Sketchbook Scenes from a Weekend Trip to Florida

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Southwest Florida is a funny place, sort of sleepy and filled with a lot of mid-western feeling plazas compared to the frenetic Latin American vibe of Miami. But the area can be beautiful when you’re lounging on the gulf coast, especially in Naples. The water is azure with very gentle waves and the sand is soft beige white mix just asking you to stay a while. Since we go down there at least twice a year for the parents, I’m starting to see the qualities of this sleepier part of Florida of it that I like rather than those I don’t. Being able to paint at the beach, day dreaming I’m on the Cote Azur for a little bit, is always a nice perk of some late winter sun on a would be work day.

To do:
Get some sun.
Baleen in Naples to get a beach table with a fire pit and watch the sunset,
Vanderbilt beach in Naples especially because the Ritz Carlton serves tiki drinks on the sand even if you’re not staying,
Eat a blackened grouper sandwich. mmm.

Inspiration for Upstate NY Adventures

For the past few years I've made time to get away to various parts of the Catskills and Hudson valley for adventures in the summer and fall . I just happened upon this fast watercolor sketch  after I climbed up Overlook Mountain sometime ago which made me a bit wistful for the close to home getaways.

I'm looking for inspiration, especially for this coming summer season that are right outside the city's door step.

Send me your ideas! I've been inspired by Only Living Girl in New York's trips to the farther afield Lake George area.

Upstate Weekend Trips Ideas Near New York City

By train:

Hudson for antiquing Cold Spring for a hike and small town Beacon for contemporary art

By car: A Summer in the Hudson Valley Ashokan for the Reservoir Big Indian NY for The Peekamoose Restaurant New Paltz to tour the cideries Westkill for the Spruceton Inn and Westkill Brewing  Woodstock for Overlook Mountain and Bread Alone

Home for the Fourth of July

Spending the Fourth of July at home is always a hectic dance of vacation days, bus trips, and wrangling which of my family members I can see. But despite the complicated maneuver, I think it’s a tradition I want to keep up for years to come. Though I do love the emptiness of New York City during a summer holiday, it’s nice to go back to my childhood house in the trees, joining in some good old debates about what time to grill while at it, even if it drives me a little batty.

I split my time in both New Hampshire and the suburbs of Boston which means I've think a lot about trips I can tag on while in New England. Of the many things I miss about living in that region, I miss the most the fact that you can just get in a car and be in another state, at the beach, or in the mountains, with ease. 

This year in New Hampshire we aimed for relaxation and quality time, but I’m proud we got to at least one of the many local breweries in the state without trying. Perhaps next year we’ll take the week off to rent a lake house for a day or two in the northern part of the state. I once went to the White Mountains in summer, thinking they were absolutely glorious.

Around Boston we didn't make it to Walden Pond as I dreamed of but explored a less touristed local lake to see a friend, one I didn’t even know existed, which quenched that same thirst for suburban lake lounging.

We spent time playing mini-golf and eating ice cream in the farm stand of my youth, like classic Americans surrounded by dads in American flag t-shirts. We even played candlepin bowling like New Englanders with weird traditions (I am one of them) right where I used to spend my most favorite awkward years in junior high losing at skee-ball.

(I lost at mini-golf but didn’t do so bad at bowling, thank you very much. )

We even found time to stealth away in a car,  driving into Cambridge to visit our favorite bookstore in Harvard Square. I stopped into one of the best vintage stores I've ever been to, picking up something red white and blue by serendipitous accident.

We capped our brief visit to Cambridge by sitting down for a meal at a classic greasy spoon with a friend, the kind of free-standing diner that are almost all but gone in New York City. All-day-breakfast feels a lot of like home, reminds me of getting rides into the city as a teen or skipping class to get breakfast sandwiches at the now closed diner counter of my hometown. 

Sometimes it’s pretty alright to go home for a while, treating where you're from like a different destination than it's always been. 

 Fourth of July Notes

A Brewery Crawl of New Hampshire (someday!) Martha’s Exchange in NH Memorial Beach in Marlborough MA Kimball’s Farm for minigolf in Westford MA Acton Bowladrome in Acton MA Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge MA Oona's in Cambridge MA Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown MA