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Lovely Places: Foxfire Mountain House, New York

The roof is down on the convertible Mustang. Twinkling in the sun, the mountainsides and their gentle peaks are lush with midsummer greenery. Pristine lake after pristine lake is making you feel kind of romantic. You might find yourself humming 'Hey Baby' by Bruce Channel*. Welcome to the Catskills, upstate New York.

That this is the area where 'Dirty Dancing' was set is only one of two reasons I shaped an entire mini US road trip around it. (But it was a deadly serious reason. I loved, loved, loved that film as a kid. I still love it as an adult and was more than a little overexcited about being in the very lakes and mountains where it was set.) The other reason is the Foxfire Mountain House, just outside the town of Phonecia at Mount Tremper, which became a dream destination when I ogled photos of of it on the Remodelista newsletter. It's lucky Foxfire turned out to be one of the most beautiful places I've ever stayed, since disappointment was on the horizon elsewhere...

* This hummable song, some may recall, features in this rather famous scene in the soundtrack to the 1987 film

Spotlight on... Naomi Vona, vintage photo artist

Aren't these beautiful? They were a Christmas present to Declan and me from his sister, and I absolutely love them.

They are collages created on original old black and white photos, and are the work of Dublin-based Italian artist Naomi Vona.

Before & after: garden makeover

It's been a very long time since my last post, for which apologies. In the interim, I've got married and done up a house, as well as generally working full-time. 

I'll dig out some suitable wedding pix and post those soon, but meanwhile – there was also the garden makeover, which came about thanks to the wedding generosity of our friends and family. I'm going to start with the (almost) finished version.

It started life as a to-scale drawing done by clever Declan, my now husband.