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In a normal summer, last week – the week of Labor Day, would have been my traditional late summer vacation to the beautiful seaside town of Wellfleet near the tip of Cape Cod. Sadly, the stupid virus kept me from traveling this year so I will have to live with my memories of past trips. Luckily for me, and maybe for you, many of my exploits on Cape Cod have been documented here, so I thought it would be fun to republish some of my old posts – so I will be doing that all week. First up, Titcombs’ Bookshop – where many years we stopped to purchase books to read while on vacation.

DISCOVERED: Titcomb’s Bookshop in Sandwich, MA (Originally published Oct. 1, 2010)

“You have to drive along 6-A,” Sophie told us when we met up before the road trip to Wellfleet, MA for our annual vacation.  Route 6-A is the old road that runs the length of Cape Cod that has been replaced with the more freeway-ish Route 6.  Route 6 is the road that you would normally take to get to the end of the Cape in the most direct and speedy way.  Route 6-A winds its way through every little village and borough and can be quite charming, but it takes a long time.

We were in no rush to make it to our rental in Wellfleet, so my traveling companion, Wayne and I thought we should take Sophie’s advice.  Boy was she right.  Within the first mile of 6-A we came across a cranberry bog being harvested, very cool and very Cape Cod.

And then we noticed a bunch of shops and galleries along the road and decided we should stop and check outticombs a few.

Our first stop was Titcomb’s Bookshop, a lovely new and used bookstore in a grand old house in Sandwich.  It was fun browsing the books – old and new – and I made a few purchases.  But more than anything I was intrigued by the store and wanted to learn more about it.

Well, I did some research and found the store website.  I just love their story:

“Titcomb’s Bookshop was founded by Ralph and Nancy Titcomb in July 1969 when they moved to East Sandwich, but their interest in antiquarian books began years earlier. In 1966, Ralph, an engineer with General Electric, was transferred to Connecticut. Finding a house for their 6 young children was difficult, but they settled on an old house with 7 acres and several barns in the small town of Canterbury. The house had not been lived in for over 10 years and the prior owners were a mother and daughter who died at ages 102 and 82 respectively. As the couple worked on the house, the children explored the property, and soon discovered in one of the barns a large pile of rare papers and books dating back to the 1600s. The Titcomb’s started a mail order catalog to sell some of the books and their business, aptly named ‘The Paper Barn,” blossomed from there. The very first sale yielded $44 that was quickly used to buy a Saint Bernard puppy for the kids. (They did, after all, find the treasure!).”

I feel like I found a treasure myself.  Thanks once again for a great tip Sophie!

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Brim.4.2011.2I have written much about visiting antique shows and flea markets over the past few months.  I go to look, buy and occasionally sell, but no matter what my purpose I enjoy the experience.

I love looking at what people are selling, and what people are buying. I also love the visuals some of the items for sale provide.  Often the merchandise laid out for sale compels me to take a picture.

I am getting ready to head out to the mother of all antique shows in New England, the Brimfield Show, coming up in September.  Brimfield is a collection of shows that runs just three times a year – a week each in May, July and September – and it is heaven for anyone that enjoys vintage items and collects things.  People come from all over the country to be part of the Brimfield experience and it is always great fun.

Anyway, while going through some pictures recently, I found some that I took back in a visit to Brimfield in May.  In addition to being great images, it occurred to me that the pictures demonstrate that one could very easily go to a show like Brimfield and start a collection of almost anything and by the end of the day be an old pro.

Here are a few of the “instant collections” I documented…

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Learn more about the Brimfield Show here.

SH1I have written in the past about my love for container gardens.  For years I have kept one and have had so-so luck with growing things.  But I love trying every year.  This was to be the year of the big garden – with living in farm country and more time to nurse the plants.  I will write more about it later – but let’s just say that the first night the seedlings I spent weeks nursing inside from seed were planted… something (or someone) chomped 90% of them to the root.  I think it was the plump groundhog I have spotted around the barn.

Anyway, I rescued what I could and moved them all to a rather large container garden on the back porch. I also enhanced the garden with some fun growing “kits” like the kind available from Sprout Home

I have purchased many of the Gardens in a bag, and have had great success with them, especially basil.  Sprout offers something I have never seen before, but must say I am eager to try – The Gardener-Plantable Comic Book.

About Sprout Home’s garden shop:  “Sprout garden items include unique and contemporary plants such as passion flower, bamboo, rare ornamental trees and grasses, organic herbs & vegetables, and much more. Sprout also offers design services, specializing in contemporary garden design and rooftop/deck container gardening.”

The perfect retailer for the type of product we love – things designed to help us look like we know what we are doing in the garden.

Sprout Home has two retail locations, in Chicago and Brooklyn, and has a great website with many cool products for the home and garden.

Check out Sprout Home here.

MCAfter my series of posts about summer cottage decorating, I have been flooded with suggestions and ideas for similar places to visit.  Case in point, a few people have mentioned Maine Cottage, a designer, manufacturer and seller of home furnishings that compliment coastal living.

About Maine Cottage: “Maine Cottage is the original home to spirited, colorful furniture perfect for coastal living. You will delight in our thoughtfully selected styles and colors: they all work together. This makes filling a room or whole home easy – no fuss or muss – we’ve already done the hard parts for you. We give you permission to feel good about indulging in Maine Cottage. Our furniture is “real” and built to last a lifetime. Our tasteful style is enduring. Simple, timeless furniture forms combined with beautiful colors and fabrics.”

Oddly, Maine Cottage is based in Maryland where they have a retail outlet.  However, they do sell online and offer a nice selection of furnishings in multiple patterns.  I love the wicker Fiona Rocker – just what I need to sit in on the back porch listening to the symphony of crickets into the wee hours.

Visit Maine Cottage here.

CHOC.3A friend of mine recently admired a picture I took of Mt. Chocorua, a lovely spot in the foothills of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.  I agreed with my friend that the mountain was beautiful and added “and that’s in my back yard.“ 

I of course did not mean literally in my back yard, but figuratively, as the rocky summit of Mt. Chocorua can be spotted all over town, and I feel in some ways it is the beacon that watches over me.  It is like when I am in New York and always looking for the steeple of the Chrysler Building to orient myself and feel a special sense of place.

Anyway, I realized that were you to flatten the acres of protected forest that actually does abut my sabbatical retreat’s back yard, I would have a lovely view of the mountain.

I love Mt. Chocorua and I am not alone.  Even though at 3,490 feet it is clearly modest by mountain standards, Chocorua is very picturesque with it’s bald peak and proximity to the lake that bears the same name.

Urban legend has it that Chocorua is “the most photographed mountain in the world.”  How one quantifies that, I don’t know.  But sitting right off a major route to the White Mountains well traveled by tourists, skiers and nature lovers, one can see how people are compelled to pull off the road to take a photo of this lovely site.

Unlike the New Yorker who has never visited the Statue of Liberty, even with Chocorua “in my back yard” I visit often and takes pictures.  Since I have been living up here in NH, I have made a practice of making sure I have a camera in the car with me all the time as I often stumble upon something that needs to be documented.  I have been chronicling the every changing view of Mt. Chocorua and am always amazed at its beauty.

So this is one of these self-indulgent posts I warned you about…

Here are three pictures I tool of Mt. Chocorua in the past few months. From left to right and/or top to bottom depending on your screen dimensions: Chocorua in Mid-May with the greenery making its way up the southern slopes; Chocorua at twilight in late June; and mid-day on a bright July day.

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greatfOne of the great things about having a blog like Lost Cowboy is finding kindred spirits who share the same sensibilities or have similar interests and experiences.  It is fun reading other blogs and participating in an ongoing conversation about the things we love.

A dear friend of mine maintains a wonderful blog called Grateful Evermore.  Grateful Evermore is a perfect fit for us, as we share some of the same experiences and you may find things you see here from a slightly different angle.

About Grateful Evermore“I love all things about being at home and making a house a home. I adore my family- my friends and my little life- most of the time. This blog is a way for me to communicate with others and a way for me to keep track of where I have been and where I want to go.”

Every Grateful Evermore post begins with an interesting quote and ends with an appreciation of something special – the perfect bookends for the inspired and heartfelt posts you will find there.

Next week I will be a guest blogger on Grateful Evermore, and I am really looking forward to it.  I am not sure exactly what I am going to write about – but in thinking about it, I realize that I am fortunate to have so many things in my life for which to be grateful.

I promise to cross-post whatever I write about here. In the meantime, I recommend checking out Grateful Evermore.

AR1I can’t tell you how cool I think today’s Find is: A+R (aplusrstore.com).

As I have mentioned many times before, I love finding cool products that are well-designed and add to our everyday lives.  There is no shortage of these products, but finding them is not always so easy. Enter A+R, retailers committed to curating the world of cool design and putting order to it.  In fact, their tagline is “Global Design. Edited.”  I love it.

The A+R store is also presented in a way that helps you find products based on need with categories like cooking, gifting, living, and traveling.  Then all the products are sorted by material, like wood, glass, rubber and stone.  So perfect.

There are way too many cool products here, so I recommend checking out the site, I am confident you will find something there for you or as a gift.  Some of things that caught my eye include:

the very cool Magno Wood Radio;

the FoodPod we didn’t know existed but now covet;

the Carrie Bicycle Basket that instantly makes any bike cool;

and the fully waterproof Crumpled City Maps.

About A + R: “A+R is British ex-pat Andy Griffith, a former film editor and self-avowed design junkie, and Rose Apodaca, a pop culture and style journalist. In late 2005, we opened our tiny shop in the heart of the Los Angeles creative enclave known as Silver Lake, keen on sharing our excitement for great new design with anyone who would listen. We followed up a year later with our online store.”

Visit the A+R store here.

F2I mentioned before that I have been haunting farmers’ markets and tag sales this summer, but I have also been seeking out art fairs to see what type of artists are out and about these days and make notes for my own future career as a professional artist.

A couple of weeks ago I was very pleased to have stopped by the annual summer art show sponsored by ACT! (the Arts Council of Tamworth) in the quaint New Hampshire community of Chocorua Village.

The show featured a wonderful collection of local artist working in all manner of media.  I was particularly attracted to the work of young artist Jessica L. Fligg, who was showing her paintings, prints and photography showcasing the natural beauty of the New Hampshire mountains.

In talking with Ms. Fligg, I was very impressed with her approach.  She is not only a talented artist, she is somewhat of a visual historian.  She collects old books and vintage images of the various natural sites around the area and then tries to locate the spot where the original artist or photographer worked from and paint it in its current state.  This method results in some wonderful pieces which come complete with a back story.

I purchased a print of an oil painting titled “Crawford Notch in Times Past.”  The scene comes from a photograph from the late 1800’s that Ms. Fligg found.  She located the spot from where the photo was taken and created her painting as a mash-up of the original view and what it looks like today.  I purchased the print because I liked it, but also because of the passion with which the artists works and shared with me in our conversation.

I look forward to watching this artist grow in the future.  If her current work is any guide, she is sure to become a cherished New Hampshire artist for years to come.
Check out the print I purchased as well as other paintings by New Hampshire artist Jessica L. Fligg here.

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GR1One look at Genesee River’s home page let us know we had stumbled upon a site that fit perfectly with our sensibility.  The main graphic on the page is a vintage lakeside print, complete with canoes and a gentleman smoking a pipe. Awesome!

This first impression was reinforced with a tour of the site, where Genesee River helps “people get a little bit closer to nature” with their well-curated collection of old and new products for decorating your home.

About Genesee River: “Since 1985, we have dealt in rustic, both new pieces of our design as well as select vintage items. A chance encounter with an Amish builder of bent hickory furniture set the wheels in motion. When combined with antique finishes we built the foundation of what is today known as ‘Genesee Style‘”.

There are some cool things offered by Genesee, but of course we were drawn to the fine vintage collection.

See the Genesee River collection for yourself here.

Go straight the the Genesee River vintage collection here.

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