A Perfect Day on Martha’s Vineyard

On day four of our vacation, we woke up, and made the drive to Woods Hole, to catch the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. We made it JUST IN TIME to board the 12:00 ferry, and were on our way to the Island.

On the way there, the sea gulls kept everyone entertained. They were flying right up to the railing, and taking food from peoples hands. 2016-08-04-12-39-43It was an absolutely GORGEOUS day. I had been to the Vineyard once before, in October. And while Salem is more fun to visit in the fall, Martha’s Vineyard is definitely more enjoyable in the summer.

Once we got off of the ferry, we went to get a rental car. There was one right across the street, and all they had left was this Jeep. It was $200 to rent, so Graham wanted to look elsewhere. We walked about 5 feet before I decided we needed to go back and get it. After all, it was only about $30 more than the cheaper cars, and I didn’t want to spend the whole day driving around, looking for a rental. I’m SO glad we went with the Jeep, because it was the perfect way to spend the day sightseeing. 2016-08-04-14-57-48Once we left the rental agency, we drove around for a little while, before stopping in Edgartown for lunch. We ate at a really cute place, Among the Flowers, and the food was excellent. I also had a raspberry muffin, since I knew this low carb lunch wouldn’t hold me over for long. This salad was so good though. I need to do seared tuna with pineapple more often at home. 2016-08-04-14-10-292016-08-04-01-58-262016-08-04-02-05-012016-08-04-02-13-482016-08-04-02-09-27You know what’s sad? This dog totally has a better life than either of us.
2016-08-04-02-08-24After lunch and a little walking around, we got back in the Jeep and headed to Aquinnah, to see the Gay Head Cliffs and lighthouse. We saw a lot of gorgeous spots on our vacation, but this just took my breath away. We weren’t able to go into the lighthouse, since we didn’t have cash, but even without the extra height, the view was just bonkers beautiful. 2016-08-04-15-55-292016-08-04-15-55-52-12016-08-04-03-11-502016-08-04-03-04-54We spent the rest of the day driving around, getting lost, and enjoying each other’s company. W had dinner at Nancy’s (only to find out the next day that Sasha Obama worked there, and had been there earlier that day!) and then we had ice cream while walking on the beach. 2016-08-04-07-06-512016-08-04-19-52-35-12016-08-04-07-32-072016-08-04-07-28-072016-08-04-07-21-02Other than a momentary freak-out, when there was a chance we might miss the ferry back, the day was beyond perfect. 2016-08-04-07-38-32

I left my heart in Salem.

As much as I LOVE Boston, I also love the smaller towns and cities around Boston. So, on day 3 of our trip, we spent the day exploring some of these small areas.

First, was Lexington. The first time I visited Massachusetts, I fell in love with Lexington. It’s so charming. And so historically relevant. George Washington wrote in his diary: “It was here, on the morning of April 19, 1775, that “the first blood was spilt in the dispute with Great Britain.”

This monument? The oldest war memorial in the country (completed in 1799). In the 1800’s, 7 of the 8 minutemen who were killed in that first battle were moved from the local cemetery and re-interred here.
2016-08-02 21.57.14 2016-08-02 22.06.42After the Lexington Battle Green, we headed to the Minute Man National Park. Being here made me a little sad. This would be such a great place to walk Hermione. We walked for a few miles, before heading back. There is lots to see on this walk, including the site where Paul Revere was captured…
2016-08-02 23.50.10One of the oldest homes in the area (dating back to around 1692), and once owned by William Smith, the brother of Abigal Adams (I’m an Adams fangirl, so this was exciting to stumble upon).
2016-08-03 00.03.36 This structure was infuriating and fascinating at the same time. It’s fascinating, because of that huge fireplace. It’s infuriating because the building burnt down in the 1960’s. 2016-08-03 00.13.28 2016-08-03 00.15.23 2016-08-03 00.22.32 After leaving the park, we headed to Walden Pond. Not because I’m a big fan of Thoreau, but because of Frasier. Yes, I’m a dork. Thoreau lived in the woods, on a piece of land owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1922, the Emerson family gifted the land to Massachusetts, with the stipulation of “preserving the Walden of Emerson and Thoreau, its shores and nearby woodlands for the public who wish to enjoy the pond, the woods, and nature, including bathing, boating, fishing and picnicking.”2016-08-03 02.53.15-2 2016-08-03 02.55.44 2016-08-03 02.56.11 2016-08-03 02.57.18 After leaving Walden Pond, we finally headed to Salem – my favorite. Before this trip, I had visited Salem twice, both times in October. And while Salem in August isn’t nearly as fun as Salem in October, it’s such a charming area, and just oozes history (both good and bad). 2016-08-03 05.07.42 More Creepy cemeteries…2016-08-03 05.31.43 2016-08-03 05.32.44 Then on to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial. There are no actual grave sites for the 20 people who were murdered during the witch trials. Legend has it that three of the bodies were exhumed from the burial site by their families and buried elsewhere. There are a few memorials, but this one is my favorite. The others just lump all off the victims together.2016-08-03 05.39.37 2016-08-03 05.40.40 After that, we just walked around and enjoyed the beautiful day. 2016-08-03 05.44.112016-08-03 18.50.052016-08-03 06.07.30 2016-08-03 06.31.422016-08-03 06.28.07While Salem is famous for their negative past, I love Salem for the whole history of the area. So many of the houses have these plaques on them, and I love that. Being from Charlotte, an area that has no problem tearing down historically significant structures, it makes my heart happy so see so much history preserved.
2016-08-03 06.37.16 2016-08-03 06.41.05 2016-08-03 06.51.03 2016-08-03 06.53.09-2 More creepy cemeteries at the end of the day. 2016-08-03 07.01.00 2016-08-03 07.02.40 This guy is such a good sport. We walked about 12-14 miles a day around these cities, and he never once complained. 2016-08-03 07.04.11 2016-08-03 07.11.46 2016-08-03 07.12.25 Fun fact: Salem calls itself Witch City, but the the Witch House is the only structure there that has any connection to the Witch Trials (if you’re into this, be sure to check out Danvers. It was once part of Salem Village, and has more connections to the site, including the Rebecca Nurse homestead).2016-08-03 07.26.09 2016-08-03 07.26.142016-08-03 07.28.082016-08-03 07.23.54

The Most Beautiful Half Bathroom Ever.

When we moved into this house, the half bathroom was completely fine. It was way too brown, but not bad at all. Our biggest issue was the size of the vanity. It was WAY too large for the space.half-bathSo, we bought a pretty pedastel sink and planned an “easy” bathroom makeover. But, of course home improvement never goes according to plan. When we sold the vanity in February, we learned that the floor underneath was unfinished. Deja vu, right?2016-02-20-11-34-10-1 Graham had a utility sink that we stuck in the bathroom until we were ready to renovate. Such a pretty bathroom to live with for 6 months, right? 2016-03-11-05-01-19 Anyways, before Graham left for Honduras we finally finished the bathroom. And it’s more beautiful than I ever thought a teeny tiny half bathroom could be. Everything was replaced, even things that were technically fine and in good shape (like the light fixture). We spent more money than we planned (of course), but we both think it was all worth it.
2016-09-02-17-05-16Buddy’s a big fan of the new space…2016-09-10-14-58-08(If anyone knows why there is a painting of George Washington in my bathroom, I’ll send you some cookies :) 2016-09-10-14-59-32 2016-09-02-17-33-34 It’s actually not what I had originally planned, but I love it so much more than I loved my initial ideas. This is the same paint color that we have in the dining room, and I’m still obsessed with it. Since the color is so dark, and it’s such a small space, Graham really wanted to do wainscoting in the room. I was against it at first, since I love this color SO much, but I’m glad I let him do it. It looks AMAZING. 2016-09-02-17-33-38One of the things I love most about this room though is the GORGEOUS tile we picked for the floor. Once it was down, we decided to use the same tile when we eventually do the laundry room & kitchen… Making the trip to Canada pointless but still so much fun.
2016-08-30-12-18-42 2016-09-02-17-33-42 2016-09-02-17-33-48 Didn’t G do an amazing job on the wainscoting? 2016-09-02-17-33-54So there you have it. The last home improvement you’ll see for a while. But seriously, seeing how amazing the bathroom turned out has me SO excited for the other house projects we have planned. Like the kitchen. ESPECIALLY the kitchen.

Sources: Sink, Mirror, Light Fixture, Floor Tile

Oh Boston… I love you.

I’m more than a little depressed right now. We still don’t have an exact date for G’s departure, but based on his report by date, I know we’re within two weeks. Last night he started packing.

I just cried. I’ve been crying pretty munch nonstop for about a week now, and I don’t see that ending anytime soon. So, I figured I would lose myself in some happier memories for a while. Our time in Boston was really happy. It’s such an amazing city with an amazing history, and I just wanted to stay there forever.

We spent the day walking the city on the Freedom Trail path. The map is a little hard to see (but you can check out the Freedom Trail Website if you’re actually interested. Now, the actual red line is supposedly 2.5 miles, so roundtrip around 5. But that doesn’t count all of the distance you’ll cover actually exploring the spots on the trail, and of course the fun stuff that is off the trail. I no longer have a Fit Bit, but I had my phone one me all day, and according to the Apple Health app, we walked about 13 miles in Boston. And I was FEELING it. We actually got back to our hotel after dinner and immediately jumped in the hot tub. Freedom Trail
My favorite children’s book is Make Way for Ducklings, so we started in the Boston Public Garden. 2016-08-01 21.17.18 Whenever one of my animals yawns, I like to stick my finger in their mouth (yes, I’m a weirdo). So, naturally I stuck my finger in the duck’s mouth. 2016-08-01 21.17.48-2 2016-08-01 21.18.05-2We made our way to the first creepy cemetery of the trip: the Granary Burying Ground. This spot is the final resting place for a number of prominent citizens, including Benjamin Franklin’s parents, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams & the men who died in the Boston Massacre.
2016-08-01 22.03.17While I love the history of these buildings, I also love the architecture of them. The Old City Hall is one of my favorite buildings.
2016-08-01 22.17.302016-08-01 22.16.18Continuing our walk, we stopped in the Old South Meeting House, and were greeted by this guy. I was mildly annoyed, because it took away from the beauty of the space, but it was kind of cool. 2016-08-01 23.00.32The Old State House is one of my favorites, and one of the best stops on the trail. (It’s also free for military!) There are tons of artifacts and displays inside, and the rooms upstairs are so beautiful. I would seriously give anything to step out onto the balcony – the site where the Declaration of Independence was read to the people of Boston for the first time. 2016-08-01 23.26.56Just steps away from the Old State House… 2016-08-01 23.43.47And this guy. If I carried cash with me, I would have given him every dollar in my wallet.2016-08-01 23.44.31This view is actually one of my favorites in Boston. I think it perfectly describes this amazing city. It’s the perfect mix of history & modernity, and I can’t think of any place better. 2016-08-01 23.46.19Later in the day when we were heading back to the car, the sun had finally come out and view (from the other side of the building) was even more beautiful. 2016-08-02 03.42.37-2Continuing on, you have the Paul Revere statue right before you get to the Old North Church, which is my favorite church on the tour. 2016-08-02 00.36.51This church is amazing. The light in here is just gorgeous. I’m especially obsessed with the windows and the light fixtures. 2016-08-02 00.46.512016-08-02 00.48.08More old cemeteries.The only way I’d ever want to be buried (I’d rather be cremated), is if I could end up in a cemetery that’s AT LEAST 300 years old…2016-08-02 01.00.44Last time we were here, we didn’t get to go on the USS Constitution because of the government shutdown. This was the one thing Graham wanted to do, so we finally made it. The ship wasn’t as impressive as it should have been, since it was being repaired, but it’s still insanely cool to stand on a warship that is almost as old as the country. 2016-08-02 14.47.35-2Now, onto the food in Boston… We stopped at B.Good for a quick lunch. G LOVED his burger (the El Guapo) and the spicy avocado & lime bowl was delicious, but ridiculous. I had it topped with chicken, and I ate maybe 1/3 of it. This was SO much food. 2016-08-02 11.19.292016-08-02 11.19.46Once we saw the USS Constitution and finished the trail, we turned around and headed back. On the way back, we stopped at Mike’s Cannoli. We stopped here on our last trip to Boston, and were both excited to stop in again. These were just as good as we remembered. 2016-08-02 15.42.03We had exciting plans for dinner, but we were both exhausted and hungry. We wanted Italian food, but most of the Italian places were REALLY far from where we parked, and since we didn’t want to pay for parking twice, we ended up at a local chain, Papa Razzi. The food wasn’t mind blowing, but it was delicious. We started with the antipasto board, and I had the gnocci (and again added chicken). I loved the gnocchi. The sauce was rich, and the chicken was delicious.
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It’s been a while…

So, it’s been over a month since my last post. Oops. I was on vacation for 2ish weeks, so at least a good chunk of that is accounted for, but still. My bad.

Our vacation was completely wonderful. Especially the New England part of it. The weather was AMAZING. Like, mid 70’s to low 80’s. Such a nice break from the 106 degree days we’d been having in Virginia. And it’s just so damned pretty up north. Our first (real) day of vacation (our first actual day was spent in the car) started with breakfast in Rhode Island, and then on to Quincy, MA. Quincy was actually one of the places I was most excited to visit. Last time we were in New England was during the government shutdown in 2013, and since Adams National Historic Park is part of the National Park Service, they were closed.

The tours were timed, so we bought our tickets, and then explored the nearby church (where both President Adams’ and their wives are buried) until it was time. John Adams is my favorite founding father (although if I were picking a founding father for the same purpose that Emily Gilmore and her DAR friends did, it would absolutely be Thomas Jefferson…) so I absolutely LOVED being in Quincy. I’ve read DavidMcCullough’s very comprehensive John Adams biography, so I knew most of what I learned about him, but I enjoyed it anyways. I especially enjoyed learning about John Quincy Adams & his wife Louisa. 2016-08-01 14.27.302016-08-01 11.51.302016-08-01 11.30.282016-08-01 11.28.202016-08-01 11.28.08-22016-08-01 11.44.432016-08-01 11.42.49Once we left the church, we boarded the trolley that would take us to the three Adams’ homes that make make up Adams National Park. I’m going to be completely honest here: the first two were a total waste of time. 2016-08-01 13.00.41Birthplace of John Adams2016-08-01 13.00.48Birthplace of John Quincy Adams

Once upon a time, these homes were on hundreds of acres of farmland. Now they both sit on a tiny little plot of land, in the middle of a city. You got to see 2-3 rooms of each home (the rooms downstairs), and they had very little furnishings, and nothing that actually belonged to the family. Also, the tour guide wasn’t informed, and spent more time asking the kids in the group pointless questions then actually telling use about the family and the home. So, I was a little discouraged… and then we got to Peacefield. 2016-08-01 01.25.272016-08-01 01.26.41 2016-08-01 01.25.47This home was everything I had hoped it would be. The house was gorgeous, and the gardens were so, so beautiful. And Jesus Christ… the artifacts… I was dying. Apparently in 1946, the Adams family just gave the house, and all of its contents, to the United States. Well… almost all of the contents. At the beginning of their relationship. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had busts made of one another. I asked about the Jefferson bust, and this tour guide (VERY informative and so passionate about the house and the family), told us that the bust was the one artifact that the family kept in their possession.

Peacefield also included the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen, Stone Library. It houses 14,000 volumes that mostly belonged to John Quincy and his son & grandson (some volumes belonged to John Adams, but he gifted most of his library to the United States). The library is made of stone to make it fireproof, and includes John Adams copy of George Washington’s farewell address and the Mendi Bible that was gifted to John Quincy after the Armistad trial. 2016-08-01 14.05.24-22016-08-01 01.24.32 2016-08-01 01.22.35-2 2016-08-01 01.20.10After Peacefield, we boarded the trolley to head back to the visitors center, and went to see the first creepy cemetery of our trip. This cemetery originally contained John & Abigail’s remains, until John Quincy had his parents moved to the church. The cemetery also houses the remains of John Adams ancestors, including the first Adams to come here. His grandfather’s tomb made me smile, since it mentioned that he was the grandfather of the lawyer John Adams. 2016-08-01 14.29.092016-08-01 14.34.062016-08-01 14.39.24After Quincy, we headed to Boston, first stopping for lunch at Waterclub. The food was good. Overpriced, but to be expected. Graham had a buffalo chicken wrap, and I had a lobster BLT. Both were excellent, and portion sizes were insane.2016-08-01 15.31.13 2016-08-01 15.19.06After lunch, we headed to our hotel. We were staying in Peabody. We weren’t wanting to head into Boston that day, so we explored some of the nearby areas. Graham found a castle that we wanted to explore, but they had closed for the day. So we headed to Rockport instead.

Coastal New England towns are pretty much the most charming towns ever. We walked around, enjoyed ice cream, and just enjoyed the cool evening. 2016-08-01 06.42.10 2016-08-01 06.43.17 2016-08-01 19.04.01-2

And with that, day one of our trip was complete🙂 I’ll be back later in the week with day 2!

A Perfect Saturday.

Saturday was pretty damned perfect. It got off to an early start. G got up early to mow the lawn, & I would have felt really crappy staying in bed while he was working, so I got up and did some cleaning & organizing inside. Once our grown up responsibilities were finished, we headed out for the day.

Our first stop was at Red Feathered Nest to look at a table they had posted on their Facebook page. The table ended up not being the right fit, but as always, they had lots of other fun things. 2016-07-09 12.00.21-1 These matching Bassett dressers… swoon. 2016-07-09 12.02.28-2 I loved these old soda crates. Fun fact: my mom worked at Pepsi for 30 years. But Pepsi is disgusting, and I only drink Diet Coke. 2016-07-09 12.07.31-1 Once we left Red Feathered Nest, we headed across the water for lunch in Norfolk. I recently made a pretty long list of restaurants I want to try before Graham leaves, and Saturday we were able to check off Field Guide. It’s a casual, trendy spot, with great drinks, rice bowls, and sandwiches.

The drink I ordered, the Yung Boozy (a slushy that tasted like an orange creamsicle), was super delicious and the best thing imaginable on a hot day. 2016-07-09 13.02.37 Graham had a split sausage sandwich with pickled red peppers, arugula, easy egg, horseradish aioli. I can’t stomach runny eggs, so I had a bite before he busted the yolk. Pre-egg yolk, it was delicious. 2016-07-09 13.07.21 I had the Tikka Byrd bowl. Everything about this was wonderful. The chicken had tons of flavor, the purple cabbage provided a really nice crunch.2016-07-09 13.07.44-1 2016-07-09 13.08.07-1 Dinner that night was pretty delicious also. We did a low country boil. And realized as soon as the food was on the serving platter, we should have invited some friends over for dinner… This is always so good, and such an easy dinner. 2016-07-09 18.59.56 After dinner we headed back out, and went to Hampton for their Saturday night block party. Glazed, a local doughnut shop, usually does funnel cakes for the block party. But, since it was about 17,000 degrees, they did ice cream sandwiches instead: doughnut | vanilla gelato | fresh strawberries | mini chocolate chips. This. Was. So. Good. 2016-07-09 20.05.59Hope everyone had a great weekend!

What I’m Loving Wednesday: Kitchen Seating Areas

Now that our kitchen nook is finished (wallpaper, new white trim, new light fixture), it’s time to start on phase two. From the day we first saw the house, I wanted to create a bench in the bay window, and create a cat seat for Buddy & Charlotte. But now, I’m having second thoughts. The space is so pretty & sleek, and I don’t really want to do anything permanent that’s going to cover up the bulk of our wallpaper.

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I also don’t want to put a table and chairs in the space, for several reasons. 1) The table we have their currently has become a catch all for all of our crap. Cookbooks, mail, my purse, G’s work hat, books, pet stuff, you name it & it lands on that table. It always looks messy and cluttered. 2) We never eat there. I learned yesterday that G has breakfast there in the mornings, but that’s it. We used the table a few times when Sav & Elise were staying with us, but we used the dining room when Shana & Elliott stayed, and I preferred the dining room. Once we do our kitchen remodel, we’re going to create enough room at the counter for a couple of bar stools. So, I’m pretty okay with not having a table and chairs there.

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The space the first time we saw it.

No cat seat bench, no table & chairs… what does that leave for a nook off of the kitchen?

A seating area. A while back we were watching Property Brothers, and they had created a little sitting area in the kitchen. I’m not sure why that randomly popped into my head the other night, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. We don’t eat in the kitchen, so why not make the space something pretty, that will get more use. Graham likes to hang out in the kitchen to keep me company while I cook (and occasionally vice versa), and I love the idea of comfy chairs for the non-cooker to hang out in. I love the idea of boldly upholstered chairs to break up the monotony of a grey and white kitchen. I can see Buddy and Charlotte hanging out in the chairs, bird watching from the big windows.

So, enough babbling and let’s get to what I’m loving: these kitchen seating areas.

Happy Wednesday!