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. 

Here are some shots I took last week on Hutchinson Island near Stuart, Florida, where I fell in love with the sea, the pelicans and the tropical plants. 

September 1 has come and gone, marking the unofficial end of summer. It could go on, but somebody flicked the switch! Night temperatures have dipped down into low 40s, cooling off water and land, if not the inhabitants.

Blessed rain came just in time, but nothing dampens the spirit of those determined to wring out everything they can from what’s left of the warm days of the year.

Now is a good time to catch an afternoon on the road or on the water. Take the kids to a downtown street fair, a ballgame or out for a hot dog at the drive-in that soon will shut down for winter.

Fruit growers have started bringing in their crops and cleaning them up for town and county fairs that go on, rain or shine.

Here are some shots taken in southern Vermont, western Massachusetts, Boston, Washington DC, Lake George and Long Island, NY.



At last!




What good is winter in New England without snow? This was only a dusting, but an especially pretty one. More to come later this week and -- hopefully -- on and on and on.


view from the living room window
It's 41 degrees, cloudy and kind of damp today, but toasty inside and look at the view ...

National Aquarium, Baltimore MD
Silver flash times two, 
Eyes and fins slide by in waves,
whosh -- to you, then me. 


I may have found paradise, and it is in a kayak on a Vermont pond in late summer.

On October 31, 2003, I covered a conference at the JFK Presidential Library in Boston for the Harvard School of Public Health newsletter. Universal health care coverage was topic of the day in Massachusetts, which was considering several plans for the uninsured. The half-day program included a keynote address by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, given to a roomful of insurance, health care and business leaders, plus people from patient advocacy groups, research organizations and universities.

On a break, I caught Ted Kennedy chatting with the focus of my story, economist Robert Blendon, of HSPH. I wanted a candid shot but was too slow and ended up with a very self-conscious one instead, just before Kennedy left. That story, with cropped photo, is available here

The two men were standing in front of the huge bowed window in the library’s meeting room. From there, you get a spectacular view of Boston Harbor and, as you can see, it was a crisp, sunny fall day. 

If the scene looks familiar, it may be because, on that day, Kennedy was standing in the same spot where his coffin would rest almost 6 years later. The entire Kennedy family gathered last week in the same room to bid Ted a final farewell.