Wednesday, August 15, 2007

North Shore, South Shore, Never the Twain Shall Meet

It’s amazing how common it is for people to travel the world but never set foot in places that are right in their backyard. That dynamic is certainly at play in the Boston area. I know many people who grew up on the North Shore who rarely visit the South Shore and vice versa. (Yes, I’m overlooking MetroWest. Maybe you guys can straddle the two worlds. I’m not sure.) It’s like the Seinfeld episode where Kramer ventures into uncharted territory in downtown Manhattan from uptown since he’s having a “long-distance” relationship.

I grew up on the North Shore, and there might as well be places on the South Shore that might as well be in Mongolia based on the numbers of times I’ve visited. I’ve been to Reykjavik, but never Randolph. Tokyo? Yes. Plymouth? No. Kangaroo Island? Yes. Martha’s Vineyard? No. Hull? Might as well be h-e-double hockey sticks. (I went to Cape Cod once when I was a kid, but that was one of those nightmare family trips. Haven’t been back since.)

Furnace Book Parkway. Fore River Bridge. The Braintree Split. These are just some far-off places I always hear about on the morning traffic reports. Well, last week I made a trip down to Nut Island and World’s End (which is where it might as well have been for a North Shore boy) for the Boston Harbor Islands book. I drove through Quincy, Weymouth, and Hingham. Crossed over Furnace Book Parkway and Fore River Bridge for the first time. Now I can put some places to the names!

The culture shock wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared. I may take a trip back there in a few years. After all, the Pilgrims made it to Plymouth from England. Guess the trip down Route 3 wouldn’t be that bad.

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