July 10, 2016 – Clouds, 60 degrees
Miles Today: 36
Miles to Date: 12,660
States to Date: 31
Southeast Massachusetts is probably the least appreciated sector of my home state. Fall River, New Bedford, and Taunton are often considered maritime has-beens, currently home to Cape Verdeans, Portuguese, and other immigrants. The countryside is considered less vibrant than Cape Cod, less dramatic than the Berkshires, and less tony than the North Shore. Like all stereotypes, these are incomplete truths.
I started the day with a morning walk through Onset, which has all the enchanting light and mood of the Cape without having to cross those dang bridges. I spent the day traveling obscure country roads past soggy bogs, pristine period houses, and a good deal of funk. Since Southeast Massachusetts is much less expensive than the rest of the state, the counter culture element is more real than imagined.
By the time I reached Berkley I had traversed into another geologic zone. Onset is a sandbar with houses a few feet above the water. Berkley sits on one of the many granite ridges that define New England’s mainland: long peninsula’s separated by deep rivers run north/south, as if scratched out of the land like giant fingers squeezed down on a chalkboard. My friend Ted lives high above the Assonet River: 68 granite steps descend from his house to his boat.