The Importance of Cultchah: Reuniting With New England

It’s easy to assume the amalgamation of American culture, especially when traveling. Macdonalds, KFC, Shell, Walmart. Where am I? Who cares? Yeah, this is Dunkin Donuts country supposedly, just like the Midwest is Bob Evans and the South is Hardee’s, but on my way to the North Shore from Boston the other day I spotted two Starbucks and a Trader Joe’s, so even that regionalism is fragile.

So here’s a little celebration of everything that is completely, 100% New England.

Granite. Everywhere. (Cue pun about not taking New England for granite. I’m sure they’ve never heard that before.)


Squam Rock. If you can...just...make that crack up can climb it!

Squam Rock. If you can…just…make it…to that crack up there…you can climb it!

Houses built right up against the street (’cause the original street was just a carriage track). Austere architecture. (Who needs porches in this climate? And who has time to be sitting on them, even in nice weather? Get back to that gardening!)


OLD buildings. This “salt box” house, built around 1700, used to belong to The Mate’s Cousin Erma:


Nice, greasy, Italian-American food (or, in Gloucester, Portuguese-American):

Ask me about the special.

Ask me about the special.

And then there are all those iconic images, like birch trees:


…and those hard to capture with my camera, like the accent–“Pahk ya cah”–and the attitude, which, to a southerner like me, could best be characterized as cranky rude forthright. I lived in Massachusetts for four years, thirty-some years ago, and I still miss that.

So before we move on to a different slice of New England, here’s a classic icon to celebrate cultchah:

This lighthouse is a 5-minute walk from the Cousins' house.

This lighthouse is a 5-minute walk from the Cousins’ house.

What are your favorite emblems of where you’re from? List your top three.