There's just something about Boston. I wasn't born here, but have lived here long enough to feel it in my core, even if I may never fully understand it. There's a reason people get so fired up about Boston - you just can't be neutral about it. It's a place that inspires passion, that people either fervently love or fervently hate.
I am one of those that love it. In fact, I've even started doing the evil eye thing to people who dare say they not like the place, a habit of many of my friends who were born here, and one that I used to laugh at.
For one thing, there's the feeling of being constantly surrounded by history. Brick sidewalks and historic buildings are everywhere. You walk streets that so many people have walked before, walk through alleys that hid slaves on the underground railroad, and sit in churches where our nations history began. It is both inspiring and humbling.
There's the accent that after a while just starts to sound like home, and in my neighborhood, an Irish brogue was nearly as common. There's a friendliness that isn't always outwardly apparent, but that is always there, even if under the surface. When you're in trouble, it comes out. It took awhile to make friends here, but the friends I've made will stick by me, and I know it. And when something is wrong, we speak up.
Boston is this weird mix of unity and divisiveness. Would a relative Brookline (a town in the center of Boston, yet never incorporated) really exist in the middle of Manhattan? There's a fierce independent streak here, a determination to stay true to one's own. This is not always a good thing, but it can be.
We're surrounded by history, but there's also that sense of being on the cutting edge, of moving forward at a fantastic rate (okay, maybe not while stuck in bigdig traffic for the umpteenth time). Colonial buildings are backed by glass skyscrapers, and it seems normal. Things change here everyday...for all our history, we are never stagnant. There's over a hundred colleges here - it's inevitable for there to be a steady stream of new ideas.
Boston has a strong sense of place, a perhaps over-inflated sense of its own importance. It can be offputting, but it infuses the town with so much character and vibrancy that it's hard not to be affected by it.