Seven Sisters

The Holyoke Range is a modest line of mountains, 9.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide, that runs east-west through the towns of Hadley, South Hadley, Amherst, Granby, and Belchertown in western Massachusetts. Although its tallest peak is only 1,106 feet above sea level, the range appears taller because it rises so abruptly from the […]

1872 Bird's Eye View of Raleigh, 1872

City of Oaks

The Raleigh, North Carolina, of my childhood and youth was a constantly growing, ceaselessly expanding boom town. Every day, it seemed, some new shopping mall, office complex, or housing development opened; every week, a new road or highway was cut through the landscape; every year, the population swelled, and the town’s borders reached further out […]

Pedestrian/Vehicular Conflicts, UMass Amherst Campus Master Plan, p. 79

The Right of Way

The back-to-back traffic accidents, on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, involving pedestrians and motor vehicles on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst reminded me once again how vulnerable walkers and bicycle riders are in our automobile-obsessed culture, even in a place specifically designed to be separate and protected from that culture.  When people imagine […]


Suddenly, in Scotland

Perhaps the most memorable character in Tune In, the first volume of Mark Lewisohn’s projected three-volume biography of The Beatles, is not a person at all but a place – Liverpool, England.  Given the fascinating personalities involved here, that says a lot.  But the fact is: funny, drunk, dirty, old Liverpool permeates every aspect of […]