Tuesday, August 30, 2011

where we grow up and its influence

upon return home from my surprise trip to Durango, we had a surprise visitor...
my little sister Monique who is one of the loveliest people I know, and also one of the funniest. And one of the most creative. And basically the best dancer a white girl can be. She got all those genes.
I spent most of childhood and embarrassingly long after that not getting along with her. And these days I regret every minute I spent not totally appreciating her, because now when I get together with both my sisters it almost hurts. Both from the laughing and from just loving them both so much.

The 24 hours Monique was here was the best. We stayed up way too late, may have drank too much vino, and then went for a visit to the place where we spent our very early childhood years. I only lived there for about 7 years before my family moved to the city, but I think the time we spent there probably had the biggest influence on my sisters and me from an aesthetic standpoint than all the other areas we've lived in since.

It's a historic village outside of DC that was originally formed as a Methodist revival camp and getaway for city dwellers. The original plots were designed to hold tents. Eventually, people built permanent homes on the plots and then continued to add onto them. The result is fascinating, lots of quirky caravan-esque homes. Today its totally bohemian. And it was like that when I was growing up. Sort of beautiful and quirky and carefree and natural and sometimes overgrown.....

The majority of the town is connected through footpaths, where no cars can drive. Because of that and the general easy-going attitude of the people living there, the whole neighborhood seems like its existing out of time. People have walkways leading up to their yards from the footpath so that other neighbors can come peek over their fences and enjoy the beautiful gardens they've created. There are also a lot of artists who decorate their homes and porches (tons of porches!!!) with their creations.

It was a drizzly day when we visited, but even running through the rain was a little magical in a nostalgic kind of way. Whenever we'd come across three cute homes all in a row we'd stop and talk about buying the three of them and living there all together. But Mo is really a city girl at heart. And so is Nicole. And me...I think I'm not. But I do like to visit Mo, so we let her go back to New York....


  1. I'm convinced I never walked around your old neighborhood, but I know I was over at your house a lot as a kid.

    I never knew the history, but it's interesting because I just went to Martha's Vineyard for the first time this summer and there is a community of revival camp houses in Oak Bluffs that is just adorable. The houses are mainly small, almost like playhouses, gingerbread cottages. It's adorable and some of them are only accessible by walking between other tiny houses.

    Here's a link with some info: http://www.sandpiperrealty.com/pages/oak-bluffs-marthas-vineyard.html

  2. I had to idea this place existed when I lived in DC. Had I known, I would have loved to have visited. You are lucky to have lived there. Aren't sisters the best? My littlest just left yesterday.

  3. Leah, I want to move to this place right. now. Down the road from where I went to college, there was a community a lot like this (a "Sunday School Assembly," started as part of the summer resort/Christian camp boom in the late 19th century), and the vibe is very much the same -- quirky homes tucked haphazardly around a sprawling neighborhood, with not a lot of roads but plenty of inviting front porches to encourage visits at cocktail hour. It's one of my favorite places to be -- to live there year-round would just about kill me. And to think there's a place like this so close to DC! What a magical place to grow up.

  4. I just stumbled over here, and am SO glad I did! Love your blog and happy to be a new follower!

  5. Leah... Have never been here... Do ppl ever call it munchkinville or is that totally somewhere else? Love it!

    Thanks for your sweet words the other day. We need to hang

  6. What a great place...what a great relationship. Just love it!

    We have a little place on the beach called Summerplace that looks very much like the bohemian spot you lived in. I stalked the place. I NEEDED to live there. Sandy lanes, shells lining the roads...artists... sigh.

    We never found the spot or price...but a girl can dream. Yes she can. And a little stalking never hurt anyone. right?

    Linda@Lime in the coconut

  7. I am going to have to search this out the next time I'm visiting that area...Thanks~

  8. So lovely. Would LOVE to live in a place like this!

  9. Ok two posts in a week! Your spoiling me.. Thanks I love your blog! Sisters are the best I have two as well, and they will always be my bestest friends. Even if we don't see eye to eye, I try to appreciate them for being them!

  10. sounds like just the right place for me! just found your blog and it is beautiful!


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