There is more to the South of France than vineyards and lavender fields, I have come to find out. Recently I experienced an entirely new landscape of the Camargue region which is a flat wetland between the Mediterranean and the Rhône river, not unlike the Everglades in Florida. It’s a totally different landscape known for it’s flamingos, rice fields, salts, bulls and most famously, white horses. This led me to doorstep of Le Mas de Peint, a family run hotel in a 17th-century farmhouse renovated into 13 guest rooms decorated in Provençal style in the heart of the Camargue.
It honestly does not get more authentic than this. Durning our first night there over dinner of a seasonal Provençal cuisine set in the old kitchen, this French cowboy comes up to our table to introduce himself. His name is Frederic Bon, the son of born cattleman Jacques Bon, who has taken over the expansive property he was born and raised on which includes managing rice fields and ranching. He is proud and humble, as I find people who work so closely with nature to be. After a long discussion over the history of the family and farmhouse we arranged for a morning ride to see his bulls herds he raises, the famous white horses and peaceful rice fields. Horseback riding is one of my favorite ways to explore a country’s terroir as I discovered in Argentina and Patagonia.
Practical information- The hotel only has 13 rooms so it’s important to plan your visit. You can arrange excursions such as horse back riding or a 4 wheel drive tour. The property has a large pool, wifi, and an amazing restaurant with a menu that changes daily based on what is in season and from the garden. The most important thing to remember is bug spray though!
Sometimes when you travel you happen upon magical moments which is precisely where I found myself on a recent trip to Seville. Once we arrived I noticed many of the women walking around town in gorgeous traditional Spanish dress. One thing led to another and here we were, standing in the middle of Seville’s “Feria de Abril“, Seville’s April Fair.
Lasting for six days these rows of “casetas” are built on the fairgrounds in which a parade of decorated carriages and riders trot back in forth in front of. Casetas, which are elaborately decorated tents, are each individually owned by families, groups of friends, prominent businesses, or political parties where inside Spaniards enjoy live music, traditional dance, rebjuito, and tapas.
It was a magical transition stepping into a world I’d never known or experienced, so rich in tradition and culture. I was an invisible witness as I wondered through with my camera, smiling the entire way.
Continue reading “Feria de Abril de Sevilla”
I remember that photograph. It was instantly synonymous with American style, American royalty, and that fairytale wedding to Prince Charming. I never forgot that image, the beauty of the moment, the elegance and intimacy of the chosen venue. Such an interesting choice to make for such a famous last name. Fast forward nearly 18 years later, and I’m standing on the steps of the First African Baptist Church on Cumberland Island thinking about all the dreams that one photograph gave me as a child. I remember reading about how the guests stayed at the Greyfield Inn where the reception was held but as time passed these little details faded away, now those faded details are a part of my very personal memories. Cumberland became more than a dream, but a cherished experience.
The day is full of delight with the kind of youthful energy and discovery you find in a F. Scott Fitzgerald book. We went on hour long hikes, took bike rides to old cemeteries and rode around horses grazing beneath the ruins of the Dungeness mansion. We rode for hours down the seashore without ever seeing another person, finding seashells and chasing horses. One of the most charming rituals of the Inn is how they make their guests picnic baskets for lunch everyday you can take with you on your private adventures. On our second morning we rode with the house naturalist on a tour of the island where we visited that famous church, saw the house where President Jimmy Carter ate at multiple times, and discovered Plum Plantation which took my breath away. The history and nature, preservation and privateness is so far beyond anything I have ever experienced that I can only describe this stretch of land, twice the size of Manhattan, as magical.
If you ever need to find that corner of the world where things just are… where you can sit in the natural silence of the world alone and breathe in the sunlight, taste the salt of the sea and feel that life is just simply beautiful… then come to Cumberland Island. My heart will be there waiting for you.
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It’s that time of year, where were we all desperately want 60 degree days and to see the color green again fill our parks… but alas, here we are, soon the snow will begin falling quietly outside. The mother of a friend taught me something new recently that I have been trying to live by since my recent transformation: “Make it fun”. We all get stuck in situations that are not ideal (like winter) and instead of being negative about it, find a way to make it fun!
A couple of weekends ago Kevin used HowAboutWe for Couples to turn these last few winter days into a fun memory of the season with a romantic snow-covered mountain horseback ride! I’m beside myself with excitement waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones to begin so it was quite fun being a couple hours outside the city in complete silence pretending I was Khaleesi. You know I love horseback riding…I love seeing the world from a slightly higher perspective, watching winter’s angular shadows dance by as if they were the ballerina legs of nature.
Continue reading “HowAboutWe…”
Running wild & free
24 Hours in Beaufort
Hasselblad 500C / Kodak TMX100
In the middle of the country sits an old farm house and for as far as the eye can see are the beautiful fall colors fading away the memories of summer. Here in the quiet countryside of Kansas the cowboys are king, the saloons are real and horses are a mode of transportation…
This is as close as I’ll ever get to being Dorothy.
Continue reading “Fall on the Farm”
“Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here’s a happy one for you.”
A morning ride- Ben Brook, Texas
Home on the range- I told y’all I’m from Texas!
I’ll be taking a week break from blogging as I travel the great state of Texas. I will be back with new content, stories, adventures and pictures to share after June 9th, From Me To You