Archive | August, 2011

Goodnight, Irene: Photos from Narragansett, RI

31 Aug

Tropical Storm Irene ripped through Rhode Island on Sunday leaving downed trees and power lines throughout the state. Luckily, we escaped with only a split tree and a yard full of branches:

Ironically, the day after the storm was a perfect 10–sunny, 70 degrees, no humidity, and not a cloud in the sky. After a quick yard clean up, we drove down to watch the surfers take on the waves at Narragansett Beach:

Wipe out!

A little bit down the road from the beach is a hidden outcropping of rocks called Black Point where we got a great view of the waves and some water birds:

Our thoughts are with all those still without power and flooded. Please be safe.

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A Quickie in South Beach, Miami

25 Aug

With four days to celebrate our 10-year anniversary, we left the autumn leaves of New England behind and hopped a plane to South Beach.

From our first mojito, Scott and I knew we picked the perfect kid-free getaway.

These are some of our favorite spots:

Stay: The Hotel of South Beach

Todd Oldham’s geometrical patterns and sea-foam palate were everywhere in this art deco, boutique hotel. Just a block off of busy Ocean Drive, the location was perfect. If we wanted to escape the Miami Beach crowds we went up the elevator to the secluded roof-top pool and Spire Bar. (Even if you don’t stay at The Hotel, its restaurant, Wish, is worth a visit for the romantic atmosphere and great food.)

From our rooftop pool at The Hotel

 

Get Pampered: The Spa at the Shore Club

In an attempt to live the celebrity lifestyle, we decided to treat ourselves to the spa at the Shore Club, one of Miami Beach’s swankiest hotels. After a full body scrub and hydrating treatment (me) and a 90-minute massage (Scott), we relaxed on the spa balcony overlooking the palm trees and waves below.

Post-spa treatment at the Shore Club.

 

Explore: Posh hotel lobbies

The hottest hotels in South Beach may have untouchable room rates and bouncers guarding the pools, but the lobbies are open, free, and offer views of art and architecture to rival some of the world’s best museums. Don’t miss a walk through lobbies at The DelanoShore Club, The Tides, and the Sagamore.

The lobby of The Delano hotel.

 

Drink: Love Hate Lounge

Operated by the same guys who own Miami Ink, the Love Hate Lounge feels more like a local bar then a place to be seen. You can dance, you can drink, and there was no cover or intimidating velvet rope.

Eat Dinner: Nemo

No one has to walk the sidewalk in front of this restaurant to talk patrons in off the street–a common occurrence in South Beach. We got a table by the hammered copper bar in this crowded eatery located in the stylish South of Fifth Street (SoFi) district. Perfectly cooked sea bass, lobster hash browns, and warm ocean breezes made for a memorable 10th anniversary dinner.

Making it on My Own in London

17 Aug

When the customs agent at Gatwick Airport asked me how long I planned to stay in London, I could hardly believe my answer. “Four months,” I said.

At the time it seemed like an eternity to be away from home, away from my college buddies, and away from the boyfriend who would later become my husband.

I was a year ahead of my closest friends at Syracuse University, so when I decided to study abroad, I was doing it solo.

Though there were 100 other students in the program, my loner status was marked by the choice to travel to London on my own (cheaper flight) and live with a family in a bed-sit (again, to save money).

Portabello Road, a block from my bed-sit

Getting lost on the Tube one day, I ended up who-knows-where. With friends, it would have been cause for laughter. By myself, I cried.

During those first few days abroad, my loneliness consumed me. In a city of millions, would I need to find my way through London life without the camaraderie of others?

But then, suddenly, I stopped thinking about being alone.

Not because–I assure you–of some great internal pep talk or any pull-myself-up-by-my-bootstraps inner fortitude. It’s because London, itself, became my greatest companion.

I shopped on Portabello Road, weaving through the antique dealers, fruit and veg vendors, and bootleg music hawkers.

View from the top of St. Paul's Cathedral, London

I climbed the steep, narrow staircase to the top of St. Paul’s, never seeing another person on my ascent.

I lingered over the Van Goghs and Rodins at the National Gallery, at my own pace without interruption or any hurrying up.

Of course, I eventually met some great friends, and we went on unforgettable adventures through the city and to places like Edinburgh and Brighton.

But when it came time to choose a Spring Break trip, when friends encouraged me to join them in Ireland or Italy, I decided to travel to Spain by myself. A trip that was truly unforgettable, not in spite of it being a solo quest but because I did it on my own.

One of the biggest gifts I took away from my time in London is learning the joys of solitary exploration. My guess is that I’m not alone.

Fishing with “The Skipper” on Martha’s Vineyard

5 Aug

When you are the mother of two boys, you do things you never thought you would, like judging burping contests, deodorizing football equipment, picking up dirty socks from every imaginable corner of the house . . . and fishing.

On a week-long island vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, it was only a matter of time before the fishing poles came out.

The rocky shoreline yielded only casting practice, so we were soon looking for open ocean and the chance at some real fish.

That’s when we found The Skipper.

For 24 years, Captain John Potter has been taking families out on his charter boat in search of the big catch.

Everything you need–rod, reel, and bait–is included, so we boarded The Skipper at Oak Bluffs’ docks bright and early with only our excitement.

After a short ride out to sea, the boat began echoing with cries of “Fish On!”–the signal to have the First Mate help de-hook a catch and make sure you have a legal keeper. We reeled in some black sea bass (Sam, above) and lots of scup (Will, below).

Flounder was another popular catch. And an angler right next to us even reeled in a shark:

Four hours seemed to fly by as the Captain moved us around to reliable fishing grounds, and our bucket of keepers started to pile up.

Soon it was time to head back to shore. After we docked, the First Mate cleaned our fish for us and it was home we went for a lunch of fresh–really fresh–fish.