summer

Verdon Gorge

Um, can I go here ASAP?!

verdon gorge

That’s Verdon Gorge, in Provence, France. (Click on the photo to get a better view!) I stumbled upon this snapshot, the other day, and was instantly transfixed.

Verdon Gorge is often referred to as Europe’s Grand Canyon, though at 16 miles long and 2,300 feet deep, it’s not quite as large. (The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and a mile deep!) Still, as far as I know, the Colorado River in our stateside canyon isn’t asВ magnificently blue as the Verdon River.В Its water gets its stunning color from microalgae and fluoride.

I was struck by Verdon Gorge’s sheer beauty—and how idyllic it looks to spend a day there, drifting downstream in a raft. It reminds me of a much more dramatic variation on the annual tubing outing we embark on every year!

Besides rafting, you can also go kayaking, paragliding, climbing and a number of other outdoor activities in and around the gorge.

I’ve already added it to my travel wishlist.

(Photo via bippity boppity boo)

So Not Ready for the End of Summer!

How is it already September? This summer has flown by! And yet, somehow it feels like it lasted for ages–which, in my opinion, is definitely a good thing!

Every year, I say that I’ve had the best summer, ever. This year is no exception. From mid-May through today, I’ve been lucky to have tons of good times with the people I love the most.

I spent many beach weekends in Maryland with Mal and Peter…

mal and peter

…and friends…

mal, heather, reen

mal, virginia, heather

…and family.В We spent lots of time lounging on the beach, but also hit up ridiculous places likeВ Seacrets, lol!…

seacrets

…andВ devoured mountains of crustaceansВ atВ our favorite blue crab joint.

blue crabs

We also discoveredВ Jules, which, not counting theВ crabВ places,В is definitely the best restaurant in the Ocean City area. We went there with our parents, in mid-July, on Mal and Peter’s last weekend in the area.

e and meme

And then, Mal and Peter left Maryland…

ocean city

…and were back in New York, much to my delight!

mal and heather

Especially since now they’re only a half hour away and I can see them as often as I want. And rope them into things like river tubing. рџ™‚

tubing

I didn’t leave NYC during August. At first, I wondered if I could deal with that much time in one place. But it turned out to be a great month. I spent lots of time studyingВ SpanishВ and rehearsing a piece from “Les Sylphides” for the dance show I performed in last weekend.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Now I’m off from work for 16 days–and savoring the last bit of NYC summer before I leave for Guatemala early tomorrow morning!

mal and peter

heather and mal

Are you also sad about the end of summer?

River Tubing

Every year, for the past three Julys, a group of us has gone tubing on the Delaware River. It’s really the perfect summer tradition: lazily floating downstream while surrounded by pretty scenery and sipping a beer. In my book, there are few better ways to spend a hot afternoon.

The first time, we went though a company,В in Frenchtown, NJ, that provided tubes and a ride back upstream to the starting point. But then, one of my friends realized that you can just buy cheap inflatable floats, park at the Frenchtown boat launch, travel along the same route–and bring drinks and snacks along. Let’s just say that the next year was way more fun.

On Saturday, we made our annual trip. The afternoon was bright and sunny but not too hot–perfect weather for our nearly 6 mile float between Jersey and Pennsylvania.

delaware river tubing

tubing

mal, peter, doug, alex

The current was slow, so we had plenty of chillaxin’ time as our makeshift flotilla bobbed downstream. The guys even made BBQ brisket sandwiches right in their tubes!

peter tubing

mal tubing

heather tubing

doug tubing

Along the way, we saw another group of tubers launching themselves off a rope swing. I was too short to reach the rope (boo!), but Alex and Peter went for it.

alex and rope swing

alex on the rope swing

delaware river tubing

Next year we’re thinking of trading up our round floats for wacky ones like thisВ or these–gotta up the ridiculous factor a little more every time!

(P.S. – On the way home, Mal and I had dinner at the Lovin’ Oven, a super-cute place with great food, just a minute away from where we launched our tubes.)

What’s your favorite summer tradition?

Off to a Buoyant Weekend!

river tubing

Clearly, I’m not heading to the Maryland coast this weekend. But I do have another fun, summer activity planned: river tubing! Every July, a group of us head to the Delaware River for a few hours of lazily floating downstream, enjoying the pretty scenery–and drinking lots of beer. (No high diving involved, though.) It’ll be a great way to relax after helping Mal and Peter unpack!

What are you up to? And please enjoy my favorite links from the week:

Trash, illustrated

Enviable backsplashes (so much nicer than my painted cement kitchen walls!)

Want to rent Obama’s old UWS apartment?

A cat was elected mayor of an Alaska town–for the 15th year in a row!

And speaking of cats: photos taken at just the right time

(Photo from Slate, via {joycreation})

Off to My Last Maryland Beach Weekend!

OC parasailer

I’m heading down to Maryland with the rents. It’s Mal and Peter’s last weekend before moving back to New York. So we’re going to help them pack up their place, but also fit in plenty of beach time and, of course, enjoy one last blue crab dinner. I’m sad to say goodbye to my “summer share”–I loved having a place to escape to on the weekends. But I’m even happier to have Mal and Peter nearby!

Have a wonderful weekend! And enjoy my favorite links from this week:

Gorgeous photos of Norway (they make me want to go back!)

A disturbingly accurate portrayal of what happens every time “that Goyte song” starts playing in the car. This was literally me and my best friend on our drive to and from Maryland a few weeks ago. Multiple times.

Colorful towns from around the world

Why can’t the Bronx be more like Brooklyn?

Nutty, yet brilliant: New Yorkers can rent a backyard by the hour on the LES

Could you live in a 300-square foot studio? (I don’t think I could!)

There’s going to be an Internet Cat Video Film Festival. Seriously.

The best fish tacos in NYC. (I really don’t know why we don’t have better Mexican food here. Sadly, some of the best fish tacos I’ve had in the city were ones I’ve made myself. But I can vouch for Fonda Nolita’s being among the better ones!)

Assateague Island

assateague island

How nutty is this photo? I don’t know about you, but I don’t often see wild animals on the beaches I visit. But this is the norm at Assateague Island, which is just a few minutes from Mal and Peter’s place. The 37-mile national seashore runs from Maryland to Virginia and is known for its wild horses. On the Virginia side, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department owns the animals and keeps them fenced in designated areas. But on the Maryland side, they’re free to roam as they please–even among beachgoers.

Mal said that when she, Peter and Paul went to Assateague last week, the small herd in the photo above just milled around for hours. They went into the water and ambled along the sand, sometimes causing sunbathers to scramble to get their blankets out of their way. Then, at the end of day, the horses sprinted away as if they had somewhere to be.

Even though it’s on my Maryland bucket list, I haven’t made it to Assateague and probably won’t, at this point. I’m severely allergic to horses–which I discovered on a disastrous 8th grade trip to a dude ranch–and probably couldn’t be in such close proximity to them. Plus, while the horses are gorgeous to look at, the beach has some not-so-appealing equine-related issues: namely horse droppings and horseflies. But I’m glad to visit it vicariously through Mal, Peter and Paul’s photos!

(Photo via Peter Burger)

Off to MD!

beach

Surprise, right? I’m sure you knew I’d be heading to the beachВ this weekend. How could I not? I spent July 4th in the city and realized that it was my first time doing so in years. I had a very nice NYC holiday. I went to ballet and brunch and even managed to catch some fireworks–I just walked across the street to the Hudson. Though I was too far north to see the Macy’s show, I saw a few displays from different NJ towns. (One perk of living way uptown.) But now I’m craving a quick escape from the city, so I’m taking an early morning train to Mal and Peter’s. (I think we’ll skip Seacrets, this time.)

Stay cool this weekend–it’s supposed to be 100 degrees on the east coast! And enjoy these links:

Yiiiiiiiiiikes! All of San Diego’s fireworks went off at once!

Do you live in a city? Hmm, let’s find out.

Awesome: an ode to Cooper Nielson (really ABT’s Ethan Stiefel) and Center Stage (the best worst movie, ever)–at NewYorker.com

10 cool, small kitchens (I actually think my kitchen is even smaller than all of them)