The Berkshires is a general term applied to the hills and valleys running along the western edge of Massachusetts. They are oddly sophisticated with grand old hotels and great mansions like Edith Wharton’s The Mount. There are swimming holes, orchards, museums, and lots of long beautiful country roads that smell like damp woods and the rushing wind. Joe and I had been wishing for a couple days there with the girls for a long time, and finally things fell into place.
We drove out from Boston Thursday evening arriving at the Porches Inn, the hotel across the street from Mass MOCA around 9pm. Weekday nights run about $80 cheaper than weekend nights at Porches ($300 total). We had requested a pack n play and a pullout couch for our room–both were already set up as beds for the girls–lovely! It was pouring rain and pitch dark but we decided to show the girls the hot tub anyway. The four of us sat in there with our hair getting soaking wet from the rain, and it felt like such a family memory, I loved it.
I love these photos. When Joe and I are feeling like things are moving along as nicely as water transported via kleenex, we say things are getting scramble-ramble. “This is too scramble ramble” is how it usually sounds. Meaning this is totally cool on many levels but we’re missing it all. Meaning, our situation was not quite what we were hoping for. As soon as we set foot off the tram at the Getty I realized it was huge mistake to have brought grumpy un-napped Joan along with us, but there we were. Three surely she’ll fall asleep in the car/stroller/once we’re walking…later and we were still stuck with the wide awake Bea.
But anyway I knew when we headed to Los Angeles that I wanted to see my internet friend Noelle and meet her son West for the first time, and maybe even her partner (whom she refers to as “le bf” online) if we were extra lucky. It all came true at the Getty and we got to eat lunch together in a beautiful place. It was a pretty different scene conversationally from the last time we met up, but I was so happy to see them nonetheless. Noelle is deep into life with West but when she climbs out for a few minutes here and there, her food blog is my favorite.
Midway through our meal Joan dumped an entire bottle of water on herself, just as Joe had suggested to me she would, just as I had sagely suggested she would not. Noelle lent/gave/thankyousomuch us West’s backup clothes she’d packed for the day and saved everything because that water was cold.
Noelle told me that my How to Make Mom Friends post helped her make one of her best mom friends that she now picnics with weekly. It made me so happy!
It was scramble ramble; it was good.
Note the Getty is actually awesome for kids. Free strollers available at the coat check, a perfectly simple and pleasing kids art room, and obviously: lots of open space.
Well here we are first day of spring, and guess what? It’s the season to book your summer trip to Maine. Itty bitty rental agencies across the coast are turning on the wifi and posting their rentals. Most agencies take half at the time of contract, and half a week or two before your rental, so you can save up if need be.
With that on my mind, I dug up my photos from when we went to Deer Isle last October. Just a few hours north of famous Bar Harbor lies a land of charm and warmth beyond anything I’d encountered before. Deer Isle, a lovely spanning island just one green bridge away from the wonderful little town of Blue Hill. It was magical and we fell in love.
October is when rentals are about as cheap as they get. We are off-season-people who thrive with our sweaters and extra socks, when most things are closed and the nooks are quiet too. But you might want to think about visiting in August. That is true Maine glory time, blueberries, sailing, funny town fairs and no black flies (black fly season is May/June), with open ice cream shops. And just maybe, quite possibly, air that is just hot enough to make that freezing ocean look enticing.
We fell completely in love with the architecture of our rental house. It was a collection of four cabins surrounding one large main building that contained the kitchen and living space. It was the type of place that just grabbed your attention anytime you looked its way. Every perspective of it seemed better than the last. I found myself thinking of the architect constantly–how much thought and planning most had gone into creating such a careful collection.
We had a few days of lovely weather and then it became stormy and rainy for our last few days. We read books, bought the newspaper, and built lots of fire to stay warm in our cabins.
We ate oysters we’d bought on the way up, packaged cinnamon rolls, s’mores, mussels we pulled off rocks on the beach, and fresh bread from Tinder Hearth.
The pathways between the cabins alternated between dirt and stone slabs. The stone became the pathway—moss-covered and a little precarious. I didn’t pack the right shoes, so in the evening when I walked the girls over to the cabin to put them to bed, and then when I went back again to check on them, I would wear my slippers. The slippers soaked up water from the wet moss. So then I just went barefoot.
^Our friend David came up with us for a few days and built this blanket fort for the girls.
Just before we arrived at our rental the first night, we stopped by the Blue Hill Wine Shop. Shop of dreams! They made coffee in the morning, sold fresh bread, cheeses, salamis, and tons of beautifully affordable wines. They had wonderful front porch for watching the sunset and it was clearly a hub of love and conversation.
With all the enormous windows lining the main house, we couldn’t help but stare at the layers of ocean, then granite, then trees. Blue, stone, green. It was the most soothing sight.
Joe took outdoor showers in the freezing October rain. He promised me they were wonderful and warm despite the pummeling rain. It seemed unfathomable to me that was true, so I would watch from the window. The mist from the cold rain hitting the warm shower water seemed pick him up onto a cloud. By chance, he was reading a biography of Benjamin Franklin at the time and told me about Franklin’s daily naked “wind showers,” with admiration.
We took walks down to the damp shore, the girls delighting in collecting snail shells and stepping on the spongy seaweed. Often we would see lobster boats drive by to check on their traps. Thousands of cracked mussel shells mixed into the rocks and brightened the beach.
One morning David stayed with the girls at the house while Joe and I drove off to find 44 North Coffee. In the upstairs of a once stately building on a quiet island road, lies a coffee roaster. 44 North, with a jar of triangle donuts by the door, sold on the honor system. Their coffee is meticulous pour-over. Their coffee bags are hand drawn cartoons and nearly collectible. Joe and I brought donuts back for the girls and a big bag of coffee for the cottage.
It was the off season, yet it felt as if many things were open. Guided by our gps off the island and into quiet backwoods, we found Tinder Hearth Pizza. It was elegantly gourmet in a wood hewn way.The only time we saw a sign for the spot was when we finally pulled in front of the house. A table was stacked with plates, silverware and mismatched glassware. In the front of the room was an enormous brick pizza oven emanating a delicious smell. On “pizza nights” (best checked via Facebook) they welcome people inside to sit and eat. And during the summer, everyone comes to eat and sprawl on their back lawn! We watched as couples came in and picked up their pizzas to go, but all the families who stopped by sat down at the community table. In no time we had friendly local faces on all sides of us. It’s also BYOB which is the best—pulling out the great bottle you’ve picked out, with no upscaled prices.^ A #momlife travel moment for me. I envisioned us serenely draped across the boat watching the waves fly by, learning about the wildlife. Naturally everyone wanted to sit on my lap at the same time and I couldn’t hear a word. : )A few affordable rentals in the area for this summer that caught my eye while internet-hunting: a darling studio cottage for $495/wk, a cozy two-bedroom in Brooksville for $1150/wk, a rustic waterfront with a lovely dock for $1045/wk, and a modern two bedroom in Stonington for $1200/wk. And a pleasantly rustic spot on Deer Isle for $685/wk. All prices listed in August rates; other months are cheaper.
The house we stayed at last year is The Sunshine House.
I didn’t have much luck on airbnb.com for this area, Downeast Maine Rental Agency seemed to have the best spots.
I’m headed to San Francisco this afternoon for my sister Joanie’s bachelorette weekend. I’m so over-the-moon excited. It’s my first time to see the city. It’s supposed to rain all weekend. Doesn’t matter. Thank you thank you Joe!
The apartment is clean. The fridge is full. Lux and I made raspberry popsicles, a shared project that is turning into something of a ritual we do together before I go on trips.
I’ve been wanting to buy a Wildsam city guide for awhile and I finally had an excuse to treat myself. They are so well done. I feel practically like a native, and I’m still waiting to take off from Boston! A brief city history told through historical documents, an easy to read map of the neighborhoods, ESSAYS (starry eyes here), and interviews with locals. Throw in the nearly-pocket size and a good-looking cover to seal the deal. Incidentally, if you are an East of Eden fan, the founder Taylor Bruce named the series after Samuel Hamilton. More starry eyes.
Ok, I’m off!
This past weekend, I went away with some mom friends from my neighborhood. Joe volunteered to watch the girls, the very same girls who ended up being sick all weekend. Alas, poor abandoned family. At least I managed to pack the fridge completely full beforehand (bbq chicken, chicken salad, cottage cheese pancakes, hummus, hard boiled eggs, raspberries).All the women on our trip have young children around the same age and are usually chasing children at the playground so what. a. treat. to have uninterrupted conversation and truly TALK to each other. I dropped in at the end of all the planning emails, so the rooms were reserved, most plane tickets booked, and dinner reservations already made. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of females trying to plan a trip via email, then you know how nice it is to skip most of it and just show up.
I spent some time on Pinterest before we left so I had a hit list of South Beach places to see. Total side tangent: pinterest has become an incredibly effective travel itinerary guide. Personally I trace this back to their partnership with Foursquare which allowed them to pull all of Foursquare’s user location-tagged photos. These days even the most wayward cute gas station is discoverable on there. I suggest it as a first stop when planning a trip, even before food review sites or magazines. Thanks to this helpful blog post, this interview by Garance Dore, and many enticing photos, I put together a list I was excited about. I ended up visiting only a few of those places, but I was happy to have options ahead of time. (If you’re traveling to South Beach soon, here’s the board I put together from these recommendations.)
I went out early one morning and watched as men from each hotel hauled out the beach chairs, then the chair pillows, then the umbrellas, tugging everything into even rows up as they went. The chairs spent the day as proud striped bandstands lined up across the sand, only to be completely dismantled and put away every night.
The water was extra-specially-blue and WARM.
We stayed at the Ritz, which had wonderful service as always, and good food; though the style of the hotel wasn’t at all beachy which felt like a missed opportunity, and the food was overpriced. However, their pina coladas were excellent and their beach-food-delivery was shockingly fast. The Ritz has the type of service where you might be sitting in a hot tub (a rather glorious thing one can do when not-pregnant, right?), wondering about how to perfect the situation and get a cold beer, and minutes later, someone hands one to you.
I had hoped to visit and take a long soak at The Standard’s spa with their stylized ancient baths, but I called ahead and learned one needed to do a spa service for $135 in order to use the baths, which didn’t feel quite worth it when I already had so many fun things to do.Just a block or two down from our hotel was The Raleigh. Gosh what a wonderful treat to the eyes. I couldn’t get enough of the spot. I guess I’m more of an art deco type than a sleek hotel type. We had breakfast by the pool there one day, and another day my friend Jenny and I just sat on the front porch and people watched while sipping the delicious smoothies sold through their diner-esque cafe in the lobby.One hot afternoon after sweating in the sun for awhile, a few of us caught a cab down to My Ceviche for cheap delicious ceviche, roasted corn, spicy popcorn, and, if I’d only had room: a basket of stone crab claws. They don’t have tables, but if you order a drink from the bar next door, they let you use theirs.
I personally didn’t make it to Under the Mango Tree but I sent some friends in their direction and they loved it. A bit of a hole in the wall, but very friendly and delicious. Smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, acai bowls, it is a perfect destination after a long walk on the beach.
Our first night we had dinner at Casa Tua. This hip Italian spot felt very Hollywood, beginning with the tall hedge framing the whole unmarked restaurant. Gorgeous flickering lights and greenery welcome you in, once you finally find the entrance. Somewhat burly, hustle-y waiters frown when you ask for a custom cocktail. Amazing burrata and perfectly-done pasta, with a strong showing of seafood.
The Sandwicherie: I confess, I circled this place and but didn’t eat there! It looked amazing and I love that they are open for 24 hours. I also love that (according to reviews) they drizzle vinaigrette on your sandwich. This spot was only a few blocks from our hotel, a great walk in any direction. I regretted that I didn’t make it to any Cuban food spots, though I got the feeling I would have had to head back into Miami to find the good ones.
Thinking of our kids back home, all of us found ourselves watching the families on vacation around us. It seemed like a great spot for them. The sand was silky, the pool was warm, there was umbrellas and accessible food in abundance. Mentally I compared it to St. Thomas, though South Beach is definitely cheaper overall and with better food. For East Coasters, it would be about the same three hour direct flight as the Virgin Islands. Trust me when I say this is on my mind as I return to temps in the 30s here in Boston! Yikes.
Post script: even the H&M was glam:
A few things I love from our time in the Traverse City area earlier this month. In the summer in Michigan everyone talks about going “up north” for vacation, even if it’s just a 30 minute or so drive north. I love possibilities in that phrase. Traverse City is a quick flight from Detroit, so it’s really quite easy for us to fly in from Boston. My parents have rented the same house for 17 years, so though it doesn’t feel like home, it does feel nostalgic and comfortable. I’m taking the girls back next week for just a little bit more vacation, lucky us!
Roadside tacos, recommended by this fanatstic guide to the area on Megan Gilger’s blog.Pine trees grow through the center of this ice cream spot.
When Lux was four weeks old, we flew to Michigan as usual for my family’s vacation. There was some weird complication with my c-section healing up and the doctors told me I couldn’t swim to avoid further infection. Immediately it was the only thing I wanted to do. I could imagine the cold water enclosing around me as I dove down, my feet flipping halfway out of the water like dolphin fins. Being denied that freedom just that one time has made me so grateful for the opportunity to jump in ever since.
my mom’s chocolate sauce on the stovetop in the evenings early mornings with Joan, vastly improved by good coffeeMy brother and I went to see Chef at the Traverse City’s State Theatre on Free Popcorn Wednesdays. A cute foodie movie in a beautiful theatre, lovingly restored and volunteer-run!There are wonderfully casual wineries in the area to visit and more vineyards are being planted all the time (somewhat replacing the cherry tree orchards).My dad is obsessed with the ‘pizza bread’ from this market.
It’s easy to tack Brimfield dates onto a map of our marriage and recall the phases we were in at the time. How you shop together as a couple is always a relationship barometer. In the realm of your standard shopping trips–in which grocery shopping is probably the easiest category–there’s IKEA shopping. IKEA has a bad name, for reasons that I believe link back to the way they bait you into walking through their entire inventory. Then there’s clothes shopping, in which you always reveal more of yourself and your fears than you intended to, because you’re trying to ignore your fears and pretend they are not there with you in the dressing room. That’s a tough one too, but usually at least just one of you is making the decision, and the other one is trying not to stare at the clock in bewilderment.
But Brimfield has always meant shopping as a couple, making decisions as a couple, giving each other the side eye, as a couple.
First year: shopping as newly married, looking for a few pieces to prove we could buy things together and that our apartment had character. Second year: shopping as new business owners, hoping to find pieces that could frame our little market and bolster it. Third year: shopping as we were pregnant, hunting for the perfect old crib that would fit our tiny apartment, or the right artwork that would represent everything we hoped for the new babe. And so on, until what is now our sixth year, all so known as: yesterday.
We had something of an argument a few nights beforehand when we tried to lay out all the things we expected the other to do. I expected Joe to present me with things he didn’t actually really want, and wait for me to say why we didn’t need them. He expected me to be a naysayer, and talk us out everything, including the exact things we needed. I expected to feel overwhelmed by the options and revert to strictly window shopping, and then feel a wave of buyer’s remorse as we drove away. We hashed this all out and felt much better. It was very adult, and my, how much we know ourselves now don’t we?
But, as it turned out, this edition was much more about the fact that we were shopping, really and truly, with two kids. The children were not as taken with the affair as we expected—the big tents, their posts sunk into mud, their interiors filled with untouchables. The strange chilling breeze that alternated abruptly with a blazing May day sun. Joan hit her whining pitch early and stayed there, and I had no idea what was wrong and evidently, no satisfying solution. Lux was under-dressed for the cold breeze and curled up in the umbrella stroller like an unfurled butterfly, coldly staring back at cooing passerbys trying to say Hi. I saw things–gold bracelets! quirky watercolors! a rack of cardigans!–that I wanted to examine at leisure, but as soon as I paused, I felt the tug and whine to keep moving. Joe tried on a vintage plaid while Lux murmured complaints in the background at a dull roar. We looked at each other and muttered “mutiny.”
Had the threshhold been reached, I wondered. Were we ignorant to gaily attempt this affair–so blithely executed by the hipster couples toting antique tin wash boards back their cars (yes, I really saw them)–as a young family?
Somehow it turned around. We went back to the car for our trusty larger stroller and popped Joan in it, with a bottle. I took off my sweater, put it on Lux, and zipped her up in the vest she had refused earlier. I revealed to her a few of the secrets that had kept me walking so far–the prospect of lemonade slush and a fresh crepe. Her eyes widened and she agreed to continue hunting. Once she was walking by my side and outside of the stroller, she and the shopkeepers struck up an easy relationship. They slipped her tokens from their tables and dug through their piles to find prints of dogs and cats. The fields were full of puddles from the morning’s downpour and she was wearing her rain boots. Joan was shielded from the sun and actually kicked with glee when she caught my eye. We found a bag of wooden bobbins, some clothespins to turn into little people, a small metal toolbox for craft supplies, and a large metal trunk from India to holding the steadily-growing pile of dress-up clothes in the girls’ room.
And I was so happy to have a child old enough to share my favorite foods. Brimfield is as much about the food stands—like a state fair, but with better food—as the antiques. It’s a vanity, perhaps a lunatic one, to pat yourself on the back that your child likes the same food as you when it’s fried dough and kettle corn. Nonetheless! There’s a thrill when you can nod with them and say “Right? It’s so good.”
Brimfield is an enormous antique fair in Western Mass that takes over grassy fields in the spring and fall. Here are a couple posts from others, with better photos than mine, if you’re curious for more: 1/ Design Sponge 2/ A Continuous Lean 3/ Soule Mama
It was a glorious week on St. Thomas. I couldn’t believe what an easy four hour direct flight it was. And on Jetblue, to boot. Thus we sallied into the airport accompanied by several bags of bluechips each, and plenty of DirectTV. If only Joan hadn’t spent most of the flight attempting to chew through my headphones.
We went to the US Virgin Islands so we didn’t need a passport for Joan and there were no customs to trudge through after we landed. (I was interested to learn that the US bought the islands from Denmark around the time of WWI, wisely outbidding Germany.)
Did I complain once about travel with children? Banish the thought. I love how a toddler will be delighted by a twenty minute ride, and the baby by an abandoned playground that you happen upon. I believe we were at the beach by 9am every day. Back to our hotel room for naps around noon, and then back out again in the evening. Several times we had the girls in the pool by moonlight.
I can’t even imagine sailing up from Europe on some explorer’s boat, way back when, and seeing these islands. Just so beautiful, everywhere you look. Warm clear waters in a rainbow of blue shades, mangrove trees shading the beaches with their glossy green leaves, an eternal breeze keeping things comfortable, clouds blowing over before they have a chance to get stormy.
We stayed at the Ritz Carlton residences because a friend generously offered the use of their condo there. I would stay there again in a heartbeat. We didn’t rent a car and we rarely left the resort. This definitely wasn’t an integrated cultural experience where we hunted down a hip airbnb and tried the local places. It was a full-on relaxation fest.
We packed half of my suitcase with snacks so as to avoid being reliant on the resort’s restaurants. A further plus to the snack suitcase was that Joe and I felt comfortable, budget-wise, indulging beachside in some of the ever-present frozen drinks. My favorite: a mint mojito blended with ice and coconut milk. Basically the best three ingredients in the world, combined into one. I’ll be doing that one at home. To avoid Lux seagulling our drinks, several times we ordered virgin versions for her, like a lime coconut mix.
When we did go out, happy hour was a thrill. It’s illegal in Boston to have happy hour (what? seriously). Going to places that had $3 drinks from 3-6pm was delightful! Despite the temptation of frozen drinks, I also became a big fan of Presidente beer while we were there. Yum.
Several of the signature drinks on the island had nutmeg dustings on top. I thought that was great trick to mellow out the sweetness and add a little kick.
We did wander over to St. John’s for the day, the other US isle. We did not see any of the feral donkeys as I had hoped, but I found some lovely local avocados, for $5 each. (For comparison, a box of butter at the grocery store was $7.50!) Bigger than my hand, as you can see, and quite sweet. We also stocked up at the local grocery store on butter, eggs, milk, kefir, bread, coconut water, cereal, and peanut butter.
I’m already scheming about coming back when the girls are older, renting a sailboat and visiting more of the islands. If we went again, I think we would rent a car, just to avoid tallying taxis fare into every foray that we planned. Particularly because taxi rides are valued by the number of passengers. Joan wasn’t counted, but Lux was. However, it was a treat to travel sans-carseats, especially for Joe (our resident mule).
I like it for the fireplaces that are everywhere. I like it for how thirsty you suddenly are. Drink lots of water, breath lots of air. The air feels only lightly oxygenated; thin and effervescent compared to sea level. I like how even the kids that look like punk teenagers are probably athletes, outside for most of every day using their bodies and looking around them and being alive.
We just do it this one week every year, but for that week, we do it every day. We arrive and we take off our city clothes and put on fleece and long underwear in layers and walk around looking like adults in cuddledowns. After a few days our faces are burnished, ruddy cheeks with dry lips and patches of windburn. You see people rubbing chapstick over their lips constantly and patting on sunscreen and vaseline, but it does nothing. We wake up in the morning, look up at the mountain and wonder if it will snow. All anyone talks about is the snow. Will it snow, when will it snow, when did it last snow, what is the snow on the mountain like, how did it feel out there? Hey, how was it out there? you ask each other. Crunchy, soft, powdery, icy, white out, bright out, cold.
My dad taught me to ski and for most of my childhood I associated it with something he wanted me to do. Like taking long bicycle trips, or practicing for cross country weekend races by running longer and longer routes throughout the week, it was not my idea, it was his. As a kid, skiing meant that there was a lot of heavy stuff to put on, it was cold, and there was every possibility I could get hurt. The chairlifts seemed thoughtlessly fast. My peripheral vision was cut off by googles, and snowboarders came too close. I don’t know if you can ever introduce your kids to something that you love without tainting it with your own passion for it. You want it for them so much. But still you plant the seeds, and hope when they start claiming things for themselves later in life, they will recall this mother tongue and be pleased to find it within themselves.
As one of my great aha! moments of adulthood, skiing recently became a real freedom for me. Now I see it: the pillowly cushioning silence of the snow. The hush shoo of my skiis swiftly skating over the ground. The crisp scrappy-edge sound of cutting through icy patches. The glorious aloneness of it. Picking a direction, easing down the slope towards it, and just a moment later, finding yourself racing towards it. Feeling fast and strong but feeling in control. I think I see why I didn’t take well to it as a kid. It requires something aggressive in you.
The two runs I really loved this year are rated double green—the easiest you can do and supposedly for beginners, but I just love the pace of them. Ten minutes up of small up-and-down slopes. You go down a small hill and have just enough momentum to go up the next one. Then you do it again. Patches of trees are scattered throughout, to weave around if you want to feel like a rabbit racing through the woods. If it’s morning there are shadows and you can see little dips and bumps as you approach them. If it’s noon there will be no shadows, just dazzling white shining back at you. And then you ski almost as if you were blind, keeping your legs loose and easy.
There are several perfect things you can do when you ski. One is to ski for a couple of hours and then take a break for a hot chocolate in the sun. If you already have warm snow gear on, in addition to being on top of a mountain, it’s toasty in the sun. Hot chocolate on the mountain is serve yourself. First you pay something like $3.50 for a paper cup. There’s a tub of marshmallows, and several canisters of whipped cream, and a push button hot chocolate maker that asks you to stop when the cup is 2/3rd full. It’s hard to do this.
Another is take a chairlift up the mountain alone. Ten minutes of silence, the chair tugging its way steadily past the treetops. You, on a bench, not even a seatbelt to hold you back, swinging high over the ground, surrounded by views only the birds would see. The scatter of animal footprints below is suddenly so clear—their winnowing paths. It feels like you could embrace a passing pine tree, they are so narrow and soft up top.
And another is to take a chairlift with a stranger. I’ve been on chairlifts with fat men who are very good skiers. I’ve been on chairlifts with 80 year old men who are very good skiers. These trips always remind me that it’s an inclusive, happy sport. As the chairlift scoops you up, swings back for a moment, and then lifts grandly up into the sky you look at your new partner for the next ten minutes and grin. Oh, it’s great out here, they say. Yes it is, you say.
Michigan was gorgeous and heartbreaking as it always is. It is such a humble unassuming state. Boast about yourself more Michigan! I sometimes think to myself, when I compare it to the way Cape Cod and Nantucket strut around. It has amazing sand beaches, clear water, acres of cherry trees, the best corn you will ever eat, dense forests hiding ravines and trees of all sorts, and the most cheerful people.
A sweet and kind uncle of mine unexpectedly died after a bad fall and my family will be reeling from it for awhile. Because of the hubbub of flying with two kids, I didn’t make it back for the funeral. I feel lucky to hear stories from it and the nearly-all-nighter Irish wake, though it’s messy and exhausting to ask how everyone is doing and know that they are hurting. It was wonderful to see them but brought tears to my eyes to hear the edge on their voices from lots of crying and the lines on their faces.
We each brought things we loved to share. I brought coffee and homemade granola, Grace brought butternut squash soup, Jenny brought homemade salsa and gin from Traverse City, Andrea brought Amish cheddar cheese and dark chocolate cookies. We spent hours just sitting on the porch talking with the first Fall leaves blowing over our heads. That Fall wind….it’s like you feel the mass rush of birds flying south in it as it blows over your face. We walked the quiet beaches, wandered around the small town farmer’s market and gave my dollar to the high school boys belting out an awfully good guitar duet, walked along the river that cuts through town.
Oh this is the good life, I thought when I got out of the taxi back in Boston. My cozy home. My giggling toddler who can say “I. miss. yooo” when she sees me. My husband who got rid of all that pesky furniture we didn’t want any more and picked up a crib for Joan off craigslist. Weekend trips mean no vacation-hangover, just a blessedly simple pick-me-up and then back to life as I love it.