Grand hotel: Wentworth-by-the Sea

  The greatest charm of that now-near-vintage Christopher Reeve movie, Somewhere in Time, was the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, where it was shot. As Reeve’s character explored the hotel, he magically found love in another century, to the tune of stirring romantic strain of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Pagannini. But my near-obsession with […]

Read More…

Sunshine on a cloudy day

Spring is being to seem like the “skipped season.” Winter stalked us right through April. Since then, the temperature has been fluctuating wildly: high 80s one day, then plummeting 20 to 30 degrees the next. I hate those wild swings. They’re as hard on my temperament (sorry, everyone I love) as they are on my […]

Read More…

‘I write in ink.’

Dear Frances Mayes, The time I brought The Tuscan Sun Cookbook to you for signing in Chapel Hill, I remember saying, simply, “Can I tell you how much I loved A Year in the World?” You smiled sweetly. I frankly never thought anything else of yours could eclipse that smashing book—which really wasn’t about travel, […]

Read More…

Village views

We haven’t been north in nearly two years, which is atypical for us and much too long between trips. As I’m fond of saying, real life sometimes gets in the way. Hopefully, we’ll be back on track with a northward journey in the next few months. In the interim, the dry spell, I’ve gotten by […]

Read More…

Growing up with Yankee

I fell in love with New England—technically, my native New England—not on those tedious trips north from Pennsylvania when I was a tiny child, but month by month, on the pages of Yankee magazine. I’ve mentioned before that my father, a first generation Italian-American, grew up in a papermill town in Western Maine. Think Richard […]

Read More…

Remembering another Miss Austin

No, not Austen. And not Jane. But they have books and writing in common. It was a verdant Central Pennsylvania summer, and I was in my last term, anxious for graduation. Summer terms were rapid-fire in those days, eight weeks as opposed to the usual ten. Classes met four times a week and, as I […]

Read More…

Carolina blue

Continuing an earlier theme that amounts, basically, to “sunshine on a cloudy day,” on this snowy afternoon I invite you to enjoy a petit gout of Carolina blue… North Carolina’s signature blue sky.   We had a house in North Carolina for a very short time, in an almost too well planned community between Chapel […]

Read More…

Letting the light in

This morning, our low here broke a 100-year record. Thus, I’ve decided that my blogging anniversary week will be dedicated simply to — in the immortal words of the Temptations — “…sunshine on a cloudy day.” This particular sunny light is Italian… in Monterosso al Mare, in the Cinque Terre.      

Read More…

Once, under the Tuscan sun…

I am in an almost perennial state of longing for Italy. Hubby has Italy on his mind as well. The fervor is fueled constantly as we watch our current favorite Italian TV series.  Una pallottola nel cuoro—the English title,  Bulletproof Heart. We watch Euro TV almost every night, thanks to MHZ Choice, which we began streaming several […]

Read More…

In praise of celery

The approach of fall always makes me want to cook. For one thing, it’s the high point of the harvest. For another, temperatures drop to a more reasonable, less humid level. What follows is the first of my fall culinary musings. We have a friend in Virginia who is a very fine cook. She gives […]

Read More…

Simple treasures: The best BLT ever

For a very brief time, Hubby and I owned a home in the triangle area of North Carolina. Although our plans to relocate there changed, we like to visit now and then. When we do, the one stop that’s always de rigeur is Merritt’s Store and Grill in Chapel Hill. Apart from the fact that […]

Read More…

I dream of Italy

When the weekend approaches, I often find myself daydreaming about all the wonderful places we’ve been. I’ve got Italy on my mind today, perhaps because it’s so warm and sunny here, perhaps because there are beautiful fresh tomatoes on the counter and basil thriving in the backyard, perhaps because there’s a field of sunflowers nearby, […]

Read More…