How did this happen? November came and went in a flash. And now we’re into the Christmas month with too much to do. But before I get onto Christmas stuff, here’s a rundown of the Lightship Basket Museum Yard Sale. If you missed it this year put it on your calendar for next year and if you’re off island make it a “next year must do”. I have a summer friend who returns to the island with three or four friends for a ladies weekend that centers around this big event.
To put my money where my mouth is, I actually followed my own advice and took stock of my chair situation before turkey day. I was shy one chair. I got a sweet little wooden side chair with a perfect caned seat for $10 bucks! Bought 4 Lloyd Flanders wicker chairs for $15. Each. Perfect condition!
This is Nantucket’ Stroll Weekend, an event that has morphed into one of the island’s big attractions. We go all out to take advantage of the fantastic backdrop of our island, not easily duplicated anywhere in the country, to put on a great show. When dusk falls on Friday evening and the trees are lit on Main Street I keep waiting for someone to shout, “Lights, Camera, Action!”
This event started as a community affair for the locals. But like all good things that are Nantucket, it was hard to keep it that way. And so here we are many years later, attracting visitors from near and far to join us in celebrating the season. In this spirit it might be wise to put away that “Bah Humbug Spirit” islanders sometimes adapt for events that involve the invasion of the “body snatchers” and get with it. Pick and choose your activities – there’s so much happening. There will be plenty of island, kick-back time after the weekend.
Black and white for Christmas? Oh no, I thought when David Holland Leggieri, Bartlett Farm designer suggested setting a table in black and white for the holidays. I have always reserved this color scheme for New Year’s Eve. It’s kind of a cleansing scheme after all the traditional glitz and glitter of Christmas.
But, thoughts of red and green put aside, here I was oohing and aahing with a group of women over David’s display at the Hayloft. If you’re having a holiday party or planning something special for a Christmas dinner think black and white for a smashingly sophisticated table. To create this look you can use strips of 2-inch wide black and white satin ribbon to cover a table or to simulate a runner down the center of a buffet table. Easy to weave in a pattern. Or cover the table with a striped cloth, scarf or piece of fabric. Or use shiny wrapping paper to create a runner. Pinking sheers will finish off the edges.
Last Sunday we took a walk through Tuppancy Links. If you remember, it was a crisp, clear, and warm day for November. There’s never a crowd there, mostly dog owners since it’s a dog-friendly place. Walking along the path that ends with a view of the water, reminds us why we live here. There are still open spaces, like Sanford Farm across the road and the Moors, the beaches at this time of year and so many more places to enjoy the beauty of the island. Once we get past summer, this place is returned to us, and it’s magical. No traces of resort, just community.
Last week I told you about the neat leopard skin chairs I bid on at Raphael’s auction. No bargain comes without a price tag. Sometimes a dresser has one drawer permanently stuck shut. Sometimes chair leg is slightly wobbly. Those chairs I bought are sensational. But they smell musty. No problem, I thought. I’ll put them in the sun. I put them out in the morning and took them in at night for a week. They are very heavy which makes me love them all the more and even overlook the fact that they are a tad low. The smell is fading but I first gave them a spray of Fabreze which only gave them a perfumy smell – more odious than the musty smell. The Internet suggested vinegar. I did not like this idea. Now it is ten days and the odor is fading, and my “out in the sun,” routine goes on.
Right now I’m interested in salvage materials. I just finished writing an article about a house in ‘Sconset that was originally two small early cottages built in the 1800s. They were nothing special until they were moved and attached and made into one. Then in the 1960s some pretty bad renovations were done to it, like replacing old windows for vinyl ones! I guess the Historic District Commission was asleep at the time, or maybe wasn’t yet established. At any rate, new owners hired the firm of Angus MacLeod Designs to restore and renovate it in 2011 and they masterfully salvaged and repurposed all the really good old material for the new house.
While writing about this project I was introduced to a wonderful resource that anyone within striking distance of Boston should know about. It’s the Restoration Resources store in Boston. Angus MacLeod describes it as “an art gallery of beautiful salvaged items” where you’ll find early doorknobs, interesting hinges, balusters, old doors and windows and such. Now that I’m working on my new book, Salvage Style, this is my next “go to” place. Read More
When I travel I like to stay in one place for long enough to feel at home. Or, at least to get more of an impression of the place than you get from passing through. Having a home away from home is always better than staying at a hotel, if possible. Jon and I have rented dozens of houses, and apartments in lots of diverse places. We’re good at temporarily moving into other people’s homes and instantly, making them our own.
During the month of August we like being a tourist in someone else’s touristy town. It’s more fun than getting annoyed at tourists invading our own hometown of Nantucket. Feeling displaced has become less desireable than being a tourist in someone else’s town.
When you go to a place and settle in for a while you get to know a few locals. You frequent the restaurants, wander into the local bookstore perhaps, have breakfast every morning at the same diner, maybe even take an exercise or Yoga class. It’s fun to enjoy a normal routine doing normal everyday things, like shopping in the local market, only in a different place from home.
We are in Napa Valley, CA. Every day we do one thing that we don’t do at home. Yesterday we took a cooking class at the CIA. Jon thought he was going to spy school until I translated Culinary Institute of America. We had no interest in cooking but it was a very cool thing to do in a really cool building that looked like a medieval castle.
It can’t possibly be the end of summer. It doesn’t feel like summer is over, but we who live here know that the best part of the season is about to begin. The days are dryer, a bit cooler and best of all, less traffic everywhere. Jon and I went down to the Jetties late day on Sunday. We walked down the boardwalk by the Galley Restaurant , dubbed “the Gaza Strip” by locals many, many years ago. Right away we ran into familiar folks enjoying the less crowded beach and a swim in the calm water there, always warmer than the ocean.
Reflecting on the photos I took while away this summer, I came upon several of the Napa Valley Wine Train taken from my car window. Train travel seems like such a civilized way to get from one place to another. When I was a child we often took the train from Connecticut to visit my grandparents in Florida. Back then it was an overnight trip and seemed very exciting sleeping in the pull-down berths, and eating in the dining car.