Entries tagged with “Travel”.

limapLast week, I was invited by a friend to take a trip out to Long Island for a short visit. I thought it would be fun, so we hit the road (and the water) to spend a couple of days visiting another friend who lives out on the Island.

Long Island, of course, is the big (long) island that spans from New York City across the full length of Connecticut (creating Long Island Sound), before it forks out towards Rhode Island. To access the island, you can drive over bridges that connect the island from Manhattan and the mainland on the far west end. But from northern New England (my home base) that involves driving southwest through New York City and the densely populated metropolitan area only to head back northeast once you are on Long Island. However, there are other options, including taking one of the ferries that cross Long Island Sound to connect to more eastern parts of the island. Since my private jet was in the shop, the ferry looked like the best option.

CSFWe took the Cross Sound Ferry from New London, CT to Orient Point on the far eastern tip of the North Fork of Long Island. The huge ferry which moves people, cars, trucks and cargo across the Sound, was very comfortable and took a little more than an hour.

From Orient Point we drove west through the more sparsely developed part of the island, passing by some of the many vineyards and farms that grace the area. I made a note to come back to visit the vineyards in the future. (Read more about the Long Island wine region here.)

Likewise, passing by the charming community of Greenport Village, made me want to come back very soon to check it out.

About Greenport Village: “A working seaport since the 18th Century. The deep-water harbor in the village center includes a 60-slip marina for transient crafts. Strolling the sidewalks, you’ll find many unique shops, galleries, and museums, as well as a restored Art Deco movie theater, and an antique carrousel. Greenport’s restaurants offer a delicious variety from picnic fare to gourmet dining, complete with local oysters and Long Island wines. Our maritime haven is just steps away from the train, bus, ferry, and charming lodgings.”

I want to return for the Greenport Maritime Festival, September 20-22, 2013.

SAM_1067 (800x600)We drove an hour or so west taking in the scenery and met up with our friend. After a casual lunch we made our way to Sayville to catch another ferry, this time for the much shorter run out to Fire Island to spend the afternoon at the beach.

About The Sayville to Fire Island Ferry: “The Sayville Ferry began the Fire Island run in 1894. For over one hundred years, Fire Island – with its wide ocean beaches, natural forests, wetlands and lively downtowns – has been an attraction for people from all over the world. Fire Island’s central communities of Cherry Grove, Fire Island Pines, Water Island and Sailors Haven/Sunken Forest, a Fire Island National Seashore Park, are served by the Sayville Ferry, which is located on River Road in the South Shore hamlet of Sayville. Once on the island, the only means of transport is a hand-pulled wagon and the only rubber you burn is the soles of your shoes.”

We took the ferry out to Fire Island Pines, where there is a cluster of summer homes connected by boardwalks – meaning no streets, no cars and believe it or not, no bikes allowed.

SAM_1207 (800x600)About Fire Island Pines: “Fire Island Pines is located on the southern side of Long Island and boasts some of the most expensive real estate on all of Fire Island. Named from scrub pine trees in the area, Fire Island Pines was originally the site of a Coast Guard station. In 1952, plans were announced to sell 122 lots and build a private harbor for yachts. The 1960’s brought a new era to the Pines. Today, the Pines continues to be both relaxing and exciting. Whether you are looking to take the wagon down to the grocery store or attend one the more famous all night parties; Fire Island Pines has all that to offer and more.”

We made our way to the beach, part of the Fire Island National Seashore, and settled in for a lovely afternoon. The weather was perfect, the beach was wide open, and we had a great day. To top it off, we were treated to a stunning sunset on our ferry ride back to Sayville.

A collection of shells along the Fire Island National Seashore:

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Despite what the old adage says (red sky at night, sailor’s delight) we woke on our second and last day to overcast skies and the threat of rain. But that did not keep us from checking out Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River, NY.

SAM_1313 (800x599)About The Bayard Cutting Arboretum: “Bayard Cutting Arboretum was donated to the Long Island State Park Region by Mrs. William Bayard Cutting and her daughter, Mrs. Olivia James, in memory of William Bayard Cutting, “to provide an oasis of beauty and quiet for the pleasure, rest and refreshment of those who delight in outdoor beauty; and to bring about a greater appreciation and understanding of the value and importance of informal planting.” Utilizing plans conceived by the noted landscape architectural firm of Frederick Law Olmstead, arboretum development began in 1887. The site was originally wooded and many of the large oaks now seen were retained during the clearing of the land. With the cooperation of Charles Sprague Sergeant, then director of Boston’s Arnold Arboretum, Mr. Cutting several years later began to plant his conifer collection in the area just north of the Carriage House. Contained within the collection are several trees which, regionally, are the largest of their species. Also found are extensive plantings of dwarf evergreens, rhododendron, azaleas, hollies and oaks. Wildflowers and daffodils are featured in many native woodland locations. Combined with the site’s ponds and streamlets, these areas also provide opportunities to observe a broad range of land and aquatic birds and occasional glimpses of fox, raccoon and other small wildlife.”

Although it sprinkled a few time while we were walking around the Arboretum, the rain held off until we were finished and it ended up being a lovely morning. The Arboretum is full of interesting trees and plants and includes several trails that span from the main house down to – and along – the waterfront and through various groves. Walking around the Arboretum is a treat for any nature lover or photographer.

Another visitor to the Arboretum checks out the summer flowers:

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We made time to tour the sprawling Manor House, which includes the Hidden Oak Café, where we snacked out on the veranda overlooking the great lawn that leads down to the water. The Hidden Oak Café also host formal Victorian tea parties, which I am sure is quite popular in this perfect setting.

Too soon, it was time for us to leave the Arboretum and head back to Orient Point for a ferry back to the mainland.

The quick trip to Long Island was just scratching the surface and I am looking to return soon to check out all the places I already have listed in my notebook. BTW, I am still waiting for my invitation to one of the great summer events in the Hamptons. Stay tuned.


yeoFor some reason I really want to take a road trip to Tennessee and Kentucky. I have blogged about this before and when I see places like Yeoman’s in the Fork in Franklin, Tennessee, I want to jump in my car and start my trip today.

Yeoman’s in the Fork, the self-proclaimed “Small Town Bookshop with Uptown Books” looks like just the type of place where I can hangout for a long time.

About Yeoman’s in the Fork: “As our name implies, we feel that we have an incredible responsibility to the land, our families and all of those who believe that hard work and history can lead a man to the riches we all strive for. These riches can be a glass of lemonade in the shade or the comfortable feel of a chair when you just started the sixth chapter. As our name implies, we feel we have gone against the grain and carved our own path. The way of the yeoman is not always the easiest, but the path teaches you lessons along the way. Luckily for us, those lessons have shown the way to the historic community of Leiper’s Fork and to those fellow yeomen who believe buying and selling rare books and documents is an interesting way to make a living and a great way to help save them for future generations to enjoy!”

I love old books and I like people who appreciate them and understand that their preservation is vital to our culture. I can’t wait to explore Yeoman’s in the Fork and admire their treasures.

Learn more about Franklin, TN’s Yeoman’s in the Fork here.

santafeI am literally marking my calendar right now for next July, I really want to experience The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.  The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is a once a year event held in Santa Fe, NM and has become the single largest fair of its type in the world.

My love of markets and handcrafted artisans makes the idea of attending The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market a slam dunk, and I am going to do it.

About The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market: “The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is a results-oriented entrepreneurial 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides a venue for master traditional artists to display, demonstrate and sell their work. By providing opportunities for folk artists to succeed in the global marketplace, the Market creates economic empowerment and improves the quality of life in communities where folk artists live. It is now the largest international folk art market in the world, and its success led to Santa Fe’s designation as a UNESCO City of Folk Art, the first U.S. city named to UNESCO’s prestigious Creative Cities Network.”

If you are planning ahead like me, The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market’s dates for 2013 – 2015 are:

  • 2013 July 12 – 14
  • 2014 July 11 – 13
  • 2015 July 10 – 12

I am going to make a visit to this Market the centerpiece of my long-await southwestern adventure, and of course I will tell you all about it here.

Now the song “Santa Fe” from the cult movie, now a huge hit show on Broadway, Newsies, is in my head!

Find out more about the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market here.

PINBALL2It may or may not come as a surprise to my readers that I am a huge fan of pinball machines. I spent many hours mastering PinBot in the late 80’s when all my little friends had moved on to video games.  I love the look, the feel, and mostly the sounds of the good old-school pinball machine as the balls careen from bumper to bumper.

I still pop into arcades every now and then to seek out a vintage machine – which thankfully can still be found – and within a few seconds of testing the paddles, I am a kid all over again.

I have never been to heaven, but were I to picture it, I would think it would look a little like the Pacific Pinball Museum of Alameda, CA.

About the Pacific Pinball Museum of Alameda, CA:  “The Pacific Pinball Museum (PPM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of one of America’s great pastimes. We do this by: Operating the Pacific Pinball Museum a beautiful selection of 90 fully playable, historic pinball machines; Hosting the world’s largest pinball show, the annual Pacific Pinball Expo; Creating traveling pinball art exhibits; and, Creating traveling science exhibits communicating the basics of physics and electricity using pinball.”

I am definitely putting this museum on my list should I ever be nearby Alameda – and I hope it will be someday soon.

Read more about the Pacific Pinball Museum of Alameda, CA here.

CAPHILLYou can have your museums and cathedrals.  When I travel to cities near and far, the first thing I look for is a local market – and if it is a good old fashioned flea market – then all the better.  From Paris to small town USA, the flea market is a great place to pick up local color – and find a treasure or two.

For my next trip to Seattle, which I hope is soon, I have made a note to visit the Capitol Hill Flea Market.

About Seattle‘s Capitol Hill Flea Market: “Every Saturday from 11-3, Century Ballroom opens its doors to house an eclectic mash up of vintage, furniture, home goods, and hand made. The result: the American flea market trend of random detritus loitering dustily on card tables is replaced with curated collections of stuff you won’t find anywhere else: clothes and wares from both local designers and vintage collectors, antiques, jewelry, artifacts, etc. Wear comfortable shoes.”

Seattle is a great market city, home to the world famous Pike Place Market and host of thriving farmers’ markets and great vintage and arts scenes – so much more than just coffee and fish.

Check out the Capitol Hill Flea Market here.

Today is my final post (at least for now) of reminiscences of my trip to Italy last fall.  Today, I bring you some notes about Umbrian wines and ceramics. 

The vineyards of Arnaldo Caprai

One of the great joys of our trip to Umbria was a visit to the vineyards of Arnaldo Caprai.  The vineyards were stunning with post harvest hues and the tour was interesting and informative. 

Even I as a non-wine-drinker enjoyed the tasting and tour and we had a nice time.  My traveling companions, my sister and niece, really enjoyed Arnaldo Caprai’s Anima Umbra Bianco – a few bottles of which I have secured stateside for future gifts.

Passing along my companions’ other wine discoveries from the trip, they were high on:

The Ceramics of Rolando and Goffredo Nulli

Finally, after all the food, wine and sightseeing, we did a lot of shopping and enjoying the local artisans.  I was taken by the wonderful ceramics that were everywhere.  In particular, I loved the Ceramics of Rolando and Goffredo Nulli.

About the Ceramics of Rolando and Goffredo Nulli: “Rolando and Goffredo Nulli’s handicraft shop is a family run business where completely handmade majolicas are created. Their high quality production keeps the tradition alive and evokes the classic decorations of the various periods of deruta. The Nulli Majolicas are known in Italy and many other countries, especially in Europe, the United States and Japan. For everybody wants gain experience in creating an object by a turning lathe, Rolando Nulli gives the possibility to do it also providing valuable indications and all the necessary assistance.”

Ciao Roberto!

And last but not least, here is one final plug for our friend Roberto Angelini at Enoteca Properzio in Spello – where we spent a few glorious hours tasting wine, olive oils, balsamics and other Umbrian treats – truly the highlight of our trip.

From my November 2011 trip to Italy – the amazing vineyards of Arnaldo Caprai in autumn:


I am finishing up my posts from my notes of my trip to Italy last fall.  That’s the official explanation of today’s Postscript, but I am thinking it may have more to do with a major case of wanderlust that I have which I am pretty sure is a symptom of my much larger case of Cabin Fever.  Whatever it is, it has been fun reliving a great trip to an amazing place. 

Today, I share two great hotel finds in Italy – in Rome and Florence.  Next week, some notes about wine and other Tuscan and Umbrian treats.

Hotel in Rome – Hotel Panama Garden

If you are looking for a nice and affordable boutique hotel in Rome, I highly recommend the Hotel Panama Garden.  We stayed at this charming hotel for a few nights on our trip to Rome last November and it was delightful.  The rooms were modern yet included some nice old world charm.  My room was small, but what it lacked in space inside was made up by the private terrace overlooking a quiet residential street. 

About Hotel Panama Garden “Hotel Panama Garden enjoys a peaceful location in Rome’s most exclusive area, near Villa Ada Park and within easy reach of the historic centre on bus, tram or by foot. This top quality hotel offers you first class accommodation in a quiet and elegant part of the city. Surrounded by tranquil private gardens, it is the perfect place to escape back to after a busy day of sightseeing or business.”

If you are like me and like to stay in a neighborhood when visiting new cities as opposed to being right in the city center, then Hotel Panama Garden is a good pick for a trip to Rome.  You can get a feel for what it is like to live in the city while being close to all the sights without feeling too much like a tourist.

Hotel in Florence – Hotel Villa Liana

Likewise, for our visit to Florence, we stayed on the northwest side of the center city in a lovely residential neighborhood at the Hotel Villa Liana.  This hotel was wonderful.  The rooms were large and quirky fun.  My room had marble floors and Tuscan pillars.  My traveling companions’ room had a mural on the ceiling that rivaled the Sistine chapel.

The best part of the Hotel Villa Liana was that we just happened into it after our first choice had a booking mix-up and sent us there.  We could not have been more thrilled to be bumped after we saw this place.

About Villa Liana Hotel : “The Villa Liana Hotel in Florence is an ancient noble Villa, a former English Consulate, built in the XIX century.  The hotel stands in a residential quarter just a few minutes walk from Piazza Santa Croce, the Cathedral of Florence and the Galleria dell’Accademia, the world-renowned museum where it will be possible to admire one of Michelangelo’s masterpieces: the David.  The stay at Villa Liana Hotel offers to its guests a charming place, embellished with antique furniture, original frescos ceilings and precious fabrics, typical of the Florentine tradition.”

From my November 2011 trip to Italy – the façade of Il Duomo, Florence, Tuscany:


cg1I don’t golf, but I often thought about taking it up, but in the end I am too lazy to commit to it.  So I will stick with miniature golf, which I stink at, but enjoy from time to time.

Anyway, I thought about golf recently when I cam across the amazing luggage of Club Glove.  Club Glove is a company that made its name in producing top-of-the-line golf bags and related products for golfers.  With their success in the golf world, Club Glove turned their attention to things like luggage and they make some really nice pieces.

I saw a set of Club Glove’s three piece travel system while traveling in November, and I coveted it.  It is great stuff and the system is so cool with three good size pieces connecting to make navigating to and from the airport a breeze.

About Club Glove: “Proudly made-in-the-USA, Club Glove products are preferred by the overwhelming majority of professional golfers on all U.S. Tours. In some capacity Club Glove products have been used by every USA Ryder Cup team since 1997. Club Glove also crafted unique staff bags for all Team USA members and coaches during the 2004 and 2006 Ryder Cups.”

The price point on Club Glove’s afore mentioned “Three Piece Ensemble” is a little over this starving artist’s price point, but I am officially placing it on my wish list should I come into money or have to register for impending nuptials.  The fact that your Lost Cowboy hasn’t had a date in nearly a decade makes the latter highly unlikely, but I love the luggage!

See all the fine products of Club Glove here.

BAST1While I am adjusting to my first winter in the northern hills of New England, thanks to my weather app on my iPod, I am constantly aware of the weather in Buenos Aires where it is summer.  While I am looking for a clean pair of long johns, the folks in Argentina are enjoying sun and temperatures in the 80’s.

When I see the weather on the other side of the equator, I am reminded of my two trips to Buenos Aires in recent years and yearning to return.  On those trips to Buenos Aires, one of the things that made me fall in love with the city was the delightful barrio of San Telmo – a charming district with old world charm and the center of the city’s vibrant arts and antiques community.

On Sundays, San Telmo is the site of an amazing street fair that runs for several blocks through the neighborhood – much like Saturdays on London’s Portobello Road. I was going though my notes from my last trip and came across my remarks about one of the artists I met at the San Telmo market, Ovidio Wain.

Ovidio Wain is an assemblage artist and creates things out of found objects that are creative and just plain cool.  My medium as an artist is assemblage, so I was very much interested in Mr. Wain’s work and inspired by meeting him.

Now I can’t wait to get to work on my own creations and get my frozen butt back to Argentina as soon as possible.
Check out the “creaciones” of assemblage artist Ovidio Wain here.

From my personal photos archives – Mr. Wain’s works on display in the San Telmo market, November 2010:


From my personal photos archives – a hint of the charm of a Sunday in San Telmo, November 2009:


PEM1I lived in Salem, MA for a short time in my young adulthood and loved the historic seaside setting, which is very much alive long after this once thriving port took a back-seat to other cities.  Most know of Salem’s colonial history, particularly the Salem Witch Trials.  However, Salem was once a major seaport with ships from all over the world pulling into the wharfs to trade.

Salem’s place in history is preserved throughout the city, but there is one real gem amongst the more touristy fair – the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM).  Once dedicated to Salem’s seafaring roots, the PEM now is a world class museum with an amazing collection and excellent special exhibitions.

About the Peabody Essex Museum: “The mission of the Peabody Essex Museum is to celebrate outstanding artistic and cultural creativity by collecting, stewarding and interpreting objects of art and culture in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, engage the mind and stimulate the senses. Through its exhibitions, programs, publications, media and related activities, PEM strives to create experiences that transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world.”

I have visited the PEM many times over the years, but was recently thrilled to see their latest special exhibition – Painting the American Vision – continuing through November 6, 2011. 

About Painting the American Vision: “In the mid-1800s, a loosely knit group of American painters-now known as the Hudson River School-forged an “American” landscape that regarded the natural world as a resource for spiritual renewal and an expression of cultural and national identity. Drawn from the celebrated collection of the New-York Historical Society, this exhibition features 45 magnificent landscapes, including Thomas Cole’s iconic series of monumental paintings, “The Course of Empire,” as well as works by Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Asher B. Durand and others.”

This exhibition includes an excellent collection of landscapes of the northeast.  As a new resident of one of the areas painters flocked to in the 1800’s – I particularly love these works.  As I travel around the amazing White Mountains region of New Hampshire I continually pinch myself of how lucky I am to take in the natural beauty all around.  Looking at the painting in the Painting the American Vision exhibition reminded me of my good fortune and my love of art and nature.

Here’s to appreciation the beauty around us – in museums and nature.


Visit the PEM website here.

Read more about Painting the American Vision here.