All posts tagged: Vacation

Lone Cypress

Pacific Grove-by-God

For several years I’ve regularly traveled for work to Monterey, California, a small coastal city some two hours south of San Francisco. So when we went looking for a west coast destination for this year’s family vacation, I suggested we check out the Monterey Peninsula.  Now that we’ve wrapped up a week-long visit to Pacific Grove—next-door neighbor to the city of Monterey—we’re just coming to realize how much we’ve seen and explored in this new (to us) part of the world. Let’s begin with the coastline, the attraction to visitors for thousands of years.  I awoke every day shortly after 6 a.m. and went for walks of as much as two hours along the well-used (and well-loved) Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.  Pacific Grove’s portion of this 18-mile trail, which follows the path of the old Southern Pacific Railroad train tracks, hews close to the water and rock-strewn coastline, while Monterey’s comes inland a bit to incorporate Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Fisherman’s Wharf.  My walk often began before sunrise and was shrouded in …

Pilgrim Inn

Pilgrim’s Inn: Our home away from home

You can tell a great deal about a lodging establishment by the quality of their Q-tips.  More on why that matters in a moment I started this post as a love letter to the Pilgrim’s Inn in Deer Isle, Maine, then I switched to describe it as a fan letter.  Either works. In busy years (and 2016 has qualified), I spend close to 3 months out of each year in someplace other than home.  It comes with the job. That experience was helpful as Candice and I looked for a place to stay in Maine for the last quarter of my sabbatical. While at the American Academy in Rome over six weeks in March and April, Candice and I had a wonderful studio apartment in a historic building where we got accustomed to being in one room together for long stretches of time.  We found that the studio apartment layout – with areas to sit and work, a table to gather around for conversation, and with windows to throw open and take in the fresh …

Sunset in Maine


E.B. White once wrote, “The curse of flight is speed.  Or, rather, the curse of flight is that no opportunity exists for dawdling.” I’ve been reading White as we’ve dawdled the past few days near his long-time Brooklin home in Maine, our feet very much on the ground (and water).  The first dictionary definition of dawdle is “to waste time,” but then options such as “moving slowly and idly” are put forth, as is “languid” and “saunter.”  I prefer the latter choices, as we’ve been dawdling, but definitely not wasting time. Monday we sat outside the Pilgrim’s Inn, at water’s edge, and read for a couple of hours in the morning, enjoying a picture perfect Maine summer day.  Then we sauntered (if you can do so by car) over for a late lunch at the Brooklin Inn.  Our friends Tim Boggs and James Schwartz had invited us to their area home for an afternoon sail and dinner. As we were walking out of the Inn, James and Tim drove by, stopped, and encouraged us to …


The tastes of vacation at MXDC Cocina Mexicana

Our “DC Restaurant Week” vacation began in earnest on Monday evening, as we took the Metro downtown to sample  upscale Mexican food at MXDC. A short two-block walk from Metro Center, this three-level Todd English restaurant was new to all three of us, making for a promising beginning to our week. All three agreed that Andrew’s Black Sea bass with Brussels sprouts was the top choice of the three entrees.  I had a very good Mole de Costilla (short ribs) while Candice went with the steak option.  I also had an Azul Guacamole with blue cheese, bacon, chipotle, and red onion that was wonderfully spicy. We have six more of these lined up over the next week, so I have to pace myself in both writing and eating.  We all gave MXDC between 3-to-3 1/2 stars.  A good start! More to come… DJB Image: Andrew gets ready to kick off Restaurant Week by digging into the Sea bass at MXDC

Ahhhh…The Taste of Vacation

Vacation.  Holiday.  Time off. Whatever you call it, the prospect of a couple of weeks off put me in the celebratory mood on Thursday evening, after wrapping up a series of meetings over three days in Austin and San Antonio, Texas.  There had been good conversations with colleagues and partners, delightful shared meals where we mixed preservation and brisket at Austin’s Scholz Garten, the oldest restaurant in Texas, and a reception in San Antonio that featured an amazing array of 19th and early 20th century military helmets! By the time my meetings were over and all that was left was the flight home, I was ready for a bit of relaxation. My colleague Katherine and I basically stumbled upon Biga on the Banks – an excellent New American restaurant that’s a draw for foodies in the region.  I asked for a bourbon, and our server said, “Let me get you our list.  We have an excellent selection.”  And then he pointed out their three options of Old Rip Van Winkle and I thought, “Why not?  …