks. I love the neighborliness and Southern charm. I love being able to bring my daughters to museums and plays and football games and rodeos all within about half an hour of our house.

Jenny Mann said...

I love where I live because it's familiar and new all at the same time. I was born and raised on a cattle ranch here in Idaho. Then I graduated high school, went to work and met my love. We moved to Montana; Missoula specifically and spent seven glorious years there. Then we moved to his hometown in eastern Oregon for 4 years and then shockingly we moved back to Idaho. I never, ever thought in my wildest dreams we'd end up back here. Now I see it with new eyes. I appreciate the things I didn't in my youth; agriculture, gardening, gorgeous sunsets and the sagebrush. We've put roots here and I think we will stay for a bit. That is, until Montana calls us back ;)

heather said...

I love where I live because it's where I grew up and where friends and family are still based. It may not be where i thought I'd end up but it is where I've chosen to make a home and start a family... And it's not too far from those mountains that we love <3

Mandy Weston said...

I thought I'd move to San Diego and then be gone within a year, and I was. But then I came back and somehow never left. Southern California is not "my place" but I will say that you can almost always count on a wonderful cool evening once the sun sets, and I really appreciate that all year round.

Aurora Doehring said...

I love where I live because it's close to all the places I love to go. If I want to go into the city, it's only a half hour to Boston. If I want to go into the mountains, Monadnock is about an hour in the other direction. Everything is close enough that it's easily accessible while still being far enough apart that everything feels separate.

Anonymous said...

Mt Rainier! I have lived here for 15 years and the sight of the mountain still takes my breath away...beautiful!

Cydnee V.

Lori Delgado said...

I came to live where I do out of trust. I trusted my boyfriend to move to this small town, live in a camp, grow up so so much. Then, three years ago, we decided on a career change for him, and it brought us out of the mountains into this tiny town, that has a post office, gas station and mexican food restaurant. The next town over has the fast food, and to get to big box stores will take about 1/2 an hour, if you don't get stuck by the train. The pace of life, I love. The views, I love. Being a "leader" in the community as a teacher, I love. But, it is a tough community. Sure people ride their horses to McDonalds. Yes, we do have a weekly farmers' market. But we are also, literally the meth capitol of the nation. Most of my students have to go through more to get to school each day, than I can even imagine. And I worry of the effect this may have on my daughter. We were seriously thinking of moving, relocating for a job for my husband; I actually commented about how proud I was to let go of my security. But recently, the decision has become more difficult because we both feel so tied to this community. So many great things have come about in the eight years we have been here, and so many more are just in the wings. Who knows what the future hold? But, for now, I love where I live. (I'm glad I didn't go to the supermarket in town today...my answer is usually completely opposite after braving Stater Brothers.)

Savanna said...

I love where I live in Mesa, AZ (even if it is in the top 10 most boring cities to live in). The sunsets are too die for and have a unique display every evening. The sweltering summers are full of swimming and late night ice cream runs. The cool winters are comfortable and perfect for sweaters and hot coco. But most importantly are the friends and family I have here, more important than any "exciting" or scenic locations I'm missing out on.

Bekah said...

1. I almost feel guilty entering, so if by chance my number comes up randomly, please run it agin. 2. Frankly? I'm still learning to love where I live. We are three weeks post-move, and I have found a lot to love. I moved here because its what my mr. wanted. He found it, he pursued it (with my blessing obvs), and I'm trying hard. We have a blessed life, with ups and downs. But hey, I found a state forest, a island to explore, an alpaca farm, and a maple sugar shack all in the last three weeks.

And yeah @theruralroost is so fab.

adventurekate said...

One thing that makes me happy to be where I am: I'm living in a place where I can do meaningful work that I'm passionate about. I also enjoy being surrounded by people who are interested and engaged in the world. Even though it can be a little overwhelming at times, I enjoy that so many people bring so much passion and energy to what they do here- a welcome change from the apathy that makes my heart and brain cringe.

I'm fascinated with this idea of sense of place- how you define a place, what it means to you at that specific time, and how you fit into the place with your own biases and assumptions. I'm also really interested in how the built environment affects how we interact with and perceive a place, which you got at in this post. Having a walkable neighborhood is incredible, and walkable means something different depending on the context.

I often wonder if this is "the" place for me. I don't think it is, long term, but there are (important!) aspects of this city that I enjoy, and that allow me to thrive here. Thanks for reminding me to dig into them.

Wendy said...

I live, for the year anyway, in Kigali, Rwanda. I love that whenever I need a tomato or an onion, or a giant avocado for fifteen cents, I can walk half a block and have a dozen options, people selling fruits and vegetables from their doorsteps.

Jenna said...

We moved to Minnesota a few years ago - just in time to experience what was one of the worst winters in a while (polar vortex! weeks long below zero temps!). Then, I struggled to find what is good here but then spring happened. It was like everyone ran outside the minute the temperature rose above 40 degrees. People biked, ran, walked, gardened, embraced nature. Communities flourished and thrived. It was glorious. We're smack dab in the middle of our second winter and the memories of the warmer months are what is getting me through it (and truth be told, it isn't too bad this time around!).

Nic Nicki Nicolette Nico said...

Such a delight to read about Asheville.

I love where I love because by now it is truly the only home I've ever been free to be myself and it has come to be where I am rooting a family. And the food places are quite great.

Nicole Q said...

Oh, this is an easy one. I live in Vancouver, Canada. It's December, and pouring rain, Monday evening at 9:45, and I just got home from a 10 km run with my best friend. All of those things - that it's warm enough to run, not snowy, not icy, that we did a 10 km loop right in the middle of the city but along the water and didn't have to deal with traffic, that we are two women and we were (and felt) safe despite the dark, wet night, that there were dozens of other runners out there with us in the pouring rain... and that 20 mins later, I'm here, cozy, listening to the rain in my home in the forest on the side of a mountain. Pretty amazing, and I'm grateful every day.

Elizabeth said...

I loved hearing about Asheville!

I love right where I live, this very spot upon which my house was built, because I am three houses down from the library. I am two blocks from my bank. I am six blocks from the hardware store and nine from the German sausage shop (that is not a metaphor...alas). You get the idea. Walkability is a beautiful thing, and I can bike to most of Portland within half an hour, too.

And I love how easy it is to grow veggies here (other than the Holy Grails of tomatoes and peppers, but nowhere's perfect).

Dorothy Lemoult said...

I am in Seattle and I do love it so. I am in West seattle which is the best. Like living on an island yet 10 mns to everything urban. My favorite lately is the view from 99, passing the big wheel, overlooking the ferries, the glistening water and sailboats. There is something about driving through the middle of a city and being able to see all that nature, that water, those mountains in the distance. It's just dreamy. I never tire of it.

Whitney McMichael said...

I have lived in San Luis Obispo county, on the central coast of California, for 13ish years. I came here for college and never left. Not because I loved it so much… not for that reason at all. College and the following years were a dark and sad and terribly hard time for me, there were a lot of memories I wouldn’t have minded leaving behind. But, I couldn’t- I didn’t have support, means, self-knowledge, direction. I resented this place because it had to be this place, I felt I had no choice. But as I’ve gotten older, things have changed. I’m different. I see things now I didn’t see before. I know better, and I do better. I’m married, I have a son, and we live steps from the ocean. I love that I am still here and making new memories in all the old places. I love the old places, they sometimes make me sad but they also remind me of how much has changed. I love that I am discovering beautiful places and people I never dreamed could exist here. I love that I am happy here. I love that hell has somehow become home. I can’t imagine leaving.

Aimee said...

I miss green rolling hills and high tors perched above bracken covered hills, bubbling streams flanked by ancient woods. I miss true old pubs with enormous open fires and rough hewn tables. Clotted cream and jam.
I miss the season being on the right months. But I like where I am right now for its hugs open skies, the nor'west arch, proximity to the southern alps and mountain sports. I love my amazing community and friends and the safety for my little one. I love how laid back life is. The invites for Christmas Day " oh just pop round, we'll be in the garden with the BBQ, just bring whatever your drinking" ... I'm not sure if this is my 'forever home'. But right now, it's a pretty sweet place to be.
You can find more pics of it at www.poole.kiwi.nz

Heather said...

First I want to tell you how much I enjoy your blog.

I just moved this year to a small town in southeast Georgia from the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. I am learning to love my new home. The cost of living is much lower but the places I go are much farther apart. It is hour long commutes to work, to go shopping, but best of all to go to the beach. I think that may be my favorite thing about my new home, the ability to drive to the ocean and home in a day. I feel like I can relax when I get there and feel the sand and hear the waves. When I get home I feel recharged. So I will take the long commutes everywhere else for this.

Karen said...

I love the ocean I don't think I could live without it. I am grateful for free healthcare and year-long maternity leave. The people here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada are so friendly and helpful. The most important thing about where I live is that most of my family live here too. Parents, grandparents, aunts, cousins, in-laws. Our roots are deep and I wouldn't ever leave.

Liz Stout said...

Almost Heaven, West Virginia. Because it is almost heaven, especially settled here in the heart of the Appalachians in little Elkins, WV. In this valley, the fog lingers late into the morning through every season except winter. As its tendrils swirl upward, they tend to linger over every cascading stream that runs off the mountain sides. The sunrise colors play across the mist, highlighting the beauty of the mountains even more as they cast hues of blue, pink, and purple.

In the spring, the landscape bursts with all imaginable hues of green, warblers travel from Latin America to trill their many songs from the deciduous and coniferous forests. Heavy humidity and hot days bring summer forward, but the mountain streams offer a refreshing escape from the temperatures. Autumn brings hillsides that flash with russets, oranges, brilliant yellows, and reds as the trees show off their splendor. And with winter comes the snow that blankets the landscape, creating a winter adventurer's paradise.

Elkins is 45 minutes from Seneca Rocks - a trad climber's paradise that is the tallest single rock formation east of the Mississippi; 45 minute from Dolly Sods wilderness area where one can hike through 6 to 8 different habitats resembling anything from tundra to temperate forest within 3 or 4 miles distance; an hour from the peak of Spruce Knob, the highest point in the tri-state area where the sweet scent of red spruce is thick and finds its way to your nose with every breeze. We're ~2 hours from the New River Gorge/Gauley recreational area, a sport climber and whitewater aficionado's paradise, the state is chock full of some of the best creek boating in the east for those afflicted with such a passion and provides an uncountable number of mountain biking trails that traipse through many beautiful places, and we're no more than an hour from any of the State's best ski resorts - Canaan, Snowshoe, Timberline, in addition to some of the greatest - though secret - backcountry skiing in the east (Mt Porte Crayon and the knobs of the Sinks of Gandy). All of these things make it an adventure lovers dream! Wild, WONDERFUL West Virginia.

Erin Macauley said...

I love this piece, Melina...and one of these days, this Raleigh girl will make it west to see what you so lovingly describe.

Raleigh: I love it because it reminds me of my hometown (St. Louis) but is something new and fresh. Its coffee houses and bottle shops. Its miles and miles of winding greenway that will show you the whole city if you're brave enough. The gingko tree in Nash Square that rains gold in November. The single track trails of Umstead Park, in which I never seem to hear the planes that take off and land just a few miles away. The color and the fun that having NC State nestled in the heart of this growing city brings. Raleigh has certainly rocked this mama like a wagon wheel.

ME said...

I don't love just one place, my soul must remain free to wonder. Each place I plant I love it for certain reasons and cry each time I leave. I never thought I'd live this military lifestyle, sometimes you can't control who you love, but in that surprise love I've found my place...a reason to always roam.

Bree Cobine said...

I love where I live because the small town-ness of it never gets old. Knowing almost everyone in the town and never leaving the house without spotting someone I know! This town is by far my favorite.

JessD said...

I love living in the Twin Cities because it's within driving distance to my family in North Dakota and my husband's family. We also have so many outdoor recreation options for every season within the cities and throughout Minnesota.

Tammi said...

I love Valley Ford, California. Population :: 126. I love the sprawling hills and valleys; the hay farmers; the dairy farmers; the sheep ranches and our 80+ year old neighbors who run the llama farm next door. I love bellying up to the bar at the local hotel and that the woman at the market let's you call her Grandma (even though I insist on calling her by her given name, Lucille). I love the volunteer fire department ice cream socials and the annual pie auction just before Thanksgiving. And, I especially love the small post office with it's wonky hours and even wonkier patrons.

Enjoy your new home and place, Melina. You deserve it.

marinj said...

I live in a small town in Mississippi, born and raised here and now that I am half way through my 30's, I have permanently put down roots here and will more than likely be here for years. This place has family, friends and friends of friends that "know you" because they've heard of you. I love that almost every time I run to the grocery store you see people catching up on someone's life since there will be lengthy conversations held with a friend that you haven't seen in a while. I love the southern houses, the warm hospitality shown, the ever changing weather, the southern drawl, good sweet tea at every restaurant and all things fried is the norm, albeit unhealthy as all get out. This southern heritage will always be in my blood.

tigercrush said...

I love my city (Austin, TX) with all of my heart. Even as it rapidly changes with thousands of transplants and gentrification invading all our corners. I love that the restaurants and other local businesses that I went to as a child are still going strong and haven't been replaced with big-box stores. I love that the city is covered in green space. Hiking and swimming options are endless. I love the suffocating heat in the summer, our only saving grace in slowing the rush of people moving here because so many people just can't handle it. I love the rich wildlife from wild parrots to millions of bats living under a bridge in the center of the city to the nutria, swimming calmly next to the hike and bike trail. There are so many other reasons to love Austin but I'll close by saying that I am extremely blessed to call this city home.

Monique said...

I am from the Seattle area but live up north around Marysville. I love the trees and water here. I am a short drive from the water and love to walk the rocky beach and see the sun set below the water line.

Momma Bee said...

I grew up in a small town that desperately wanted to be big. Unfortunately it managed to get the big town crime without the big town charm. So when I graduated high school, I left. To a bigger city with five times the crime and even less charm. Fast forward through college and I landed in my current town, with my husband and three kids.

This place. It has the charm, with all of it's suburbs keeping the quaint, small town feel. It has the city without being overwhelming to someone who came from cornfields and ghetto. It has the opportunity for my husband, myself and my children, without an abundance of competition to make our hard work even harder. If I need to go to the store, I have more than one to choose from, depending on my mood and side of town. I'm not a hard person to please; in fact I'm rather simplistic in my living. But I love having the OPTIONS. If I WANTED something else, I could get it. I'm so content here, unlike I ever was in the almost 20 years I lived in my hometown. I don't know if we'll stay here forever, but for now, this is a great place to call home <3

rbz said...

I love biking from my home in Redwood City, CA to work every day. The area is really bike friendly and I get to enjoy the California sunshine!

ddawg said...

I, too, used to live in Seattle. It is a beautiful city and of the major cities in the country it is the only one I would say I could tolerate living in. I am a country man at heart, having also lived in your beloved Vermont, and my home there will never be replaced in my memory as the most beautiful home ever. Had I the means, I would buy it back from the dirtbags who live there now, with their new sheds stuffed to the windows with hoarded junk, four-wheelers, kegs on the backwoods paths, and creepy mausoleums by the driveway.

I also lived in Boston. Somerville, really, if you know the area. That was my longest stretch in one location and it ended abruptly. I moved to Central Massachusetts, where I never imagined I would end up. First it was Florence, a burg or some such of Northampton - the thriving arty looking down where "the coffee is strong and so are the women." The final destination, though, is Huntington, which is one of the furthest of the "hill towns." We get more snow than "Noho" and much less traffic and noise. a friend once described the world as being one of two kinds of places - places where you can see the stars and places where you can't. This one is the former and it stuns me every clear night to see it light up and speckled.

My wife and our two children live on a little over (or is it under?) 3 acres. It's pretty much all wooded, and sloped. You can't really see the neighboring houses and I like it that way. Instead you get a view of Oak, quaking aspen, one birch (the second one was sick and was taken down this past summer - destined to rough hewn benches by the firepit now), several large white pine and lots and lots of hemlock. I could do with less hemlock and more birch. Or better yet, more maple. There are a few of those, too.

Next spring I plan to clear out some of the brush so the summer walking is easier. Take out the thorny stuff, hide some peaceful refuges in those woods, as if it needs more of those. We're putting in a post and rail fence to define the yard a bit and to keep the puppy, Sunshine, safe from the road.

The "downtown" isn't, really. There is a decent restaurant, a great garden and farm store, a brilliant country store ("Home of the world famous wrapple!") and lots of other little things we haven't discovered. The guy at the transfer station had all sorts of advice on how to get around paying fees for discarding various types of inconvenient trash, and the neighbors have already offered to plow the driveway in the winter and brought over a plant in thanks for letting them park in the driveway when their car couldn't make it up the hill in the Thanksgiving storm.

We're 25 minutes from anything - the big box stores and the coffee shops, the decent take out pizza places - but I like the time it takes - gives you a moment to transition to being home. Whatever is stressful or busy about wherever you came from gets shed on that 25 minute drive and walking around the garage to the porch entrance because I don't like to open the electric garage door if I don't have to I always feel at peace and welcomed to my own home. You'd think that would be automatic for your own house - to feel welcomed there - but it's not. Or maybe the way to put it is that it's not a Home until it is automatic.

In any case, I love where we live. It is a brilliant place for our family and we have so many people to thank for helping us to get there.

Thank you for providing the excuse to write about it.

Keli said...

La Crosse, Wisconsin. A city of about 50,000 people nestled between the Mississippi River and the bluffs. It's a beautiful place full of wonderful people and we feel very fortunate to live here. It's a small city with big city amenities. I could list all of the things I love but in the interest of time (I'm sure you have some studying to do, Melina) I'll keep it short. During the holidays my favorite things about La Crosse is Rotary Lights. It's an annual light display with a mission to feed the hungry. Photos and videos don't do it justice but here's a little video from last year to get you in the holiday spirit! http://youtu.be/ons1hSNNF_8

Katrina and David said...

I love where I live because it is the place that has taught me just how strong I am. It is far away from the families we came from, but it is ours. The sunsets are second to none. I became a wife here, and then 5 years later, a mama. And for those times the distance between here and there is too much, we hop on a plane and go visit.

Grace Hertel said...

I love where I live (Minneapolis, MN) because of the variety. The seasons change before you can even accumulate, making each falling leaf, blooming apple tree and blizzard more special. There's also variety in atmosphere. We have a bustling downtown, hip neighborhoods with cafes and wine bars, active lakeside trails for the growing bike culture all within a few miles. Not to mention the vast countryside and forests at our fingertips with just a short car ride. It's a great place!

Grace Hertel said...

I love where I live (Minneapolis, MN) because of the variety. The seasons change before you can even accumulate, making each falling leaf, blooming apple tree and blizzard more special. There's also variety in atmosphere. We have a bustling downtown, hip neighborhoods with cafes and wine bars, active lakeside trails for the growing bike culture all within a few miles. Not to mention the vast countryside and forests at our fingertips with just a short car ride. It's a great place!

the mom~ said...

I live in a small town (14,000 people) in NW Minnesota. This blog post reminded me much of my town. I absolutely love it here. We've been here 11 years, transplanted for So Cal, very different. Life is slower here, and colder. It's a wonderful place to raise a family, too!

Cindy E said...

I live in Montana and it will always be home because my family and roots are here.
Love your blog!

Kim Hughes said...

Denver: and it's hard to tell you why, but it is a place where there are more residents that are from other places than there are Colorado-born residents and that's because there's magic here. The story is the same for all - I came here to visit or live temporarily and fell in love with it, and just never left. It could be specific reasons like the mountains, the hiking, the outdoor activities, the skiing, the beer, the weather... but I think it's just the "go west" dream that lives in everyone coming out here - it's a place of adventure, progress, and new beginnings.

kimalli1 said...

I live in Tallahassee, FL. It is great! It is small enough to have connections at every turn- oh, dude I just met at karate practice, you're the guy who I spoke with and helped me get a new part for my daughter's broken bunk bed. And I went to high school with your wife. Also, traffic is never a big concern.

Tallahassee is not too small though to feel like you're going to get bored.

Emery Tillman said...

Its funny to write about a place that you are about to be leaving, but for now in these three last days I guess i'm still living here.

Finding a place is hard especially with a nomadic life. I have traveled and lived all over but most recently I have been transported to historic times.

Im in a place where with each turn down the wanderings streets there is a new building or statue to see. A rotunda dating back to the 13th century, or a modern sculpture by Cerny. With a place with such historic value its hard not to take it for granted.

Although I have not seen the sun for a month other then glimpses I have fallen in love with prague. It's claws have gotten ahold of me and I know in three days I will never want to leave.

Jen said...

I have been missing many of my old stomping grounds (my husband and I have lived in 4 states in the 8 years we've been together) so this is a great prompt for me! I love that the place I live now has so much to offer. I am 15-20 minutes north of Boston, and minutes from the highway that leads me to Maine, where I spent the first 22 years of my life. love that within 15 minutes, I can be in Boston or amidst miles of wooded trails or at the beach watching ocean waves crash ashore. Our neighborhood is sweet and quiet other than the sound of dozens of children playing after school each day. The houses in my town are absolutely gorgeous and I love walking the dog up and down different streets so I can take in the unique homes and beautifully landscaped yards. Everyone in our town is so sweet and offers happy greetings, a big change from our days in DC. Our street is right across from a church that was founded in Nigeria, and the churchgoers use our street for parking. I love sitting on my porch on Sunday mornings drinking coffee and looking at all of the amazing dresses and hats the women wear. It's a fun place to be.

Sarah Beth said...

Montana has completely and totally stolen my heart. Actually I think it's had it all along. I was born and raised here, but it wasn't until I left for grad school in Iowa that I truly appreciated everything about this massive state. I currently live in Bozeman and wouldn't trade it for anything. The mountains smile down on me from every direction and I adore that. I also love that I'm less than 3 hours away from my parents house, and can be in the middle of no where so easily. There is something magical about looking out your front window and your neighbors house is at least a 1/2 mile away. I have a feeling that no matter how much money I could make working somewhere else, I'll always find a reason to stay right where I am.

Tela said...

I love where I live because I live so close to my friends and the people I love.

Wendy said...

There are so many reasons why I love where I live. New York City. It is impossible to name just one. Perhaps it's the skyline, the hustle and bustle of people getting to where they need to be. The twinkling, sparkling lights, especially this time of year when the darkness comes too quick. The plethora of restaurants, shops, cafes, art and culture. The people. They are much kinder and gentler than you have been told and there is always someone more crazy than you. They are more than likely sitting next to you on the packed subway...

Abby Scorsonelli said...

Nacogdoches, Texas <3 Deep in the Pineywoods of east Texas, I love it for its brick streets downtown, its budding Texas country music scene, its North St crowded with university students, and obviously, its pine trees. ;)

CorporateHippy said...

I live in SE Michigan and while I dream of moving way up north, I am pretty fond of the SE corner in which I live. I could do without the suburbia, but mixed within are woods and parks where I can submerse myself in fresh air and pine trees. Michigan has 4 amazing seasons and I love them all; however winter is quickly becoming my favorite. I've always loved the snow, but now that I have a "snow bike" (fat bike mtb), I am more excited than ever to get out and enjoy the winter months. And ... is there anything more amazing than the great lakes? Not in my mind.

R y Recker said...

I am constantly grateful that I live in the PNW. For a city girl this place has so much to teach me and has shaped who I am as much as my family and friends around me. I like to tell people to imagine the most beautiful places in the world and that is where I live.

mountain girl heidi said...

I thought I commented yesterday, but I can't seem to find it. If there are double comments from me, I apologize. I found this post to be quite fitting to my life these last few years. I am originally from the Northwest (I claim NW Montana as mine, but I also lived on the Olympic Peninsula in WA), but for the last seven years, my husband and I have lived in Bellevue, Nebraska. I fought accepting this place as home for YEARS, but after a while I realized that it's kind of miserable to hate a place so much. While I miss the mountains and PNW so bad I can hardly breathe sometimes, I have grown to appreciate the midwest and the certain beauty it provides. I love the incredible sunsets and ferocious storms. I love that my husband and I began our married life together here. I love our house and fur children (3 cats). And I love that some of the best friends I will ever have began here. Home is such an emotional word, and I'm slowly getting to the point where I can call Nebraska home.

Carly said...

Honestly, there are probably more things I dislike about where I live than like. But I truly love the fact that I can drive to 7 different mountain canyons all within 30 mins from my house. It's so, so beautiful.

Corrie said...

I love my home. Kansas- we have wide open spaces, sky that you can see for miles upon miles, sunsets that cannot be rivaled, people that wave at you as you drive by. My local deli knows me by name, asks about my latest travels and gives me free pie frequently. The mexican place a mile from my house has the best chips and salsa and margaritas you could ask for. I have spent brief periods of time living elsewhere, but KS will always be the place my soul calls home.

Erin said...

I love that you opened with a Decemberists reference. When I am home in Montana The Decemberists make me homesick for Oregon. When I am home in Oregon The Decemberists make me homesick for Montana! Currently I am home in Montana. I'm living once again in the home I was born and raised in. I adore this house and all of the memories I have of my family here. They are especially precious to me now as my parents are deceased. And hey, what's not to love about Montana.

Liz said...

I live in a small town an hour north of Atlanta called Jefferson. It took me years to appreciate it (as I grew up 5 minutes from down town atlanta), but I love the total lack of traffic, the fact that my home sits on two acres, tucked into a clearing, surrounded by woods, and the fact that i can actually see the stars at night.

Brenna said...

I live in Tucson, Arizona. I love it because it's just a big small town. Half a million people live here, more including surrounding areas, but if you talk to a new person long enough, you will discover at least one friend in common.

That, and because it's mid December and it was 70 degrees today.

Lynn said...

Through an unplanned set of circumstances, I have landed in Southwest Florida. I could not have seen this coming, but life is like that...you never know what's around the corner.
I picked up and left my life and moved away from my children, grandchildren, friends and familiarity, and took a giant leap of faith to move to a place where I knew no one, except my boyfriend.
Say what you want about Florida, but it knows how to do sunsets. The colors of sunset are staggeringly beautiful...like God painting the most phenomenal portrait right here in south Florida! I like wearing flip flops 24-7. I like walking out my door and seeing palm tree lined streets, flocks of birds feasting on a neighbors lawn, and the protected burrowing owls perched on their perches. I miss my family but when I look around at nature's glory, I am comforted and feel lucky to live in such a tropical "oasis." That's how I like to think of it. By the way, I LOVE Asheville too...and if I wasn't by the ocean and wasn't nearing retirement age, I'd pick a hippy type place like Asheville. Love the vibe there!

Unknown said...

I was born in Idaho, I grew up in Washington and I lived in Nevada for a bit, but it wasn't until I moved to Colorado that I truly felt that I was home. It's everything that I need. Mountains that touch the brilliant blue sky that stretches for miles. Sunshine that is abundant, yet you miss it when it hides behind the clouds for only a day or two. An environment that lures you outdoors, whether to explore the wilderness or city scape. People that embrace you as their own. To take it one step further, home got even cozier when we settled into our perfect mix of country living in a small town on the edge of a big city, in the amazing town of Golden, CO. With a name like Golden, how can you not love calling it home sweet home?

Brian Conwell said...

I love the place I live because it is a small fishing town near the ocean and it is really close to nature.

Katie KM said...

I love the smell of Seattle - fresh and green. I love the views. I have a long commute each day yet it means each day I get to see the Space Needle, Lake Union, Lake Washington, and if I'm lucky, Mt Rainier or a pair of bald eagles.

Suzie said...

It's taken me a long time to feel completely settled in my home but now I have 2 gorgeous little boys, I finally have fallen in love!! I love how I can walk into town in 20mins and there are fabulous parks for the boys to play in, that my walk to work is only 5mins and Tom's school is only the other side of university campus where I work. I love that we can cycle out into the Cheshire countryside or the Welsh hills, we can be at the beach in 20mins and get my husband can be out to the motorway for work in 5miles. Chester, Cheshire is finally home although I do still hanker for a more open vista to the mountains. Oh how I miss a view of mountains!!

Melissa said...

I was raised in Blue Grass, Iowa on 40 acres of pasture. I now live with my own children on a 1/4 acre in Peekskill, NY, and I love it. I love the wildlife that comes to my bird feeders and compost bin. I love the little lake that forms every time it rains for more than a day. I love the sparse look of bare branches against the sky. I love spring--the way everything comes alive, and I love autumn when everything quiets down.

Chrissie said...

I love living just outside Boston on a quiet street in a small city that I'm watching come into its own in an amazing way.

Melina said...

I grew up in Boston, in the North End. I love Massachusetts!

Maria said...

I live in New Zealand. The thing I love about it the most is freedom, and space. It's got a very laid-back attitude to a lot of things and though it also translates into poor building regulations (up until recently, anyway) and a lot of people who don't bother to vote, etc, on a personal level they let me get away with a whole bunch of things without calling me nuts. In Estonia where I am from I stood out for my restlessness, but in New Zealand I don't. I feel less social pressure here. Whether it's New Zealand or just me getting older, either way it works!

Maria said...

Ha, this is funny: I was, literally!, writing a comment to you at the same time as you were writing a comment to me :P. I clicked "Publish your comment" here just as your comment landed on my own blog.

b said...

I love where I live, because it's comfortable and familiar to me. I went to college about 10 miles away and moved back to the area almost 10 years late. It just felt like home. Plus we've been blessed with really amazing neighbors, which is really a joy.

Amy D. said...

Phone comment didn't work, sad face. But basically, I love my city in unexpected ways, enough to buy a house here, in Milwaukee, a place I probably never though about once before the age of 27 (about 5 years ago it made it on my job-hunting list because of proximity to Madison, which I was in by way of NY, PA, IA, WA, DC, and MN).

But I have a friendfamily here, a big huge body of water (I thought it was the mountains I'd miss, but apparently it was Lake Champlain that stole my heart?), tough problems with good people trying to fix them, fabulous food and beer, and one final key factor: its central location and lovely cheaper airport plus train/bus options means I feel like I can get out to loved ones when I need/want to.

That doesn't cover everything I wrote in my first post, but it's enough. And now to save money to start visiting all the wonderful places y'all call home! :)

C$$ said...

First, I love the variety of places represented here- it says a lot about your blog and your writing!

This is the first Monday blog that I have felt compelled to contribute to because I LOVE where I live. After I left Vermont to go to college so many years ago, I found myself in Portland, ME. Portland has everything and its description is similar to the one which you gave Asheville: it is a small town if you need it to be but also a big city if you need something new. I've always thought about it as a city filled with friends and people that I know. It's home to some of the best micro-breweries in the country and has some amazing coffee and restaurants. I feel like the food options here are better than when I lived outside of DC! When I drive to work in the summer and my car windows are rolled down, I can smell THE OCEAN! How cool is that?? Most of all though, Mainers are some of the realest, down-to-earth people I know. I miss Vermont, it is my home, but I love Maine dearly!

Molly D. said...

I love where I live because my boyfriend and I own it together. We saved our pennies for a long time in order to buy - and we still are! It's an old house, built in 1920. We are slowly restoring this once-glorious home to it's original glory. Other owners have done it a disservice. I keep touching the walls and saying "it's ok, house. We're here now". As if this 95-year old house has been waiting for us all this time. We moved in mere months ago, but I feel as 'home' in it as I ever have, anywhere!

Elizabeth Newman said...

Minnesota...I love my home. I love how the seasons change. The summers that are humid hot. When fall comes and you feel that shift, color changes, pumpkin pie lattes and that hint of the holidays upon you. Winter when you hunker down and stay in watching Netflix. Then the spring when you see the first green grass growing and you feel renewed, ready to take on a new challenge. I love hearing people talk. The long O's and A's make you giggle. It's my home and it's glorious. :-)

Elizabeth Newman said...

Minnesota...I love my home. I love how the seasons change. The summers that are humid hot. When fall comes and you feel that shift, color changes, pumpkin pie lattes and that hint of the holidays upon you. Winter when you hunker down and stay in watching Netflix. Then the spring when you see the first green grass growing and you feel renewed, ready to take on a new challenge. I love hearing people talk. The long O's and A's make you giggle. It's my home and it's glorious. :-)

Chris Burke said...

My favorite place is Vermont. When I hiked the AT in 1984, there were fewer black flies in Vermont than elsewhere. Also, Bernie Sanders.

Thank you.

ich.bin.ich said...

Yesterday, if I had written about where I live it would have gone something like this: I moved here (small town in Germany) to be with my husband. He is the man I love, so I deal with the place.

Instead, today, as I am writing this mere hours after discovering that we are leaving (to a town in northern Germany) this place I have called home for the last two years, I feel an odd sense of connection, of belonging. I DO love it here; we have a supportive community of people in our lives who make it "home," all of whom I will miss terribly.

I love having to navigate my life in a different language. I love pretzels and bratwurst. But mostly, I love being where I am because it reminds me that to be happy I don't need a "place," I just need to choose happiness.

Danielle said...

I could give you a long list of the reasons why I love where I live, but because you only asked for one, I'll go with - the lake. I live in Duluth, MN and getting to see Lake Superior every day is a special thing. I know I'm home when I see that lake. Our amazing singletrack mtb trails come in at a close #2 though. :)

Melina said...

@Danielle, I was in Duluth a year ago for work. I had a great time, it was a lovely place. You're a paddler? (I see in your photo.)

Kate said...

I've lived in a lot of different places in my short 25 years. Last week I embarked on a new adventure and moved to upstate New York! Moving to the Albany region from Alabama in December is a true adventure! I love love my new job and coworkers, but I'm absolutely getting a crash course in snow driving and how to dress warmer!!
P.s. I've been following the blog since meeting you on the Safari Endeavor a couple years ago and I love hearing about your new life! Keep up the great writing!

Melina said...

@Kate- I remember you!! I am so glad you're writing. You still working behind the scenes at Target? I still have the wonderful card you sent me!!

Kate said...

How fun! That makes me smile that you kept my card! I still have yours too!! I am still working for Target - just moved from stores to distribution, which is what brought me to New York!

AlaskanAlison said...

I live in Juneau, Alaska. I love the water and the mountains and the green and the grey

Charity Strang said...

I live in Durham - and what's not to love? Awesome food, great bars, hip music scene, tons of arts, close to the mountains and the beach. It's home, and I hope it always will be.

Jax said...

Melina!!! This was a great post. You know my current home in Seattle, WA well ;). I think the one thing that makes me the most happy here is the moments when I get to see snow covered mountains surrounding me. When I can see Rainier crystal clear in front of me, the Olympic mountains sprawling out to my right and the Cascades to my left. It doesn't happen all that often, as you know, since the winters do tend to be so gray.

Lis said...

I love that my entire family lives within a five mile radius. They are my favorite people ever.

Jes said...

Oh gosh, your post about Asheville is making me so excited to visit again in January. I love that city. Would kill for 1/4 of the breweries and coffee shops and cute little stores to be close to me. But that's why I love to visit, so there's that! :)

As for where I live, I'm in transition between two towns, but they're both nestled in the mountains of Virginia. And I love it. I love waking up every day and seeing them, I love yelling at my legs while I ride my bikes up them, I love watching the sun shift below them each evening. They're magical. They've made this place home for me.

meg@ourwaytoeat.com said...

I love where I live because it is the first home that is all mine. The day I got home from my honeymoon, and looked around my one bedroom apartment and realized it would never be clean again, because of wedding gifts, man size shoes that take up closet space and two bikes in the livingroom. I immediately started house hunting, and we moved into our little place 2 months later. I hope to never move. We have cute shops, grocery stores, schools, pubs, restaurants and parks all within walking distance. I love that I live in an actual neighbourhood. I love my back yard and spend tons of time in the garden and on the patio my husband built all summer. In the winter, I love to host dinner parties and other gatherings. It is tiny, there are no proper closets and 3 of the doorknobs are still attached with duct tape after 5 years, but its home and I'm so happy there.

meg@ourwaytoeat.com said...

P.s. I am scrolling through the comments and noticing how many Minnesota readers you have. One more thing I love about where I live (Saint Paul, Minnesota) is that though neither me nor my husband are from here, we both choose to call it home.

beersincannes said...

I currently live in Opio, France. I love it here because I can drive 45 minutes and be in Italy. I can drive 5 minutes and be in a little village called Valbonne with a town center that looks like it came straight from a movie set. I can walk across the street with my two kids and they can play at one of the biggest playgrounds in the area. I can drive another 45 minutes and take the kids skiing in the winter to a little local resort. I can see the French alps if I drive 10 minutes away. I can drive to Switzerland, Germany and Austria and see some of the most amazing scenery in the world. My husband can go out and climb the via ferrata routes. We have lived here for 3.5 years and it has been an amazing adventure!

Rachel said...

I moved to Seattle 6 years ago and never want to leave. Smoky salty air at Golden Gardens, waking up to rain streaks on the windows, immeasurable vertical miles of Cascade concrete to explore in the winter and scree and alpine meadows and granite in the summer, biking everywhere all year long up and down these steep streets, the white piles on lush dense green at the snow line, hoppy IPAs on the deck of a sailboat, petting sea stars from the piers of Puget Sound. I've never settled into a place so well!

Gina said...

I love where I live because of how I came BACK! I met my now husband here in Blacksburg, VA while going to school at Virginia Tech (vt). After college, he joined the Air force and I followed him. 6 years later we married and 4 moves later he got stationed at VT! He has since separated from the AF and we decided to stay in Blacksburg, VA! We love the sense of community despite a town of 16k growing to 42k when school is in. We have a small dairy and goat meat farm and have many friends who are also farmeers (with masters degrees). I love being in the mountains, having 4 seasons, living at a location that I call the "fountain of youth" because the students are always 18-23 so you always feel 18-23. I feel that I have a breath of knowledge of knowing I love where I live after moving over 12 times since I left Virginia Tech the first and last time!

Gina said...

I love where I live because of how I came BACK! I met my now husband here in Blacksburg, VA while going to school at vt. After college, he joined the Air force and I followed him. 6 years later we married and 4 moves later he got stationed at Virginia Tech! He has since separated from the AF and we decided to stay in Blacksburg, VA! We love the sense of community despite a town of 16k growing to 42k when school is in. We have a small dairy and goat meat farm and have many friends who are also farmeers (with masters degrees). I love being in the mountains, having 4 seasons, living at a location that I call the fountain of youth because the students are always 18-23 so you always feel 18-23. I feel that I have a breath of knowledge of knowing I love where I live after moving over 12 times since I met my husband!

Kassandra Hair said...

Oklahoma. I believe that heaven smells like Oklahoma rain.

Kassandra Hair said...

Oklahoma. I believe that heaven smells like Oklahoma rain.

Unknown said...

I can walk out my door and be on beautiful trails in all directions in minutes. I'm surrounded by mountains, wide open sky and people who say hello and smile when they pass. Missoula, you are a town among towns. I love my home.

Emily said...

For years I dreamed of living here, in Vancouver (BC)- and now here I am. I love that the city wraps around the water and that the mountains are right there. Cheesy to say, but it is possible to be an outdoorsy urban city-dweller here.

I love that my street is populated with people from all over the world- and that my neighbour hosted a block party barbecue in her backyard so we could all meet. Turns out that our street is home to a cat rescue organization... and an elderly italian gentleman who happily shares seeds from his own heritage tomato seed bank.

I love feeling torn between eating out at one of the city's incredible variety of restaurants or grabbing some interesting ingredients from a specialty market to cook with at home. And the coffee here!

Vancouver has been ideal for this stage of my life: no car, no problem; the universities are excellent; the streets are safe and clean; my book club meets at the beach; it's fun having visiting friends and relatives stay at my house and getting to share the fun of walking to the beach and to streets of charming shops and interesting restaurants.

Tana said...

Lake Champlain. Hands down. I've thought about this prompt all week, tried to narrow it down to one thing. I had: how it's so easy to be a localvore and how much that inspires me, the proximity to mountains and woods and nothingness as well as fun shows, pubs, and nightlife, the community, just the fact that it is in Vermont and really, that's perfection in itself. There was a list that was added to every day (how lucky am I to say that). When it comes down to it though, it's the lake. I love this lake so much. I cry about its poor health and how we've caused that to happen. I sit on her shores in the summer with beers and friends and a bonfire. I kayak and explore for hours on end. I write about her. I love this lake so much it has become a part of me. So! Hands down, Lake Champlain.

Megan Marie said...

I love where I live because I've learned to appreciate it. I am living in the house where I grew up; I've watched families come and go from our my street, from my town...my grandmother lives a short drive away, I can walk or bike to work each day, and there is nothing I love more than a Midwestern Autumn. I live in Flint Michigan and contrary to what most may have heard about the city we are not riddled with crime - the downtown area is experiencing quite the turn around from a few years ago, I love our Farmer's market, cafes, bakeries, and Colleges. I'm learning to really appreciate where I live - I'm learning to be content where I am in this season of life, and feel that I am growing as a person because of it.

Marie said...

I love my hometown because we have a restored movie theater (built in the 1920's) that has THE BEST popcorn around. Plus on Friday and Saturday nights, they have an organist play music before the movie starts. I love that place. Oh, and movie tickets are $5.

Christine T. said...

I live in Chattanooga. I love the mountains and scenery. It's a good place to raise a family and there's just enough to do here to keep us entertained. When I've been away I'm always glad to come home.

Lisa said...

I live in a small town, a bit smaller than I would like, but it's been home for the past 10 years or so, and I don't plan on going anywhere. It is quiet. Safe (my son and I just took a walk around town to see some of the Christmas lights). A good place to raise kids. And for once in my life, I've lived in a place long enough that I know this town much more than I've ever known any other town (I moved a lot as a kid). This place is comfortable. It is home.

Shellie said...

I love where we live now. security, home and joy are come together with where I am, both in Winston Salem and in life.

Liz said...

I like my sprawling, multicultural city of Toronto, but what I really love is the Ontario countryside. Vermont may be beautiful, but I don't think it can compare to the Ontario autumn!

Alexandra said...

I've lived in the tiny town of Marshall, NC for only two years, but it is home. I love that I can choose from a multitude of windy country roads or hiking paths when I "need to get away." I love that I can count on a two-finger-steering-wheel wave from almost anyone I pass. I love that it's only 30 minutes to Asheville...and 30 minutes to get back home.

I love the mountains- how they are just the right size to hold me and keep me safe. The green growth of spring, summer streams, colors of autumn, or snow-capped winter. I love that after two months on the road, my favorite part is coming home. And when I am not there and see pictures of those magic mountains I actually, secretly, tear up a little.

Alison said...

Nearly three years ago I left the bustle and working life in New York City to go to grad school in Vienna, Austria. I am often asked by people I meet (usually locals) why anyone would leave a place like New York for Vienna, and while I love New York and all it's excitement and busyness, Vienna has taught me to slow down a bit and enjoy the gracefulness of the city. Meals with friends can easily last several hours in restaurants with nobody hurrying us to order more or leave, and there always seems to be a festival or occasion for entire neighborhoods to get together and share excellent food and drinks. Now that I have finished my studies, I'm figuring out where to go next, whether to stay here, go back to New York, or embark on another adventure elsewhere, but Vienna will always hold this special place for me.

Juniper Cooper said...

I left the last place that felt like a true home when I was 15. It was 95 cares of land in the middle of nowhere Missouri and held all the deepest loves and imaginings of my young life.
I never truly settled anywhere after that until 13 years later when I found Asheville. I wasnt trying to come here, just had visited some friends while doing 2 months of study at Penland. In fact, I was determined to live at the beach and when I left Penland, I headed out to do just that. But, nothing fit or felt right. Until, on the spur of a moment, I got in my car and headed back towards the mountains. I still remember when I started the drive up over the passes and saw my new world stretched out before me. It was a gift, like being given new skin, fresh and bright. Since then, there have been a fair share of ups and downs, goings and coming back again. No matter where I go, the moment I see these mountains, wether from my car or the window of a plane, I always have that feeing of redemption, of finally coming home.

Clarice said...

Hi Melina, I'm a reader from a town outside Rio in Brazil. I've been following your blog for years now but I don't think I've ever commented before, I guess because I'm kinda lazy? I don't know but I love reading your blog and appreciate your honest down to earth writing and I especially admire your adventurous spirit!
One of the many reasons I love where I live is because I can pick tons of fruit from several trees on my way home, and the feeling is amazing to me, I can't really explain it rationally, it just is. It makes me feel like a bird or like a monkey, or actually like a child, closing my eyes as I enjoy each flavor, some tart and some sweet, some more mellow and some exploding with juicy sunshine. It makes me feel blessed beyond measure, so grateful to the universe for offering such a simple but delightful treasure, at my fingertips, free of charge. There's also the fact that there are five breathtaking beaches each only five minutes away, but its the fruit trees' generous gifts that somehow top my list. I wish I could describe it better than that, but I can't. Well, at least I tried.

Laura Farrell said...

I live in West Asheville, NC... and I love... Pisgah National Forest, the Green River, bars with taps you pour yourself, kombucha flavored ice cream, the El Kimchi food truck and of course, great roommates! (for full disclosure, the author and her red headed boyfriend are my roommates, but I'm not just sucking up in the hopes of it helping me win this very awesome prize, they really are great!)

Therese Kaesebier said...

I love where I live for many reasons! I grew up here but it's a big enough place that I can get some distance from those I grew up with. It's small enough and big enough at the same time. Mostly, it's because of my family and friends that live here too!

annika said...

this is a finer textured entry. I also love the great Pacific Northwest, but I love where I live because it is a little piece of the city that we are going to make beautiful. It isn't all that pretty yet, and we have some weird neighbors and a noisy alley, but we keep meeting new nice neighbors, the alley has a gorgeous mural in it, we just planted 12 new trees and 9 blueberry bushes, and there's a place for a hammock next summer. Moreover, the homely little kitchen will always be a magical place because our daughter was born here, and the endless list of projects leading to a shared vision of our little homegrown oasis feels kind of like an engagement ring. The two of us are eyeballs deep and loving it.