Dome Diving on Cape Cod

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There’s nothing like breaking and entering.

Before you cast any judgment, hear me out. Imagine discovering a place seemingly untouched by other human beings for an indeterminate length of time. You spot it from the road, overgrown by the trees around it. An allure lingers despite its abandon.  Normal people might see it and think, “Cool,” then drive on. Then again, Joe and I are as far removed from ‘normal’ as possible.

The locale in question is a geodesic dome built in the early 1950s by Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller—-architect, designer, futurist. From the road, it doesn’t look like much. Guarded by a motel and a wall of trees,  it dwells in stolid silence. How could we resist getting a closer look?

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We tried the obvious ingresses first. Doors, windows, side entrances—-all locked. Joe pointed out that someone had cut through a screen that led into the basement storage area of the building. Next to a pile of discarded wood was a low window that led into the basement. The opening was just large enough for a person to squeeze through. So we slid in.

If you’ve ever snuck into an abandoned building, you’re familiar with the initial rush. It’s a colloidal mixture of adrenaline, fear, and wonder. There were objects old and new laying around. Kitchen stoves, ladders, a lawnmower, a restaurant sign, lamps—-artifacts from a past era. Eerie and fascinating at the same time.

On our way out, we left a couple entrances open for future explorers. Although we did our fair share of looking around, we left everything as it was. Well, almost:

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Lesson learned: If you want an adventure, you have to go look for it. Clandestine domes don’t go exploring themselves, you know. And if you’re lucky enough (like I am), you have a partner in crime to do it with you.

My friend and former colleague Katie Klocksin previously came across this dome and produced a stellar radio story about it. Give it a listen. I highly recommend it for a historical perspective on the dome itself.

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Keep Austin Weird

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Now, there’s a slogan I can get behind. I like to think of Austin as the black sheep in the Texas family. Ironically, it’s where weirdos (like me) feel like they can fit right in. Heralded for its progressive, neo-hippie, counter-culture vibe, Austin is a good place to be yourself–or just about anybody else.

Last week, I flew to Austin for the beginning of SXSW. I was only in the city for two days in order to attend the Integrated Media Association Conference (iMA 2013). Fortunately, I was able to wander around a bit to explore the city.

First, let’s hash through what Austin is known for:

  • Being the live music capitol of the world
  • Its diverse assortment of Tex-Mex food
  • Loosen-your-belt, lick-your-fingers BBQ

I will confirm that Austin is all of those things and more. You will never be found wanting for live music with venues left and right. Whether your musical cravings are for lo-fi acoustic performances or bare-your-soul rock n’ roll, there’s a space for that in Austin. (Heck, even the airport books live music for the listening pleasure of departing and arriving passengers!) As for Tex Mex, you not only can have tacos for lunch and dinner but also for breakfast. Gems like Arturo’s will provide your taco fix as soon as you wake up in case you can’t wait until lunchtime. For belly-bursting BBQ, you might want to avoid the two-hour line at Franklin‘s and head to Lambert’s instead. No doubt about it–Austin is a great place to be a carnivore. (For more recommendations, check out Foursquare’s Best of Austin list.)

Given my short stay, I don’t have as comprehensive of a view of Austin as I’d like. Then again, it’s simply another excuse to go back.

Things I’d like to do next time: