a Weekend in Twin Peaks, CA

Hello March 👋🏼

In a month’s time two people I’m pretty darn fond of will be getting married. And a month ago we celebrated their pending nuptials the best way we knew how: by drinking a case of prosecco in the mountains!

The drive from Los Angeles to the San Bernardino Mountains can be either beautiful or barf-inducing… depending on how much traffic you hit and where you’re sitting in the car. 

If you were expecting the cabins to be rustic jewels covered in wood paneling, plaid, pine trees and endless bear decorations, you would be correct!

In the morning I noticed the artwork hanging above my bed— two sweet duckaroo guardian angels, haha. How perfect.

After surveying the damage, filling up on cinnamon rolls & bagels, we ventured out to walk off our hangovers. Which turned into bowling off our hangovers and a little hair of the dog.

The final morning I Irish-goodbye’d my way to the airport to catch a flight to New York… more on that later! 

I wish I had a solid list of places to recommend where you should eat, and things you “must do” in the Big Bear & Lake Arrowhead region… but all the countless weekends I’ve been up there have been to spend time with the people I went with. Pretty cheesey huh. Absolute 12-month-aged, grass-fed, English Cheddar cheese right there. 

Seafood Fest

While I’ve been hibernating this month, I’ve been thinking a lot about what seasonal tourism workers do in the offseason, and about buildings that are boarded up for months. 

There are lots of destinations where the offseason is my preferred time to visit. Greek islands are incredible summertime hotspots, but they’re also flooded with fellow tourists. In the offseason it’s chillier, but nice and quiet, and those who make their living catering to tourists have the time to share their attention with you. You won’t be working on your tan, but you have the chance for a more immersive cultural experience. But what do I know.

Which brings me to Hampton Beach in Hampton, NH. Currently in January the main drag called “The Strip” is dead. The arcade, the waterslides, and the fried dough stand are all closed. The guy who has made his career drawing caricatures is …elsewhere. Everything is currently boarded up. Not so during summertime. 

At the tail end of the summer people travel from ALL over to Hampton Beach for the annual Seafood Fest. You can walk through tent after tent with wall to wall seafood vendors. You can also dress up as a crustacean, and you won’t be the only one!

But the crown jewel of the day is the lobster eating contest, or what many people refer to as “a huge waste of lobster meat”. 

It’s a thing. Folks (okay, mostly guys who look 7 months pregnant) from all over the North East enter the contest. They play the national anthem before it begins. I repeat, they play. the. national. anthem! before it begins. As if this were a legit professional sporting event. And the winner is presented their prize by the local beauty queen and the Governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, who’s a real turd of a public servant if you ask me. 

I don’t know that I’ll be in attendance at the next Seafood Fest, but I do now know that the secret to an amazing hot lobster roll is to add sherry to the butter. A total game changer! 

Hello Hong Kong

Where to begin? Last month I spent time on an island which has been a reoccurring character in my thoughts for the past 2 years: Hong Kong.  

One of the first observations which struck me and had intrigued me were the colors Hong Kongers have chosen for their landscape. So much pink and colorful pastels! 

My days were full and of course I only scratched the surface. What I wanted most was to just walk around this pastel vertical city beside the jungle. On an island. I had never seen anything like it with my own eyeballs. Some days I stuffed myself with dim sum, and others with “modern Chinese” dishes which rank on the list of best I’ve ever eaten. I loved every day and can’t wait until I return. 

Eat/Drink/See/Do lists forthcoming. For now here’s a first glimpse:

Ice Castle: Opening Weekend

A “bomb cyclone” (how is that even a real weather term?) couldn’t keep us away from visiting Ice Castle’s only east coast location. So long as you didn’t remove your fingers from its glove or mitten, it was still enjoyable in the 0˙ weather of Lincoln, NH. 

The sculpted structure was pretty remarkable. And the recent snowfall added a picturesque layer of what looked like frosting. 

ice slides! ice thrones! an ice maze! Elsa & Olaf! non stop photo ops.

We arrived during daylight in late afternoon to see the Ice Castle in all its glory. Soon after the sun drifted away, behind the White Mountains and the ice sculptures began to glow. How cool to see these giant ice walls lit up in bright colors. 

As we piled back into the car and finally removed excess layers of outerwear, we were glad we made the trek. For about the price of a movie ticket it’s a fun outing. We were able to see all it had to offer without needing to stay long enough to get frostbite. 

It does feel like nowadays any feast for the eyes has been reduced to just a series of photo-ops. Vaguely reminiscent of the Museum of Ice Cream and The Color Factory. Maybe it’s always been that way– so long as the technology existed parents have always taken photos of their kids. Only now with the rush of selfie sticks it’s become tiresome to observe? I guess, what is life but a series of photo-ops, amiright?? Coming at you with all the deep thoughts, guys. Stay warm!

Outer Banks of North Carolina

I write this from a snow-covered freezing tundra (or so it feels). What I would give to be transported to the month of June, on a warm beach in the South! 

I spent a short week vacationing on the Outer Banks. For a few days our lives consisted of no more than homemade sandwiches & potato chips on sandy beach towels. Afternoon trips to the local ice cream shop. Spiral staircases inside light houses. Board games. Laughing until you’re crying. Cold beer cans blanketed in condensation. Running through sand dune mazes. Reading in a beach chair, which inevitably leads to napping in a beach chair. 

Forget Zoloft, give all of us trudging through seasonal depression a dose of the last week in June.

File the Outer Banks and barrier islands of North Carolina under “Places to Visit Before the Rising Sea Levels Bury Them”.

On our last day we finally changed out of our swimsuits and drove up to Corolla. If you haven’t ridden in an H1 Hummer on a wide Carolina beach, which everyone agrees is a 2 lane highway, you’re missing out! There are homes in Corolla and nearby neighborhoods where the beach is the only route of access. Who knew? 

Similar to the paths amongst the grasses in the sand dunes which we’d walk through to reach the beach, larger paths make up the streets here. I hadn’t seen anything quite like it. It was just like any other suburban development, except for the slight difference that none of the streets were paved. They were all wide trails in the sand. Wide enough for your neighbors lifted SUV, and trailing boat to drive through. Hell, we even saw a 4x4 pizza delivery truck.

And wild horses! (which sounds nicer than the also accurate “feral horses”.) The protected population here on the Outer Banks are descendants of domesticated horses Spanish expeditions brought over in the 1500’s, and left behind… or survived shipwrecks– where’s that animated movie, Disney? Here’s a wikipedia link, should you be itching for a rabbit hole to go down. 

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