The Nantucket Daffodil Festival

First Published in New England Fine Living Magazine

As the days become longer and the temperatures warmer, we close our eyes and take a deep breath in, as the sweet smell of daffodils fills the air. The scent inspires us and fills us with hope as our thoughts turn to rebirth, and we bid adieu to winter and celebrate the awakening of springtime on Nantucket at the Nantucket Daffodil Festival.

 The love affair between daffodils and Nantucket:

It all started in the early 1970s, when summer resident, Jean MacAusland, publisher of Gourmet magazine, joined forces with the Nantucket Garden Club and planted thousands of daffodil bulbs down Milestone Road all the way to Sconset. The very first Daffodil Festival came shortly thereafter. Starting out as a small celebration of spring, a mere 18 antique cars were displayed on Main Street, followed by a parade from town to Sconset where townspeople gathered for a picnic. In the 1980s, Mrs. MacAusland ordered an additional eight tons of bulbs (100,000) from the Netherlands to be delivered to Nantucket. Through fundraising efforts and contributions over the years, there are an estimated four million daffodil bulbs all over this magical island today. This year, 2017, we will be celebrating the 43rd Annual Nantucket Community Daffodil Flower Show, sponsored by The Nantucket Garden Club and held at Bartlett’s Farm.  It’s a not-to-be-missed pageantry of stunning daffodil species, daffodil arrangements, and daffodil photography.  Nantucketers take their daffodils very seriously!

There is something for everyone:

During this fun-filled, three-day weekend, one is able to enjoy parades, floral exhibitions, lectures, art shows, walking tours, live performances, music and dancing. There is a children’s parade with contests for best decorated bicycle,

wagon, and stroller, followed by a family beach picnic at the children’s beach. Pets are coveted and honored too with their own parade, the Daffy Dog Parade, with a prize for the most “daffy” dog. There are contests for just about everything one can imagine.  For the athletically inclined, there is the 5K race with, of course, a “daffy” winner.  One of my favorites is the window-decorating contest, a contest for the most cleverly bedecked daffodil window, in which retailers from all over town participate.

Some in costume, some in couture:

As the number of daffodils has grown, so too has the number of visitors who take to the island each spring. Though boat slips lay in wait, the docks are filled with thousands (an estimated 9,000) who come from near and far, dressed in their yellow and green daffodil regalia, many in wildly decorated hats with daffodils dancing atop their heads.  It would not be unusual to see someone in a yellow ball gown, a yellow sweatshirt and jeans or even in yellow pajamas, but one thing is for sure, the fun attire is what you will see all over the island.

The Antique Car Show:

With the excitement beginning in Hyannis, over 100 cars are driven onto the ferries, many already adorned with hundreds of daffodils, eager to make their way thirty miles out sea, to show themselves on Nantucket’s cobblestoned Main Street. These vintage beauties are most often decorated with a fun theme, such as “Gatsby”, with owners in flapper costumes; or “Grease”, with owners decked out in hot pink poodle skirts with real black poodles on leashes. One year, a gorgeous “Smurf blue” antique car arrived with a Smurf theme. Even the owners of the car painted their faces Smurf blue! With clipboards in hand, judges meander through the rows of these jaw-dropping antique cars and trucks, studying each one, before awarding ribbons.

The Sconset Tailgate is the piece de resistance:

In a grand parade manner, the cars make their way through town, along the traditional Milestone Road route out to the eastern end of the island, to the famous Sconset Tailgate Picnic...and what an event it is!  Each car and truck has a coordinated theme from the very cute to the extraordinary. They park diagonally, on both sides of the road, throw open their doors, trunks and hatches, to reveal sensational creativity, color and humor, with themed tailgate food and cocktails and truck loads of joi de vive!  Some even have live bands as part of their entourage or rented furniture. One year, there was an actual cabaret set up on the lawn with bar stools, and patrons seated at bistro tables complete with linens and centerpieces. Patrons partake in the daffodil stroll, wandering up and down, cocktail in hand, cheerfully socializing and congratulating strangers with warm applause and lots of laughter. Children dance in the streets to the cheerful sound of bells echoing in the air from an English folkdance group, The Pine Woods Morris Dance group, the oldest Morris team in the Western hemisphere.   They perform in different locations throughout the day, joyfully wielding sticks and handkerchiefs as they perform their choreographed steps with bell pads on their shins. No festival would be complete without music and dancing!

The jam-packed days then melt into magical evenings:

Dinner parties are in full swing, complete with dining tables beautifully tablescaped in yellow and green. The magnificent island restaurants reopen to welcome islanders and visitors alike, with advance reservations a must, as many clamor to take advantage of the amazing culinary excursion for which Nantucket is known.  A late-night walk through the cobblestone streets, illuminated by cozy colonial lanterns, begs you to peer into the restaurant windows. You can hear the sounds of laughter and clinking glasses all over town; a scene reminiscent of a Renoir painting, with folks joyously happy to be out and about, reconnecting once again. The level of enthusiasm is infectious and bellows out to the world “spring has sprung and so have we!”

“And all the town folks and visitors are singing, dancing and clapping in celebration as if it were a scene from the Wizard of Oz.”
The 2017 Daffodil Festival on Nantucket Island, sponsored by the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce, runs April 28th through April 30th

Style Begins at Home

~ A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS ~

1.     Molton Brown Eucalyptus shower gel

2.     Canopied Beds

3.     Animal Prints (furniture, wallpaper, shoes, dinnerware, faux skin rugs)

4.     Coffee Gelato with hot fudge

5.     Red Lipstick (“Arthur" by Chanel)

6.     Monograms (on everything)

7.     Breakfast at diners (a diner girl at heart!)

8.     Love in White, perfume by Creed 

9.     Pasta!

10. Louis Vuitton (been collecting since the 80’s)

11. Calla Lilies (My wedding flowers & my daughter's wedding flowers)

12. Summer

13. Veuve Clicquot

14. Book Cases filled with books, photos and memorabilia

15. Tailgates (summer and winter)

16.  Charlotte my Havanese

17. Drawers of ironed napkins

18. Chanel flats (been wearing them for 35 years)

19. Cartier LOVE bracelet (a gift from my husband, which has been on my wrist for 26 years)

20. Chinoiserie anything and everything

21. Dinner out

22. Fresh flowers in my home everyday

23. Ironed Bed Linens (always in white)

24. Diptyque Candle "Feu De Bois" by Bates

25. Grey Goose Martini with Saint Germaine (no fruit)

 

What Makes Someone A Lifestyle "Expert"?

Life! Experience! The desire to be one! Trials! Errors! Successes! Failures! People!  For me, it’s been about people, personally and professionally.  I am a “nurturer” by nature and thus glean tremendous satisfaction from serving, pleasing, doing, and making life as beautiful as I can for others, as well as for myself.  I think some people are naturally born with an innate desire to create "a story" for everything. That would be me. The stories are visions in my head waiting to be turned into realities. The "story" of a Lifestyle expert’s LIFE is usually swathed in a bit of drama, accompanied by an untamed exuberance for beauty and perfection, or STYLE,  as it may be. But the end goal is always about “making the ordinary extraordinary”.  It’s an unrelenting driving force that powers up each waking day.  The simplest thing, like neatly folding the edge of the toilet paper into a clever little point can say, “someone is going the extra step”.  Or piling snowy white, fluffy monogrammed towels, all folded the same way, neatly into the linen closet just says, “why not mimic the beauty of a fancy hotel in your own home?”  Take a minute to order personalized pencils for your desk. Design some monogramed paper cocktail napkins to place your morning cup of coffee on.  Style your at-home cooking with a sprig of parsley. Burn a candle for aromatherapy. Spend for good soap. You deserve it. Your guests deserve it. Figure out who you are and what your style is and become that!  It doesn't take money.  It takes effort. And a little love.

 The art of being a LIFESTYLE EXPERT can come from on-the-job training, as well.  Much of my own "training" has come from decades of experience in community involvement, volunteerism and fundraising efforts of grand proportions, which trained me in schedules, timeframes, how to calculate food for numbers of guests, teamwork and advance prep work. I often found myself thrown into the middle of party planning venues, table designs, gourmet food presentations and tent and table design, working with the most talented people, from whom I learned so much and who continually, knocked my socks off! 

On a professional level, my passion for beautiful homes and lifestyles continued on a bit of a more serious note, as I became a top-producing real estate agent, and President of the Premier Homes Collection for my company.  As an Exceptional Property Specialist I represented multi-million dollar properties on Connecticut’s Gold Coast and in the countryside.  I learned how to stage homes, magnificent homes, from the absolute best in the industry, and worked with designers from all walks of life to present these grand estates in all their brilliance.

It’s the learning that never stops.  It’s a thirst for inspiration that grows everyday.  It’s a never-ending quest for beauty.  It's what keeps me awake at night and what gets me out of bed in the morning…

"I’m going to make everything around me Beautiful – that will be my life."
- Elsie de Wolfe

My Life ExperiencesTell My Story

  • Live on Martha Stewart Sirius radio presenting my famous “Lobsta’ Bloody Merry” (Christmas specialty up on the blog)

  • Social Chairperson for the New Haven Junior League of CT

  • Co-Chair of New Haven Symphony Orchestra black tie events

  • Chair of the annual New Haven Symphony Orchestra's "Picnic in the Park" ( A Gatsby fabulousness)

  • Co-Chair of the New Haven Historical Society black tie balls

  • Board member and Events Co-Chair of the British Art Museum and Yale Art Galley

  • Co-Chair of Tent and Table Design for 800 guests at the home of Martha Stewart to benefit Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and honor Designer Mario Buatta

  • Co-Chair black-tie fundraising events at Hopkins School, Greens Farm Academy and Fairfield Country Day School

  • House Captain for Fairfield County’s Annual Near and Far House Tour

  • Exceptional Property Real Estate Specialist for over a decade, representing multi-million dollar client owners of grand estates on CT Gold Coast and in the Countryside

  • President of Premier Homes Collection , Al Filippone Associates/William Raveis Real Estate

  • Award for the Real Estate Agent who most utilized the home staging process!

  • Lifestyle Contributor for New England Fine Living Magazine

  • Stylist for Nantucket Magazine’s holiday shoot

  • Tastemaker Instagram Takeover for 41 Madison NY NOW, the premier address with 23 floors of tabletop design

  • Lifestyle Expert public speaker Next up: Light Up the Season at the Four Season’s Hotel Georgetown to benefit the National Children’s Hospital

Our Summer Love

~Nantucket Island~

The always fun journey over the dunes... to get to the ocean.

Magnificent Nantucket

Nothing in this world beats an early morning run on the beach before breakfast.

Peace. Calm. Quiet. Nature.

People often ask me what kinds of things we DO on Nantucket, where we like to DINE and most definitely, what we EAT! So here is an instant recall of this summer, in no particular order!

  • Wagyu beef hotdogs grilled on the beach #Cowboysmeatmarket (split dogs and bun of course!)

  • Kobe burgers w/works, grilled on the beach #Cowboysmeatmarket (medium rare, delicious!)

  • Endless bottles of Rose’ from #epernaywines @epernaywines

  • 12 Changes of bed linens

  • 7 Trips to the airport

  • 18 Fun-loving family members and friends

  • 110 visits to our organic markets @Annyeswholefoods #annyeswholefoods @BartlettsFarm #BartlettsFarm

  • 110 visits to the wonderful people at #Holdgatesislandlaundry @Holdgatesislandlaundry

  • July 4th epic 1950s-like Main Street USA event w/ water fights!

  • July 4th fireworks #Straightwharf followed by candlelight dinner at @Straightwharf

  • Pop’s Concert picnic dinner for 10 on the sand (August!) #Jettiesbeach (my personal favorite)

  • Endless bottles of #VeuveClicquot @VeuveClicquot

  • Fried clams (bellies of course) & fried shrimp #Saylesfishmarket @Saylesfishmarket

  • Coffee ice cream w/ hot fudge #NantucketJuiceBar @NantucketJuiceBar

  • Boating on the #LadyWauwinet @toppersrestaurant

  • Lobster roll lunch at #Wauwinet @toppersrestaurant

  • Visits to #CiscoBrewers for beer tasting and live music ( love that they ask for my ID!)

  • Lavender martinis #AmericanSeasonsNantucket (oh boy) @americanseasonsnantucket

  • Tempura figs #AmericanSeasonsNantucket (crazy good!) @americanseasonsnantucket

  • Lola burgers #Lola41Nantucket @lola41nantucket @lolaburgernantucket (an iconic must have!)

  • Pasta Pomodoro & Nanna Jean’s meatballs @Fusaros (my go-to) @fusarosnantucket

  • Fun w/ bartenders Melissa @Fusaros, David @Atlasnantucket and Jimmy @Lelanqueduc

  • Cozy dark dining at the bar #Atlasnantucket

  • Tennis #Naushop

  • Sailing #Endeaver with Captain Jim (who likes to tip till we’re soaked!)

  • Night Bocci Ball with illuminated balls for midnight cocktail fun in the yard!

  • S’mores with Reese’s peanut butter cups! Late-night in the yard! Gotta!

  • Stuffed lobsters (shrimp and crab) at home by candlelight

  • Sunset dinner w/toes in sand at #GalleyNantucket @galleynantucket (most magnificent in the world!)

  • Hours in the hammock reading

  • Stargazing midnight blue velvet sky with millions of sparkling diamonds

  • Beaches that will take your breath away #SmithsPoint #Madaket #Miacomet

  • Drive-on beaches #SmithsPoint (when #PipingPlovers aren’t nesting!), #40thPole

  • Biking to Sconcet for lunch at #Claudettes

  • Biking to Madaket for lunch at #Milliesnantucket @Milliesnantucket

  • Golf lessons #Miacomet with best Pro #Meghan

  • Alfresco breakfast #Islandkitchen

  • Piano bar at #summerhousenantucket @summerhousenantucket #Jaime (I’m thinking Gatsby’s hangout at one time)

  • Outrageously unusual lobster w/ polenta #LeLanquedoc @Lelanquedoc (5 stars!)

  • Authors visits to the book stores for signings

  • Art gallery tours

  • Walks on the docks

  • Full-on take home raw bar #straightwharffishmarket

  • After beach drinks #Cru (in the bar, surrounded by docks & yachts on three sides)

  • Breakfast alfresco most mornings in the yard after a drive or run on the beach

  • Best snack #bluefishpate' & crackers #Straightwharffishmarket

  • Most FUN staff #lola41nantucket

  • Our heaven on earth #Nantucket