Call me a sheep, but, I tend obey things like street signs. I was taking my children on a lil Sunday afternoon drive a couple of weekends ago when I passed Blythewood Dr. in Pittsfield.

Near the residents' mailboxes on the corner of Blythewood Dr. and West St. is a black and white sign reading "PRIVATE WAY". Sounds exclusive!


Freshly cut grass in the backyard of a private house.

Now, it is no mystery that the residents of Blythewood Dr. in Pittsfield most likely have a little bit of money. A lot of those houses are literally on the shores of Onota Lake.

I must be honest, when I was driving down the private way, I felt like I was breaking the law, or at the very least, was not welcome there. Some walkers on the road at that time were waving (to say hello) at me, however.

Was it that my vehicle was brand new and they thought I lived there? These are the things that pop into my paranoid head. 😂

In actuality, a "private way", doesn't necessarily represent exclusivity to the residents who live there, and it is certainly not illegal to drive on it.

Police, in fact, can hardly enforce any driving regulations on private roads, because they are not owned by the state or by municipalities. (There are rare exceptions, such as drunken driving arrests.)

Residents can enforce their own parking rules, though.

People think of 'private' in the sense of something being exclusive. But it's really private in that it has not been accepted as a public way, with public standards. It does not mean exclusivity. Being a way, it's open for the public to pass.

So the next time I travel down a private way, I won't feel so guilty!

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

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