9.22.2016

The Roberts Collection | Downtown Nantucket, Massachusetts


The Roberts House, one of the inns of the Roberts Collection, was built in 1846.

Nantucket's ethereal island beauty has proven an irresistible allure to me. An instant infatuation was struck from my first visit to the remote, crescent-shaped bar of sand, and now a year just isn't complete without at least one visit to this island that has found a permanent home in my heart.

Biking to Sankaty lighthouse is a classic Nantucket activity.

In my element, relaxing on the sands of Nantucket

Downtown Nantucket is the hub of activity for the island. Restaurants, shops, museums, and tidy, old homes line the cobblestone streets. While I always enjoy a get-away to one of the island's stunning beaches or smaller villages, like 'Sconset, downtown Nantucket offers a true taste of this once bustling whaling town, and I always spend most of my time there.

The Whaling Museum in downtown Nantucket is a must-see.

This year we stayed at The Roberts Collection, both beautiful and historic, it is perfectly situated in the heart of downtown. This was the first time I stayed downtown, rather than in one of the smaller island villages of Nantucket, and I loved staying where there was so much to do within walking distance.

The entrance to the courtyard of The Roberts Collection.

A view into part of the courtyard, with The Roberts Collection inns surrounding it.

The Roberts Collection is made up of four separate inns, all grouped together and sharing a courtyard. Three of the charming, beautifully restored inns were built in the 19th century, and with the addition of the Gate House in 2013, the collection was complete. Though the Gate House is the only new build on the property, it blends flawlessly with the antique architecture and style of its sister inns. All are classic Nantucket.

Hydrangeas in front of The Gate House, the 2013 addition to the collection.

I stayed in the Manor House. Charmed by the island decor and thrilled with my view of downtown, I made quick work of getting comfy in my home away from home for the week.

My comfy, cozy Nantucket bed

Entering the Manor House

Manor House

While relaxing on the Manor House porch

View of courtyard and downtown Nantucket from Manor House porch

The Robert House, of The Roberts Collection, is the main entrance to the inns (though you can certainly access the three other inns through the courtyard and other doors) and where you will find the front desk to check in. The Roberts House was completely renovated this year and each detail is superb. I couldn't stop looking at the beautiful wallpaper, the whimsical decor touches, and the carefully preserved historical elements. 

The front entrance to The Roberts Collection.

In the Robert House

In love with the light fixture by the front desk!

By the front desk

Though the beauty and comfort of the inns may beckon you to get cozy in the soft bedding and watch the spectacular view from your window, one of the biggest benefits of staying at The Roberts Collection is the conveince of being downtown and having quick access to all the activity, sightseeing, shopping, and eating.

My favorite thing to do is stroll by all the old houses downtown



 

The wharf is only a quick walk from The Roberts Collection




I love the cobblestones of downtown!




Famous for their Nantucket reds


As a descendent of the Coffin, Starbuck, and Macy families, the founders and whalers of Nantucket, staying in the historic district of downtown brought into focus the legacy of the whaling days. Their echo is felt in the cobblestones and commerce, in the taste of oysters and rum, and in all of activity that is downtown Nantucket. I was thrilled to be able to stay right in the heart of it all, and The Roberts Collection was the perfect place to do it. Just as I always feel the pull of the island again and again, so do I now feel the pull to stay in those lovely collection of inns again in the middle of it all.

And coming soon, I will post a winetail recipe here that was inspired by my collaboration with The Roberts Collection and inspired by the flavors of Nantucket! Stay tuned.


Thank you, Roberts Collection, for such an ideal stay!

9.06.2016

Cost Plus World Market | Hyannis, Massachusetts

Sponsored by Cost Plus World Market 



As a native San Francisco Bay Area girl, I was thrilled to see the the opening announced of a Cost Plus World Market in Hyannis, Massachusetts! Cost Plus World Market started in the Bay Area and was so much a part of my childhood. I have so many memories of visiting the store, allowance money stuffed in my pocket, to pick out some unique piece of jewelry or imported chocolates. And as I grew, it soon became my go-to for home decor.


The grand opening for the Hyannis location is September 8th, and to celebrate Cost Plus World Market is putting on several, not-to-be-missed events. Grand opening weekend runs from September 8th through the 11th. Doors open at 9am on the 8th, right after the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Check out the details below to take advantage of the events and giveaways! (And don't forget to get your 20% coupon here!)

Location:

Cost Plus World Market
621 lyannough Road
Hyannis, MA 02061

Store Hours:

M-F: 10am - 9pm
Sat: 9am - 9pm
Sun: 10am - 7pm

Events & Details:

- $10 Cost Plus World Market gift card giveaway for the first 100 customers in the door on the 8th.

- Free tasting and live entertainment: 4-7pm Thursday & Friday, 1-4pm Saturday & Sunday

- Free tote bags for the first 100 customers in the door each day.

- Daily raffle drawings: Prizes include two $250 gift cards each day.


Saturday, September 10th - Sunday, September 11th

- Spend $40 in one transaction and get 2 free movie admissions while supplies last

Saturday, September 17th

- Come meet Nichole Curtis of HGTV's Rehab Addict from 1pm - 3pm.

- The first 200 customers to bring 5 non-perishable, non-glass items to donate to charity will get a signed autograph with Nichole.







I'm already putting together my wish list from their fall guide when I'm at Cost Plus World Market next week! Hope to see some of you there!

8.27.2016

Weekend Cocktail | A Gin & Jack Rose


In my last post, which covered my stay in beautiful Western Massachusetts, I mentioned a visit to dmg in Northampton. The dmg is a stunning store that showcases handcrafted artistic pieces. The jewelry alone is enough to keep you in the store for hours!

Before leaving I was gifted a pair of the most stunning, handblown martini glasses I have ever seen! I had been eyeing them on the store's shelves as I explored and was thrilled to get to take some home with me.

The beautiful martini glasses amongst many other works of art at dmg.

If you find yourself in western Massachusetts, a visit to dmg is a must. Like so much of Northampton, dmg is unique, artistic, and inspiring.

With the owner of dmg in her beautiful store, Maya MacLachlan

The whole store is eye candy!



The dmg has been around since 1978, when Don Muller opened the doors to this jewelry and craft gallery, and with Maya as the current owner, the store has retained its special appreciation of artists and customers. Dmg is a prime example of what makes Northampton and Hampshire county so great. This area, and this shop, is a place that is filled with the excitement of constant energy, creativity, and rich diversity. 




And so when I received these gorgeous martini glasses, which were handcrafted at the Rosetree Glass Studio in Louisiana (just one of many talented artists the store carries), I knew I wanted to come up with an especially delicious cocktail to fill them. After a bit of experimentation, I created a Gin & Jack Rose.


Ingredients:
2 oz gin
2 oz applejack (or other apple brandy)
1 oz pomegranate syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup, if you want it a little extra sweet

Directions:
In an ice-filled shaker, add all ingredients and shake well. Pour into a martini glass. And that is it!


Cheers to the weekend! And do yourself a favor and pick up your own martini glasses or whatever other art and jewelry catches your eye at dmg in Northampton, Massachusetts.

dmg in downtown Northampton, MA

8.18.2016

Summer Getaway | Hampshire County, Massachusetts

Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst, Massachusetts

While Boston and the coastal towns and islands of Massachusetts are generally the first options that spring to mind while envisioning a summer vacation in the Commonwealth, the picturesque, green hilltowns of Western Massachusetts offer a beautifully alluring alternative.

Hampshire county, in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, is a flourishing hub for higher learning. Known as home to the Five Colleges, Hampshire county offers a vibrant, intellectual atmosphere that fosters art, historic preservation, unique shopping and dining, and countless stimulating opportunities and activities. All of this in a beautiful, quaint New England setting.

Farmers Market in Amherst Common

Hosted by the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council, I was introduced to many things that I had no idea this area offered. It was all so captivating and has left me wanting to return to find other Pioneer Valley hidden gems.

I spent my weekend staying at The Lord Jeffery Inn, which sits right across the street from bustling Amherst Common. Built in 1926, the historic feel and architecture was right up my alley. I love a true classic, and the white-washed brick of the exterior caught my eye and charmed me immediately.

I fell in love with architecture of the inn

My room


A perfect greeting!


Lord Jeffery Inn's library room


In the library


Beautiful Lord Jeffery Inn


I love the outdoor dining and bar at the inn!


Rooftop fireside at Lord Jeffery Inn


The Lord Jeffery Inn is large, rambling down the block, and architecturally charming

Just outside the doors of the inn, the weekly Amherst Farmers Market was in full-swing, and we quickly got swept up in the local shopping, music, and ice cream being served on that hot summer's day. A friendly, relaxed atmosphere settled on the market crowd, and its clear the residents of Pioneer Valley appreciate and feel completely at home in this joyful, creative, and engaged community nestled in the scenic green hills.


After leisurely wandering through the colorful, interesting market stalls and picking up a few treasures, we headed out to Hatfield, Massachusetts. Hatfield is a town with all the charm you'd envision a historic New England, farming town in the lush Connecticut River countryside to provide. It was there that we would attend a cooking class at Good Stock Farm.

Indonesian was on the agenda for the class that night

I had no idea what to expect from this class, and, frankly, as an unenthusiastic cook, I didn't expect it to draw me in other than on a strictly detached, observational level. I was completely wrong! It was fascinating. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and I found myself absorbed in the lessons, the smells, the textures, the tastes, and in the night's interesting conversations. 

Good Stock Farm cooking classes are held in the stunning home of Sanford D'Amato - Sandy, for short - and his wife, Angie. After buying their home, which boasts a bucolic view of the Connecticut River, they meticulously renovated it with an emphasis on creating a chef's dream kitchen and a workable space for their classes. And they hit the exact right note. With its open living, kitchen, and dining area, and a wall of glass doors that overlooks their land and river, you feel both in awe of the surroundings and cozy in their homey space.


A perfectly set table

In the Good Stock Farm gardens

Sandy and Angie show around their small garden area, explaining the flavors, and letting us sample fresh veggies straight from the earth

Though thoroughly informative, the classes are conducted in a casual, intimate style, with a small group of people. This encourages a good-humored camaraderie around the table, as you learn, chop, slice, mix, and prepare the recipes with those around you. 

Learning around the stove

My husband helping with dessert, as Sandy explains some of the finer points.

It's not just that the classes are enjoyable that make them time well spent, but with Sandy as the teacher, you also get the rare opportunity to work with a legitimate culinary master. As a 1974 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and with a long, illustrious career as a chef and successful restaurateur, Sandy has achieved national recognition and countless awards for his talents. One of the most interesting of these recognitions is when he was personally handpicked by Julia Child to be one of only 12 chefs to cook for her 80th birthday celebration in Boston.


Angie rewards us with post-cooking glasses of wine.


Each dish was spectacular!




Spending hours with my classmates and Sandy and Angie in cooking the meal and then dining was such a joy. We learned of each others' lives, laughed over Sandy's amusing anecdotes around the dinner table, and engaged in the interesting stories we all shared. I think we all had a hard time getting up from that table to go home. It was just such an enjoyable night. I'm already planning on finding a way to get back here for their pizza class in November. If you can find a chance to attend one of their classes or retreats, do it. Trust me, you'll have the time of your life!

Day two in Hampshire county began for me with a delicious brunch at Lord Jeffery Inn and a visit to the Emily Dickinson Museum before heading out to take advantage of the unique shopping in the area.

Brunch with a view of Amherst Common

The Homestead was the home to Emily Dickinson and was originally built in 1813.

Emily Dickinson, the brilliant 19th century poet and arguably Amherst, Massachusett's most celebrated resident, was a native to this town and lived out most of her life in the Homestead. Her home, the Homestead, and the Evergreens, home to her brother Austin Dickinson, can be visited at the Emily Dickinson Museum in downtown Amherst. Since I have visited the museum before and hadn't much time, I made a quick stop in to only see the Homestead. I just can't resist returning to this place whenever I'm in the area. A long visit, or short, the museum is always worth stopping in!

Before leaving Western Massachusetts, I visited Northampton for some shopping. Northampton, also part of the Pioneer Valley and Hampshire county, is a richly diverse, artistic, vibrant city with a palpable energy. It is always an invigorating place to visit!


Named America's Coolest Store by Instore Magazine, the dmg, which excels as a jewelry and craft gallery, is a must-stop while in the area! The colors and artistry which greet you as you enter are pure eye candy. I couldn't stop looking at each piece as I wandered the store.

Each handcrafted piece is a delight to the senses!



For next week's Cocktail Friday post, I will feature more of the dmg. I'll share more photos and the story of this beautiful gallery and store. While there, I received two of the most gorgeous hand-blown martini glasses ever! I treasure them and prominently display them like the art that they are on my dining room bar cart. They are stunning pieces. (So, next week look for more about the dmg and a delicious cocktail recipe here!)

The coast of Massachusetts has its beauty and irresistible allure in the warm months, you'll get no arguments here, but a summer trip to Western Massachusetts is such a treat! There's nothing quite like the lush green hills, the farmlands brimming with the color of a summer harvest, the beckoning water of the Connecticut River that invigorates you as you dip your feet in on a warm day. It is the very postcard image of bucolic New England, and whatever the season, it's worth a visit. The beauty, history, and energy of this area is simply unmatched.