Tag Archives: nature

Getaway DC

This year has been full on. Summer slipped by in the blink of an eye. And since Lucas started nursery downtown, we’ve hardly had a moment free. We needed to press pause.

So we booked ourselves a little cabin down in the Shenandoah Valley, and took off for a much-needed getaway.

Sans child. Sans wi-fi. And after a few glasses of wine, sans a care in the world.

SN IG

Trees Forest Trail

SN IG3

SN IG2

Leaves

getaway view

Our cabin for the evening was tucked into the most gorgeous woodland setting, where you couldn’t hear a car horn or siren for miles. The only sounds were just the lone crow, squirrels scampering across the crunchy leaves, and the swoosh of an occasional breeze across the treetops.

We settled into our cabin and lit our campfire.

getaway cabin IGGGGGG

getaway cabin ig bed

getaway cabin side

getaway cabin hat rack

getaway cabin phone

getaway cabin

getaway fire eddie

One thing we didn’t need a break from was a good meal. But unlike our usual dinners at home (which usually involve lots of prep, tons of stress to get it on the table in time, and then a forensic amount of clean up after), this time we did things differently.

getaway cabin beef bourg basket

getaway cabin beef bourg basket3

A one-pot meal we could throw in a dutch oven and kick back by the fire while it stewed for a couple of hours.

getaway cabin table

And like any recipe that calls for a whole bottle of wine – you know it’s going to be good!

 

getaway beef bourg

getaway beef bourg vlose

Beef Bourguignon over potato gnocchi

It definitely took a while, but when you’ve got nothing else to do but sit and talk, and sip wine and look at the moon rise, you don’t really notice! Well worth the wait, we ate late and stayed up much later.

The next morning, we slept in. I know a lot of parents probably complain about a lack of sleep, which I never really understood. I have always been such a high energy person, I never missed the hours of lost sleep when I had a baby.

getaway cabin bed IG

But being here, I now realise how a nice, long lie-in is such a luxury for mums and dads. You don’t have to get up. That’s when it feels so good to be lazy.

getaway view high

getaway socks

Walking

Breakfast was another easy skillet on the grill. My campsite take on huevos rancheros, we felt like a couple of cowboys as we sipped our mugs of coffee waiting for the chow bell.

getaway breakfast

getaway breakfast table

Breakfast Camping Picnic Autumn

breakfast

breakfast remnants

With the last bits of breakfast mopped up, there was nothing to do but snuggle up and just chill until checkout time.

reading IGGGGG

 

 

 

 

 

Fallingwater

About a three-hour drive from Washington, DC in the rural foothills of Pennsylvania is American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater. It was recently voted the single most important building in the United States by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). It makes for a great field trip if you’re in the area; so with snacks for the road, we drove up to Bear Run for a tour.

Pennsylvania Barn Mail Pouch Tobacco

Fallingwater Snacks Cheetos

Fallingwater was designed in 1935 as a summer home for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh. The family had a successful department store in the city, and this was to be their wooded weekend retreat.

Fallingwater Drive

Fallingwater Side

The design of the house is a series of reinforced concrete terraces cantilevered out over the Bear Run river.

Fallingwater Pose Outside

From every room inside the house, you can hear the crashing waterfalls and feel as if you are part of the natural world around you. It’s the house that defined the philosophy of ‘organic architecture’ – a sense of harmony between nature and the built environment. The central living space inside Fallingwater is open and light, with the use of natural materials, including waxed river stones for the floor.

Fallingwater inside

Fallingwater Fireplace River Stones Boulder

Every room was filled with incredibly thoughtful architectural details. But sadly the organisation that runs the property, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, is letting the site fall into a state of appalling disrepair. I saw cracks in the plaster, mold growing on the terraces, and paper kitchen towel stuffed in cracks in the rock walls to plug water leaks. The conservancy is under-funded, inexperienced, and most probably mismanaged. It’s such a shame, because I imagine this property in the hands of the National Parks or Smithsonian where it could really be taken care of properly and wow its visitors even more! I hope this national treasure is around to inspire future generations and the next chapter of architecture students for years to come.

Fallingwater View

Fallingwater me

After leaving Fallingwater, we stopped for lunch at the historic Casselman Inn in Grantsville, Maryland. Operated by Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish owners, the restaurant is known for its selection of homemade breads, cakes, and pies. It’s also where I fell off the gluten-free wagon!

Casselman Sign

Casselman Inn Front Exterior

Casselton Dining Hours

Casselman Restaurant Table

Casselman Bread Basket

I resisted the yeasty sweetness of the warm, freshly baked bread. And I refused to give in to even a bite of Eddie’s honey-dipped fried chicken.

Casselman Fried Chicken Chips Fries

My fall from grace came at the hands of this monster iced maple cinnamon roll.

Casselman Maple Sticky Bun

I have never tasted such sweet, soft, maple-y perfection. And, for my figure’s sake, I hope I don’t for a long time to come! (It was so worth it though).

Casselman Maple Bun

Just around the corner from the inn is Castleman’s River Bridge, a historic national landmark. Its 80-foot span was the largest stone arch in America at the time it was built in 1813.

Castleman Bridge

Castlemans Bridge

I love driving though America and discovering little out-of-the-way spots with their own tiny history. Surely, there will be many more to come!

Secret Beach: Plage des Graniers

Today I discovered a secret beach! And thank goodness I did because Saint-Tropez gets unbearably hot and muggy by late morning. I was practically wilting in the heat, so we high-tailed it to the hills above town seeking the relief of a cool Mediterranean breeze.

St trop

view

The summit above the port is crowned with the ruins of a magnificent 17th century citadel – and breathtaking views of the sea below. As lunchtime draws nigh, yachts are already starting to jostle for space to drop their anchors just outside of town.

Citadel

cove

cove2

Beyond the ancient stone walls of the citadel, a dusty path winds down through the woods to a glimmering sandy cove. It’s the secluded location for a hip beachside restaurant frequented by locals and those lucky enough to hear of it by word-of-mouth. Surrounded by an overgrowth of bamboo, this free patch of beach is a discreet alternative to the ritzy beach clubs further down on Pampelonne.

path

Cove3

ent

Seated beachside under white tasselled parasols with my toes in the sand, I followed recommendations to try the grilled fish. So glad I did! Lunch was fantastic – and the view was mesmerizing. Afterwards, I took a snooze on the warm beach and observed the 30-minute rule before a post-lunch dip in the crystal blue water.

tassels

menu

I've got sole but I'm not a soldier.

I got sole but I’m not a soldier.

med head

On the road back from Graniers beach, at the base of the citadel, sits the Saint-Tropez Marine Cemetery facing out onto the Mediterranean. It is the final resting place of many a brave seaman and a few notable Tropéziens. The beauty of this site stopped me in my tracks and, for a few moments, was a place for quietude and reflection. I’m not sure what happens after our lives on earth, but I couldn’t think of a more heavenly place for a soul to rest through eternity. I threw out a few silent prayers to catch on the wind, and continued on my traveler ways.

grave

cem

crosses

One final look back at the striking blues of the sea and sky against the pure white of the sun-bleached crosses. I’m so glad I happened to discover this side of Saint-Tropez.