I finally made it back east for a weekend and boy, did I pick a hell of a steamy few days to visit.
Thursday and Friday were well into the 90s and I nearly started a punching match with my cab driver from JFK whose “A/C” was conveniently not working in the back seat. I’d never been so uncomfortable in my life, well, besides my flight home where I sat next to a former colleague from Fox News (who luckily didn’t recognize me), but that’s another story.
I was home in Connecticut for my friend AlyCat’s wedding celebration. I am calling it that because I got a mysterious phone call a couple of months ago where she told me she had some news.
“Are you pregnant? Are you calling it off?” I asked in a total panic. Her and Carp were so much in love and so perfect for each other I could never believe the latter.
“NO NO NO! We just kind of already got married… down in Hilton Head,” she responded mid-laughter.
“Oh my god. WHEW!” I exclaimed.
They had their blowout party at the Penfield Pavilion in Fairfield, and if anyone’s reading this in Connecticut and looking for a lovely place to get married, this is the spot. I was confused and thought we’d be on a golf course, but instead we were overlooking the Sound. It was beautiful. Sadly, no pictures to show for it. I was too nervous about the toast I was to give later that evening to take a moment and smell the seafood, cocktails and ocean breeze.
Prior to the wedding bash on Saturday, MaineMan and I spent two wonder-FULL days spending time with friends and both of our parents. I flew into JFK early enough on Thursday to meet up with the likes of Fashionista, BYOWino, FoxyLady et al. We got our booze on and ended the evening with a dance party at everyone’s favorite dive bar Milano’s. The highlight of the evening was definitely meeting Fashionista’s boyfriend who stayed in the city specifically to meet me before heading east to Sag Harbor. Thank you to everyone who came out.
The next morning I met FoxyLady for a quick breakfast at Grand Central, then I took the train to Greenwich where I met up with my parents and MaineMan’s parents. We had a lovely group lunch at Indian Harbor overlooking the boats and some ominous rainclouds, before we separated so I could spend a few hours with my mom along Greenwich Ave. After some hopping in and out of stores (we were on a mission to hit up the consignment shops), we grabbed a beer at The Ginger Man, then ran into the rain to meet up with my dad for dinner at Beach House Cafe (ironically AlyCat used to waitress there). I hadn’t been in a good rainstorm like that since moving to Los Angeles so I was hopping through puddles like a kid who’d never seen diagonal rain before. MaineMan and my mom were not so amused.
My parents headed back to New Canaan and I joined MaineMan at the house their parents were staying in.
Following a delicious breakfast at the Cos Cobber on Route 1, we ventured to the New York Botanical Gardens to witness something I hadn’t experienced in nearly 20 years. My family lived overseas in Paris (’91-’94) and my family and schools took many a field trip to Giverny (zsgee-vayr-NEE).
The NYBG has an exhibit going from now until October 21 (you have plenty of time to see it, but I bet it would be interesting to go once during the summer and once during the fall months) where they’ve recreated a little piece of Claude Monet’s garden utopia, Giverny, at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. My mom had gone just a few days before with a few girlfriends and she said it was marvelous. We were all excited to check it out. And lucky for us, the temperature had cooled down roughly 10 degrees.
If you live anywhere near New York (or visiting like I was), this exhibit is a must see.
My new favorite color is Monet green. I don’t know if it’s an official Crayola color, but now whenever I’m buying something I’m going to seek out this beautiful green hue first.
We slowly meandered through the conservatory, pausing to read flower labels and various Monet quotes along the way. We all posed for our photo on the famous bridge before we headed out to the see the water lilies. I had no idea there were so many different species of water lilies. And they looked extremely complicated to plant. Several professional photographers stood in various corners of the pools getting that perfect shot of a dragonfly mating or a lily in bloom or some water drops that were so delicately and perfectly centered on the lily pads they looked like they’d been placed there by a fairy syringe.
After viewing the plants in the conservatory environs, we took the tram tour throughout the rest of the grounds (not Monet-themed) to end up strategically at the last stop, the Rondina Gallery, where they had two Monets on display. My only wish is that they’d been able to borrow a few more paintings, but all in all, what a beautiful ode to Monet and his love of gardening and painting. One of the coolest things about the entire exhibit was you could dial a phone number and a special pound key and pick up a small chunk of audio tour wherever you were. Technology these days!
As it read on one of the exhibit notecards, Monet wrote, “I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”
I learned that day that Monet lived to be 86. Perhaps his adoration and appreciation for Mother Nature is a lesson in life and inspiration for all of us.