Lancaster

I’m feeling a bit beleaguered due to the quick trip to and from Lancaster, PA for a funeral. In addition to the feelings that these events bring up, I was visiting the town where I went to college 40 years ago. Lots of memories, a typical mix of pleasure and pain, surfaced and then “whoooosh” I’m back in The Catskills.

Travel can be a magnificent experience, and sometimes – like today – I feel like I’ve stepped into a Time Machine.

Around the corner from where I saw Bruce Springsteen play in a bar called The Village (see yesterday’s post), I was in a musical at the Fulton Opera House after my senior year. It’s where I learned a hard lesson that I wasn’t good at keeping up with Broadway singers and dancers. Picture a leap where everyone in the chorus jumps and Scott is constantly one second behind the pace. They come down and I’m still up. Not good. Although it seems like a funny story now, for a 21 year old it was easily the most embarrassing and frustrating arts experience in my life up to that point.

By way of a contrast, I was a very good performer, singing and playing guitar at local places like The Dispensing Company, i loved playing places like that and received a lot of support from my fellow college students and the locals. I guess I learned my strengths and weaknesses in Lancaster.

Having seen many cities and towns during the Adventure, I was surprised to discover that Lancaster is a very livable city with a small town feel. It retains its post Revolutionary War charm and combines it effectively with art spaces and a wide assortment of drinking and dining choices. It’s clean, but not sterile. The streets were full of trendy young people, families and, unfortunately, those who live on the streets. In other words, it felt real and complex. Important to Beth snd I, most of the buildings are two or three stories high, so we saw it as a place where people live and work, not just a touristy, consumer trap.

I’ve heard it said that you cannot go home again. But that might not apply to one’s college town. I would definitely return!

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