Thursday, September 10, 2015

My little Neck of the Woods

Every year Outside magazine publishes an Article with a title like, where to live now, or Best towns, or Best outdoor towns. I find these articles really interesting. If truth be know, I would really love to live in a place like Port Angelas, Washington. Or Portland, or someplace that is both outdoorsy, and cool. I'll tell you a quick story from when I worked in Photography.

I travelled a lot, which was good because I was newly divorced and didn't have much going on outside of work. I went to Seattle a bunch of times for work, essentially shooting the city and the Olympic Peninsula. I was a photo assistant at this point in my life, and myself and the photographer got up early to shoot sunrise, and I got out of the car to get us both coffee. I was wearing a red Patagonia Retro X fleece - which is talked about in this post - it was for a while THE fleece to wear if you were outdoorsy, and as I was waiting for my coffee, the woman behind the counter said "Nice Fleece". She actually had to say it twice before I heard her. There are two reasons for this, the first, I was a little jet lagged from the flight in. But more importantly, I didn't hear here because I am from New York. New York City actually, and in NYC, people don't talk to you. People don't make polite conversation. I heard her the second time, and after getting over my shock that someone was talking to me, I said thank you, and then looked around. What I saw amazed me. I was in a city of people like me. People who loved the outdoors. In NYC, I never really fit in. I have loved Seattle since.

So I have longed to get back to a city like that, where I feel I fit in, and the city is cool. I want to live in a city that makes a list like Outside Magazines Best places to live. Every year that list comes out, and not only doesn't my city make the list, it isn't even in the running!

So I thought I would point out a few features of my city that I think make it "list worthy". Maybe your city is list worthy too! Maybe Outside magazine doesn't know what they are talking about.

My favorite part of where I am living now is the weather. Yes it gets pretty hot in June and July, but winter is like 6 months of Northeast Fall. Which is the best of all worlds if you are into the outdoors. I paddle all year long (a couple of times the local lakes have frozen over). It never gets really cold. We get the occasional dusting of snow.

But being into outdoor activities there are too many options for things to do. I have access to over 30 miles of greenways within the city limits. For those of you not aware, a greenway is a paved path for walking/running/cycling that generally follows, lakes, streams, or roads, but sometimes takes the place of abandoned railroad lines. Sometimes, they have cool bridges that cross lakes.

I also have the ability to ride almost 40 miles of single track mountain biking trails in the city limits. Some really wonderful mountain biking. Not into mountain biking? Prefer the road? We have a huge cycling community, supporting 9 full service bike shops (one of which has beer on tap!) It is easy to find a group ride on weekends.

We have 42 miles of hiking trails. All within the city limits. Most of the trails are along our watershed lakes which offer kayak and SUP rentals. All of my sites kayaking instruction videos were shot on my local lakes. If you are lucky, you will see one of the bald eagles that reside on the lake I paddle at most frequently.

We also offer easy access to more remote hiking, an hour and half away is the largest canyon east of the Mississippi. The Appalachian trail goes through the western half of the state - close to Asheville, which DOES occasionally make the Outside Magazine list, bastards - and there are numerous National and state parks out that way. Head the other direction and you have hundreds of miles of protected seashore. with camping, kayaking and fishing access.

What's that? You like a good meal after your ride/hike/paddle? How about a burger? TripAdvisor just decided we have the best Burger Joint in America.... and it isn't my favorite burger joint in town! We have a great Brick oven pizza place that is all organic and local. There are any number of great places for a cold beer, or hell, just head to a brewery! Want something a little more upscale? we have that too.

Need someplace to stay? How about the nations fist "Leed Platinum" Hotel? It is super swanky too.

Outside, I really think you need to check us out. Or on second thought, stay away, it'll keep the riff raft out.

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