Monday, May 7, 2012
Take Chester. I "discovered" Chester years ago when I was lost. Well, not lost exactly, but driving on a detour due to road work. I forget where I was trying to go, but my way was blocked, and I dutifully followed the orange and black signs, expecting only to be made late by this inconvenience. But then all of a sudden there was this adorable little town, just...chilling there. There was something very, very old about it, some lingering memory of ancient boats crossing the river and rough wooden carts rolling up and down the hushed streets. But there was something fancy, and almost trendy, too. I felt at the time that it had popped up there just for me, and would probably disappear again once I'd passed.
Maybe it was because of the way I first saw it, but after that when I thought of Chester I thought of it as really far away. Mostly I just thought of it as extremely cute, not somewhere people might actually live. I have a guidebook that describes it as "a quaint but upscale one-street town, home to a thriving community of artists, artisans, chefs, and others blessed with exquisite talents." Which nicely hints at the seeming impossibility of really living in the town. I did meet someone who lived in Chester at a party once, though, and probably scared her by getting overly excited and saying something like, "OMG I LOVE CHESTER IT'S SO CUTE!!" But I never went there again, because argh, it was reeeaaally faaaar awaaaay.
But the thing about Chester is, it's twenty-five miles from where I live. That's a little over half an hour if you take the highway. (Which you have to, because there's a bridge.) That's nothing! So I went back to Chester, which only made me want to go back to Chester again, because it's still there, and still adorable. Luckily - if I can just remember it this time - it's right nearby.