Our plan for exploring France was to follow Vincent Van Gogh's path south from Amsterdam to the Mediterranean, with important stops along the way. It didn't turn out exactly like that. Nonetheless, we saw Holland and France through the painter's eyes. .  
I hope you enjoy this jaunt through the mountains and small towns of southern France. Bask in the sun by the pool at a bed & breakfast set in the middle of a working vineyard, with mountains as backdrop.
Be sure to turn up the music -- Don McLean's Vincent (also known as Starry Starry Night), a paean to the Dutch artist, including some of his more recognizable Provence landscapes. 


 
 
Like everyone else in the Free World, we knew this campaign season was coming and planned our getaway accordingly. There's no level of campaign craziness that three weeks offline in Europe can't cure. Now we've decided to share our beautiful memories of The Netherlands and France with you. Get comfy, uncork a bottle of wine and enjoy! 

 
 
Thanks to global warming, or at least an overactive La Nina pattern, summer started sometime around April up here. That's very unusual for New England. Unheard of, actually. 

And, it has been a scorcher! But, here we are in the middle of August and we can see and feel hints that summer will soon depart. Some nights are well near 50. Flowers and crops that should fizzle in late August or early September, have already started to buzz. Soon, the water will be too cold for a dip, and the breezes will take down the first leaves of autumn, as a warning.
 
Until then, enjoy this little taste of summer in western New England. We've had gatherings with family and old friends, grandkid birthday parties, indoor and outdoor concerts, garden parties and garden tours, daily trips to farmstands for corn and tomatoes, and luscious  solitary swims at the end of the day. We even sat for a spell in a cottage ornée in Pat's gorgeous rose garden. 

Wish summer could go on forever, but I know better. 

I hope you've had a good season, doing whatever it is you wanted to do. That's the way it should be. This is not the autumn of our lives, but the summer. Remember that and dress accordingly. 

 
 
Picture
Fall in New England is generally short, but this year the show has gone on and on. Maybe it was the tropical weather pushed forward by a few hurricanes. Or maybe, the weather gods just went on vacation and forgot to flick the switch. Whatever, thanks!

Color up here starts out slow in mid- to late-August and picks up steam in September. One week, you’re swimming in the lake; the next, night temps hover slightly over freezing. That water cools down nicely.

Peak color was in late September in southern Vermont, but it is just now peaking in parts of western Massachusetts. Last week, we had our first few nights of hard frost in VT, ending the color show for good and warning of what’s ahead. One night, we got more than frost on the pumpkin (or truck). 

Massachusetts is enjoying a brief reprieve, but it’ll catch up to Vermont real soon.

Picture