Pre-Easter Breakfast

Walter, Felicity, and the kids are spending Easter Sunday with Walter's family, so today they came over to celebrate with us.  We all had breakfast together.

We rarely get to set the table fancy for breakfast, so it was really fun to do something different.
The menu was:
scrambled eggs (both plain and with spinach and chives)
croissants with butter and homemade plum jam
fresh berries
orange juice

Colette searched online for a tutorial in folding a napkin to look like a bunny, and then she diligently set to work.  She discovered that the trick is to iron each fold as you make them.

The breakfast table.  I love to do the Easter table in a white/brown/green color palette, because that’s exactly what our springtime world looks like…melting snow, brown earth, and (sometimes) the start of a little green here and there.  This year, Easter is a little early for much green outside, but we can imagine.

My sweet family!

Theo got to do his first Easter egg hunt, and he proved to be a pretty good hunter!  We did it indoors, since there is still so much snow on the ground.  Sometime, when all the grandkids are older, I think it’d be really fun to do one in the snow!

Melissa just sat there, looking adorable, and playing with the Peter Rabbit pull-toy.  Looking adorable is what she does best!

Happy Easter to you all!

A Walking Tour of Nantucket

Technohubby and I have different attitudes towards vacations.  He likes to relax…sleep late…take naps.  I, however, am like a kid who just found the entrance to Narnia, and I can’t wait to explore it all!  And after 25 years of marriage, we quite understand this about each other.  So, while he sleeps late or naps, I go exploring with my camera.  My love of photography really developed ten years ago on Nantucket, because everything there is just so picturesque.  Granted, it’s a bit more picturesque at other times of year.  But come along with me as I give you a walking tour of Nantucket.

March must be construction season on the island, because the sounds of hammering and sawing and the signs of new construction could be heard and seen everywhere.  Nantucket experienced hurricane force winds during Nemo, that same storm that gave us 30″ of snow, so there was plenty that needed to be repaired to the island’s historic homes.  Many of the homes on Nantucket are shingled.  This one was sporting the patchwork look of new shingles along side the old, sea-weathered ones.

And this beautiful home, (truly one of my favorites in terms of design), seemed to be undergoing quite the renovation.  Upon closer study, however, I realized that the roof was missing.  That seemed odd.  Why would they need to remove the entire roof?  Then I studied it some more and realized that sooty, red streaking stained the inside of some of the windows.  Sadly, this home had suffered a fire.  (If you look closely, you can see some smoke damage coming from the missing second story window on the right side of the home.)  I took Technohubby back later to see it, and we walked around the side, where the soot was even on some of the new construction, so it must’ve burned while under construction.  I was very glad to see that it was being rebuilt and would, clearly, be gorgeous again!  I can’t wait to go back and see it all finished someday.  I wonder if it is an inn, and we might stay there sometime?

Everywhere you look, design elements pay homage to the history of Nantucket as a whaling island.

Love, love, love(!) walking the quaint streets of Nantucket!

There are two churches on the island whose steeples can be seen from sea, and this is one of them.  Technohubby and I toured this church when we were here for our 10th anniversary, including a climb up into the steeple and a peek at the fabulous view of the island from there.

Daffodils were pushing their way upward already!  That’s certainly not happening around here, so it was a delight to see them!  Nantucket has a big Daffodil Festival about mid-April, which signals the beginning of the tourist season on the island, although the real tourist season will not start until June.

Very, very few shops were open while we were there.  But two bookstores were, including this one.  It’s motto is, “Independent and Out to Sea”.  Haha!  Love it!  It’s book selection definitely reflected its motto.

I love the trade signs for the shops on Nantucket, each one so unique.  And I love the brick sidewalks!  Note the complete lack of people.  In fact, when I was in the bookshop, the owner mistakenly thought I was a local.  I guess those are the only people they expect to see on the island in March.

In the downtown area of Nantucket, many of the streets are still the original cobblestone.  The cobblestones came from the ballast of ships.

Haha!  That’s a good description of the island at this time of year.

When we decided to go to Nantucket, we both knew that we wanted to each lunch at The Brotherhood of Thieves, our favorite restaurant on the island.  Sadly, it was closed for renovations.  Sigh.  And we also wanted to eat a nice dinner at one of two restaurants, either Black-Eyed Susans OR The Company of the Cauldron.  Sigh.  Both closed for the season.  I did walk by The Company of the Cauldron, and took this picture of the sign they had replacing their menu board for now.  Quite amusing.

This hat shop had a write-up in Victoria magazine a long time ago, and I had wondered if it still existed.  And then I found this!  How tempting!  I had to follow the arrow to see if it was open, but alas, no.

Pretty steps and buildings.

This is Main Street on Nantucket.  This cobblestone street is usually just bustling.  Part way up, on the right, there’s usually a farmer with his old pick-up truck selling fresh produce and flowers from the back of his truck.  It’s a Nantucket institution.  The shops on Main are an eclectic mix of high-end retail stores, essential shops (like bookstores and a pharmacy), and t-shirt and souvenir shops.  And in the middle of the road, as you can see if you look closely, is an original, working gas lamp.

On the side of the building at the far left of the above picture (currently a Ralph Lauren store, but it used to be home to Nantucket Looms, an exclusive weaver on the island) is this sign, just in case you’re wondering if there are other delightful spots in the world to go to.

And at the same corner, these signs point you to other destinations on the island.

At this time of year, with no foliage on the bushes and trees, it’s easy to peek into gardens that one might not see at other times of year.  This one is exceptionally elegant with its armillary and intriguing, little, copper-crowned structures.

Crocuses blooming!  Spring is slowly unfolding on the island!

More Nantucket pictures to come in another posting.

Celebrating on Nantucket

Earlier this month, Technohubby and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a trip to Nantucket Island! We also celebrated our 10th anniversary there. And we took the kids for a day in 2003 when we were doing our big, east coast tour. But this was the first time that we’ve been there since moving to New England. We could hardly wait to get there, and then our plans had to change because the ferry service to the island was cancelled due to high seas during a storm. We rescheduled, and caught the ferry the morning after ferry service resumed. Getting ready to board the ferry, which also hold cars and semi-trucks, for the 2 hr. 15 min. ride through quite choppy seas to our favorite island.

Coming in to the island. That’s Brant Point lighthouse at the entrance to the wharf.

We LOVE this island! It has so much character with its weathered shingle homes, intimate restaurants, cobblestone streets, brick sidewalks, and loving homage to its past as a whaling community.

There’s no problem finding lodging on the island. The tricky part is choosing which of the many fabulous sounding bed & breakfast inns you want to stay at. For our 10th anniversary, we stayed at the Martin House Inn.    This time we chose The Carlisle House Inn, and we were NOT disappointed. It was located about a five minute walk from the wharf, which was handy. Almost no tourist brings a car to the island, as space is limited, parking is difficult, and the cost to ferry your car over is $140. This is the Carlisle House, built in 1760 for a sea captain:

There were many rooms to choose from, and we chose the Brant Point room, which was absolutely lovely!

I LOVED the view from the bed!

For me, the most luxurious part of staying at one of these old inns is a working fireplace in the room. The experience of falling to sleep and watching the shadows dance on the walls is just too wonderful!

We had not anticipated exactly how quiet the “quiet season” on the island would be. We had one…ONE…choice for a restaurant for dinner. Fortunately, there are no bad restaurants on Nantucket, and this one was actually highly recommended and a short walk from the inn. We ate at LoLa 41*, the name being a salute to Nantucket being geographically located at 41 degrees latitude. Technohubby had steak and I had ricotta gnocchi with bolognese…both quite delicious!

The next morning, our hostess had set out a lovely breakfast for us. (We were the only guests in the inn.) On the island, the zoning is such that hot breakfast can only be served by inns with an attached restaurant. But fine continental breakfast can certainly be had! We ate in the sunny breakfast room, and the buffet included: cereals, oatmeal, bagels, toast, peanut butter, jelly, English muffins, coffee cake, fresh fruits, orange juice, yogurt, Greek yogurt, milk, coffee, and tea.

Then the two of us spent the rest of the day exploring the island. These are three of the most famous homes on Nantucket. The Visit Nantucket website describes them thusly: Some of the most elegant historic homes will be found on Main and Orange Streets where the wealthy sea captains, ship owners and merchants lived. Many of these homes feature widows walks with panoramic views of the harbor and horizon beyond. Although most homes were built of wood, many brick mansions were built during Nantucket’s golden era. Perhaps the most famous are the three located side-by-side at 93, 95 and Main Street. The “Three Bricks” were built by wealthy Joseph Starbuck for his three sons between 1837 and 1840. They are private residences.

A stop for lunch at the Rose & Crown.  He had a burger, and I had cherrywood-smoked ham and brie with fig and rosemary confit on cibatta. Oh my! Seriously, one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. I loved the smokiness of the ham, mixed with the nuttiness of the confit, and all mellowed by the creamy, slightly melty brie. Delicious!

Then we headed out for a close-up look at Brant Point lighthouse, one of the most famous spots on the island. In March, we had it all to ourselves, including the beach all around it.

The beach was simply covered in shells! And we also discovered this empty crab shell! Cool!

Then it was back to the inn to pick up our luggage (which our hostess was very sweetly holding for us), and then to the ferry office to catch the ferry back to reality. On the walls of the ferry office, there were pictures of the Nantucket ferry service through the ages. I particularly liked this one, which shows early 19th century summer visitors arriving on the island. Just look at all those steamer trunks and hats!

So long beautiful island…

This is just one in a series of three postings on Nantucket. More touring to come!

Look at Her

Melissa, my sweet little granddaughter, has a new skill this month. She can sit up all by herself!

Just look at that face! Just LOOK at it! Sigh. Don’t those eyes just pierce to your very soul? Sigh. Melts my heart!

Snowy Morning Breakfasts

Nothing beats a warm breakfast on a snowy morning. I’ve been experimenting with different oatmeal combinations this winter. I like to make our oatmeal with milk instead of water, but for frugality purposes I usually do half milk and half water. After bringing the milk/water to a boil, I add the oats and whatever else sounds tasty that morning. Once I tried adding blueberries, but it turned the milk blue and everybody thought that eating blue food was just plain strange. Our favorite combination is: dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and cinnamon. This particular morning it was peeled apple chopped finely, chopped pecans, and cinnamon. Sometimes I drizzle it with maple syrup, but usually I top off a steaming bowl of oatmeal with a bit of brown sugar.

And for just one snow storm each winter we have to have sticky buns! Yum, yum, yum!

My sticky bun recipe is super quick and easy. It uses refrigerated roll dough and rises overnight. Then the next morning, you just pop it in the oven. Couldn’t be easier. And I have to admit that I love the feeling of being the family heroine for the morning. Click here for the recipe.
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