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Oyster Fest

Who’s in for oyster shucking?!  Well you won’t catch me doing that, but last weekend we headed to Oyster Bay, Long Island for the largest waterfront festival on the East Coast.  There was much to see and much to do, especially with oysters, from shucking contests, to oyster eating contests, to a few oyster crafts, and to anyway your palate will take them, raw, fried, sautéed, mixed, over-easy and I’m sure, if you looked hard enough, on the rocks!  There were several large boats in the bay to tour, the USCG Cutter Chinook, the Barquentine Peacemaker, and the 130-foot 1931 John J Harvey fireboat.  And lets not forget the craft tents and artwork.  We came home with a few holiday finds for ourself and the relatives, all while listening to the bands play throughout the day in the background.  There were pirate reenactments, rides for children, and those with stomachs of iron participated in the eating contests, however we chose the leisurely stroll and tasting along the waste widening food court.  Anything unhealthy was at your finger tips!  And we couldn’t pass up a walk along the gorgeous waterfront.  Oyster Bay is not only known for its Oyster Festival, but also for its charm, beauty, stunning bay and harbor, and of course, the summer home of Theodore Roosevelt on Sagamore Hill.  Anytime of year is a great time to visit Oyster Bay.

Here are just a couple photos we took while enjoying our day in, oyster filled, Oyster Bay…

Oysters and crowds galore!  Get there early ;)

Admiring the large boats and fireboat display…

Looking for seafood comfort food?  The food courts had it all!

Couldn’t get enough of the stunning bay and harbor and views of Centre Island…

Maybe next time we won’t be watching our shoe float down the bay and be able to stay a little bit longer.

A fun family day and festival.  We could have spent the whole day there if Maddie hadn’t kicked her shoe off over the railing and into the bay.  When you have a toddler who stroller planks (for those non-parents, when a child refuses to bend and sit) there’s only one thing to do, emergency shoe shop!

Do you have a Fall festival you enjoy going to each year?  I would love to hear about it.

Picture Perfect Westport, CT

 

Yesterday we wanted to take advantage of the extended weekend, so we jumped in our car and headed north.  We needed to get out of the apartment and into the crisp air.  After driving an hour north we landed in Westport, CT.  I had heard a little about the town and thought it would be a fun area to explore.  Explore we did!  Such a beautiful colonial town that sits along the Long Island Sound with the Saugatuck River running straight through it.  We walked and shopped along Main Street’s chic stores, took a drive through the historic part of town, ate at Bobby Q’s Bodacious BBQ - fun place, yet nowhere near healthy - and stopped off at a few pumpkin nurseries that gave a whole new meaning to the ordinary pumpkin.  I’m sure the stores living amongst Martha Stewart had to up-the-bar!  And a couple fun facts, the town was made famous by the show I Love Lucy.  It’s where Ricky and Lucy bought their new home after moving from the city, and the cost of living in Westport is 167% higher than the rest of the US.  I guess Ricky was doing pretty good!

Here’s our Columbus Day outing and what came home with us…

We drove through the historic area of downtown…

Took a turn down the residential area of traditional colonial style homes of the historic area…

Walked along the chic stores on Main Street

Randomly came across Turkey Hill Road, yet no sighting of Martha Stewart :)

Stopped at Terrain Garden Cafe.  How can anyone pass by these mums and not make a u-turn!   What a find – the unique home decor, unusual plants, a cafe and restaurant made for foodies and the vast array of special finds that not even a screaming toddler can pull a person away from!

Loved their variety of pumpkins, berries and Fall plants…

Now which pumpkin, which gourd…can we finally choose?

Looks like this is the keeper!  Found our Charlie Brown pumpkin, now bound for home!

What a day in picture perfect colonial Westport, CT!  Wish we could have checked out Compo Beach and Park, but time starts ticking in the late afternoon when your toddler hasn’t napped. See you in the Springtime Westport!

Do you have a special place where you get your pumpkins and Fall decor?  Please share.  I love to get new ideas.

Headed to The Burbs

You might remember one of my posts on checking out of the city for summer weekends. We did just that last weekend!  We were invited to New Paltz, a small quaint town at the base of the Catskills, by our friends Pete and Cindy.  We were really looking forward to seeing them and dodging town.  Going to their home always feels like a mini vacation with great margs, amazing views, solitude of the country, fun conversations, and an evening fire (with s’mores!) under the smog free stars.  This city dweller forgets how beautiful a star filled sky can be.  Wish we could get here more often.  Why wish, lets make it happen!

Thought I would share a couple photos from our weekend.

Couldn’t resist a walk in the neighborhood.  Look at that Catskill view!  Always fun to walk by and admire the perfect homes, with the perfectly manicured endless lawns, perfect vacation-like backyards, and I’m sure the perfect family is laughing and sipping tea inside.  Okay, I might be dreaming just a little again, but the area is gorgeous and we did spot several deer frolicking through the yards!  Ha!  It did seem a little fairytaleish.

Then we had a delicious brunch with omelets, bacon, cider donuts, fresh berries, bloody marys and mimosas.   All this while over looking the Catskills on their terrace!  We certainly are starting the day off right!  Oh how I dread to leave.  If we moved into the guest bedroom do you think they would notice?

However, Maddie might blow our cover.  This almost perfect weekend had a minor glitch.  No baby proofing!  Chasing Maddie around was not easy and look where I found her!  Who knew she could climb so well.  We might have a future Catskills rock climber on our hands.

Wish we didn’t have to say good-bye to the weekend, but always nice to get home as well.  I have to say, this city girl does see herself in a country house someday or somewhere with open space.  Maybe I’ll settle for a home on a vineyard or beachfront property!  Not asking for too much, right?  Or, I might have to resort to pinning my five acre beachfront property!!  Either way, I think city living and having a family has caused me to appreciate the beauty of a rural lifestyle a lot more.

Where would your dream house be located?  Please tell!  I would love to hear about it.

Until next ride,

Amy

 

Vacationing: Kids or No Kids?

Illustration by Adrienne Hedger

In the past, I would point my finger anywhere on the globe and just take off.  It didn’t matter how long the flight was, or the number of days I was gone (well to an extent), or how long I stayed out in the evenings, or the activities I did during the day or the minor bumps that came along with traveling.  There were no restrictions.  And, a beach vacation was exactly what it was meant to be; no recollection of time, sprawled out on a beach blanket, nursing several nearby pina coladas, shades on, eyes closed, toes buried in the sand and waves crashing inches away.  So simple, so easy, so carefree.  A real vacation.

This year things aren’t so simple and there is a tough lingering question.  That question it not how many bathing suits should I bring, or which restaurants and lounges are in the area, or what activities can we do, or what drinks will be offered poolside.  The difficult mother question is, should we take Madison or not?  Am I ready to leave our 14 month old for almost two weeks?  Will she be traumatized?  Will I?

My 10 thoughts on not bringing children, or Madison, on vacation…

1)  Will Madison be distraught if we leave her behind?  She breaks down the moment the babysitter enters the apartment and doesn’t stop until bedtime!

2)  The poor grandparents!  Will they be able to handle a 14 month old, who is teething, for almost two weeks?  Will they ever want to come back?

3)  Vacation = Relaxation.  Will I truly be able to relax wondering about Maddie a 14 hour flight away?

4)  No checking out this year!  Need to get international service.  I will definitely need daily check-ins and maybe a messaged picture or two.

5)  Reservations about a 14 hour flight.  The last time I flew I was 6 months pregnant, having back pain, Maddie was hanging-out on my sciatic nerve and I was dealing with those other unmentionables, that all women can relate to, during pregnancy!

6)  However!  We will have freedom to stay out as late as we want!  I know there’s life past 7pm.  Lets find it!

7)  All the pina coladas, margaritas and sangria I want!  Reliving carefree days.

8)  Lets kick start that spark!!  Gets a little dim when everything revolves around kids.  We know it’s there!  Just needs a little Santorini fuel.

9)  No diapers, no clean up, no laundry, no temper tantrums.  Looking better and better!

10) I think we both need some adult time!

I vote, No Kids!  Will Madison need child therapy in the end, no, and will mommy need to turn to countless sangrias, no, well maybe just a couple.  Even though traveling used to be easier, the things that made it easy before don’t seem to be as important now.   So what, if I have to check my luggage rather than have easy breezy carry on.  So what, if our transportation is running late to pick us up.  So what, if we don’t get the check-in time we wanted.  What matters is time together, either as a family or as that so-needed couples time.  Things for us have definitely changed, our worries have changed and our needs have changed, but changed for the better.

Are you taking a self-needed vacation this year and leaving someone or something behind?  My girlfriend is taking a vacation and leaving her cell phone and technology behind.  Now that’s tough!  How about you?

Until next ride,

Amy

Checking Out of the City

The summer is here and the New Yorkers are Not!   The NY mornings and evenings are magical, but the days are anything but!  Once the clock strikes noon, be out or be weary.  Don’t let the sticky air trap you in or the heat from the sidewalks scare you from getting to your car or train, don’t make the mistake of leaving too early and getting caught in the tailgate rush out of town, and don’t head back too late and catch the exhausted beach loving city slicker’s bumper push back to the city.  If you time it JUST right, my friends, the perfect weekend is ahead!

I’ve made my list!!  I’m Checking Out but hopefully Checking In, summer weekend bucket list.

East Coast Beach

I am a California beach girl at heart, but there is something unique and tranquil about the east coast beaches.  The dunes, the wild grass, the picket fences, the warmer water, and lets not forget those beaches that can only be reached by ferry!  Who wants to join me?  Check me in, Please!

Cape May, NJ

Cape May, a gem at the bottom of New Jersey.  Only a three hour drive from the city to the Painted Ladies!  Can’t pass up award winning beaches, a quaint fishing harbor and a possible whale spotting!  We went last year and loved it.  Check me in again, Please!

Acadia National Park, Maine

How I long for a camping trip…with a lodge!   The smell of the pine trees, the sound of a rushing river with endless streams, hikes to hill tops with beautiful views of God’s country, and waking up to the sound of chattering birds and restless animals outside your window.  Does it get better, I ask?  Check me in, Please!

Block Island, Rhode Island

Block Island is a real get away only a few hours outside the city.  First by car, then by boat and you’re there!  This place is only accessible seasonal, so it has that true vacation feel, if only for a couple of days.  Check me in, Please!

This may be a little far for a weekend getaway, but wherever it is please, please check me in!

Where do you hope to check in this summer?  I would love to hear about it!

Until next ride,

Amy

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