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Summer is winding down this week, but I have a few more summer travel posts to share! To me, summer is a state of mind (or so I try to remind myself when I am shoveling snow and falling on icy sidewalks), and this year, like those past, was filled with time outside and moments where I fell in love with the season over and over again.

This past weekend we took a last minute, last weekend of summer getaway to somewhere close to home, Ipswich. While we are lucky to travel around the US and internationally fairly often, I am always craving a getaway that combines my love of New England and the sea and one that’s not super far away. I wanted to relax for the weekend without having to take a huge journey, and that’s just what we did. Once again, we used Flipkey for our rental, which I have found to be super easy, along with having lots of options. (Read about our Flipkey experience in Sonoma, one of the best getaways of my life.)

beach cottage

Back to Ipswich. . .

After way too much traffic to get from Boston to Ipswich, we were met with beautiful coastal views as we made our way to the peninsula of Little Neck, accessed by a narrow road not far from Ipswich town. A friendly greeting from the property manager, including zucchini bread made by his mom, and a tour of the cottage set the tone for a great weekend.

IMG_8667

For me, the cottage was love at first sight. With two makeshift bedrooms, one that doubled as the living room, it was the perfect amount of space for four of us, and the rustic, beachy nature of the place was as though I had designed it myself.

beach cottagebeach cottage

Inside was so sweet, with all of the comforts of home, including good WiFi and air conditioning, while still feeling like a relaxing throwback to a bygone era. We certainly didn’t need the air conditioning; windows open allowed for cool cross breezes to come through, making it very comfortable, especially for sleeping.

The inside was a little piece of cottage heaven, but the porch. . .

beach cottage Unless we were sleeping or out, we spent all of our time on the porch. Stretching the length of the cottage and screened in (perfect for my husband and friend who are bug bite magnets), the porch was an oasis with water views all around. Also, it was SO quiet that we could mostly hear the current of the water and the wind in the grass at the water’s edge. Peaceful.

coastal living

The porch was great for evening chats until we moved inside to be respectful of the neighbors, and it was blissful for late afternoon happy hour with Domaine Chandon and a cheese plate.

happy hour

On our first morning, I happened to open my eyes just at sunrise, and while everyone else was tucked in, ran outside barefoot into the cool, dewy grass to take this photo. Something about a summer sunrise, especially one that I got all to myself, makes my soul so happy. This was something I will never forget.

sunrise in Ipswich

I can’t say enough about this cottage, and I could easily see us spending a week there next summer. Little Neck feels like a world away, but it’s just a few miles from Ipswich town and all of its stores and restaurants. Crane Beach is also nearby, but the Little Neck cottage comes with access to a private beach for the community as well as access to Pavilion Beach, a few minutes’ walk away.

Ipswich

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Tags: beaches, beachy, coastal living, Ipswich, Massachusetts, New England, summer, Travel

July is my favorite month of the year because it is full-on summer. It’s not August 1, when people start trying to rock boots and scarves and pumpkin beers in the 90 degree heat. It’s mostly not back-to-school time yet. While I do have to work in July, there is just something so free and “like a kid again” about it. I love the late sunsets, the bare feet, falling asleep in a bikini with salty hair after an epic day on the water. I love eating string beans and strawberries for breakfast right out of the garden, doing cartwheels in the grass, and snuggling up in the air conditioned dark bedroom to watch the Tour de France after a long hot day out. Yes, I love July. I feel like I have many versions of what my heaven would be: Ireland in March, Sonoma County anytime, and New England in July. Love.

Most of the below photos are from my Instagram, so apologies if you have already seen them. If this blog is anything, I want it to be a place to chronicle all of the joys in life, big and small.

Here’s how I spent my July. What are your favorite July moments?

 

Boston Harbor Boating

I’ve been boating and swimming as much as humanly possible, and I wish I could do more.

boating

Rainsford Island

When not out on the water, I’ve tried to get to the beach, both here in Massachusetts and in New Jersey. Beach blanket bubbly and blue seas make for the perfect summer Saturday.

Hull Beaches

 

Jersey Shore

And family trips to the Jersey Shore are basically a summer requirement.

Point Pleasant

When not on the boat or at the beach, we’ve spent plenty of time in our friends’ pool, a beautiful and fun oasis.

pool days

Summer foods have been consumed in abundance. We grill a couple of times a week at least.

grilling

 

We loved post-beach roasted oysters at Art’s in Hull.

oysters kohrs custard   And I ate my fill of Kohr’s custard in New Jersey.

watermelon margarita

I matched my margarita to my purse (by accident).

garden veggies

And have been absolutely obsessed with my garden. There’s still so much growing to do this season, but we have definitely enjoyed the harvest so far. I visit my garden at least once a day; it is so peaceful to breathe in the fresh greenery, and it makes my day to see new blossoms.

nasturtium

sunflower

Suja juice

On one of the hottest days, Suja paid me a visit with a case of cold juice! I loved the Suja can, and each of the delicious juices they brought. My favorite was the Uber Greens and the Probiotic Water, which was perfection after a sweaty run.

Suja

Blue Hills

From the Blue Hills to wandering Lower Mills to block parties on the Greenway, sunsets in the Seaport, and a Paul McCartney concert at Fenway, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed living in Boston during our favorite season. I just want to be outside whenever possible.

Boston Calling Block Party Boston Harbor Sunset

 

Paul McCartney

And finally, we closed July out with the Hull Harbor Illumination, one of my favorite annual events, where we somehow were able to wrangle together a big group of family members for dinner and to watch the illumination.

Hull Harbor Illumination I’m sad to see July go but thrilled to have seven (yes seven) actual weeks of summer left. It doesn’t end on Labor Day, my friends!

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Tags: beaches, boating, boating in Boston, Boston, coastal living, New England, summer, Travel

For Part One of my 2015 Travel Recap, click here. You can access all of my travel blog posts here. In addition to week-or-longer trips to Africa, Ireland, and California, we took plenty of great weekend getaways in New England this year.

In April we enjoyed sunsets and oysters in one of my favorite New England towns, Newport, Rhode Island. After a long winter, being able to sit outside even for a little while felt like heaven. Despite winter, I fell even more in love with New England this year.

Newport Sunset 

oysters

Oysters at Midtown Oyster

2015 also included two visits to Mystic, Connecticut. The beautiful Inn at Mystic was kind enough to host us for the first visit in April, and we returned with family for dinner in August. We would have stayed there, but they didn’t have three rooms available at the time! Book early if you want to visit in the summer!

Harbour House Mystic

In Mystic Seaport we toured boats and took in blue skies, and we discovered, in general, that Mystic is quite the foodie town.

Gerda

Brunch at the Engine Room is not to be missed! It was the one recommendation we received over and over, and we had brunch there on both trips.

Engine Room Mystic

Our travels around Connecticut also introduced us to some great local wine and beer.

The Connecticut Chardonnay from Jonathan Edwards Winery won out over their Chardonnay from California, and their property was truly a delightful spot to visit.

Jonathan Edwards Winery

We loved Saltwater Farm Vineyard and were able to visit in both April and August.  Wandering around the fluffy warm grass barefoot on a hot summer day with a glass of wine in hand is a favorite memory from the season.

Saltwater Farm Chardonnay

Exploring New England was one of my goals in 2015, and that wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to Portland, Maine, another favorite New England town.

We spent the night on a ship, ate a late dinner at Fore Street (one of my favorite restaurants of all time), sunned ourselves over  breakfast at The Porthole, and window shopped through Portland, wishing we could afford everything!

Our Maine weekend didn’t end there though, as we made our way to Kennebunkport and the Colony Hotel then to Kennebunk for a perfect lobster roll, and finally to Crane Beach for one of the best sunsets of the year. It was a weekend of coastal New England perfection.

Colony Hotel, Kennebunkport

 

lobster roll, David's KPT

 

Crane Beach sunset

Closer to home, we visited Westport a few times this summer, dunking ourselves in the sea in our clothes (a theme with me in 2015. . . I should just bring a bathing suit everywhere next summer). A perfect summer weekend including bubbly at Westport Rivers with friends and the Hull Harbor Illumination with family. I absolutely love both Westport and Hull for swimming in the ocean and can’t wait until it is beach time. While our winter travels might include a warm destination, nothing compares to New England beaches!

Westport, MA

And last but not least, there was a visit to beautiful Ipswich for rum cocktails at Salt and seafood at CK Pearl, along with the discovery of a beautiful,, quiet locals beach for sunning and swimming.

beach in Ipswich

There was a lot more of New England in our 2015 travels, and these are just a few of the highlights. I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful place with so much coastline, great food, great people, and nice weather, 3/4 of the year.

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Tags: beaches, coastal living, Food, Maine, Massachusetts, New England, Newport, Travel, wine

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