Care-taking and Top Picks for Falmouth, MA

My New Mantra

I’ve come to know Falmouth, Massachusetts quite well these past few years. So when it came to writing about this alluring Cape Cod destination for Discovery Map, I found it hard to limit myself to just two pages of content for Falmouth, Mashpee & Woods Hole. But I did because that’s what the assignment required. Take a look at Instagram-able Places and Eat Your Way Through Falmouth, Mashpee & Woods Hole to find out some of the reasons why you should visit this beautiful New England coastal area.

So how have I come to know Falmouth so well? I am lucky enough to have a few friends that live there, however, I haven’t been able to spend much time with them. The main reason I’ve visited Falmouth a lot these past few years–especially this past year–is because of my mom’s oldest and dearest friend. Let me call her El. She’s like an aunt/second mother/good friend to me and since she doesn’t have any children–or even many family members left in her life–I’m like a daughter to her. I love her dearly and have been happy to visit her in her little Cape Cod house (and during one visit by her bedside at the hospital) numerous times in recent history to bring comfort, aid and hopefully a bit of cheer.

Autumnal Glow in Falmouth

That was my mission this past holiday weekend when I cooked up a plan to drive my mom to Falmouth and spend Thanksgiving with her best friend. Well, like most of you perhaps, I took on too much and as I digest the events of our visit, I’m sifting through and cherishing the good moments and yes, well, letting the shit go. Don’t get me wrong–we had a lovely visit and there’s plenty to savor. But dealing with two very strong-minded 84-year-old ladies suffering from an array of health issues is a tall order. Add to that all the stress that comes with holiday gatherings–no matter how small–and you’ve got a scenario best handled by the truly robust. I must admit that’s not me these days because I have been working through my own health issues.

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Bodacious Biarritz

Biarritz: Breathtakingly Beautiful

La Grande Plage

Bobbing Heads in the Surf Capital of Europe

Steve & Me

I took a trip of a lifetime with my boyfriend, Steve, a while ago and now seems like the right time to write about it.

It was stunning and dramatic, sweet and endearing, intense and oh-so memorable–all very much like our relationship. It left us in awe and amazed and full of desire for more.

We both chose the destination; I chose France and Steve narrowed it down to Biarritz, an oceanside resort in southwest France in the Basque region that I had only visited once–very briefly–on a cold winter’s day during the research phase of my book The Riches of France: A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces. At that time, I did just a cursory tour of the town, one that was more focused on the boutiques of Biarritz than its spectacular coastal scene and its sensational surf.

Biarritz Beauty

Gorgeous

With Steve, it was all about the surf. No surprise there, since this is where the waves roil in with the greatest, most consistent force in all of Europe. And Steve is big on surfing. It sounded like the perfect fit to me; he had the surf and I had France. What came as a surprise, however, was how he became so taken with the whole French experience and the French themselves.

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27 Oct 2017, 3:01pm
Colorado Discovery Map Telluride The Northeast Travel
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Comments Off on Top Reasons to Go to Stowe, Vermont

Top Reasons to Go to Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont

If you read my story Touring Country Stores in Stowe, Vermont with Mom, you already know that I recently had a lot of fun in and around this cute little mountain town. I’ve since done my write ups for Discovery Map, which feature Stowe-pendous Adventures and Vermont Country Shopping in Stowe. Do check them out and you’ll find a bushel of reasons as to why you should plan a trip to Stowe.

What surprised me the most about Stowe? Well, I have to admit I didn’t realize there was such a cute little historic town attached to this world renowned ski resort. Once there, I discovered this wonderful New England village that made its mark on this part of Vermont long before the ski mountain existed.

Since I’ve been living in Telluride, Colorado for over fourteen years, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between these two mountain towns. They’re oh-so different yet both are very inviting and definitely integral parts to the overall ski experience.

To me, Stowe felt tucked in, it appeared nestled into the Green Mountains like a sleeping outdoor enthusiast beneath a pile of quilts. You don’t always see the mountains from town, but when you do–when you peek out upon a green space in between buildings–you gaze out onto bucolic vistas punctuated by old, well-worn mountains. These views–like the town–are quiet, charming and oh-so comforting.

Telluride in contrast, with peaks soaring up into the 12,000-14,000-foot range, is mighty and majestic. And the ski mountain inspires sometimes beyond reason, too.

We need both in our lives, don’t we? We all need some yang to balance out our yin.

As for the skiing, I’ve been told that Stowe holds its own, that there are many challenges to be met on their slopes. I hope to try it some day. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to heading back to T-ride and perhaps adding some yang to my yin.

Thank you to Stowe Mountain Resort for the use of the above photo.

We Love Memoirs

This Week’s WLM Sunday Spotlight

Have you ever heard of a Facebook group? Maybe you’re part of one. There are all kinds of groups on Facebook made up of like-minded people sharing information on a gazillion topics from antique cars to zebra stripes. (I have’t looked up either but I’m sure they–or some likeness of these subjects–exist.)

We Love Memoirs Header this Week

For the past two weeks I’ve gleaned a ton of information and support from a FB group that’s all about covering very specific health issues for women. I’m also part of a couple of FB groups that highlight deals (and some doings) in Telluride, Colorado, where I’ve been living for fourteen years. My most lighthearted FB group of all, however, is WLM, or We Love Memoirs.

Victoria Twead

What a fun bunch of friends! Each time I pop in, my mood is uplifted by words and images from men and women that share a common bond: a love of memoirs. Over 4,200 strong, it’s populated with readers and writers of memoirs, firmly established authors, wannabes and fans. It’s all good because we all love memoirs.

Set up in 2013 by Victoria Twead and Alan Parks, two memoir authors that wanted to create a place where memoir-loving people could chat, exchange ideas and interact with each other. It’s a coffee klatch of sorts with one big common thread.

Alan Parks and One of His Many Alpacas

Victoria, New York Times bestselling author of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools and the “Old Fools” series, checks in on a daily basis from her home in Australia. “Apart from producing my children, passing my driving test and hitting the New York Times bestseller list, co-creating We Love Memoirs is my proudest achievement,” she says. “It is a wonderful, caring community of readers and memoir authors, and every time I hear of another WLM meet-up somewhere in the world, I get a warm fuzzy glow.”

Indeed, WLM is often taken off the internet when WLM members get together with other members in person. Can you imagine having tea with someone in a faraway land that shares your passion and is connected to you by the same group of fun-loving memoir readers? It’s like being a part of the same tribe.

WLM cofounder Alan Parks, author of Seriously Mum, What’s an Alpaca? and the “Seriously Mum” series, calls Spain his home.

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Discovering Discovery Map

The Evolution of a Discovery Map

I hope you’ve had a chance to read my story Touring Country Stores in Stowe, Vermont with Mom. I think the photos are pretty nice, too. I give most of the credit to the subject matter–everywhere you turn there’s another photogenic scene in this endearing New England state.

Actually my main reason for heading up to northern Vermont was to meet the folks at Discovery Map. You can tell from my Touring Country Stores story, however, that mom and I were a bit sidetracked. Oops! Shopping and touring can do that to you, especially when it involves mothers and daughters in Vermont country stores.

Discovery Map

But just about forty minutes south of Stowe, on our drive home, we pulled into Waitsfield, Vermont, a charming town in the heart of the Green Mountains that serves as home to Discovery Map International. Whether the name is familiar to you or not, I’m sure you would recognize the cheery, hand-drawn maps that you pick up in travel destinations all over the U.S. You know–the colorful ones full of whimsy that highlight restaurants, shops, places of lodging, cultural sites and a flourish of other attractions?

A Veritable Library of Discovery Maps

Checking Out a Map

Looking in the Map Drawers

People might never imagine that most aspects of the production of these maps take place in a sleepy little town in rural Vermont. Yay! Their origins are as heartfelt and homespun as the maps themselves. With well more than a hundred maps throughout the country and beyond, it’s hard to believe that they are all born here. But it’s true and I hope you will enjoy meeting the team behind them through the photos in this post.

Since I started to write content for Discovery Map’s website, I’ve had a lot of email contact with Susan Klein, the oh-so efficient Operations Administrator who is clearly a multitasker extraordinaire. So, of course, I wanted to put a face to a name, even if it was just a brief encounter.

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Touring Country Stores in Stowe, Vermont with Mom

Mom and I Shopping in Vermont

Since 1895: Shaw’s General Store

Vermont Country Road

Mom at Stowe Mercantile

My how I’ve been blessed with being back East this fall. The weather has been glorious throughout upstate New York and New England. (I think it has actually been pretty beautiful along the whole East Coast with the exception of down south.) We’ve been experiencing true Indian summer weather–East Indian, in fact, with some days hitting temps as high as 90 degrees!

The annual autumnal festival of colors with regard to leaf peeping has started late this year. (The abundance of jewel-toned mums, however, rates among one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. I we don’t have such a display in Colorado.) A brilliant kaleidoscope of fall colors is just now emerging in many parts of the Northeast.

Designer Mum

Magnificent Mums

This fall is not likely to rank among the most spectacular, since many of the maple trees have been stricken with a fungus that has made their foliage look blah. Plus, we have not yet had enough chilly nights to force the color to change into eye-popping hues of red, orange and gold. But isn’t fall always beautiful? I think so. For me, it has already been memorable.

Brick-Toned Beauty Before the Leaves Even Change

Ready for Winter at Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm

That’s because two weeks ago mom and I headed out for a road trip to Vermont. It was just a two-night stay, however, we packed a lot in. My mother and I have always traveled a good amount together but this was the first real getaway of its kind in two years. There’s no doubt that as you grow older, home offers greater appeal and traveling seems like more of a chore.

Still, mom rose to the occasion and off to Vermont we went. We beat the path that we had tamped down–heading northeast out Route 7 from Troy, New York–for many years throughout our lives. This time, however, we were venturing far beyond our usual destinations of Bennington, Arlington and Manchester, Vermont. This time we were headed way up. Three-and-a-half-hours up.

“I always wanted to go to Stowe,” mom told me as I navigated the sinewy roads of the Green Mountain state, by then dashing along Route 100 past Rutland. (Yes, mom thought I was going too fast around the innumerable bends in the road.)

Pumpkin Potpourri at Cold Hollow Cider Mill

“Really? I didn’t know that.”

“Yes, I wanted your father to take us all there on a ski trip.”

“Wow, that’s the first time I’ve heard that,” I said. I remember the very first time I skied. I had a terrible time. It was so cold and the equipment felt so heavy. But I remember the lodge and the whole ambiance. I just loved the cozy scene in Vermont. I think it was during a New Year’s holiday. I think I was about five–is that right, mom?”

Stowe and Skiing Go Together Like Rolling Hills and Vermont

And so we prattled on, trading thoughts and memories about what we loved so much about Vermont.

Salt and Pepper Shakers from Stowe Mercantile

In truth, most of our mother/daughter escapes to Vermont revolved around day trips. We’d leave early in the day, enjoy the scenic drive, have lunch in a country inn and then poke about in quaint shops. We’d return with the car loaded with goods and goodies, a mostly made-in-Vermont haul that we’d have to sneak in to keep out of sight from “the boys” and my father (six fellas in all). It was female bonding at its best. Sure, we’d share cider and syrup with them but many of our treasures were stashed away in order to avoid looking like spendthrifts.

In truth, we didn’t buy a whole lot, mostly wool sweaters, candles and knickknacks. It was how and where we bought everything that had the most significance for mom and me. It was out of these forays to Vermont country stores that my love for shopping and touring in authentic places was born. So many of these bastions of tradition and charm spoke to me, so much so that I could hardly tolerate shopping and browsing in department stores or other big, impersonal retail outlets the rest of the time.

Little did I know that these excursions would plant the seeds for me to found Chic Promenade, a Paris shopping service where I organized visits behind-the-scenes at the big names as well as tours to the off-the-beaten-path boutiques of the French capital. I later went on to write three guidebooks on Paris and one on the French provinces. (Read about The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide and The Riches of France: A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces as well as my travel memoir, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France at Maribeth’s Books.)

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21 Sep 2017, 2:13pm
Hotels & Lodging New York The Adirondacks:
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Comments Off on Surfside in Lake George: A Fun Place of Lodging for All

Surfside in Lake George: A Fun Place of Lodging for All

Surfside on the Lake

View from My Balcony

A Beautiful Day at Surfside

LG View from My Kayak

Like most people, I’ve been having a hard time letting go of summer. Although Colorado’s high peaks were frosted with the first significant snows of the season last week, here in the northeast where I’m currently based, the weather is gorgeous. Really. And the forecast continues to be fabulous for the upcoming week or more. I’m talking low to mid-80s glorious!

With this kind of sunshine, warmth and humidity, you can stick more than your big toe in beautiful Lake George, New York, one of the most heralded bodies of water in the Adirondacks. I did just that last weekend on a little getaway that I enjoyed toute seule (that means all alone, which is just what I very much needed).

My Surfside Suite

I picked Surfside on the Lake because I had heard they recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and I knew I wanted to check it out. Plus, I remembered their iconic roadside sign from many many summers spent at Lake George. My curiosity was piqued on all fronts and I was longing to find out what kind of a property stretched all the way down to the lake behind their fun-spirited sign, one eye-catching piece of roadside architecture among many on the busy route that skirts the west side of the lake.

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Top Reasons to Go to Lake George, New York

Lake George, New York: the Queen of American Lakes

Sweet Minne Ha Ha

Stop it! I can’t believe the summer is winding down so fast. It seems like it’s especially unfair this year because in many parts of the country–including the northeast where I’ve been based–the weather has been rather cool and rainy up until this week, which is simply gorgeous! Thankfully there are still even more glorious late summer days ahead–I just know it.

Shepard Beach

View from the South End of the Lake

What was your favorite moment of the summer? One of my best was a weekend spent with an old friend–and a new one–at Lake George, New York. It was a nostalgic trip on many levels because I was returning to a beloved place with Margie, a friend I’ve known since I was a kid. Even better, Margie was also a big part of my childhood/early adult life at this beautiful Adirondack lake.

New and Old Friends: Me, Helena and Margie

Our families both had camps on Cleverdale, on the east side of the lake, and our summers were punctuated with days consumed with bombing around in speed boats and evenings passed trying to get into the Sans Souci, the local bar (We both were way too young, especially me; although in later years, we could hang out there. Then on big nights, we’d drive into Lake George Village for some rip roaring times.) Many a memorable moonlit night was marked by a girl’s sleepover on my family’s boathouse deck and on real wild ones, we’d head out in the rowboat and make a visit to the boy’s sleepover–oh my! more »

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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