Sunset on Bailie Beach: Mattituck, NY

Bailie Beach is my favorite “by the water” spot at home.  I grew up down the road from this beach and have memories of fishing off the shore, climbing all the way to the end of the jetty, swimming out to the big rock, stepping on crabs (ew!), finding cash in the seaweed after storms, and taking lovely long walks.  I’ve also seen some of the most breathtaking sunsets from this shoreline.

By day Bailie is your ordinary northeastern rocky beach.

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By evening, it can transform into something magical.  The sunset we saw last night was “meh” compared to some I’ve seen, but still very pretty.  Like moths to a flame, the locals started showing up.  A pair of ladies hurriedly walking to catch the fading light, cars pulling up to the guardrail in time to watch, teens running down from the old Boy Scout lodge to stand at the edge of the sand before the last light of day…

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(All pics taken with my crummy little iPhone.  No filters were applied because nature is just that pretty sometimes.)

A Day In The Hamptons: Art, Gardens, & The Atlantic

Even though I’m a North Fork girl, I absolutely love the Hamptons.  They are beautiful in their small town simplicity and urban sophistication, and in the spring just before the official season begins, the locals enjoy the last sunny days before Montauk Highway is suffocated by city traffic.  Today we started at the Parrish Art Museum, which is free on Wednesdays.  I’ve been fascinated by this building since construction began a few years ago.  The design is modern and minimalist, a rectangle in a field next to a vineyard.


The art was surprisingly wonderful.  There is currently an exhibit by Alice Aycock that was mesmerizing to me.  The pieces are very geometric in nature with lots of angles and three dimensional drawings with bright splashes of color incorporated into them.  I was enamored.  In fact, I had no idea that one of her installations sat on the riverbank in Nashville in 2007.  I remember the piece and knew nothing about it when it was in the city, but I rounded a corner in the museum and there was the picture.

I wish I could have taken photos while inside.  There isn’t a ton on display, but what is being shown is showcased very well with lots of spacing in between and tons of natural light coming in through the wide expanses of windows in the building.  I will definitely be heading back for future installations!

Next, dad and I headed to Marders Nursery to look at gorgeous plants that I can’t take on the plane with me.  Sadness abounds!!!  This garden center is sublime.  The place sells everything you could possibly want and the employees know their dirt, which is awesome.  The gift shop/florist has lovely planters with all kinds of succulents, a wide variety of very hard to find seeds, and all sorts of incredible books that make you want to sit for hours and look at pictures of plants.

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Then we were on to East Hampton to visit the Longhouse Reserve, which I believe is one of most well kept hidden gems on the South Fork.  This 16 acre botanical garden could not be more beautifully done.  I was so surprised we hadn’t found this place before and am so glad dad discovered it!  There are sculptures scattered throughout the gardens, but the most glorious thing about this place at this particular time of year is the daffodils…there are literally thousands that put on a heart stopping display around every corner.  The cherries were in bloom, the vinca were carpeting the woods in purple, and the ferns were starting to unfurl.  We could not have picked a more perfect day to visit!

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This was done by Yoko Ono apparently…or some poor bloke who had to pour the cement for a giant chess board she designed.

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Who doesn’t love finding a happy elephant frolicking in the woods?  Who?!

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Chihuly.  The guy gets around…


A trip to the Hamptons isn’t complete until you pay a visit to Martha Stewart’s house on Lily Pond Lane.  I was reading her blog recently about how she was transferring some of her rose bushes to her Bedford farm, and well, it wasn’t too hard to figure out where she was considering that we love driving by Lily Pond.  Her home is lovely, shielded by privet hedge and a pretty sea green gate.  I can only imagine how gorgeous it must be on the inside.


Georgica Beach is such a lovely spot to view the ocean in the off season.  From May 15 – September 15 a residential permit is required to park there, so we get our walks in when we can.  Just a short jaunt down the beach are Steven Spielberg’s home and Calvin Klein’s former residence.  I can see why they love this stretch of beach.  I envy them the view, but feel so lucky to be able to drive down here and see it too.


The houses on West End Road line this beach and have insane amounts of massive chimneys, as in like ten chimneys on one house.  Why?  Do they still heat the rooms with fireplaces?  Is it like Downton Abbey “Hampton’s style” with servants shoveling coal during the winter?  Are they for show?  Does the house with the most chimneys win?  Santa must get so confused.

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The Atlantic is a majestic powerhouse.  The waves roll in slowly and crash as though the weight of world is swimming through them.  With the freezing winds it’s hard to stand and look for long, but I love the feeling of smallness I get when standing in front of the sea.  You can take a girl away from the water…and it may very well break her heart.

A Day In The Big Apple: Art & Friends

I really enjoy traveling with other people because the experience is sometimes more fun when shared, but I couldn’t resist a chance to visit the city by myself and see some girlfriends.  There is now a direct Boltbus from the Riverhead Hilton Garden Inn that only costs $12 each way, which is so much cheaper than the LIRR or the Hampton Jitney.  I got to the city around 9:45 am and headed straight for the 6 train to head uptown to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I have loved the Met ever since the very first time I stepped foot through those massive doors.  My love affair with the Met probably began the moment I read From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  If you never read the story as a child, do yourself a favor and take a step back in time to catch yourself up.  After I got home tonight I found this New Yorker article that I loved about the book and the museum.


Today, there was no agenda.  I had about two and a half hours of time to wander and stumble upon whatever relics fell in my path.  I didn’t pull out the massive museum map, I simply started with Egypt and went from there.  I wandered through galleries of furniture all set up in over-sized dollhouse rooms, depicting European opulence and American primitive times.  Then came the circular room that looks like something straight out of a regency novel, except it’s Versailles and the gardens surrounding the palace.  You can stand in the middle of this room surrounded by a giant panoramic oil painting that draws you into a time past, when men were gentlemen and women dressed in finery to impress.  Every time I go to the Met and end up in this room I wish that somehow if I spun fast enough I could suddenly end up as part of the picture, like Narnia, but without the wardrobe.


Moving on to my favorite part of the entire museum, the Tiffany galleries.  I love glass as art.  I think the light captures me.  Not so much the lamps, or even the jewelry, but the windows…they take my breath away.  For me, when I look at these windows, I see less of the picture and more of the artist.  I imagine him bending over the panes, piecing the delicate fragments together, weaving a tapestry of glass that portrays the colors seen through his inner eye.  There is a church in Franklin with Tiffany windows and it’s such a surprise to me that works by this master exist less than a mile from my home.  I lingered awhile in the gallery, walking back and forth between the pieces, ascending to the upper floors to look at the vases and then gaze down on the windows from up above.

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Going to the Met on a Tuesday did not entirely eliminate the crowds, but there were several times when I found myself alone in a hallway or a room, overcome by this magical feeling of being able to consume the art so selfishly.  It reminded me of a story a friend told me following her trip to Italy.  She was in an art museum over there and she rounded a corner to suddenly find herself alone in a hallway with a massive Fra Angelica piece, bringing her to tears.  There is something about being alone with these great works, as if you are standing before something so much bigger than yourself, something of such worth and value that has stood the test of time, and will continue to even after you are gone.


I got stuck in medieval world for a while, which I didn’t mind at all…because what girl doesn’t want to imagine some hot, sexy knight charging up on his steed, fresh from slaying a dragon or two on her behalf?

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There was also a lovely exhibit of Italian instruments which were pieces of art so beautiful, it’s beyond imagination to think they were played at one time…and whose were the fingers that touched the strings?  Whose ears heard their melody?

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After the museum, I headed back downtown to The Fig & Olive for lunch with my Women You Should Know girls.  We spent a couple of hours eating amazing food while trying to solve the mysteries of life.  Every woman should have friends she can do that with.  I would die without my girlfriends.  The women in my life blow me away with their talent, grace, humor, and straight up awesomeness.  I feel so incredibly rich.

I had an hour and a half to spare before meeting another girlfriend for dinner, so I headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  I didn’t grow up Catholic, but I love the sacred spaces that are Catholic churches.  The inside of St. Pat’s is currently being supported by a skeleton of scaffolding as they renovate the inside of the cathedral.  As I made my way around the perimeter of the church, the sounds of construction reverberated throughout the building.  Drills, saws, and hammering broke through the veil of quiet murmurs that usually fills the sanctuary.  Candles were lit, knees were bent in prayer, the homeless sat in the pews for a much needed rest, and fingers were dipped in holy water before exiting the massive doors.

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I headed across the street to Rockefeller Center, which currently has a Human Nature exhibit on display.  Whatever you do, do not come to NYC with the sole intent of seeing this thing.  It’s basically Stonehenge, but with torsos.  I wish Rock Center kept the ice rink all year round.  Even in the summer, I look over the walls with the anticipation of seeing people skating in wobbly circles.

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After meeting another girlfriend for dinner, I boarded the bus heading back east.  I love New York, but I’m no city girl.  I need open spaces to survive, and even as I walked beside Central Park looking out at the spent daffodils under the trees, I was keenly aware of the buildings lining the other side of the street.  I think this is why I miss the water so desperately when I’m in Tennessee, the wide open spaces open up my mind in a way woods and rivers and city streets cannot.  The day was relaxed and being alone in the big city for awhile was a confidence builder.  Even my directionally impaired self was able to manage the subway and the grid without getting lost, and I noticed more by being alone.  New York will always have a piece of my heart.

Tomorrow, the Hamptons!!!


Dallas: I Think They Have A Sports Team There

This past weekend I went to Dallas to spend some time with two of my best friends in the world.  We met our first week of college, lived together for a few years, and have faithfully kept in touch ever since.
Dallas is an interesting place.  It’s a conglomeration of insanely wealthy 1%-ers and somewhat normal people.  Lots of designer labels shoved in your face, lots of women wearing some shade of tan, and lots of Tory Burch.  My girlfriend lives in the Highland Park area where all the mansions are.  She found an adorable little apartment just down the road from Highland Park Village and we had great fun driving around the neighborhoods and freaking outover the size of the homes.  The word “mansion” is defined by Highland Park.  I grew up on the opposite side of the bay from the Hamptons, and let me tell you, the Hamptons are small beans compared to the oil money being flaunted in Dallas.

We ate at some incredible places.  Anyone who knows me, knows I have a slight addiction to tea.  I’m picky about my tea, but I really love it.  The girls and I went to afternoon tea at the Adolphus Hotel, and it was such a lovely experience.


We lounged on velvet couches and fancy chairs, admiring the flowers, tapestries, and woodwork in the
room while talking about our dashed dreams of marrying billionaires.  There were little tea sandwiches, scones, and desserts that were quite good, and we really OD’d on the tea…like, were kind of sick when we
left.  But a good round of shoe shopping soon took care of that and then we were thinking about dinner.


Which leads us to the Meddlesome Moth.  I want to start by saying that the food was divine.  I had roast
chicken on a bed of creamed cauliflower and asparagus that really blew me away.  The service, on the other hand, left a little to be desired and the microbrews we tried were sub par.  Our server really didn’t know
much about beer because he brought me a porter that tasted like a merlot, and my friend tried his recommendation only to receive a tepid excuse for a hefeweizen.  I would totally eat there again, but order
wine instead, and perhaps communicate a bit more with the server.  The vibe is really cool with stained glass windows of Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis.  I’m quite jealous we don’t have more places like that in


On Saturday we went to a lunch place called Bolsa which was ridiculously delicious.  The special was braised chicken risotto with Greek cheese and roasted grapes.  We asked the server how big the portion was, and all we can assume is that we must have looked un-hungry because I can safely say we could have downed about two more bowls of the stuff.  It was drool-worthy spectacular risotto.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Then we headed to the Dallas World Aquarium where our ears were assaulted by screaming children and monkeys.  This place was pretty cool.  I still say that my hands-down favorite aquarium is the Tennessee Aquarium.  I have rarely seen one with a better or more dynamic setup.  If you ever visit anywhere near Chattanooga, make sure you go there or you are missing out on an awesome experience.   The cool thing about the one in Dallas though is that it’s very open and is way more than just an aquarium.  As soon as you walk in there are exotic birds flying overhead and monkeys are hanging out in the trees next to the walking path.


There’s a sloth hanging in a tree snacking on something gross and you can just walk up to the guy, take some pictures, and admire how chill he is in spite of all the crazy “spring break” children going nuts.  He was so darn cute I could hardly stand it.


The aquarium part of the place was simply beautiful with tanks housing sea life from different parts of the world.  I think this place is definitely worth the trip, but try to hit it on a less crowded day.

And lastly, I will mention this incredible little French place we went to, Toulouse Cafe’.  The people-watching here is off the charts.  If you eat here and don’t get the beignets, we can’t be friends.  They are these orgasmic little fried doughnuts sprinkled with powdered sugar, accompanied by some kind of cappuccino sauce with hints of orange.  They’re insane.  The eggs Benedict are also to die for.  Everything here is good.

The best thing about the whole weekend was seeing my friends, the ones who know me best, who I can simply be myself around and feel at home with.  It’s always so sad to leave, but I’m reminded of how
incredibly blessed I am when I spend time with my girls.  I plan to eat nothing but vegetables for the next week because I swear I gained 5 pounds from all the awesome food we ate.  Viva Dallas!