The Hartshorn’s Vacation in Europe

by & filed under Follow The Hartshorn Family!, Great Ideas, People and Places We Love.

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Every year, we take a trip to Europe to see the fam­ily and this year we had sev­eral des­ti­na­tions. On arrival in Barcelona, Mac took off for the Spanish Pyrenees by train. His brother was hik­ing the Pyrenees from one coast to another and each Hartshorn brother had planned to hike with him at dif­fer­ent points along the trek. Meanwhile, the girls and I had our own plans, which kicked off with a few days in Barcelona. Our hotel loaned us scoot­ers, which was a fan­tas­tic way to travel around the city. We explored the nar­row streets and bought bread, cheese and meats from the famous La Boqueria mar­ket and enjoyed a pic­nic in one of the many squares by a beau­ti­ful foun­tain. We saw much of the Gaudi archi­tec­ture, includ­ing La Familia Sagrada (con­struc­tion started in 1882 and is still in progress) and Guell Park. What an amaz­ingly cre­ative man Gaudi was and way ahead of his time!

The next part of our trip was to travel by train through the Pyrenees. We took sev­eral trains, includ­ing the Little Yellow Train– an elec­tric train which was opened in 1906 with France’s high­est sta­tion at 5226 feet above sea level. We chose an open air car­riage which made the trip even more excit­ing and arrived at an 11th Century walled vil­lage called Villlefranche. One of the high­lights form this part of the trip for the girls was the self ser­vice milk sta­tions. There was a vend­ing machine to pur­chase a capped bot­tle and a milk dis­penser. We filled up the bot­tle and drank it right there — appar­ently they are located all over Spain! Following a day of explor­ing, we trav­eled to meet Mac in Perpignan and took the TGV to Paris. The trip took five hours and reached speeds of 200 mph, which Mac thought was very cool.


After a day explor­ing Paris, we took our final train to my mum’s home in Normandy. We were happy to stop and relax in this beau­ti­ful area of France. Mum’s place over­looks sand dunes and oys­ter beds; we spent so much time eat­ing deli­cious seafood and fly­ing kites on the huge expanse of sand. We took a day trip to Mont St-​Michel — it was absolutely beau­ti­ful and had been on my bucket list for years. The local restu­rant was extremely entertaining…the owner proudly states that it is the worst restau­rant in France. We dis­agree, but it def­i­nitely would not have passed any inspec­tions in the USA! They cook sausages on an open fire and the ser­vice was non-​existent. The cooks were bare­foot teenagers and he offered our daugh­ter a job when she reaches 15 years old! We had to get our own glasses and uten­sils and pick a bot­tle of wine from his col­lec­tion. The mus­sels arrived in huge pots accom­pa­nied by dishes of french fries. But SO deli­cious– we were there a cou­ple of nights for the food and the enter­tain­ment factor.

We left the girls with the grand­par­ents for a week and headed home to glam­orous New Jersey and plans for beach time.

The New Bee Location

by & filed under Our Favorite Things, People and Places We Love.

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We are thrilled to announce that The Bee has opened a new loca­tion in Point Pleasant. Kim Kiss Morris had to close two of her three stores after Hurricane Sandy due to the dam­age, but she has bounced back. Summer would not be com­plete with­out trips to The Bee for some retail therapy…especially on a rainy day!