Friday, August 27, 2010

alexandra stoddard's charming town + more

My sister Dede flew in to visit for a few days. Let's go some place new to both of us was her request (along with whole-belly fried clams and lobster rolls).

We usually think Cape Cod or Newport for sister-staycations. Some place different, eh?

Stonington, CT, just 45 minutes away came to mind. I had been there exactly fifteen years ago working on a film shoot for the HGTV show, Homes Across America. I was the "local" of the production crew there to film interior designer and prolific author Alexandra Stoddard in her stunning home.

Photo credit:

Alexandra did the opening and closing segments for a season of episodes and I worked the teleprompter. {Remember my blog post: my many jobs?} It was a truly wonderful experience and one that I appreciate now more than ever as a homeowner, decor enthusiast and aspiring writer.

As I reminisced about Alexandra to my sister over chowder, Alexandra breezed right by our table in a blur of cheerful prints. I (re)introduced myself and she remembered the shoot instantly and fondly.

Alexandra and her husband, author Peter Megargee Brown chatted with Dede and me as warmly and graciously as if we were all reunited relatives. I loved having this charmed chance to tell Alexandra how spending time with her years ago affected me in so many positive ways.

{Alexandra and Peter will be signing books at
The Stonington Free Public Library on 8/29.
here if you're in the area.}

After lunch, Dede and I strolled around the Borough of Stonington. Every passer-by was so friendly.

Stonington is a narrow, mile-long peninsula. Most views from Water Street are surrounded by three sides of water.

The Old Lighthouse Museum

More images from our pretty stroll in the misty weather ...

Back in the car on a quest for fried clams, I nearly shocked Dede with a sudden screetch-of-a-turn into the parking lot of a shop that caught my eye, called Nest .

The shop is preparing to relocate and many things are on clearance: GASP!

This set of prints is sort-of stuck in my mind ... not even sure where I'd put them but aren't they lovely?

I was a good girl and bought only a few small things (a nest, a wire basket, a few yards of shiny ribbon).

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Little did we realize that we were just ten minutes from Mystic, CT. Home to Mystic Pizza, a seaport, aquarium, lots of shops, a great book store with some Cath Kidston items, and ...

fried clams and lobster rolls for Dede and me.



Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

I've really been enjoying your travels and getting a chance to "see" it with you. This was a sweet story and I loved all the photos. What a beautiful town.
Have a wonderful weekend.

koralee said...

So lovely my sweet friend...everything about your area is charming. Thank you for sharing the Joy...xoxox

mommypants13 said...

Stonington is wonderful! I lived in Pawcatuck which is right next door! I absolutely love Mystic, I worked down there for about a year. So glad you had a good time, its nice to think about my home out east!

Anonymous said...

Elyse you are making me so miss my sisters by reading your fun blog post of your time with your sis. What wonderful memories you have of your time and how fun that you got to visit with Alexandra Stoddard! I have several of her wonderful books on my shelf!

What a fun little show you found in the "nest" too!

bee blessed

Diane said...

What a charming place to spend a day, and what a trip to run into Alexandra! Small world I always tell myself that! Very pretty pictures thx, Diane

T's Daily Treasures said...

What a charming way to spend time with your sweet sister, and running into Alexandra again was icing on the cake of a most wonderful day. Everything looks to be so inviting! Have a super Saturday. :) Tammy

Jen Kershner said...

I cannot believe you just ran in to her. That is amazing. Your day sounds wonderful. As I was reading I really wished I was there with you! Enjoy what's left of your summer.

cupcake studio said...

What a gorgeous town! Looks like a wonderful sisters' trip!

Shellie said...

What a great day! looks like you and Dede had a blast - so happy and well deserved.

lots of x's and o's


Country Dreaming said...

Two wheeling it into parking lots huh???? Great pics--looks like fun.


Cottage Flair said...

Sounds amazing!! And how awesome that you ran into Alexandra Stoddard!! I forgot how cute Stonington is ... that is definitely my next stop. I haven't been in Nest in years ... sale you say?? Wish I could run there today!! Great post!

Glitter & Bliss said...

Wow!! You truly live in heaven. I loved all the charming photos. Have a wonderful weekend...New England style. Leslie

Connie said...

She is my favorite author of design and lifestyle books, honey. Many years ago I wrote her a letter and she was kind enough to respond. I sealed that note with plastic and put it in my planner but it was stolen (the planner) once when we were back in California visiting our kids. That and a letter my granddaughter wrote me at age 16 were the 2 most valued treasures I had in that planner and I lamented for years over their loss.

I try to live my life beautifully as is what she named one of her books. I refer to it frequently. She's a wonder.


KarenHarveyCox said...

Oh Elyse,
Is it any wonder that magic finds you, I am never surprised, because it's you. How amazing and sheer serendipity to have run into Alexandra Stoddard. I love her, when I lived in Hong Kong, my close friend Judy sent me a book of hers to help me set up home.

I love Mystic Seaport, but I have never been to Stonington before. (You should be a travel writer). Oh, and I love the story about your other life. You are so exciting. Have I ever told you how much my friend Joyce from Nanas Little Hobby adores your blog?

Well, I hope that you have a beautiful weekend.

stefanie said...

what a beautiful day I would love to vacation on the east coast...its just gorgeous!

debi said...

You have the prettiest places back east!! We don't have anything like that here....just mountains and red rocks. lol

Sherry from Alabama said...

What beautiful photos. I love that pink front door!

Sherry @ A Happy Valentine

Anonymous said...

Wow, Elyse, you really know how to spend a delightful sistercation! Loved seeing/reading about everything!!!

Katsui Jewelry said...

First of all, you are so lucky to have a sister! I have always wanted one! it looks like you had a great time. I can't believe your job history and love that you saw Alexandra Stoddard and that she was dressed all in prints and remembered the shoot. What an interesting woman! Then the "Nest" store and the clams and lobster roll. It all looks wonderful.

What a fun place to live , Elyse!


luckygirlgifts said...

What a fun little trip with your sister. I'm envious.
Thank you for the beautiful pictures, very inspiring.
have a lovely weekend
Cari B.

Brenda@Cozy Little House said...

What a quaint and cozy place.

Rose Brier Studio said...

I love Stonington! About 10 years ago my husband and I visited -- mostly cuz Alexandra Stoddard has a house there and I am a big fan of her books. We didn't see her, but we found the greatest lunch place and had a wonderful trip. Looks like your trip was great too. What fun to get to share this all with your fabulous sister!

Lisa said...

I love Alexandra Stoddard! I was just reading one of her older the books the other day! How thrilling to meet up with her again. I think we could call it serendipity. Wow. I never get to use that word.:)

Joyce said...

OMG! Homes Across America was one of my all time favorites. I so miss the old programs the new programming seems to be all the same now, except for David Bromstead, love his show. Stonington looks like a great day trip, will have to make plans to spend the day.

LaurieStar said...

Wow - another pretty post. I always want to go wherever you're going. I think a lot of it has to do with being a New Englander too. I have such love for our quaint towns and your pictures make everything look so pretty. Now I want to go on a road trip! :)

Jill said...

What a wonderful day! So much charm-- I loved it all. Oh, and I'm so jealous that you went to Mystic-- I've always wanted to go there! Thanks for letting my tag along through your blog!

Sally said...

How lovely to share in the wonderful time you had with your sister! You have a marvellous eye for treasure, and your blog is a joy! Thank you!

Pansy Cottage Girl said...

Looks like a lovely time. Wish I were in your pocket...polly pocket, no! pansy pocket!

Lisa said...

How lovely! It is fun to go to new places and to see old friends! I have been to Mystic, it was many years ago and I still remember how great our trip to New England was all those years ago! Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Lisa

Terri's ThreadArt said...

I just posted about Stonington last week-end!I got some great "front door" shots as we were driving down Rt 1 on our way home from Watch Hill,RI. I remember the pinkish front door ~ my husband wouldn't slow down so I could get the shot ~ men!Now let me go ~ craving whole bellies after reading your posts!

Maryjane-The Beehive Cottage said...

WOW Elyse! That is amazing that Alexandra Stoddard and her hubby were there at the moment you were talking with Dede about her! Life and it's wonderful surprises!!! CUTE picture of the two of you! I have all of her books...high-lighted and dog eared!

Looks like you and Dede had a wonderful time together! It's so pretty on the east coast!!!

Love you dear,

Theresa said...

Loved taking this little trip with you and your Sister! Looks like a lovely visit to this quaint little town:) Have a blessed day my friend! HUGS!

Jeanne said...

Well, I just learn something new about you all the time Elyse! How exciting to have worked on the production crew of Homes Across America. I loved that show and also Alexandra Stoddard's interior design talent. Many of her books grace our bookshelves. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful photos with us!

Katy Noelle said...

Dear Elyse,

What a wonderful post - just super duper!!! I LOVE this area! I love Alexandra Stoddard! I love sea food and I am getting absolutely desperate for salty air. This post is like soul food for me. What a super time with your sis. It's a day that just seems to have been 'meant to be'!

I am truly wanting to go to this area and I'm hoping that maybe we can do an overnight when Nana and Grandpa come in October. I don't think that the kids quite remember Mystic Seaport. I'm, also, wanting to go and see Plum Island. Have you been? Well, I am hoping to head someplace like that.

Well, after your Cath Kidston "find" and these happy sights and stories from these favorite places of mine, I am just going to walk on air for the rest of the day!

Love, Katy xo

Catherine said...

everything looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing

Carmie, the Single Nester said...

Stonington is a great town. Isn't that where Katherine Hepburn lived until her death? I love Alexandra Stoddard and her daughter, who appears on FoxNews even more!