She eagerly went out on the deck today to bask in the sunshine until all of her 100,000,000 pieces of fur were warm with the heat of the sun.

She squinted into the brightness. She sniffed and sniffed and sniffed...trying to discern all the awakening spring aromas wafting through the air on the fresh breezes.

She simply soaked it in, as though she knew the truth. The truth? Yes. Tomorrow, it's going to snow.

New Hampshire Maple Weekend

This is Maple Weekend in New Hampshire. Sugar shacks around the state are open for visitors...welcoming people to tour their little wooden structures in the woods and sample their syrup.

We started the day off with pancakes and maple syrup. Quick tip: buttermilk always makes pancakes better, lighter, and fluffier. Just substitute buttermilk for the milk called for in any recipe. 

Then, dodging raindrops and big, sloppy snowflakes, we visited a sugar shack in our town that is run by a family whose roots go back in this town to the 1700's. We traipsed across a mixture of snow and mud to reach the weathered door of the sugar shack.

Just inside, we could barely feel the heat from the wood-fired evaporator, so inched our way ever closer to keep warm.

We were offered homemade donuts to dunk in a sampling of maple syrup. Mmm. A taste of early spring in New England! We peered into the bubbling evaporator and smelled the sticky goodness of the sweet steam rising up and out of the roof.

After chatting with plaid-clad neighbors about weather and sap production and whether or not this is a good year for syrup (it is!), we purchased a pint to carry home.

It's a New England spring tradition I love...a bonding of a community after a long winter. Spring is here!

Chocolate Break

Neither Colette nor I drink coffee, so no coffee breaks for us. But whenever we go to Boston, we need a late-afternoon chocolate break at L.A. Burdick in the Back Bay area of Boston. Sinfully rich hot chocolate and tempting pastries!

Visiting the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

In January, as a birthday treat, I requested a day in Boston with Colette to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. But the dog needed a minor surgery and then had to be watched while she recuperated, I came down with a head cold, Colette didn't have time off work, snow thing after another. But we finally made it! And it is ever so lovely!

A passionate art collector, Isabella Stewart Gardner amassed an impressive collection, which she housed in her Boston Italianate-style mansion. The home is built around a soaring indoor courtyard.

A violinist was playing in the courtyard while we were there. Every room looks out upon the light-infused atrium, and we found ourselves drawn to the view of it from every room.

Isabella Stewart Gardner was a personal friend of John Singer Sargent, and there are several of his paintings throughout the museum, including this one of the woman herself.

But it was this John Singer Sargent work that enthralled me that day (a small portion of which is shown here). I was captivated by his ability to capture the weight of the fabric in the skirt of the woman's clothing, and yet include the dainty details of her shoes and the glittering bead work on her bodice.

Some of my other favorite works were this pretty redhead and this 14th century stone head...what curls!


Sadly, the museum was the victim of an art heist many years ago. The missing pieces of art, including Rembrandt's only seascape, have never been recovered. Their frames hang empty...awaiting their return.

It was to bottom! We will definitely be returning some day!

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