Sunday, July 25, 2010

The epitome of a country garden

Here in Connecticut, we have been blessed by a sunny beautiful summer. Working in New York during the week, I treasure my week ends and my country garden. So much time is devoted to  planting, feeding, pruning but the rewards are so worth the efforts.
I love a simple country garden filled with flowers, trees, places to day dream, places to sit and read, places to relax on a rainy day, places to entertain, swim and play.
I will share my  ingredients for my ideal country garden.

A place for breakfast

A place to sit

A place to read

A place to nap

A place to lounge

A place for conversation

A place for lunches and dinners

A place to cool off

Old english roses for their perfume

Fresh vegetables

Fresh laundry dried in the sun

Hope you are enjoying a great summer!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

An Island in American summers

While finishing Business School in Boston, I met Luke. Luke was this incredibly handsome, free spirit daring young student visa having expired, I needed to go back to France to run the family business.
On Christmas Eve, Luke showed up in our family house's kitchen unannounced....three months later we were married both in Boston and in my village church in France.
 I happily return to Boston and started to meet Luke's very large family which had been in Boston since the days of the Mayflower. I buried myself in the family history books and through the story of the family's life learned a very personal fascinating part of American history, how enterprising, adventurous, cultured, well bred this old blue blood american society thrived financially but also contributed to their country through their generosity and political savvy.

On our first summer, Luke brought me to his cherished family Island in northern Maine in hope that I would be willing to trade summers in Saint Tropez for a completely isolated Island surrounded by frigid water.

It was love at first sight.....

Since then, we have spent the most memorable, happiest days in company of our friends, parents, relatives, our children took their first steps there...hiking, swimming ,riding, collecting moss, sailing, cooking. There are no distractions on the island, the houses have no televisions, no radios...only the farmers who live on the island all year around do have Tv, radio, wireless etc... the island is self sustaining, large vegetable garden,berries, chicken coop, lambs, cows, pigs...and off course fish, mussels, clams, lobsters.
When the children were little we would ride to the beach in beautiful horse drawn carriages dating to the early 1800's, we spent Christmas surrounded by iced sea, cross country skiing on the mile long beach or riding in horse drawn sleigh...
I hesitated in sharing this part of my life, but also felt compelled to express my gratitude for so much beauty that God had created, and as a new american (for only 4 years) feel extraordinary privileged to live during these precious summer days, what I would define as the ultimate american experience. Life lived in harmony with nature, away from the distractions and all the negativity of the world.

When Joseph Peabody first set foot on the archipelago in 1806, Indians lived on the main Island. To date we still find numerous Indian artifacts. Joseph Peabody thought the Island would be perfect to build his clipper ships to sail to China for trading purposes.He bought the main island and later on also purchased the 5 smaller surrounding islands  which creates very protected natural harbors,  Joseph Peabody built a few ships on the Island as well as gristmill and saw mill and went on to build more than 80 clipper ships in Salem, Massachuaetts using the lumber from the island. The island has remained ever since in the family, the farm house was built in the early 1800's, then two more houses were added  in the mid 1800's followed by a smaller guest house in the early 1900's.
The interiors are filled with beautiful english and american antiques and the bookshelves are filled with history books, sailing adventure books, books about genealogy, birds, goal is to read every single book in the large library.... For privacy reason, I will not show the interior of the houses, but will let you explore the beauty of this very special american place.

After a 10 hours grueling drive, we arrived to Roque Bluff where we garage the car, and take the boat to the main dock on the Island. this is truly a blessed moment when I first set eyes on the island

Our sons and friends thrilled to finally arrive, soon they will be sailing, riding, preparing for lobster and clambakes

Each year, we book time for one of the 3 houses.Only the farmer's house is lived in all year around.

The island is a working farm with stables,chicken coop, barns, boathouses etc..

We have working horses and horses for ridding or pulling carriages

The interior of the island is spectacular, it took me more than 10 hours of brisk hiking to go around the island. It is an extremely strenuous hike that is not for the fainthearted.

Amazing vistas such as  Great beach 

The island is blessed to have the longuest (more than a mile) sand beach in Maine. My daily exercise is to run the length of the beach and swim from one side to the other (more than 30 minutes in frigid water)

Another favorite place to swim where the water is slightly warmer.We access by speedboat, I jump in an swim to shore

The boys stay on board and rather not brave the cold water

Love to wake up for the sunrise

Love to read about the clipper ships being built here and their journeys

Suggested readings



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Open Air Markets

Open air Markets are an early form of trade when one bartered goods, purchased produce, spices and all form of needed articles. From the "marches" of my village, to the wonderful one of Eze Village on the Cote d'Azur where I spent my summers, to the Hippy markets of Ibiza and funky ones of Saint Tropez, I have always loved to spend time in markets and shop for that perfect summer dress,  espadrilles in Spain,  artisanal cheeses or tree-ripened juicy peaches.

I am very conscious of the quality of food and try to eat only organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, free range poultry, organic milk and one of my greatest pleasure is to take my Ibiza basket and go first thing in the morning to the nearest farmer's market. Cities have amazing farmers market, I especially love the Union Square farmer's market.

I just would like to share with you my favorite markets, where I have found so many small treasures and tasted the most incredible and often "weird " foods.

produces from my village market in South West France

Aix en Provence has marvelous markets all year around

Flower market near Inle Lake in Burma

Produces grown on floating gardens on Inle Lake, Burma

Local market in Burma

Floating markets on the Mekong Delta, Viet Nam

Night market in Marrakech

Love the spice displays in Morrocan markets

My husband loved his sardines purchased on the Essaouira fish market in the early morning

One of my favorite market is in Barcelona, Las Ramblas

So many summers spent shopping at the markets in Ibiza

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

My husband found this marker a few months ago entirely by chance as he wandered through the streets of Paris' St. Germain District. The plaque is located at 56 Rue Jacob near the intersection where Jacob becomes Rue de L'Universite.

For those of my readers who don't read French, the marker states:

In this Building
Jadis Hotel of York
The 3rd of September, 1783
David Hartley,
In the Name of the King of England,
Benjamin Franklin,
John Jay, John Adams
in the Name of the United States of America
Signed the Final Treaty of Peace
Recognizing the Independence
of the United States

As we go about our holiday plans with family and friends, let's all take a moment to remember that our country's Founders fought a long and very hard war against a despotic government that began July 4th 1776 and formally ended a little more than 7 years later.

Again, Happy Independence Day to All!

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