Book themes for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht: A story involving children or a young adult book, or a book with oranges on the cover, or whose cover is primarily orange (for the Dutch House of Orange) –OR– with tangerines, walnuts, chocolates, or cookies on the cover.
I read: Childgrave
Tasks for Bon Om Touk: Post a picture from your most recent or favorite vacation on the sea (or a lake, river, or any other body of water larger than a puddle), or if you're living on the sea or on a lake or a river, post a picture of your favorite spot on the shore / banks / beach / at the nearest harbour.
I don't have any recent vacation pictures as we've recently bought a house and adopted two kitties! (Our vacations have been in the back yard ever since, and that's just fine with us.) For the purposes of the 16 Festive Tasks, I've posted pics below of one of our favorite places in the world: Martha's Vineyard. For those who don't know, it's an island off the shores of Massachusetts. It features some quaint towns, a cool little village and some of the most beautiful views anywhere, in my admittedly humble, (and not well traveled!) opinion.
We are lucky to have a friend that owns a home in MV, who welcomes us to stay and who knows all the places with the best food. Let's start with breakfast. We ALWAYS went to Biscuits which is in Oak Bluffs and has the most fantastic food EVER. Yes, you can get chicken and waffles, you can get a bacon-cake, or you can get my favorite: eggs with homemade Linguica hash. Look at those big hunks of potato-YUM!
Usually after breakfast we would take a walk. Not far away from Biscuits is the old Methodist Campground. Founded in the early 1800's, originally in tents, this area was set up for worship. There is a big tabernacle there and its reputation grew. Eventually they began to build these gingerbread houses, in place of the tents, and now it's a gorgeous little village of these homes. None of them have cellars and the land itself is owned by the Campground. Most of the homes are so close, they even touch. From what I understand the homes are often passed down through generations and since the land is not owned, banks won't give mortgages for them. Here's my husband in front of one of the super cute homes, (sorry it's crooked!). I loved the little birdhouse on the front, (top balcony) which looks just like the house itself. Some of the homes are themed-there's one Wizard of Oz house that is super cool.
Here's a straighter picture for you:
At the western end of the island is a beautiful place which used to be called Gay Head, but is now called Aquinnah, for the native American tribe that lived here, (and still does). There's a beautiful lighthouse, which they've had to move due to erosion. Back in the day, there used to be a fort here, to protect the shore-the remains of which you can barely see in the water below, at the foot of the cliffs.
South Beach is one of my favorite places on MV. You can drive right onto the beach and it's not crazy crowded like so many of the beaches on the mainland. Of course, it's private, so you can only go if you're with a resident. (You may be able to buy a day pass even if you're not a resident.) There are no snack bars, no bars whatsoever, just the beauty of the ocean. That land you see in the background on the left is Chappaquiddick. We were told by our friend that sometimes the channel across is connected by the sand that often builds up there and then you can drive right across. I guess that has happened on and off over the last 40 years.
Lastly, the saddest part of any vacation-going home. This picture was taken from the ferry.
I hope we can make it back there sometime soon!