Tag Archives: Nantucket

Looking Back on 2015

Looking Back on 2015

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As the first week of 2016 comes to a close I wanted to take a quick look back to savor the fantastic year that was 2015 before moving on. Last year flew by, full of family, work, and travel, and as excited as I am for upcoming 2016 plans, I want to make sure to take the time to pause and savor the highlights, and small successes of the past year before forging ahead.

2015 was an exciting year of travel. Skiing in Aspen. The Nantucket Book Festival. Yoga in Bali.  It will be tough to top! On our family trip we explored a glacier lake in Iceland and climbed crumbling castles in Ireland.  2016 does have a few exciting destinations on the horizon so far, so we will see!

This past year work fulfilled me and helped me grow. I challenged myself by agreeing to do a “media day” of television and radio interviews at the National Press Club in Washington, DC for the United Nations Foundation. As a Shot@Life Champion advocating for global vaccines I was paired up with Dr. Mkope a Tanzanian Pediatrician to do 22 TV and radio interview with stations from across the USA to highlight World Pneumonia Day. In 2015 I continued to work with local non-profit Edesia, the world’s 2nd largest producer of Plumpy’Nut, an amazing product used to treat malnourished children around the globe, and save the lives of nearly a million kids a year. Some of my photography and writing was included in a book put together by ONE.org that went to the US Congressional representatives to support the Electrify Africa Act which was ultimately passed by congress. As a United Nations 2015 Social Good Fellow I attended the Social Good Summit in New York City for the launch of the new Sustainable Development Goals. As Managing Editor of World Moms Blog I attended the United Nations Correspondents Association Award Gala at Cipriani with Founder Jennifer Burden to accept Senior Editor Purnima Ramakrishnan’s UNCA Award for journalism covering a UN topic on her behalf.

As wonderful as the travel and work accomplishments were this year, the moments with family and close friends are my most cherished every year, and there is nothing like being home, especially after an adventure away. I am so grateful to my husband and the supportive women in my life who cheered me on, and provided the incredible opportunities of the past year, and  I’m excited to see what the New Year brings!

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Nantucket Book Festival #ACKBookFestival

Nantucket Book Festival #ACKBookFestival

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My sixteen year old went to a three day concert festival earlier this month, and I imagine our girl’s weekend at the Nantucket Book Festival was to the six of us book lovers, what being in proximity to the rock stars were to my teen daughter. If it were socially acceptable I’m sure we too would have stood up and screamed as some of our idols took the stage, but in the subdued Nantucket Athaneum we surely would have been sternly escorted out out by a gentleman in a navy blazer.

That’s not to say that we didn’t have our wild moments of dancing to random bands in a dive bar…. or……ok, so maybe that was the one wild moment of the weekend….. but it was a thrilling weekend full of books and authors, great food, and friends, wild in the stories we got to explore .   The point is, if you are a book lover, a reader or a writer, or a lover of stories and those who tell them, then you should have been there too. The amazing storytellers who spoke had us in awe, throughout the weekend we were on the emotional rollercoaster that comes with the close study of human nature as told through narrative.

It all started with our gracious host, an island homeowner who had attended every Nantucket Book Festival since it’s inception four years ago and been raving to us about it ever since. Her wonderful blog CreativeWhimzy highlights the type of creative, thoughtful and energetic person our gracious host Jo is. We arrived to welcome gifts, mugs she had designed for all of us, each with a handmade tag, to enjoy our morning coffee in!IMG_8946

We were up bright and early on Friday morning for breakfast with Anita Diamant, best selling author of The Red Tent, who gave a talk about her recently released novel The Boston Girl, and her craft. I have found that writers are often great speakers, as natural storytellers they often know how to keep their audience humored and enthralled.

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Anita Diamant

 

Following Anita Diamant, author of A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah spoke to us about his journey from child soldier in Sierra Leone to best selling author in New York City. He introduced his new novel The Radiance of Tomorrow and discussed his transition from memoir to fiction and his role in providing “the lost boys” of the war in  Sierra Leone a human face and insight to the rest of the world .

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posing with Ishmael Beah

 

Leaving the athenaeum with our emotions piqued by the amazing authors we had just heard, we discovered the Typewriter Rodeo in the courtyard outside. We each got a poem typed out for us by the rodeo based on a word we gave. By then we were all practically in tears of overwhelmed emotions and the festival had only just begun!

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authors

Authors L to R: LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Bret Anthony Johnston, Belinda McKeon, Scott Turow, Azar Nafisi

 

What we have discovered is that authors are great story tellers, and each author captivated us with the behind the scenes of the stories they told. Breakfast with Jodi Picoult and Alice Hoffman was up close and personal, it was such a treat to get a glimpse of each of them outside of their writing, and the view from the Dreamland theatre event space could not be beat.

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up close and personal with Jodi Picoult and Alice Hoffman

 

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Our final morning of the Nantucket Book festival was magic despite the deluge. The White Elephant is impeccable, the event space, the brunch, and the service was amazing. Ishmael Beah was amazing as well. How he can infuse such heartbreak yet inspiration in one delivery is the true magic. His wisdom and insight into human nature are treasures, mined only as someone who has seen humanity at its worst and best could do.

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The weekend at The Nantucket Book Festival felt like a dream. One where fairy tales and nightmares haunt your consciousness and leaves you on the other side of something intangible. It felt like gift that can be held and turned over in my mind for a long time to come.

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We Once Took A Trip To Nantucket-A Travel Guide

We Once Took A Trip To Nantucket-A Travel Guide

At one point in history Nantucket prospered as it dominated the whaling industry.  When whaling declined  the island was left to a hundred year slumber while the outside world progressed, and so it was unintentionally preserved to currently house one of the highest concentrations of pre-Civil War structures, and  the oldest operating windmill in the United States.

Spring has been teasing us the past few weeks around here. It always lifts my mood to step into the slightly crisp simultaneously sunny morning air.  It also reminds me to begin making plans for summer, that yawning gap of luxurious time when my four kids are out of school.  Summer is a season I look to with equal parts dread and excitement. Part of the problem is that I am not a planner in general, I’m much more of a wing it kind of girl.  With four kids our Summers need some foresight.   One of our favorite summer vacation destinations is the island of  Nantucket.  If you are planning a trip to Nantucket this summer, and want to bring a car, you need  to make your ferry reservations to get it over there soon.  There are flights to the island, but we like to bring our dog, and explore, so we usually drive.  There are many options for lodging from hotels in town, luxury resorts or homes for rent.   In the past when we have rented non-pet friendly homes we had boarded our dog at  the Nantucket MSPCA, which unfortunately closed December of 2011.  It was located just across from the gorgeous Tupancy  Links dog park, and close to dog friendly beaches where he could swim so it worked out beautifully.   The Cottages  have dog friendly accommodations if you are lucky enough to get a reservation, and they are in a great spot near town.

For us vacation begins when we step on the ferry.  Aside from just relaxing and soaking in all the natural beauty, there is so much to do once you arrive.  below are some of our favorite Nantucket activities ( in random order).

1.  Jetties Beach restaurant is situated at the edge of the sand leading down to the beach.  Live music, delicious food and a laid back atmosphere.  Wash it all down with fruitful sangria, and take your cup over to beach chairs in the sand when you are done with your meal.  The children can play at the adjacent playground or frolic in the sand while the rest of you soak in the fabulous setting.

 

2. ‘Sconsett is an idyllic village by the sea with cottages covered in flowering vines.   Spend the day at the beach, visit the Sankaty Head Lighthouse, and have an excellent dinner at the  BYOB  ‘Sconsett Café. Don’t panic there is a wine shop next door!

3. On your way to the beautiful beaches in Madaket, on the far west end of the island, you must stop at the dock on

the left near second bridge, and spend some time catching the snapping turtles with your kids. You will need to bring string and some chicken legs from the supermarket. Watch your kids dangle a chicken leg over the dock and pull up a big chicken eating turtle!  It is extraordinary!

4. When you head back into town stop and have lunch at Something Natural, delicious sandwiches are eaten outside at picnic benches in a park like setting. Tucked away at 50 Cliff Rd. You can bring your dog and tie him to your table in the shade while you eat.

5. The Whaling Museum gives a great overview of the fascinating history of the island, and if you are an early riser take a walking tour around town that further details its rich historic past.

6. When we went with extended family the highlight for us all was chartering the sailboat Endeavor for an evening cruise.  It was a spectacular setting, and a great way to explore the island.

7. Rent bikes and explore the highly touted extensive bike paths that wind around the island.

8. Stroll and shop in downtown Nantucket. Expect to find many things you love, but possibly not be able to afford them all.

9. It doesn’t look like much but if you go to the tip of Tom Nevers where there was an old Naval base, you can find the mound that holds the door to the  underground bunker where then President Kennedy would have been shuttled if there had been a nuclear attack. I wonder what it’s like down there now?!

10. Have drinks or dinner at Galley Beach restaurant. You are right on the beach by the waters edge, feet in the sand. Spectacular. This is an idyllic spot.

11. Try the tasting menu at Toppers. It is expensive, but every single bite is exquisite.

12. Have a lobster dinner of course! You can buy your own at the supermarket and steam them yourself, or leave it to the experts!