Christmas at Longwood

Many of the botanical gardens in the United States are resplendent at Christmas time. When we were visiting the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden in September, Santa’s elves (with decidedly green thumbs) were already at hard work on a holiday display that my Maine family describes as breathtaking. This year, we had a family day-out to […]

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Short takes from our Christmas

With a little luck, after Christmas, we rest. We sit back to enjoy the grace of a crisp, but not cold, winter morning that began with a brilliant sunrise. We pick up that book we’d set aside for the last two crazed weeks. We fully appreciate the transient charm of the decorations that, in a […]

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Counting down the days…

December 28… It’s uncharacteristically balmy here in Central Pennsylvania, and the first thing I did this morning was clodhop outside for a breath of just-chilly-enough fresh air. The after-Christmas calm will soon give way to the steady din of football commentary and wild cheering for our last Penn State game of the year, the Cotton […]

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What you keep becomes your story

It is no small irony that a few weeks ago, days after writing the post Careful What You Throw Away, I was notified of a sudden death in the peripheral family and summoned into service as the estate’s executor. I’d agreed to this assignment about six years ago, when a cousin dear to me had […]

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Careful what you throw away

Autumn, like spring, is traditionally a time for cleaning up and casting off. This year, as I bagged clothing to give away, canned goods for the Boy Scouts, and books for the library sale, I had a few thoughts on the subject. Marie Kondo’s ruthless approach to divestiture (the things kind, not the money kind) […]

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On holiday ‘table talk’

It’s way too early to be obsessing about the complexity of timing that a full-tilt Thanksgiving dinner requires, so I’ve been obsessing instead with the need to keep the day pleasurable and comforting. Translation: No heated discussions about politics or anything else (including tasteless jokes) that makes volume escalate and tempers flare. By nature reasonably […]

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Crown jewel of the White Mountains

At 6,288.2 feet, New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington is the tallest and most imposing peak in the Northeastern United States. You can read about its singular wonders in detail at www.mtwashington.org, the website of the private, nonprofit organization that funds and staffs the very well fortified observatory at its summit—clearly the crown jewel of the White Mountains […]

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Grand hotel: The Omni Mt. Washington

Give me a grand old hotel any time.  There are quite a few of them in the United States and Canada. If I had my way, I would spend at least a night in every one.  My fascination with North America’s legendary old hotels far precedes Somewhere in Time, the epic time-travel romance shot at […]

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A garden by the sea

A few weeks ago, Hubby and I spent a day strolling through the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay with my cousins Liz and Paula. Although the gardens had taken on the fading tinge of fall, for us they were no less intoxicating than they would have been at the height of the blooming season… […]

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