When the weather is nice, I can ride my bike to work. My office is under a mile from the house I’m renting, so it’s a quick trip.
The ride starts with a left turn out of my driveway, pedaling down Prospect Street until I turn left on Pleasant. I pass the small parking lot for the rail trail, occupied by dog owners and runners at this time of the morning. Pleasant Street leads into the heart of the City Center. I pass shops, restaurants, a local gym and second-floor offices and apartments, all housed in beautiful old brick buildings. Most mornings I stop and grab a cup of coffee at one of the coffee shops in this area. When I bike home later, the restaurants will be in happy-hour mode, their sidewalk tables filled with people unwinding after work.
Reaching the end of Pleasant, I pedal into Opera House Square, swinging around the big island in the center, the short trees catching the early morning sun. If I stop and stand in the middle of the Square, I’m surrounded by red brick buildings – City Hall, the Opera House, the Moody Building, the Oscar Brown Block, and more –each full of offices, retailers, restaurants, and apartments. Downtown Claremont was one of the first multi-use historic districts in the country, and the mix of commercial and residential space in the city center makes it a walker’s paradise.
I head west down Main Street, catching a glimpse of Mount Ascutney, which dominates the skyline and catches the first sun of the day. Then I turn right down Water Street and into the Monadnock Mill District. The old mills are now home to thriving new companies, like Red River, National Field Representatives, and the Common Man, as well as a State office building. Most of these offices have beautiful views that look out over the Sugar River. The river cuts right through Claremont, tumbling through rapids and falls and spraying up a light mist. On evenings in the spring, summer, and fall, I can bike ten minutes out on the rail trail and fly fish on the same river.
I hop off my bike and cross the pedestrian bridge over the river, walk through the Visitor’s Center Park, climb the staircase to my office, and turn around. Laid out in front of me is a sea of red brick, a landscape dotted with trees and chimneys and steeples. All I can hear is the river, running high with the spring rain.
These are my mornings in Claremont. To me, it’s heaven – a walkable, urban environment situated in a rural landscape; outdoor recreation of all kinds minutes from a dense downtown. I couldn’t be more excited to have picked this place to stay, work, and play.