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Monday, August 14, 2006

Summer Travel Observations

I cannot quite believe that it has been over a month since I last wrote here. But the dates do not lie -- nearly six weeks it is.
Summer has been delicious this year. We've made a trip to Nantucket, a trip to Tanglewood, a trip to Chicago, and a trip to Edmonton. A busy, busy time.
Nantucket continues to be beautiful, but outrageously expensive. We spent only a day on the island. By taking the early ferry over and the latest ferry back, we were able to spend a great deal of time on the island without the horrible expense of the overnight stay on the island. Given that we were unable to find a room for under $450, it was a frugal and necessary decision. We tried to jam pack a full day with as much fun as possible. That included breakfast at Children's Beach --- crowded, filled with demanding, spoiled people, but delicious and wonderful nevertheless. Then we spent the morning window shopping along the streets of downtown. Believe it or not, the shop-aholic here did not buy one single thing. But window shopping and wandering in and out of boutiques is always educational. The afternoon was beach time --- sand, sun and lots of sunscreen --- a burn can quickly ruin frugal fun. And we capped off the day with the evening back in town, cocktails on a terrace, dinner at yet another restaurant, and a late dessert at still another. All in all a full sample of the island's best.
While I saw many wealthy women on the island wearing recognizably expensive clothing and jewelry, I was overall unimpressed with the "chic" of the island this trip. Most of the women seemed to have adopted the recent fads for overfull skirts and skimpy tops with ruffles or they had adopted the island trend of very bright colors mixed together. While both of these look excellent in their own way -- they lack the chic that those of us on tight budgets demand. These looks are here today and gone tomorrow --- or gone as soon as one leaves the island culture. A few of the women in town were dressed in all white --- always a chic, cool look in the summer and easy for the cheapchic among us to imitate.
Tanglewood was also a chic disappointment. Don't misunderstand --- the concert was wonderful, the symphony was at its best. Believe the reports you hear that the BSO has improved dramatically under the direction of Conductor James Levine. They are amazingly good -- and the program we heard is a challenging one. But the level of dress on the lawn was very sloppy, very poor. Most of the audience seemed to have come in their yard work clothes. There were a lot of t-shirts and shorts, and an equal number of capris and tanktops, but not alot of chicly, classically dressed women. The few women who were well dressed -- and I don't mean overdressed at all--- stood out sharply in the crowd. These women had on simple monochromatic outfits -- a camel knit tank with camel linen trousers, white knit trousers with a turquoise shrunken polo shirt, a white skirt with a bright yellow blouse, and (my favorite, because I would never have thought of it) soft yellow pants with a brown knit tank top. These were very simple outfits and probably not the most expensive on the lawn that night, but these women looked spectacular in comparison to the hoards of sloppy shorts and tops. I realize the weather was beastly hot, but we can still look civilized for the symphony, can't we???
Both Chicago and Edmonton had their usual supply of chic women walking the streets. I found myself sitting outside with my afternoon iced tea and a small notebook making notes on simple chic combinations of clothing that I could copy from my own wardrobe with very little trouble. Unfortunately, I somehow lost the little notebook during our travels and with it, lost the notes.....