While vacationing at home last week, I took a Photo Walk tour of Beacon Hill. It was a fun way to see a local place from a traveler's perspective, finding out new things about oft-visited places and looking at familiar scenes with a new eye. (Last fall, I took a a guided walking tour of the North End and got a kick out of that as well). Not every neighborhood can be packed with architecture deserving of the National Register of Historic Places, of course. But in my book, you should be able to give a visitor a walking tour of your neighborhood -- if it's a livable (i.e. walkable) community.
Stops on most of our tours won't be homes of Revolutionary War heroes, graceful $12 million Victorian-era townhouses or stops on the Underground Railroad. Perhaps we won't have a cluster of world-class restaurants or cool, Old World markets. But we should be able to walk around and point out things of local interest -- even if those things are only of hyperlocal interest, and not likely to draw tourists who'd ever pay for your guided tour.
Here's our neighbor who always has a gorgeous garden out front. There's a local family-owned market that used to be a turkey farm, and has great ice cream in the summer. Kids love skating on that pond in the winter.
Could you take a visitor on a 60 minute stroll around your neighborhood, pointing out interesting sites? That's one way to see whether you're living in a walkable neighborhood with a sense of place.
By the way, if you want to see the results of my Beacon Hill Photo Walk, check out my photo gallery on SmugMug.