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Tag Archives: travel

  • First Time Tips from an Unofficial Brimfield Antique Show Guide

    I absolutely love The Brimfield Antique Show. I mark my calendar every year for the May, July & September show dates, and aim to make it to at least a couple of the shows to enjoy a “me day." I totally geek out over all the pretty treasures -- I love spending the whole day wandering around, sifting through the piles of odd & ends, and filling my truck up with gems (most always huge oversized pieces of furniture). I could easily outfit several homes with my basement + attic stockpiles!

     Brimfield flea market | Tips

    I have been going every year for more than a decade now, and have "guided" more than a dozen friends through their first time.

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  • 5 Ways to Soak Up the Sun This Summer

    MeghanBy: Meghan Gibbons, Discovery Team Intern

    Summertime is here and it's time to get outside and enjoy the sun.  I await for this season all year round, and the minute the temperature rises you will find me outside. Each summer I escape to the beach often (though not as much as I'd like!) and look for other fun things to do in the summer.  Whether you find yourself in the suburbs, the city, the waterfront, lakeside or on a mountain-top, here are some 5 great ways I have found to soak up the sun during the summer!

    1. Hit the Sand

    Nothing beats plopping yourself in the sand all day with the refreshing waves just a few steps away. The number of beach activities are endless: splashing in the waves, playing beach volleyball, reading a good book, building a sand castle, taking a walk or simply sunbathing. Although I love the beach, I hate to leave and I especially dislike how messy and sandy I feel at the end of the day. This summer, thanks to a find by The Grommet, I am going to tote a mesh-bottomed Hello Beach bag so that the sand stays at the beach after a fun day in the sun.

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  • An Art Walk in Boston

    This past Sunday, some Grommet team members ventured into Boston to stroll through the "Public Art Walk" where you have the ability to walk freely in and out of people's personal art studios and exhibitions.  There were many beautiful pieces of art, rich with colors, textures and stories. One exhibit stood out to us, as it touched on the important subject of education and the artist did a particularly good job of detailing his passion for the issue throughout his exhibit. Above the Standard is an art exhibit created by Boston Public School Teacher, Ari Hauben. His solo art show depicts the detrimental effects of the increasingly standardized and mechanized worlds of education and society. Read more about Ari and his exhibit here and view some of his most beautiful pieces below.

    Ari Hauben | Art walk Boston

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  • A charming town and a charming team

    It's so easy to get caught up in your day-to-day work that you can easily forget to take a moment to look around and appreciate your surroundings and colleagues. Personally this is all to easy to miss out on, given that I work remote from my home office in California while most of the Daily Grommet team gathers every day in Lexington, MA at HQ. While we are very much in-touch throughout the day, I don't get to soak up the local environment (other than what is shared through our daily videos and behind the scenes photos) -- until last week that is.

    My colleague Katherine and I (she works from her home office in Minnesota), traveled to worked in house from Lexington and finally met several of our colleagues in person for the first time! Our week was productive, exciting and a bit of a whirlwind. Here are a few photos.

    Tori and Katherine

     Our ride for the week? Jules' 64' Rambler. She explains why she loves it here and you can see it in this Daily Grommet video. Katherine was a great driver.

    I loved that on the end of the street from the offices there was a cake shop. I spent 3 years as a cake decorator during college and have a thing for buttercream. I'll have to pop in next time I'm in town.

    During our weekly meetings, it's normal for the team to pile in and grab a spot where they can. However, normally Katherine and I are dialed in on a conference line and watching via video. It was a treat to be there "in the flesh" and we gladly grabbed a spot on the steps.

    We also grabbed ourselves a debut in a Daily Grommet video. We knew this time was coming and I was honestly really nervous (after all they all seem so natural, don't they?). I quickly was at east with Jesse's great direction and filming  alongside Kate who is a pro.  Stay tuned for the video in a couple of weeks.

    As for Lexington itself, it was completely charming. During lunch time I was able to grab some local fare at a nearby Italian deli and also took a "lap" at a local farmers' market where we grabbed some amazing tomatoes to snack on.

    Did I mention we also took a team "field trip" to see Bruce Springsteen play at Fenway Park? Yeah, I was definitely able to take a moment to look around and appreciate my surroundings and colleagues. Looking forward to the next trip and exploring more of Boston!

  • Brimfield Antique Show

    Our team here at Daily Grommet would love to be at every cool event happening across the country. We'd scour fairs, trade shows, and markets all day, every day if we could. But unfortunately we can't exactly be in every cool place. What we love though, is when our Grommet friends and fellow "finders" share their expeditions with us. We are alway eager to hear your first-hand accounts of what cool stuff you've discovered.

    Today, we are thrilled to share what our pal Cynthia Bogart, Editor for The Daily Basics , recently experienced at the Brimfield Antique Show.

    by Cynthia

    Kelley L Moore -Brimfield Antique Show

    Kelley L Moore finding Jadite

    If you always wanted to go the Brimfield Antique Show (the largest outdoor antique fair of its kind . . . anywhere) but haven’t, you might want to live vicariously through 80 tweeting Interior Design bloggers plus Kelley L. Moore, lifestyle expert on the Nate Berkus Show and Brian Kelsey, radio personality on Kelsey On The House on Martha Stewart Radio. They all got together last week to meet IRL (that’s tweet talk for In Real Life) at the #Brimfield Tweet-up (twittereze for get-together) to shop for antique finds together and talk about trends and what’s going on in the world of antiques.

    This year the bloggers noticed a few things.

    1. Brimfield was hopping! It was filled with great vendors and it looked as though everyone was finding the fabulous, the ridiculous and the stuff from which dreams are made.

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    2. People were buying! Maybe it was because of a good economy, or because everyone was looking for a good deal in this.... bad economy. No matter. They were passing the green and supporting great design.

    Swedish furniture from Lone Ranger Antiques

    3. There were definite stand out trends. Gustavian Swedish, paint peeling architectural elements, garden accessories and vintage leather furniture were aplenty. Exquisite vintage jewelry, linens and lace and good quality furniture -- abounded as usual!

    Deidre Drewes from Steuben, Julie Browning Bova from Julie Bova Interior Designs and Pandora de Balthazar in one of the beds set up in Pandora’s tent

    The Belle of the Ball was Pandora de Balthazar who held court in her air conditioned castle and when you entered, she put you right into a bed filled with Hungarian down and antique starched lace shams and sheets. Once you got into that bed - it was hard to get out.

    Over at the #Brimfield Social Media Tweet Up tent, Kelley L Moore and Brian Kelsey teamed up to do a project for the #Brimfield Tweet-up which involved great finds and creative designs.  This was definitely a highlight of our Brimfield experience.

     Be sure to stop by tomorrow and we'll share their #Brimfield design challenge video with you!

  • Hidden Secrets of Savannah

    For me, a staunch northerner, coming to Savannah for college was like being a fish out of water. Having grown up in Washington DC all my life, I was coming to a city where the pace nowhere near matches that of our capitol city and where buildings tend to be smaller, not taller.

    However, once I got over the heat (even in February!) and the occasional whiff of the nearby paper mill – reminding us all of its presence – I discovered Savannah’s many hidden gems. They’re not on the top of every tourist’s list, but to me, they really encapsulate Savannah’s character.

    What to do in Savannah - Forsyth Park

    Forsyth Park

    One of my favorite areas of Savannah is one that is free of charge – Forsyth Park. Located in the heart of the historical district, Forsyth Park covers 30 acres and dates back to the 1840s. Whether you want to sit and relax or play with a Frisbee, Forsyth is the perfect place to do so. With two beautiful fountains, a stage, tennis courts and a basketball court, Forsyth always has a plethora of activities happening. Jazz festivals, outdoor concerts and movies in the park are just a few of the city organized events that have happened there; just walking through under the overhanging Spanish moss gives you a sense of calm.

    Zunzi's always crowded entrance way

    It is the South, so food does play a huge part in Savannah’s culture. When you think of Savannah, the food that comes to mind is usually grits, biscuits and gravy. However, whenever I miss food in Savannah, I always want Zunzi’s. The food that they serve is nothing short of extraordinary; a mix of South African, Swiss, Italian and Dutch cuisine, Zunzi’s never fails to impress. They say you know how good the food is by how long the line is – walking by Zunzi’s, I always see the line snaking out the door.

    Gallery Espresso's inviting exterior

    If you’re not in the mood for a lot of food (which Zunzi’s always gives you), then make sure you stop by the neighborhood coffee shop, Gallery Espresso. Gallery is not the only coffee shop in Savannah, but it’s my favorite. I always see people I know there (which may be a bad thing when I’m trying to do homework!), no matter what time of day it is. Although I’m not a coffee drinker, Gallery always has something I want to try; from their hot chocolate to their quiches. One of my favorite things to do is to sit in one of their comfy chairs with a book – it’s a relaxing way to spend an afternoon if I don’t have any pressing need to be somewhere.

    what to do in Savannah

    The Starland's wonderful backyard seating

    The last place in Savannah that I will introduce you happens to be a little off of the beaten path. Located a couple minutes from downtown, the Starland Café is one of my favorite places to eat lunch. Right next to the Savannah dog park, the Starland’s bright orange exterior is what immediately draws your attention. Just sitting and eating in their back patio takes you away from the rest of Savannah; it’s as if you are sitting in your own backyard talking to your neighbors. The food…oh, the food! I don’t think I’ve tried anything there that I didn’t like. From their amazing Panini’s to their delicious salads, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

    I hope that by telling you a little bit about some of my favorite places in Savannah, many of you will be able to experience the city as I have! Even if you've been to Savannah before, you may not have discovered these places. For those who haven't, maybe it will inspire a trip down South!

  • Enjoying the Great Outdoors

    Now that we’re (finally!) thawing out after winter, we’re busy searching for excuses to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. From camping and hiking to road trips and cycling, we can’t wait to get moving again.

    hiking guide

    Our tester, Paraag Maddiwar, used the Voltaic Systems solar charger to charge his iPod twice and his camera once during his hike at Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania last month.

    One of the challenges with a weekend camping trip or a hike, however, is that it’s not always possible to recharge your camera, cell phone, or iPod. We’re more than happy to leave the laptop at home, but who doesn’t want to listen to music and take pictures while enjoying the great outdoors? With the travel solar chargers  we’re featuring today, solar charging is easier than ever. So now we definitely have no excuses to stay inside!

    As we plan our getaways, we’ve been turning to a few websites  that are worth sharing:

    National Park Service – This is the first place to look when you want to find parks near you or near your destination. The website even has a handy sorting feature where you can search by topic or type of activity.

    Tripleblaze.comHere you can find advice on the best camping and hiking sites as well as equipment reviews. They even have information on guided trips.

    BestHike.com – There are lists for every continent on this website, and you can update information to add your own knowledge of the trails -- a great hiking guide.

    ABC-of-Hiking – This website has active forum discussions and is a great place to obtain how-to information as well as advice on hiking locations. 

    BootsnAll – This is a one-stop travel website with information on flights, advice on destinations, and opportunities to find travel partners. BootsnAll is a great place to look if you’re planning a trip overseas, and there’s plenty of information about how best to enjoy the outdoors in great hiking destinations like New Zealand. 

    Do you have some great resources that you use when you’re planning an outdoor getaway? We’d love to hear about them!

  • Pack for a Purpose when traveling abroad

    After reading a bit about Pack for a Purpose, it's clear that this organization is making a difference in the lives of children around the world. Their idea of using  extra space in your luggage to bring needed supplies to areas you are already traveling to seems simple, yet very powerful.  I recently had a chance to ask Rebecca Rothney, Chairperson for Pack for a Purpose some questions about their organization and how others can get involved when traveling abroad.

    Can you tell us how you got started doing this and how Pack for a Purpose came to be?

    During our first trip to Africa, my husband Scott and I learned that while we were limited to 40 pounds (18.14 kgs) of luggage on safari, the airline had an allowance of 100 pounds (45 kgs) of checked luggage plus a 40 pound (18.14 kg) carry-on. In making plans for a second trip, we looked into visiting a school near the lodge we would visit in Botswana. We contacted our safari company, Wilderness Safaris, to see if we could determine any specific needs of that school. Armed with that information, we were able to deliver 140 pounds (64 kgs) of school supplies, including soccer balls, to the school. It was enormously rewarding to be able to help the people in the community that had given us such a life-changing experience. Since then, we and a few of our fellow-travelers have made several trips to other countries in Africa and have been able to deliver an estimated 1,000 pounds (453 kgs) in donations of clothing, school and medical supplies. I asked a travel agent why other travelers did not use their luggage allowances this way. "Because nobody thinks about it," he said. That was our "aha" moment.

    Scott and I knew from our experiences that taking large amounts of supplies required a great deal of time and close logistical cooperation with the touring company. We felt we needed to come up with a simpler and more direct way for travelers to take supplies where they were going.

    By asking travelers to pack 5 lbs (2.27 kgs) of supplies, we felt we would be able to involve everyone who wanted to add value to his or her trip by participating. By delivering the supplies directly to the traveler's accommodation, it would be possible for every traveler to contribute and require no logistical support. That amount would take only a small space, require little effort and still make a big impact.

    So, say I am traveling -- tell me, what exactly do I need to do to help support Pack for a Purpose?

    If you are going to a destination on our website, you simply look at the supplies they have requested and select which ones you would like to take. Then you drop them at the “front desk” when you arrive. It is as simple as that. If you are not staying at a destination on our website, you can contact us and we will try to find a way to make an appropriate connection for you. The last way you can help is to let us know of any destination you find that are doing community based projects that should be listed on our website.

    What would you like others to know about your organization or mission?

    We are an all volunteer organization which has been fortunate to have many wonderful people with expertise, creativity and dedication come together to make Pack for a Purpose® a reality. They are listed on our website under About Us and on our Partners Page. I owe them a large debt of gratitude. We are just a year old, and while we have grown from 25 to 97 destinations, we will not be content until we have every appropriate destination on the planet supporting a community based project listed on our website. I absolutely believe most people fortunate enough to travel are more than happy to make a contribution to the communities they visit. I just wanted to provide and easy, one stop informational website to provide travelers with the information they needed to do that.

    Has there been any part of your journey with Pack for a Purpose that has surprised you?

    The thing that has surprised me most is how long it takes to add appropriate destinations to our website. It only taking 5 minutes to upload the information and the website is free of charge. In my naiveté, I thought we would have hundreds of destinations, which I know are out there, the first year. We constantly search for appropriate places to add and I know that we will eventually feature all of them.

    I would say the other thing which has not surprised me but continues to delight me are the wonderful contacts I have made around the world. All over the planet there are people working hard and effectively to benefit the communities they live in, and travelers looking to assist in their worthy endeavors. With all the negative stories that make the headlines every day, my days are filled with joy as I make contact with the goodness and generosity that spans the planet.

     For more information visit http://www.packforapurpose.org/

  • L.L. Bean knows that even the store door handles matter

    I dropped $250 on new X-country ski bindings and boots this weekend.  That's a ton of dough to me.  And since I haven't bought ski equipment in 20+ years, the purchase destination was pretty much a jump ball. I might be more overtly reflective on this kind of decision than the average bear, but most people have a complex subconscious approach to non-routine purchases.  Their decisions reflect their personal values at a level that great brands know how to serve.

    Let's start with the reasons for the purchase.  First, below is a picture of me a week ago, at the point when my old cross country boot totally separated from the sole, on the shores of Lake Champlain.  I shouldn't be smiling as I had no idea how I was going to travel miles back to my car without a functional ski set-up.  (My clever friend Jill figured out how to use her gator and my boot laces to lash my foot to the ski.)

    Here are the broken boots:

    Here is the reason why I was feeling urgency to get back in gear for the season:
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  • If an event can be a Grommet, then RAGBRAI is a Grommet

    Wendy Chandor

    Why travel to Iowa to ride your bike from the West Coast to the East Coast of Iowa (between 50 - 80 miles a day)?  For the adventure! RAGBRAI was my adventure this year; a chance to experience something completely different, unplug (no access to work/email), and to challenge myself physically.

    RAGBRAI stands for The Register’s (Des Moines’s newspaper) Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.  It started 38 years ago when a Register reporter bet another reporter to ride his bike across Iowa and report on the local people he would come across; to tell their stories.  They wrote about their bet in the paper and invited others to come along.  To their surprise, many joined along and now today RAGBRAI has grown to over 10,000 riders.  The route changes each year passing through small towns that jump at the opportunity to be a part of RAGBRAI.  

    I realized that the people and the towns are what make RAGBRAI so special.  Everyone is so happy, friendly, and willing to connect.  We met a wonderful group of 8 (6 from CO and 2 from IA) who were fun to hang out with.  We all stayed at the same host house in Clear Lake, IA. This was our toughest biking day (extremely hot and turned out a longer distance than quoted on the map!) and so it was a treat to meet this gang of RAGBRAI alumni.  We shared stories, much laughter; this was like camp for adults.  Our host that night gave us a tour of the Surf Ball Room (this performance ball room is where Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens last performed before the fatal airplane crash) before we shared a wonderful dinner.  That night there were 15 people staying in this home and the host slept out on a couch in the garage!  Can you believe it?  Only in Iowa. . . .

    The bike route is 2 lane highways that have been shut down to automobile traffic by state troopers.  One of the troopers had a microphone and would entertain us when we met up at certain road intersections.  The people who ride on RAGBRAI tend to be mostly in-shape cyclists — with personality.  There was a Team Cow (dressed up as cows), Team Pink (wore pink boas and one gal had pink hair, Team Good Beer, and the Air Force Team (as you can imagine, they flew by us often).  Some of the riders have unique bikes:  all different types, bikes with only one speed, a bike that looks like a banana, a guy rode one of those old fashioned bikes with a large front tire — and one guy was standing on an elliptical bike.  We met people from all over the world — the furthest away point that I encountered was New Zealand.

    We biked past mostly corn fields that reminded me of oceans of corn, oh the beauty.  Soy beans, beautiful barns, horses cantering in fields, cows, pigs, homes with kids and families cheering us along.  Iowa is progressive with their wind energy turbines which are pretty humbling when you see one close up.  Occasionally, you will see a cluster of 20 of them and they are so peaceful --- sort of out there keeping an eye over the crops.

    You bike along on the highways and eventually we would start seeing signs for the upcoming towns (i.e., “smoothies and burritos 3 miles”).  We enjoyed reading the preview signs.  Once all the bikers hit the towns (and we are talking Mayberry here), all the cyclists would have to get off.  So we get off, walk around, take photos, eat, drink, dance, see the sights, talk to others.  This was the special part — and each town marked an accomplishment along the way.  These towns come to life with music, entertainment, food/drink vendors, portable potties, and more.  The churches made the best food.  They have done everything to make us comfortable and fuel us for getting back on the bike.  Cartersville, IA was one town my sister and I won’t forget.  Normally only 15 people live in Cartersville — but today there were thousands stopped to watch the local feature set up on a corner next to the largest grain elevators.  One of Cartersville’s farmers built a crane and attached a swing to it that you could grab onto and swing across, then jump into the lake.  We arrived at Cartersville at 10 am — and the line was 30 – 40 people deep to get a chance at the swing! Cartersville may only be home to 15 people, but now thousands hold a fond memory of a unique, fun swing with the backdrop of a local farm!

    My sister and I are proud of what we accomplished and will never forget so many moments from RAGBRAI.  Everyone looking for adventure should put RAGBRAI on their Bucket List.

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