Boston National Historical Park

Summer Challenge: Local List

Summer on a beachI would not call myself a procrastinator and yet I have a list of museums, events, and historic sites that I have put off visiting. Why?

My brain tells me that I can visit them anytime because I live nearby.

The problem with this mentality is, “anytime” rarely comes along: the weather is bad, too nice, I’m tired, I would rather stretch across the couch with a good book, or something better has come along. I have used all of these excuses.

Not this summer.

Now that the unofficial start of summer has come, I am making a commitment to cross at least 3-5 items off my “Local List.”

Will you take this challenge with me?

In this post: You will learn what a "local list" is and receive a bit of motivation to cross items off your list this summer.


What is a Local List

A “Local List” is a list of events, museums, historic sites, or experiences that you put off visiting or doing because you either live close by or have special access to them and therefore you could do them “anytime.”

BunkerHillFor example, when I worked as an interpretive ranger for the Boston National Historical Park it used to astonish me how many Charlestown residents had never been inside the Bunker Hill Monument.

Each year, I would welcome at least 5-6 visitors who lived around Monument Square, or just a few blocks away, but they had never visited. And I am not talking about people who just moved into the neighborhood. I am talking about people who had lived around the monument for 5+ years.

I once had a visitor who told me that they had lived in the neighborhood for 32 years and that this was his first visit.

What brought these locals in?

Sometimes curiosity, but mostly out-of-town family.

I used to be astonished. I would think “how could you live so close, for so long, and yet never have taken the time to visit this important site before today?!”

Years later, I realize that I am guilty of the same procrastination.

There are several places that I have never visited because I think to myself “I can go anytime, there’s no rush.”


Things to DoWhat’s On My Local List?

So what museums, events, historic sites, and experiences have I put off? What is on my “Local List?”

In no particular order: • Dorchester Heights MonumentBoston African American National Historic Site and Black Heritage TrailAnnual Lexington and Concord Re-enactmentIsaac Royall HouseMary Baker Eddy Library MappariumCastle IslandSam Adams Brewery TourBattleship CovePlimouth PlantationThe Boston Tea Party Ships & MuseumFenway Park TourPeabody Essex MuseumSalem, MassachusettsSpringfield Armory National Historic SiteJFK BirthplaceFrederick Law Olmsted National Historic SiteGibson House MuseumNichols House MuseumOtis House MuseumLongfellow House Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site • Saugus Iron Works National Historic SiteNewport, Rhode IslandNew Bedford Whaling National Historic Park

And those are just the 23 places that I can think of off the top of my head.


challenge yourselfSummer Challenge

This summer I am going to check 3-5 items off of my local list.

I challenge you to do the same.

Draw up your “Local List” and commit some time this summer to visiting the sites on it.

I will begin my quest on Saturday May 31, 2014. I have made plans to take a tour of the Sam Adams Brewery with friends.


Uncle_SamTake the Local List Challenge

What sites, museums, and experiences are on your “Local List?”

How many sites will you commit to checking off of it this summer?

Leave a comment or tweet with #LocalList so we can motivate each other to connect with history and experience the life and culture around us.