The Summer’s Best Trip

Block Island beach day.

It’s the wind down season and every year I think about how fleeting the summer has been. I was with my granddaughter Sofie last week, enjoying dinner on their deck, and I asked her what her favorite part of the summer was. Was it the visit to the Maine beach? Was it the horseback riding camp?  Or was it the family reunion at Eagles Mere with all of your cousins?

She was stumped. Never did give me an answer. But it got me to thinking about my own summer highlights and what I enjoyed doing this summer.  I was lucky to travel quite a bit.

I began even before summer with a trip in late May to Midi Pyrenees, France and to central Portugal.  In France I spent the whole trip with a young guide who showed her native province with pride. Jeanne was honest, though, it’s kinda boring living in some of these historic towns, and she takes off for Toulouse and the seashore as often as she can.

The highlight of that trip was a dinner on a night with a beautiful twilight with a family who grow grapes to make Armagnac--a retired former clothing executive, his lively second wife and his rascal son who lives nearby in Auch. I was a member of the family sitting there with my guide Jeanne, and they told me all about their lives and how they take care of their 85 and 89 year old inlaws who live right across the lane. I slept that night in a watchtower that was converted into a luxurious B&B.

Then I met Paul Shoul in Portugal and started a whole new adventure. That was filled with lots of visits with chefs, which are always fun since they always end up cooking for us. These two trips were great but I have to cede the top highlight of the summer to another trip. My sea voyage up the New England coast with Mary on the Grande Caribe added up to a series of the summer’s best moments. Every day we’d wake up and be at another island–from Cuttyhunk to Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island. And the fast friends we made and the moments of absolute bliss while in the harbor, cruising at night and walking down the gangplank made this the summer’s best.

What was your summer highlight, now that we’re facing that oh so sad bitter end?