It’s always amazing to me how quickly you can go from New York City to quiet, pristine, lush nature. On one of the last weekends of winter, a group of friends met on 15th & 8th under the hustle of city life blanketed blanketed by the sounds of cabs honking and the last few snowflakes of the season kissing my rosey cheeks. We piled into the car, cranked on some Chris Stapleton and headed north up the Hudson River until we reached that final winding road that led us climbing high top the waterfalls and forests until we reached our weekend sanctuary, Deer Mountain.
With only six rooms, this boutique lodge nestled in 168 wooded acres balances the historic rustic nature of the original building from the 1880’s with its modern luxurious updates and amenities. Even though the charming town of Tannersville, with its own set of restaurants, shopping and activities is at the base of Deer Mountain, the inn is set up so you don’t have to leave, if you’re simply looking for a restorative weekend to relax, like I am.
I love places like this. Charm, character, and no two rooms alike. I like a place that tells a story, that leaves an imprint on your memory that can only belong to that one place and when you revisit the moments in your mind you are quickly carried away in the currents back to a place and time with its own particular feel, smell, taste, and warmth. Deer Mountain will always sound like the laughter of friends, smell like a roaring campfire, taste like bespoke cocktails and feel like a special home away from home, where you can sink into bed at night knowing all the stars are watching over you in that clear mountain sky.
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Deep in the wilds of Africa we found our honeymoon chalet. Built over the riverine bush we would lie in bed at night and listen to the animal cries, feeling so small and so human in this world of other kings. When the sun was high on those lazy afternoons we’d hide out on the porch watching elephants herd by while we wrote in journals, sketched in notebooks, and read our novels. The romance of the mosquito net like a wedding veil fills my memory of this space in a soft glow of white light. Showers outside on the porch under monkeys swinging by and an endless view of the African vista felt so free and so naturally beautiful. Nights in long baths with old jazz playing its heartfelt tune take me back to this dreamy place, this homey place so rich in comfort so far from home.
Continue reading “Safari Dreams”
I didn’t know what to expect when we set out for South Africa. To be honest, I was quite nervous and very skeptical of the romantic aspect that had been advertised; this was our honeymoon after all. I’ve never been that far from home and although I had been to northern Africa and the Middle East, this was a whole new world… the animal kingdom. My most recent experience with animals had been a trip to the Natural History Museum and zoos growing up. I didn’t realize how much I was missing when I let this be my only relationship to wildlife. What I had yet to learn was that safari and ultimately Africa would change my life.
The conversation about safari started a few months before our wedding. We didn’t know where to go and on one fateful night over dinner with friends, I asked what their best trips had been. One couple answered with all their passion and excitement “SAFARI“. I wanted to do something extraordinary, I wanted to go someplace far so that when we tell our kids, they will be inspired to discover the world too. We flew into Johannesburg and connected onto what was at the time the smallest plane I had ever experienced (until this harrowing flight), landing on a tiny strip in the middle of the African bush at Londolozi Game Reserve. I was more nervous than excited (you might be too after the three shots and two medications you have to have before arriving) until I walked into the lodge, was handed a glass of champagne and looked out at the view in awe. I couldn’t guess what the next day, our first drive into the wild, would hold, but I knew at that moment I was living in a dream…
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I have been spending some time in my archive the past week and I stumbled upon this summer weekend when we were shooting on location in Montauk, the furthest point of Long Island. All of a sudden I could feel the sand in my tennis shoes, smell the salt in the air, and taste the lobster rolls from shacks we stopped at along the road. It is just about that season again…to hop in the car and head east, finding endless sunshine days and kissing goodnight summer sunsets again at the Surf Lodge.
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