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Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

Photos: Dina Litovsky/The New Yorker
Many Amish families have been taking winter vacations for years in Florida, where the women’s volleyball game is a popular nightly event.

It’s fascinating to me how the Amish culture carries on generation after generation, an apparently calm little world in the midst of the turmoil that is America. Recently the New Yorker magazine followed a group of Amish families on their winter vacation and came back with a collection of charming photos.

Alice Gregory writes, “Each winter, for close to a century now, hundreds of Amish and Mennonite families have traveled from their homes in icy quarters of the U.S. and Canada to Pinecraft, a small, sunny neighborhood in Sarasota, Florida. Arriving on chartered buses specializing in the transportation of ‘Plain people’ from areas such as Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Holmes County, Ohio, they rent modest bungalows and stay for weeks, or sometimes months, at a time. …

“Originally drawn to Pinecraft’s affordable real-estate prices and off-season farming potential, the first Amish families began coming in the mid-nineteen-twenties, with the idea of growing celery. They found the soil disappointing, but not the comparatively languid life style. Now, without barns to raise or cows to milk or scrapple to prepare, the typically stringent rules of Anabaptist life are somewhat suspended in Pinecraft. …

“Earrings, usually forbidden, can be seen glittering from beneath white bonnets, and houses are outfitted with satellite dishes. … Swimming, volleyball, and shuffleboard are encouraged; ice-cream cones are a nightly ritual.” Check out some terrific photos at the New Yorker, here.

Although I don’t know of any special vacation spot like that in New England, I do know that Amish people sometimes travel to Boston. I see family groups from time to time at South Station. And I always feel a kind of admiration for their lack of self-consciousness in settings where they must know they stand out.

The first all-female Mennonite bocce-ball game in Sarasota, Florida. The players’ husbands stand on the side to cheer.

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You’ve heard of working vacations to learn about farm life and milking cows or to help Earthwatch study sea lions. A new and unusual vacation offering involves running a bookshop.

‘Literature lovers often dream about owning a bookshop ,” writes Jess Denham at The Independent, “and now, the opportunity is there if you’re willing to fork out £150 for the privilege.

“The Open Book shop in Scotland’s ‘national book town’ of Wigtown has been listed on room-letting website AirBnB offering wordy holidaymakers the chance to work a 40-hour week selling books and customising the store with their ‘own stamp.’ ”

“Local book experts will be on hand to train guests in the seaside town …

“Some ten guests have already hired the bookshop and apartment above, including an elderly couple fulfilling a lifelong ambition, two members of a band that writes and performs songs about books, a librarian from Oregon and a Dutch civil servant. … Guests are encouraged to blog about their experience while carrying out ‘all the normal duties of a bookseller’ …

“Independent authors are invited to sell their own books in the store and set up their own promotional displays.”

More here.

Photo: The Open Book
The Open Book store in Wigtown, Scotland, is opening its doors to holidaymakers.

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The latest thing in tiny houses is taking a vacation in one. The Boston Globe suggests that if you have been intrigued about downsizing (way, way down sizing) to a tiny house, you could test one out. Or maybe you just want to simplify your life for a week.

Jessica Geller writes, “Getaway, a new startup out of Harvard, is taking the off-the-grid retreat and miniaturizing it. …

“For $119 a night, a group of four can book a cabin complete with hotel basics, such as towels and sheets. The tiny house is stocked with snacks, bicycles, firewood, and playing cards, all available for purchase via Venmo, a mobile payment system.

“Getaway … is one of the first projects out of the Millennial Housing Lab — a collaboration among the business, law, and design schools [at Harvard] — with the goal of developing fresh housing ideas for a new generation. …

“But are they too cramped for comfort? Jon Staff, a cofounder of the Millennial Housing Lab, says no. They’re full of conveniences. And they might just teach visitors a thing or two about scaling back. …

“In addition to Getaway, the Millennial Housing Lab plans to build tiny houses for the homeless and create kits for anyone to be able to build a house in 30 days.

“At 160 square feet, the 8×20-foot Getaway cabin is larger than the average minivan, 90 square feet, and a little smaller than a school bus, 245 square feet.”

Check out a few of my past posts on tiny houses: here, here, here, and here. And be watching for a series of photographs I’m taking of a tiny house going up gradually over the summer at the Umbrella Arts Center.

Photo: Kataram Studios

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When the twins Bill and Ted were 50, they called their party a 100th birthday party. Now they are younger.

I’m posting a few pictures from today’s celebration at the family’s vacation place in Halifax, Massachusetts. The old stove and the dock on the lake belong to the twins’ sister’s cottage, which she keeps as much as possible the way it looked when it was built in the 1890s.

The whole area had a nice old-timey feel and reminded me a bit of my grandfather’s place in Beverly Farms. Especially the pine needles. The Lebanese spread was catered by chefs that Bill met when Kristina twisted his arm to take a cooking class. It was yummy.

The lakeside neighborhood seems to have a fishing culture, as witnessed by a neighbor’s fishing-lure mailbox.

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When I said I was taking my laptop on vacation, Bob urged me to forget about work and release my “inner Frenchman.”

Well, my inner Frenchman is having a field day as I have a couple days without work and before the family returns to the island. I wouldn’t like it all the time, but for a brief spate, it’s nice to just take pictures and naps, read an Eliot Pattison mystery about the French and Indian War, and plan lunch with friends. The days are sunny, the evenings may feature an art opening.

(Wish I could say the beautiful produce is mine, but it’s Sandy’s and Pat’s, from their garden.)

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Even though she lived in Paris for several years, Melita is frequently startled by how kooky and fun the French can be.

Today she told me she just learned that they’ve been making a Riviera-type beach along the Seine for the past 12 summers.

I checked out Wikipedia: “Paris-Plages … is a plan run by the office of the mayor of Paris that creates temporary artificial beaches each summer along the river Seine in the centre of Paris, and, since 2007, along the Bassin de la Villette in the northeast of Paris. Every July and August, roadways on the banks of the Seine are blocked off and host various activities, including sandy beaches and palm trees.” More here.

The mayor’s website notes, “The summer transforms Paris. The cityscape dons greenery and the riverside thoroughfares become car-free resorts. The Paris Plages (Paris Beaches) operation kicks off on or around 20 July and lasts four weeks.  …

“A Seine-side holiday. That, in a nutshell, is what Paris Plages is all about – complete with sandy beaches, deckchairs, ubiquitous ice cream sellers, and concerts for French and foreign guests. …

“The first beach [opened] in 2002. It spans three kilometres through historical Paris, and features open-air attractions (rollerblading, tai-chi, wall climbing, boules etc.). Refreshment areas, play areas and deckchairs are available for your time out unwinding by the river.” More.

Photo: Wikipedia.org. Many amusing pictures here, too.

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