Runcation Destination: NYC!

Last weekend my friends I ran the Brooklyn Rock n Roll half marathon.  We could have picked a race closer to home, but we’d heard good things about this one and well, if we’re being perfectly honest, we’re more about the party that happens after than the actual running part of the race, so making a weekend of it was too hard to resist.

Runcations are perfect because you get in a really good workout, you feel really proud of yourself and amazed at what your body can do when you insist on it, and then you go out and indulge for the entire rest of the weekend and not feel bad about it. The afterglow of personal glory lasts for at least 24 hours and you can use your caloric deficit to hit the town running (figuratively speaking, of course, because obviously, you do more than enough running at the race). Plus you can button your skinny jeans! Always a good way to start the night.

Anyway, the Rock n Roll series happens all over the country, and though there were many tempting options we chose Brooklyn because we could drive there and because we all love NYC. Usually, when we go it’s all fun and no run so even though we make a habit of hanging out there whenever we can, this trip was something new for us. I’ll tell you about it in pictures:

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We hit the road at around 1:00 after a frantic morning of trying to fit eight hours of work into four. No time for lunch. Good thing Tina brought the Skinny Pop.
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Oh yes we did, obviously.
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Have you ever tried to drive to the Javits Center at rush hour? Let’s just say it’s not a good idea. Plus there’s nowhere to park. We made it to the expo to pick up our race bibs with like 30 minutes spare. My friends weren’t sweating it, but I was having a heart attack.
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Hudson Yards is pretty amazing. We got to take a nice long look at it as we sat in gridlocked traffic.
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Hi there, New Yorker. Thanks for perfecting the art of the 19-page article.
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We finally made our way to the Upper East Side, where we were staying with a friend (a lovely, tolerant friend who doesn’t mind when you invade her space with way too much shit for 2 days). This restaurant on 2nd Ave is a gold standard if you like German food, but don’t worry we didn’t eat there (brats+running=bad)
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We went to The Penrose instead. They have good beer (carbo loading!!) and we had fun watching the after-work pickup scene in action.
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We had quite an adventure getting to the start from Marisa’s apartment because we had the misfortune of picking the one cab driver in Manhattan who had no idea how to get to Brooklyn. How is that even possible? And why didn’t we just get an Uber?  But, no worries- we made it with plenty of time to take this all-important before pic. Thumbs UP!
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We’re here…now let’s run.
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This is the only picture I took during the race, and I think it was an accident.
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13.1 DONE! Let’s share this moment with everyone on our social media feeds! We usually keep our shirts on for our selfies, but clearly, others have different ideas.
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It was only a Mich Ultra, but it was beautiful.
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We look like badasses don’t we? Also, I’m happy to note that I remembered to put on deodorant.
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We hung out with Tina’s crazy friend who flies all over the country to run Rock n Roll Halfs with 30 other crazy people. They flew to NY Friday night, ran Brooklyn, chugged a few beers and then hopped on a plane bound for Denver where they were going to run another half on Sunday morning. As I said, they are crazy.  I would say “goals” but this actually would never be a goal of mine.
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Though that medal is pretty sweet.
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That’s the Hollis Brown Band behind us. They were really good and they have gigs all over so you don’t actually have to run 13.1 to hear them play.
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After the after party we hobbled out of Prospect Park and headed over to wander (slowly) up and down 5th Ave in Park Slope. We found this place for lunch (Gristmill), which had really great food and the people were so nice. Like really, really nice.
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How can you say no to farm fresh gelato that’s as good as nature?
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Actually, I did say no because what I really wanted was some caffeine. Kos Kaffee had just what I was looking for- excellent coffee and super nice people. Again with the nice people. Is that a thing in Brooklyn?
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I really appreciated the fact that the only pumpkin anything in here was an actual pumpkin. I’m so tired of the pumpkin spice craze.
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After we relaxed for a hot minute back at Marisa’s it was time to hit the town again. Amy went to see a friend and Tina and I drank cocktails at a rooftop bar.
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We take our cocktailing very seriously.
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Next up dinner: Is it sad that we care more about the ambiance than the food? We settled on Zia Maria in Chelsea. It was pretty, and the food was good too- so win, win.
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It’s too bad that we don’t have any fun together…
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After dinner, we decided to go study Millenials in their natural habitat so we went to The Biergarten at the Standard.
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When in Rome…or a Biergarten.  When we first arrived we thought we had the stamina to last all night, but alas, this boot was the end. Come to find out, we’re not as young as we used to be.
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Sunday morning we needed to head out early, but luckily we had enough time for coffee.
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Mellow Yellow Coffee and Vibes– honestly could there be a better place for a rainy Sunday morning hang when you’re sore, a tiny bit hung over and not really ready for your 4 hour drive?
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One thing I LOVE about races is the camaraderie and good spirits you share with fellow runners. We met a lot of really great people and were reminded time and time again over the weekend that there is still so much good in the world. We just need to channel that and work together to preserve and protect it.  Does that mean we need another RnR run? I think, yes! Where will we go next? Well, stay tuned…

 

Trippin’ down the PCH during a really crazy week filled with things I want to ignore but can’t…

FullSizeRender (30)Yeah, so we were on vacation last week when the awfulness of Charlottesville unfolded. The fact that it happened is sickening and disheartening, but the worst part is that our “President” couldn’t muster enough dignity or human decency to call it what it was or disavow those who were responsible. Ugh. But as I said, we were on vacation when he was not doing what he should have been doing if he were any kind of real leader or moral upstanding citizen. Sooooo… instead of going on and on about how disgusted I am with his response(s) and the state of the White House in general (except bye-bye and good riddance Bannon, you pillar of racism!!) I am going to show you some really pretty pictures of the really amazing road trip we took while all that was happening.  And yes, I do feel a little guilty for experiencing so much beauty during such a dark time, but I also feel like it was a constant reminder that there IS good in this world; that there are really decent and lovely people out there. Also it was really nice to escape to the Pacific Coast and gaze out over the beautiful ruggedness of the cliffs and be hypnotized by the vast sea and just disconnect from everything for a little while– to recharge and renew my resolve to be better and to do more to help ensure the world is a nicer place for everyone.

We drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 7 days- here are the highlights and places I recommend you go to if you ever find yourself driving down the PCH and the 101.

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I haven’t been to Lombard St in 20 years. It’s still as twisty as ever and lots of people were either driving down it or walking up it. We just took pictures of it. I like the view from the top.
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This is where the streets of the world meet the avenues of the mind.
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City Lights has books, but also so much more. You really just have to go to see what I mean.
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Chinatown was cool! We were going to have Dim Sum, but then we ended up finding a good sushi place on the other side of Union Square, so we didn’t really experience it like we should have…but it’s ok because the sushi was really good.
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I went for an early morning run down the Embarcadero.  It was beautiful and I met a lot of homeless people (not really, but I did befriend a cute homeless dog).
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They don’t call it Fog City because it’s sunny…
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One day we rented bikes and rode from the Ferry building all the way down the Embarcadero, past Fishermans Wharf and up through the hilly (!!!) Presidio, then over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.  My calves and my buns still hurt from the memory.
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While we were waiting for the bike rental guy to show up we checked out the Ferry Terminal Farmers Market.  It was fabulous- fruits and veg, coffee roasters, baked goods, meats, cheeses, live music and YES!! flowers. Flowers make me happy.  Especially when they come in tin cans.
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This isn’t Muir Woods but it looks like it, right? It’s Andy Goldsworthy’s installation in the Presidio. I thought it was amazing. My kids thought it was just a bunch of tall trees and logs.
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This is in front of Lucasfilms headquarters which is also in the Presidio.  It’s the world’s largest, and also the world’s smallest Yoda fountain.  It might be the world’s only Yoda fountain (but I’m not really sure).
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It was still very foggy which might have been a good thing because riding over the bridge was a little scawwwy.
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There were a ton of people in Sausalito, but we muscled our way through the crowds and rode down the road out of town to check out the houseboats and that was pretty neat.
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Habitat goals. Also #supportthearts
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I could totally live here.
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We took a ferry back from Sausalito because really a one-way bike ride over the bridge is plenty. Plus…that view.
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This was my Rice a Roni moment.
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I left my heart in San Francisco (no I didn’t, but that’s a good caption for this pic, isn’t it?)
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One of my favorite stops was in Pescadero, CA. It is a little tiny town in between here and there and there’s not too much to see but they have this brekkie spot that was pretty awesome.
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Pretty awesome, as I said.
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Actually, there was something to see in Pescadero…this sweet ride in front of this cute coffee shop (which is across the street from the not cute, but awesome breakfast spot).
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We tried to drive all the way down to Pfeiffer Beach but the road was still closed. We did manage to see some beautiful sites in Big Sur anyway.
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Ahhh… so pretty.
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Did I mention how pretty it was?
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Super, duper pretty.
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We like to ride into town with the top down…
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We drove the Pebble Beach 17 Mile Drive but no one was really impressed.  My son pointed out that this cypress is actually not that lonely because there are other trees really close by (cropped out for effect).
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We were lucky enough to be in Carmel for the start of the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The streets were filled with millions (billions?) of dollars worth of beautiful cars.  I love the Porche 911 most of all.
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I also have a soft spot for VW’s (especially buses). True story: We had an orange VW bus for a few years when I was a kid and when my parents sold it I cried.  I still miss that car. We drove it up from Georgia to New Hampshire and my sister and I both got food poisoning at South of the Border. Also, we bought fireworks but we couldn’t light them in NH because it was illegal. But my dad might have anyway. Ah, memories…
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Indeed.
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Quick stop in Santa Cruz…
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We saw surfers, sea lions, and even a giant whale.  It was kind of great.
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We all LOVED San Luis Obispo. What a fun, laid-back cool ass town! We stayed here and you should too, if you like hip, loft style apartment living.
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We saw the SMEG and immediately felt right at home, except this one is black and ours is orange, so this one is way cooler.
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Every apartment comes equipped with one of these, and there are stacks of records to choose from.  We took turns playing d.j.
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Here’s my daughter, she liked the free Wifi.
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Feeling good in SLO
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I liked this building. I hope Cody Johnson had fun playing there.
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Also, I liked this coffee shop (Kreuzberg).
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Except I got chai instead of coffee.
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Bubblegum alley is really gross.
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Really gross.
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We went to Pismo Beach and caught some waves. This is me surfing (just kidding).

 

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Santa Barabara’s Funk Zone is an artist enclave/wine tasting mecca/antique pickers dream.
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Here’s where we had our 11:00 am wine tasting and the kids had freshly baked scones. Win, win.
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Another winery. Very tropical, no?
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Obviously.
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This place made me wish we’d rented a U-Haul instead of a convertible.
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This store had only been open for two days when we visited.  I like that bag, and also everything else.
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Wine, yes wine everywhere in the Funk Zone. Yay for wine.
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And pizza.
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Onward to LA! We had a pretty sweet spot to relax and chill out at for a bit. And connect to Wifi, of course.
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Our pool didn’t have any chlorine- just natural stuff like copper and other minerals, so swimming in it felt really good, and also doubled as a bath. Time-saver!
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I took a lot of palm tree pictures. I don’t really know why except that this view seems very LA.
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Santa Monica Pier is prettier from afar, but it was fun to be up close too. This is the view from Muscle Beach where none of us did any pull-ups or anything. We just watched other people working out and then went and ate tacos.
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Here’s where we ate the tacos- Blue Plate. If you’re in Santa Monica, you should go here for tacos.
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And go at sunset- the view is insane.
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We spent our last night in Japantown. It was very sweet.
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And, we ate French ice cream in Japantown. I don’t know why except that it was there so we did.

Thinking of you Charlottesville and Barcelona!! #thereisonlyoneside #lovewins

48 (or so) hours on Long Island

IMG_8984Last weekend some friends and I headed down to Long Island wine country for a little mini-break. None of us had ever been there, but we’d heard good things. And even though we normally plan a bit better, this is such a busy time for all of us that we didn’t put too much thought into the trip. We booked a house but pretty much left the rest of the weekend open to hap and circumstance. I don’t know if it was because of or despite that, but we had an amazing weekend. It is an absolutely beautiful spot to spend time in, and the quality of the wine is very, very good.  And, if you’re not that into wine (um, what??) there are other things to do too–eating, shopping, antiquing, boating, swimming, bike riding, or just lounging– you name it, you can do it on the north fork of Long Island!

I’m going to tell you our story through pictures because I have like 400 of them on my phone.  I may have been a bit snap-happy. But really, you’ll see why now:

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It’s a quick ferry ride from New London and if you go in April you won’t have touble finding a seat.
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Kontokosta Winery was on the way from the ferry to our rental so we didn’t see any reason not to stop.
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I love a beautiful barn, and if there’s wine to drink inside- well then, all the better!
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Girls are headed in…
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After you!
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The tasting room had us like…
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Time to shop!
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We met a friend who insisted we pose like this.  It works.
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Cabernet Franc is a good way to start off a wine tour- and this one was fantastic. Nice view too…
Fog rolling off the water gave us this view of the barn. Didn’t want to leave, but:
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Next stop: our rental. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this cottage.
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This place had everything we needed and more- plus was kinda like stepping into a West Elm catalog.
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Entry- kick those shoes off and stay awhile!
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I like it when there’s a nice bathroom. Bathrooms are important.
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My bedroom.
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Waking up here was a pleasure (well except for the massive hangover).
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First order of business, relaxing on the patio!
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Friday night we hit the town in our blazers. Didn’t mean to dress alike, but it is what it is: blazer brigade
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Cocktails at American Beech.  We felt like we were in Miami and Tina got attacked by a big palm frond.
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Might have overdone in Friday night, but couldn’t miss a beat. First stop Saturday was Croteaux, the rosé winery.  This place was seriously a little slice of heaven.
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The wine here was as lovely to drink as it was to look at.
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All day.
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Cheers to sunny days and the best of friends.
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So good. I love rosé when the sun is shining and there’s a Citroen Hvan in the background.
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We wanted to sit here but the stools were too tall.
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More ambiance at Croteaux. Would have been nice to stay all day BUT…
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More wine to try! This is Lenz.
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The tasting barn at Lenz.
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Lenz has a great old vine 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. Really tasty! Also, their merlot is very good. I don’t usually drink merlot, but this one was pretty inspired.
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Lenz vineyard
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Lieb was next. I loved this place. It had a great low-key vibe: great staff, live music and more really good wine. Merlot again. Maybe I am a merlot drinker after all.
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Listening and tasting at Lieb
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It was too nice a day to stay inside so moved to the patio to soak up the sun and enjoy the view. Nice way to wind down the tour.
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This is Chris, our driver from North Fork Designated Driver. Best decision we made. He was super nice and we didn’t have to worry about being safe on the roads.
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We were probably really annoying.
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Saturday night we had dinner at American Beech (which was top notch) and checked out the local bar scene at Brix&Rye and Lucharitos. No pics of that (probably a good thing).  Happy to report we didn’t spend any time inside here.
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This is American Beech in the daylight. Great spot!
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I loved how the town was cute, with lots to do but not overdone or pretentious.
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Thanks for the memories Greenport! We’ll be back for sure.

Beer Culture on the South Coast

buzzards-bay-brewery1A little while ago I reminded you all how important cranberries are to the region I live in here in Massachusetts (and to the world at large of course!) Don’t worry, I’m not going to dedicate another entire post to cranberries, amazing as they are. This time I’m going to talk about something else we have going on here that’s also pretty special. It’s called beer. Not just any beer, mind you. I’m going to tell you about the exceptional beer that’s brewed right here in my own back yard (well, practically). So, hold on to your drink coasters people, this is going to be good.

It feels weird to say that one of my favorite spots to visit in southeastern Massachusetts is Buzzards Bay Brewing, in Westport. Especially considering that this region probably has some of the most beautiful, unspoiled landscape in all of New England. That’s saying something when our rivals are the lush green mountains of Vermont, the craggy coastline of Maine, the crystal lakes of New Hampshire and the – umm… pizza?  of Connecticut.  Sorry- I spaced a bit there on what CT has to offer. I know it’s lovely but mostly I just drive through it to get to New York, and usually the only place I linger is at Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria in New Haven- which is a landmark in it’s own right, and the pizza is the best in the country (for real, it even says so in magazines and stuff). But anyway, here you’ll find acres of unmarred fields, miles of rocky and white sand beaches, an abundance of the aforementioned cranberry bogs, sun-dappled forests, bubbling creeks and streams, quaint hamlets and quiet harbors. It’s postcard pretty.buzzards-bay-brewing

And that’s kind of the thing with the Brewery too. You don’t just go there for the beer.  You go there because it’s a pretty sweet place to be.  It used to be a farm and the huge converted barn would be cool enough, but the grounds are really what sets it apart. Not the only thing, of course- the beer is pretty darn great too, but I’ll get to that. I want to talk about the setting first. The ambiance, if you will.

Ok, so to get there you have to drive down some pretty dang picturesque roads that take you past fields and farms and beautiful old colonial homes. Then you pull into the property and drive up this long dirt road through a huge open field. You can see the barn in the distance. And, as you get closer you can see the people mingling outside, you can hear the music playing, you can smell the tasty offerings of the Fancheezical food truck that’s always there and you get a little giddy before you even park.

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On Saturday afternoons in the summer it is hands down my favorite place to be. We bring our kids and a picnic blanket and settle in for a few good hours of relaxed fun. We wait our turn for corn hole or tether ball and we save room for a rediculously insane gourmet grilled cheese sandwich from the food truck. And of course we come thirsty! The vibe there is really awesome- totally laid back, with no attitude at all. It’s just lots of people enjoying beer and good company.

img_3144And that brings me to the beer! I was supposed to be talking about beer wasn’t I? Oh yeah!! Well, Buzzards Bay Brewing has a few that I just love. Their three staples are the Golden Flounder, the Moby D and the Buzzards Bay IPA. All delicious in their own right. And throughout the year they serve up specialty brews like my all time favorite- the Sow and Pigs. It holds a special place in my heart because some of the proceeds go directly to the Buzzards Bay Coalition an environmental non profit based in New Bedford that is doing amazing things to help protect our beautiful bay and watershed. Plus, it’s tasty stuff- a perfect light and crisp summer beer. So, if you drink Sow and Pigs, you’re helping yourself but you’re also helping save the Bay! How cool is that?

winter-in-the-brewersAnd whenever you happen to stop in (and you can all year because in colder months the party moves inside!) there will probably be some fun new brews to try. Maybe The Space Left Intentionally Blank will call to you- it’s a pale ale with an intriguing name which makes it way more interesting and fun to drink, or you could sample Lizzie’s Famous 81 Whacks India Red Ale. It’s hoppy and malty- a real killer!  But, perhaps you’ll keep it simple and just go with the Octoberfest because fancy names just aren’t your thing.  Really, you can’t go wrong.  Even if you aren’t a big fan of beer (which- um… what??!!) there is something for you. It’s called Farmers Fizz and ya’ll this stuff is yummy. It’s kind of like Prosecco- so yeah, yum. You non-beer drinkers (whoever you are) will like it.  I know it.

So, we have this pretty awesome brewery in Westport. And, in a few short months there are two – TWO!- breweries opening in New Bedford. Oh happy day! That’s honestly kind of life changing. And, it shows you that the beer culture on the South Coast is alive and well… thriving even. This is great news for all of us who live down here because we are starved for culture of any kind!  And beer culture, yep- I’ll take it!

Cranberries Are Cool

img_4907  Hey, you know what we did today?  We went to the Makepeace Farms Cranberry Harvest Festival.  And you know what else?  It was pretty darn cool.  I don’t know why I was surprised by how many people were there or by how much there was to see and do, because on the South Coast of Massachusetts cranberries are a really big deal.  Like really, really big. Like huge.

I drive by tons of cranberry bogs on my way to work.  Mostly they just look like scrubby fields full of dried up weeds and sandy dirt, but once a year they come alive in glorious bursts of reds and pinks.  When the fields are flooded and the berries rise to the surface and they start to get corralled for harvesting- well, the colors are so vibrant, so striking, so breathtakingly beautiful that you might perhaps be so impressed by the sight that you are tempted to pull over and take a few compelling photos (hey, Instagram opp!) After all, it’s not something you see every day. But, 1) you feel silly doing that and 2) you are running late because you had another hectic, whirlwind morning of trying to get four people out the door at different times and 3) you’re for once lucky enough NOT to be driving behind an 18 wheeler or a Fed Ex truck on the narrow, winding back road that makes up 80% of your commute, so you don’t.  And it’s kind of a shame because it’s sooooo pretty and it will all be gone by the time you drive home.

img_4879Did you know that the cranberry is the state berry of Massachusetts? No you didn’t!!!  Well it’s true. Not only that but cranberry is also the official state color AND cranberry juice is the state beverage of Massachusetts. If you tell me you knew all of that I might have to call you a liar.  I mean, who knows that kind of stuff?  I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a state beverage. But I do now because I went to the cranberry festival!  I hope they ask this question the next time I go to Trivia Night at our local pub. Then I’ll finally be able to answer a question correctly.  Trivia is not my strong suit, but now I know something trivial! Hoorah!

Yep, we sure do love cranberries here in Massachusetts.  Yum, yum.  Actually, can I be totally honest?  I actually don’t really like cranberries. While we were waiting in line for the wagon ride to take us out on a tour the woman in front of me offered me a raw cranberry.  She had a huge cupful.  I don’t really know how she got them, because there were signs posted everywhere warning people not to go in the bogs or take the berries so I knew she couldn’t have done that, because everyone follows the rules right?  Anyway, as she asked me she was popping them in her mouth like m&ms.  Have you ever tasted a raw cranberry?  Ugh, they are the most sour, most off putting, face puckering berry imaginable. And it’s sad because they look so tasty. But it’s a trick. They are only palatable if you boil them down to jelly and add like 16 cups of sugar. I can’t imagine anything worse than eating them raw. And I always pass on the sauce at Thanksgiving (unless my mom makes it- hers is ahMAZing because it has nuts and other stuff like apples and random things so it doesn’t taste like cranberries at all).  And also, by the way, they aren’t great for making garlands for Christmas trees.  I tried that one year because I saw it on Pinterest and let me tell you, it’s really hard to get a needle and thread through those suckers. But anyway, lots of people love them, and they are a very important fruit. Obviously.

So, it’s kind of cool that we live in the cranberry capital of the world.  If it weren’t for our little corner here, Thanksgiving across the country just wouldn’t be the same. And we wouldn’t have craisins.  Oh- also something interesting I learned today- craisins have only been around for about 10 years but they are now the number #1 cranberry product sold worldwide. Craisins are made from the skins of the berries that are used to make juice. The skins used to just be thrown away, but then some genius thought- hey these dried up skins look like raisins, so let’s keep them and call them.. hmmm.. what will we call them?  Ah! I know- craisins! Because it’s a cranberry raisin! And that’s how the craisin was born.  In case you were wondering.

Perhaps you will find yourself here in southeastern Massachusetts one day in early October. If so, please do check out the festival. Or just drive by a bog or two.  I promise that you will never look at a cranberry (or a craisin) the same way.

And it only got better from there, folks…

If you read my post from Friday you’ll know that our weekend trip to Quebec didn’t get off to the best start. We resigned ourselves to trading the unseasonably warm, sunny Boston weather in favor of the cold damp April days Quebec offered because we were excited to see my husband’s cousins. It’s an annual trek we all look forward to, because for one, it’s an awesome city- beautiful and chock full of things to do. Plus, the kids love playing together and the adults never fail to have a good time.  During the day there’s always something to do that appeals to everyone, and at night the kids run around like banshees while the adults enjoy long lingering conversations over a dinner table abundant with out-of-this-world food and wine a- plenty. My French isn’t good enough to follow everything, and after a few hours I give up trying and just drink the wine, which is something I always regret doing when I wake up slightly hungover. I then vow not to repeat the next night, but of course I do. Because it’s vacation. And, because it’s fun. And FUN is just what we needed. We were both still beating ourselves up about not running Boston (yep, STILL talking about that- I know it’s starting to get old, but don’t worry once I run NJ in a few weeks I will be cured of the guilt and regret that compel me to mention it every chance I can get). But anyway, that’s exactly how night one progressed.

And you know how that turned out- with our son pooping in their daughter’s bed. It was awesome. Really a great way to start the day on Friday.

Later that morning – after everything had been cleaned and the kids were settled into a controlled state of chaos- my husband went for his long run, and I went for the kind of run you need to cure your sluggish body of the evil you caused it the night before.

It was f’n COLD. And windy. I ran down by the St. Lawrence and the wind was coming at me from three directions. It was raw and grey and just plain nasty. It felt like a punishment and once again I cursed mother nature and myself for not running and GETTING IT DONE on Monday. Oh well..I slogged my way through 7 or so miles which left me feeling better and ready for anything (or so I thought).

We bagged our plans to visit Gros Isle and instead headed to the Aquarium. It was pretty cool- worth checking out if you’re in town. The polar bears were impressive and the sea lions had lots of personality. And, there was a mini version of TreeGO (an obstacle course type adventure playground) which the kids couldn’t get enough of. Even in drenching rain it was fun. Make note: lots of the Aquarium is outside. If you’re with people who live in Quebec and don’t seem to notice inclement weather you won’t be deterred. If you’re like everyone else in the world you might want to wait for a nicer day.

Later that night.. more wine, more food, more conversation that I could only half follow.. yadda yadda. Put the kids to bed. All is well.

UNTIL………….

I know what you’re thinking- poop again? Well… that would have been awful wouldn’t it? But no, nope, not poop, not this time.  But what then?  What could have happened that would be even worse? Puke you ask? Could it be? Well, why not? At just around 2:00 am everyone in the house was awoken to the sound of my son crying and puking in bed. In the bed we had just cleaned. White sheets, new fluffy duvet.. the works. Yep. Night two was even more exciting and disruptive than night one.  How can this be? Who are these people who bring a pooping, puking maniac to soil the bedsheets at every opportunity?

That would be us.

He wasn’t sick. In fact he didn’t seemed phased at all. In the morning it was my husband and I who hung our heads in shame as another bag of drycleaning was loaded into the car.  Our son continued to race around the house, humming Star Wars songs and demanding snacks every 15 seconds or so (I guess he was pretty hungry after emptying his entire digestive tract onto his cousin’s bed).

That day, after braving the elements to see the waterfall on the north side of the city (luckily a short lived experience as the weather was truly horrendous) we went to the Civilization Museum- also a great place to go when it’s raining.  The exhibits are always interesting and there’s an entire area dedicated to kid stuff- a giant play area complete with costumes and things to climb.  As we walked back to the car the rain turned to sleet and then snow.  Did I ever tell you how much I hate to see snow in April? Well, I hate it.

Anyway.. I’ll fast forward.  We went to bed Saturday wondering if our son was going to produce a hat trick.  What would the late night hours bring us?  We prepared for the worst.  We made him sleep on the bare floor, with nothing to cover him but newspaper.

Ok, we weren’t that cruel, but we did make him sleep in our room with an air mattress and a sleeping bag.  And, sure enough around 3 or 4 am I was jolted awake by the dreaded “mommmmmyyyyy…..” I sprinted out of bed and ran over to him.  He said” I have to throw up!!! “ I grabbed him and ran as fast as I could to the bathroom, heart pounding, sweat breaking out over my brow.  I put him in front of the toilet and forced him to bend over it.  After a few seconds of nothing happening he said “oh, I think maybe I just have to pee”.   So he did, and I brought him back to bed.  That’s it. No accident. So ….that was ok.

On Sunday we left.  Our hosts might have been slightly less sad to see us go than they normally are, but they hid it well.  Maybe they’re devising a scheme to even things out when they come down our way in July.   It poured the entire way home which made for a long ride (the longest 6 hour ride ever, my daughter pointed out) but the kids were actually really good.  Despite what I may have led you to believe, my kids are really quite charrming and fun when they aren’t defecating on your furniture.  It was nice hearing their laughter drift up from the backseat.    And we had a great time telling  jokes and playing trivia.  Gavin progressed from calling the city we’d just visited “Appleback” to learning to say Quebec.  Each kid only asked how much longer about 700 times.

All in all, it was not a bad weekend.  But it sure is good to be home.  And no one woke up last night- for any reason.

How to Ensure You Won’t Be Invited Back

We are quite possibly the worst house guests EVER. We’re up in Quebec visiting family and the unthinkable has happened.  Yes, our four  year old has pooped himself. In bed. Someone else’s bed.  Someone else’s bad with white sheets and a fluffy white duvet with NO COVER on it. At 6:00 in the morning.  Poop everywhere.  Wait til he hears we had to throw out his favorite pjs- the ones with the zebra driving a car.  I never really understood the appeal anyway. I mean why would a zebra drive a car, why is that cute? BUT I digress.  What a way to start everyone’s day.  I bet they’re sooooooo happy we came to visit.

And the weather stinks!  We heard it was beautiful here all week but a dark cloud seems to have settled itself over the city and cold rain threatens.  Mother Nature really hates us for some reason.  On Monday she delivered an unheard of scorching hot April day which prompted us to defer running the Boston Marathon (something we’ve been busting ass for 5 months to prepare for).  I’m still bitter.  And now she’s going to give us rain, snow and maybe even sleet to ensure our lovely weekend away is spent NOT out exploring this beautiful city, but instead struggling desperately through the  days trying to ensure all the kids get along and hoping that  no further horrifyingly embarrassing mishaps happen.  This may be no easy feat given that our son is switching between humming Darth Vader’s anthem and singing “every day I’m shuffling” with impressive endurance (meaning he hasn’t stopped to take a breath in the last three hours).  Somehow I don’t think our hosts think it’s half as charming as we do, and we don’t really find it charming at all.  Also, our daughter has taken to speaking English with a French accent.  I think she thinks her non English speaking cousins will understand her better.  Actually, its probably more effective than Gavin’s strategy- he just yells at them.  And just now we caught the four of them about to sled down the stairs in a sleeping bag…got there in the nick of time.  They were poised on the top step, ready for flight and a trip to the hospital. Thank God for wine.  And thank God we’re with people who like to drink it.