a girl and her boy

. daily life : wool obsession : bibliomania : living on purpose .

Discovering Home

What a week and weekend! So much to share that this is going to be a long one. Stay with me, it’s worth it.

The Seaport is a fun area to live in. There were free concerts from some of the biggest names in the music industry all summer so long as we opened the living room window. We are mere paces from some of the finest dining establishments in town and the T gets us everywhere else we would want to go. It took a long time to get used to having a 24-7 concierge, the computer lab, and an in-house gym, though. It’s been great fun, but it didn’t truly feel like home until this past week.

I’ve been complaining to Gabe about how much I miss Gulu Gulu Cafe and Jaho in Salem, especially Gulu. Sit down with a book on the big orange couch and coffee comes to you in an endless stream. I spent hours there with novels or my laptop. It’s one of the first places I went when I was considering moving to the area when I was in Maine, the first place I went when I took up residence, and now the place I miss. It helped make Salem feel like home. And I miss that.

I started my search for a place to fill this need on foot Friday afternoon. I had seen Sleeper Street Cafe a few times in the late evening on walks and thought that could work for me. On closer inspection I saw that they have a great deli counter and would be a place to meet someone for lunch, but, alas, they did not have the hours, seating, or reduced price/free refills I was looking for (for anyone who plans on sitting and writing for a few hours, reduced price or free refills is a must). Moving on. Flour Bakery + Cafe has the funky hipster and liberal arts vibe I love. And so does every other hipster this side of town. It is always packed and loud. Great for their business and I visit them when I want a quick cup of coffee on the go or a mug of soup. Another great place to meet people for lunch but, again, not what I’m looking for.

Despite the long line and bustling seating area, I sat with a coffee on Friday at Flour and just watched people, listened in on conversations, and jotted some notes down for story ideas in my journal. I didn’t stay long, maybe half an hour. After clearing my table and grabbing my “adventure bag,” I noticed a sign I hadn’t seen before:  Made in Fort Point. Paintings hung from the ceiling. Felted bowls sat on shelves. Original print t-shirts hung on industrial clothes racks. Poetry and comics displayed on tables. I couldn’t have been more drawn in to the store if I had been a metal filing to a magnet.

I still don’t have any concept of how much time I spent in there, but I was enchanted. I had been to Flour a handful of times and never saw this place before. A curtain had been removed and access granted at the very moment I needed it most. I learned, while at the counter purchasing a pair of clay lady bug earrings, that all of the pieces in the store were made by people in Fort Point. Where’s Fort Point? I asked. I was standing in it. I had no idea that I was standing in the middle of an artist Mecca. Bonnie, the woman working at the counter that day, gave me a ton of information on upcoming events and the history of the area. It was in that very moment I felt grounded, tap root down deep and enmeshed in the soil of this place. Bonnie revealed to me the secret I had been in search of, too:  the location of the perfect cafe.

As I walked from the FPAC store towards their affiliated cafe, it was as though I had learned the secret paths through the swamp to Avalon. I took a right on A Street, went up rusted metal stairs, and discovered a street high above the others. I walked into the heart, pulsing with life, of the very thing I had needed.

This was the start of the discovery. Part Two will come tomorrow.


10 responses to “Discovering Home

  1. Jodie mcmenamin September 20, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Hi, I work with FPAC voluntarily and really enjoyed your post about the made in fort point store! Thanks! If you get a chance checkout the fort point artist community blog to learn more about cool things in FP. http://Www.fortpointarts.blogspot.com
    ALSO open studios is October 15-17. Come by my studio: 15 channel center street studio 402.

    • Black Sheep September 21, 2010 at 12:07 am

      Thank you, Jodie. I cannot wait to learn more about FPAC and attend some of the events coming up. I also look forward to the open studios and seeing more of Linda Huey’s work, as well as taking a closer look at the other pieces. Coming from Maine and from a very artistic community and background, I found what I had lost when I moved from Maine and divorced.

  2. Michelle Glauser September 21, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Hi! I loved hearing about how you found your place. I am searching and searching at the moment. I want to live in a small city (less than 100,000 would be great) with a university that offers PhDs and mountains. There must be mountains. And the community has to be eco and bike-friendly.

    So after I read your post, I looked up Salem. It looks nice, but I didn’t really see mountains and Salem State University has no PhD programs in my area. 😦 Boo.

    But then I thought, “I bet she knows eastern towns like that and could suggest some better than I can find them online.” So what do you say? Any ideas?

    • Black Sheep September 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm

      I’m honored by your question, Michelle! I’m also excited by the thought of having you in the US and on the east coast. I’ll give your question some research, but my first response is as follows:

      I think you’d love the Boston area as much as I do. When I first moved to Salem last summer, I was too scared of getting lost in the “big bad city” to do much exploring. Traveling with Gabe, riding the commuter rail in to Boston for date nights, and then getting a position in Boston while in Salem gave me the confidence to explore a wider range of communities and villages alone. With limited travel, I was locked in to Salem. Now that I have mastered the T, I have so many areas to suggest to you: Brookline, Cambridge, and Jamaica Plain, to name a few. Here you’d have access to Harvard, Boston University, Boston College, Lesley University, MIT, Northeastern, to name a few. I’m currently preparing to apply for a second Masters to lead to a PhD at some of these schools.

      When I first moved to Boston, I was intimidated despite the dream of moving here since high school. I’d never known a city bigger than Augusta or Portland. Now, after a year, I’m realizing Boston is big, but friendly, accessible, and ever changing to keep the adventurer’s spirit alive.

      Soon I’ll be writing about my explorations of the Red Line: Central Square, Porter Square, Kendall Square, and Harvard. There’s also many wonderful places along the Green Line.

      There is a strong movement for homesteading and sustainability here. Lots of farmers’ markets. Crop Share Associations. And I’m going to bring my bike to a shop to ready it for commuting by bike. Topics I will be addressing in coming posts. (I have a bunch of stickies on my desk of things I want to write about. I’ve been jotting notes in my journal many times a day of things I want to remember to weave into a post eventually.)

      There’s also some lovely places in Rhode Island, Providence in particular. It’s right at the end of a commuter rail that takes you to South Station here in Boston for the commitment of an hour long ride, about the same as the commuter rail ride from Salem to Boston. And Providence is the home of Brown.

      Those are my initial thoughts. I’ll talk with Gabe and take a look at the map and see what else I can offer.

  3. Michelle Glauser September 21, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks for the well-thought-out answer! It’s true that I have loved Boston for years and that I always wanted to live there, but it just seems so big at this point in time. I want some peaceful time in a quiet town where I can go hiking every day and where I can bike to work. You know what I mean? But it’s true that there are so many advantages to Boston, especially the education. I just wish I could find a mini version of it. 🙂

    I haven’t ever thought of Providence. I’ll have to look it up. I was looking at Boone, North Carolina (yeah, what a name!) the other day and I was greatly disappointed that they have no PhD program. Apparently there’s a state funding crisis there and so they can’t afford it. Check it out! It looks like the sweetest little town, and the university there should actually be pretty good.

    Anyway, I’d love to hear if you come up with anywhere else I should check out! Thanks so much!

  4. Pingback: Discovering Home, Pt. II. « a black sheep in boston

  5. Pingback: 2010 in review « a black sheep in boston

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: