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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

The dog days of summer have meant very little cooking in these parts. There’s  been a lot of boat snacking and patio dining at our Dorchester favorites and many nights where some cheese and crackers made the meal. The one saving grace to our wallets and waistlines was our July Just Add Cooking week. As in past blog posts, Just Add Cooking kindly provided me with three meals to blog about. I’ve become a huge fan of the meals and local ingredients and just recently got a friend a gift card for a baby gift.

green gazpacho

It’s been HOT in Boston (and I am loving it), so two of my meal choices were cold meals, Gazpacho and Shrimp Ceviche and a super easy Chicken Caesar Salad.

I love ceviche but had never made it before, so I was a little nervous. As always, with the ingredients and instructions at the ready, Just Add Cooking made it simple. I absolutely loved the ceviche and gazpacho combo. It was well thought out and felt like air conditioning for the whole body. Plus it had a nice kick to it, always a bonus for me!

chicken caesar salad

The Caesar Salad was good, nothing out-of-the-ordinary, but a solid summer dinner that was delicious, made even more so by grilling the chicken. The recipe called for mushrooms, which I found a little odd for a Caesar salad, so I left them out and used them in something else. I like the guidance that Just Add Cooking provides but also the flexibility to make small changes here and there.

Our final meal of the week was the Italian Beef and Vegetable Sauté, which got a ton of flavor from sundried tomatoes. It was definitely more of a fall or winter meal, very comforting and rustic, and something I would definitely make again when it’s a little cooler. 

 

Italian Beef and Vegetable Saute

I am hoping the next few weeks are all out garden and farmers market eating, and then I am looking forward to getting on a cooking schedule that includes a week or two a month of Just Add Cooking. While I am enjoying the many weeks of summer left, I also know that fall will be busy!

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Tags: Boston blogger, cooking, Food, food blog, Just Add Cooking, summer

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

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