Staying at a large all-inclusive resort is probably not happening for me in the foreseeable future. Staying around crowds of other people sounds a bit anxiety inducing given the COVID scare. Give way to the 2010’s break out travel star - airbnb - staying in a rental property sounds much more appealing. Alternatively, ever since I watched the Hallmark movie ‘Nature of Love’ I’ve been itching to go glamping (no making fun of me for being a Hallmark fan!) Tranquility, thinly veiled as simplicity, describes the way a hygge mountain escape would make me feel. With the Hallmark movie peaking my natural curiosity, I decided to do some research to find out if my hypothesis was true, are people planning to camp more often after the quarantine? According to a KOA study, prospective campers will increase by about 10%, so it looks like some of you will be joining me on my next yurt excursion!
Truth be told, Matt’s family were the real campers. Generations of his family loved to go camping in tents, R.V.’s and trailers. Their endearing stories over the years have slowly made me appreciate what camping has to offer. My family was more of the hotel or resort types, but don’t count me out! I did actually camp as a kid and Matt and I took our children camping (albeit in the air-controlled comfort of our R.V.)
Growing up, I camped in the many acres behind my friend Mike’s house where half of the neighborhood kids joined in the fun. It was exciting, a touch scary at times (hearing wildlife), but always memorable. Then there was my first family camping trip with my mom and brother in Cape Cod near Race point Beach in Provincetown with my Uncle Brian and my cousins. My Uncle had a bread truck that he used like an RV. I recall that we were supposed to park in the campsite next to him, but because they were oversold, that did not happen- wrecking my mom’s plan to share my Uncle’s supplies. I was 16 and I brought my best friend Tracey along; we were excited, we had our own 2-man tent. Thinking back, I don’t think we ever laughed so hard trying to sleep with the torrential rain; the wind, and thunderstorms were so strong that our tent collapsed. The drowned fabric laid on our faces, soaking us from head to toe. That storm was fierce, but screaming from her tent, my mother instructed us to stay put insisting the storm would pass quickly. Completely drenched and exhausted, Tracey and I decided to go against her instructions, and after about an hour we got up and walked over to my mom and brother’s tent to see if their glacial 4-man tent was any drier. Much to our surprise we found their tent empty and both were fast asleep in our huge Buick Estate Station Wagon, all dry and cozy. We could not believe it; they folded the three rows of seats down and made a super lounge in there and their tent was perfectly dry! We rode out the storm in our own tent after dragging a couple of folding lounge chairs inside- do you remember them? They cost about $8 at the time, they were made of metal with those thin plastic straps weaved into the frame, they folded into three parts for portability. Whatever happened to them? They were probably toxic in some way! Anyway, that was the first and last camping expedition with my family.
Fast forward to my twenties and camping with Matt. He knew all the tricks and how to properly camp, and what to bring. We camped everywhere - in Old Orchard Beach Maine, Block Island, Narragansett R.I., upstate New York, and lots of other places- usually with our friends Dan and Janine. Matt and I camped along the St. Lawrence Seaway all the way to Quebec in his sketchy white Astro cargo van too; but the older I got, the less I liked packing and unpacking all the stuff required to make it a comfortable experience. So, when my son Patrick was a baby, we bought an RV; I could leave all the “essentials” on board and we were ready to go at a moment's notice. That lasted until Patrick's sports schedule was so ridiculous that we had no time to travel- you may have experienced a similar problem. Today, glamping seems like a nice marriage between luxury, comfort, and being in the great outdoors. Check out this list of top glamping sites in America, they look amazing.
So before your next camping or glamping experience, pick up a few things to make your time a little more pleasurable. Perhaps a beautiful new outdoor blanket,a duffle bag, a backpack, maybe some Piper and Dune Silicone cups - and don’t forget one for your dog! An SOS emergency kit is essential or maybe a few 6 in 1 utensils? I also love the idea of packing a fun activity like our small stargazing, cloudspotting or music writing notebooks. Of course you will want a comfortable new T-shirt, a new hat and comfy socks too. Camping is always better when you have a few little trinkets or gadgets.
Stay healthy and Explore What Excites You!
Chris and The Piper and Dune Family
As companies learn that business can be conducted via Zoom calls and their employees can be trusted to work remotely, they might decide their pricey Manhattan and Boston office rents are no longer required- or at least they can get by with much less square footage. Some companies may even decide to move south where costs are less. Some organizations that were previously reluctant to allow employees to work remotely were forced into this experiment as a result of COVID-19. Most Human Resources executives have been championing the idea of workplace freedom and embrace the idea to encourage cultural change in their companies. Leadership everywhere is curious to get management feedback on the effectiveness of working remotely. I suspect a mix of office and remote access will win in the end. Whatever the result, change is inevitable.
Like companies, cities will likely have to re-invent themselves too, especially places like New York where people tend to congregate in groups and are frequently packed in tight spaces together- this will all change because sadly, experts are still forecasting that the spring 2020 pandemic is not over, and we will once again be in lock-down.
While companies and cities are rethinking their plans for a post COVID-19 environment, have you thought about your own life’s choices- where to work, where to play and where you want to call home? Families, even college students, are rethinking their life’s decisions. Was living at home so bad that they should continue to incur more debt by paying for room and board? Even universities are thinking about what a post COVID period might mean to them. A professor of mine at Quinnipiac (yes, I take Graduate classes) co-authored an article about the future of colleges and universities that you might find interesting; things are definitely changing - like it or not.
Are you a city-dweller suddenly in search of being around less people and desiring more fresh air? If you answered yes, I don’t think you are alone. Or, if you love the city and want to stay, you might be thinking of a new neighborhood with more parks or where you can find a little more living space. My mom and my brother Darrell are Realtors for Coldwell Banker in Southbury, CT. Darrell commented yesterday that “the market is severely limited by inventory; in the past two weeks we have seen a tremendous spike in buyer interest; people have a pent up demand and they are getting anxious to make a move. Also, June is traditionally the best month to buy a home, further amplifying the need for more inventory. Couple the timing with low interest rates, and it’s a seller’s market.” The traffic is coming from people living in New York that have decided to relocate to Connecticut or to buy a second home in the area. I saw this demand first-hand when a friend listed and sold her house within 48hours after a bidding war, so if you are thinking of selling in western Connecticut, now might be the time!
For others, we find ourselves painting the insides of our houses to make them feel alive again, refinishing furniture, hanging new prints or creating a new appealing bar area with new bar accessories - did you know cocktail hour is back as a result of COVID-19? People are taking a few minutes to find a routine in their day, to relax and talk to one another. My brother Paul who sells wine and spirits shared this NY Times article with me; it made us laugh as we fondly recalled “happy hour” as kids. At 4pm everyday our Great Aunt Norma, a retired Lieutenant Colonel (Army Nurse) who fought in the Korean War, would literally scream “happy hour” to alert us that it was time to gather around. She’d have us pick out a cocktail napkin from her stash and determine our beverage of choice. She would serve us all at the same time, and she delivered our drinks to us on a beautiful tray. She always made it such a fun event, even as children we were served Shirley Temple’s with a perfectly garnished cherry on top.
So, wherever you call home, whatever you choose to do, I hope you delight in your space, your routine, and your journey. We all deserve the freedom to relax and enjoy our lives anywhere and anyway that makes us happy. Don’t forget to visit our website for lots of fun items for your home, for you, and for your whole family; we’re getting new things every week so check back often.
Explore What Excites You!
Chris and the Piper and Dune Family
The lucky ones in the world get to be raised by strong, independent women who they admire and look up to. These women care for us and love us unconditionally. Sometimes that person is a Mother, for others it’s a Grandmother, an Aunt, a Family Friend, a Godmother... and sometimes it’s all of the above. So this Sunday, celebrate your “Mom”. Treat them with all the emotional support and love we can offer them. These women are our rocks, our inspiration, our role models. So wherever your “Mom” is, reach out and let her know how much you care; give her your time, let her know how special she is, because that is what she really wants most of all.
I was lucky enough to be raised by the most amazing woman, my mom Colleen. She’s loving, caring, selfless, strong beyond words, my best teacher, spiritual, charitable, loyal, kind, and passionate. She is my anchor, my biggest fan - wow, the adjectives and accolades could go on for pages and it still wouldn’t be enough - seriously. I know from others that not everyone has an amazing Mom, so I’m really blessed to have her in my life. She was raised by my Grandma Casey who was completely different from my Mom. My Grandma didn’t drive, she relied on my Grandfather to take her places; he made most decisions on her behalf too. Clearly, seeing how dependent my Grandmother was on my Grandpa shaped my Mom’s perspective on how she wanted to live her own life. While she's conservative in her politics, I have come to realize that my Mom is a women's liberal without the need for protest or a label; she is fiercely independent. She also laughs when telling stories about how ridiculous the double standards were in her house, growing up with four brothers. She taught me to get an education, to always be able to take care of myself, to think for myself, to be confident enough to make decisions for myself because that would make me independent. She told me to marry a man because I wanted the man in my life, not because I needed the man in my life. She loved and cared for my dad for 45 years before he passed away. She’s shown me strength and determination time and again.
I cannot write a blog about a woman who has inspired me without mentioning my mother-in-law, DeLoris, whom our family lost to a courageous battle with cancer just last week. I have been surrounded by really strong women throughout my life and she was no exception. I looked up to her and admired her; she overcame so many hurdles in her life and somehow she managed to stay strong and brave. So, to the powerful “Mom” in your life, raise a glass, light a candle, give them a call, if you can… recognize them for helping you to grow, to love, to trust and to be loved. Pass along the best of what they have taught you and love them unconditionally.
Below are some last minute gift ideas for Mom:
- A pretty scarf (quarantines are starting to be lifted!)
- A honey pot
- A gift set
- A summer hat or beach cover up
- Hand Balm, Moisturizer
- Pretty Soap
- Plants, flowers or spices she can grow
- Handbags, Bags...
Go to piperanddune.com and see what excites you! Free delivery in the greater Southbury CT area, use code “SOUTHBURY”
Stay healthy and safe,
Chris and the Piper and Dune Family
Explore What Excites You!