Sunday, July 27, 2014

Island Honey...

Hello to you!
We just returned home from the most restful, peaceful, glorious vacation I’ve had in a loooong time. It was just as I imagined it would be. The house we stayed in was nicknamed “The Little Gem” by the owners. It’s the perfect name for it, except it wasn't all that little… but gem, yes, definitely a gem! We rented two houses that were within walking distance from each other since there were 11 of us in total. The view from our house was stunning; overlooking the ocean. The house itself was a weathered, shingled, typical Martha’s Vineyard style home, with lots of screen doors, an outdoor shower, plenty of bedrooms and even more bathrooms. It also had beautiful stone walls, and blue, pink, and vanilla colored hydrangeas bursting out of every garden. There was lots of soft grass to walk around barefoot on, to play on {major wiffle ball games were played,} and lots of privacy {good thing, with that outdoor shower and all...} Not another house visually in sight.

Here’s the skinny on the houses so we were told: They were built in 1938 by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley and handed down through the generations. Mr. and Mrs. Stanley bought 400 acres of land {yes, you read that correctly, but back then, they got it for a steal.} So they gave away a lot of their land to their family and friends to build houses on as well. So the entire road was a private road that went deep into the woods, and along that road today stands all the homes of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley’s family and friends. Pretty cool, huh. I mean, how were they to know back then that Martha’s Vineyard would become such a treasure? Here’s the even cooler part… You know how I said it was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Stanley? We’re talking about “the Stanley’s” as in Stanley Tools. Now that is pretty darn cool!
I wish I could give you every detail because I tried to soak it all in and embed it in my memory for future use {aka times of stress, hair pulling, and general meltdowns.}

Let’s start with the ferry ride over. I literally was inhaling the salty sea air so deeply to fill my lungs with the freshness of it all. I gulped it in like I was taking my very last breath. And perhaps some part of me was taking my last breath. I feel like I’ve come home from this vacation renewed in many ways. But let’s save that for later. I’ll just share some highlights from certain aspects of the trip.

My favorite breakfast was at the Black Dog bakery. So delicious!

My favorite lunch was a fig, brie and arugula sandwich. Yum!
My favorite dinner was oysters, clams, lobster {dipped in scrumptious butter!} and corn. Of course there was some white wine to go along with dinner. And dessert was a tie between homemade s’mores and blueberry pie.  We ate a lot of really great food on this trip. I tried to be good, but our motto was "it doesn't count if you're on vacation!"

I read constantly on this vacation. I finished a really good book called The Orphan Train that I would recommend. Not a light read, but definitely a good read. Now I’m half way through my second book, The Book Thief, which took me a bit to get into, but now I can’t put it down. I think they are making {or already made?} it into a movie.

We went to the beach almost every day. My skin got a little sun kissed and my hair got a little lighter {some pretty blonde streaks from the salt water and sun. Who needs to pay $150.00 for highlights?! No thanks.} The water was pretty frigid, but the waves were humongous so we couldn’t resist jumping in them for a few minutes of play each day. Relaxing on that beach was just what the doctor ordered! And I got to wear my huge Anthro sun hat too, which just made me extra happy!

We went shopping a lot too into the little towns. My favorite was Edgartown, with all its cute little shops and boutiques. It had that sweet small town feel. And lots of great farmer's markets!
The highlight of my trip was going for an hour long trail ride on a horse named Liam. We went through windy paths in the woods, over big logs, under hanging branches, uphill, downhill, and through a huge open field. Here’s another cool bit of info. The owner of the farm {a 37 acre farm!} lives on the island year round and is married to Captain Bob, who happens to be the owner of all the Black Dogs. Who knew?!

We heard Katie Couric was on the island, but we didn’t see her. We did see some glorious sunsets though. And we did see a lot of each other. We spent so much time together as a family, talking, laughing, bonding, walking through the towns, going to the beach and having dinner together every single night. Here's how it basically worked: Someone would toss out an idea of where they wanted to go. If you wanted to go, you would pile in the car and go. If not, you were free to do your own thing. We had 4 cars there so there was a car for each couple. No one was stuck doing anything they didn’t want to do. Love vacations like that, right?! Just fun family time and relaxation.

One other highlight was when my husband and I were sitting on the couch in front of the living room window, taking a lunch break, when suddenly a bright green humming bird flew right up to us, staring at us for about 10 seconds. It was a hold your breath for 10 seconds kind of moment. But off he flew, just as quickly as he came.
I tried really hard to soak all those little moments in and make them big moments. Make memories out of them to thread together in my mind for months to come. Like taking a needle and thread and taking those snapshots in my mind and making a memory garland… Weaving those memories within my soul to last me for a long, long time... To help restore my bones back to that place of pure relaxation when the real world comes knocking again, bashing me on the head, and stress takes over with all the things that life can throw your way. I will close my eyes and remember.

That is why I feel like I’m coming home a little different. I'm a little bit changed {hopefully for the better!} I am much more in tune with myself. I didn’t worry once about anything while I was there. I stayed so present and in the moment that I practically forgot all about my life back home. That just doesn’t happen... at least not for me. I tend to worry about all the little things I’ll have to do when I get home. This time I didn’t. I just didn’t. I breathed in the sunshine and salt air and sea water and I tried to just be. And I did an amazingly good job at just being.

This whole vacation was like island honey, sweet and delicious. But all good things must come to an end. And that is why I need to savor what I just had because it was so special and does not come along often. I am happy to be home, back to my routine, but rest assured, my dreams tonight will be of a magical little island paradise so peaceful and perfect and beautiful that we are already starting to make plans for our trip back next summer!

And here is a picture that I took of the front door of The Little Gem. It would bang shut every time you came or went. Perfect, huh. We slept with all the doors and windows open every night. You could hear the waves crashing from afar. Heaven on earth.

To The Little Gem and all the memories she provided, Cheers!