I won’t be too prescriptive here. Could be as big as a city or as small as a chair. Maybe it’s also tied to a point in time; doesn’t have to be a place you can go back to.
I don’t know if it counts but there is a point along the drive back to Aberystwyth (where I went to Uni) that, when I go back for the Old Boys game or even just to see a friend that still lives there), I get a tingle of anticipation for the fun times to come, for friendships renewed and also all the pleasant memories of previous visits. I love when I get to that spot - it makes the drive worth it!
I think it’s just my hometown. I grew up here, went to school, to uni, met my partner, met most of my close friends, lived here almost all my life… can’t leave (except for traveling) and don’t want to. I don’t even know all the nooks and crannies of the city but I love it here. If I had to be more specific, it’s this house that we spent so much time, tears and money renovating. Maybe also my spot on our dining room table. The one with the view that my partner doesn’t want to share because he gets confused whose turn it is with the view… or maybe just the spot on the balcony where I spent hours as a child staring at the night city. It’s magical. I still stand there these days–the room to which the spot belongs is my partner’s office now.
But there are other spots that make me cry just thinking of them. Powell’s as representative of Portland where one of my very best friends has made her home. Thinking of this and others leads me to conclude my favorite spot is whereever my people are. And most of them are in or around my hometown. Q.E.D.
So many for me…
Turning the corner at the bottom of Main Street and seeing the Disney Castle for the first time
Cresting the dunes at La Terrier and seeing and hearing the waves.
Passing the “Welcome to Fenland” sign near Chatteris (because we’re idiots).n
The lighthouse on Roath Park lake
London in general
I think this, for me, is places with good memories. Some examples…
- The seat where I proposed to my (now) wife at Fountains Abbey
- The table at Midsummer House where I ate the best meal of life
- The top of Thor’s Rock where I can see all my local area
When I was young, my father and mother had old friends who lived in Hamilton (Ontario). There was a point on the highway between where we lived and where they lived that I would realize that we were in Hamilton… curling around Hamilton Harbour with the overpass in green metal and the big Hamilton Spectator sign on the left.
We didn’t visit very often, but even now when I go to the city, that moment of “Ah, Hamilton” always gives me a warm-fuzzy.
Other than that, there’s a little cottage Andy and I have rented a few times in the BeforeTimes on Crystal Beach in the winter (rates are super low, since it’s a summer vacation spot). I affectionately refer to it as our vacation on Hoth. The area is a frozen desert, there’s almost nobody around, and I can just write. The cottage itself is comfortable, and we eat well and have almost nothing else to do but eat, write, and go on walks. It’s really quite nice. Sadly, with our cat being sick we can’t be away from home for more than 12 hours (she needs her insulin before 8am and 8pm every night), but I hope we can get back out there before too long.
There are places in Toronto I love (going out to the Island for Andy’s birthday, the zoo, the museums, and a handful of restaurants), a coffee shop in Kitchener that I have fond memories from my 8 months as a full-time writer (the owner was a jackass, but his staff were all incredibly friendly and nice), and the coffee shop in London (Ontario) where Andy and I first met (a Williams Cafe that neither of us frequented often but by sheer karmic luck we were both at that one specific day).
The rocky beaches you can climb around in Acadia, Maine. Nothing better than rocks for kilometers and you don’t know what you’ll find, what ways the water forged and how you have to climb around them. You know though what you won’t find: People.
There are two kind of rocky beaches in Maine, the ones like this one in Light state park which are easier to walk on but don’t offer as much climbing opportunities.
And my favorite ones with steep and high rocks like in Acadia national park:
(not in love with the picture itself but I think it shows what I mean)
Beside rocky beaches, I love reading on the top of a mountain though I need a shady spot because sitting in direct sun light is not part of my favorite things’ list
I should also add Cornwall. In general but specifically the 7 bays area. Spent so many happy holidays there
I’ve never been to Chatteris.
But I hear that among its many other qualities, the one way system is smooth and commendable.
Upper Eskdale would be high on my list. (don’t know if I know how to add photos…) (edited to say apparently I do)
It does indeed have an excellent one way system!
Of course it does - HMHB wouldn’t lie to us!
The city centre of Alicante, on the eastern coast of the Communidad Valencia, Spain, for me. I lived there for about 18 months almost 10 years ago and try to visit every now and then, which is far too rare even though I’m only an hour’s drive down the coast from it.
From my apartment living room window I could see the top of the castle, and knew it was only a 15 minute walk to the top of it. Then I would walk down the other side to the beach, continue south along one of the prettiest seafront promenades in Spain, head inland to the main shopping district and return home through some beautiful little plazas - all within an hour’s stroll.
Add to that all of the parades and fiestas, especially Three Kings, Easter and Hogueras, and the wealth of memories from great afternoons and nights out there with friends, it is a haven for me. I went back on New Year’s Day for the first time in a couple of years - which just made my desire to return more often even stronger.
Ooooh oooooh thought of another one. Cardiff on international rugby day. I mean, its a mess but if you go into it with the right expectations, there is nowhere better.
Looking at your spots… the mountains and the sea. After the pandemic relented somewhat and we could return to the Alps… I cried when we got out of the car and the first time we returned to the sea was the same. It’s not one specific favorite… though the view of the Dents du Midi in Les Crosets is kind of special we spent so many vacations there and this year for the first time since 2016 we’re returning there (in just a little more than a week actually)
One of dozens of pictures I have of the Dents du Midi:
It’s far more difficult to pick favorite sea/coast spots there are just so many beautiful places I’ve been to.
But one place has us returning again and again… Scotland (as an added bonus Scotland is so much more than its coast). This one is from our one trip to Orkney:
Other places that have us returning again and again are Toscana and Campania (the region around Naples that includes the Costiera Amalfitana) both in Italy.
This is on the Costiera
My first thought was something very specific, and then as I was reading the posts, I found a lot of similarities. It makes me wonder… is there something in our DNA about large-scale geological features?
When you’re driving across the high-plains of north-eastern Colorado, just as the plains give way to the rocky mountains, there’s a hill you come over and all of Denver and the surrounding area appears as if from nowhere, and the rocky mountains that you’ve “seen at a distance” for miles and miles and hours already suddenly seem so much closer and so much bigger. – That place on I70 is one of my favorite things. Not because the east side of Denver is particularly great (it’s not) or highways are wonderful (they are, but not in that sort of way), but because I feel at home in the rocky mountains, and that spot on Interstate 70 is the same spot on Interstate 70 that I first experienced that real-life long zoom effect.
Other than geological phenomenon glued inexorably to the human psyche, I also find a lot of joy in my basement. I don’t know why, but I’ve always liked basements. This has confused family members of mine for a long time. I mean, before there were “man caves” (by that name, at least), I definitely wanted one. I live in Kansas and tornados are real, so having a basement around here isn’t actually all that optional (though my aunt’s house doesn’t have one for some reason?), but mine is finished and finished well, enormous… and… almost completely covered in toys. That last bit won’t last forever. We have a very large sectional couch down there and a very large TV mounted on the wall. Right now, it’s mostly the domain of my children, but hopefully, eventually, my children will grow up (unlike their father!?) and a proper “man and/or woman cave” can be had. I’ve been contemplating where the wet bar would be installed since we bought the house… it’s just a matter of patience now.
And, since my basement is devoted to young children at the moment, what would be basement-based solo boardgaming, for now, mostly takes place in my home office that also functions as my work-from-home office. This space also feels particularly joyful; though sometimes I feel guilty having my own space that doesn’t include space for my partner. But maybe that’s part of the allure? Being an adult but having your own space? My partner claims that she doesn’t have her own space; I remind her of the craft area and work space she declared for herself in the back corner of the basement (that I was proposing as my home office at the time) and she is annoyed that I remembered how fervently she fought for that space for herself and has never used it. She hates basements (because they’re cold and too far away from amenities like the kitchen, and she, in particular, hates our basement bathroom because… it’s cold and the door doesn’t latch shut most of the year due to seasonal settling); I have no idea why she wanted that space for herself.
I don’t really have a favorite spot. However, I do have a few moments in time that I really would love to revisit if I could.
Two are not time-specific. One of those would be the days before my wife and I had kids, where she would make something delicious for dinner and we would sit and eat while watching a show or movie. Just spending some quiet time with each other and enjoying hot food, two things we don’t really get anymore.
The second would be Christmas time while growing up. Helping to decorate the tree and living room. There was a section of streets where majority of the houses went all out with decorations and we would drive through every year with Christmas music on the radio. Or the get-togethers with family friends with music, snacks and drinks. Opening a gift on Christmas Eve, and going to bed excited to see what Santa would bring that night. It was just a magical time. A time I try to bring to my kids.
Last was one particular Christmas morning. We had set up a Thomas the Train set for our older kid, must have been about 6 or so. He and I were the first ones up and we sat and played with that thing for about an hour, and he was just so happy with it.
Then his brother woke up and only wanted to sit on the track. And then the older kiddo held the train up to his head and got his hair all tangled up in the wheels. Had to take the set apart and stash it. But that morning is one of my happiest Christmas memories.
I didn’t know my answer when I opened the topic. It’s resolved into four:
I love the rain. Being in the rain. Preferably outside, under shelter. The sound, the smell, the wet chill on the skin. Inside, the tattoo on the windows and roof. Can’t say exactly why. I have bad allergies (literally off the charts. The doctor draws extra boxes on his charts to show my pollen allergy.) Maybe I feel better when it’s raining. Maybe my Irish heritage has been selected for mist and misery. I’m happy, calm, at peace when it is raining.
Fog is good too.
I started with memories of a summer camp I went to as a kid, at Bass Lake between Fresno and Yosemite. The happiest weeks of my childhood and maybe of my life. Sometimes, in summer, there will be a scent in the air or a feel on my skin that takes me back there and I think for a bit about how I could work there for a summer.
But there is also skiing in Tahoe, day trips to the San Bernadinos in SoCal. I hope one day to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Maybe.
Our rocking chair
I’ve spent a long time holding my daughters in our rocking chairs. A big one from Babies R’ Us, may it rest in peace. Stories, sleeping. Coughing at night when they can’t breath. I held my daughter there the day we learned, definitively, that she had Cerebral Palsy and made Promises to her. She didn’t hear and couldn’t understand but somehow I know she knows. It’s a sacred place.
It’s a bar down the street. The best wings I can find around here. It’s where we meet for game nights. Being there is always a Sabbath.
There’s a delight in laying out Brass and having people walk by curiously, working up the nerve to ask the question of what on Earth is going on.
As funny as it would be, I recommend against turning, staring blankly and stating in a monotonic voice, “The ritual is almost complete.”