Saturday, October 22, 2011

Taking a breath

Chris and I just returned from a four-day hiatus in Savannah GA with some friends. Our first day off since mid-April of this year, it was a chance to draw a breath, slow down, and sleep in a little. (!!!) This was our first trip to Savannah, and we loved all of it: the peaceful, tree-filled squares that so nicely define the downtown, the wonderful architecture, the slower pace of life of the Deep South. Savannah is reputedly replete with ghosts, so visiting so near Halloween was quite the ticket. Weather was beautiful for most of our stay, and we had fun wandering the historic neigborhoods, touring some wonderful houses and exploring antique shops and walking the river front. And oh yes, enjoying Low Country cooking, including taking a cooking class by local celebrity Chef Joe Randall, where I got some great ideas (who ever thought of using grits as a spread, much like hummus...?), though nothing I anticipate incorporating into breakfast. Of course we stayed at a B&B -- the Eliza Thompson House on Jones Street. It is said that there is even a ghost of a Confederate soldier in the house who haunts the room we'd chosen (the R. Bruce room, one of the original bedrooms of the 1847 house) -- but if he dropped by while we were there, Chris and I were too exhausted to meet him.

Back home now and back in the groove at A Butler's Manor. It's a great time of year. People smile around here as they don their sweaters. Last weekend we had a full house of anniversary celebrants -- all five rooms! Though it shouldn't surprise me; because we so often enjoy perfect autumn weather this time of year, it's a prime time to get married. Over the past couple of weeks we've had well over a dozen couples celebrating their anniversaries. In fact, we were among them. Chris and I celebrated our twenty-third anniversary in September.

Fall means that the farm stands are hopping, as are the pumpkin patches like Hank's Pumpkintown and the corn mazes. (And if those popular attractions were NOT what drew you out for a visit this time of year, Chris and I can show you routes around them.) One particularly good corn maze -- called a "maize" -- is at Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton. More than just entertainment for the kids, upon entering the maize at Fairview Farm, you choose a card with your favorite trivia catagory. Thereafter, when you reach a point that requires a choice of directions, your answer to your trivia question will determine whether you make a right or a left turn.

Fall also means the wineries are beginning to harvest their grapes, and their tasting rooms are extra busy, especially over on the North Fork, and often feature live entertainment on weekends. Local restaurants take advantage of the bountiful harvest to season their menus with fall fare like butternut squash ravioli and all sorts of yummy soups...yikes, I'm gettting hungry!

With fall in the air, and a more relaxed pace to the Hamptons, it's a chance to tidy and spruce things up before winter sets in. As I write, foliage is still green and temperatures are in the 60's during the day...typically, the East End doesn't experience full fall color until after Halloween. So over the next few weeks, we'll be painting woodwork and trim in the upstairs hallway, as well as tidying up the garden where the annuals are fading, though our prolific dahlias and roses continue to bloom merrily, providing lovely color. The fire is laid in the afternoons to guests returning after a day enjoying the season.

We welcome fall as it gives us a chance to breathe a little, gear down from the frenetic pace of summer!

Quote of the Day: There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been! -- Percy Bysshe Shelley

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