The “Sunshine of the Lowcountry”

“I was born and raised on a Carolina sea island and I carried the sunshine of the low-country, inked in dark gold, on my back and shoulders.” 
–Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides  
Pat Conroy quotes
South Carolina Lowcountry, May 2016
“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” –Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides
“Why do they not teach you that time is a finger snap and an eye blink, and that you should not allow a moment to pass you by without taking joyous, ecstatic note of it, not wasting a single moment of its swift, breakneck circuit?” –Pat Conroy, My Losing Season

Setting Sail Into New Realms

“Much have I traveled in the realms of gold, and many goodly states and kingdoms seen.” –John Keats
beautiful ocean sunrise
Photo courtesy of Madeline Huemme

From the East to West Coast and the North to South, set sail this summer – on ocean or lake – to bask in the sun’s golden hues and wander the waters of new realms. Read more

A Perfect Spring Read for a “Break” from the World

Shepherd's Life James RebanksThe transition from winter to spring is never an easy overnight happening. It can be a time of slow adjustments – a waking up of the senses to the soft light and intoxicating freshness of the spring air. It is the only seasonal transition where the body and soul yearn for a restorative break from the previous season’s grip.

With a feeling as if the world is in upheaval, spinning away from the light and into the darkness of chaos, confusion and conflict where incompetent leaders have “lay waste [their] powers”, the need for a spring “break” this year of 2016 seems all the more necessary.

“The world is too much with us”, William Wordsworth once wrote in a poem that speaks to the importance of the restorative powers of nature for the body and soul: Read more

“Once You Have Slept on an Island…”

“In the middle of the Pacific ocean where East meets West, 
Is an Island of fire and ice, Home of the volcano and doorway, 
To another dimension and a different reality. Here magic lives, 
Where the Earth herself liquefies and nothing is quite as it seems.”
–Pila of Hawaii
Hawaii poems
Kauai, Hawaii

March, a month signaling the budding of a new season, is a time for “Spring” breaking – students breaking from the tiresome cycle of classroom lectures and late night studying, adults breaking from a grueling schedule of business meetings and client deadlines, and all of us breaking from the cold, dark days of winter.

Many will break away to the coast of Florida, some maybe to the Caribbean, still others to far-off destinations. But here at ATG, we’ve always “breaked” at an island (Hilton Head Island) – an island with windswept beaches, transcendent sunrises (see below), and a soothing calmness felt in the warm, sand swirling winds.

Its beauty and serenity has kept us returning for more than 30 years, replenishing, restoring and reinvigorating our vitamin-D deprived souls. Read more

February 15, 2016: A Presidents’ Day To Remember

Thomas Jefferson quotesThe 2016 Presidential Election may very well be a turning point in American history. Many pundits and journalists are opining that it could even usher in a fundamental transformation of the political landscape, the likes of which we have never seen.

As the candidates travel from one state to another, carrying with them their bag of political goods and ideas, they are met by an increasingly disappointed, disenfranchised and even angry people, contributing to an already fiercely charged atmosphere that can be felt across the entire nation. Read more

The Magic of a Winter Evening Sky

“Always without formulating the concept, I had based my sense of being in the world partly on an unreasoned conviction that certain areas of the earth’s surface contained more magic than others.”  –From Without Stopping by Paul Bowles (composer and author, 1910-1999)
NYC Reservoir Central Park
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Central Park, New York City; 2016
“For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see, saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be.” –From “Locksley Hall” by Alfred Lord Tennyson (English poet, 1809-1892)
Sunset quotes
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Central Park, New York City; 2016
“The most beautiful gift of nature is that it gives one pleasure to look around and try to comprehend what we see.” –Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Ohio River Sunset
Ohio River, PA; 2016

Once Upon a Time…

ac perch tea room Long ago and far away, in the ancient city of Copenhagen – the land of fairy tales as imagined by Hans Christian Anderson – lived a man named Niels Brock Perch who opened a tiny little tea shop in the very old part of the city called “Christianshavn”, where ships from exotic places like China, Ceylon, India, Japan and Africa would arrive with goods to be traded and sold.

A man with great vision for opportunities that sailed into port, Mr. Perch couldn’t have known when he opened A.C. Perch’s in 1835 at Kronprinsensgade 5 that it would still be a purveyor of tea – from some of the finest plantations and gardens around the world – 180 years later. Read more

Galloping into Enlightenment: “Napoleon: A Life” by Andrew Roberts

best napoleon biographyFor a pleasurable holiday read, Andrew Roberts biography, Napoleon: A Life (2014), is a 810-page gift to be enjoyed for the fascinating and easily accessible history lesson about the “founder of modern France and one of the great conquerors of history.”

Considered the definitive biography of the soldier-statesman who once said, “What a novel my life has been,” it has received numerous awards, such as Winner of the Grand Prix of the Foundation Napoleon, and was listed as a New York Times Notable Book and included in Amazon’s “100 Biographies and Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime” list. Read more

Stepping into Beauty

life and times isabella stewart gardner“If you invest in beauty it will be with you all the days of your life.” –Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect, designer and writer, 1867-1959

Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1925) was a woman whose life fully embodied the above quote from Frank Lloyd Wright – and a visit to her museum in Boston allows one to experience all of the beauty that she collected during her travels around the world.

From master paintings, sculptures and tapestries, to objects such as Napoleon’s letters, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is even more striking during the holiday season, with hundreds of vibrant red amaryllis beautifully poised in the courtyard that seem to speak to Mrs. Gardner’s exuberance for life. Read more

Talking Points for 1995

Wifi JokeAmong the charming allure of “The Elephant House” coffee shop in Edinburgh, Scotland – known as the “Birthplace of Harry Potter” – is this refreshingly simple sign that encourages us to put down our phones, close our laptops, remove our headphones and…TALK!

If we were to “pretend it’s 1995”, here are a few “talking points”:

1995 New York Times Top Fiction Books (in no particular order):

Five Days in Paris by Danille Steel

The Lost World by Michael Crichton

Silent Night by Mary Higgins Clark

The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans

The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher

Beach Music by Pat Conroy

The Children’s Book of Virtures by William J. Bennett Read more