Monthly Archives: May 2011

A b&b for food lovers

This was a while ago I’m afraid. But the trip was fun. Pretty fun. Here’s how it went.

We took our first trip as a family of four to La Tavola Marche in the region of Italy called Le Marche. Like most of Italy, the people here love their food and the specialties in this region include things like truffles, wild boar ragu and lentils. Plus several other things that I just don’t know enough about. That’s where this B&B came in. Paul found it online; an American couple transplanted from New York (sound familiar yet?) bought an old villa and turned in into a B&B that offers a “culinary experience” to travelers near and far.

But first we had to get there. By car, the trip took about six hours. These were six very long hours. Estelle was one month old then and as you may have heard, not a fan of the car. So there was crying. Then, just as we were finally starting to see the finish line on the GPS screen, I decided to give it a little extra gas to shave off a few minutes. That’s when Phoebe got car sick. Twice.

By the time we finally arrived, we were greeted by Ashley and Jason, our hosts, who were totally welcoming and even better…had prepared dinner for us. Beleaguered but pleased to be there, we ate, slept and woke up the next day to the start of a gorgeous weekend.

There were swings and a slide.


And hikes. Each day we took a different route.

Not everyone was pleased.

Up we went to the ruins of an old home.

A nice little spot to rest.

Estelle was just happy to be out of the car.

And back to the playground.

One of Phoebe’s favorite parts of the weekend.

And the other.

Panna cotta that I made during a cooking lesson with Jason.

All in all, it was lovely–not without a few hiccups (and other bodily functions)–but lovely. We’d go again. And I think we might! Truffle season runs October-November so we’ll see.


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She’s nearly two…

And she’ll tell you so! Phoebe’s latest list of phrases include the following gems:

  • I two.
  • Too hard Phoebe do.
  • Love you.
  • Hi Stella! Hi Stella!
  • I touch Stella. I pick up Stella. I help Stella. Phoebe help Stella.
  • I want juice. Please.
  • ‘Scuse me.
  • Buongiorno.
  • You stay here.
  • Daddy want pizza?
  • This Stella, this mama, this daddy…
  • Happy birthday to…YOU! (arm flung toward you with finger pointing for emphasis)

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Hiking in Umbria

As promised… What a great day! With the sun in the sky and girls in their packs, we set out to hike the hill — leading to an abandoned ancient city– across from the abbey. Our receptionist assured us that it was a one-hour hike, which sounded perfect, particularly considering the obvious incline involved. But as is often the case with communication between people who barely speak each other’s language, there was a mix up. The trail was indeed an hour’s worth of steps and vistas; getting to the trail would require an hour of its own.

It may have been sunny but early spring wind made the air quite cool. Paul and I certainly heated up by the time we reached the top though. Even Phoebe shed a few layers, including my blue scarf.

Viva spring!

Approaching Umbriana, the abandoned city across the valley. Apparently people lived there until only six years ago!?

The view from the top…you can see the abbey where we stayed.

Enjoying a picnic lunch before heading back down, where I had a massage waiting for me. Paul took the kiddies so I could enjoy an hour of total bliss.

Even with sweeping views, the most fascinating part of the hike came at the end. We were walking up the road toward the abbey when our passageway was blocked…

Three huge, unattended draft horses were just milling about. Reluctant to pass behind them, I suggested we wait a second to see if these guys had anyone with them. The next thing we see is a man…with four more loose horses. When he caught up to this group, all SEVEN of them followed his directions implicitly. Stopping, going, at the sound of his voice alone. Amazing. Our kids don’t seem to understand us this well and we all speak English. Pretty much.

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Estelle is three months old

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The abbey in photos

Slowly, slowly…or as the Italians would say, piano, piano. I’ve been a working fool for the last few weeks, then traveling to fabulous places during our downtime (see photos below). No complaints but this does lead to some pretty belated entries.  Just the same, here goes. So back to the abbey in Umbria

And this time, without the shaky video.

Food and hiking next. Really.

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A good day at play group

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The great Easter egg hunt

This year–after a nap, after attending her second sunrise Easter service– Phoebe got to enjoy her first Easter egg hunt. Together with friends we hid dozens of eggs in Villa Borghese and the little guys found them.

Estelle was there too.

In the end Phoebe kept saying one thing: “More eggs?”

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