Friday, August 8, 2014

Vacation Notes: Not in Provence, But Still Pretty Dreamy

Just got back from a fabulous vacation to upstate New York. We spent time at our family summer house on Lake Ontario, and also visiting family in Syracuse and Ithaca. Check out these black caps. They were growing wild just about everywhere.

We drove our bikes to this secret location and picked enough berries for an upside-down cake. And that's after we ate about a quart on site.

We also took my dad's small fishing boat out to a nearby island. The sun was just setting. And it was so quiet. I could live on this island.

I took this shot from an old abandoned structure on the island. The view was 180 degrees and pretty amazing.

I had to walk up this rickety old ladder to get to a crow's nest lookout at the top--about 25 feet up. Birds have pretty much overtaken this old abandoned house, which is now owned by the state of New York.

Here's a view from the bow of our small fishing boat. The lake was as smooth as glass.

Ah, the abandoned lighthouse. Don't tell anyone, but I was doing research for a new screenplay and getting a little inspiration on our tour. In my story, this lighthouse is a dark, sinister place. But in real life, it's pretty cool.

Another angle. Yup, this is wild and overgrown. This truly is like a deserted island.

We also got to spend time at the home of my sister Christa in Lansing, NY. She and her husband Todd built an awesome timber-frame/straw bale house on 20 acres. Here, Zjena was helping to pick some super-sweet cherry tomatoes out of the raised beds you can see in the background. Later, we took a stroll to a multi-acre garden at Christa's in-laws' farm—which conveniently is located just a stroll away through the woods. There, we picked some incredible produce for lunch. With land like this, who needs grocery stores!

These raised beds with herbs were just so pretty. Pesto, anyone? Chris freezes so much pesto that it lasts through the entire winter. 

Rainbow chard.


Zjena with her cousins, Juneau and Acadia--both named after some incredibly beautiful places in the world. They are holding some baby toads in their hands. We found them on this walk from my sister's house to the garden. Of course, we later let our amphibious friends go.

Check out this garden. Cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, squash, eggplant, Christmas trees...should I go on? You can see a greenhouse just peeking out at the upper right corner.

Eggplant from the greenhouse. So pretty.

Here's one of our amazing lunches by the lake: a Thai-inspired coconut corn soup with lime, cilantro and lots of basil. Most of the veggies and herbs supplied by Chris' family farm. Yum.

These plump uber-sweet raspberries were growing along the driveway. Wish I could grow these in Los Angeles, but I've never had much luck with raspberries. 

We took our boat to a place on the Lake known as the "High Rocks." The kids had a ball jumping off them.

Another shot from the crow's nest on the island. Looks like a framed piece of art.

Here's our ship's captain.