Arrrrg. I am suffering from re-entry. My lovely wife and I just returned to the Old Pueblo after a ten day trip abroad. Well, technically not abroad, we were in New England.
The countriesâ€¦sorry, the states over there are puny and overpopulated. At one point, we took a trip to Marthaâ€™s Vineyard and drove in three different states in less than four hours.
Marthaâ€™s Vineyard, you may recall, is where the Clintons posed for pictures while pretending to dance on the beach in swimsuits, passed out the pictures to media friendlies, then acted distressed that their privacy was invaded. Marthaâ€™s Vineyard includes Chappaquiddick Island where Ted Kennedy drove off a bridge and abandoned a girl to suffocate on his partially submerged car while he engaged in damage control. More recently, John Kennedy Jr. died tragically when his light plane crashed at sea in bad weather en route to Marthaâ€™s Vineyard.
No one would argue that New England is not rich in American History.
Marthaâ€™s Vineyard suffers from the same problems from which all particularly beautiful and desirable places suffer. Its towns are composed primarily of small buildings in an ultra-quaint New England style â€“ imagine Mystic Seaport without the tall ships. It is an island with beaches facing both the mainland and the open ocean, providing all sorts of beach/surf combinations; combine this with a multitude of salt water lagoons, and you have a real scenic marine playground. All this adds up to heap big magnet for tourists and vacationers.
As in Tucson, the vineyard has a small group of residents who are actually natives! They have the â€œNativeâ€ bumper-stickers with outlines of the island, like the natives in many western states. They also have bumper-stickers that say, â€œSlow down, youâ€™re not off-island anymore!â€ They are also being squeezed between draconian efforts to maintain quaintness, and market pressure to develop as land values climb higher and higher (sound familiar?).
The ocean acts as a bit of a natural moat â€“ you can only get there by boat or plane. This does not keep the cars away â€“ we drove onto a ferry, rode it for forty-five minutes, then drove onto the island â€“ but it does make it more of a production, and more expensive, to go there. Though tourism is huge in the summer, I imagine that the inability to drive there conveniently keeps many people away, just as the inability to carry a sixty-four quart cooler conveniently keeps many people out of the Arizona backcountry.
Marthaâ€™s Vineyard even has a logo. Itâ€™s a profile of a black dog. Itâ€™s even called â€œBlack Dogâ€. I donâ€™t know what the original entity behind the Black Dog logo is, or was, but there is a store where you can buy all sorts of clothing â€“ from sweats to socks â€“ with the Black Dog logo. You have probably seen people around Tucson wearing a either a tee-shirt or sweatshirt with a large profile of a black dog on the front. It is the equivalent to OB-with-a-bird logo for the Ocean Beach neighborhood in San Diego, California. In Tucson, we usually see the OB logo on decals on the rear windows of cars from California, instead of on tee-shirts and sweatshirts.
I am glad that Tucson does not have a logo, at least none of which I am aware. At least, I havenâ€™t seen any tee-shirts with Brown Coyotes on the front, or decals with the letters OP (Old Pueblo) and a turkey vulture. We have a cool nickname, â€œThe Old Pueblo,â€ and that is enough. We may not have the ocean, but we have deserts and mountains. More importantly, we have yet to lose our frontier heritage. Unfortunately, New England has.