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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Woodbury, CT and Martha's Vineyard (Part I)

Where do I begin?...

Whoa! I think I'm getting way ahead of myself here.
(I'll save my story of meeting Susan Branch for later.)

To start off, I apologize that it's taken me a couple of weeks to share my trip with you. When I got back, things were flying at me in every direction of my life- I could barely even keep up with matching my socks! My time on Martha's Vineyard slowed me down... way down... it allowed me to throw everything on the back burner and finally enjoy myself. So when I came home, to say I was "overwhelmed" is an understatement. And I would have made a post over the weekend, but I was kind of in the 19th century, and we don't have computers there, or electricity, or even bathrooms for that matter.

What? Don't believe me? See for yourself:

Yep, that's me and Jacob, alright!
We had our tintype done on an antique lens.

In case some of you were unaware, Jacob and I are Civil War reenactors! And this weekend, we set off to Woodbury, Connecticut- an absolutely gorgeous town, I might add- for a weekend of campfires, musket fire, and hoop skirts (in my case). Life in the 1860s isn't easy, but I try to make it as comfortable  and as homely as possible- Just look at our tent:
Pretty cozy, huh?

I also made it a point to take some pictures of Woodbury because I just knew that all of you would think it was lovely. Woodbury, for those unfamiliar, is a picturesque old town in northwestern Connecticut. It's fairly rural and very quiet. Historic homes greet passerbys on the road, interspersed with dairy farms and glimpses of mountain peaks beyond. It's also considered Connecticut's "antique capital" based on how many antique shops they have. I loved it there, and spent a large portion of the trip trying to convince Jake that an hour-and-a-half commute to the city everyday isn't SO bad (hint hint: let's move here, honey!)...

* excuse the whacky angles of some of these photos: we were driving!

Woodbury is also home to the oldest inn in Connecticut: The Curtis House Inn

This is a very reasonably priced inn, has a popular restaurant, and just looks so absolutely charming I instantly became intrigued. In fact, Jacob and I decided that we are most likely going to stay here during our second year anniversary in December. Stay tuned for more details on that!

Now, what about Martha's Vineyard?!
(I bet you were thinking that).
How can I sum up a trip that meant so much to me in so many ways? It's pretty hard. The act of going to Martha's Vineyard, my most beloved place in the world, to not only see with my very own eyes such fabulous events like Illumination Night, but to meet my favorite author and inspiration in life, Susan Branch, was more than spell bounding. But above all, to share these dream-come-true experiences with the person that I love, well, no words could adequately describe how special that felt too.

Jake and I set off before the crack of dawn with a basket of mini blueberry muffins to energize us, although let's face it: my adrenaline was so high, I really didn't need them. But I gobbled them up anyway.

Mini Blueberry Muffins

• 2 cups flour
• ½ cup sugar
• ½ tsp salt
• 4 tsp baking powder
• 1 egg
• 4 Tbsp butter
• ¾ cup milk
• 1 cup blueberries

 1.     Lightly toss the blueberries (even still frozen) with ¼ cup of flour.
 2.     Mix the remaining flour with the salt and the baking powder.
 3.     Cream the butter and the sugar.
 4.     Add the egg and beat it well.
 5.     Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and mix until it forms a smooth batter.
 6.     Gently fold the berries into the batter.
 7.     Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins (or tins that have been lightly greased). You can use mini or regular-sized muffin tins.
 8.     Bake the mini muffins for 5-7 minutes and the regular-sized muffins for 15-20 minutes, at 350 degrees, until they are starting to turn a light golden and the tops spring back to the touch.
A toothpick should come out clean.
We got to the ferry around 10- just in time to catch the 11:00 to Oak Blluffs!

Before we knew it, we were off! And what do you know? Land ho!
Martha's Vineyard, hello ♥

So we let out a stretch, gathered our belongings, and off we were to find the Tivoli Inn...

Along the way, we stopped to window gaze at little shops along Circuit avenue. Some of the merchandise made us giggle a lot, like this t-shirt: "I Vacationed with Obama" (Barack Obama and his family were, in fact, vacationing on the Vineyard at the same time we were there. And no, we didn't see them.)

After a few minutes walk, we found our cute little inn.

Let's go inside!

We checked ourselves in, and walked up to our room...

... We'll take it!

After we dropped our belongings down, and settled in a bit, we realized: Hey! We're famished. Lisa, our innkeeper, recommended a place near the ferry terminal, so we took a walk back from where we came, and got a bite to eat, passing the iconic Flying Horses Carousel along the way (the oldest carousel in America) and getting a whiff of buttery popcorn and an earful of children laughing over the ride's cheerful music that has been playing for over a hundred years...

The Lookout Tavern, Oak Bluffs

I didn't get anything terribly interesting (grilled chicken panini), but Jake ordered the Salmon BLT which he thought was very good, and sounded pretty unique to me (although I don't eat pork).

As the day progressed, we walked around the town, acquainting ourselves with the area, browsing through some of the shops, and taking little breaks to just BE, and soak in the sights.

Before we knew it, it was 5 o'clock and- no, I should tell you the truth instead of embellishing it. After walking around for a few hours, Jake and I were exhausted, so we thought taking a one hour nap at the inn would be nice. So we did just that. Except one hour turned into two, and then three, and then OH-MY-GOD-IT'S-AFTER-FIVE! And we had dinner reservations at the Offshore Ale Company at five. Thankfully it all worked out, and we were only a half-hour late, but they didn't seem to mind, and we were hungry!

I love the Offshore Ale Co. I went here the last time I was on the Vineyard, and I loved it then too. Great casual atmosphere, refreshing drinks (they brew their own beer!), and delicious, reasonably priced food. Oh! And they have a big barrel of peanuts in which you're encouraged to eat and toss the shells on the floor, so that's pretty cool too.

My dinner date wasn't too shabby either.

I had their Lobster Roll (very good), and Jake had the Swordfish, I believe.

After dinner, we took a walk around the famous Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs...
Evidently many others had the same idea. I have to say, despite these visitors dressed in modern garb, I could easily look upon this field and picture happy couples in Victorian attire, women holding parasols and men donning shiny pocket watches, strolling gracefully before the ocean backdrop.

Maybe these grand houses that lined the park had something to do with my imagination!

After our walk, we went over to the Town Beach to wet our feet a little bit  and comb for some authentic Martha's Vineyard seashells before we headed on over to the much anticipated, Illumination Night...

Hey! Look at the sky! The sun is beginning to set... that means only one thing:
Illumination Night is about to begin!

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Off to the Vineyard!

"When that foghorn blows,
you know I will be coming home..."

I'm off to Martha's Vineyard tomorrow!
Jake and I will be taking the 11:00 a.m. ferry to Oak Bluffs where we'll get situated at the inn and stroll around the area a bit. Dinner at five at the Offshore Ale Company, then Illumination Night!
As for Thursday-- it will be all about Vineyard Haven, and of course, meeting Susan Branch!
And Friday will be spent relaxing in Edgartown until the grand finale: 
the beautiful fireworks display in Oak Bluffs!

Guys, I am so beyond excited
I've been slaving over the iron all day, packing, and baking mini blueberry muffins for the ride up there... everything is slowly coming together and I'm so ecstatic/nervous/giddy/anxious/elated!

Our name tags for the signing, plus a bunch of maps I've printed out...
just a few of the (many) things I'm lugging up there.

When I come back on Saturday, 
I will be a girl whose dream came true.

...See you then! ♥
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