snow + flowers

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It’s been a good long while since I just did a casual “little photos of strange magical things I discover on my walks” post, hasn’t it?

Winter decided to show all of its faces during one brief February fortnight. Over the past two weeks, I’ve seen blizzards, endless Himalayan peaks of excavated snow, veils of ice spiderwebbed across every available surface, and gloriously creamy blue skies floating above frosted branches.

(I’ve also seen the beautiful light effects that occur when you place a pink carnation on the melting snow on a surprisingly warm afternoon!)

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seventeen-mile drive

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Yesterday, Western Massachusetts suffered a messy and miserable mix of sleet and snow and hail: so please believe that I’m taking any opportunity to send my mind back to California!

Of course, we couldn’t stop in the Monterey area without winding our way along the scenic Seventeen-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. The afternoon began misty and grey (why is that so much more beautiful by the sea than among the gloomy bare trees of New England winters?) and blossomed into another glowing sunset.

And although I can’t teleport myself back to the other side of the country, at least you can follow me on a multi-mile journey around a meandering coastal road!

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2016 in Wandering

 

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gillette castle, connecticut  ♡ washington, dc ♡ the clark art institute, massachusetts 

west kirby, england  cinque terre, italy firenze, italy

the lake district, england ♡ the national gallery, dc 

Happy New Year’s Eve-Eve! Since I’ll be kicking off 2017 by traveling to Monterey Bay Aquarium…I mean, California, I thought I’d revisit these past twelve months of adventuring. It will probably be a long time before I take so many trips in one year again!

As someone who tends to get anxious about traveling (that’s the blog-friendly, extremely understated version of it, anyway), I am very impressed that I pulled off two international voyages this year: to Italy in April and England over the summer. I also took the train all the way down the Eastern Seaboard to D.C. twice, and spent time in countless New England museums.

Though I doubt I’ll be crossing as many international borders next year, I do hope to visit at least one new state, country, or area. It would be fun to meet a pen pal or two in person, too! What are your travel plans (or wild hopes and impossible dreams rather than plans) for 2017?

King Arthur’s Court in Connecticut: Gillette Castle

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Most of my earliest childhood memories of the Mainland relate to the many trips we took from Hawai’i to Connecticut to visit my grandparents on the coast of Long Island Sound. Perhaps the oddest of these–one that I suspected I might have just invented–was a faint recollection of riding in a carriage towards the ruins of a great stone castle. As you might imagine, we don’t exactly get a lot of thirteenth-century European architecture here in the States.

It turns out, though, that Gillette Castle State Park is all too real: even if it was built in 1914 rather than 1214. The former mansion of eccentric and actor William Gillette, this architectural-folly-slash ruin is basically my Romantic heart’s wildest dream. And, to be honest, if I were a millionaire actor with cash to burn and land to buy, I’d also choose the forests of Connecticut as the ideal spot in which to live out my Arthurian fantasies.

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Tolkien Mailing: What Have I Got In My Pocket Letter?

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What’s the best way to shake yourself out of a creative mail slump? Pick your favorite author and go to town with themed literary letters!

A while ago, I showed off a Jane Austen mailing from a pen pal, and I finally had the time to craft the perfect reply. I took my visual inspiration from an amazing vintage volume in my personal library: David Day’s A Tolkien Bestiary, published in 1979. Its surreally beautiful illustrations perfectly capture all the earthly and ethereal creatures of Tolkien’s world. The book is in great condition, so I’d never turn its pages into an envelope any time soon–but I did borrow its color scheme and general Middle Earth aesthetic!

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Berkshire Museums ’16: Renoir Redeemed

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I’ve been joking about my “feud” with Pierre-Auguste Renoir ever since I overdosed on his art at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia–a place where literally every wall is covered with his works. An afternoon there will certainly give you enough bucolic portraits of shimmeringly blurry young girls to last a lifetime!

Truth is, though, that I’m totally kidding myself: I love what the guy can do with color and flowers. At a place like the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, where I was surrounded by both nature and Impressionism, I’m even more apt to admire his boldly-brushed blooms.

2016 marks the third year in which I’ve kicked off September with a field trip to museums in the Berkshires. This time, I was inspired by my love of macro photography to capture wondrous, delicate details in Renoi–um, Impressionist paintings–and some other enchanting genres!

(Pictured above: a photograph of a flower I took on one of the Clark’s nature trails, followed by some blooms painted by–you guessed it…)

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4 hours in Boston, as told by ducks

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Though it’s no secret that I’m not a fan of big cities, I do enjoy brief expeditions into the parts of such civilization that I appreciate the most: museums, libraries, and public parks, to name a few. After a busy weekend oversaturated with standardized testing (which went surprisingly well!), I spent a short time in my nearest metropolis, brunching and visiting various pond-dwellers. I wouldn’t quite call duck photography a panacea for all GRE ills, but it certainly helped me recover a bit.

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