No need to cross the pond this week! In New England, we have so many lovely coastal cities and towns on the Atlantic, so we decided to head Down Maine, as the saying goes (yes, it doesn’t make sense, since we were heading north, but click the link for the history). This past Saturday, husband (we call him Coach around here) and I drove to Portland, primarily to visit some shops we had seen at Brimfield a couple of months back. Just an hour+ ride away, Portland has loads to offer for a fun day-trip from Boston: a lovely seaport district, antique shops and restaurants, The Portland SeaDogs AA Baseball Team and of course, lobstah. First stop-My Sister’s Garage, an antique farmhouse on the side of Rte 302, filled with stunning displays, all sorts of antiques, textiles and
vintage, re-purposed furniture, restored and re-designed on the premises. How “country pretty” is this white lacy bedroom and dining room?!! Dreamy!! Vintage vignettes throughout the shop… kitchy kitchen and wondrous wedding dress.
Next stop, Portland Architectural Salvage Company. Anything you could possibly need or want to refurbish an old home is stuffed into this 4 story warehouse.
Ranging from the funky t-shirt genre of Cool as a Moose to high end pottery and jewelry from
Nicolas Homes, by Nicola Manganello, there is literally something for everyone, including a piece of the Berlin Wall! Of course, after all that driving and shopping, we needed a treat, so off we went to find Two Fat Cats Bakery, serving up scrumptious “made-from-scratch” sweets.
So if you happen to live in the Boston area, and are looking for a fun way to spend a warm spring day, take a ride on Rte 1 North down to Portland.
Hope your Wednesday is full of wander…Susan
I love a beautiful, sleek, contemporary kitchen with sparkling Italian cabinets and state of the art appliances as much as the next cook. But having a “Country Pretty” point of view, nothing sets my heart aflutter and my taste buds dancing more than an eclectic, rustic, country kitchen. While searching for design concepts and ideas for my own kitchen reno, my eye was always drawn to pretty pastel colors, hand-hewn finishes and just a touch of bling. A few of my favorites…
My kitchen reno…when we moved in 30+ years ago, there were pink formica countertops, utensil and soy sauce wallpaper (no, not splashed on it, actually printed on it!), knotty pine cottage cabinets. Many years of painting, re-painting, changing the formica and the stick-down linoleum taught me one thing: you can only put lipstick on a pig so many times before you finally give in and go for the full-on gut and remodel.
My kitchen after many attempts to “spruce it up”…
My kitchen today…LOVE. Every day when I walk in my back door and turn the corner, it makes me smile. It truly is the life of our home. Modern functioning Kitchenaid appliances, my fabulous chandelier from Lt. Willard Moses, accessories primarily from HomeGoods (where else?). My favorite area is the alcove over the stove. Tucked behind the beams, it is the perfect spot for seasonal decorating : ) I found a little cupboard at Todd Farm in Rowley that is perfect for displaying our collection of pewter and silver. And of course, no country kitchen would be complete without a rustic sign…All you new kitchen wanna-be’s be forwarned!!!. It is always best to read the owner’s manual prior to using your new-fangled appliances. Apparently the people who designed my “warmer drawer”, did not do so with the intent of my storing vintage towels and aprons…suffice to say that the Wakefield’s finest had a bit of a chuckle once they discovered the source of the smoke billowing from the oven…hubby not so amused when he discovered the three things I grabbed on the way out the door…Daisy the dog, my Ipad and my Iphone. What else does a girl need?!?
Hope you’re cookin’ up a great Tuesday!
… that we would live in France.” With a haunting melody and lyrics describing a life of longing, Judy Collins composed this song in 1969, as a loving tribute to her father, who taught her to dream. He died shortly thereafter, never having heard her perform it. I hope you enjoy this musical montage (click here for the music) and Happy Father’s Day!
Hearing the ways of a miner’s life, In words they’ve never seen…
Have a lovely father’s day… Susan
Springtime each year I get a serious case of “itchy feet”. Having worked very hard since our last trip (August, 2011!!), we are looking forward to some vacation time this summer, but where to go?! Over the years, we have had the opportunity to visit some amazing places, both in the US and abroad. Still have a lot of the earth left to cover, but would like to share some of my favorite pics with you…so introducing…Wanderlust Wednesdays! (I realize today is Thursday, but I didn’t get to finish this post until this morning : ) Inspired by my daughter’s upcoming trip to Sweden, today’s travel pics will be about one of my favorite places, Stockholm.
Ice Hotel…The Ice Bar in Stockholm. Everyone said “don’t bother, it’s just a tourist trap”…and it was. But it was very cool.
This is our Princess Cruise Ship from the Alleyway
The Vasa Museum– the building was constructed around the Vasa ship that sank on its maiden voyage! The master boat builder thought it would be fun to add an upper deck, not factoring in that whole side to side balance thing. The ship was launched with much fanfare, two gusts of wind knocked it over and it sank to the bottom of the harbor! Early 1900’s, they figured out how to bring it back up, and with most of the ship’s carvings intact, they built the museum around it.
Would have preferred to be blogging about “The Lunch” at a lovely little Italian bistro in Tuscany. But The Kayaks have been in dry dock for over a year now, and it was time to take them for their maiden voyage. These kayaks were a birthday gift for my husband, presented to him with grand fanfare a year ago May-yes 2011! Amazing how an adult could be so excited about a big blue plastic boat : ) Since that time, there were many reasons (ah, excuses) why the kayaks had not been launched. Poor weather, wrist surgery (on my part), lack of PFD’s (for those of you not boating saavy, that stands for Personal Flotation Device, previously known as, and more accurately described as a LIFE JACKET), lack of roof racks and a cruise to the Baltics-my preferred style of boating-someone steers the boat while I relax on the deck with a bucket of beers : )Fast forward to this past Sunday, a glorious spring day, the peace and tranquility of my morning coffee on the porch rudely interrupted by a text from my daughter saying “get ready, we are going kayaking today!”. Great. Good. It’s time. We had recently purchased a new car with roof racks, which up until now, had been utilized for carrying home furniture and stuff from antique shops. No more excuses, or pretty soon, those Kayaks were going to be utilized in a much more artistic form if we didn’t get them water-borne.
Being a reluctant participant, I hung back and took pics while the J-hook racks, and then the kayaks were secured to the roof, and the PFD secured to Bartlet the dog.
Off we go to our local Lake Quannapowitt, which is very pretty in pictures from afar, but not so much up close-a fierce algae bloom has turned the shoreline a bright shade of green. Ok to boat on, but wouldn’t want to fall in!
Since the kayaks were my husband’s gift, it was only fair that he have the first go-round (and yes, I was stalling). My daughter Kate and her dog Bartlet were right behind him, at least for a moment, until the dog decided to test his PFD and his swimming abilities! Frenchies are great little dogs, but we had read that because their heads are quite large, they have a tendency to sink when submerged in water. I am happy to report that his ability to keep afloat with his head above water was masterful, and his PFD worked beautifully! Kate paddled quickly to his side and scooped him out of the water by the handle on the top of the jacket. Of course, I don’t have any pictures of that, because I was doubled-over laughing at the sequence of events. Suffice to say I could never make a living as an official photographer. And with that, the kayaks were launched.
Remember that old Nike tagline “Just Do It?”. With that thought in mind, I finally took my turn around the lake in the periwinkle blue LL Bean Perception kayak. In all the time thinking about and worrying about tipping over and going in the drink, that never was an issue. I did have a few run-ins with some bushes along the shore, but for the most part, it was an uneventful event. Until we packed up and returned home. Now I would like to tell the story that my sore back and neck was from a large wave crashing and tossing me into the lake. Sadly, not true. Safely back home after our maiden voyage, having removed the kayaks from the roof of the car, I had jumped up along the side of the car to unscrew the J-hook racks. Stepping back down, I tripped and fell backwards into the kayaks on the ground! Thankfully, no cameras handy to record that moment in the kayak annals. So my take on the whole experience? Lots of work to secure J-hooks, strap the kayaks to the roof, drive to location, unstrap and carry kayak to water’s edge, PFD’s are not all that comfortable, paddling is quite a good upper body workout, being on the lake is fun, but I would just as soon walk around the lake for my exercise. Will I go again? Perhaps. In the meantime, anyone wanna borrow some kayaks???