Category Archives: Travel

Vinalhaven, Maine

vinalhaven_maine_001

In a small writer’s cottage tucked away on a quiet cove in Vinalhaven, Maine I spent the last week of summer with the promise of autumn quietly whispering with each rolling wave of the fog kissed shore of this tiny island that feels lost to the sea. In our modern times of fast communication and speedy travel we can blink an eye and be anywhere in the world.

But here…. here it is a journey. It takes time and you feel time change on the voyage to this sacred place. First a flight to Portland, Maine, then to a car, then ferry, with each passing mode of transportation the clock ticks a moment slower. I watched the shores of Maine while standing on the windy top deck of the ferry as they grew more distant. I looked at America, at a landscape not unfamiliar to the first settlers who came here on the hope and dreams of a new and better life. A life, to a certain extent, I was trying to escape from. The boat carried me away and I let go as land slipped away.

Maine is perfect in the summer. It’s classically American and dynamic in nature. Each hour yielded to a new exciting atmosphere.  It reminds you we are merely passengers on Earth, witnesses to nature’s show. I had to escape Manhattan’s monolithic skyscrapers that blocked sunsets to be reminded of what was out there bigger than me, bigger than my city, and beautiful… so very beautiful. While we watched the tide come in and out each day, distant lobster fishing boats bobbing in place, we took ease in the simplicity. The smell of the salty ocean, the feeling of the damp mossy forest under our feet.

Jet lagged from France, I would take rests in the afternoon with the old windows open so that I could listen to the wind in the trees and feel its coolness on my face as autumn promised itself to be just around the bend.

It is an quiet island in comparison to places like Nantucket but that is what makes it great. A place where you can turn off the noise, turn on nature and remember what it feels like to simply be alive. The kind of place with a handful of local and beloved stores, a tiny farmer’s market and one gas station where you buy the daily catch. When everything closes at 5pm and you wonder how you’ll ever survive until you discover we don’t need as much as we thought, or nearly as much as we’ve been sold. I think about this place often and when I do I’m standing right there on that cool gray rock, wrapped in mist and lost in thoughts…

vinalhaven_maine_002 vinalhaven_maine_003 vinalhaven_maine_004

Above dress and white dress in the fog by Brooklyn designer Christine Alcalay (more…)

This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

A night at the Le Bristol

A stay at the historic Le Bristol Hotel Paris.

I was so thrilled last week to attend the book launch of fashion illustrator Megan Hess at the Le Bristol Hotel in the heart of Paris. Her new book “New York through the Fashion Eye” was a wonderful walk down memory lane for me with all the sparkle and glamour that makes New York the fashion capital it is. Flipping through the book brought back a rush of memories and made me, for a moment, homesick for the city that had become my adopted hometown.  Even as I spend this extended time in France, I do still feel like a New Yorker and this book was a reminder of all the beauty she bestows.

The fashionable event was held at the historic Le Bristol Paris, a five star luxury hotel in operation since 1925 and is one of my absolute favorite Parisian hotels. The hotel is part of the Oetker Collection which has announced the Australian born illustrator as their ongoing artist in residence and will be traveling the world to all Oetker properties creating exclusive fashion and lifestyle illustrations for the luxury brand.

After the event I checked into my room on the 8th floor. Always breathtaking, the Le Bristol is classically French from the linens and drapes to the Louis XV and Louis XVI furniture and of course, the Eiffel Tower views her windows gaze out upon. What The Carlyle Hotel is to New York, the Le Bristol is to Paris…. that perfectly Parisian dream.

A stay at the historic Le Bristol Hotel Paris. A stay at the historic Le Bristol Hotel Paris. A stay at the historic Le Bristol Hotel Paris. (more…)

This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Roussillon, France

roussillon_002

If Cezanne’s heart lies in Provence as it surely must, it is most likely in Roussillon. This village, tinged in blood orange is best seen at sunset. Its earthen colors become saturated and emboldened to the point where they gleam with the warmth of a stove hearth fire in deep winter.
Charming streets wind up the mountainside to the cathedral. Stunning houses sit perched with glorious balconies overlooking the valleys below. Verdant green, speckled by ochre palisades. Complimentary colors arranged as if by chance.
In the midst of autumn harvests, apples and gourds and certainly Roussillon made me feel as if I was curled within loving arms in front of a cozy fire, sipping a fine apple brandy, on a crisp moonlit night.
roussillon_003   roussillon_005

(more…)

This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Provence – A New Chapter

Sunset vista from the small Provencal town of Bonnieux, France

I travel a lot. Typically, I feel very safe. I find that most people around the world all want the same things: peace, love, freedom. I’ve traveled so much and so far now I’m good at keeping anxieties down, especially irrational ones.

That was until a recent flight back from Sweden.

There were two gentlemen boarding the plane acting very strangely and it struck me… what if they wanted to hurt the people on board. After a mild panic attack and contemplating being that girl who throws a big fuss and wants off the plane, I realized something important. The first thing that came into my head after I thought “Damn it, I’m on a plane with terrorists!” was “…and now I’ll never know what it was like to live in France.” So I made myself a promise. I said, if this is not a terrorist attack, I would live out one of my dream and spend some real time in this country I have been lusting over my entire life. Being that I’m writing this there was no ill-fated plan to bring down my plane.

And here I sit in France.

Now of course, this all sounds easier said than done. Making the decision and then obtaining a French visa were two very different things. I have never in my life gone through a more frustrating, confusing process.  I didn’t give up, though there were some tears. I learned the first valuable lesson in French living- French Bureaucracy is difficult.

So what am I doing here? First, I’m living. I’m watching the sunsets. I’m picking grapes and eating them. I’m buying a warm baguette at the patisserie every morning and counting the hours by the sound of the bell tolls in town rather than on my iPhone. I wake up with the sunlight, not an alarm clock. I buy the local wine. I marvel to myself how different a lemon smells here freshly sliced and how did I not know the beautiful perfume of fresh cracked pepper before? I pet every dog in sight. I visit the markets and make notes on the minute details and differences. I’m trying new styles from my black New York uniform. I’m SLOWLY learning French. I’m taking my camera out and pointing her at this stunning place, capturing what mesmerizes me about this organic way of life.

To be honest, I needed a refresh from New York. I needed to do something new and different. Stimulate my brain in a different way. I talk about the fragility of creativity and I needed to give mine a rest. I wanted to give her the opportunity to explore new visions and new forms of idea and expression. I know what living in New York means. I wanted to know that aspect of France as well. As I have been taking the time to be present I’m already beginning to have new vision, still lives I want to create around the Provencal table. A place where things come in and out of your life with the passing seasons. A vision of women I want to capture that celebrates their natural beauty on film, un-retouched in a world of manipulation. I feel that excitement toward photography I had when I first started out at 13. When holding a camera in your hands wasn’t a job. It was an adventure. What can you capture, and what can you create…

I think everyone would assume I would have chosen Paris. I love Paris more than any other city in the world. She is my dream. But I didn’t want to just change from fancy New York parties to fancy French parties, the same kind of people, the same kind of work, and the same kind of pace to life. I wanted to really be in a different place, experience another world. I am in the south, in a very small town in Provence, a part of the Luberon. It’s quaint and it’s quiet and though small, it is somehow opening my heart and mind to a whole other world of endless ideas.

It’s not forever, but it is for now and now is right where I want to be. 

Sunset vista from the small Provencal town of Bonnieux, France

Above, working from a hilltop coffee shop in the little charming town of Bonnieux.

More Provence stories here.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.