The sense of place I chose was the firetower in my hometown of Woodbury, CT. I go here a lot when I’m home and it’s a nice place to take a quick hike and socialize with friends or get away from family. It’s universal among the younger kids, ages 14-19, as a place to hang out and get some exercise. The hike itself is relatively short but it’s a steady incline so it gets your heart rate pumping. I remember when both of my sisters were in high school they would go to the firetower all the time, and I found myself doing the same. The top of the structure is covered with graffiti on the inside, marking everyone who’s been there before. It’s nice to see how people can express themselves in such a public and safe way without consequences. It’s like the firetower is ours.
Part of the firetower trail was a place of worship for a nearby church where some members would go to for service. The trail also connects to the senior center in the town which is right next to the police station. The other end of the trail is by an off-road next to a picturesque pond. Some areas of the firetower trail have been clear cut for access to nice views, but there aren’t many instances of this.
There are a lot of walking and hiking trails within easy access of all parts of town; this creates a nice refuge for those who need some relief. The whole town just feels homey and safe.
I think that the majority of the town has a lot of variety, so it’s the perfect place to grow up in. There are plenty of places to eat and walk and it’s pretty lively the majority of the time. This deepens the sense of place I have for Woodbury because I get excited to visit some of these places.
Over my lifetime, I found that my hometown was getting smaller. There wasn’t as much to do and I would frequently visit other places. The only things that are really available now are restaurants, diners, and a couple parks. I still find peace of mind when I’m there, but when my friends are away, it feels much lonelier. Since I left home for UVM, I found myself wanting to see the people in my hometown rather than the town itself. I was excited to see certain landmarks, like the cannons on the green, or the most popular grocery store there, Labonnes, as my mom and I drove through it entering Thanksgiving break. Overall, I still feel at home when I’m in Woodbury, but I realize that my sense of place is with the people I love: my friends and family.
My sense of place at home has influenced the types of environments I feel comfortable in. Since it’s relatively suburban, I am wonderstruck by cities and feel lonelier around isolated areas. Also, considering the physical environment around me, I appreciate the mountains and oceans more because I don’t see them as much.