“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?
“I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide, is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; and all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, and the flung spray and the blown spume and the seagulls crying.”
October 16, 2013: The doom and gloom of Washington politics was getting to be a little much for us, so we escaped over the weekend for the sunnier shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Here’s what we got instead: rain, rain and more rain. A drenching, dumping rain that soaked the landscape and those of us spending the weekend there to the very core.
In lighter spells, water spit and sprayed and hurled itself in all directions as we traipsed this stretch of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula where the Chesapeake meets Mobjack Bay. It was the kind of rain that reacquaints you with card games you haven’t played in decades, the kind of rain that has you monitoring high tide and flood zones, the kind of rain that encourages you to walk the beach in wellies and foul weather gear and click your heels over the sand at the first glimpse of clearer skies.
April 21, 2012, Annapolis, MD: We’re not in Eastport much anymore, not since we moved from Annapolis back to DC. Just across Spa Creek from historic downtown Annapolis, the Maritime Republic of Eastport as it’s called these days is a place with a rebellious spirit much like my birthplace of Westmount on the edge of Montreal. Legend has it that Eastport residents here on the peninsula called Horn Point declared their independence from Annapolis over beers at a neighborhood pub in 1998. That fall, Eastport residents challenged Annapolis residents to a rowdy tug-of-war stretching across the water in a show of strength that has since become a local tradition. It was the first tradition we witnessed here the weekend we moved to Annapolis back in 2009.
June 17, 2011, Irvington, VA: Irvington, Virginia is about 50 miles from Williamsburg, Virginia, fewer as the crow flies. The town (pop. 628) is situated on the tip of Virginia’s Northern Neck, surrounding a body of water called Carter’s Creek. It lies near the mouth of the Rappahannock River, where it flows into the Chesapeake Bay. As a result, Irvington is a unique combination of country and coast. It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s a slower pace. It’s the perfect place for this weekend’s wedding.
But Irvington is not my home. Nor is it my soon-to-be husband’s home. We are putting down roots there starting only now. And we’re beginning with a rehearsal dinner celebration on a vineyard without a name, amidst a transition in ownership. Fitting, I guess, that even the place where we will say our vows tomorrow is in flux, in transition, a spot on the map where the old sign has come down and the new one isn’t yet up. Continue reading →