“In An Old House In Paris…”

I miss reading out loud in a silly voice.

The kids and I would snuggle together in tiny toddler beds after they picked out their book for the night. If I was trying to get them to sleep quicker, I’d skip a few pages and they’d call me out on it because they had their favorites memorized. So back I’d go – to Ferdinand in the bullring, Alexander’s horrible day, or Harold and his purple crayon.

Now I’d have to stay up way too late to tuck them in for the night.

But which was their bestest mostest favorite? I don’t know if I could say for sure but they all loved the series featuring Madeline, the spunky heroine created by Ludwig Bemelmans. My kids were fascinated with the character, perhaps because a building near our home looked like the convent school in Paris where she lived. My kids would shout, “There’s Madeline’s house!” as we drove by each and every time.

Madeline Ludwig Bemelmans Paris Continue reading


I forgot to include “Attend a Festival” in my end-of-summer must-do list from last week. You’ve got plenty of choices; Hudson Valley Magazine listed 32 scheduled for the summer of 2014. I took advantage of Sunday’s beautiful weather to indulge my love of pork and headed to the 10th Hudson Valley RibFest, hosted by the Highland Rotary Club in New Paltz, New York.

@The Open Suitcase LLC

The RibFest is held on the Ulster County Fairgrounds, a beautiful spot in the shadow of the Shawangunk Mountains.

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Florida For Grownups: St. Pete-Part I

What’s there to do after you’ve ridden Dumbo, eaten breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and yucked it up at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue? If you’ve finally gotten “It’s a Small World” out of your head after 10 years of family vacations at the Magic Kingdom, it’s time to leave the kids at home and try another side of the Sunshine State.

St. Petersburg, on Florida’s west coast, is in the midst of a makeover and is still a relatively undiscovered city destination for tourists.  Developed during the original Sunshine State land boom in the ‘20’s, the city became a mecca for retirees, earning the less than flattering nickname, “God’s Waiting Room.”  It fell on harder times in later decades, known for high crime rates and poverty. Residents, business leaders and politicians united to mount a resurrection and it’s working. With world class beaches, great restaurants and interesting museums, St. Pete’s perfect for an adults-only extended weekend.

Photo courtesy of the City of St. Petersburg

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6 Reasons Why I Love Airports

“Almost all U.S. airports are utterly barren of things to do. The dirty little lunch counters are always choked with permanent sitters staring at their indigestible food. . . The traveler consigned to hours of tedious waiting can only clear a spot on the floor and sit on his baggage and, while oversmoking, drearily contemplate his sins.”

Airport conditions haven’t changed much since this article was published in Fortune in 1946. Except for the smoking. Now smokers are confined to those glass rooms, a human terrarium. I always feel a bit sorry for them, especially when kids stare and point, like they’re caged zoo animals. Continue reading