A Patchwork Quilt of Memories from Annapolis

The Perfect Launching Area for Kayaking at Meadow Gardens B & B

The Perfect Launching Area for Kayaking at Meadow Gardens B & B

An Heirloom in the Making

An Heirloom in the Making

Hot weather, boating, men and women in uniform, our nation’s capital, Americana, quilts, the sound of the water, seafood, red, white and blue, family and friends gathering, centuries worth of history—-these thoughts and more flood my mind during this sunny holiday period. I won’t be celebrating July 4th much this year, since I’ve decided to take advantage of the quiet time and catch up at my desk. But I am very much in the Fourth of July spirit and am nurturing memories of these bright, summertime moments even more.

Country Breakfast

Country Breakfast

Some of the best were experienced about the same time last year in Annapolis, Maryland. I visited this charming Mid-Atlantic town with my boyfriend and his family after his brother’s wedding in Virginia. Annapolis smacks of the sea and we enjoyed many aspects of it from savoring fresh seafood, to taking a sail on the Chesapeake Bay, to peering out into one of the many water inlets that typify this long-established seaport, home to the United States Naval Academy since 1845. We stayed in a charming bed and breakfast, one of countless in Annapolis that define the character of this old, historic town as much as their brick buildings and cobbled streets.

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Appreciating Tea in D.C.

Park Hyatt Washington D.C.: Where Proper Tea Pouring Reigns Supreme

If you’re a tea drinker, you know what it means to delight in a perfect cup of tea. Whether you’re alone or in the company of one or two special people, at home or out, the perfect cup of tea occurs when both taste and ritual come together to create a memorable moment.

That moment is taken to new heights at the Tea Cellar at the Park Hyatt Washington, D.C. Here the centuries-old custom of sipping tea may be savored by connoisseurs and amateurs alike. Case in point:  This die-hard aficionado and daily tea drinker took her brother to teatime, a guy who has never consumed a cup of tea (or coffee!) in his life. Yet Frank, my oldest brother, embodies an adventuresome spirit and I was certain he’d enjoy sampling tea with me in such a renowned establishment. And that he did!

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MLK, DC’s Black Heritage, Chuck Brown, Frankie and Me

Martin Luther KIng Memorial

With all the press lately about the official opening of the Martin Luther King Memorial, I thought I’d share with you a spirited night in Washington, DC spent with my oldest brother, Frank. He’s a real doer and whether it’s work or personal, he knows how to select and orchestrate all the right elements to achieve maximum results. In this case, it was about showing his younger sister a good time.

He had reserved a late Sunday afternoon and evening for us in August. Chuck Brown, the Godfather of Go-Go, a style of music that incorporates jazz, funk, R & B, hip-hop and dancehall, was to be the main attraction. Frankie had secured the tickets at DC’s renowned 9:30 Club as soon as he knew I was headed his way, about a month before the show. I hadn’t heard anything about Chuck Brown, but trusted that my brother was lining up a fun night out. He’s a big planner—much like me—and that quality along with a nice dose of serendipity laid out an evening that bobbed along beautifully on a helluva cross cultural theme.

Without any discussion whatsoever, the car pointed in the direction of the freshly-opened MLK Memorial. It was the Sunday after Hurricane Irene blew through our nation’s capitol (along with most of the eastern seaboard), so the Memorial’s official opening—slated for that weekend—had been postponed. Frank and I thought we’d check it out anyway since although not properly christened, it was open. No luck. We drove along the Potomac on the roadway bordering the monument, creeping along with the hope that we’d find a car that would pull out and leave its parking space for us. No way. You couldn’t even shoehorn a moped in between the lineup of vehicles. Not surprisingly, most of the visitors headed to or from the MLK Memorial were African-American or at least of some kind of Negro heritage. They had waited long enough for the tribute to their esteemed leader—it was time to take a look. Frank and I gave up searching for a spot. I felt somewhat disappointed but bowed out gracefully with the sentiments that it would be best for us to leave any free parking to the people for whom Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech meant the most.

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The Elegance of Paris in Our Nation’s Capital: The Fairfax at Embassy Row

Cherry Blossoms at the Jefferson Memorial

Cherry Blossoms at the Jefferson Memorial

It’s been over a week that the mountain closed here in Telluride and the town has already slowed down to its sleepy off-season mode. Many people have hit the road in search of warmer climates. Others (like me) are using this quiet time to catch up on work that had been shelved during the busy winter season. Fortunately there’s still fun to be had nearby since I just returned from a long weekend of skiing at Beaver Creek and Snowmass. My final spring ski fling will be in Aspen over Easter.

Still I’m feeling the itch to visit cities such as Paris or Washington D.C., two great capitals that are especially resplendent this time of year. I’ve often been to Washington in (late) spring since it’s an easier trip than crossing the Atlantic; and in Paris I’ve lived through nearly a dozen printemps. Flowers bloom bountifully in April in both cities, making spring the perfect season for strolling vast boulevards while crisscrossing in and out of world-renowned museums. This year, due to the disasters in Japan, there was more talk than ever about D.C.’s cherry blossoms, great puffs of beauty that surely provoked more emotion than usual. (I haven’t seen the cherry blossoms in D.C. but I did experience them in all their splendor nearly two decades ago in Kyoto, and I remember them as heartbreakingly beautiful then.)

Both Paris and D.C. humble you year-round by their manicured landscapes and grand and glorious architecture. This stateliness may be considered distinctly Washingtonian or typiquement parisien. Or sometimes a little of both. (As most of us know, it was a Frenchman, Pierre-Charles L’Enfant, appointed by President George Washington in 1791, who designed our capital city.) The history and tradition of Washington D.C. may be more recent than that of Paris but a visit to this glistening beacon along the Potomac still imbues you with the spirit of the past as well as the omnipotent force of the present.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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