A 10 candle-power light was first hung on a pole at the water’s edge here in 1889 to warn the increasing Hudson River traffic away from Jeffrey’s Hook at night. The little red lighthouse was built as the North Hook Beacon at Sandy Hook, New Jersey where it stood until 1917. It was reconstructed here, at Jeffrey’s Hook, in 1921 as part of a project to improve Hudson River navigational aids, and was in operation until 1947. When the George Washington Bridge was completed in 1931, however, the lighthouse was considered obsolete, as the bridge pier was illuminated.
The story of the 1942 children’s book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, by Hildegarde Swift, centers around the fears of the lighthouse that it was now irrelevant, but the bridge reassures it that it is still needed to help keep river traffic safe.
The proposed dismantling of the lighthouse in 1951 resulted in a public outcry, largely from fans of Swift’s book, leading to the preservation of the lighthouse by the City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation. The lighthouse is now a New York City landmark and was relighted by the city in 2002. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse in 1979.
Like all cities, New York is losing its corners, the humble testaments to its simple, working class origins. There are still a number of them — the Marble Cemetery, comunal gardens and charming wooden houses that stand proud, shadowed by condos, are others. The Little Red Lighthouse is sweet, though, and well worth a visit.
Chef Ian Kittichai
Chef Pongtawat “Ian” Chalermkittichai is Thailand’s first international “celebrity chef”. An unlikely candidate, Ian came from humble roots pushing a food cart through his Bangkok neighborhood as a child. Fate guided him to a culinary school scholarship, a French fine-dining apprenticeship in Sydney’s legendary Claude’s, and then pushed him to become the first Thai national in the world to become the Executive Chef of a 5-star hotel, the legendary Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok.
With a weekly cooking television show since 2001, Chef Mue Thong (Golden Hand Chef), which can currently be seen in over 70 countries around the world, his audience is truly global. Chef Chalermkittichai created the celebrated NYC restaurant, Kittichai Restaurant, in 2004. In 2008 he left to form his global food & beverage management and consulting firm, Cuisine Concept Co., Ltd., through which he created Murmuri in Barcelona and currently advises an impressive roster of 5-star hotels, restaurants, and food company clients worldwide. In 2010 he opened Thailand’s first gastro pub – Hyde & Seek Gastro Bar – in Bangkok and then his third signature Thai restaurant – KOH by Ian Kittichai – at the Intercontinental Marine Drive Hotel in Mumbai, India. In 2011 he opened Ember Room in New York City and re-launched Spot Dessert Bar, both with Chase Restaurant Group. Chef Ian released his first cookbook for the Thai language market in 2011 and will release an English version in 2012.
Issaya is the ground floor dining outlet that includes both a dining room and large outdoor terrace. The menu features Chef Ian’s unique signature Thai cuisine of traditional ingredients and flavors with international and progressive cooking methods. Some of Chef’s best known dishes, such as Red Chili-Glazed Seabass (Pla Aob Prik) and Jasmine Flower Flan (Kanom Dok Mali), as well as an ever-changing market menu that highlights the seasonal specials of the day, direct from the market, is the heart of the menu. Issaya also features Chef’s garden where guests can see aromatic Thai herbs grown year-round. Chef Ian is a pioneer in farm-to-table dining in Thailand and aims to incorporate his purity and freshness beliefs into Issaya. Issaya also features a large private dining room and lounge area that can be reserved for larger parties.
pergola in winter- Garzon.
A short weekend in Pueblo Garzon. We spend four nights in Uruguay and make the most of it and love it. The weather is glorious – 60′s cloudless – and our friends, dear, sweet friends, are here living the real life, reminding us of what is important.
One task at hand…this is the time to transplant, to work on the watering system (the most important qualification you can have here is to be a water management expert) and to tend to our 100 year old olive trees. We are the fortunate ones to have been introduced to Antonio, the olive tree whisperer from Spain, by our dear friends Kenneth and Carmen. Antonio, known as the Atomic Ant or the Flea for his agility in the crotch of these glorious trees, comes from Spain every year to teach the locals about how to care for olive trees. Antontio left school at 16 and has spent his life tending to these “mothers of all trees”.
He looks at our five trees, brought painstakingly from northern Uruguay five years ago. We have problems..fungus, and other problems I don’t understand. Antonio takes to the trees with chain saw in hand and, with a cheerful whistle, begins to saw.
In the midst of the severe pruning, a puppy ran out from under our car.
I tried not to look. Jeremy gathered him into his arms and sheltered him in his hoody. Safe from the rain, we soon discovered that this very young puppy was blind. She is with us still and we have called her La Garzona. In three hours she has eaten, slept in Jeremy’s arms, travelled to Jose Ignacio and walked on our beach at sunset.
Jeremy, my son, says that he is never happier than when he is here.
In the whirlwind passing of the days, I seek moments of stillness. They come in many guises: a dawn meditation, my golden, Oliver, asleep at my side; an early morning wander through the farmer’s market; preparing a weekend soup; listening to music; reading poetry and thinking about it. These are hardly esoteric pastimes. In fact, the frightening realization is that these moments of private pleasure, which not so long ago were regular parts of my daily life, have become so scarce.
It is with anticipation then – and a bit of envy – that I wait for the arrival of Cultivated Days, Praire Stuart-Wolff’s blog (there is a digital magazine as well) that speaks to people who are hungry for life’s fine detail. Cultivated Days transports the reader – her description of sharing a cup of steaming tea on a frosty morning in the Japanese countryside is a simple example. Much of what occurs in the blog and magazine is season related (what could be more grounding than this), but I also enjoy the exotic of it, for her days occur in the countryside of Maine, USA and Kyushu, Japan, the two locales where she splits her year.
Slow living…that is what draws me, and it is a tug that is almost painful. I am not alone in longing for the leisure and comfort of time spent with friends and family at the hearth of the home, in a low-tech, low-touch environment. In conversation I find that many are nostalgic for the scent of garden flowers and an active kitchen, the sound of song birds before the day has begun, the sight of a cardinal’s flashing red breast, the ripening of garden fruits, the glimpse of a raccoon making his slow way to a high branch, as if this all were a world beyond our reach.
It isn’t. And until we find that balance, Cultivated Days serves to satisfy the heart a little and to keep the value of this way of living alive.
This little guy has changed our lives.
The Breville Juice Fountain Crush is what is known as a Cold Press Juicer (a.k.a. Masticating Juicer). These newer juicers extract juice by first crushing and then pressing fruit and vegetables for the highest juice yield. Because they don’t produce heat, they keep more of the fresh ingredients’ nutrients intact.
It’s not an inexpensive machine but, when you compare it to the expense of purchasing over-the-counter juices from Blue Print or Organic Avenue, it will take only a few weeks before you have paid yourself back. And, you can be creative, concocting your own blends that meet your own demanding standards! Lots of ginger for me but not much lemon. Green apples for Rebecca with parsley and kale. And Jeremy has become the expert, rushing home from work to buy bags of veggies and fruits. He then becomes Mr. Juicer himself and, in the morning, does his juice delivery rounds for family and friends in the neighborhood.
So much fun.
Walk your journey.
The rhythm of your footfall settles the mind and opens the heart.
Time and space dissolve; a week and a stretch of road become one.
Photograph: A Step Ahead
Location: Spain: The Pyrenees
It’s too bad, in terms of trying to express the full impact that Trasierra has on its guests, that we are not yet able to release the scent of a place. Trasierra, a 20-room hotel that is more like a private home located in the Sierras one hour from Seville, ensnares you on so many levels. But its perfume – a mix of jasmine and rose and lavender and baked earth – is the first of its charms that hits you. The bird song, of course, is the next for they are in heaven in this place dripping with flowers (don’t forget that this is also that magical time in southern Spain, the Spring, that brings flamenco and flowers in to the open). And then there is the aesthetic charm of the architecture and decor, all built over the last 30 plus years by Charlotte Scott and her four children. Charlotte, once an interior designer in London, has had a love affair with this ruined hamlet of a place that she found, bought and slowly rebuilt while raising her family and, eventually, hosting guests.
A full-fledged hotel – Tatler has called it one of the 101 best in the world – it’s rooms are clustered in what were the stables or the pig stye or some other out building, all joined by stone paths edged in jasmine or lavender. Still retaining the feel of a hamlet, you can lose yourself at one of the swimming pools or in one of the great rooms, glass of wine in hand, head buried deep in a book. Play tennis or hike in the surrounding hills, drop in to the yoga class held every evening at 7:30 or have a massage on your individual terrace. One thing you won’t want to miss is meal time – 2:30 or so for lunch and 9:30 for dinner (or frankly, as this is the anti hotel, served at any time you want and anywhere you want) – for the food is stunningly good. In fact the food is unsurpassed. Everything (barring the fish which is brought from Seville) is local and all of the veg and fruits are grown organically in the Trasierra gardens. Salads abound with fresh peas, mint and goat cheese, rice dishes, meatballs light as a feather, pear tart that melts in the mouth. Wines and liquors and fresh lemonade are always on ice somewhere to be self served or, if you prefer, to be brought to you by one of the charming staff who are virtually invisible until you suddenly decide you want something and then, magically, they are there.
Come for a weekend and stay a week. Come for a rest or recuperation. Come with your extended family for a celebratory birthday and take over the whole of Trasierra, knowing that you will have a home of your own deep in the Andalucian countryside that comes with easy comfort, superb service, divine food, and – oh yes – that perfume!