Tag Archives: travel

Paris in the Winter

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As the skies wept, I walked and walked…

whisperings from the streets of Paris talk. 

Through the viewfinder framed a city of soul

a place of wonder, a world to behold.

With precision I took what I came to see…

the gifts she has given to a girl like me.

I am the Victory, I am the love

I am all that Paris can be to someone. 

-Thoughts from a birthday in Paris

 

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{Paris in the Fall: 2016 || 2015 || 2014 || 2013 || 2012}

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Hotel Mont Blanc

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Originally built in 1849, Hotel Mont Blanc was one of the first of four hotels in the small french ski town of Chamonix nestled in the valley of the majestic Mont Blanc. Over 150 years later and after a recent extensive renovation, this boutique luxury hotel is the perfect balance of classical French design and modern flare. 

We arrived late in the night under a blanket of darkness. It was one of those moonless nights where you could only see what was illuminated by the car headlights. I’ve traveled to some winter wonderlands before but nothing prepared me for the breathtaking view that emerged in that blue tinted early morning light outside our suite’s window as the blanket of darkness drew back behind the mountains. A complete vertical wall of forested, snow covered, mountains wrapped around us jetting out of the ground with magnificent force. In the valley around us, a condensed ski village with plumes of white chimney smoke smudging away the differences between man and nature.

Setting out on an adventure we took the Aiguille du Midi cable cars with their 20 minute sheer vertical climb to the top of Aiguilles de Chamonix where you stand breathless with views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. It’s the highest point in the world that can be accessed by cable car. The air was thin and very very cold, and each step was dizzying and had an unnatural feeling to it as if, for a moment, you could experience what it must be like to be a bird looking down on all the world. Of course the skiing is amazing, and though we didn’t have time, the glacier views I hear are also not to be missed.

After setting out each day it was always a warm welcome coming back to the Hotel Mont Blanc. It’s really the kind of hotel I prefer: boutique in size, historic importance to the location, modern renovations for comfort and exceptional food. If you find yourself in Chamonix, even if you don’t stay here, you must eat at the Le Matafan. Wonderful.

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Snapshots from Savannah

If you know anything about me you probably know my affinity for Savannah. I fell in love with this city years ago and have not stopped going back since. My Guide to Savannah is  updated each time I discover something new.

It’s pretty incredible to see the changes that have come to this very small historical town just inland from the coast of Georgia. Of course, the stately mansions and proud city parks stand as beautiful reminder unchanged of visions to a formality of life it seems all but lost. I like to think when James Oglethorpe designed Savannah in 1733 he set out to make a city so charming it would never fall to ruin. And aside from a few unfortunate parking lots, it has managed to do just that. Not only in the preservation of her patinated beauty but in her ability to continue to reinvent herself. Now it’s home to the Savannah College of Art and Design which brings in the most talented young artists from around the world bringing a new breath of life to sweep youthful magic in. You will find incredible restaurants with a focus on locally sourced seasonal organic food (This & This are my favorite) and a bustling shopping scene from antiques stacked floor to ceiling high in old southern mansions to places that celebrate a lifestyle I feel right at home in.

I’m proud of this city. I love her in a way that feels like home. I love the smell of her sweet sticky air, how people say good mornin’ to you on a stroll through town, and that I know she will always be there waiting for me with a good drink and nice porch view.

Savannah, Georgia Savannah, Georgia (more…)

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Vinalhaven, Maine

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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…

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



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