“Come sit with me in summer chairs,
Behind us, the old hotel chatters with echoes.
Shadows fall on the lawn as dark as pitch, deep as the evergreen sea.
We speak of our heart’s desires, make lists: A sunny courtyard with pots of rosemary and a caramel colored cat; one more ripe tomato; one more conversation with our mother; walking in shoes that speak Italian; kisses that reach our toes; a world at peace.
Mist blurs blue balsams on the horizon, comes to settle on our knees.
We wear old sweaters and wait in summer chairs for rainbows, for one more golden chance.”
June 24, 2014, Washington, DC: Husband and I were married several years ago in the little town of Irvington, Virginia on the peninsula known as the Northern Neck, and each June we return to coastal Virginia to reminisce about that epic party. Map in hand, we explore various towns and waterways that lead to the Chesapeake Bay, drink Virginia wine, sit outside and dream of an eventual summer home, paddleboard on Carter’s Creek, eat oysters, make plans. I love how that wedding weekend has evolved into our own little family tradition, one that’s open-ended enough to be a bit different every year.
Are there trips you take with family every summer? Maybe it began with a horse race or a soccer game or a surprisingly good meal. Where do you go and how did the tradition begin? What do you value most about these annual adventures?
June 24, 2013, Washington, DC: An immaculate croquet court behind a restored mansion is the last landmark we pass before reaching the water. We walk alongside a string in the lawn that outlines the court’s boundary and it leads us directly to a dock over the North River just off Mobjack Bay. We sit with our feet dangling above the water on a Friday night. The fish start jumping like mad as the sun sets. Boats return to Mobjack Marina across the cove, clanking in the dark after a long day out on the Chesapeake beyond.
Miles from Monday is a travel series focused on venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine.
December 31, 2012, Washington, DC: A cabin in the woods. A seat in the upper deck. A familiar chair in the window at Royal Ground Coffee. Neighborhood Nomads covered extensive ground in 2012 and from each vantage point, we saw the world from a new perspective. Read on for a list of my top ten travels of 2012, then go out and enjoy a happy and healthy 2013! May your New Year be full of the adventure of travel, the comforts of home, the power of place, and the joyful and curious spirit of nomads everywhere.
October 5, 2012, Steamboat, CO: You know you’re getting close to Steamboat Springs when bright yellow billboards begin to pepper the landscape. Every two minutes or so, another sign for F.M. Light and Sons blurs past, promising travelers Levis and cowboy boots, Stetson hats and Woolrich blankets upon their arrival in town. The store’s advertising is comparable to that of Wall Drug or South of the Border, so excessive that anyone arriving there would assume they’re in for a similarly overdone tourist trap. For those who live here, maybe it is, but it’s also an moderately sized family business on the main drag of this old mining town, in operation since 1905 when the Light family first arrived in Steamboat via stagecoach. It’s one historical marker in a town that’s grown considerably since, radiating outward from F.M. Light and Sons and building upon its traditional Western roots.
September 3, 2012, Washington, DC: There’s not a single stoplight in all of Rappahannock County, Jim tells us as we finish our $4 wine tastings in the barn at Sharp Rock Vineyards. There’s also a zoning law that protects the county from the dreaded sprawl and subdivisions, he explains: Just one new dwelling is permitted on every 25 acres. Even out here near Sperryville, Virginia, people are quick to talk about what makes home special.
August 27, 2012, Washington, DC: I hesitate to say much about the communities in the Catskill mountains of upstate New York. They produce an impressively low rate of return in Google search results and I get the feeling residents like it that way. Those mossy mountain roads and precariously pitched homes and soft patches of light between the trees are not meant for the masses. Who am I to disturb the calm of this ocean and reveal the location of the surfers’ best breaks?
Look away. Nothing much to see here. All I can tell you is this:
August 24, 2012, Upstate New York: I am at my brother and his family’s cabin in the mountains of upstate New York. It’s a big old cabin on a wooded mountaintop where summers are cold and it’s never out-of-season for a fire in the fireplace. It’s a house where gorgeous carpets lay tattered and past their prime on a large wraparound porch, anchoring beat up wooden coffee tables stripped bare and adorned in a toddler’s scribbled sidewalk chalk. It’s a beautiful place, really — rustic and undone and ‘my kind of place’ just as my brother and my parents had promised. It’s the kind of spot in which you always wish too late that you’d extended your stay, and so I do: I take advantage of the flexibility in my late summer schedule and I stick around for a few extra days. We’re family, after all.