First Impressions

world's endHere are a few impressions of my new hometown of Hingham, Massachusetts. Everyone knows it’s beautiful, quaint, “the prettiest town on the South Shore,” blah, blah, blah. So I won’t go into all that. It’s pretty obvious that Hingham is special. If you’ve never been here, come on down. You can join my mother-in-law for her monthly visits from New York. Yes, monthly. See you soon, Rosalie!

1. As I’ve run around town with my dog Delilah, I’m thankful for the many sidewalks. My knees are doubly thankful that they’re paved with asphalt rather than concrete slabs. Asphalt is more forgiving than concrete — which is the worst possible surface on which to run. Otherwise I’d be running in the street and this may well be a posthumous blog post as I would have been run over by one of your infamous Massachusetts drivers. (And this coming from a guy who learned to drive in Brooklyn! ) My only complaint, I mean observation, is that the poet Shel Silverstein of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” fame could have laid them out. They seem to end for no apparent reason which means playing Frogger (old video arcade reference) to continue my run.

2. I used to scoff at the guys who would wander around Manhattan with those “The End is Near” signs. I’ve got nothing against The Apocalypse, I simply didn’t believe them. But now that I’ve been to World’s End, the state park in Hingham, I guess they were right. The World’s End is near — about a three minute drive from my house. And with its stunning vistas of downtown Boston the end of the world as we know it is a lot more attractive than I thought it would be.

3. The Derby Shoppes. They do seem to have everything: from Panera to Barnes and Noble to The Gap. What’s amazing, besides the odd configuration of speed bumps (see Jeff Cutler’s “Heard in Hingham” blog), is the blaring classical music one encounters upon exiting your vehicle. As I walk through the parking lot I feel as if I’ve been transported to Red Square in Moscow during the height of the Cold War and they’re playing Russian fight songs over the loud speakers. The only difference is that instead of Red Army tanks and soldiers marching in formation, I see lines of SUVs and young mothers pushing jogging strollers into Crate & Barrel.

4. Evidently the town fathers (and/or mothers) do not believe in street signs. At least along cross streets. Half the time I drive around Hingham I have no idea where I am. Fortunately, this is precisely why God invented the GPS.

5. The town dump is the greatest place in all of Hingham. I can’t get enough of the place and, since I got my permanent dump sticker yesterday, I’ll see you there. But only Thursday through Sunday of course.

I’d love to hear your own impressions of the quirkiness of life around Hingham. We’re delighted to be here and it’s always fun to view a new (375-year-old) place with fresh eyes.


7 Comments on “First Impressions”

  1. Thanks for the laugh, Derby Street Shoppes as Red Square; that music startles me every time I get out of the car there 🙂 But it’s fun around Christmas, takes the edge off the shopping.

  2. Geri Duff says:

    Tim, On Wednesday nights, at 7:30, the Bare Cove Fire Museum gives free tours. Follow your GPS to 19 Fort Hill Street, drive in to the park. (They are really 45 Bare Cove Park Drive but the road is not on the map yet.) You can learn a little bit about Hingham and meet some really good people. And have a geat place to run with Delilah.

  3. Father Tim says:

    Good to know about the fire museum — we’ll check it out. I ran that 5-mile End of Summer Classic at Bare Cove a few weeks ago and had a lot of fun. Should have brought Delilah!

    And re. the Derby Street: they should have just gone all the way with the spelling and called it “Ye Olde Derby Shoppes.” Nothing says “Cheerio!” quite like Old(e) Navy…

  4. Beth Logan says:

    Your observations are wonderful to read. The lack of street signs! I am “newer” in Hingham and Boston. I had visited many times in Boston before I moved here and never noticed the lack of signs! The long time residents, used to local custom, have a “vague” look on their faces when I mention lack of signs. What a challenge, even with GPS. A resident, in Milton if I remember correctly, donated money to put street signs on every cornor!

  5. Phillip W. Holmes says:

    My ancestor, Joseph Peck was the brother of the Vicar of Hingham who fell in with the puritans. It seems that he had pulled down the altar rail and was about to start in on the altar itself when he was called to a hearing before Archbishop Laud. At this point, he decided that he had better get his butt out of there in a hurry. He organized a whole boatload of people and they set out for Massachusets where they landed in a small comunity of people from Hingham, Norfolk who had arrived about three years earlier. When word arrived that Charles I had lost his head, the vicar of Hingham sailed back to Norfolk and my ancestor moved south to the Sekonk/Rehobeth area leaving no Pecks in Hingham. It rather sounds as though Hingham, Mass. held little allure for them !!!

  6. Father Tim says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Phillip. Great story! Come back anytime!

  7. Phillip W. Holmes says:

    p.s. Thank heaven we found our way back to the Anglican Church; The puritans sound like an unpleasant lot. They perpetrated a stricter intolerance than that from which they were seeking to escape.
    btw – The Lincoln family was on that boat and there are some Lincolns in the Hingham cemetary.

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