I’m listening to saxophony jazz on this rainy day. The buskers we encountered over the weekend all seemed to be playing saxophone. Lux fell in love with one of them and stopped to wave at him every five steps as we walked away. He waved back every time.
We went to the MOMA to see the exhibit the century of the child. It was clearly very cool but we couldn’t read much of it because of the child. Instead we hung out in the courtyard. And we did leave inspired to buy at tripp trapp high chair. (and fortunately there’s a very informative interactive website, so I can follow up on all the stuff I saw.)
We “waited” for two hours for ramen at ippudo (actually, we left and came back, then snacked at the bar, then got a table). Do you have ramen envy? I did. It felt like all the foodies were talking about ramen. Maybe it was reading that first issue of lucky peach. Ramen restaurants make their own broth combinations, their own noodles, and suggest different toppings like soft boiled eggs. mmmmmm I’d love to go back.
Lux woke up at 6am every morning. Thus we went to a number of coffee shops. If you’re traveling on a budget, just buying coffee in different places is a fun way to tour. (pictured here, Gasoline Alley)
After following them on twitter for two years I finally visited the bookstore Mcnally Jackson. That bookstore is beautifully designed and thoughtfully spacious, despite being rather small. These people know the power of typography.
My second-to-youngest brother Wilson is just starting his freshman year of college. Can you imagine, freshman year in New York? Amazing. We shared fresh churros at an inviting little cafe called La Churreria.
Liege waffles with yogurt, blueberries and coffee from a Japanese cafe called Caffe Bene. They are in Time Square, enormous and have free wifi. It’s an interesting spot to visit—the cafe is styled almost like a retail space with hip library-esque decorations and nice light fixtures. And the coffee, just normal drip coffee, was really good.
Summer goal accomplished! Buying raw milk is something I wish I could do regularly, but had never done until two weeks ago. I’m intrigued that folks who have a hard time with lactose say that raw milk doesn’t bother them a bit. Even more intriguing was the promise of flavor—raw milk fans say the flavor is nothing like the boiled pasteurized stuff. So we slipped a trip to Robinson’s Farm on the way to the Book Mill and Tanglewood to pick up a few gallons. In Massachusetts raw milk regulations require farmers to sell directly from their farm property. This keeps me from being able to buy it with any frequency, but I like the idea: see for yourself how clean our shop is, and buy if it looks good.
Raw milk is $8 a gallon! For the farmers this higher price, paid directly into their money box, makes it possible to make a healthy living wage. Robinson’s also makes amazing aged cheese. One of them was called barn dance; best cheese name ever.
We started drinking it immediately. It was delicious. So creamy it almost looked faintly yellow, you shake up the whole gallon to mix the layer of cream on top. It was satisfying in a way skim milk could only claim on TV, one small cup was enough for me….until five minutes later when I wanted more. I am not exaggerating: I think I could taste the green grass the cows had munched to make the milk. And we had to chase down the cows–a good sign! Their pastures ranged far and wide and they were taking advantage of it.*We brought home another gallon and made mozzarella from it. It took one gallon to make 3/4 of pound of cheese. It was so delicious, but now I have no problem paying $6 for 1/2 pound of fresh mozzarella–it’s real work to make fresh cheese!
What about you? I’d love to be able to buy this regularly, and switch over to drinking all raw. Do you get to buy raw milk? Would you if location allowed?
*I’m curious to see what happens to grassfed dairy products this fall. Typical cornfed products are going way up because of the drought out west—will they soon be comparable to grassfed prices? Or will both go up?
Most raw milk farms are in Western Mass. There are several that sell raw milk, including Upinngil and Codman Farm. Cook Farm also sells ice cream and keeps the cows close by for the kids’ viewing sake. I’d love to go there next time.
This post is a combination of two things.
1. All of the photos are from last week’s vacation (instagrams are perfect for vacation photos, don’t you think?).
2. All of the text comprises my “perfect list” of the things I’d recommend to anyone, anytime, to always do. For the most part, the photos have nothing to do with the text. So sorry, but I think it’ll work.
Here’s the thing about Nantucket. It’s expensive and prohibitive. They charge you to park on the mainland side (cheapest parking is at the bus lot). They charge you to ferry over on the slowest boat possible, or they charge you to fly over on the shortest flight known to mankind. Food also must ferry over, so menu prices will make you wince. Many of the shops seem to be full of cashmere and ridiculous gold jewelry. The drabbest bed and breakfast could cost your whole vacation budget.
But here’s the other thing about Nantucket: the entire thing is encircled with beaches. Each one has a new view, or a new type of wave, or a new feeling of pure freedom to encounter. It’s 99% independent businesses owned by quirky humans, most of them there because they adore the place. The breeze seems to be always blowing. The architectural restrictions that mean every single house must have cedar shingles and white trim? It works so well that your eyes relax and notice all the wildflowers for once.
And it can be relished, truly loved, for not too much money.
Best case scenario: someone with a house invites you out. God bless em, this happens every once in awhile. But other best case scenario: stay at the cutest hostel in the world! Take the shuttle out, or bring your bike on the ferry and bike out. Take the bus down from Boston, bring your bike on the ferry, stay here, and save your pennies for the food!
Milky Coffee and the Breakfast Special at the Pharmacy You can do the brunch scene with it twenty minute waits, or you can do this. Particularly when hungover, I prefer this. Sit at the counter if you can, or just call your order to the girls behind the counter. The breakfast special is a genius combination of onion bagel, bacon, tomato, salt and pepper and cream cheese . It arrives in splendor on a paper plate. They mix your cream and sugar into your coffee, and it turns out dessert style.Lounging inside and outside the Library An oasis in the heat, the Nantucket Athenaeum is a beautiful free spot: cool inside and full of books! I love to sit for an hour with a few magazines to take a break from the bustle of town. Or bring your own book and sit in their shaded grassy yard.a walk to the Bake Shop for donuts Just outside town, the Bake Shop competes with Downy Flake for island’s best donut. I love this little bakery for its old school vibe. It’s absolutely full of options and I never know what to order, I just point at a bunch of things and make off with my paper sack of goodies.
Sandwiches in the yard at Something Natural There are 4+ great sandwiches shops on Nantucket but you’ll see stickers for Something Natural on almost every car. The beautiful ambling lawn out front, the addictively fresh Portuguese bread, and the scenic Cliffside Road address surely all contribute to this. Ideal for a quick bike ride outside of town, order one of their enormous sandwiches, pick up a Nantucket Nectar, and lounge in the shade.
Day Drinking at Cisco Brewery Truth is, everyone will tell you to go here. By 4pm this ramshackle lot can be incredibly crowded and you’ll see the line of parked cars as soon as you turn onto Bartlett Road. But around 2pm on a weekday there’s a good chance you can find a chair in the shade. Sometimes there’s a visiting raw bar selling plates of bluefish dip and crackers. Sometimes there’s a portable pizza oven. Sometimes there’s no food at all, just beer of all sorts, waiting for a tasting. Pennsylvania Dutch Cakes and Bacon at Black Eyed Susan’s If you can get there before eight, you’ll barely have to wait for table. If you don’t, don’t get scared by the crowd out front. Just put your name on the list and walk around town for 30 minutes. Every single thing on the menu is delicious, every seat in the house feels like the perfect spot, and the coffee is bottomless. I do not think it gets better than this.Pillaging island vintage at the Take-it or Leave-it Everyone is required to take their own trash to the dump and sort the recyclables carefully. Once there (and you can bike there!) you’ll see shack in the corner of the dump’s parking lot. Everyone has a story about their favorite free find here–beautiful editions of old books, the perfect sweater, that grill accessory you needed for the week, a beach toy for your baby, etc. We try to go at least a couple times a week when we’re on island. At the end of the week, we go through our stuff and donate to the pile!Hat-gawking at Peter Beaton This place is the classiest. She had striped shirts, signature custom sunglasses and amazing sun hats long before all these jokers showed up. Her window is full of ribbon options, the hats are all so enticing and the little sign guiding you to the shop might be the most charming one in town.Picking up wine from the Bookstore in Sconset If you bring your bikes (or rent them) the longest ride out of town is to Sconset, 8.2 miles. Sconset is perfect for pleasant wandering about, every street is lovely and most corners reveal a view. We love to pick out wine from the Bookstore, a wonderfully curated shop that is attached to the restaurant next door (which is byob, so it works perfectly!). You can always take the shuttle back to town (2 bikes fit on the front).Waiting in the endless line at the Juice Bar The wall is covered with painted signs listing the choices (fresh watermelon juice! homemade fudge! fresh orange juice and vanilla shake!) the fan blows fresh waffle hot air in your face and, come nightfall, the line is around the block. I take that as a certain sign that it’s the spot to be. Chips and Burgers at Surfside Beach To me this place is ideal Nantucket: affordable, friendly, simple, and classy. I love seeing the kids run up from the beach with their dollars in hand, lining up for slush puppies, burgers, bags of Ruffle potato chips, or frozen candy bars. Watch out for the seagulls here! They are dive bombers with a keen eye for an unwatched burger. Bonus: surfside beach is the easiest beach to bike to and it has the cleanest bathrooms and showers. You can drive, bike, or take the shuttle.Bluefish Dip from East Coast Seafood Just before you turn down the road to Cisco Brewery, you’ll see a sign for 167 Seafood. This is my favorite spot to buy seafood–I love the way the shop carries just the right things for seafood buyers, I love how fresh everything is, and I love their bluefish dip. A container of that is the perfect snack for any Nantucket adventure.
Spending Money at Provisions, Straight Wharf Bar, and Straight Wharf Everything this trio of businesses does, they do perfectly. Between the three they’ve got you covered for a morning brunch, a boozy drink and bar snack, or an expensive deluxe dinner.
I just noticed this could also be called “a guide to shade on Nantucket.” ha!
We went to bed so early! What is it about being away from your living room, with its built-in suggestion of tasks and chores, and away from your laptop, that makes it so easy to go to bed?! The sun poured through our windows beginning at 5am and I didn’t mind since we’d gone to bed at 10pm.
We had lobster rolls on our first evening. I like a place that toasts the roll, assumes chips are included, and sells it to you for $11. Unheard of in Boston. Thurston’s also served potato salad with fresh dill, bits of red onion, and corn. And a corn and crab chowder that was almost entirely piles of shredded crab. We shared a pitcher of a breezy drinkable beer called Thurston’s Lobster Ale, of unknown origin.
We tried peaches on the grill. Flesh side down, they ended up tasting faintly smokey but wonderfully warm and mushy. We ate them with vanilla ice cream mixed with grape nuts. Apparently this is a standard flavor in Maine. Strangely delicious. “Like a perfectly soggy bowl of cereal,” Joe said. I wouldn’t agree with that since I don’t like soggy cereal, but it does describe the texture.
We went for exactly one hike to the top of one mountain. At the top there was a puddle full of silky mud that Lux fairly slithered into. She ended up coated in mud and had to be hiked back down half naked.
A soup kitchen was raising funds by serving dozens of popovers, four different kinds of jams, and coffee in small tea cups. Obviously we had to attend. Then we wandered out to the rocky shores to hunt for rocks to give our stone-carving friend (we didn’t find any good ones).
I started reading My Family and Other Animals because it was on the shelves of the cottage where we were staying. It’s a memoir of a family that moved to an island in Greece in the 1930s, written by the youngest brother. I love it.
Lux has an empty jar of almond flavoring in her mouth. The perfect size for sore gums to chew on.
Links for travel in Southwest Harbor & Bar Harbor: seriously spectacular ice cream at Mt. Desert Ice Cream, piled on lobster rolls at Thurston’s, a soup kitchen that also sells meals at Common Good Soup Kitchen, buy clams, mussels, and eggs only from Rat’s and always from Rat’s.
We’re driving up to Maine tonight. We’ll leave around 7pm and play loud music until Lux decides she’s sick of this hipster scene and falls asleep. In this photo from Maine last summer, Joe’s wearing his t-shirt from Saturdays NYC that he has probably worn every week for the last year. We need a new one, and I love them all.
I hope we can:
pick up some raw milk (for mozzarella/yogurt making)
sit on a porch and play in a yard, two very foreign concepts around here these days
have a tasting flight at Mt. Desert ice cream (strawberry fig balsamic sorbet! girls scouts gone wild!)
see sunrise on acadia mountain in the morning
and garage sale in the afternoon
buy a pile of mussels for dinner and do nothing except set them on the grill, put the lid on, and then pull them off one by one as the open.
I hope you have some summery things planned for yourself. Finally buying a carton of strawberries, perhaps? Treating yourself to a jarful of lemonade? Borrowing the Sunday comics from your neighbor’s newspaper? Stopping to talk to all the dogs? (this is Lux’s plan for sure)
Today I have a brief guide to Nantucket on Show + Tell. The 5 spots I recommend are my most favorite things on island, especially the dump with its Take It or Leave It shack. Show + Tell is a blog run by graphic designer and Columbus OH resident Allison Lehman. Everything there is lovely to look at, but I particularly enjoyed her recent tips on blogging series.
I like that Allie limits her guides to 5-6 things because it makes for easy reading. However, I know many of you are in Boston and probably going to visit this summer, therefore I hope to have a longer guide for you next week. Writing this one for Allie reminded me of all things I truly love on that island.
The shops were just waking up, some of them sparely stocked but eagerly open anyway. We stayed with our old roommates, made big dinners and said things like, “the ol’ crew back again!”
We went to the public driving range, bought six baskets at $5 each and sliced away at every last ball.
We sprawled on the beach and let Lux pick up all the bits of crab shell she could find.
I made my first batch of mint lemonade with black tea. Nice in the afternoon. Even better with bourbon in the evening. (five tea bags, one canister frozen lemonade, one bunch mint)
Lux tried my pancakes. She tried my chocolate doughnut. She chewed a marshmallow. A first-sugar-on-the-first-birthday baby she will not be.
We scampered around the grocery store buying ears of corn, loads of fresh dill for potato salad, slabs of salmon for the grill, and extra paper towels.
When Lux napped, we lit a pile of charcoal and had s’mores as an afternoon snack. Joe believes in six squares of Hersheys on each, I grew up with three so six seemed insanely decadent. What about you?
Because I’m always haunting the blogs of New Yorkers, I had a list of places I wanted to visit when Joe and I met friends in the city this weekend. I even made a Google map for the day, out of paranoia that we would unknowingly wander right past the best places (which can happen so easily).
After getting off the Boltbus, we headed straight for ice cream. Coolhaus, the LA-based, architecture-themed ice cream truck, was waiting in a prime location. Because Joe went to school for architecture, I spent four years trying to learn all the names, and Coolhaus’s cheesy architecture jokes were a delightful payoff. For your “one story” sandwich you pick from flavors like peach bellini, Guinness chocolate chip, and Nutella almond chocolate (my choice), then you get to pick the cookie from options like red velvet, maple waffle, and peanut butter (my choice). The sandwiches started melting immediately and we had to eat them as quickly and enthusiastically as possible.
Next: I’ve posted here before about the lovely webstore Chance, and they have a pop-up store for the summer! It’s lovely inside, of course, just look at this seashell collection in the window. For visitors, they have handmade packets filled with a saltwater taffy and a cheerful fortune, all wrapped up in a graphpaper packet stamped with a vintage stamp. Wow.
After that, I was getting hungry , so we stopped in at Tacombi, an old garage painted to transport you to Mexico, selling tacos of all sorts. It was cool and breezy inside and I loved their interior painting. Beautiful details were everywhere, and my breakfast taco (egg, avocado, chorizo, hot sauce, $4) was delicious.
Next we headed to Saturdays Surf NYC to see the surfboards, with fingers crossed that their back deck wouldn’t be too crowded.
It wasn’t! I think that back deck was my highlight of the day. It was shaded. They had a sign up asking people to talk quietly which worked and made it possible to sit close to strangers and still have intimate conversations. We each got delicious iced lattes from their espresso bar inside (ice itself would have been delicious at that point). And the other customers milling around were talking about surfing, which was so fun to think about on this 85 degree city-day. We liked it so much, we bought a t-shirt.
We also swung into Uniqlo, home of multi-colored Japanese basics, Muji, the neutral of all neutralshops, Partners & Spade (closed for the holiday, of course), Future Perfect, and Opening Ceremony. If we’d had just a little more time, we definitely would have headed to McNally Jackson bookstore and KIOSK.
If you’re headed to the city soon I recommend all these places! (you could even use my map) If you’re nine months pregnant like me, I recommend taking snack breaks at least every 1.5 hours!
Joe resting in Central Park.
A few of my girlfriends and I are planning a weekend getaway to the beaches of California. This spot is 2 1/2 hours outside LA, so a little too far for a weekend, but I soo wish we could stay at this little collection of adobes. It looks perfectly relaxed and personal.
A hot tub cabin!
If you’re planning a trip too, check it out. The rates seem reasonable and previous guests rave.
At Jeffrey’s Grocery in New York City, I ordered a brioche roll with butter and manchego cheese and it was delicious. I had to make a little note to myself so I wouldn’t forget what an easy classy snack to make. A Continuous Lean has a good collection of photos of Jeffrey’s; they were the ones that inspired us to visit.