A Vacation of My Favorite Things: Friends, Family, Food, Lakes, Laughs and Dora Nearly Drowning

We just got back from a week-long trip to Massachusetts. In true Joy/Brendan style, we crammed in as much visiting with friends and family as we could muster, and so this week, we’re barely alive. For now, though, a few fantastic highlights:

– Catching up with a few of our nearest-and-dearest NYC amigos — Dora & Gene, Adam & John, and Connie — at our lakeside cabin rental in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.

Lake Ashmere, Berkshires Massachusetts

Lake Ashmere, Berkshires, Massachusetts


Our pretty little cabin, plus a few enhancers we brought.


Everyone expected me to fall off the float, I did not!

– Dining at the tucked-away Dreamaway Lodge, a former brothel.


Dora, John and Adam in front of the lodge. The food: scrumptious!

– Visiting Lake Onota, and renting a pontoon boat, just like we did back in ’07 on Lake George. Fabulous way to spend an afternoon, and the water temperature was magical — I could have swam for hours in the slightly chilly waters. Oh wait, I did swim for hours (and I love how New England sun doesn’t burn me! I can apply sunscreen just once and then forget all about it).

Laughing so hard it hurt when Dora fell out of an inflated float, letting out a shriek, but refusing to let go of her beer. Classic Dora: Nearly drowning, laughing, while doggy paddling one handed.

Tieing for first with Adam for in our First-Ever Cannonball Contest. I fully expect a rematch next summer. We’ll take photos next time for a photo finish.


Brendan has now driven pontoon boats in Wisconsin, New York and Massachusetts.


Post-swimming bliss. I'm truly happiest while floating/swimming.

It rained like crazy that day, but we had enough sun to enjoy a few hours on the boat.

It rained like crazy that day, but we had enough sun to enjoy a few hours on the boat.

– Being towed around the lake on a float by Adam and John in their kayaks, a la Cleopatra down the Nile. A man passing by in a boat told me “You got the life, don’t you?”

Watching Oscar and a duck endlessly flirt.

A dog and a duck: A love story.

A dog and a duck: A love story.

– Gorging self on fantastic Italian food at Salvatore’s in Lawrence, Mass.  The meat lasagna. The pizza margarita. The calamari. The fresh Italian bread and herbed olive oil. The Peroni beer.  Lordy oh lordy, I miss good Italian food.

– Watching Brendan’s cousin and her hubby celebrate their vows, and meeting lots of Brendan’s family that after 8 years I still hadn’t met!

The newlyweds.

The newlyweds.

— Stumbling upon good food before our return flight home in the Ironbound District of Newark, known for its Portuguese and now Brazilian immigrants. Using the Blackberry, we looked up Portugese restaurants, found one called Nossa Casa, and decided to have lunch there (gracias a el GPS).

When we walked in, it soon became apparent that the restaurant had been expropriated by the local Latin American community, evidence by the Mexican Norteno songs blasting from the juke box and a menu that was in Spanish, not Portuguese. (Though our waitress was Brazilian and happy to speak to us in either Portuguese or Spanish.) In any case, the food was wonderful and Brendan was served a 1/2 order of paella so huge it easily could have fed an apartment full of day laborers.

2 thoughts on “A Vacation of My Favorite Things: Friends, Family, Food, Lakes, Laughs and Dora Nearly Drowning

  1. DKN says:

    Good summary!! Though I take pause at you enjoying my near-drowning experience to the point of calling it one of your favorite things *ahem* 😉 …but I have to admit it was funny as hell. I haven’t laughed that hard in a good, long time, too, hence nearly drowning. Gene was so proud of me when I told him about saving my beer, was sorry he missed it 🙂

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