A typical New England spring Sunday, when we actually decide to go out of town, might look like this, perfected by years of habit inducing repetition:
Lunch at Essex Seafood. Many locals, quiet if you arrive early, feel free to discuss Manchester-by-the-Sea movie with people at neighboring table, kind of place.
Post lunch stroll at Cox Reservation. Birds, wild flowers, watercolor painters in fields, never a shortage of subjects to watch.
Smelling the flowers and daydreaming at Long Hill Reservation. Where the imaginations runs wild through the garden paths and house reminiscent of more rural and subdued (and more charming!) Great Gatsby era.
January in New England could be a month of long shadows, dreaded ‘winter’mix’, or white, crunchy snow punctuated by sparkly sunshine, when you instantly start searching for sunglasses. The contradictions can be good for you, you don’t linger in one of these moods too, too long…It allows for rest and recharging, but also for planning the creative year ahead, working on long stalled projects. Here is what my favorite type of weekend day in New England looks like. First things first, breakfast! This is the month to indulge in homemade dutch baby. Unapologetically made with buttermilk and topped with homemade whipped cream alongside home brewed cappuccinos. This is also number one discovery of my January so far – few minutes gets you perfectly whipped, unsweetened cream, without the waste of the store bought spray can. Never going back on this one.
Heavy and sweet breakfast needs fresh air as a companion, so we head out to the ocean for a brisk walk on the beach. Pictured here is Manchester-by-the-sea, and it’s tiny beach almost impossible to get to in high season, but perfect day walk destination in January.
Late afternoons and evenings are for crafting. Naturally, the fabric of choice for winter is velvet. My collected over the years small remnants are being put into use, and a series of casually mismatched cushions is in the making. Stay tuned!
Labor Day weekend here in New England means, inevitably, apple picking. The season opens for honeycrisps and ginger golds, ready or not. Some years it is still very summery and feels like going apple picking might be premature. But once you get to the orchard, even on the hottest day, there is always that Indian summer feeling. Slightly hazy, gold hued air, and a patch of grass under the gnarly tree that invites day dreaming…
The rolling hills around Harvard, Massachusetts, where we go, are also steeped in the Shaker history. With a little imagination and help of books and a map you can still walk the old village path and envision life as it was, in this rural community. My favorite is the herb drying shed, the activity so simple and universally understood centuries later. I have been influenced by the Shaker style furniture and decor for quite some time. It has almost Japanese style simplicity, but it is also firmly based in the East Coast rural way of life and the necessity and utility need in each object. But that will be subject for another post. Let’s return to the orchard for that end of the summer feel, shall we?
Almost 26 pounds of apples later, the action moves into the kitchen. Even though honeycrisps are best just for eating raw, I managed to fit in a small apple tart into the day. This was a new recipe that calls for brushing the apple with peach jam halfway through the backing and decorating it with caramelized walnuts. All and all pretty sweet, so I skipped the powdered sugar, even though it probably would have looked really good in the photo!