Hampton Inn

The Hampton Inn’s five stories loom large in Buzzards Bay.

Virtual reality is big these days. Arguably, it’s been big in our culture for decades, spurred on by movies such as “The Matrix” (1999) and video games such as “Assassin’s Creed” (2007), but the hunger for virtual reality continues to grow.

We seem to be approaching a time in the not-too-distant future when people will not only be comfortable with virtual reality, but more comfortable in that world.

Why hew to a world of hard edges and surfaces not of one’s own making when you can spend time in a flexible world that can be bent at the behest of one’s mind?

At the risk of being out of fashion, we step forward to advocate for physical reality, and to argue for a particular segment of that reality, a five-story, 100-room hotel that opened last week on Perry Avenue in Buzzards Bay.

The hotel is a Hampton Inn, part of a national chain. The structure cost millions of dollars and took months to build.

But now it’s there, close to Main Street in Buzzards Bay, accepting guests, preparing to interweave itself with the social and economic life of the village and of the town of Bourne itself.

Virtual reality is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can be easy. If you’re not taken with one vision, drop it and concoct another.

But at the end of the session, and certainly at the end of the day, what do you have? Nothing but electronic images, and the memories of those images in your mind.

But build a big structure in the real world, and, short of earthquake or war, it stays and lasts, regardless of what you think or feel about it.

It was that way with the transcontinental railroad in 1869, with the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883, and with the interstate highway system in the 1950s and 1960s.

Each required a commitment and a vision of completing that structure. And each altered, in far-reaching ways, the reality of their respective worlds that existed before them.

Economic planning is fine. And Bourne, not the most affluent of towns, certainly would benefit by hiring an economic planner. Economic brainstorming by interested town committees also can be worthwhile.

But a serious change in the physical landscape of downtown Buzzards Bay means that things truly are changing, probably in a significant way. With the construction and opening of the Hampton Inn, developers and businessmen have bet big on Buzzards Bay. A new reality for the village and the town may be in the offing.

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