I learned a long time ago that the best travel experiences come from exploring your new surroundings on foot.
The plain truth is, if I just drive or get shuttled around, I don’t completely feel that I truly “get” a place. Walking forces me to be in the moment better and notice many things I might otherwise overlook. More curiosity and discovery at play, less focus on the destination.
Most of my best memories of places have happened while wandering.
Unsurprisingly, this is also true of moving to a new urban area. Having recently moved to Somerville, just outside Boston, right before the start of summer, a lot of our time settling in has been spent wandering around. This has been one of my favorite parts of this summer.
Can we talk about the parks? Oh man, I had no idea when I moved here that both sides of the Charles were lined with parks and walk/bike/run paths. Give me a lot of space to walk by water with my dog, take in boats, buildings and bridges = perfect (free) outing.
Last week we visited North Point Park, which juts out into this odd space between the river and the highway and the harbor. Keep following paths and cross a couple little walking bridges and you find yourself right under the Zakim Bridge. We were there just after the sun went down. Amazing.
Yes, there is the pretty factor – getting to see things like this – but exploring by foot is also just tremendous fun.
One of the perks of being new to a place is the unplanned adventurous feeling of it all. Literally every place we go, no matter the the activity we are going “for” is located in a geographical area that (at this point) I’m not overly familiar with. That’s a challenge and a joy that’s pretty much standard in my life right now.
Example, Last weekend we went to a museum and saw amazing art. Then we went out the back door and walked directly into Back Bay Fens, found a rose garden in full bloom and also ended up crossing over to the area around Fenway Park. The museum was fantastic, but the unplanned part of that day ended up being the most memorable.
It’s also not just about big city sights and parks, I am really loving just simple walking in Somerville. Our neighborhood is on the quiet side, but has many hills, trees, and lovely old, colorful houses. I can walk to my library. It is delightful to walk the dog around and we are not terribly far from some other neighborhoods that are also wonderful to wander around and have a lot going on.
I’m excited to still have many areas of Boston still yet to explore (the North End, Charlestown, the Seaport area, Boston Common, Jamaica Plain), most of Cambridge (we’ve really only spent time near the River, Harvard Square and MIT) and that doesn’t even count the nearby beautiful places to go hiking (Walden Pond!).
Fall is my most favorite time to be out walking. So this exploration might have started as a summer activity, but it’s not stopping anytime soon.
To see more photos from our local wandering, check out my snapshots page or follow me on instagram (listofnow there too).