Friday, June 28, 2013

Playing hooky-Rockport daytrip


I took a day off from work on Wednesday and took a quick trip to Rockport. My sister went with me. We took a sidetrip to Essex too but that is for my next post.



There was a threat of afternoon showers and thunderstorms like every day lately. So we left for Rockport around 9:30 and we were at the water's edge by 10:30.We were determined to be home by the time the downpours started.

 
It was hot and humid but not as hot as the day before. It turned out to be just beautiful in Rockport.  We took a walk at the end of the dock and just stared at the beauty of the ocean.
 


I love to go to this store, Lula's Pantry. They carry specialty items and kitchenware. The store is so clean and fresh looking and well organized. We both bought some loose tea at this shop.



The back of the store has a lovely deck that faces the ocean. There are benches so you can sit and  watch the boats go by.


Here's another view from the deck. It certainly was a beauty of a day!


Flowers are everywhere. Hydrangeas and iris and so many varieties of flowers. Must be the salty ocean air that helps them thrive.


Even the small decks on some of the houses had potted flowers or hanging plants.


This pretty garden rested against the sea wall. The red flowers really stood out even from a distance.


Wouldn't it be nice to sit in those rocking chairs relaxing by the ocean? So charming!


Roses were abundant here too! Creeping through the narrow alleyways and so fragrant.


We walked towards Bearskin Neck and stopped at the Wicked Peacock. It was worth a look.



Such a beautiful shop! All of Silvana, the owner's displays, were magnificient. She has been only open two months. She must be doing something right because I read about her store on two blogs this week.



I loved the gold peacock and the colorful display, We spent quite a bit of time speaking with Silvana. Turns out she grew up in the next town to me.


And she had a dress form very similar to Vivienne, my dress form. She got hers for free as someone was throwing it out!
 


Well this sign caught my eye, Lobster BLTs, one of the items on my Summer bucket list. My sister agreed it was time to eat!


The outside looked cute and we knew the back of it faced the water. So in we went.


Nice d├ęcor. It was totally changed from when it was The Greenery. It looked much more upscale and appeared to be more than a sandwich shop.



We were seated right by the window. I was so happy. I wish the screen wasn't there but still a beautiful view. And there is the famous Motif No.1 in red in the distance. It is the subject of many paintings and photographs and is a local landmark.  It was destroyed in the Blizzard of 78 and rebuilt
years ago.


My sister and I split one Lobster BLT which came with fries. We knew we were having dessert later so splitting a sandwich was perfect.



We llooked in a few more shops along Bearskin Neck and then we arrived at Helmut's Strudel Shop. First order of business was to stake our claim on a table. Here is the view from the table.


 

And the view from directly in front of us. It is so relaxing to watch the water, the boats, the birds.


I got up from my seat and zoomed in on the scene to my left. Peaceful Summer afternoon.


A few sailboats entered the scene. There is a sailing school for children and I often see the students in their mini sailboats when I am in Rockport.



It was starting to cloud up and we decided we should leave. I had my apple strudel and iced coffee so I was content and relaxed .


This dog  was totally relaxed. He was sleeping most of the time we were there. The man was focused on his book and music. We didn't talk to him but had conversation with two women who were from Brookline. One of them asked me for restaurant recommendations. I gave her a few options and wished each other a nice trip.

My sister and I concluded that it doesn't take long to get into relaxation mode. Good food, good company and an oceanside atmosphere certainly speeds up the process.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer Bucket List



My birthday was yesterday. I always think Summer does not start until my birthday. I know some people think the unofficial start of Summer is Memorial Day but for me it is June 15th.

After reading the Summer 100 list at Pop and Circumstance's blog. I got to thinking about my own Summer bucket list. I would love to have 100 items on it but I only get two weeks vacation this year so that would be too time consuming and a bit unrealistic.

So I came up with 25 things I would like to do this Summer.  Here's the list:

1.       Attend Waterfire in Providence - Done!
2.       Photograph koala bears at Stone Zoo- Done!
3.       See a concert at Shen Liu Center in Rockport
4.       Have a german iced coffee at Sugar n Ice in Exeter
5.       Walk the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine
6.       Take the ferry from Boston to Provincetown
7.       Eat lobster BLTs at Stonewall Kitchens, York, Maine
8.       Go to the Lantern Festival in Jamaica Plain
9.       Eat a farm to table dinner at Whim, Smolak Farms, North Andover
10.   Attend the Vintage Bazaar at Pettengill Farm, Newburyport
11.   See a play at the Ogunquit Playhouse
 
 
12.       Sit on the deck at Helmut’s Strudel Shop with an iced coffee and a hot apple strudel - Done!
13.       Have afternoon tea  at Fancy That, Walpole
14.       Visit Hammond Castle for the Abbey by the Sea Renaissance Festival
15.       Photograph and ride the carousel at Paragon Park, Nantasket
16.       Take a photographic workshop


 
 
 
17.   Have an illumination themed Summer party in August- Done!
18.   Take a lighthouse sunset cruise in Portsmouth
19.   Take a mini sister’s vacation- Done!
20.   Visit SOWA market
21.   Go fleaing at Todd Farm, Rowley
22.   Take a North End market tour
23.   Daytrip to Nubble Light/York area of Maine
24.   Have breakfast at Sugar Magnolias, Gloucester
25.  Visit farmer's markets where I haven't been

I am sorry about the weird format of this post. Tried to fix it but nothing worked.

Anyway, what are your Summer plans? Do you have a Summer bucket list?


 
 
 
 
 



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A trip to Waterfire


On Saturday, my sister and I and our friend Debbi drove down to Providence, Rhode Island. We went to see the spectacular event, Waterfire. It was Debbi's first time at Waterfire.


Before we walked down to the river for the festivities, we decided to have an early dinner. We stopped at Union Station Brewery. The meal was delicious. We relaxed a bit knowing we would be on our feet all evening. We decided to forego dessert until later.


I discovered the night portrait mode on my camera. It's only been two years since I bought the camera! It seemed to give me better results on some of my shots.


You can smell the smoke from the fires but it is not overwhelming. It does not dry out your eyes either. It can be mesmerizing watching the fires burn. I could watch them burn all night, in fact I did!


Paper stars were lit along the bridges crossing the river. They are part of a fundraising effort to keep the fires burning at Waterfire.


My Boston Strong Duck made the trip with us. The story of the Boston Strong Duck is for another post.


Saturday night's event was a full lighting. Sometimes only half  the river is lit. We were fortunate to make the trip this night.


These luminarias are lit in memory of loved ones who have passed. This is my sister's dedication to her friend Lori. My co-worker friend Michelle died of cancer last month so I bought a lantern in her memory. Debbi bought one as well. We placed them at the river's edge.


It turned out to be a lovely evening, not too hot or cold. Earlier we had downpours but by afternoon the rains had passed. We had a terrible commute through gridlocked traffic. It took us much longer to get there than expected. Glad we left quite early so we could have time for a leisurely dinner.


After we saw the fire performer, we left to have the long overdue dessert. It was after 10:00 but we didn't care. We drove to Pastiche, a bakery/cafe that I suggested. It's a small place located at the Federal Hill section of Providence. It was packed and we had to wait to be seated. At 11:00 we were ordering and at 11:30 they were closing. I appreciated that they did not push us to finish quickly. The staff was very nice and efficient. A pleasant experience all around and a lovely ending to a perfect evening!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Adventures in Catsitting


A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of catsitting pretty Miss Tiger Lily.  Her parents were going on a trip to Florida and they asked me to be their catsitter. The assignment was for 5 days. Her fur was a little matted but we'll fix that.

There are two dogs in the household as well. The owner's brother took them to his house leaving Tiger Lily alone in the house.


Tiger Lily is an indoor/outdoor cat. I told the owner's I would not allow Tiger to go out on my watch. They were fine with that.


"What's this?", Tiger said. She did not agree with that at all. Of course, the weather was beautiful and Tiger really wanted to go out.


Here's her sour puss face after I told her for the eightieth time she could not go out. She was ok for the first two days but then she turned on me. She was obsessed with going out the front door.

She did, however, like to snuggle. So every day and night after she ate, she would crawl into my lap and cuddle. A few times she even fell asleep.  I got most of the mats around her neck out just by brushing her. She didn't even seem to mind.


Poor baby. She cried and cried she wanted out so badly. Her parents told me that she would cry to go out but just to ignore her. That is easier said than done. She even followed me down the stairs to my secret escape route in the basement.  She's a tricky one!


The owner called me on Thursday to say her brother was dropping off the dogs a day early. I did not have to walk them as she had arranged with another lady to do that. Meet Chloe Moey Zoey Grace Ryan or Chloe for short. She should not be on the couch but I didn't stop her.  Isn't she cute?


And here's Bella, a Puerto Rican street dog rescued many years ago. She is the sweetest, gentlest animal.
She is very attached to her Mama.


Bella has an overbite that is very distinctive. Her daddy puts on a voice and speaks for Bella. "Where's my mother?" he says.  Cracks me up every time.

I had a lot of  fun with the animals. They are the sweetest. All of them were really very good. And the parents insisted on paying me. Maybe I have a future in catsitting!

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