Friday, November 30, 2018

Tales of the Traveling Tote - Joe's Retirement Trip to Italy

If you are here for the first time, welcome to Mountain Breaths. Today I am joining a group of talented bloggers to bring you our quarterly Tales of the Traveling Tote. 
According to Wikipedia:  The "Tales of the Traveling Tote" is a group of well-preserved, dynamic women that bring a MacKenzie-Childs tote bag (or sometimes a mug) on a trip and take pictures of it in front of famous (and infamous) landmarks. I just made this up but isn't it the the truth? 

The day after Thanksgiving is always our Kick Off to Christmas and my "tote" is quite happy to spend time in the quaint village of Clinton, NY near our home instead of the black Friday madness at the mall. The Shopper’s Stroll and Holiday Parade have always been a fun tradition.   
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was such a great day spending time with our family. Each year we are missing a few but they will be with us for Christmas. 
Miss Aurora (can you see her in the photo above?) was happy to go on the annual girls weekend after I got back from Italy. Six of us rented a beautiful mountain lodge in Wilmington, NY (near Lake Placid), and had a blast. You have probably heard me refer to our group as the "Scoots". We are quite the fun bunch. 

First and foremost I would like to welcome Cherry Kay from Entertaining Women to our group.  Cherry Kay is a blogging friend who sets a table and makes you feel as though you are actually sitting there enjoying her lovely collection and as well as her company.  She has an amazing collection of dishware from her ancestors as well as our favorite M-C dishes!  Her storage system is one to be admired and emulated!!  Her Traveling Tote has the clever name of Carrie Ann Hall (Carry and Haul). 

I will answer your first two questions immediately. All my local friends and family members who have seen the first two photos have asked the same questions.

1)  Q.  Did you actually ride in that little vintage Fiat?
A.  Yes we did, for a tour of Milan. Thankfully we only booked it for one hour but it was a lot of fun. My large MKC tote, Miss Aurora, stayed home in New York :-( I felt she was too cumbersome for getting on and off all the water taxis, so I brought the canvas market bag.

2)  Surely you didn't bring the MKC mug with you from home.
A.  Oh yes I did (just for photos) It's a magnet for conversation!! Even our local tour guide in Venice loved it and had never heard of MKC and wants one. 
Continuing with our recent trip to Northern Italy. Part One is here.  We were lucky to have a full moon and perfect weather in Venice. One of the highlights of our trip to Venice was the after hours private tour of St. Mark's Basilica. Our home for three days was the Gritti Palace on the canal. The days were made perfect by the exceptional weather. Our trip of a lifetime was a 14 day journey through Northern Italy with beautiful scenery and great food.  Five stars. 

I was intrigued by the gondaliers, in the blazing sun all day. We learned that the jobs are passed down from generation to generation. 
Joe's retirement job could be a taste tester for gelato. We found some exceptional gelato in Italy after trying it at several places. 
Apertivo time, alfresco preferably. La dolce vita!  We found a little Camparino Bar with refreshing Campari on the rocks with the slightest splash of soda. A bit too strong for my taste, but while in Italy I gave it a try. 

Miss Aurora was feeling left out staying home in New York. She would have made a nice addition in Venice. 
Miss Aurora would have enjoyed this legendary hotel on the Grand Canal. The lovely Rubelli silk wall coverings and textiles, including archive patterns last produced in the 18th century, were re-created, and around 280 antique pieces refurbished, as were some 600 light fixtures, among them dozens of Murano chandeliers.  Rich terrazzo floors and a muted palette, a combination that adds up to understated splendor rather than over-the-top luxury. The bathrooms compensate for their often diminutive size with extravagant cladding in marble from five regions of Italy. 

We very much enjoyed lunch in Torcello and visiting Burrano. So colorful. Pictured below was our two week itinerary with several stops in between. The trip of a lifetime.
Mr. C has something planned for 2019 I believe. Instead of dreading turning 60, it will give me something to look forward to. LOL

Come along and travel with:

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths (you are here)
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Jackie with Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home  -- don't forget to enter the giveaway :-)
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda 
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron 
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Ricki Jill with Countess de Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Cherry Kay with Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women 

We were heading to a cocktail party in Milan to meet our group. We stopped at the mirror by the elevator, and this was our first photo in Milan.
Last but not least, I attended the Donny and Marie Osmond Holiday Concert on November 29th at the Turning Stone Casino. You can see my tote in the middle photo in the collage. What a fantastic evening with my sisters. 

Thank you so much for stopping by! Hope you're still awake :-)
Stop back on March 1st for our next post.

Debbie@Mountain Breaths
Debbie@Mountain Breaths

Hello, I'm Debbie.I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Adirondack Mountains (thus Mountain Breaths). I live in Upstate NY with my supportive husband and have three precious sons..


  1. You did it! You got the photo with Donnie! Hooray. How fun.
    Well your trip was just fabulous! What a fun vacation. Our motto is that if you are away from home for your birthday it never hurts to get older!
    You look like you were born to ride in a Gondola! And that cocktail party outfit is fabulous! You always look so amazing. So fun that the MC was so popular in Italy!

    1. Sorry that you had to read my rough draft Jackie! I hit publish before I was done doing a spell check. LOL

      Thank you for your kind words, and I love your motto!!

  2. Debbie, what a wonderful write up in welcoming Cherry Kay and describing your trip to Italy again. The photos are outstanding, just perfect to entice would-be travelers (love your formal attire together too), and your itinerary so well thought out. The Scoots weekend looked fabulous too. You certainly had a busy fall! Oh, and that Wikipedia for our tribe --- I think you should submit it, lol!

  3. You have been a busy couple! Beautiful family! You will need a bigger staircase lol:) It's so funny..when we became just J and I ..we built a new home..just right for us at those ages..w/ the yrs when we are all together..some rooms seem so small..:)And as the Littles grow it seems smaller and smaller..yet too big sometimes for just J and I..

    Love your trip photos and good for you for getting in that gobdola.My regret.We found our gondola in the AM and someone said..oh later this aft..well later that aft the skies opened up and Venice turned into a NO GONDOLA land..
    Have to listen to my instincts more and be more assertive for things like that.
    And Donnie:):)
    PS I drive a Fiat and it is so perfect:)Imperfectly perfect.

  4. Debbie, I almost spit my coffee out when I started reading the Wikipedia definition! Too hilarious!!! But definitely true, especially the part about "well preserved, dynamic women!" I have so enjoyed going to Italy with you, I can only try to imagine boating through the Venice canals and seeing all the incredible architecture and history! Too funny that your guide noticed your mug! So many stunning photos and great ones of you and Joe. You are so lucky to have an eager travel planner and another fabulous trip on the horizon!

  5. Oh, by the way, you MUST share the entire Donnie story, how did you ever manage that hug?????

  6. Deb, wow have you had busy fall! What a wonderful retirement gift for Joe, Italy!!!! I enjoyed each and every photo and I'm sure I'll be scrolling through again so I don't miss a thing. I'm sure that little tour in the Fiat was a lot of fun, not to mention Milan. You captured the essence of Venice through your photography, stunning and it brings my own memories of our trip there. How fun we both toured Northern Italy this year. I love the photo of you and Joe under the arch of trees, says it all..........Cant' wait to talk with you about you plans :)

  7. What a fun post, Debbie, to see all your happy photos with family and your amazing trip to Italy with your retired sweetheart, Joe. I was able to tour Italy through your wonderful photos, and enjoy all the beautiful sights and see the food and drinks. I loved that your saw Donny and Marie with your sisters and got a hug from Donny. The gorgeous mountain lodge that you and the Scoots rented looked fabulous!! Happy weekend! xx

  8. Debbie, this is a wonderful Saturday morning read! I love following along with all your travels and experiences. You have a beautiful family, and wow, the selfie of you and Joe headed to the cocktail party is one you need to frame. You two are a stunning couple! I love the idea of a tour in that cute little red Fiat. Like Jenna, I was LOL over the Wicki paragraph. Love your sense of humor. Great job on the travel journal. Makes me want to plan a return to Italy. We didn't make it to Venice, so that is definitely still on the list.
    And yes, we need the whole story on the Donny hug. Thanks for taking us along with all the travel accounts. Happy Holidays to you and Joe.

  9. Debbie, you and joe had an amazing trip to northern Italy. Paul and I want to go. love seeing your photos and accomodation. What a trip of a lifetime. So glad you got to go and also share it with us. I keep coming back to your photos and dream. The Scoots weekend was also fabulous and can't wait to hear about your travel plans for next year. Merry Christmas to you and Joe and the brightest new Year. xo

  10. Lucky you to be able to see so much of Italy - I enjoyed your photos of Venice, bringing back great memories of my trip there! The family pics are the best - little X is certainly growing up fast. So happy you got to hug Donnie - teenage memories!! Looking forward to your next adventure to Europe!!

  11. How much fun! I love the Gritti Palace, and I so enjoyed seeing your lovely photos of Italy. I think Joe has the right idea about his retirement job. :D I wish you'd write a separate post about Bologna. Once when we were touring Italy, the Communists had taken over the town after an election and our tour guide said it wasn't safe to visit, so instead of heading north to Bologna, we went south to Assisi! We missed out! ;P So I have to ask? Was Donnie wearing purple socks? I want details! You have fun with your girlfriend group! I enjoyed reading this post sooooo much! But I think you can expand on a few of these photos, AHEM!!!

  12. No moss growing under the two of you! Such beautiful photos of family, friends and Italy. Loved seeing everything!


I'm so happy you decided to stop by my blog. Please leave a comment as I enjoy hearing from each and every one of you!


Appetizers (2) Birthday Week (2) Blog Anniversary (2) Bread (2) Breakfast (4) Breakfast; MacKenzie-Childs (2) Breville Pie Maker (3) Cannoli (3) Chicken (2) Chicken Riggies; Foodie Friday (1) CHRISTMAS 2011 (4) Come To The Table (4) Cookies (2) Dessert (9) Dinner Parties (3) Easter 2012 (2) Events (2) Fairy Garden (2) Favorites on the First (2) Filled Strawberries (4) Flashback Friday (6) Foodie Friday (20) Garden 2009 (3) Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars (2) Halloween (2) Kentucky Derby; Run for the Roses Pie (1) Key West (4) Kick-Off To Summer BBQ (1) Lake Life (2) Lemon (3) Lemon Berry Cake with Mascarpone Filling (2) Let's Dish (13) Let's Dish; Tablescape Thursday (1) MacKenzie-Childs (39) MacKenzie-Childs; Traveling Tote (4) Magazine recipes (2) MAGNOLIA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (2) Martha's Vineyard (3) McKenzie-Childs (2) Miss Aurora; (1) Monday Mosaic (5) Monday Mosaic; Seasonal Sundays (3) Mother's Day 2012 (3) Mystery Ingredient; Halloween 2013 (2) National Bundt Day (3) Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Pan (3) Outdoor Wednesdays (2) OWLS (3) Pasta (2) PEONIES (4) Philadelphia Garden Show 2009 (7) Pier One (2) Pork (2) PUMPKIN PIE FUDGE (3) Rhubarb (5) Salads (2) Seafood (2) Seasonal Sundays (9) Showy Lady's-slipper (Cypripedium reginae) (2) Soup (4) Spider Web Pizza (1) St. Patrick's Day (4) Summer 2013 (2) Summer Dessert (3) Sunday Favorites (3) Sycamore Hill Gardens (2) Table For Two (2) Tablescape Thursday (17) Tablescape Thursday; MacKenzie-Childs (2) Thanksgiving (5) Tips and Tidbits; (2) Tybee Island; Georgia; Savannah; (3) Utica Greens; Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook; Escarole (1) Valentine (2) Valentine's Day (3) Vietri (4) Weekends (6) World Famous Paradise Bakery Sugar Cookies with Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting (3) Zucchini Bread (2)