Nantucket Island,the Gray Lady

The car rattled over the old cobble stone road and I made my way into the historic town of Nantucket. Tourists stroll along the sidewalks dripping with dense flowers in window boxes. I’m fresh off the red eye from San Jose to JFK and then JFK to Nantucket so feeling a little tired. The smell in the air is a mixture of fresh roasted coffee and the ocean.ย  I’m in love.ย  I find my way to Union Street and into a tight parking place on the Union Street Inn property and sigh, I finally feel like I’m on vacation. The hotel is a mid 18th century B&B and it’s lovely.ย  One of my favorite parts of the town are the cobblestone roads and the brick laid cross walks. It’s like stepping back in time. Here are a few photos from my first day on the island…

 

I’ll write more on the hotel in a separate post. But now I want to take you through the town with my photos. I wish I could send you the smell of fresh cut grass and sea roses. Here are some photos from my first day ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

Flight Etiquette…Time to Change Your Ways? ;)

Itโ€™s a few days before New Yearโ€™s Eve and Iโ€™m heading to Scottsdale Arizona where Iโ€™ll bring in the New Year with my younger sisterk and her family.ย  Being Papa Stanโ€™s daughter, I am here 2 hours early. I can see eyes rolling. Thatโ€™s right, Iโ€™m an Earlyโ€ฆ

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Lazy Sunday

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One of my favorite places to relax on a Sunday is Cocola which is located at the Stanford Mall in Palo Alto. The pastries are like works of art, and their lattes are rich and creamy.

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The aroma of fresh brewed coffee and pastries reminds me of sitting in a cafe in Tuscany, or Paris. You pick from an assortment of exotic salads, or throw caution to the wind and treat yourself to a pastry.

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It’s located in a piazza of sorts. As you relax outside you’ll find yourself next to a gourmet market called Sigona’s.

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This is a must see market where you’ll find exotic foods including local eggs which have shells that are green, red and blue.

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Time seems to move slower here…if you’re in the area I hope you’ll take a moment to relax, and sip your own latte.

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Jekyll Island Romance

Jekyll Island Hotel as seen from under my umbrella
Jekyll Island Hotel as seen from under my umbrella

Recently I attended a conference in Atlanta, GA and decided I’d explore a bit before I went home. I’m actually not sure how I originally heard about Jekyll Island Club which is located off the Georgia coast, midway between Savannah and Jacksonville, FL), but either way I found myself there. In the photo above, you have a view of the resort from under my umbrella. It was overcast when I arrived and although the sun never really came out, it was gorgeous. Pure romance… from the architecture to the moss dripping from the trees…to the food and wine. Even if you’re alone it will be a magical experience.

The club thrived through the early 20th century with an exclusive limited membership consisting of many of the world’s wealthiest families at the time, most notably the Morgans, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts. When the club first opened, hunting was a major recreational activity for both men and women. A gamekeeper was hired to keep the island well stocked with pheasants, turkeys, quail and deer. If you actually “got” something, you had to turn it over to the resort where I guess they would cook it, or send it over to the taxidermist.ย  As the club grew golf became an the Club’s dominant sport.

As for me? I fell in love with this place! They filmed the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance – directed by Robert Redford and starring Will Smith, Matt Damon and Charlize Theron. I stayed in the same room Matt Damon which was room 222, I believe. If you go, double check. Or request Robert’s, Will’s of Charlize’s room.

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Here are some photos from the grounds. The willow trees are dripping with moss and it’s spectacular.

Grounds at Jekyll Island Club
Grounds at Jekyll Island Club

Photo by Shelley D Spray

And some more over by the marina…

Marina at the Jekyll Island Club
Marina at the Jekyll Island Club

Photo by Shelley D Spray

Photo by Shelley D Spray

Photo by Shelley D Spray

Photo by Shelley D Spray

Photo by Shelley D Spray

There’s a great walk from the hotel over to the water. To take this photo I had to remove my shoes off and wade through some huge grass puddles. I can still remember that morning. My feet smelled of marsh and I had to take another shower when I got back!

Photo by Shelley D Spray

The hotel had fabulous food. I had room service, I was sleeping in the same bed Matt Damon slept in so I did not stray too far from that room. Here are some photos of my dinner:

Photo by Shelley D Spray

A ย little wine to start – as you can see they have their own label which was very nice. My salad…

Photo by Shelley D Spray

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And entrรฉe…crab cakes which were excellent. Sorry, this photo is a bit blurry but you get the jest.

Photo by Shelley D Spray

And what would my blog be without a “foot” shot – my friends tease me shamelessly about this – but if you’re alone, then sometimes that’s all you can get if no one is around. And selfies are difficult to get right. Here I am sitting outside at the Cafรฉ Solterra, the most casual restaurant at the Club.ย  It was pouring down rain and I flipped the wet cushions over and sipped a glass of wine.

I hope you’ll put this beautiful hotel on your bucket list!ย  For more information – here is the website: http://www.jekyllclub.com/

Photo by Shelley D Spray

Photo by Shelley D Spray

Decorating Early

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Ahhhh…yes…..I love the holidays! It’s early…and I’m owning it. Its time to crack out the decorations! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hope you decorate early too!

Biltmore Estate Decked Out

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People who know me know I LOVE the holidays. It starts with Halloween and my giddiness extends through Christmas. Yes, my house is the one decorated for Halloween in September and Christmas in November. Unlike many if you I gasp in delight when the Christmas decorations are decked out in the stores in September. So when I was looking into a trip location in November I was thrilled to find out one of my favorite places would be decorated for the holidays: The Biltmore Estate. The photos below are ones from my visit. The first one is of the tree in the dining room. Here’s a close up.

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The tree is a 40 foot fresh cut tree a and the smell is incredible. They said that they decorate so early that on December 3rd they will take this one down and put a fresh on up overnight. They would decorate the tree hanging the presents on the branches so the estate keeps the same tradition which you see in the above photo. It you’re lucky they will be playing Silent Night on the organ and the music will float throughout the house. Here are some more photos.

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Above are the trees across the room from the 40 foot tree by a massive fireplace. You have to stop and imagine what the room was like with the fires a blaze and the lighted and decorated trees glowing on Christmas Eve….

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The library.

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Many of the rooms have period dress which is very interesting to see. The women must have been no taller than 5 feet tall. The dresses are tiny!

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After your tour, head over to the area with the shops and order a hot chocolate and stroll through the gardens and shops. Me, by my favorite lion.

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The first day photo with my lion.

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Actually during the first photo I got photo bombed by the cutest kid ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Second day… Yes I am obsessed with this handsome guy.

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And the last day the put a bow on him!โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

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If you are able to tour the Biltmore Estate over the next two months I hope you do!!! You will not regret it. Also, now they are doing evening candle light tours who’s must be incredible. We will your the grounds in my next blog and also take a walk out to bass pond throughout the wooded forest. Sending everyone early holiday cheer!

Some links for more information:ย  http://www.biltmore.com/ย and http://www.biltmore.com/visit