What the Doctor Ordered

A RHode Island Getaway

Now that I’m better and coming off my sick-leave, I had an opportunity to travel for an impromptu getaway to Rhode Island to visit family. It seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. It also seems like I’m not ready to give up the beach combing yet — just because it’s no longer summer.

It was right after the big marketing push for announcing new designs so I knew there would still be some work to do but I relished the opportunity to relax. We had Hurricane Matthew that is brewing in the tropics on our tail. We survived a harrowing drive all night in the rain where people were using their hazards because it was so difficult to see and trucks were spaying us with tire-mist and constantly coming in our lane.

Fortunately, my husband did all the driving and made reservations at a boutique hotel in Connecticut, just outside of New York City, right off the Merritt Parkway. This meant we only had 3 more hours to drive to RI and hopefully the morning would be better.

Don’t let the name or stark location fool you but the Hi-Ho is a pretty cool place, boutique indeed with its 70’s retro styling and Andy Warhol prints and Palomino pillows in the bedrooms. Old-fashioned phones and red high-top tables set the contemporary breakfast room decor. We had one of the best continental breakfasts with one of the staff making sure everything was fresh and filled and greeting all the guests warmly.

Hi-Ho Hotel on Art Is Everywhere Hi-Ho Hotel bedroom on Art Is Everywhere

hi-ho-bathroom-feature-wall_on Art Is Everywhere

Like this one wallpapered feature wall.

There was an interesting Barcelona wine bar/ restaurant to try that was attached to the hotel but we weren’t staying for dinner. We’ll have to go back! As it turns out, I believe this  is a chain restaurant and each location may make their own unique adaptations. At least when we want our Spanish-fare fix, we can go a little closer to us in Reston, VA, but may not be as good. The one at the Hi-Ho has cabanas and their own vegetable garden and their award-winning food looks exceptional. Another reason to go back. In fact, this may be our regular pit-stop on our way to RI. I’m glad we discovered it!

hi-ho-barcelona restaurant on Art Is Everywhere

Beach + Food + Family

We weren’t expecting the weather in RI to be in the 50’s! We mostly brought short-sleeved tops but layering with sweaters and jackets kept us warm while we attempted to catch fish in the surf. Although our luck wasn’t good, the striped bass were biting as others were more lucky catching them on the beach (and throwing them back).

We tried some new places for food, like 210 Oyster Bar & Grill as well as some old favorites, like Haversham Restaurant & Tavern right off Post Road (road to the beaches).

two-ten-oyster-bar_AIE

210-oyster-bar-inside on AIE

Where we ate inside overlooking Salt Pond

210-oyster-bar-aerial on Art Is Everywhere

210-oyster-bar-outside-front on Art Is Everywhere

Front “tiki” bar to try in the summer

clam-cakes_on Art Is Everywhere

Clam Cakes!

haversham-restaurant-exterior_aie

“The Sham” as locals affectionately call it

haversham-restaurant-interior_aie haversham-about_aie

We were happy to have clam cakes in the off-season and see Green Hill in a peaceful state as all the transplanted vacationers had mostly packed up for the summer and had gone back to their other New England homes. The residents, however, and those who have long-time connections to the area were enjoying the calm. Everyone was friendly and was waving hello as almost a code that suggested we all have something in common for being here.

Here are some of the photos from our trip. Our (left) side of the beach had all the sand this time but this will change as the currents shifts from year to year.

Our sandy left side of Green Hill beach_AIE

Our sandy left side of the beach

green-hill-rocky-right-side_aie

The other — rocky and seaweed right side. Our beach usually looks like this.

Notice this change as you turn the corner on AIE

You notice this change as you turn the corner. (Photo Credit – The Rev. Peter Spencer)

Algae covered rocks on AIE

Algae covered rocks (at low tide) harbor lots of wildlife

mussels-and-snails on Art Is Everywhere

Mussels and Snails

One of our favorite days was the very last, when we spent time walking in the Trustom Pond Wildlife Refuge. It’s right next door to these beach properties, which is wonderful that is protected from being developed and serves as a safe haven for many wildlife. In the summer, a big part of the beach is closed off in an attempt to protect the nesting grounds of the piping plover.

Trustom Pond on Art Is Everywhere

Right as we started walking on the first path by the field that leads you to the pond, we saw a bobcat — first time! Initially we thought it was a dog. It was sitting on the path looking at something (probably for dinner) in the clearing. Another couple coming our way walked around the corner and scared it but didn’t even realize it was a bobcat. They thought the strap on our binoculars was a leash and therein the bobcat was a dog. It simply turned around and walked into the woods. It was not very afraid but we picked up a large stick as we continued on our way.

One of our favorite spots walking back is the lily pad pod. This is where Peter caught a bullfrog and pretended to kiss it when our boys were younger. They were grossed out!

lily-pad-pond on Art Is Everywhere

Frogs are everywhere on AIE

Frogs are everywhere you look

Frogs are everywhere 2 on Art Is Everwhere

This time, we saw a beaver!

See the beaver in trustom pond on AIE

See the beaver?!

The pictures reflect for me the magic a much-needed break can bring. Getting back to Nature, sharing meals and the importance of spending quality time with family all leave lasting, life-sustaining memories.

Beautiful Skylit Boulders on Art Is Everwhere

Beautiful Skylit Boulders

Pear cherry tomatoes from our roof top garden to share on AIE

We shared our pear-shaped cherry tomatoes from our roof top garden.

Bird imprints left lasting impressions on window on AIE

Bird imprints left lasting impressions on the beach house window

Preventing Cancer with French Flair

My husband and I were excited to be invited as guests to attend the annual Prevent Cancer Gala, held at the National Building Museum. Peter’s Committee Chairman, Congressman Fred Upton and colleague Diana DeGette were the honorees for their tireless efforts to introduce and push legislation through Congress to help find, fund and speed the process for 21st Century Cures for today’s illnesses.

Prevent Cancer Gala-2 honorees_Art Is Everywhere

Prevent Gala honoree_Art Is Everywhere

Organization President and Founder and event Chair, Carolyn Aldigé, Congressman Fred Upton and wife Amey

The theme was La Vie En Rose, which was fitting in light of the Paris terrorist attacks that linger in our collective consciousness. In fact, as I write this post, the remaining terrorist has just been caught in his hometown in Brussels. I hope the French get the information they need and that will help protect other countries from terrorist activities.

Prevent Cancer Gala La Vie En Rose_Art Is EverywhereBizzBash rates the gala as one of Washington’s top events in 2014. It was definitely decorated to the nines, complete with a huge Eiffel Tower replica at the bar with bartenders in berets serving French 75 champagne cocktails. Other French flair attributes included: cabaret dancers, antiqued-mirrored rectangular tables, beautiful floral bouquets of spring flowers in tall vases and individually set en masse down the center of the table. The food was delicious and typically French: bouillabaisse with mussels (my favorite) in a saffron aioli, charred beef tenderloin in red wine jus and cauliflower puree, poirier (pear) au chocolat (chocolate sponge cake with Poire William ice cream) and a demitasse café or tea with macaroons, cappuncino eclairs and almond madeleines. Surprisingly, this was not all that filing.

PreventCancerGala-AIE

Photo by Alfredo Flores. 22nd Annual Prevent Cancer Spring Gala?. National Building Museum. March 11, 2016_AIE

Photo by Alfredo Flores. 22nd Annual Prevent Cancer Spring Gala. National Building Museum. March 11, 2016

French 75 via Gin Foundry_Art Is Everywhere

French 75 via Gin Foundry

I wish I had taken pictures but unfortunately I got so caught up in having a good time that it was not on my radar, except for the first floor shot above. We dress up so infrequently in ballroom attire — long dress and tux — that it would have been nice to document. Dommage! Tant pis, pour les temps prochain!

Prevent Cancer Cabaret Dancers_ArtIsEverywhereYou can see many more pictures on the Prevent Cancer Organization’s Facebook page, but here are a few highlights and with some of the fun folks we met, like the Energy & Commerce Committee’s young staff.

Prevent Cancer Gala attendees_Art Is Everywhere ECC young staff strike a pose_Art Is EverywhereThe French Ambassador spoke. Andrea Roane, our local news anchor was the MC and the most clever method was used for their fundraising. Upon arriving, guests registered their cell phone and credit card with a bevy of young staffers inputting all this info on laptop computers. Guests were then sent a link on their phones to download the Prevent Cancer Org app. There was a floor auction in the bar area that could also be bid online and during the meal. This raised 1 million dollars! Another $40,000 in cash donations was raised during the evening from guests giving any increment using the app and their name would be displayed on the large teleprompters that were conveniently located on either side of the room. These really helped everyone see and hear the speakers as well as stay informed about the fundraising, which cleverly became a competition with those who gave not only pressing others to donate with their names flashing for all to see but anyone who contributed was handed a flashing necklace. You wouldn’t want to be caught without one. Smart!!

Prevent Cancer Gala table arrangements_Art Is Everywhere

Table arrangement. Photo by Josh Hartman

The most impressive thing, however, remains what this organization does with all the dollars it receives.

Prevent Cancer Gala-3_Art Is Everywhere Prevent Cancer Gala-4_Art Is EverywhereThis is a quick update. “Who” knew Roger Daltrey of The Who fame, would be involved in the 21st Century Cures regarding his effort with childhood cancers through Teen Cancer America, the organization he founded with Pete Townsand. This can be viewed via the Energy and Commerce Committee hearing just yesterday.

Roger Daltrey testifies on hill_Art Is Everywhere

A Father’s Day Celebration

We have an ongoing monthly brunch with my son and his wife. We decided to combine that with a Father’s Day Celebration last weekend.

It was a 4 star-sensory dining experience at China Chilcano, with everything from the visual decor to the food presentation, taste, smell and even touch with our seating sensation being sunken into the floor, a la modern Japanese style.

China Chilcano is an amalgamation of Peruvian, Chinese, Mexican and Japanese cuisine and eating styles. The food is excellent and the style is serendipitous, so if you’re in for a surprise, as we were, it is a pleasant one.

China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

2 China Chilcano decor on Art Is Everywhere

ceviche at China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

beautiful and delicious ceviche

Sunken table at China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

Sitting at the sunken table

Shaved Blackberry Ice at China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

Raspadilla de Chicha Morada. Shaved purple corn ice, lemongrass manjar
blanco, pineapple

Before taking the Metro home, we headed to the nearby Smithsonian American Art Museum and discovered this unusual building facade along the way.

Trompe l'oeil building facade in DC on Art Is Everywhere

Trompe l’oeil building facade in DC

Sculpture at the  Smithsonian American Art Museum on Art Is Everywhere

Sculpture & artwork at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Adams Memorial on Art Is Everwhere

Adams Memorial

About Adams Memorial on Art Is Everywhere

Angel Painting by Abbot Handerson Thayer on Art Is Everywhere

Angel Painting by Abbot Handerson Thayer

Thomas Moran Painting on Art Is Everywhere

Thomas Moran Painting

Later that evening an unexpected thunderstorm came through that created some unusual lighting, similar to the Thomas Moran painting, in its wake. Coincidentally, our American flag was highlighted. Be sure to fly yours on the 4th!

Strange light after a storm on Art Is EverywhereStrange lighting with dark sky on Art Is Everywhere

A Graduation Performance

I attended my goddaughter’s high school graduation recently. It was one of the best graduations I have witnessed with the focus being on the arts and the overall achievements of the senior class.

The weekend started and ended traveling with gorgeous weather over Memorial Day weekend. We headed to George School, a Quaker boarding school in Newtown, PA, just outside of New Jersey, where we were staying at the Hilton Garden Inn because there was nothing available closer in. Luckily for us, because this was a surprisingly pretty hotel.

I hadn’t stayed at this type of Hilton before but it is geared toward a high-end experience, with multiple interior vignettes, as well as outdoor seating areas (one around a fire pit) and a mini-golf / gaming lawn, where one can sit and enjoy children playing nearby. I was taken with the tall sheer curtains in the lobby, raising up at each corner of the vestibule to a tiered, vaulted ceiling with hanging lights as the centerpiece, surrounded with ever-changing fluorescent lights covering the color spectrum. It was modern, comfortable, welcoming and a pleasant stay.

Hilton Garden Inn, Trenton, NJ on Art Is Everywhere

Hilton Garden Inn, Trenton, NJ

Hilton Vestibule Lights surrounded by ever changing florescent lighting on Art Is Everywhere

Vestibule Lights surrounded by ever-changing fluorescent lighting

Hilton lobby sitting vignettes on Art Is Everywhere

Hilton lobby sitting vignettes

Hilton lobby sitting vignettes on Art Is Everywhere

Drum light with metallic table and comfortable seating in piano vignette

It was beautiful, almost-beach-weather for graduation day. The setting was at the school’s grotto, which was shaded with dappled light. Because the sides were naturally on an incline, everyone had a descent view. We had a several moments of silence, as is Quaker tradition to take in and reflect on being in the moment. The leaves were rustling among the trees and birds were singing.

The graduates filtered in and instead of calling them continuously, one-by-one, to received their diplomas, each row was punctuated with performances by the students — either a spoken reflection or a musical piece with signing and piano accompaniment. I found out later that the students had to audition to play these parts. The ceremony was a well-executed performance, with all the students having their shining moments. One even did backflips across the lawn to pick up his diploma. It was hard to top that but others added their own personal strut.

grotto graduation on Art Is Everywhere

George School graduation in grotto

This past performance will just be one of many. I’m so proud of my goddaughter and happy that she has now graduated and proceeding on to enter what will probably be a career of screen acting. I have no doubt that I’ll probably see her name in lights one day as a famous star.

graduation on Art is Everywhere

My goddaughter graduates

Antiques in Alexandria

The decorative arts are alive, especially at Antiques in Alexandria this weekend. I’m involved and that’s fresh off the heels of returning from work in New York. Casart coverings is wrapping Mary Douglas Drysdale’s featured booth for the event in one of her Signature Colors.

Antiques in Alexandria, Art Is Everywhere

Antiques in Alexandria

The show runs March 7th with a Kick Off Preview Party tonight through March 10th. Proceeds benefit three Alexandria, VA community groups: Twig (supporting the local Alexandria Inova Hospital / my volunteer group), The Lyceum (supporting Alexandria’s History Museum) and the Alexandria Association (dedicated to preservation of historic structures and promotion of the decorative arts).

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