After a bumpy start this summer has become a joy

Posted by Stephanie Tickner on Monday, August 12, 2013 Under: Reflections

In my blog post in early July, I wrote about a variety of challenges that were creating chaos at the beginning of the summer. It was not a great start to such a wonderful time of the year. Thankfully, things have calmed down, and there have been opportunities for nice gatherings with family and friends. I even finished a painting that I started quite some time ago.

In mid-July we made our annual trek to the Greyfox Bluegrass Festival on the Walsh Farm in Oak Hill, NY. We camped with a large group of family and friends and enjoyed a great variety of music. The nearly 100 degree temperatures did not keep us from having a fantastic time. For me, the sights are sounds of this festival are so joyful. Music fills the air, even in the camping area as people play music at their sites in Pickers' Paradise. I always feel renewed after the five days there.

Our trailer in Pickers' Paradise.

The clouds towered over the various tents

My favorite new-to-me band this year. The 23 String Band from Kentucky. They had so much fun
on stage and looked really happy when we clapped loudly for them the two times I saw them. It was great

One of my new-to-me favorite bands from last year, The Deadly Gentlemen. They were so much fun again this year.

Rushad Eggleston at the Grassroots stage. The set was so amazing and funny. I laughed until I had tears running down my face. He is an incredible musician.

Back home again, I was thankful to have some painting time near the end of July. The weather was beautiful, and I set up my "outdoor studio" on our screen porch. I love painting out there, often with our dog, Shaggy, sleeping on my bare feet. It's a bit of paradise.

This is the painting I finished on my screen porch. I started it in the winter but had to put it aside for other projects and commitments. It is from a photo I took in my mother's neighborhood in the Town Neck section of the town of Sandwich on Cape Cod. It was from a photo I took on a walk one Thanksgiving. I always loved the way the moon rose over the ocean, behind that unique tree. Now I am thankful I took the photo I used for this painting since the tree is now gone...cut down to build a new giant style beach house. I have decided to call this "The Tree That Was".

At the beginning of August we spent a week camping in the southeast part of the New Hampshire Lakes Region. We wanted to give ourselves the gift of time and just slow down from the pace of work for the adults, and camp and counselor in training weeks for the kids. We ended up in this part of the Lakes Region by the accident of me not making reservations sooner. Each campground I called was already full for our vacation week. Thankfully, when I called Barrington Shores Campground in Barrington, NH, they had one lake view site left! We took it. Barrington Shores Campground is located on the shore of Swains Lake. I packed plenty of things to do, including books, a sketch I wanted to start painting, recipe magazines I wanted to go through and save favorite recipes, and my laptop. The only thing from that list that I did was read a book and a half. It felt just perfect! It can be hard to let oneself slow down and relax sometimes. I sat on the beach or under the awning in my camp rocking chair and allowed myself to get lost in my books, with views of the lake through the trees. We also spent time kayaking, canoeing, swimming, hiking, cooking delicious food, and traveling along the New Hampshire seacoast, which was closer to Barrington than the rest of the Lakes Region. We ended our week with a visit to Portsmouth, NH, complete with dinner at a dog friendly restaurant. It was perfect!

Our lake view campsite

Sunset over Swains Lake

The wind was blowing like crazy on this kayak paddle. Waves washed over the bow and I got soaked. I laughed out loud. It was a transitional moment of letting go and allowing myself to play!

Another gift of time...letting myself sit in a gently moving kayak in a calm cove,
taking photo after photo of this turtle until I got a good shot!

We brought the canoe too. It was nice to take the non-paddling
seat with the dogs as we toured the entire lake one day.

Our hiking day was in Blue Job State Forest in Strafford/Farmington, NH.
It is said you can see the Atlantic Ocean and even Boston from the fire tower.
We couldn't see Boston or the ocean, that day, but views of the White Mountains were beautiful!

On one day of our NH vacation we drove south to north on the New Hampshire Coastal Byway.
My daughter took this photo of me taking pictures along the way when we stopped near Rye Harbor State Park.
Like mother, like daughter! My photography inspires my painting.

Some of the stunning gardens in Prescott Park in Portsmouth, NH

A wonderful end to our vacation was hearing about the dog-friendly Portsmouth Gas Light outside seating. We never would have figured it out by staying on the main street. The outdoor seating with live music is tucked around back. There were lots of other well behaved dogs, acoustic live music, and a bowl of free ice water for the dogs. We ordered a plate of grilled chicken for our 6 year old cavachon and our 16 year old pug. They were so blisssed out! We were glad to have a place to eat out with them in our company.

Despite a crazy start to my summer, I am grateful for all the good times that followed. Now on to the art fair season!

In : Reflections 

Tags: "grey fox bluegrass festival" "bluegrass music" family friends "watercolor painting" camping "nh lakes region" "nh seacoast" "portsmouth  nh" "the gift of time" 
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