After my husband and I were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in March, we were thrilled to celebrate our new status by having a weekend away, in the sleepy picture book village of Grafton, Vermont. My husband wrote a piece about our escape for our newspaper, The Chronicle. I have reproduced it below, accompanied by my photos.
Last Sunday, we headed out to Gardenworks Farm, in Salem, NY, to visit with our good friends and the farm’s owners, Meg and Rob Southerland, and to select our Christmas tree. It was just like old times, piling into the car with our two sons, worried about whether our younger son would feel car sick on the drive over hill and dale to get to the farm. Surprise — our “boys” are now in their mid-twenties, having returned home during the pandemic to work from our home, yet both were enthusiastic about accompanying my husband and me on our tree venture — and no one got car sick! Indeed, I had hoped to go to the farm a few days earlier, but my sons complained that their work schedules didn’t allow them to go then, and how could I even consider not including them in such a classic family tradition?
I know there’s no shortage of people ruminating on the Web about being stuck at home and the various ways they are trying to cope during the Covid-19 shutdown. I am intensely grateful that I can do my work for our business from home, I don’t often have to venture into public places, and I don’t have young children at home who need help with schoolwork! Above all, I am thankful that most of my friends and family seem to be healthy and weathering the storm.
The line up on our kitchen counter. Grateful to have a can of Lysol spray.
But since we can’t physically travel, and are pretty much confined at home, I haven’t published an article on my blog since January, when I wrote about our visit to Frida Kahlo’s home in Mexico City. So even though I can’t share some wonderful destination, I can share what’s been happening in my house in northern New York State.
I recently managed a quick, two-night, mid-week, pre-Christmas getaway with my best friend at the historic Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass., in the heart of the Berkshires. The Inn is shown at the right of this 1967 illustration done for McCall’s magazine by Norman Rockwell, titled Home for Christmas (Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas). Rockwell’s own South Street home appears at the far right.
The symbol of San Miguel de Allende — La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, the church in the center of the historic district.
I was fortunate to spend a week in beautiful San Miguel de Allende, in Guanajuato, Mexico, during February, 2019. My best friend from childhood, along with members of her family (from the United States), reside for part of the winter in San Miguel. It is known as a cultural center for artists and writers, and many Americans and Canadians either live there for part of the year, or retire and relocate there (“ex-pats”).
When our family told friends and acquaintances that we had decided to travel over the New Year’s holiday to Colombia, most looked at us in wide-eyed disbelief. “Why on earth would you go there?” was the most frequent reply. A few even asked us if we meant Columbia, South Carolina, not South America.
We whiled away some time at this cafe in Getsemani, a Cartagena neighborhood outside the walled colonial city.
A popular souvenir from Colombia is a miniature house that incorporates symbols of the country. Even though many parts of the country are now safe to visit, this little house still sports a tiny rifle!
During the first week of January, 2019, my family spent several days in Bogota, Colombia, as part of a nine-day adventure in Cartagena, Medellin and Bogota. One of my sons had made the travel arrangements for us, and he had booked us into a walking/food tour in Bogota’s La Candelaria.
Slea Head Drive, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland
This is Part 2 of my blog post on our ten-day trip to Ireland in October, 2018. The first part covered Dublin, Belfast, the Antrim Coast (Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills Distillery), Ashford Castle in Cong, Connemara and Kylemore Abbey.
In 2001, when the food historians at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. learned that famous chef, TV personality and cookbook author Julia Child (1912-2004) was selling her home in Cambridge, Mass. and moving back to her home state of California, they contacted her to discuss the possibility of including some of her culinary objects in the museum’s collection. They were invited to visit Ms. Child in Cambridge, and she agreed to donate the entirety of her kitchen to the museum — literally every object that she had collected and used in her kitchen from the late 1940s, through 2001, including appliances, pots and pans, cookbooks on the shelf, even the magnets on the fridge.
The signage says the only things the museum added are the plastic tomatoes (in the trug) and bananas in the bowl on the table. Also, the museum recreated the linoleum floor from Ms. Child’s kitchen out of paper.
Many people know of Beatrix Potter, the English writer and illustrator, because of her series of beloved children’s books about Peter Rabbit and his friends.
But Miss Potter (1866-1943), later known as Mrs. Heelis, was far more than a genteel Victorian lady who penned stories about woodland creatures like bunnies and hedgehogs and painted charming watercolors of them wearing human clothing. She was a naturalist, a conservationist, a scientist (a mycologist, to be exact), a visionary merchandiser of her products, a farmer who raised Herdwick sheep, and a far-sighted land preservationist.