On Holiday

Image via MySoti.com

Image via MySoti.com

In August 2006, my husband and I took what I have since (annoyingly) heard referred to as a Babymoon–a big last hurrah trip before the arrival of our first baby. It was a fantastic trip with stops all over Europe, one of them being the lovely city of Florence. I spent a semester in college living in Florence and I was excited to show Tim all of my favorite spots from that time–my favorite gelato bar, that sweet little gift shop, a restaurant I loved but couldn’t afford as a college student. They were all still there, but at each one we came across signs–some officially printed and others hastily handwritten in Italian–that in one way or another said:

On Holiday for the month of August

See you in September

At the time, I was disappointed, but since then I have often thought about the act of putting up a sign, walking away from your life and business for a month and going on holiday. How incredibly freeing, unhampered and really, un-American–in a good way–it is to just take a break because you need it and because it is just what people do in Italy.

I had big plans for my blog post this week. Lots of pictures with a great how to. But remember those house guests I was readying for in my post a few weeks ago? We have had a steady stream of them–with one more beloved guest coming tonight. I adore having house guests and the past few weeks with ours have been wonderful, memorable and fun. But we have been so busy having fun that I haven’t had any time to sit down to the computer to put my little how to together. So, I am going to take a cue from the Italians and put up my “Holiday” sign, but just for this week. I’ll be back next week with that great how to. Ciao!

 

If Only Strawberry Fields Were Forever

Pick Your Own Sign

Every summer, we hope that our travel schedule allows us to be in Nantucket around the wonderful, but short, strawberry picking season. It was our good fortune that the season was late this year due to the long, hard winter Nantucket endured.  There must be magic in that island dirt–or maybe its just sand? Either way, it produces the most magnificent strawberries and tomatoes and corn and flowers and lettuce…I could go on and on. It’s all just SO good.

My kids love this activity and it is such a fun thing to do as a family. On Nantucket, Bartlett Farms is our spot and it provides everything a good family activity should:

Exercise  – It’s a short but manageable walk out to the field, even for small children.

Walk

Scenic – The farm is so green and lush, especially next to the bright blue sky that we enjoyed when we were there. On the way out to the strawberry fields, you pass rows and rows of beautiful lettuce greens of all kinds. You can even catch a glimpse of the ocean just over the horizon.

Scenic Fields

Educational – It provides a great opportunity to talk to and show your kids about the whole farm to table concept and that food–especially the best, freshest food–comes from the ground and doesn’t just magically appear in a grocery store.

Strawberry

 

strawberry freshly picked

Delicious – We love finding new recipes for the strawberries that we bring home. I must admit though, a few of the strawberries end up in the kids’ mouths before we even leave the field.

Eating Strawberries

The only bad thing about strawberry picking season is that it ends. While strawberries can be found all year round in those little clear plastic containers at the grocery store, they are just not the same as those sweet luscious berries picked straight from the vine. Ahhh..if only strawberry fields were forever.

strawberries at home

For those of you on Nantucket now, I just got an email from Bartlett Farms that they expect to have strawberries through this weekend but it may be the last. A quart basket is $5 and it is some of the best $5 I’ve ever spent!

Strawberry

Here are some nice recipes with strawberries that we have tried from the fruits of our labor (pun intended), although the best recipe of all is just a bowl full of strawberries with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. Enjoy!

From left to right: Roasted Strawberry Parfaits via Spoonful; Frozen Strawberries and Cream Dessert via Pip & Ebby; Strawberry Pretzel Salad via MyBakingAddiction; Red, White & Blue Kabobs via Sadie423 on HubPages

From left to right: Roasted Strawberry Parfaits via Spoonful; Frozen Strawberries and Cream Dessert via Pip & Ebby; Strawberry Pretzel Salad via MyBakingAddiction; Red, White & Blue Kabobs via Sadie423 on HubPages

 

Planes, Ferries & Automobiles

I think there has got to be a quote or an adage that says the more difficult somewhere is to get, the more rewarding it is when you finally get there. Every year, we travel to the island of Nantucket for our summer vacation. It is not an easy place to get to, especially from Ohio, so traveling here can definitely qualify in the difficult category. A combination of cars, airplanes and a ferry boat are required transportation–and that is on a good day when you don’t have any delays due to fog, wind or other such things.

If you are not familiar, Nantucket is a small island off the coast of Cape Cod, 14 miles long by about 7 miles wide. Its hey day was in the mid-1700s to the late 1830s when the island was the whaling capital of the world, with as many as 150 ships making port on the island during its peak. There is not a single traffic light and next to no chain stores so everything here is wonderfully, authentically Nantucket. Its so unique that it makes even the most difficult travel day melt away to a distant memory once you arrive because it is so worth the trouble.

I’m convinced that somewhere across the ocean between Nantucket and America (as the locals call the mainland) some kind of magic happens. I swear that flowers bloom more brilliantly here, birds chirp a little louder, stars are brighter and tomatoes and strawberries grow even more luscious (more on the strawberries in next weeks post!). And even though adults are not supposed to believe in such things, I can almost agree with my 7 year old that mermaids DO live in Nantucket harbor. (She swears she has seen one, even if it was just a glimpse!)

Traveling anywhere with small children, as many of you know,  can be challenging. Our trips to Nantucket have had their ups and downs but the more we have done the trip, the more I have tried to just enjoy the ride and take it all in–the plane, the car ride,the ferry… After all, as I’ve been telling myself a lot lately: The journey is the destination.

With that, here is a little photo journaling of our long, but fun journey here this year.

 

On the plane - thank God for iPads!

On the plane – thank God for iPads!

Leg 1 complete - getting off the  plane in Boston

Leg 1 complete – getting off the plane in Boston

In the car on the way to the Cape - this is the best shot I could get of our quick pass through Boston. Look close, that building says Boston on it!

In the car on the way to the Cape – this is the best shot I could get of our quick pass through Boston. Look close, that building says Boston on it!

Waiting for the ferry in Hyannis

Waiting for the ferry in Hyannis

Bye Hyannis! Looking out the back window of the ferry

Bye Hyannis! Looking out the back window of the ferry

Even when we try to keep a positive attitude, everybody still gets a little grumpy

Even when we try to keep a positive attitude, everybody still gets a little grumpy

Looking out the ferry at Brant Point Lighthouse. One of the best views ever because you are so close!

Looking out the ferry window at Brant Point Lighthouse. One of the best views ever because you are so close!

Back in the car but ALMOST THERE!

Back in the car but ALMOST THERE!

We're here! And at the end of the day, it was all worth it.

We’re here! And at the end of the day, it was all worth it.

 

For more photos, information and fun things to do with kids on Nantucket, stay posted to my blog! In the meantime, visit some of these websites:

  • Nantucket BlACKbook – Great site for all things fun, fashionable and unique on Nantucket
  • Townpool – A great site for travel, food and retail deals on the island (yes, there are some!). Follow them on Instagram or Facebook too for amazing pictures of the island.
  • I found some fun facts about Nantucket and its history here
  • The Inquirer & Mirror (aka The Inky Mirror) is Nantucket’s only newspaper and their website is a good resource
  • Nantucket.net is a good source for Nantucket travel information