||11-01-2006 09:30 PM
Jim, sometimes the problem Peter and I have is we remember what a place like that was like 40 years ago. Block Island isn't the only place that surprises us with its changes, it just happened to be the most glaring, and I regret that we couldn't be there after Labor Day when all the vacationers have finally all gone home.
I grew up in a summer community, and although we knew that our property taxes were very low because of all the summer homes that didn't burden our school system, sometimes those pushy "outsiders" could be very wearing. I don't blame the locals most of the time. After the fifth person on a summer Saturday decides that they should be allowed to walk through your backyard to get to the lake to go swimming, or parks in front of your house because it's closer than the posted parking lot, you start wondering if it's really worth it. Not everybody has such a long memory to remember that property taxes, now over $6,000 a year since all those "summer people" decided to make it a year-round home and overwhelm the small country school system, were once $75.00 a year!
When you go cruising full-time, try to remember that in many countries of the world, where you anchor is somebody's back yard. A smile and a "thank you" goes a long way.
One of the pleasant surprises, that I sometimes forget to emphasize, was how nice people were most places we went. New Englanders have a reputation for being cold and unfriendly, which I think is unfair and untrue.
And I try to remember that cruising is as much a state of mind as a specific location or destination.