Our new east coast beach bungalow

I didn’t dare share this until we closed on the house. I was sure that I would jinx the whole thing.

On my last visit to Connecticut in June, it came to our attention that a few homes had become available in a small coastal area near our rented townhouse. This is a community that rarely sees houses come on the market and so we decided to check a few of them out.

The homes are primarily bungalows, most no larger than 1500 square feet with small yards and just a half a block away from Long Island Sound.

The first house was a bit of an odd layout and needed major updating with a high price tag.  The next one was a completely different story. The owners had tastefully updated it with a new kitchen and bathroom and had redone some of the plumbing and electrical.  It was a very traditional 1922 bungalow with 3 bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths. We were both excited by it’s small size, front porch, and tiny backyard complete with hydrangeas and a large lilac bush! We were smitten.

Today it officially became ours and though it is lovely, we will be making a few changes to the master bedroom, new paint inside and out, and some landscaping in the back come spring. It will mean downsizing from our rental townhouse and many trips this fall for the move and pulling it together.

We are so excited to own a little piece of New England. Stay tuned for progress reports on Instagram !

The end of our new street

bittersweet Big Sur visit

I just arrived home from a few days with a dear friend in Big Sur.  Frankly, I wasn’t sure we were even going to be able to go as a huge fire was roaring through parts of the region. The fire started on July 22 by an illegal campfire in one of the state parks. As of this writing, it has consumed over 79,000 acres and is 60% contained.  It will be weeks before it is completely under control.  It has cost a life and destruction of 57 buildings.  All of the parks in the area are closed and the few businesses that are open are struggling. A big thank you to Big Sur Kate and her blog which was a wealth of information.

August in Big Sur is one of the busiest months. Highway 1 is usually clogged with cars and campers. While there were still a few on the road, the fire and the intermittent closure of the Highway have limited the number of tourists.

When we arrived at my brother-in-law’s ranch, the smell of smoke was in the air and mixed with the fog was a golden tinge and haze from the distant fire. Even in the fog and with some smoke, there is still such beauty. Hiking the property was bittersweet, knowing that fire was destroying so much of the forests up north.

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These redwoods at the ranch still bear the scars from past fires…
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Smoke and fog mix to create a hazy filter over the land
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Dry hillsides and grasses on my hike

The next day we headed up the coast to have an early dinner at Nepenthe.  Normally it would be packed with tourists and the fact that there were so many empty parking spaces told the story.  Many of the diners were firefighters and it was so heartening to see the owner of Nepenthe has made the meals free for them…not an easy thing when business is so down from normal.  I must say our dinner was delicious, the service excellent and the locals could not have been nicer. I love this place!

Yesterday we headed up to Big Sur Bakery for breakfast. It was quiet as well.  I was happy to see that they had their delicious Cop donuts and almond croissants.  The fog had lifted and we were able to eat at a picnic table outside….heaven!

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The charming Big Sur Bakery
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Cop donuts and almond croissant

Internet is spotty at best in Big Sur but when we were able to get news it was of two more fires.  The Chimney fire on the other side of Big Sur near Lake Nacimiento and a huge wild fire named the Blue Cut 60 miles East of LA.  Some of the firefighters in Big Sur had already been diverted to the Chimney fire and now another one!  These men deserve so much credit, praise, and thanks.  They are working in horrific conditions, sometimes in triple digit heat, and are away from their families for weeks at a time with very little rest. I feel the need to say “thank you” whenever I see them.

It wasn’t all gloom.  There were the noisy seals we spotted having a siesta on a rock out at sea…

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Some very noisy Big Sur residents

And on our last night the fog stayed at bay long enough for us to bring our wine and appetizers outside on the deck and just take in the beauty of this magical place.

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The perfect end to the day

As I am writing this, I have just learned of yet another fire much closer to home here in Santa Barbara.  The highway that I just drove over is now closed and my friend that I dropped off just sent me this photo of the smoke that can now be seen from her house.

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The Reys fire much too close to home

They say it is blowing away from Santa Barbara but the winds can be fickle and so we wait and watch and listen for news.  It is going to be a long and difficult fire season for the West and I pray that everyone stays safe.

 

 

collecting dogs…dog door stops!

I’m not sure I even remember how it all started.  When we were furnishing our first house, we often went to antique shows and flea markets.  My husband, being a dog lover, discovered a cast iron dog door stop at one of these shows many years ago. It was cute…a Boston terrier, which was one of the more common door stops and therefore not too expensive.  We didn’t know much about them or that people actually collect vintage door stops and pay quite a hefty sum for the rare ones.  After talking to collectors and dealers, and reading up on the history of them, we were hooked! Continue reading

a new bedroom rug changes everything!

I almost didn’t post this piece today.  It seems that every time I turn on the news, another horrific attack has happened and everything else seems trivial in comparison.  But I think in my own way, by creating beautiful, comfortable places to call home, it makes me feel safer.  Our homes are our sanctuaries away from all the atrocities happening in the world.  And isn’t it nice to have an oasis if even for a little while?  So here is my post: Continue reading

The easiest artichoke dip recipe…ever

If you’ve been following me here or on Instagram , you may have figured out that I like food…a lot.  I also love easy recipes and this one couldn’t be much simpler.  It never fails to impress when I serve it at parties or bring it to someone’s potluck spread.  The only problem is that when asked for the recipe, it’s almost embarrassing to admit how little time or ingredients go into creating something so tasty! Continue reading