Bucket of things to do in New England


Fran Ostendorf, EditorEveryone I know has a bucket list. I have to admit, I have a small one. It’s  perhaps not as extensive as some of my peers.

I’ve kept my list small so it will be manageable. It’s especially focused on New England. At one time, it was a list of all the things I wanted to do in New England during the time I lived in the area. When we moved here I didn’t think we’d be here forever. Now that I’ve lived in this community longer than anywhere else, I have readjusted and narrowed the focus a bit. And I’ve checked off more than a few items.

Friday, I went on a day trip that allowed me to check off one of the items that has been near the top of the list for quite a while: I visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Many people react with horror that I’ve lived in this area for 28 years (yes, as of Oct. 10) and have never been there. My response? Sheepishly, OK. It happens.

That is why I jumped at the chance to accompany a great group of friends to the museum I’ve read so much about. We had a wonderful tour guide who explained the museum and its contents better than I could have hoped for. We were able to get to know a little of Mrs. Gardner and her world. And it was pretty powerful to see the empty frames still hanging where they did before the famous 1990 art theft. If you’ve read “The Art Forger” by B.A Shapiro, seeing the museum and hearing about Mrs. Gardner from someone who works for the museum gives a new perspective to that novel.

I could have spent more than a day at the Gardner. There was so much to see. We all got to that museum saturation point. I think this is one bucket list item that will be easy to return to.

I know that when you live in a place with lots to see, you often take for granted some of the top attractions. I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. But I’ve never been inside the Washington Monument. Truth be told, most of my sightseeing in Washington happened on school field trips or with family visitors. It just never occurred to my family to take a lazy Sunday and go to the overcrowded museums. Now, when we go back for a visit, we never seem to have enough time.

As I write this, a beautiful New England fall weekend is coming to a close. Don’t let fall slip away without enjoying the beautiful weather. Get outside and take a walk. Perhaps check off something from your bucket list? There’s no time like the present to pick and choose which item to check off the list. There are plenty of items on my list.  Which one will it be for me? Big E in Springfield? Ben & Jerry’s Factory visit? My list is pretty wide ranging. Perhaps a few new items will replace those that I’ve accomplished. I’m always looking for suggestions.

Now, I’ve never been on a whale watch…