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September 01, 2003

Where in the US is PeterMe?

One of my primary motivations for my last trip was to visit a part of the country that I had never seen. With northern New England visited, my travel experience in the US looks as follows.

Where's PeterMe?
I've never been to Alaska or Hawaii, either. And I've now been to British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec.

I hadn't quite realized the pattern of travel until I saw this -- I pretty much haven't been to the "edges" of the country. I'm not particularly motivated to visit Montana, North Dakota or Delaware, but I've long wanted to lollygag around the Deep South, a part of America that looms so large in our country's history, but about which I only know that I've seen through various mediated forms, or from folks who moved away. (And it wasn't until I was writing this that I realized I hadn't been to West Virginia, either. Somehow, been all around it. Anyway, should I go to W. VA?)

What have I taken away from my US travels? One thing I've found is that, with the exception of Indiana, every state I've visited has had something to offer. Something worthwhile to experience, to understand.

The places I like most? The places where I can most easily be me. When traveling, this state is made clear by where I can engage in peterme rituals--afternoon coffee, bookstore browsing, enjoying local beers, eating great food, wandering neighborhoods, seeing good movies. Cities that have resonated: Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Austin, TX, New Orleans, LA, Madison, WI, Minneapolis, MN, Chapel Hill, NC, Cambridge, MA, Burlington, VT.

The more I've thought about it, the more I'm impressed with Burlington. Vermont's largest city, it's still only 40,000, and it's in the corner of a state with only 600,000 people. Yet it provides a richer urban experience than many cities in this country, and allows you to have it without being overwhelmed. That it can support all those restaurants, stores, and a first-run four-plex arthouse cinema causes me to scratch my head at the economics of it all. If there were other cities nearby that fed into it, it would make more sense.

See you on the highway, or in the coffeehouse.

Posted by peterme at September 1, 2003 08:00 PM

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Montana is gorgeous! I can't believe it isn't on your list. Of course I don't know about access to arthouse theatres. The big entertainment at the bars at Flathead lake were cockroach races and women mud wrestling. The mud wrestling was actually quite entertaining. These women were well coached, good wrestlers. Bars aside, Glacer National Park is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

On a separate note, how did you get that US Map? I'd like something similar (Europe or map of Calif).

Posted by: elise bauer at September 2, 2003 11:54 AM

I don't see Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on your Cities that Resonated list...

Posted by: elainek at September 2, 2003 02:45 PM

As the birthplace of your Paternal Grandmother, I would think that Indiana had a little something to offer; possibly some bit of heritage that you might not yet recognize.

Posted by: BJMe at September 3, 2003 08:52 AM

Here's my report of the states I've been to, using a nifty tool called "*mapper".

As a teenager I was proud of the fact that I had already seen 35 out of 50 states.

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