Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Other Coast

DH and I have been in Arcata visiting with Chris, Becky and the twins for nearly a week now. Every time I'm here I'm struck by how different it is from New Jersey. For one, we don't use a car. The market and the Plaza are within walking distance of the house. There are sidewalks everywhere so it feels safe to walk. We've been fortunate this visit with the weather. it's been sunny and warm every day.
This photo was taken yesterday. The Plaza is in the center of town and is a gathering spot for residents and the many transients who come to Arcata in the summer time. On Saturdays the Plaza becomes the farmers' market. DH and I wandered through this morning and the produce was amazing. Everything is locally grown and looks so fresh and delicious.
There is tremendous emphasis on lowering one's carbon footprint. While here DH and I recycle and compost more than we do at home. We reuse plastic bags when we go to the market and we carry everything home in a backpack. In fact, here the market charges if you don't bring your own grocery bags.
I guess what strikes me each time I am here is how accepting people are of differences. Arcata is a university town and there are plenty of well educated, upscale folks, lots of students and many people who appear homeless and panhandle on the streets. They all coexist comfortably, something I don't think would occur on the east coast, at least not in my town.
That said, while I enjoy it while I'm here, I'm always happy to get back to the hustle and bustle of New Jersey. As Dorothy so aptly said, "There's no place like home."

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