You know the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”? In other words, we believe we might like something we don’t have better than the thing we do have. Well, that old saying does not always apply to cross country travel. Why? Because, compared to the American West, the American East is definitively greener. But, no one from the West wants to go there!
We have found, on our travels throughout the country, that this is true.
People who live on the East Coast almost universally, except for those who don’t travel at all, wish to go and see the marvels of the West. The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Grand Teton, Arches, the Redwoods. The list goes on and on.
The West contains landscapes of a staggering nature. Sheer beauty so different from what Easterners are used to seeing, it’s a shock to the system. A wonderful shock, to be sure, but of high, amazing drama. And, to know that all these natural wonders belong to every American and that we hold them in trust for all to see, well, you just have to go!
And go we do! Easterners flock to the West. But, Westerners do not flock to the East. Why, I’m not totally sure. I think they’re not saying, because “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.
We frequently asked folks we met out West if they’d ever been East. “Well, no.” was the number one answer. Most folks didn’t say anything more. Except maybe: “There’s so many trees! You can’t see but a few yards away, maybe a quarter mile at the most. I feel all closed in, in the East.” or, “It’s too crowded there. Too many cars. I can’t drive in that”.
So, the only conclusion we come to is this: Westerners don’t believe there’s anything good on the East Coast. We sometimes would tell them that we “followed Fall down the East Coast”. “Oh, yes. The leaves. It must be beautiful. I might go see that someday.”. But, they haven’t yet and didn’t make any plans to do so.
But, consider these facts, my Western friends:
1. Our country began in the East. John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson. All were born here and created the foundations of America here, in the East. There are buildings – whole towns – that are hundreds of years older than things out West. (That white guys built, anyway. Those Ancestral Puebloans built things long before white guys landed in the Caribbean.)
2. The American Civil War and the Revolutionary War took place on Eastern soil. There are hundreds of battlefield sites and there are structures still standing that saw the agonies of those wars. Come and learn something!
3. Our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C., sits regally on the shores of the Potomac River, waiting for all Americans to come see how our government works. There are many thrilling museums and monuments to behold and be proud of.
4. New York City. The Big Apple, huge and exciting, glitters on the Hudson.
5. Come see something moist, for heaven’s sake. The rivers, creeks, stream beds and reservoirs are full! Of water! Hard to believe, but true. The East is waterland! Down South is steamy, with hanging moss and palm trees. And very friendly people with a great cuisine. And they’ll show you how people used to live, before we found all that space, out West. Up North, you’ll find a different culture. And those famous leaves.
So, here’s an open invitation to our new, Western friends. Travel East. Stay with us and we’ll show you around the Mid-Atlantic. Just bring along some Valium – it might be too exciting!