Home Sweet Home

Our kitchen renovation is finally over and so too is our extended stay at the lake house. While it was incredibly fun to enjoy several weeks in the country, it feels so nice to be back in the city to reconnect with friends and neighbors and visit our favorite spots. It's also especially nice to leave the car parked and not even think of driving it anywhere for days to come.

I was thinking about the concept of "third places," as defined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg in his book, The Great Good Place. He argues that our first two "places" are home and work, but that "third places" are vital community-building spots that foster neighborhood interaction and personal well-being. Oldenburg describes such places as accessible, generally free or low-cost, walkable, and frequented by lots of "regulars." Coffee shops, pubs, and bookstores could be defined as "third places." I would also add city playgrounds to the list. Returning to the city for us also means returning to our local playgrounds and to the friends and neighbors we run into there who enhance the strong sense of community we feel in the city.

So as much as we cherish our summer getaways to the country, there's no place like home in the city.