Late Spring brought us north to be with family and friends for an extended visit.
Downsizing my parents home was a daunting task handled by three generations of sentimental family members. There is no room for being sentimental when there are 25 plus years of belongings to go through. We laughed, we cried, we took pictures and more mementos than we expected.Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, we rerouted our trip and stayed east of the Mississippi. We focused on family matters both in the north and in the south while managing to visit and revisit interesting and favorite sights.
Highlights of our summer began with Memorial Day in the Hamptons. We were on the beach early and saw the lifeguard team carry out their seasonal chair.
Not quite in bloom, but already smelling spa-like, we visited a lavender farm.Nearby a winery beckoned and of course we sampled a flight of whites while admiring the view. Other stops in the Hamptons included a kitschy Italian restaurant with giant dueling Musketeers outside. Also a contemporary art museum and the first party of the season with some special friends.
Fun in Manhattan and the surrounding areas was also on the agenda. Summer is NYC at its emptiest. We enjoyed a ChamberMusicNY concert at Merkin Concert Hall, the Psycho Barn (which is this year’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden exhibit), along with few meals with friends, all filled our hearts with joy. The post-Superstorm Sandy South Street Seaport area is up and flourishing with some great restaurants and shops. The new WTC area boasts a state of the art subway station/mall. Mother-daughter time was priceless and wonderful.
A field trip had us driving through the beautiful rolling farmlands and mountains of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. The many twisty roads lead to the Finger Lakes longest and deepest lake, Cayuga. The town of Aurora, 30 miles north of Ithaca is home to Wells College, several wineries and interesting shops. The biggest attraction however, is the MacKenzie-Childs farmhouse and pottery factory. It is an amazing, over-the-top treat to visit. The tour of the farm house as well as the vast showroom of all the products are remarkable. The Aurora Inn is a beautiful, quaint yet modern hotel. The great vista of the lake and the great food add to the Americana charm of the town.
The southern end of the east coast delighted us with a beautiful summer solstice sunrise along with the moon set in St Augustine, FL. The oldest city in the United States. Sunrise beach yoga classes, riding bikes on and off the beach coupled with a great art and music scene have made the humid summer palatable.
The flora and fauna in north Florida are jungle-like compared to the Northeast. There are so many flowering trees including the crepe myrtles, a mix of cacti, and many other flowering plants I have not learned the names of yet. There are countless varieties of birds including some pink ones that are definitely not flamingos. Turtles, snakes and many a chameleon have also crossed our paths. I have learned that the chameleons are actually Green Anole (pronounced: uh’no-lee), one of Florida’s true native lizards.
The outside oppressive heat sent us to indoor heat. A glassblowing lesson resulted in this flower.
The most magical amusement park always makes me smile. The famous and fun Electrical Parade will be retired in October. I am glad I got to experience it before the finale.
Plans are loose for the next few months. Locally, we will explore the ample coastline, many natural springs, ravines and wooly mammoth fossils. Have no fear, our trek west of the Mississippi will resume as will more regular posts.