Visit to the Museum of Fine Arts

Today we took our guest to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Here are some of the highlights from our visit:

The new cafe area, a great place for just hanging out, was dominated by this enormous, green glass sculpture. We estimate it was about 30-ft. tall.

Colette and her friend spent much time in the European Art galleries, where Colette snapped this picture.

We were thrilled to visit the newly expanded American art wing to the MFA. It’s so much bigger and houses so many more exhibits than it used to. The girls pose beneath a doorway from an old New England home.

She was tickled to see this portrait of one of her heroes (and mine), John Adams.

Colette dwarfed by the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware.

Silver made by Paul Revere!

A beautiful antique gown (and equally beautiful necklace) from the early 1800′s.

These portraits were of a married couple, and captivated me with their kind faces.

A close-up vignette from a larger portrait.

Another of my favorite paintings of the day.

Felicity, Colette, and Theo take a break (near the green, pointy glass thing).

By far, my favorite work of art of the day was this little, cheerful guy! It was his first visit to an art museum. He liked it!

Fun with a Guest

I’ve been an absent blogger for a few days (and likely for the next week or so) as Colette has a friend visiting, and we are having just too much fun!

Today, we drove over to Vermont, and the kids all hiked the Quechee Gorge (pronounced Kwee-chee). Getting ready to start out on their hike.

The gorge is known as “the Grand Canyon of New England”.

While it’s beautifully impressive, I can’t help but think that whoever gave it that name never saw the real Grand Canyon. But, beautiful it is!

As we were looking out at the gorge from the vantage point of the bridge, I pointed and said, “Oh look! There are people out there on that point!” And then I zoomed in with my big lens and said, “OH! Those are OUR people!” Their red, blue, and green shirts made them easy to identify. They spent their time down their skipping stones across the calm river.

Then we went to the Cabot Creamery shop for a little cheese tasting, and had a picnic dinner sitting here, on their front porch.

Then we moved on to Hanover, NH for a visit to Morano Gelato, said to be “the best gelato in America”. The girls heartily agree!

I chose that dark chocolate gelato. Yum! So custard-y and smooth, and not as heavy and filling as ice cream.

Our guest enjoyed her cone with a scoop of a coffee-flavored gelato and a scoop of hazelnut. That’s an Italian wafer cone…less sweet than a waffle cone, slightly thick, and very wafer-like.

Fun day!


It's (almost) summertime, and the living is easy.

Max has discovered reading in the hammock makes reading more fun! I’m happy because he’s actually reading! Win, win!

Pantry Memories

I have a lot of memories associated with my grandparents’ house. I remember sitting, in my church clothes on Sundays, on their copper penny-colored couch and tracing the pattern on the couch upholstery with my fingertips. (I think that may be where my life-long love of damask began.) I remember the giant keyholes in their doors, and just like in the movies, you could spy on people by peering through them. I remember watching endlessly for the cookoo bird to come out of the clock and cookoo…the thrill of any Sunday! I remember the glycerin soap in the bathroom. I remember fingering the pretty silver mirror on my great-grandmother’s dressing table. (The mirror, dressing table, and cookoo clock are all treasures in our home now.) I remember great fun with my dad and Gramps and a pellet gun, shooting tin cans. I remember the heavenly scent of orange blossoms, as their home was surrounded by orange groves. I rememeber the scary black fan that sat on the living room floor (with only two thin blade guards) and whirred and whirred to keep us cool on hot Sundays. I remember being afraid, when my Grandma hugged me, that I would get stuck by the straight pins that pinned her apron bodice to her dress. (I never got stuck, but I worried about it each time.) I remember the brown ceramic cookie jar filled (hopefully!) with my Grandma’s chocolate cookies. I remember big Sunday dinners. I remember Waldorf salad. I remember the scary oil furnace that sat directly behind my chair at the dining table, and whose flames could be seen flickering brightly through the glass of its port hole-like opening. I remember the sound of avocados hitting the roof from the huge avocado tree next to the house. I remember the pink camelias that grew on either side of the front porch. I remember helping wash silverware…people were dishwashers then! And I remember the delightful smell of leather that hung in the air, wafting from my Gramps’ leather shop.

But one of my favorite memories is of the pantry! My Grandma had a walk-in pantry. I’m sure I can’t recall with any clarity the size of it, but it seems that it might’ve been about 5-feet square. It had a small window up high on the back wall, and the walls were surrounded with shelves. I remember crocks sitting about on the floor. And I distinctly remember always peering to see the mouse traps that were nestled behind the crocks…always dreading the possibility of finding a dead mouse in one. Never did. One of the benefits to me of helping dry the silverware or helping with dinner was the opportunity it afforded to go stand in the pantry for a few moments when I wasn’t needed. I loved to just stand there. Just stand there and look at all the food on the shelves. It all looked so tidy and clean and thoughtful.

My life-long love of pantries began there, on Sundays.

A Joyous Wedding

Last Friday, we attended the wedding of a young couple from our church. What a joyful celebration! The couple is very fond of the outdoors, so the wedding had a fresh, mountain-sort of theme and look. Very lovely! Here are a few photos of their beautiful day!

Trip to Pennsylvania - Part II

The day after visiting Philadelphia was a quieter day. The kids and some of the adults took a hike, while I visited a gem of a fabric store, the Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet in Harrisburg. (Check it out if you’re ever in the area!) Then we all met up at an Amish buffet restaurant for lunch and a little local shopping. Then it was back to the house for a little rest and relaxation, volleyball, dinner, and more s’mores.

The next day we visited Gettysburg!

When you visit Gettysburg, you start out at the beautiful visitor center, which is reminiscent of the lovely stone farmhouses that pepper the Pennsylvania countryside.

There you purchase a CD audio tour (or, if you’re smart, like our group leader was, you buy it off ebay before you go for a fraction of the cost). You pop the CD into your car and follow the driving tour road that winds through the battlefields, countryside, and town of Gettysburg. The CD narrates about the significance of various points along the route, and tells of the battles, personal stories of the participants, and has sound effects that help to bring it all to life.

Here are some scenes we saw along the way:

There are a few observation towers on the driving tour. We noticed, with some amusement, that any time there was something to climb or cannons to look at, the boys in the group wanted to stop and get out of the car to explore. One hundred twenty-one steps to the top of this one.

One view of the driving route from the top. All along the route are monuments and memorials to various infantry groups, specific generals, and more.

The “action” in this picture just makes me laugh.

Yes, that’s Colette. That sort of behavior comes from being completely comfortable with heights…lots of rock climbing with dad as a child. Oh dear. I just took the picture and tried not to scream, “Get DOWN from there!”

The monument to the soldiers from Pennsylvania is the largest in the park.

Max said that the visit to Gettysburg was his favorite of the trip. I asked why and he responded, “Because it was just so interesting!”

After leaving Gettysburg, we traveled back to the town in which we were staying and toured a pretzel factory.

But this is not just any pretzel factory! This is the nation’s oldest pretzel factory, founded by Julius Sturgis in 1861. It is still producing pretzels today, although sadly, no longer in these amazing brick ovens.

The company is still run today by the 4th, 5th and 6th generation descendants of its founder! We sampled the hard and soft pretzels in the shop. And then we got began our tour at the “twisting table”, where we were all given a bit of pretzel dough and instructed in the proper making of a pretzel.

The next day we all left Pennsylvania for home. The kids and I stopped in New York City for some fabric shopping. It was my first time driving in NYC…oh my…that’s an experience! But we survived! We left the fabric district and headed for our next destination in Brooklyn. The route chosen by the GPS took us right by the new World Trade Center! It is already the tallest building in NYC…quite impressive! (And, yes, that’s my rubber chicken on the dashboard.)

After getting lost for a bit, we finally arrived at the place that Colette had been most anticipating: The Chocolate Room!

It’s a small cafe in Brooklyn that specializes in all things chocolate. Yum! Every guest is given a small dish of complimentary chocolate sorbet when seated. Delicious!

Colette had their signature chocolate layer cake. Max had chocolate ice cream. And I had this chocolate pudding. It was a sweet end to a great trip!

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