Happy Friday! It’s supposed to be a warm weekend — hope you find a few fun ways to stay cool. Here are our picks for the next few days:
A Lunar Soirée — Celebrate in 60s Style at the Harvard Museum of Natural History
Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing this Saturday night with an evening event from 7-10pm at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. This 21+ event will include cocktails, beer, light refreshments and 60s music, plus moon-inspired actives. While there is no dress code, space-themed or 60s attire is encouraged — how fun! Advance tickets are required ($20-25), and can be purchased here.
Spectacle Summer Nights
This Saturday, cool off by the water with a night on Spectacle Island. This event is a collaboration between City Winery Boston and L.L.Bean, and will feature a round trip ferry ride (arrive at Long Wharf by 4pm), your choice of picnic dinners, s’mores on the beach, live music, lawn games, fly fishing, and a guided hike. It’s always so fun to see the city from the Harbor Islands! (there is another similar evening event on August 31st. Tickets ($0-57) can be found here.
New Horizons with the Trustees
The Trustees always have amazing events, and the New Horizons series promises to be spectacular. The Trustees have collaborated with contemporary artist Doug Aitken to create a massive reflective hot air balloon, which will touch down in various Trustees sites and serve as a backdrop for conversations and performances. This weekend, you can see it at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Castle Hill — take a look here to see more and reserve tickets.
WhatsGood — the Farmers’ Market Delivered
We love local food, and the farmers’ markets and CSAs in the area make it easy to enjoy all the bounty of the growing season. We recently tried out the new app WhatsGood, which delivers farmers’ market food to your home in the Boston area or to one of a number of pick-up points. I was so impressed by the ease of using the app, as well as the amazing fresh marjoram that I am still using a week later (fresh herbs are the best), and the deliciousness of peak season berries from Ward’s Berry Farm. They gave us a discount code for our readers — if you are curious you can use coupon code DAYBOOK20 at checkout to get $30 of food for just $10. (Valid through 8/1 on first orders only, taxes and fees excluded. One per customer. Choose from Boston Delivery or WhatsGood Pickup Points located around the city.)
P.S. Did you see this video of a humpback whale surfacing near a boat in Gloucester? The footage is so awe-inspiring, and I love the raw amazement of the man in the video.
Do you have an upcoming event that you’d like to see listed on The Weekender? To be considered, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a wonderful weekend!
We went to Greece last month, and it was an incredible trip. It was our first time, and I had high expectations. Just looking at photos of Greece makes you want to pack your bags and go, right?
When planning this trip over the winter, I was somewhat overwhelmed. We had eight nights in total, and I had to decide where we would spend them. Did we want to visit several Greek Islands? Was it important to spend time on the mainland, as well? Where would we fly in and out of?
Greece was Milo’s eleventh country, and I have learned that jumping around too much with kids is not relaxing. When planning the trip, I researched Naxos, Paros, and Mykonos in addition to Santorini. I had heard so much about Mykonos but in the end, Naxos pulled me in. Cruise ships don’t stop on Naxos, so the island is less crowded. I had read that the island was wonderful for kids and families… and then I stumbled upon Villa Marandi and the decision was made! I also liked that there were plenty of beautiful beaches close by, as well as a few towns and villages to explore within an easy drive. I liked that we would have the option to do nothing or spend an afternoon exploring if we wanted to.
In the end, here’s the itinerary we decided upon…
– fly into Santorini (from Boston with a layover in Rome) and spend two nights at the Anema Residence
– fly to Athens and spend two nights to see the Acropolis and visit downtown Athens
First up, I’ll be sharing what we did with our short time in Santorini. To be totally honest, Santorini wasn’t my favorite place, but it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit and I’m glad we did. Having said that, I don’t think I will feel the need to go back. There are many beautiful Greek Islands to visit, and Santorini just felt way too hectic and inauthentic.
Even though we were in Santorini for just two nights, I spent hours researching where to stay. I fell in love with a Whiteline Hotel property (one of my favorite hotel groups) called Aenaon Luxury Villas, but like many Santorini hotels, they don’t allow small kids. In the end, I came across Anema Residence, a series of villas just outside of Thira, and that’s where we chose to stay.
We stayed in a two-bedroom villa called Skiron. We had our own small pool and a sunny patio. Even though it was open to a path, there was ample privacy and we had great views of the property and water.
It was perfect because there were no steep cliffs for the kids to fall off of (a serious concern in Santorini). The villa was spacious, cool, and a welcome respite from the hot sun. We also experienced jet lag pretty intensely… this was the biggest difference we felt traveling with two kids. It was nice to have a few low-key days at our villa to let the kids rest.
Anema Residence has an on-site restaurant, although it is only open to guests. We enjoyed several meals on the veranda including daily breakfast. The whole staff including the owner, Maria, were attentive and very thoughtful.
I love spending mornings here with my boys (and lots of coffee).
One evening we went into Oia. I knew we were going to have to brave crowds, but it was a big reason as to why we decided to visit Santorini. The views are stunning and I’m so glad we visited.. but I was relieved that we weren’t staying in Oia. There were so many people. I kind of felt like I was in Disney World, and although the views were spectacular, the insane amount of people kind of took away some of the appeal.
Parking in Oia was actually more reasonable than I thought it would be (10 euro for 2 hours) and we were able to explore a lot on foot. There are so many stairs and lots of steep cliffs, but Milo either held our hand or was on Matt’s shoulders. I carried Remy in our baby carrier. Oia is not a place I would bring a stroller!
Another afternoon we went to Monolithos Beach. We were going to visit Perissa Beach (the famous black sand beach) but the woman who owns our hotel was raving about Monolithos Beach. It was a wonderful spot, and we enjoyed some time in the sun followed by a relaxed lunch across the street.
We ate dinner down at the port one evening. Driving around Oia is especially crazy. There are a lot of cars and people, and narrow streets to maneuver. It took us awhile to get down to the port and to find a spot, but I’m glad we stuck with it. I mean, look at this view!
I had heard good things about Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna (it is the last restaurant in the port in the photo above), and I knew I wanted to eat there while we were in town. According to Eric of Travel Babbo, it’s the best restaurant in the world. It was good; but I have to say the view and feeling of being right on the water was the best part.
After two days in Santorini, we were ready to move on to our next destination. We booked Blue Star Ferries from Santorini to Naxos, which took two hours.
This particular ferry was going all the way to Athens, which takes eight hours from Santorini. The boat was massive and had a few fast casual restaurants, a shop, and plenty of place to spread out.
Next, I’ll be sharing the rest of our time in Greece including our wonderful stay on Naxos and our visit to Athens. Stay tuned!
Have you heard of the Trustees large-scale moving art installation of the summer, New Horizon? The project is a collaboration between contemporary artist Doug Aitken and the Trustees. Doug Aitken has created a high-tech 100-foot tall hot air balloon which will visit several Trustees landscapes this month, ending on July 28th at Field Farm in Williamstown. The balloon has a reflective surface that will relate to the surrounding landscape, as well as a series of LED lights to illuminate the balloon during evening events. Each stop will include a Happening, an event where the balloon serves as a backdrop to conversation and performances.
This Sunday the balloon will journey to Castle Hill for Happenings on Sunday and Monday evenings at 6pm. Sunday’s event will start with a conversation on The Future of Identity with World Frontiers Forum’s David Edwards and Katie Rae of MIT’s The Engine, about how we can take advantage of digital technology without sacrificing our privacy, followed by a musical performance. Monday will start with a conversation called Future Collaborations with Dean Kuipers and Lauri Kranz discussing how we can dissolve barriers to collaborate and better face the global challenges of climate change. Jonsi, (of Sigur Ros fame) and Julianna Barwick will be the musical guests. The Notch Traveling Biergarten and food trucks will available during these events! Most events are $25-40, and you can purchase tickets here.
The balloon will then travel to Williamstown for a Thursday midday and evening event on July 25th, followed by a Saturday stop at Naumkeag in Stockbridge on July 27th, and a final breakfast event in Williamstown on July 28th. What a unique event series! See more about the events and buy tickets through the Trustees here.
Laura and I recently partnered with Natick-based clothing company, Nic & Zoe to share our favorite summer looks. One afternoon, we drove out to their Chestnut Hill location and spent a few hours with store manager, Anne and her team.
Anne and her staff were a pleasure to work with, and they helped us try on most of the new summer collection. :) Shopping can be hard work, but I am so happy with the looks we ended up choosing.
Happy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? I am heading to down to Rhode Island for the week. I’m looking forward to relaxing with friends, plenty of lemonade, and some time at the beach. Hope you have a great weekend, and here are a few fun events happening around town…
Free Fun Fridays
The Highland Street Foundation offers free admission to a variety of cultural venues and museums throughout the summer. This Friday, take advantage of no-cost admission to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Charles River Watershed Association, Patriot’s Hall of Fame, and more. For a full list of participating venues this Friday and on future Fridays, please go here.
ICA celebrates Eastie Week
The ICA Watershed celebrates Eastie Week with a family day this Saturday from 12-4pm. The event will feature art-making activities, pop-up dance performances, tours in English (at 1:30pm) and Spanish (at 1pm), food, and music. Additional details here.
Night Sky on Peddocks Island
We recently went camping on Bumpkin Island and it was so much fun. If you want to try out island camping this summer, be sure to check out this special Night Sky event on Peddocks Island. Join a ranger to learn about the cosmos and how to use a telescope. Tickets include a round-trip ferry ride, a campsite, s’mores, and more! Additional details and tickets here.
Boston Pizza Festival
If you love pizza as much as I do, you will want to consider checking out this weekend’s festival dedicated to pizza! The Boston Pizza Festival will take place at City Hall Plaza and will feature pizza from various vendors (naturally!), plus live music, drinks, and more. You can purchase tickets here, and additional details here.
SoWa Second Sunday
This Sunday from 11am to 4pm, head to SoWa for the SoWa Artists Guild’s Second Sunday. A free event that is open to the public, Second Sunday is a celebration of art. Join 80+ artists in their studios and see a wide variety of original art. Additional details here.
Do you have an upcoming event that you’d like to see listed on The Weekender? To be considered, send us a note at email@example.com. Have a wonderful weekend!
Remember that Gilette commercial that sparked so much conversation a while back? In defense of that ad, and the primary sentiment that “the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow” — so important to model behavior for kids.
Recently my husband and I were lucky enough to have a weekend on our own, while Serena had a sleepover with her grandparents. She was so excited about the sleepover, and loves spending time with them, so we knew she would have a great time. Then we had to decide: how to spend this rare adult-only weekend??
After thinking about a few different options, we decide to spend two nights with the R & R program at Kripalu, a retreat center in Western Massachusetts. This is such a special spot for me — Natalie and I have attended a few workshops there, Dan and I did a weekend workshop when I was pregnant with Serena, and I did a one-month yoga teacher training there several years ago (an amazing experience).
Part of why we decided to go to spend a weekend at Kripalu is that as parents of an active kid, we have so little downtime to just chill. While normally it would be great to have lots to do, the idea of getting somewhere and staying put and not having many decisions to make seemed so, so relaxing. And we were right! It was delightful to spend the weekend in a beautiful place, with delicious food available for all three meals, yoga classes twice a day, and workshops to chose throughout the day. This was my first time doing the R & R option rather than a workshop or program, and it was fun to explore Kripalu in a different way.
We went on one afternoon hike guided hike together, which was absolutely stunning, and then Dan went on another hike the next morning. During the first hike, a rainstorm passed over us, and the sound of the rain in the trees and the refreshing feel of the cool drops after the effort of hiking was pure magic. There is something about being in nature that is just so restorative.
Kripalu makes the most of its lovely location on top of a hill overlooking a lake and forests, and we had a nightly ritual of bringing ginger tea down to a swing outside while watching the night sky over the hills. So peaceful! I can’t wait to go back soon!
The summer months can be hectic. A good kind of hectic of course, but I still find myself running in circles some weekends wondering where the time goes. Anyone else?
Just before the Fourth of July, we wanted to have friends over for dinner, but wanted to make it easy so we could relax and actually enjoy our company.
You may recall that we partnered with Wegmans a few months back to share their fun cooking classes at their Natick store. We have partnered with them again today to highlight Wegmans Meals 2GO. The service (and app) enables you to order freshly-made foods for delivery, carryout or curbside pick-up.
Using the Wegmans Meals 2GO app on your phone, you can place an order up to a week in advance. You indicate whether you’d like it to be delivered, or will pick it up for carryout or curbside pick-up. All items are freshly-prepared by chefs in-house and the menu includes pizza, salads, sushi, wings, Asian cuisine, desserts, beverages and more. The service is now available in select stores, including the nearby Medford location.
There are reserved parking spots close to the store entrance for Wegmans Meals 2GO orders so you can easily run in. Becki from Wegmans helped bring our order to our car, and ensured that we had everything we needed. Thanks so much, Becki!
Milo’s friend and his parents came over last weekend, and we decided to try out the app to order pizza, wings, salad, and dessert — a perfect, relaxed summer meal! It was nice that we could order the exact amount of cookies we needed, so we wouldn’t have a ton of leftovers. Anyone else have a serious sweet tooth? :)
The Wegmans Meals 2GO app was seriously easy to use; it has 4.5 stars in the app store. The curbside pick-up couldn’t have been more foolproof. Our friends enjoyed the meal, and we all savored the extra time together since we didn’t have to do any cooking or a big cleanup. It was such a treat to have the professionals do the cooking instead. Thanks, Wegmans!
If you’re interested in trying Wegmans Meals 2GO, use code BOOK2GO for free delivery off a $20 order before 8/3/19.
How are you celebrating the fourth? I love this holiday, as it marks the true beginning of summer. We don’t have any big plans, because small kids and fireworks don’t really mix, but we are headed camping tomorrow. Wish me luck! :)
In case you’re interested in some reading, here are a few recent posts you may have missed:
If you live in Boston, you are probably familiar with Cambria Brockman and her popular Instagram account. Before becoming a writer, Cambria was a wedding photographer and has captured so many beautiful heartfelt moments.
Growing up, she always wanted to be a writer. She constantly had stories in her head, but never wrote them out in full. Until one day, with the encouragement of her husband, Ross, she kept writing… and we’re so glad she did! Next month, on July 16, Cambria Brockman’s debut novel Tell Me Everything will be released. You can pre-order it here or here!
In anticipation of her book release, we caught up with Cambria to learn how she balances it all and what has surprised her about becoming a published author.
Have you always had the idea for Tell Me Everything in your head? How did you come up with the plot for your book?
I came up with the idea about four years ago. I had just graduated from Bates, and everything from college was still fresh on my mind: the academic pressures, relationship anxieties, and everyone’s varying personalities. I imagined one specific scene (it’s at the end of the book, so no spoilers!) and wrote the book around that.
Are there any surprising things that you’ve come across writing a book that no one told you about?
SO MANY REVISIONS. I swear I have re-written Tell Me Everything maybe 20 times. Hopefully as I move forward there will be less drafts?! Probably not though, haha.
I can tell you that some of the clichés are true. I wrote most of Tell Me Everything on my laptop in coffee shops! Mostly at Tatte Bakery & Cafe in Beacon Hill.
How did you go about finding your publisher? Was that a super daunting process?
One of my friends, Charlotte Wilder, knew a literary agent in Boston and she connected us. Luckily Lori (my agent) loved the book, which was only a few chapters at that point, and really helped it become what is now. She was the one who submitted the finished novel to publishers. There was an auction, which was crazy!! I will never forget that day – I was so sweaty/anxious, waiting to get calls from Lori and Lane (another agent who has done amazing things for the book) about offers from editors. Warren was around five weeks old and I remember wearing him in his Solly wrap, going to a ‘new mom’ get together in Charlestown, and having to leave because I couldn’t focus on anything and I kept thinking, these mothers are going to think I’m some sweaty crazy person, I need to get out of here! LOL. Kara, my editor at Ballantine, won the auction. I still can’t believe I get to work with her because she is the nicest and is so good at her job. She’s just amazing. That night after the auction, when my husband, Ross, got home, he picked me up in a huge hug all teary-eyed and kept saying how proud he was. It was a DAY!
That is so incredible! What do you do when you have a creative block?
I usually read a book or Google author interviews. I read this Danielle Steel interview once. She’s written 179 novels AND HAS NINE CHILDREN. If that doesn’t inspire me to keep going, to finish whatever I’m working on, I don’t know what will.
How has motherhood changed your writing routine?
I write best in the mornings. I don’t know why my body works that way but I’m toast in the afternoons. Before Warren, I used to wake up, make coffee, sit down and write for hours and then edit weddings in the afternoon. Now our schedule works so that we have a part-time nanny in the mornings three days a week, and then my husband gets up with Warren the other two days, so that I can write from 6-8:30am. I definitely power-write more now. There is no time for procrastination!
Has motherhood been as you expected? Warren is the cutest! :)
THANK YOU!! I love him so much! I didn’t know what to expect, at all. I knew nothing about babies, I just loved snuggling them (like Milo ;)) Motherhood is crazy! I’m not sure anything can prepare you for it – the love, the responsibility. You really learn how strong you can be, mostly because there is no other option, you have to be strong. Sometimes when we’re on a walk and we pass other moms, I’m just like, look at all these impressive, badass women. You can guarantee they have been up all night countless times, they’ve taken care of a sick kid while being sick themselves, they’ve gone through all the ups and downs, smiles and frowns. That’s what my husband and I sing when things are challenging. And then, of course, moms love fiercely. It is a crazy thing.
What are a few of your favorite books?
When I was in middle school, it was Bloomability by Sharon Creech (she also wrote Walk Two Moons, which was popular when we were kids). It inspired me to go to boarding school, which was a huge decision, and one I am really glad I made. I still have the book in my bedside drawer, it’s like my security blanket! Others: The Nightingale (remains my #1 at the moment), Gone Girl, You, Big Little Lies…Just realized most of those are now shows/movies. For good reason! They’re super captivating!
Are there any up and coming authors that we should keep our eyes out for?
I just read Kate Hope Day’s If, Then literary novel about life choices and paths not taken and LOVED it. I’ve also heard good things about the ‘summer in Montauk’ memoir Out East by John Glynn. And then another debut author, Samantha Downing just published a thriller (best seller!!) called My Lovely Wife. Excited to read both of those soon!
How do you read so much? Do you enjoy reading, or is it just a part of your job?
I have always been a reader. I also read very fast. I try to read a book a week, and I take time out my ‘work day’ because yes, it is a part of my job now, which is really cool. I consider any sort of ‘story consumption’ as research – whether it’s a book, podcast, TV show or movie. I used to give myself a hard time for watching TV and movies, but now I’m just like, well, this is my job – to know what people are watching, what keeps them interested. And it’s a great way to study dialogue, which is one of my favorite things to write.
Did you know that you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, always. It was my dream job since I was a kid, I just never thought it would be a real possibility.
Do you miss photography? You are so talented! Were you self-taught as a photographer? How did you find your style?
I miss it sometimes. I miss the act of taking photos, and editing, and hanging out with fun couples. But I don’t miss the pressure of weddings, or leaving my family on the weekend. That was always really hard for me, the leaving part – I am a homebody. And yes I am self-taught – I took a lot of workshops with other photographers, second shot for people whose work I admired.. and read a lot of online tutorials. Thank you, Google.
What are your favorite ways to disconnect and re-inspire?
Traveling. We do that less now with Warren, so Ross and I go for a lot of walks around Boston and we talk about everything. His business, new book ideas. I thought of Tell Me Everything while I was taking our dog for a walk. Walks are the best. And my second book idea actually came to me while I couldn’t sleep one night. I was just lying there in the quiet and dark and the idea surfaced and by morning I had outlined the entire thing. When the inspiration strikes ya gotta GRAB IT.
What are your favorite things to do in the city with Warren?
It changes with his age. We used to be really into music class, but now he loves climbing and running around so we are all about playgrounds and the public garden (and stairs, why the fascinations with stairs??). He loves watching the ducks and birds and helicopters. He’s also content going for walks, pointing out garbage trucks and buses, and dogs. Luckily the city has a lot of all of those things.
If you had a free day to do anything, how would you spend it?
Teleport to Nantucket. Read on the beach with a beer and a bag of cheese puffs (now you know my guilty pleasure haha).
Can you share anything about what’s in the works next for you?
I am working on book two! It’s another novel about the same age group – early twenties. I guess I am drawn to that time of life. It’s that age where you’re like: oh crap, what am I going to do for the rest of my life? There’s a lot of excitement and anxiety, which leads to a whole lot of emotions, so it lends to dramatic story telling. The book takes place in Wyoming and Vermont. I’ll probably always have pieces of New England in my books!
Will you be doing any book signings / readings that we can tell our readers about?
Yes! More to come…
Thank you so much, Cam! We are so excited and proud of you. You can pre-order Tell Me Everything here, and follow Cambria on Instagram and Twitter, where she’ll share details about her book launch and future projects.
Photos: Cambria visits Random House for the first time, writing on her balcony during nap time, reading while her son, Warren, plays in his kitchen, a family walk in Nantucket.