12 August 2015
Friends! Wow! I kind of thought you might be excited to hear our announcement, but as usual, you bowled me over with your enthusiasm and good wishes. We kept the news to ourselves for so long that I was a little nervous about finally having it out in the open, but you all more than put me at ease. Looking forward to chatting more :)
But first, let’s return to France for the final installment of our trip: the Côte d’Azur! This post will be short and sweet.
On the final two nights of our trip, we stayed in the tiny town of Mougins at La Mas Candille. We were happy with this choice, but if we were to return to the area, we probably would try a different property. It was nice, but didn’t blow our minds. We did enjoy lounging in Candille’s many small pools, but let me tell you: the French and Americans do NOT have the same definition of “hot tub.” The French seem to think a lukewarm tub is “hot” (disappointing).
However, one thing we loved about the hotel was that it was within very easy walking distance to Mougins’ town center, and we loved Mougins! The three business categories in Mougins seem to be restaurants, art galleries, and real estate offices. The views over the valley were beautiful! We ate at a yummy Indian restaurant one night and Le Clos Saint Basile the other. (One note on Saint Basile: it was one of the only times when we found it difficult to communicate, and we do know a good bit of French. Maybe not the best option for those who do not know ANY French.)
Aside from lounging at our hotel and strolling Mougins, our main outing was to Chemin des Douaniers. This is a beautiful coastal walk along a stretch of sea wall in Cap d’Antibes, and I would highly recommend it!
And that’s that! I hoped you enjoyed following along with our France adventure, and that our experience might be helpful for those of you planning your own trips!! In case you missed a post…
P.S. I swear I own more than one shirt.
7 August 2015
I know many of you came here today for the last installment of our France journey, but instead, you’re getting this…
That’s right, friends! Come January, these two solid New Englanders will be welcoming a true Southerner to the family! We are very excited!!
It’s been so fun to share the news with family and friends (who are also SO EXCITED) over the last few months, and so I wanted to bring you friends up to speed, too! Here are a few of the first questions people have had for us:
Are you nervous or excited? Surprisingly, not nervous. Definitely excited. There is a reason for this, and I plan to write a longer post about our path here soon.
How do you feel? At this point (17 weeks), I feel great! I had kind of low-grade, all day queasiness from about weeks 7 to 12, but if I ate at regular intervals (lots of oyster crackers!), I felt okay. I was also more tired than usual in the first trimester, but going to bed earlier and resting when I came home from work helped a lot.
Are you going to find out whether it’s a boy or a girl? We’re pretty sure we’re going to find out, and pretty sure that if we find out we’ll share the news.
Do you plan to write about pregnancy here? Yes. EFM has always been about our adventures and what I find marvelous, and this new development fits squarely into both of those categories. While I don’t plan to write monthly update posts, I definitely have lots of thoughts on certain topics :)
More about this later, but I just wanted to end (for now!) by saying that neither John nor I experienced “baby fever;” in fact, I am a bit notorious among friends and family for “not liking babies*.” Everything is new to us and there has been so much to learn along the way already. Mostly, we are grateful. We are trusting in God, that he has equipped us with everything we need and has chosen us uniquely for this baby. We are trusting in each other, as we have for the last ten years. And we are trusting that all that is to come is the continuation of a beautiful story. Looking forward to sharing it, friends!!
Photos by the wonderful Anna Routh!
*I’m banking on the fact I will feel differently about my own :)
4 August 2015
Once we had had our fill of lavender fields and olive trees (as if that’s possible!), we drove about an hour south to Cassis, a small town on the French coast (a little east of Marseilles). Cassis is built into the side of a hill, with the town center at the bottom, right next to the water, and houses perched on the hillside. We stayed at an Airbnb for our one night in Cassis (this one – it was great!), and had about a ten-minute (steep!) walk into town.
The first afternoon we walked down to the public beach, intending to go for a dip. The water was beautiful but very choppy and cold. However, that wasn’t what stopped us from going in – it was the ROCKS. This is a Very Important Tip, in my opinion: if you want to go in the water at a French beach, make sure you bring water shoes! I found it almost impossibly painful to walk or stand barefoot on the (confusingly smooth-looking) pebbles, especially when being buffeted by waves. However, other people were doing this with no apparent difficulty, so maybe I just have inexplicably tender soles.
We ate dinner in Cassis’s town center. It was good, but not our most memorable meal! If you like seafood, a coastal town is definitely a great place to be. We also indulged in gelato and crepes for dessert while strolling on the seawall.
The main reason we added Cassis to our itinerary was the calanques, and they did not disappoint. The Calanques National Park extends from Cassis to Marseille, making Cassis a great starting point to venture from. We visited three calanques on foot, for a round-trip total of about 8 miles (with some serious elevation gain). Information is a bit scarce (and often in French), so here’s the scoop in case you’re interested in going.
From where we started, the first calanque, Port-Miou, is a very easy walk. It’s mostly flat on a clear trail. It’s also not the most exciting – it’s lined with moored boats, so while beautiful, it’s not that wild.
The walk from Port-Miou to Port Pin was also very enjoyable – more uphill, but with the most beautiful water views. We started out in the morning (maybe 10am?), and by the time we got to the beach at Port Pin, there was still only one other couple there. We considered stopping to take a dip (it looked so nice!), but decided to continue on.
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The hike from Port Pin to Port d’en Vau was most definitely the hardest stretch. We were hot and tired by that point, and even when we could finally see the water of d’en Vau, it was kind of discouraging, because it was SO far down, and all I could think about was if we went down there, we’d eventually have to climb back up.
But of course, in the end, we were glad we did it. The water was cold, but we were very hot and didn’t mind, and swimming in beautiful clear water between such epic cliffs was definitely a singular experience. This is why exercise is important to me – so we can continue to explore exquisite places off the beaten path!
A few practical tips to remember: 1) Bring water and snacks. 2) Wear hiking shoes/sneakers. Yes, you’re going to a beach, but do not wear flip flops (as we saw some people doing). 3) If you’re visiting from June to September, they sometimes close the calanques due to fire danger. You can check this website to see if they’re open. 4) This is a very helpful website that we used when planning our calanques hike – lots of great information there.
Have you been to the French coast? To Cassis? To the Calanques? I’d love to hear if you found the pebble beaches equally impenetrable!!
My next and final France post: Mougins!
P.S. If you’re thinking of visiting Cassis: our friends the Terhunes love it, too, and have beautiful photos and tips from their honeymoon trip!
3 August 2015
By the time August rolls around, all I want to do is go to the beach, eat peaches, and relax. Which is not a particularly conducive environment for setting goals, if you think of goals only in the traditional sense of workmanlike drudgery you have to check off. Happily, I don’t. My goals are about living a more marvelous life, and while sometimes that involves hard and tedious things, sometimes it just involves eating peaches.
The most beautiful sunflowers at Buttonwood Farm!
Revisiting my goals for July:
Pick blueberries at our favorite local farm Checking this one off because while we didn’t go to our local farm (it was closed all three times we tried!), I did visit another one with my work ladies.
Plan and co-host a sweet summer co-ed baby shower for Natalie + Joe! Done! See here!
Eat in and eat healthy. We borrowed a friend’s spiralizer, and liked it so much I think we’re going to buy our own!
Write eight blog posts. Wrote nine! Success!
— Frame and hang our two new pieces from Framed & Matted
— Finally paint the tray I primed about a year ago (this is my inspiration)
— Make progress on goal no. 37 (maybe the weeding out part)
— Post an updated house tour here after our tour appears on Southern Weddings
— For my most ambitious goal: do some sort of exercise every single day this month, whether a walk around the neighborhood, a run, a bike ride, or something else. Yikes!
If you’ve posted your goals somewhere, I’d love to see – or just drop them in the comments!