summer staycations

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My GOODNESS, you guys, these past few weeks have been jam packed with travel, family time, homework, teaching, picnicking, kickboxing, yoga-ing, sunset-chasing, sweating, firework-watching, and a teeeeensy bit of sleeping, just for good measure. I know I say this about every season of life, but July is truly proving to be one of the busiest yet.

Since I’m busy teaching at the FBP Summer Dance Intensive and a few other summer workshops around the area this month, I’ve sticking close to home with some fun New England jaunts between homework cram sessions. A little round up of seasonal spots to match this smorgasbord of photos, if you’re interested…

Watch Hill for a beach day, a glass of rosé at Olympia Tea Room, and a sunset.

Little Compton for the cutest general store, massive waves, and a nostalgic private(ish) beach.

York, Maine for family dinners, lighthouse jogs, and watching a little bug dig holes at the beach.

Boston for Fourth of July fireworks, Turkish breakfast, serene museum visits, massive vegan salads, and yes, another long walk on the beach.

Providence for proper Prospect Park picnicking and catching up with best friends.

a beach day in normandy: trouville edition

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It was the coldest, cloudiest day of our entire trip.  So we went to the beach.  When life gives you lemons, right?

After a little research (and I mean little), we packed up our towels (also little) and headed for Trouville.  What a pleasant surprise!  We’d been to several coastal towns in Normandy that week, but this was by far the most charming.  Families sharing ice cream cones, kids playing soccer in the sand, and so many striped beach tents.  M was pretty taken with the architecture just along the beach and I was totally transfixed by the murals everywhere.  They almost looked like a page torn out of an old children’s book, so sweet and faded.

We immediately took to the water.  There was splashing and superman-ing and somersaulting through the waves before returning to our teeny towels for apples and a swig of Calvados.  Ahh, the beach life.

Dinner that night was a slighty un-French round of tapas at a wine bar in town, served by a happy man who did not speak English.  He learned quickly of our language barrier, but decided not to dumb anything down.  Instead he spoke in such a diverse range of tones and inflections that the actual combinations of sounds and letters being used did not matter much.  We understood each other just fine, and he quickly became one of our favorite interactions.  That night we realized the human-to-human connection is far more powerful than any organized arrangement of words.

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a beach day in normandy

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Disclaimer:  This is not a story about our visit to the D-Day beaches.  This is a story about something else that happened on the day of our visit to the D-Day beaches.  It was the day of the poppy, the day we picked wildflowers at Omaha and crawled through bunkers at Pont du Hoc.  Perhaps most importantly, though, it was the day we met The Cider Man.

M and I were driving away from Omaha Beach, back towards Mesnil.  We were both silently looking for some procrastination to postpone the hour long drive home when we spotted the little wooden plank signaling “CIDRE”.  I gasped, he nodded, and we pulled in past the trees and under a grand stone arch.  M put the Polo into park and I looked up to see an open garage, chock full of surfboards, rakes, and other residential oddities.  A mustachioed man stood outside, greeting us with a Bonjour! and a big smile.  Had we just parked ourselves in someone’s private driveway?

Perhaps, yes.  But we decided to get out and acknowledge the kind gentleman, who seemed to be welcoming our intrusion, if that was indeed what was going on.  He continued speaking gingerly en français, and we smiled, followed and listened.  It was not until we reached the inside of the bar/cider shop area and he pointed at a huge map, land all stuck with little pins, that he broke into english asking, “Where do you come from?”

We placed our pins in Boston and Providence (where there was already one little pin waiting for mine to meet it, how cool!), and our Cider Man offered to try out his “not good” english (ps, it was actually perfect).  He skipped behind the bar and told us all about his cider.  He taught us about Normandy’s famous Calvados, its bubbly and apèritif counterparts, and the family farm that had been making it for generations.  As we sipped samples of the spoils, he told us about Châteaux Normands and Le Portail, the arch we’d just passed through.  The tall entryway and the original tower to its left were built in the 12th century, and the estate had been in the family for hundreds of years.  He told us about the history of the land, Norman apples, cows and cheese.  We talked about his brother (uncle? cousin?) who went to Michigan State, and his visits to Texas.  We talked about gun control and terrorism, American politics and World War II.  The astonishing thing was, that big smile never faded from its home beneath his pristine ‘stache.

Twenty minutes later we were heading toward Pont du Hoc, fresh Calvados in hand and the reflection of The Cider Man’s infectious smile plastered across our faces.  Àperitif and new french friend.

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cotton candy clouds

Good morning, dears!  Just thought I would share a few photos of the views I’ve been soaking in lately…DSC02678 DSC02680 DSC02684 DSC02679DSC02689

Last night’s sunset was too gorgeous to go undocumented.  And where are these pastel-colored skies, you ask?  Right over the flat waves of Short Sands in the one and only York Beach, Maine- my favorite little beach town!  I’m here with my family for a quick little weekend getaway, enjoying the views, the wine, and some R&R.  Hope you’re all having as wonderful a weekend as I am!  Ciao!

Nice Times, Part III: A La Plage

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After falling in love with Nice’s incredibly welcoming farmer’s markets, Kevin and I headed to the beach for some much-needed sun time.  I’ve always been a sucker for tanning in a chaise lounge, snacking on dried figs and pomme frites while sipping a festive drink, but swimming in the crystal blue water of the Mediterranean Sea was really the highlight visit.  The infamous rocky sea floor can be difficult to aclimate to at first, but the tepid turquoise waves never grow too fierce, making the awkward rocky shoreline slightly less uncomfortable on the toes.  After doggy paddling around practicing our breaststroke, floating on our backs and having a water-treading competition (first with no arms, then no legs), we retreated to the shore to harvest a small selection of the ample sea glass that splatters the grey stone canvas with bright hints of green and blue.  I have never seen so much sea glass in one place!  If that smooth aqua-colored shard you had your eye on gets swept up by one of those gentle Mediterranean waves, no worries; five more will be there to replace it by the time the next wave set rolls in.  While drying off/tanning in the sun afterwards, I noticed just how salt-soaked I was.  It’s true what they say about the Mediterranean having more salt than a Chinese take-out dinner for 6.  Okay, I just made that up, but it’s true!  My skin was completely devoid of any oil, and the bottoms of my feet were stained with a layer of thick white sediment.  What a rewarding sight after a lovely day at the beach in Nice…

Nice Times, Part I: Getting Acquainted

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This past weekend I traveled to Nice with my boyfriend, Kevin.  It’s always been a dream of mine to visit the South of France, and having Kevin along for the trip was the cherry on top of the (extremely decadent) ice cream sundae.  Our first evening in Nice greeted us with an overwhelming level of perfection.  It was about 72 degrees, simultaneously humid and breezy- my ideal weather situation.  We showered, dressed in our South-of-France-bests and strolled down les promenade des anglais (the big boardwalk along the beach) to find dinner.  We settled on a neighboring hotel’s prefix 3-course dinner special (although our hotel, Le Negresco, was absolutely the focal point of the strip- and for good reason- its restaurant charges an arm and a leg just for an appetizer…not exactly our speed).  Dinner was delicious and just what I needed in my “hangry” state (dancers- you know what I mean!).  After a few glasses of wine, we headed down to the beach to check out the water and the rocky shoreline.  Could Nice have been any more welcoming?  Je pense que non.

And look at this sculpture that is part of Le Negresco’s extremely impressive art collection:DSC01707

Ballet everywhere!  J’aime!