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Greetings from My Hypothetical Life

I'm actually in Panama City as this post hits my blog, but I just finished a wonderful four week stay in New York City, the greatest city on earth. I popped back up to the United States from Latin America briefly for some breakfast burritos, LaCroix, and theater. What began with the purchase (seven months ago) of a ticket to see  Hamilton  on my birthday morphed into a four week extravaganza of all the culture New York City has to offer. It had been ten years - yes, an entire decade - since I was last in the Big Apple, so I was long overdue for a visit.  And how fantastic that I'm in a position to spend a little time living here and can do more than just swing through on vacation. I got a great little AirBnB on the upper east side of Manhattan and jumped right into the action. I've gone to The Whitney , Arcadia Earth , ARTECHOUSE , Brooklyn Botanic Garden , St. Patrick's Catacombs , Polonsky Exhibition in the New York Public Library , and I've seen lots of cool fre

Signing Off, For Now

Well, I called this blog Virtually in America and not Virtually in the Americas, but as this posts I will have already been living out of the country for three weeks. Since I'm spending this winter in South America, I'm giving this blog a little rest. I have faithfully posted a blog every Sunday for the past 60 weeks and I have a nice little record of this crazy, semi-permanent road trip I've been on.  But now it's so long, blog. And so long, USA. And so long, Nitro. That's right. After slightly more than 11 years, I have relinquished my beloved clunker SUV. It was pretty tough to give up. I love this car. We have a million memories together. But it's too old to leave in storage for seven months until I need it again. It wouldn't survive in solitary confinement, so it's living on in the hands of another driver. While the Nitro may be gone forever, the end of the blog posts is only temporary. I'll be back in the United States in the spring to resume m

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Cumberland

 

Savannah Strayed

What do you think of when someone mentions Georgia? If you're like me, what comes to mind is Atlanta, peaches, pecans, swamps, alligators, humidity, Southern debutantes with large dresses and larger hair, and America's biggest shame. What never comes to mind is utopia. So when I visited  Wormsloe Estate  and learned that a utopia is precisely what the founders of Savannah had in mind, I was surprised and fascinated.  The city was planned by James Oglethorpe when he was still in England. It was designed around 24 public squares (a style very much in vogue in England at the time) and to be governed by a board of trustees. All settlers who came to Savannah with Oglethorpe were given 50 acres of land that they were required to work themselves. Lawyers, liquor, Catholics, and the owning of slaves were outlawed . The settlers had a good relationship with the indigenous Yamacraw people. But the liquor ban didn't extend to a ban on beer and alcohol, and the English city folk didn&#

Savannah Will Try to Kill You

Perhaps the reason there are so many ghosts in Savannah is because of the Revolutionary War and Civil War Battles fought on this soil. Or because Savannah is built on top of Muscogee and Yamacraw burial grounds . Or maybe it's just because everything here is trying to kill you.  I'm bad about being aware of my changing environment. I know what to watch out for in Colorado, but as I've moved around the country, I've been pretty ignorant of even the basics, like poison ivy and ticks, and about what animals will kill me. I know there are gators in the swamps down here, but I hadn't considered other deadly animals like cottonmouth snakes and feral hogs . Most recently, there's the  Joro spider  invasion that's made national news. Ok, these won't kill you, but, man, do they look terrifying. You'll also need to watch your step. The brick walkways in the historic downtown are in need of repair in many places, making it easy to trip and crack your head ope

Trees and Traffic

Savannah is known for its trees - enormous live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, which is neither Spanish nor a moss . When I told people I met in Winston-Salem that I was coming to Savannah next, the trees were the first thing they would mention. The historic city is built around twenty-two public squares , almost all of which boast this distinctive flora. Sitting in one of these squares feels like stepping into a Henry James novel. You can have the same experience along the much-photographed oak avenue at Wormsloe estate and with the eeriness that the willowy, old trees lend to the famed Bonaventure Cemetery . So yes, it's cliché to post about them and write about how happy they make me, but how can anyone not love them? What is less known about Savannah, or maybe only I was ignorant of, is the traffic. At only 40,000 more inhabitants than Boulder, Savannah delivers endless logjams at all hours of the day. This was especially shocking to me given how much larger the square milea

The Other Twin Cities

I haven't been to Minneapolis-St. Paul since I was in fifth grade, so this post isn't going to compare those cities to Winston-Salem . Besides, those are technically still two cities while here in North Carolina, this is just one city, and is thus appropriately nicknamed the singular Twin City . No, this post is simply a wrap-up of my impressions of this place and an answer to the perennial question, would I consider living here?  What I enjoyed: The literary festival I posted about previously Good gym options, including a studio that does Lagree (Megaformer) classes , which is hard to find Super easy to get around and very little traffic So. Many. Restaurants. All the food! Beautiful running paths in the city Several state parks less than an hour drive away, and state parks are free Several excellent museums , historic areas, and a vibrant arts district  that doesn't have the homeless problems that artsy areas in cities in the west have Plenty of festivals and outdoors s