Tuesday Thankfulness

It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and here at Preservation in Pink, each day of the week will be dedicated to a different subject of preservation thankfulness.

Monday Thankfulness.

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Today I am thankful for beautiful places and beautiful views that make us proud to live where we do and make us believe in all places.  Some of the places I love:

Route 17 in Addison, VT.

Scott's Bluff, NE.

Overhills, North Carolina.

Route 66, drive-ins, roadside America.

The Big Duck.

Concrete streets in Point Lookout, NY.

Carl's Ice Cream, Fredericksburg, VA.

Thousand Island Park, NY. Good flamingo memories.

Truss bridge in Bethel, VT. I love truss bridges.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Roads, landscapes, historic sites, buildings, roadside architecture, bridges – I love it all. I love the built environment.

Vermont in Pictures

As I’ve proclaimed, I love Vermont.  For Part 2 of my love letter to the state, to show rather than tell, here is a collection of some of my favorite Vermont photographs that I’ve snapped throughout this past year. Enjoy this entirely subjective selection, much of which is landscaped focused.

Our drive up I-89, August 2009.

Lake Champlain, August 2009.

The Lake Champlain Bikepath, September 2009.

Charlotte, VT, October 2009.

Charlotte, VT, October 2009.

Windham County, October 2009.

Windham County, October 2009.

Overlooking Burlington and the Adirondacks at sunset in December 2009.

Overlooking Burlington and the Adirondacks at sunset in December 2009.

Snowfall at UVM in February 2010.

Lake Champlain sunset as seen from Burlington's Battery Park, March 2010.

The long awaited spring sky, April 2010.

Snow at the end of April 2010.

Playing by the river, May 2010.

The Lake Champlain Bikepath, June 2010.

Billings Farm in Woodstock, VT, June 2010.

On my drive to work in Addison County, June 2010.

Summer sky, July 2010.

Calais, VT, July 2010.

Calais, VT, July 2010.

Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks as seen from Chimney Point VT, July 2010.

Cottonwood on Lake Champlain, West Addison, VT, July 2010.

Preservation Photos #38

Driving through the Lake Champlain Valley on Route 17 West in Vermont; the scenery is gorgeous. The landscape, the vistas, the small towns, the big sky, the Adirondack Mountains… it makes me love my long to drive to work! Our roadside views are just as important as our building views – what’s your favorite? Send a picture.

Change is Inevitable. Ugliness is Not.

Scenic America is the only national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated solely to preserving and enhancing the visual character of America’s communities and countryside (quoted from the “About Us” on Scenic America).

Have you noticed that some highways and interstates are more littered with billboards than others? Or that the older highways meandering through the country are being rerouted or dotted with new billboards and developments that seem to disrespect the scenic view? What about the new cell phone towers or windmills – what are they doing to our natural environment and views, or what is left of them?

scenicamerica

Issues (click above) such as these are what Scenic America cares about and works to solve and educate the public through advocacy, publications, workshops, and an online resource center. Read Scenic America’s mission statement and its principles and you will understand that they fit in with the rest of us preservationists and environmentalists and planners. Succinctly, (adapted from the Principles page) Scenic America hopes to protect the distinctive character of existing communities, foster respectful new development, encourage regulatory approaches for scenic protection, improve transportation systems aesthetically and environmentally, prevent mass marketing such as billboards, educate the younger population, and engage other entities to promote a more scenic America.

I had never heard of Scenic America until I was perusing the links on PreserveNet, and I’m surprised to learn that pieces of this organization have been around for over a decade (under a different name in the beginning). And it addresses some of the exact issues that many of us discuss time and time again. Scenic America identifies the tangible and intangible aspects of why some people prefer the old meandering highways than interstates and why some places are more eye appealing than others.

And as for “Change is inevitable. Ugliness is not.” – it is the catch-phrase of the organization. The brutal honesty is just what we need. Scenic America is not tiptoeing around its goals. Keep your eyes open for Scenic America in the news. I look forward to hearing of their success. Read long range plans here.

Conflicting Landscapes

Home is home, it’s irreplaceable and at least for me, it gives me that familiar feeling of knowing everything around me. Moving someplace new and trying to call that place home has been hard for me. I still don’t call my current town “home” even though I’ve lived here for over two years. Part of this may be because I’m moving again next year. So, I reluctantly call Long Island “home” because that is where my family lives, where I went to high school, where I know all of the streets and my old running routes.

There is a big difference between home on Long Island and my temporary home in North Carolina. I love driving home to Long Island because it means a road trip (read: 600 miles, 11 hours) and I have my favorite landmarks along the way, including the Verrazano Bridge from Staten Island to Long Island. But as we approach closer and closer to home, including the last five minutes, I can only think about how ugly the scenery is: strip malls, new construction, and unattractive existing buildings. (This isn’t the case for all of Long Island; I just grew up in an unattractive town.) I love to be home, but only because it’s home. I wouldn’t choose to go there otherwise. Yet, driving home to North Carolina, everything just gets prettier as we travel further south. Driving into town with all of the pine trees and the winding roads, it’s impossible to think anything other than how beautiful it is around here: cute houses, long leaf pine trees, that Carolina blue sky, and sunshine.

Occasionally I catch glimpses here in North Carolina that will remind me of the good parts of Long Island, like driving up a hill on my way home from work where the elevation over the trees looks like a certain familiar road on Long Island. And when I’m home on Long Island, I’d much rather be here in North Carolina when I have to run errands or formulate a long running route because it’s just easier here. As different as these two places are, they do seem to reflect each other from time to time. That aspect is comforting sometimes, revealing that no matter where you live, it can become home eventually and the unfamiliar will become familiar to you.

My reactions continue to surprise me on every trip. I don’t want to leave my family and my old friends to return 600 miles away, but I don’t want to stay on Long Island. If only my family would move with me, then I wouldn’t have this problem. I think that choosing a place to live is sometimes a compromise. North Carolina is not perfect for me, but the less populated areas and the beautiful landscapes sort of make up for those 600 miles. I hope that someday I can find a beautiful place that I want to call home.

Does anyone have conflicting feelings of home?