D, L, and I returned from our first family vacation last week–a whirlwind tour of coastal New England. We stayed in southern New Hampshire just north of Boston where we ventured out on day trips to Hampton Beach and Portsmouth, NH; Boston, Cape Ann (Gloucester, Manchester by-the-Sea, Rockport, Essex), Newburyport, and Plum Island MA; and Ogunquit, ME. Someday L will be big enough to build sand castles and dive and swim in the Atlantic, but until that day, we settled on a short introduction to a day at the beach which lasted about half-an-hour on Plum Island. We stayed long enough to unfold a blanket and chair, stick a small sun umbrella into the sand, get our feet wet, eat apples with graham crackers, and prevent L from eating sand tucked in fists.
Boardwalk, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
During this year’s vacation, D and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on September 1st. Our wedding was held at the Night Kitchen, a romantic French-style country restaurant set on the banks of the Sawmill River in Montague, MA. The restaurant is housed in a former gristmill building dating back to 1842 along with The Montague Bookmill and The Ladykilligrew Cafe. The ceremony took place outside on the deck followed by cocktails, dinner, dancing, champagne, cake, and dessert. It’s still hard to believe that a year has gone by. Maybe we should do it all over again, if only to enjoy the company of long-distance friends and family along with great food and dancing.
For our anniversary, we defrosted the saved piece of wedding cake (lemon poppyseed) and ate it for breakfast and again later that evening for dessert accompanied by delicious French champagne given to us by our friends N & A. The lemon frosting held up much better than the somewhat soggy cake, but it was delicious nonetheless and I firmly believe in decadence such as cake early in the morning from time to time.
Once L woke from a series of mini-naps, we packed the car and drove in search of an uncrowded beach where we could enjoy a salt air picnic. We chose Manchester by-the-Sea on Cape Ann. We parked the car in town and walked down to the beach after a brief detour into a used book store in search of old cookbooks. As it turned out, the beach was packed and L was too squirmy for the sand and surf and as we had yet to find a market with cheese, bread, fruit, and olives, we walked back to the car, which by then, was dinnertime. In lieu of a picnic, we ended up in Rockport where we toured the seacoast village by foot before deciding on dining at The Greenery Restaurant. We sat in front of a large window near the deli and toasted flavored bubbly water and ate gourmet sandwiches with french fries. We watched more people pass by and I thought about the series of portraits seen from the back seat of the car.
Portraits not photographed:
1. Teenage girl linking arms with Twenty-something man. They face the street, looking at the passing cars, not each other. She is watering the kiwi green front lawn with her free arm. Their bodies are sewn together in front of a white vinyl sided duplex encircled by Black-Eyed Susans.
2. Very muscular man, nearly seven feet tall, pushes an old-fashioned baby carriage across an intersection. He looks downward at the moving carriage, transfixed in thought. He looks neither left nor right as he moves through traffic.
3. Five people gather on a porch stoop in front of a brick row house building. Two men are seated and two women and one man stand before them like an unfolded accordion fan. Cigarettes fill the air with clouds of smoke while suggestive slaps and calls promise a future meeting indoors.
Until, next year…