coastal living

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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

Tucked into the Greenport, NY waterfront down Bootleg Alley  is the cutest little oyster shack you’ve ever seen. Little Creek Oysters was part of the incredible itinerary on my North Fork press trip a couple of weeks ago, which started on the Cross Sound Ferry and with a trip to Sep’s Farmstand. Greenport is an adorable seaside town, perfect for  getaway, with tons of shopping and eating, in addition to plenty of lovely waterfront for wandering. You’ll want to make Little Creek Oysters part of your Greenport itinerary too.

Little Creek Oysters

The building itself has a fun history. It began as the wheelhouse of a whaling ship that was eventually cut off and brought ashore in 1880. After spending time as a gathering place for the men who worked the sea, it became a bait and tackle shop and is now home to Little Creek Oysters, who have kept the iconic bait and tackle sign.

Little Creek Oysters

The oyster shack features eclectic nautical decor in a bright, cozy little space with the influence of oysters on just about everything.

Little Creek Oysters

There’s plenty of gift shopping to be done; our group left with all sorts of new items, including oyster shucking platforms, shucking knives and gloves, and my favorite, branded little glasses, perfect for a cold beer on a hot summer day.

joy

Little Creek Oysters

Little Creek Oyster While we browsed and learned all about Little Creek Oysters from co-owner Rosalie Rung, oystermen dropped off fresh deliveries off local oysters. Josh Clauss hauled in bags of Harvest Moon oysters; it doesn’t get much fresher than that!        

Greenport oysters  

Long Island wine

Rosalie had set a beautiful table for us, complete with wine from local winery Bedell Cellars, perfectly iced on the very hot day.

oyster menu The table setting also including Holy Schmitt’s horseradish from Riverhead, NY and small batch A & B pepper sauce, which we learned, were both delicious for topping oysters.

oyster accompaniments

Cold glasses of wine were poured, and we tucked into steaming bowls of homemade clam chowder, one of the offerings on the simple menu at Little Creek Oysters.

Bedell Cellars wine  

Rich with plump local clams and in a creamy but light broth, the chowder hit the spot. Rosalie explained that, unlike the chowder we might be used to in New England, this was made without flour, so the broth is a little thinner. It was the perfect start to a sea-kissed afternoon of oyster shucking.

clam chowderConfession: I had never shucked an oyster before. My husband has done it for us a few times at home, but we mostly go out for oysters. I was a little nervous but also excited to have Rosalie’s expertise as we learned together, some of us novices and others seasoned shuckers.

oyster shucking These wooden platforms definitely helped to stabilize the oyster and to provide leverage for prying open the shell. We dug into buckets of iced oysters from Peconic Bay, donning our shucking gloves and knives for a delicious lesson.

oysters  

Little Creek Oysters Shucking oysters seems simpler than it is, at least for me. At first I had some trouble getting the knife into the hinge, but I got the hang of it and proudly opened about six oysters, which I slurped down with horseradish or hot sauce.

oysters I’m a lover of small, briny oysters, and these definitely fit the bill. They were delightfully salty, like kissing the sea, and the act of shucking made for a ton of laughs and camaraderie in the group.

oyster

shucking oysters

Empty bottles of wine and empty oyster shells soon graced the table, making for a fun contrast to the way it looked on our arrival; clearly we went to work on things!

Little Creek oyster is the perfect spot for getting together with a group of friends, a bucket of oysters, and some Long Island beer or wine for a tasty day by the sea. There’s no need to be intimidated; Rosalie and her husband Ian are happy to help you learn to shuck, a skill that is a gift that keeps on giving. Oyster and wine lovers definitely don’t want to miss out on this exceptional coastal living experience.

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Tags: coastal living, Long Island. food, North Fork, oysters, Travel, travel blog

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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