Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Celebrating Christmas in Song

The last few years we have enjoyed attending "Christmas in Song" at the Watch Hill Chapel with Mark and Jen, followed by dinner at the Weekapaug Inn. This tradition has become one of our favorite ways to start the holiday season.

Christmas in Song, hosted by the Ocean House,  includes musicians from local schools and singing groups.   There was a group of carolers at the entrance  of the chapel when we arrived, which immediately put us into the Christmas spirit.  This year the musicians included a quartet from Stonington High school and a four-some that played carols on the bells. The finale was the song "Feliz Navidad" sung by everyone in attendance.

Dinner at the Weekapaug Inn did not disappoint. We had a drink by the fire when we arrived which gave us time to catch up on the last few months which have been busy for all of us.  Our dinner was lovely, the service attentive and relaxed, and the food was fantastic.  But mostly it was the company that we enjoyed.  Jen and Mark are like family and it was a really special to share an evening with them in such a spectacular place.

Monday, December 26, 2016


This year's "fun with marzipan" project resulted in a family of snowmen.  We enjoyed making them and we hope that you enjoyed eating them!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Early December in New Hampshire

In early December we enjoyed a weekend taking it easy at our chalet in New Hampshire after several weeks of travel for work.

On the way to the chalet from Connecticut we made a short diversion to IKEA to pick up some shelves for the spare room.  On Saturday, after several hours assembling the numerous parts, we were able to organize our hiking, camping and ski-in gear on the shelves.  It looks like we have a real gear room now!

On Sunday we ventured out for a short hike to Square Ledge near Pinkham Notch.  There was a decent covering of snow on the trail and we were grateful to have our microspikes and a thermos of hot tea with us. The "view for effort ratio" was very high and we enjoyed a nice hike with great views.

On the trail

Rocky features along the way

A nice place to rock climb in the summer

Tea at the top

Views from the summit

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Visit with Mike and DiAnn

We had a really nice visit with Mike and DiAnn who traveled to Connecticut to see Duke play at Mohegan Sun. We joined the for the final game of the tournament, Duke vs URI.  It was a close game but Duke clinched it.

After the game we relaxed in Mystic, had pre-dinner drinks at the Engine Room followed by dinner at the Oyster Club. We toasted to an early Thanksgiving and to Mike's Birthday.  It was a very nice evening.

On Monday morning Mike and DiAnn took a tour of Pfizer before heading back to New York and home to Raleigh.  We really enjoyed our visit even though it was a short one.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful for the harvest

Today we harvested leeks, Bok choi, raspberries, turnips and radishes. Thankful for our garden veggies throughout the year!

Visit to Colorado

Last week we traveled to Denver, CO to attend the annaul American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS).  We had a lovely hotel near the Denver Convention Center and enjoyed warm temperatures and sunshine through the week. We caught up with friends from Bruno's days at Merck Frosst in Montreal, our U. of  Wisconsin friends, and former and current Pfizer colleagues from  across the globe.  We were smitten with the Blue Bear who spends time by the Convention Center (see below).
Bruno at the Denver Convention Center

Blue Bear

Following the meeting we traveled to Estes Park, CO to visit Kerry and Brandon.  We were excited to have snow and enjoy some winter hiking. Kerry and Brandon were excellent hosts and took us to some new spots in Rocky Mountain National Park and  kept us well fed and "watered".

Kerry and Brandon on Old Main Mountain

Bruno and Sheri at Lumpy Ridge
Sunny skies at Cow Creek 
Winter sunlight
Brandon, Kerry and Bruno enjoying warm sun along Cow Creek

We also enjoyed dinner and drinks at The Stanley Hotel.  It was a festive evening as the hotel was nice decorated for Christmas.  We enjoyed some fine cocktails which included the favorite Mescali Mule in the cozy bar, followed by a lovely dinner.  It was an early, but wonderful start to the holiday season.

The Stanley Hotel

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Visit to Long Marston

Last weekend we were both in the UK for work and we were able to visit Bruno's brother, sister-in-law and niece on Sunday. They live in the Warwickshire countryside and we enjoyed lunch and a long walk with Dougie (and managed to avoid the rain showers).

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Kokee 2005-2016

We had to say good-bye to our dear friend Kokee this week. While are saddened by her loss, we are so grateful for what she brought to our lives.  We are grateful to Dr Jonathon Jeffrey for the care that he gave Kokee during her recent illness.


Kokee had a puppy-like enthusiasm all of her life.  Like us, she loved the outdoors from the ocean waves to the mountain tops.  Kokee made friends everywhere she went.  She was made welcome in B&B's, inns, cafes, restaurants, galleries, shops and the homes of many of our friends.  Her good nature made it easy to bring her along on our adventures, from camping trips in the Adirondacks and the White Mountains to fall foliage trips in New England.   With Kokee along we made many friends on our journeys,  including Mark and Jen who have become dear friends.  Sometimes it just the gentle soul at the local library or another who needed  a "dog-fix" who Kokee would bring into our circle.  This invariably led to meeting some fascinating people, hearing great stories and witnessing love and kindness in many places.

The photos below are a testament to the richness of the life that we shared with Kokee.    She made us smile every day.  We will miss her immensely and remember her always.

"We are blessed to live in a world where love leads to such dizzying heights, and loss reminds of us how much someone meant to us." - Tom Ryan (a friend to Atticus).

If you would like to help us to remember Kokee, we would love to hear your favorite stories or experiences with her.  Donations can also be made to the Stand Up For Animals, a Westerly, RI based independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to operate a state-of-the-art animal shelter, adoption center and regional outreach facility to promote the health and welfare of abandoned or lost pets and to educate and assist those who care for them.

Kokee as a puppy showing her passion for all things spherical

Playing ball with Andrew at Keene Farm in the Adirondacks

 Like our friend Kelsi, Kokee loved camping at Keene Farm

A rare moment of rest with Katrina Suiches

Swimming at Barn Island - one of our favorite local places to walk and swim

Winter fun at Hangman Hill Road

Kokee with ta ennis ball, how she spent many, many hours

Swimming at the beach at Watch Hill

 Easter Sunday at Mark and Jen's House

Lunch at Martha's Vineyard

 Waiting for the bus at Oak Bluffs (Martha's Vineyard)

Enjoying the local trails in Connecticut

Pumpkin "People in Jackson NH (Fall 2015)

 Enjoying record snow fall in North Stonington (winter 2015)

Kokee "helping" Mark plow (but actually playing ball)

 Hiking the Presidential Range in the White Mountains (NH)

 Sunset on Kearsarge North, NH

A recent overnight on Kearsarge North for the 4th of July, 2016

 Breakfast on Kearsage North after a night watching fireworks (that were far away!) 

 A recent hike to Eagle Mountain (October 2016)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Dolomites - Day 11: Piz Boe via the Vallon Via Ferrata

Our vacation was slowly coming to an end and we had one last day in the mountains.  The forecast was for a clear and sunny day (once again), so we opted to climb to the summit of Piz Boe (a popular and nearby 10,000-ft peak).

We started by taking the Piz Boe cable car and Vallon chair lift (as on two previous days), and then made the short hike to the bottom of the Vallon via ferrata.  This was to be a short intermediate grade via ferrata that climbs up to a small waterfall, crosses it on a suspension bridge, and then ascends a steep wall next to the waterfall on big holds to reach a small tarn above.

We saw two other local climbers who quickly passed us. We followed them up a little more slowly, taking care with the older cables and iron-ware that appeared not to have been replaced for quite a few years (if ever!).

From the top of the via ferrrata it was an easy but very exposed hike along a rocky ridge to the summit of Piz Boe.  The way was marked by red paint spots on the rock, and several paths converged on the summit.  Despite the fact that there is no road anywhere near the summit there is a full fledged refugio there serving beer, soup and strudel (and all manner of other goodies).

After lunch and summit pictures at the top we hiked back down a rocky path and a frightening scree slope to reach the Kostner refugio for a farewell beer.  From there it was an easy ride down the mountain on the chairlift and cable car to get back to our B&B.

We were lucky to find that Damon and Jayne had returned from their hut-to-hut hiking trip that day, so we met up with them for a simple but tasty pizza dinner followed by local ice cream.  It was certainly a wonderful last day in the mountains and a fitting end to our 2-week trip to the Dolomites.

Scrambling up to the start of the via ferrata
Sheri on the suspension bridge

Bruno follows on 

Hiking along the ridge to the summit of Piz Boe

Great weather for a hike

Its hard to get lost up here

We made it!

At the summit

Rock everywhere you look on the way down!

Back to the refugio Kostner

Enjoying the views for one last time

The refugio dog

Hiking is thirsty work for some

The view from the refugio Kostner

Back in Corvara