Archive for July, 2010

It’s been a few days since I got back from my two-week trip out to visit mom in San Francisco. I’d forgotten how different the two coasts are, even though they’re part of the same country. The last time I was on the West Coast, I visited my friend Heather in Seattle. Before that, I was around 7 years old, and we lived in the Los Angeles ‘burbs. You could say California is a country unto itself — it seems like a completely different world. However, in the East v. West Coast battle, I’d say the West Coast is edging ahead.

First and foremost, let’s talk weather. Nobody can beat a New England autumn, but those last about three weeks. (You have 49 other weeks left to contend with.) Then you’re plunged into months of freezing cold temperatures, snow, and ice. You don’t get that on the West Coast, at least not in the places I’d consider living (Northern California or Oregon). Spring is all right, but then comes summer. Summers around here are typically hot and muggy with frequent storms. Though the West Coast may not get the variety of seasons we do here out East, they get generally mild temperatures year-round with very little (if any) snow. If I had to choose between hot summers and freezing winters or year-round autumn weather, I’d choose the latter. I could always take a trip to the mountains if I need cold or to Southern California or Arizona if I miss the heat. At least there, it’s a dry heat.

Now, let’s talk landscape. New England has great coastal landscapes. I’ll admit it. You won’t find a prettier lighthouse nestled in the rocks than you will along the New England coast. Then you have the quaint seaside towns. I mean, just look at this:

And it’s not so bad inland, either. Drive toward western Massachusetts and you get rolling hills and greenery everywhere. (Not to mention killer allergies.) But the Pacific Coast has dramatic cliffs on the sea, rolling fog (which I find cool), and all sorts of marine life hanging around. Tell me you don’t wish you were here:

On top of that, you get the scent of Eucalyptus trees in the air. There’s nothing like it. Then you go inland and get rolling hills covered in what looks like wheat, with the random cluster of trees dotting the landscape. If you want woods, a redwood forest is never too far away.

Then there’s food. When it comes to food, things aren’t so bad on the East Coast (that is, until you visit the West Coast). For people like my husband and me, food options are vital. We need restaurants and stores that offer local, sustainable, organic food, especially produce. Massachusetts has that, but we have to drive far or go to multiple farmer’s markets in different locations to get what we want. Not to mention the restaurants in general are a little slow on the uptake. We can only eat at Armsby Abbey so many times. The San Francisco area (and, from what I’ve heard, most of the Pacific Northwest) has many more options. This is partially due to the more temperate climate, which allows them to grow more stuff year-round. It’s also because I think that area’s more progressive about that stuff. Most of the true family-owned sustainable farms are out there. You can find some over here in the East, but the whole organic, sustainable thing is a little more complicated. I’ll save that for another post.

Last, but most definitely not least, the people. Being out in California made the fact that East Coasters (at least those in the north) are total assholes even more apparent. I already knew we are high-strung and stressed, but I didn’t realize to what extent until I was surrounded by the laid-back people of the West Coast. For example, here I could be the first one waiting for the bus, but people who show up after me will shove me aside so they can get on the bus first. At the bus stop in San Francisco, the people who came to the stop after us actually stepped aside so we could board the bus first. You will NEVER see that behavior on the East Coast. It almost would make me feel guilty to land on the West Coast with my East Coast attitude.

One could argue that I’d miss the breweries out here, should I move west. But alas, cities like Portland, Oregon have their own beer culture! Maybe I could find a Shipyard equivalent out there.

I haven’t made any final decisions yet. I’ve lived on the East Coast for years and have only been to the West Coast for three weeks total during the 21st Century. But you can see how the West Coast can have a quick and substantial impact.

My husband and I are traveling out to Portland, Oregon in September, so I’ll get another week under my belt in yet another Pacific Coast area. I’ll keep you posted on the leanings of the jury.

Until then, I’ll be sitting here in the A/C, protecting myself from the mugginess.

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Blog Update

Sorry to overload you with useless posts, but I need to announce a change to my sister blog, formerly known as Comfort is the Key to Creativity. I decided that most people don’t really care what I’m reading or what I think of what I’m reading, so why bother posting about that junk? If I happen to read an abnormally inspiring or profound book, I’ll let you know about it here.

That said, Comfort is Key is now f-stop and smell the roses, a blog dedicated to my photography. Because let’s be honest. That blog has way more photos than book reviews, and it’s a lot easier to talk about the photos if the blog is dedicated to them. For the few of you who actually link to that other blog, you may just need to update the URL to http://fstopandsmelltheroses.blogspot.com/. For the rest of you, just keep ignoring me.

Thanks and have a lovely evening (a very hot and sticky one, for those of you who are local).

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