Bodacious Biarritz

Biarritz: Breathtakingly Beautiful

La Grande Plage

Bobbing Heads in the Surf Capital of Europe

Steve & Me

I took a trip of a lifetime with my boyfriend, Steve, a while ago and now seems like the right time to write about it.

It was stunning and dramatic, sweet and endearing, intense and oh-so memorable–all very much like our relationship. It left us in awe and amazed and full of desire for more.

We both chose the destination; I chose France and Steve narrowed it down to Biarritz, an oceanside resort in southwest France in the Basque region that I had only visited once–very briefly–on a cold winter’s day during the research phase of my book The Riches of France: A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces. At that time, I did just a cursory tour of the town, one that was more focused on the boutiques of Biarritz than its spectacular coastal scene and its sensational surf.

Biarritz Beauty

Gorgeous

With Steve, it was all about the surf. No surprise there, since this is where the waves roil in with the greatest, most consistent force in all of Europe. And Steve is big on surfing. It sounded like the perfect fit to me; he had the surf and I had France. What came as a surprise, however, was how he became so taken with the whole French experience and the French themselves.

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Touring Country Stores in Stowe, Vermont with Mom

Mom and I Shopping in Vermont

Since 1895: Shaw’s General Store

Vermont Country Road

Mom at Stowe Mercantile

My how I’ve been blessed with being back East this fall. The weather has been glorious throughout upstate New York and New England. (I think it has actually been pretty beautiful along the whole East Coast with the exception of down south.) We’ve been experiencing true Indian summer weather–East Indian, in fact, with some days hitting temps as high as 90 degrees!

The annual autumnal festival of colors with regard to leaf peeping has started late this year. (The abundance of jewel-toned mums, however, rates among one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. I we don’t have such a display in Colorado.) A brilliant kaleidoscope of fall colors is just now emerging in many parts of the Northeast.

Designer Mum

Magnificent Mums

This fall is not likely to rank among the most spectacular, since many of the maple trees have been stricken with a fungus that has made their foliage look blah. Plus, we have not yet had enough chilly nights to force the color to change into eye-popping hues of red, orange and gold. But isn’t fall always beautiful? I think so. For me, it has already been memorable.

Brick-Toned Beauty Before the Leaves Even Change

Ready for Winter at Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm

That’s because two weeks ago mom and I headed out for a road trip to Vermont. It was just a two-night stay, however, we packed a lot in. My mother and I have always traveled a good amount together but this was the first real getaway of its kind in two years. There’s no doubt that as you grow older, home offers greater appeal and traveling seems like more of a chore.

Still, mom rose to the occasion and off to Vermont we went. We beat the path that we had tamped down–heading northeast out Route 7 from Troy, New York–for many years throughout our lives. This time, however, we were venturing far beyond our usual destinations of Bennington, Arlington and Manchester, Vermont. This time we were headed way up. Three-and-a-half-hours up.

“I always wanted to go to Stowe,” mom told me as I navigated the sinewy roads of the Green Mountain state, by then dashing along Route 100 past Rutland. (Yes, mom thought I was going too fast around the innumerable bends in the road.)

Pumpkin Potpourri at Cold Hollow Cider Mill

“Really? I didn’t know that.”

“Yes, I wanted your father to take us all there on a ski trip.”

“Wow, that’s the first time I’ve heard that,” I said. I remember the very first time I skied. I had a terrible time. It was so cold and the equipment felt so heavy. But I remember the lodge and the whole ambiance. I just loved the cozy scene in Vermont. I think it was during a New Year’s holiday. I think I was about five–is that right, mom?”

Stowe and Skiing Go Together Like Rolling Hills and Vermont

And so we prattled on, trading thoughts and memories about what we loved so much about Vermont.

Salt and Pepper Shakers from Stowe Mercantile

In truth, most of our mother/daughter escapes to Vermont revolved around day trips. We’d leave early in the day, enjoy the scenic drive, have lunch in a country inn and then poke about in quaint shops. We’d return with the car loaded with goods and goodies, a mostly made-in-Vermont haul that we’d have to sneak in to keep out of sight from “the boys” and my father (six fellas in all). It was female bonding at its best. Sure, we’d share cider and syrup with them but many of our treasures were stashed away in order to avoid looking like spendthrifts.

In truth, we didn’t buy a whole lot, mostly wool sweaters, candles and knickknacks. It was how and where we bought everything that had the most significance for mom and me. It was out of these forays to Vermont country stores that my love for shopping and touring in authentic places was born. So many of these bastions of tradition and charm spoke to me, so much so that I could hardly tolerate shopping and browsing in department stores or other big, impersonal retail outlets the rest of the time.

Little did I know that these excursions would plant the seeds for me to found Chic Promenade, a Paris shopping service where I organized visits behind-the-scenes at the big names as well as tours to the off-the-beaten-path boutiques of the French capital. I later went on to write three guidebooks on Paris and one on the French provinces. (Read about The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide and The Riches of France: A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces as well as my travel memoir, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France at Maribeth’s Books.)

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31 Aug 2017, 8:55am
Discovery Map Outdoor Adventures Restaurants The Outer Banks:
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Comments Off on Top Reasons to Go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina

Top Reasons to Go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina

Beachtime on the Outer Banks of North Carolina

OBX

A Little Beach Box

Outer Banks Eats

As we steam into the last great weekend of summer, most of us are woe to give up the hot, sultry moments in the sun. We don’t want to replace pumps and loafers with flip flops. We long for more, more, more time at the beach. We want to continue to throw on a shift or a pair of shorts and T-shirt over our swimsuits and belly up to a raw bar for some fresh seafood and beers.

This feels especially so in parts of the country–such as the northeast where I have been based–where the summer has been cool and more rainy and cloudy than usual. No, it just doesn’t seem fair; most of us yearn for more of that good ‘ole summertime feeling.

Good news is that you can find it in spades at North Carolina’s Outer Banks. I’ve visited these oh-so gorgeous barrier islands numerous times, mostly during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, which in my opinion, is the best time to go. This is when you can avoid the crowds and enjoy more tranquil beach time. Sure, this part of the coast can be pounded during fall’s hurricane season (mostly in September), however, that’s good news for those into big surf. (Indeed, OBX is one of the surfing capitals of the U.S.)

Click here to read a bunch of my stories on the Outer Banks.

For a bucket-full of my fresh reasons on why to visit this beautiful destination, read my OBX write ups at DiscoveryMap.com:  OBX Surf, Sun and Fun and Tastes of the Outer Banks.

May summer last forever! Or at least until ski season hits.

Sunset Over Pamlico Sound

 
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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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