Friday, December 7, 2012

Pure Vermont

Vermont is unparalleled in its awesome splendor. The pure simplicity and beauty of the place is astounding.

It's a bit like going back in time. A time when people were simpler and with purer intentions and needs. Everyone here seems to be a farmer or an innkeeper or small local shop owner.Take for instance, Doug and Linda, proprietors of the Inn at Baldwin Creek. They grow their own food, cook it up in their bed and breakfast kitchen and serve it Wednesday thru Sunday at their restaurant, Mary's.

The only thing more inviting than a snow-capped Inn, is a snow-capped Inn at night.

The well-appointed rooms are quaint and cozy.

The nearby town of Bristol is sleepy, yet well-stocked.

With a stellar used book store.

And a California-worthy natural foods store. Imagine lush Mountain Greens in the dead of winter.

And not to far past Lovers Lane,

You'll stumble upon Middlebury, a most delightful small city,

With true charm and grace,

And a most delightful health food store of it's own.

A wonderful step back in time, small town Vermont is.

Perhaps, it is this sense of community, purpose and belonging that the world needs to return to, in order to create the peace that we all so deeply desire.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Present Moment

There is no better place to be, but the here and now. As Ram Dass made clear in his timeless book, Be Here Now, the present moment is all there is. I had the pleasure of visiting a delightful place in St. Augustine, Fl, which takes its culinary inspiration from the timeless now. This haven for spiritual seekers offers up pure, vegan and raw food all made from fresh and local ingredients and with a palpable conscious awareness. It's called the Present Moment Cafe and is the antithesis of contemporary fast food, though the service is quick, kind and efficient.

The delicious food, however, speaks volumes about how high quality, minimally processed food can aid in keeping us present in the now moment- the only true space and time we have.


I have never tasted such enlightened cuisine. Everything on the menu is sublime. You can literally close your eyes and just point to something and rest assured it will be an aimmensely satisfying treat for your palate. Because every dish is as good as the next, I often found myself ordering the Chef's Sample plate. Look at this masterful creation.

On it you have a housemade pickle, raw corn chips, sunflower seed mock tuna pate, topped with a heaping salad of fresh local greens.

Another sampler includes raw vegan sushi with wasabi, pickled ginger and tamari, a saucy seaweed salad and a nut/seed veggie burger with marinated onions and provolone puree.

And yet another, highlights the unbelievably scrumptious white truffle zucchini pasta with pine nut parmesan and a barbecue portabella topped nut loaf. All raw!

As you can see, I couldnt get enough of these outstanding meals. And so, every day I found myself taking a moment to enjoy a delicious plate.

The soups here are so amazingly good, too. All raw and vegan, the culinary stars in the kitchen are adept at creating heavenly broths such as brocoli cheddar soup and spicy potato bisque. Oh and I almost forgot. The desserts!! Raw, vegan, sugar free delights.

This vanilla ice cream brownie sundae is made with cashews, agave and cacao. Clearly, it is not at all difficult to stay present in the beautiful city of St. Augustine. Everywhere you look, there is exquisite beauty.

The air is clean and fresh and everyone smiles at you as you walk along the cobblestone streets.

And as you make your way in the moment, the path before you establishes you in presence.

You are one with the simple pleasures of life. The sun and ocean breeze greet you at every turn. Even the shops dance in their array of finery. Inviting you to attend to the here and now.

For the present moment is all there is.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

St. Augustine Shrine

There are so many wonderful places to see in St. Augustine, Fl. This is one of those towns where every little corner hides a gem. And because it's so walkable, you can discover all the rich gifts that the oldest city in America has to offer, on foot! "Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the United States." The character of this beautiful town is best revealed in the respect given to the Shrine of our Lady of La Leche, a mission that devotees have been flocking to for centuries, in order to gain the blessing of the Mother Mary. Here you can light a candle for a special prayer and place it upon her altar.

After your blessing, the wonders of St. Augustine will start to take shape at your every turn. Follow the beckoning promenades, which inspire you to walk and walk...

On your path, you will dicover incredibly stately, 100 year old historic homes.

Quaint Inns, welcoming you into their comforting abodes...

And a grand ole hotel, called the Casa Monica, fit for a Queen.

The galleries are glorious in this old town. So much exquisite art, jewelry and all manner of boutique shopping..



And if you tire of walking, you can always catch a ride in a horse drawn carriage or take the trolley round.

But best of all, here in St Augustine, you have the beaches! The exquisite ocean gleaming just round the bend.

Boating and surfing are both on offer along these picturesque waterways.

The spirit of the Good Saint is definitely alive in this coastal paradise. You feel her warmth and grace all throughout and a sprinkling of her starlight stays with you even as you venture onto other shores.


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