I have never owned a telescope before. Most of my experience with astronomy has been done the old fashioned way, with my eyes. Although I currently live in New Jersey, I grew up in Howard, Kansas. Being a small town in the deep country of the Midwest, the views of the night sky provided to me were awe-inspiring, to say the least. The light pollution in Jersey makes it a bit more difficult to stargaze, although I have found one excellent spot. It is called Caranza Monument, located in the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey. I don't know much of the history of this monument other than a pilot crashed there long ago. Caranza is basically a huge clearing in the middle of dense forest, accessible only by un-lit dirt road.
In the summer of 2005, I asked a young girl there on a date, knowing she had mentioned an interest in Astronomy before. She accepted, and the following weekend we packed a small bag of snacks and we were off. The drive there was a little unnerving, but soon enough we had set up camp.
The view was definitely worth the drive. We saw 2 shooting stars that night. Neither of us had ever seen one before, or since.
I have always been fascinated by the stars and the sky. I look up to the sky, and I see magic. I look into my (now) wife's eyes, 4 years later, and I see that same magic. I can't help but feel that the Universe shared some of itself with us that night, and for that, We are truly thankful.