During my days of sidewalk adventure this summer, while on vacation in New England, I reveled over city life. I wandered in and out of shops, took long walks, and explored the Cambridge neighborhoods familiar to me decades ago as a college student. The city I knew is recognizably the same but, like me, a subtle difference is evident brought on by growth, experience and the inevitability of change in circumstance.
Alternatively teary eyed and full of chuckles I thought about my younger self, the girl quickly alternating between excitement and angst depending on what class syllabus she was reading or which romantic involvement she was analyzing, while I walked and walked.
I remembered the pungent smell of The Cambridge Coffee, Tea and Spice House wafting to welcome me each shift of my part-time job, sloppy kisses and groping hands over a spinach pie and Guinness at Grendel’s Den, the sweet smell of lobster steaming and cold sting of saltwater in Rockport harbor on a fall or spring weekend. I remembered midnight munchies only satisfied by hoagies or grinders, greedy bites of cream filled pastry on the street in Boston’s North End and self-conscious singing with my friends while waiting in line for small batch churned ice cream with mix-ins at Steve’s.
Like any visit to a place we’ve been before, nostalgic wanderings and reminisces brought on by a familiar sight are punctuated by the experience of something new. With a resident tour guide willing to share his favorite eating places during this visit, I tasted the cornucopia of New England as if for the very first time.