Now, you could argue that summer never really got underway here in Bremen — and I would definitely have to agree. But summer in the sense of life slowing down a bit, longer days, and the anticipation of traveling and see friends was alive and real in these parts. After spending all of July trying to catch up from the spring and prepare for fall at work, I was very happy to take off for two weeks at the beginning of August for a little tour of the East Coast, seeing some of my favorite people and places.
My first stop was Northampton, Massachusetts to visit a good friend, see her new hometown, her new home, and meet her lovely daughter. It was a crazy long travel day, involving flying to Frankfurt, then to JFK, then getting into the city, then taking an Amtrak (somehow I managed to forget over the past 9 years since I left NYC what a hell hole Penn Station is) up to Connecticut, then another to Springfield, MA, and finally a cab to Northampton. I arrived there about 24 hours after my alarm went off in Bremen that morning. But I’m not complaining — especially since I got super lucky on the Frankfurt-JFK leg of my journey and was bumped up to Business Class by Lufthansa — heavenly! I savored every single second of it because, seriously, how often does that happen?? And on a transatlantic flight, to boot?
In any case, I really loved wandering around Northampton and enjoying some of my favorite spots from previous visits up to Western Mass. Highlights included enjoying fresh, locally grown produce with every meal, early morning jet lagged induced runs, eating pie for breakfast, and an evening walk to the Smith College gardens.
After arriving late Wednesday night, my friend and I were off on Friday morning to drive down to Dutchess County, NY for a reunion of some grad school friends (just like last year!), stopping along the way to pick up another friend in the Berkshires. I must say that once again, our AirBnB selection was a smash hit! The house and the surrounding gardens were breathtaking! There were four bedrooms and four bathrooms, which was more than enough space for the eight of us. There was a huge dining table and kitchen, two different outdoor lounging spaces, plus a hot tub (which we made use of the second night), and fire pit for roasting marshmallows (which we made use of the first night). We went for a run on Saturday morning, lounged through the afternoon with lots of rosé and some homemade margaritas, and just like last year, we hired a personal chef to come cook us dinner on Saturday night (so decadent and so wonderful!).
That weekend was so good for my soul. It’s rare to find kindred spirits and I am so grateful that we all met almost exactly 15 years ago, and for every minute we can spend together. Life can be difficult in so many ways — and that’s not something that any of us can change — but it makes my heart swell to know that there’s this group of women who will celebrate and support each other through all of life’s up and downs.
Early Sunday afternoon, after a round of ice cream sandwiches and not a few tears, we all parted ways again. This time, I headed down to NYC with two friends in a classic, red Ford convertible — with the top down, of course. After spending the afternoon having a late lunch together in Bryant Park before my friend’s flight back across the ocean, I made my way up to Morningside Heights — which is nearly always my home base whenever I make it back to the city, thanks to a good friend’s generosity and guest bedroom!
Unfortunately, I had already started coming down with a cold on Sunday, so I stocked up on some heavy duty cold medicine (yay, USA!) and went to bed early. I felt pretty terrible all day on Monday, so I just slept and rested all day. But I started feeling a bit better over the next couple of days, and luckily was able to meet friends (from Bremen — wow, worlds colliding!) for Ethiopian food, saw the Calder exhibit at the Whitney, found my favorite strawberry and basil popsicles on the Highline, visited the Oculus for the first time, met a friend for Mexican food in Chinatown and ice cream on the LES, and saw Dunkirk at an IMAX cinema. I always feel at home in the city, and this visit was no different — thanks NYC for always holding your arms wide open for me!
While there was no upgrade to business class on my flights home, I couldn’t have been happier after my wonderful trip, and I’m pretty sure I was glowing the whole way home.
What have you been up to over your summer vacation?