Whenever I visit San Francisco, I make a trip to its Ferry Building. Now Boston has its own market full of unique and artisan vendors, and I don’t have to travel as far. Located near Haymarket and Quincy Market, the Boston Public Market is unique – it’s a culinary adventure (you can eat gourmet donuts, local cheeses, fresh pasta or drink locally made tea, coffee, or hot chocolate). It’s a a gourmet lunch spot (try the smoothies, smoked fish, Vietnamese sandwiches, or ice cream). It’s a wedding and hostess gift go-to (buy wine, jams, cutting boards made from stone, and bowls turned from wood). It’s a market (fill your basket with flowers, locally grown vegetables, meat, and fish). Read more about it here:
When a friend first gave me her recipe for blueberry crisp, I had never heard of Annisquam. For some reason, I thought Annisquam was some place up in Maine.
It’s not – Annisquam is a beautiful waterfront village in Gloucester, Massachusetts. We visited one of its private beaches with friends on a beautiful summer day.
The next day, I realized where I’d heard the word before … in the title of one of my favorite recipes.
I’ve made Annisquam Blueberry Crisp with fresh blueberries in August and with frozen ones in January. I’ve made it with wheat flour and with gluten-free flour. Though the texture may vary slightly depending on the type of flour, it’s always yummy. The port is the secret ingredient.
Annisquam Blueberry Crisp
4 cups blueberries (or two 10-oz packages frozen, thawed)
1/4 cup ruby port
3/4 cup sifted gluten-free flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
Combine blueberries and port in a well-buttered, 1 quart baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Add butter, cut into bits and blend until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the blueberries and bake in the middle of a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Serves 6 to 8
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any of my travels. Here’s my answer to that childhood ubiquitous question.
Spring blurred into summer, beginning technically on June 21 but really on June 2 when I traveled to Tucson for an outdoor family wedding. The weather was hot, we wore shorts and ate blizzards from Dairy Queen in the town of Sierra Vista, Arizona (stay tuned for more details on Bisbee and Tucson).
In June, we took a trip to Provincetown and walked Boston’s Freedom Trail. We said good-bye to our Chilean exchange student, wondering when we would see her again, glad of the excuse for a future trip to South America.
In July, my family was consumed and overwhelmed with learning about and planning for my daughter’s through hike of the Long Trail. We explored Vermont – Manchester, Waterbury, and Stowe and hiked through the Green Mountains.
In August, we recovered from our Vermont travels with trips to the beach on Boston’s North Shore, bike rides, kayaks, and swims in local ponds. We listened to music at outdoor festivals, visited farms, ate lobster and pizza, and grilled. We picked flowers and basil and went for a ride in a plane.
Now that fall is quickly approaching, I’m scrambling to get a bit more summer in. I need at least one more trip to the beach, and many more kayaks, bike rides, and outdoor swims. I need to shop at more farmer’s markets, eat lots of tomatoes, fresh corn, and peaches, grill vegetables, make fresh salsa, gazpacho, and zucchini bread.
When the hot summer days cool off, I want to be ready. Ready to say good-bye to the heat and welcome sweatshirt weather and apple picking season, when I can still ride my bike and make apple crisp, and slowly get ready for fall.
Trip taken Summer 2015.
Even though spring is less than 2 weeks away, when I look outside, all I see is a winter wonderland.
So I put on my skis one day and my snowshoes the next and continue to make new tracks in the snow.
And I dream of warmer places: Hawaii, Santa Barbara, Florida, where green and blue overrule white and brown as the predominant outdoor colors. Where 45 degrees isn’t balmy. Where the sun is warm on my bare shoulders.
I keep reminding myself, April will be here soon.
If you’re like me, and you like the snow, but after awhile, you long for a change of scenery, you’ve got a few options.
1) Embrace the cold and sled, snow shoe, or ski. (See my post “How to Survive a New England Winter.“)
2) Look for warmth.
In between snow storms this past week, I stopped in at the greenhouse at Water Fresh Farm in Hopkington, Mass.
I dined in front of a fire at Red Barn Coffee Roasters in Southborough, Mass.
And I visited the Wayland Winter Farmers’ Market inside a greenhouse at Russell’s Garden Center in Wayland, Mass., where people ordered pizza from a mobile wood fired pizza truck, tasted wine and cheese, bought root vegetables, jams, fish, meat, and even mushrooms.
Where will I go next week? The forecast is for more cold. Maybe this time, I’ll go for option number 3 and get on a plane!
There’s nothing like getting a month’s worth of snow in a few days!
After a brief snow storm on Saturday, January 24, 2015, about 5 inches of snow fell on our outside table before the rain compressed it. Here’s what the table looked like on Saturday and pretty much what it looked like when we went to bed on Monday night.
Here’s what it looked like at 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
At 8 a.m.
At 9 a.m.
The dog still hadn’t been out. So, we started shoveling and blowing. It was 17 degrees, and windy.
It kept snowing all day. At 4 p.m., I took this photo.
At 7 p.m., I took this last photo.
We stayed warm and never lost power. Instead, we went snow shoeing. Today, after shoveling again, I’ll be out on my skis.
I first discovered Walden Pond when a friend took me there for a summer evening swim. I’d studied the Transcendentalists in college, had heard of Thoreau but had never read Walden. We walked along the trail to a place my friend knew, away from the crowds. We swam to cool off from the hot summer air.
Since then I’ve visited Walden several times. In the morning, when people gather to swim; during the day, when the beaches are crowded with small children; and on the weekends, when people from the city seek an escape from the summer heat. I’ve picnicked along its banks, hiked along its trails, swam and kayaked its cool waters. But until last November, my visits have remained in the summer months. Last November, I discovered how magical Walden Pond can be without the heat and without the crowds.
Trip taken November 2013.
It was 15 degrees this morning in Boston, and it’s not even winter yet. I’m inside by the fire, drinking a cup of coffee, and remembering a warmer day in Rockport, Mass., just a few months ago.
Trip taken June 2014.
I visited the turkeys again this year. One turkey in particular looked quite forlorn and seemed to be asking, “Have you seen my brother?”
When planning a vacation away for more than a few days, consider renting an apartment or cottage instead of staying at a hotel. While the service may be lacking, you’ll gain freedom to cook your own meals and explore your destination more like a resident than a tourist.
We’ve rented a house in Bolinas, California; an apartment in Cape Town, South Africa; and a cottage on Plum Island near Newburyport, Massachusetts. In all three cases, we stayed near the ocean, in comfortable lodging, for a reasonable price. In all three cases, we used VRBO.com to rent a place directly from its owner.
Bolinas: Although the tiny house was bursting with our party of four adults and four kids, the deck allowed us space for overflow. We stocked the kitchen with our own favorite foods and took over the kitchen and grill; we jogged along the cliff nearby and throughout the local neighborhood; we drove to the local market, walked the beach, and ate out at a nearby restaurant.
Cape Town: Located between the ocean and the local markets, our two-bedroom apartment in Sea Point was full of books, DVDs, local artwork, and maps of the area. We caught the bus at the end of the road and walked into town for groceries.
Plum Island: Just outside our front door, a sandy path led to the beach. We ate mussels at the local restaurant before riding our bikes back to the cottage to cook our own fresh pasta. Although we spent little time inside, the cottage was comfortable and well equipped with movies and music to enjoy in case of bad weather.
While we’ve had good luck and much success with our rentals, things can go wrong. In Cape Town, we arrived after a long trip to discover a bathroom without toilet paper. After knocking on our neighbors’ door, we borrowed a roll before venturing to the nearest local market to stock up. Each time we rent, we learn a little more to consider before we rent the next time. Things like:
- What is the minimum stay?
- Does the price include a cleaning fee?
- What type of deposit is required and is it refundable?
- Are pets allowed?
- Are other guests allowed?
- Do you need to bring linens?
- How will you get the key?
The next time you’re looking for a place to stay with a little more character and a lot more flexibility than the Days Inn or the nearby Hilton, consider checking out VRBO, its parent company Homeaway.com, or one of their competitors. After your experience, you’ll feel almost like a local!
Trips taken 2007, 2009, 2011.