The Different Sides of Massachusetts

3 Jun

On Saturday I went to my friend Paul’s graduation party in Leicester, which is next to Worcester. For whatever reason, Massachusetts seems to be split into different communities and areas, almost like mini-states. Separately, they could be their own little states, but they all come together to make up the same Commonwealth.

Back in the East, where I’m from, all of the towns that form the suburbs of Boston are pretty similar. Rows upon rows of houses line the streets making up a suburban maze of homes, cars, and people getting around. Since these towns are generally not built up enough, there’s no public transportation, forcing most people to have cars if they want to get around. Some towns do have buses, but the routes aren’t very big. There are commuter rails that can take you into Providence or Boston, but for convenience, you usually drive to the nearest T station and take the train in.

These densely packed communities don’t generally have a ton to offer, leaving locals feeling bored, and people will head into the city for entertainment. In my neighborhood alone, there is nothing but houses up until the center of town, with no free space, save for a golf course.

Out by Leicester, however, there was a ton of open space. Following one main state road after another, on which you could go upwards of 45 miles an hour, houses were spread out and had more land. In my town, there isn’t even a stretch of road where you can go 45 mph. Leicester had one red light and had a much more laid back attitude. The center of town had about four buildings with a general store. Not that my center of town is anything special.

Further out west near where I went to school, there were areas with tons of open space and farms. One town in particular, Hadley, has so many farms that a friend of mine once heard someone at a party say “This place smells like Hadley.” More mountainous and containing some stunning foliage in the Fall, Western Mass has a different feel to it. I don’t know why, but even when I was there for four years of school, it just felt like a different state. Most towns still have the town common, a fixture in the ideal image of a quaint New England town.

There’s no perfect image of what a Massachusetts town is like. After all, even within the different regions, there are different rivalries and expectations of what it is to be from a certain town, just like anywhere else in the world. Nonetheless, there are still going to be common ties, like the sports teams we all cheer for, the importance of the weather in our lives, and the accents that we don and mock. Massachusetts is as diverse as the entire country, though it would probably seem the same to someone not from the area. To a local, the differences are distinct and celebrated.

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