Once again Airbnb came to the rescue for a group of old friends hunting for the perfect weekend hideaway. Upstate New York, only a couple of hours from the city (though it’s five hours from Boston) at the foot of the Catskills. Joe and his college friends have gotten together almost every year since school ended for what they call the Grizzly Bear Death Adventure. Usually it is a death adventure–Joe comes back dehydrated, hungover, exhausted and barely fed. This time they brought their women friends along, and we in turn made everything more delicious and cozy. Plus two babies, and puppy that ever-so-patiently played fetch with Lux.
A very satisfying strata from Smitten Kitchen for breakfast. I made it at home, brought it in the car, and popped it in the oven the next morning as coffee brewed and someone started a fire in the fireplace. I also made two loaves of one of Orangette’s banana breads, with demerara sugar and coconut. Wow, those were good.
And the roadtrip element went fine–Lux is now in a forward-facing carseat, which she loves. I picked up approximately 12 new books from the library for her to read. We stopped after two hours to run sprints in a McDonalds and pick up a bouncy ball from the vending machines. I got one of those gas station mocha cappuccinos as an ode to when Joe asked me out to a gas station for coffee in college. It tasted so bad, but also, so good?
We were lucky enough to spot a flyer for a pancake breakfast on the wall at the grocery store. (The grocery store was a dismal junk packed place, but they did have local grassfed milk!) I noticed the flyer promised real maple syrup which instantly sold me on the idea. When we arrived there was a host wearing a sport coat and we each got little forms to fill out, to please X if we wanted pancakes and sausage and eggs, and how we wanted the eggs. As three teenage volunteers sat by chatting in the corner, a man in his 70s carefully served us and poured our coffee. Between his tip jar and the donate-what-you-can entry fee, I think they made off quite well from our visit!
Lots and lots of fires. Fires in the mornings, fires in the evening. Fires in the fireplace inside, fires outside. Fires with smores, fires with bloody marys.
And here’s where we stayed, just in case you want to visit too. I think the summer would be wonderful here–creek swimming and grassy lawn games.
I mentioned that we were using the addictively clickable airbnb to find a spot in Rome. Well, I quickly became overwhelmed by the options and let Joe take over. After a couple of late nights, he found this spot and we booked it! It’s the location we wanted, Campo di Fiori, a one bedroom (4th floor walk up, gulp) with a crib, and the perfect patio. It was important to us that we’d be comfortable just staying in most nights since Lux will probably go to bed early.
This patio + salami + extra candles = best restaurant in town.
I appreciate that things like a full kitchen and free wifi are assumed with apartment rentals. It’s amazing how hotels sound so lovely when it’s just the two of you, but with a rambunctious kiddo the space of an apartment seems so much more relaxing.
The only sad part for me with a rental v. hotel, and this is just silly, is that you have to go hunting for your breakfast. I’ve been using Elizabeth Minchilli’s Eat Rome app to scout out relaxed bars nearby for breakfast.
Last weekend we went to a tiny (50 people) wedding in the Hudson Valley. The Hudson Valley begins about an hour north of New York City, and lies about 4 hours west of Boston. We stayed at this cabin, found through airbnb. It was an tough decision to spend a little extra for the trip when we were booking the place (our airbnb hosts required a 2 night reservation) but once we arrived I was so grateful that we stayed somewhere relaxing and fun.
I don’t know how I managed to pack all the cheetah print things (2) Lux owns for one weekend, but there it is. It might explain why the chickens were terrified of her. Yes, the bangs are a situation right now. Product developers: I suggest looking into hairclip glue for toddlers.
There were literally kittens, KITTENS, frolicking in the yard. At the grocery store up the street, everyone casually bought a bag of cider donuts with their morning coffee. THESE ARE MY PEOPLE. I thought to myself.
I sat on the front porch and worked on an embroidery project–badges for the bride and groom to wear around to announce their new status to the world. Lately I am loving these types of projects, especially ones I can give away immediately. Joe sketches it for me and I stitch. Do you need a badge in your life? let me know.
I have not attended very many small weddings but this one was just perfection.
Everyone arrived in time for dinner the night before. It was held at a small inn, and as the evening progressed, toddlers and young children were lulled to sleep and tucked into bed in whatever rooms were available. There was a bowl of mint and many bottles of bulleit bourbon. The guest list was so small that the bride was able to introduce each person to the rest of the group, a real treat when you know you want to be friends with everyone in the room. We drew pictures of our hopes for the new couple. I roughly sketched Cuba (because that’s where they met!) accidentally using a purple crayon for the ocean, but while I put Lux to bed Joe rescued it.
At lunch the next day, we ate for almost five hours. Again toddlers were tucked away in rooms (I walked in on a little one sleeping while hunting for a bed for Lux!) and checked on now and then. Conversation and sunlight ebbed around the tables. Before dessert there was a brief pause to break two pinatas in the yard. Guests favors were little boxes of French macarons and French herbal tea.
Right before we left Boston, Noelle posted this breezy quiche that uses frozen spinach and pie crust. I made it for the trip and we ate it for breakfast every morning. If you’re traveling, I think something like this is perfect because it tastes good at all temperatures and doesn’t get that road-weary look that old sandwiches do. Frozen spinach is my favorite for how easy it is to work with.
This weekend, at long last, we’re meeting two of my high school best friends in New Jersey with their husbands. It’s my first time visiting New Jersey for vacation and I think it will be beautiful! The water is supposed to be warm, and the beaches should be empty. I hope Jenny brings her favorite Nicaraguan rum and I hope Grace treats us to Vegan gourmet. We found the place where we’re all staying through airbnb. It has a fireplace and bikes, and best of all: just a quick trip to the beach.
If you’ve never browsed airbnb.com, beware! The site is completely addictive. In October a friend is having a tiny wedding in the Hudson Valley, and we found a spot on airbnb for that too. A little cabin with farm animals. Before Lux I would have been like “um, animals in the morning? No thanks.” But now I booked it almost immediately after I found it. It also has a hot tub, Check it out:
This would never work in our tiny apartment, but I love the idea of renting a room in your home for passing travelers. I also think airbnb attracts a hipper younger traveling crowd than other rental sites, so it’d be a great way to meet new people. Have you used them before?