Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Fireboards of Darlington House

When Darlington House was built in 1817, burning wood in fireplaces was the primary method for heating houses in this country.  Not surprisingly, there are a lot of fireplaces at Darlington--six of them inside the house, and another one in an outbuilding.  Within a decade from when the house was built, iron stoves supplanted fireplaces as the preferred source of heating in America, and all of Darlington's fireplaces were refitted with stoves.  It was not until 1931, when the Proctors bought the house, that central heating was installed.

One of Darlington's fireplaces, with fireboard

When we bought Darlington in the late 1990s, only three of its fireplaces were operable, and only one of them was safe to use.  We have since opened up and lined all six of the fireplaces' chimneys, and today all of them are in working order and up to code.  It was a monumental, lengthy, dirty, and very expensive undertaking.  But now we have the pleasure of six working fireplaces.  And we use them when the weather is cold, as can be seen here, here, and here.

One of Darlington's chimneys, open and awaiting
its new clay tile lining and damper, circa 2003

While a fireplace is attractive when a fire is burning within it, or dressed with logs when one is not, it is not so fair when it is empty.  During the winter we lay logs in the fireplaces when they are not in use, to be ready for the next time we light a fire, but during warmer weather we leave our fireplaces empty and swept clean of ashes.

But our bare hearths and empty andirons looked rather forlorn during the summer months, so I thought it would be a good idea to cover them during the off-season with fireboards, as was customary when Darlington House was built.  The question was, what kind?

This antique American fireboard sold at auction for $82,250
Image courtesy of Skinner Auctions

I wasn't of the mind to have ones made and painted with naive scenes of country villages or hunters on horseback.  While I like living in an antique house, furnished sympathetically, I don't aspire to living in a folk-art collection or a house museum, which is what such fireboards bring to mind, at least to me.  Furthermore, modern-day painted fireboards done in a naive, folk-art manner can very quickly devolve into the realm of country cute.  Far better to have one's fireboards painted in the more modern, albeit classic, manner of Graham Rust, the very talented English artist:

A Graham Rust rendering of a painted chimney board
Image from The Painted House, by Graham Rust

But such talent is not easy to come by, and is very dear, and, besides, Reggie wasn't keen on introducing too much of a statement into the rooms at Darlington House.  It's one thing to cover one's upholstered furniture with smart summer slipcovers, as we do during the summer months, but it is another matter to also introduce a different painted scene into each room's fireplace opening.

But Reggie does admit that he wouldn't have minded having at least one fireboard covered with antique scenic wallpaper, which was a popular decorative conceit in the early nineteenth century.  But antique wallpaper-covered fireboards are difficult to find, and maddeningly expensive when found.  And then there's the pesky issue of finding ones that actually fit one's fireboxes.

A fire surround with scenic wallpaper fireboard
Collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art
Image from Classical Taste in America, 1800-1840, by Wendy A. Cooper

In the early nineteenth century, many of the papers used to cover fireboards in America were printed in France, and the panels were specifically made to use either on fireboards or as overdoor panels.

Antique wallpaper panel of Amphitrite born across the waves
Collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York
Image from Wallpaper in America, by Catherine Lynn

The estimable Adelphi Paper Hangings recently introduced two wallpaper panels in a document pattern, Cupid and Psyche, circa 1795-1810, that may be used for papering fireboards.  However, that falls short of our needs, as we have six fireplaces at Darlington, not two, that beg for fireboards.

Adelphi's Cupid and Psyche wallpaper panel
Image courtesy of Adelphi Paper Hangings

Considering the number of fireplaces at Darlington, I reasoned it was best to wait until the perfect fireboard solution appeared, rather than rush into an unsatisfactory and costly custom fireboard project.

So the fireplaces of Darlington House sat empty during the warm-weather months for the better part of ten years, with narry a fireboard within them.  But Reggie was not exactly inconsolable in his grief, as there were other, more pressing claims on his resources at Darlington House, the list of which was so long as to defy imagination.

Our early fireboards

Several years ago, while visiting the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair, in Rhinebeck, New York, I came across two Federal-era, louvered shutter fireboards.  Made in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, when Darlington House was built, the fireboards were in their original green-paint finish.  It took me all of ten seconds to cry "Sold!"  I was thrilled, when we brought them home, to find that they required only minimal adjustments to fit two of our fireplaces.

One of our early-19th-century fireboards
in Darlington's original kitchen fireplace

But what to do about the other, empty fireplaces?

After much deliberation, research, and discussion, I decided that the best solution was to have the same type of louvered shutter fireboards made as we bought at the antiques fair.  That way, the fireboards of Darlington House would be consistent throughout the house and not call too much attention to themselves, yet still provide a pleasing architectural and decorative addition to the rooms during the warm weather months.

Three new fireboards, awaiting notching and painting

This past winter, during active fireplace season, I arranged with our architectural historian, Isaiah Cornini, to have three new louvered shutter fireboards made.  Isaiah used the shutters that hang on our exterior windows as the template for the new fireboards.

One of our early fireboards required some patching and extending to fit its designated fireplace more snuggly.

The extended and patched early fireboard

Once the panel was patched, Isaiah had a decorative painter inpaint the extensions on the fireboard to match the original paint.  We decided to paint all of the new fireboards the same grassy green that we used on the exterior shutters on Darlington.

The new fireboards have been notched for andirons
and have received their first coat of paint

I am quite pleased with the way the new fireboards came out and with how handsome they look in our rooms.  Here is one of them installed in our drawing room's fireplace.  I think it looks marvelous.

If you live in such a house as Darlington, or in any house or apartment with fireplaces, for that matter, I encourage you to have fireboards made for use during warm weather.  Not only do fireboards cover the fireplaces' unsightly empty openings when not in use, but they mark a pleasing seasonal change to one's interiors, particularly when done in concert with the covering of one's upholstered furniture with summer slipcovers, as we do at Darlington.

Tell me, how do you dress your fireplaces during the summer?

All photographs, except where noted, by Reggie Darling and Boy Fenwick

Thursday, August 26, 2010

By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea

Well, no longer.  With our oceanside holiday but a fast-receding memory, I have refocused on my life in the City and at Darlington House.  I'm back at home, back at work, and back to writing a number of essays about recent projects and acquisitions, along with other Reggie subjects, which I shall be posting in the coming weeks.  I hope that you, Dear Reader, will find them of interest.

But before leaving the happy memories of the seaside altogether, I thought I'd share this photograph, taken one hundred years ago, of a jolly threesome by the shore.  I bought it more than twenty years ago at a used book store in upstate New York, where I found it while sifting through a shoebox of old photographs for sale.  I think I paid a dollar for it.  There's no identification on it of who these lads were, or where it was taken.  Given where I found it, I'm assuming they are American, and that their photograph was taken at a popular beach somewhere on the East coast.

I have always wondered, who are these men and how is it they came to be photographed?  Was it taken by a professional, roving photographer who strolled the beach, looking for customers, or was it taken by the fourth of their foursome with a newly available portable camera?  Are they straight, or gay, or a combination?  What accounts for their wildly differing physiques?  Whose umbrella is that?

These are such questions that one often ponders when studying photographs of unidentified people taken long ago.  One blogger who posts such pictures regularly, and whom I read regularly, is JCB.  I encourage you to look at her charming blog if you haven't already.  The photographs she posts, both old and new, are lovely and thought-provoking.

I believe my photograph is of three friends, enjoying each other's company at an outing at the beach.  Two of them appear to be athletes, or laborers, given their muscular physiques, while one is clearly a stranger to strenuous exercise.  I suspect the two fit ones are athletes as opposed to laborers.  Who knows if they are gay or straight?  I could talk my way into either conclusion.  The fact that one of them playfully holds a black silk umbrella argues that the photograph was taken by a fourth, more fully-dressed person who made up their foursome.  For I suspect the umbrella belongs to the photographer, whose hands would have been occupied by the task of taking the photograph.  And unless the person taking it was the wife of one of the subjects, it is unlikely that the photographer was a she, since it would been considered inappropriate at that time for a single woman to be unchaperoned under such circumstances.  Whatever the story may have been, this is a charming photograph of three young men enjoying themselves, and having a lovely time.  It is a favorite of mine.

Over the years I have collected several hundred old photographs of unknown sitters, unrelated to me.  I seek out photographs in which the subjects are interesting looking, or good looking, or have unusual or remarkable features, such as in the cabinet photographs I featured in my recent post on mustache cups.  I also look for ones, like this, where the subjects just might be gay, like I am.  While I have plenty of photographs of my actual ancestors, none of them--to the best of my knowledge--were gay.  If the men in this photograph were, then they are ancestors of mine of a different sort from those with whom I share an actual bloodline.

Tell me, do you collect old photographs of people long gone?  And, if so, why?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reggie, Lilly, Lilly, Boy*

There is rather a lot of Lilly Pulitzer to be seen on the island of Nantucket during the peak summer months.  It's everywhere.  When walking up the cobblestones of Main Street, in town, one sees armies of women, teenagers, children, and men, all sporting some Lilly.  There's a Lilly shop on the island that is a devotee's paradise, as it carries the complete line of Lilly for both women and men.  Everywhere I turn, I see someone dressed in Lilly.  And they come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from petite preteens to wide-bottomed gals in their sixties.  It's like a human parade of Easter baskets, all pink and green, and yellow and blue.  It is very summery, and mostly pretty.

Vintage Lilly Pulitzer fabric

And it would have driven Mummy Darling crazy.

MD was not a fan of Lilly.  In fact, she said she'd rather die than own any.  Couldn't stand it.  Hated it.  Always did and always would.  And that's because, in the 1960s, she was on the other, opposing team.  MD always considered herself to be something of a rebel.  She was much too cool to wear Lilly, which she dismissed as being the stuff of simpering blondes driving country-club station wagons.  Prissy.  Not her thing at all.  She considered herself to be a sophisticated, worldly brunette, and was proud of it.  And women like MD instead wore Marimekko, from the design house based in Finland, known for its boldly colored, highly graphic fabrics.

Lilly Pulitzer in her original shop in Palm Beach
Image courtesy of
The Preppy Princess

MD owned half a dozen Marimekko shifts in the late 1960s, that she treasured and wore in rotation during the summer, and she also had Marimekko scarves and tea towels, and even sheets.  She liked the bright colors and patterns of Marimekko, which she thought suited her to a tee.  Besides, there was something almost radical about wearing Marimekko at the time.  It was kicky and "now" and was from über-cool Scandinavia, like the furniture that was gradually replacing the antiques in our living room, that MD had inherited from her grandparents.

Vintage marimekko from the 1960s
Image courtesy of marimekko

But when Reggie was a boy in the 1960s he wanted MD to be a Lilly-wearing mother, like his friends' mothers who had blonde bouffant Kennedy hair, wore Lilly shifts and golfing skirts, and carried Bermuda bags.  He wanted to have a girlier mother, who would say "gosh" instead of "goddamit" and who didn't snort in disgust at the very idea of needlepoint pillows or Pappagallo flats.  When Reggie would ask MD "Why can't you be like the other mothers and wear those pretty dresses?" she'd say "Over my dead body!  I can't stand that Lilly Putziger crap!" which is how she referred to the designer's clothes.

Durie Desloge and Wendy Vanderbilt in Lilly, in 1964
Photographed by Slim Aarons

But only a year or two later, much to MD's indignation, she found that Lilly Pulitzer had been engaged to supply new school uniforms at the National Cathedral School for Girls, where my sister Hermione was a student.  And MD had to buy a set for her.  She didn't have a choice in the matter.  I still remember her fuming, "I can't believe it!  I said I'd never buy any of that Lilly Putziger crap, and now I have to!"

Slim Aarons' photographs of Lilly and her Palm Beach followers,
from Aarons' book 
Once Upon A Time

It was not until I went to Saint Grottlesex in the early 1970s that I thought about Lilly again.  Even though there weren't all that many girls at the school in those days (it had only just gone co-ed), a lot of them wore Lilly dresses and skirts, just like their mothers.  And they carried Lilly bags, too, and some of them even had Lilly patchwork quilts in their off-limits rooms.  It was actually kind of weird to see these teenage girls wearing what appeared to Reggie as rather matronly dresses in pretty pastels, when his own sisters were in the full throes of hippiedom.  But there was something quite attractive about it, too, and Reggie liked it.  And it wasn't just the girls at Saint Grottlesex who wore Lilly.  Quite a few of the boys did, too.  A number of Reggie's male friends at the school had shorts and long pants from Lilly, and swim trunks, as well.  And they looked really good in them.

Lilly-wearing Palm Beach residents, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Leas
Likely photographed by Slim Aarons
Image courtesy of
Dwellers Without Decorators

One year I stayed at Saint Grottlesex a couple of days beyond the usual departure date for the summer break, and I had the dormitory where I lived to myself.  While there, I came across a pair of Lilly shorts that one of the boys had left behind.  They were orange, with lions printed on them, and I was delighted to find that they fit me perfectly.  But I also remember feeling somewhat strange when I put them on, as if I was slipping my feet into the forbidden.  I knew what MD thought about Lilly, yet I was attracted to it.  Not just for the way it looked, all summery and Palm Beachy, but also for the pretty and attractive people I knew who wore it.  MD be damned, I thought, as I looked at myself in the mirror.  I'm going to keep these shorts.

Needless to say, after returning home, I was met with a snort of derision when I came downstairs one morning wearing my Lilly shorts. "Where did you get those ridiculous shorts?" MD asked me.  I told her, and she rolled her eyes and said that it was a good thing I'd paid nothing for them, since that was all they were worth.  I defiantly wore them almost every day until I left shortly thereafter to attend Colorado Outward Bound.  But I was perplexed, when I returned home at the end of the month-long program, that I couldn't find the shorts in my room.  And then I was incensed, when I learned that MD had donated them, along with my beloved childhood Lego collection, to a summer jumble sale at our parish church.  "You're too old for that stuff!" was MD's justification when I confronted her with her misdeed.  Not only was she unrepentant, but she categorically refused to replace the shorts (or the Leggo).  "Forget it!" she said.

My Lilly swim trunks

And I pretty much did, until the mid 1990s, when I saw a pair of Lilly swim trunks in the window of a store in Manhattan.  And I bought them, and wore them on Fire Island Pines, where the standard-issue bathing suit at the time was a far racier Speedo, or "banana hammock," as my preppy girlfriends called them, wrinkling their noses.  But I must admit, Reggie felt a bit of an imposter wearing his pink-and-green Lilly on the beach that summer, and the suit quickly found its way to the back of the drawer, never to be worn again.  I still have it, though.

A close-up of my trunks, showing the
"Lilly" that appears in all of her prints

Fast forward, to today on Nantucket.  

Last weekend, when our friends George Pinckney and Ford Waring were visiting us, we went into the Lilly shop in town to look around.  Neither George nor Ford, both of whom are old-line WASP southerners, are strangers to Lilly.  In fact, George once had a pair of Lilly shorts that he wore in the mid-1980s that I coveted and that he no longer owns, much to his regret.  We learned in the store that Lilly has discontinued, or at least drastically reduced, its menswear offerings, and what little they had left was aggressively marked down for an end-of-summer sale.

Boy's Lilly trunks, bought on Nantucket last summer

George walked out of the store with a colorful pair of trousers (seen in the center photograph, below) that he happily bought at a fraction of their original marked price.  Even though there was clothing there that fit me, I can't bring myself to wear today's Lilly, even ironically.  I guess that MD's influence over me remains strong, even from beyond the crematorium.

Current Lilly menswear offerings
Image courtesy of New York Magazine

But that doesn't apply to all Lilly.  I am okay with owning and wearing vintage Lilly, particularly if it's from the 1960s and 1970s, which is what I consider to be Lilly's heyday.  And, coincidentally, that's exactly what we found not more than a few minutes later while strolling through the streets of Nantucket.

Well, actually, it found us.  Here's how: As the four of us walked by a white clapboard building in town, a pretty young blonde standing by the doorway called out, "Hey, you guys!"  Once she got our attention she said, "We've got vintage Lilly inside, come check it out!"  I suppose the sight of us, all wearing some combination of Lacostes, khakis, madras, ribbon belts, white bucks, and Gucci loafers--plus George's shopping bag from the Lilly store, and Ford's and Boy's bags from other expected shops--just might have signaled to her that we were likely customers.  For it turned out she was a barker for a trunk show of vintage designer and couture clothing that Classic Collections, a Palm Beach dealer, had for sale inside.

Boy, in his vintage Lilly jacket
Photograph by Reggie Darling

Tucked away among the rooms of women's clothing and accessories was a yard-wide rack of men's Lilly sport jackets from the 1960s through 1980s for sale.  Both Ford and Boy tried them on, but only one of them fit Boy.  Like a glove.  Supposedly dating from the 1970s, the jacket is made out of a Lilly fabric of green, yellow, blue, and white in a fish-and-seashell design.  The buttons and label have Lilly's classic menswear lion-head logo from that era.

And I had to buy it for Boy as a very early birthday present.  You would have, too, if you had seen the look on his face when he tried it on and saw himself in the mirror . . .

* With apologies to John Singer Sargent

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Pine Club Connection

The other day I made a late-afternoon trip to the Siasconset Market here on Nantucket to pick up some last-minute supplies for dinner.  It's much closer to where we are staying on the island and more convenient for a quick visit than the Stop & Shop (for supermarket staples) or Bartlett's Farm (for heirloom vegetables and best-quality comestibles).  While I've shopped at these latter two grocers during our visit (Bartlett's has been an almost daily destination), they are too long a distance for a quick run.  Well, about as much of a distance as one can experience on an island as modestly sized as Nantucket.

The Pine Club house dressing,
ready to dress a salad on our deck on Nantucket

The Siasconset Market is a remarkable little store.  For the uninitiated, one would think it would be an unlikely source for a good selection of "gourmet" groceries.  First of all, it's tiny.  And second, it's rather remote, far away from the hustle and bustle of mid-island.  But when one examines what the Market has to offer, one is pleased to find a highly focused selection of edibles and household items that belie a razor-sharp understanding of the Market's affluent, WASPy clientele.

The Siasconset Market

Words cannot express my delight during a recent visit to the Market at coming across a bottle of house salad dressing from the Pine Club, of Dayton, Ohio.  Yes, Dear Reader, you read that correctly.  I'm talking jarred salad dressing!  At first I was drawn to the bottle by its charmingly retro-looking label, thinking "Oh, that looks worth checking out."  But when I stopped to examine it more closely I was surprised to see that the Pine Club referred to on the bottle was none other than a restaurant by that name where I spent several memorable evenings almost twenty years ago, when I visited Dayton on business.  I have thought of the Pine Club fondly ever since, longing to visit it again.  But Reggie hasn't found himself anywhere near Dayton in the intervening years, nor has he figured out a sufficiently suitable justification for going there, except to return to the Pine Club for another splendid meal.

The Pine Club's facade
Image courtesy of

As I drove back to our house I wondered, how did a jarred salad dressing from a restaurant in Dayton, Ohio, make its way to the shelves of the Siasconset Market, nearly a thousand miles away?

And then I pieced it together . . .

At the time I visited Dayton I was working as a bond analyst at one of the major rating agencies, where one of my colleagues was a fellow named George M.  I liked George, and he and I shared a love of eating in still-vital old-line restaurants, as well as a fondness for the island of Nantucket.  When George learned that I would be traveling to Dayton on business, he said that I should be sure to have dinner one night at the Pine Club, a beloved old-time steakhouse in the city, known for its delicious aged steaks and chops and a knotty pine interior unchanged since the late 1940s.  It turned out that the Pine Club was owned by a friend of George's named Dave Hulme who had bought the restaurant a decade beforehand, intending--among other things--to preserve its old-fashioned roadhouse charm.  Dave owned a house on Nantucket, too, and George would regularly visit him there during the summer to play golf, and Dave would sing the praises of his restaurant as they traversed the links.

David Hulme, owner of the Pine Club
Image courtesy of the Dayton Business Journal

As can be seen in the photograph, above, the Pine Club derives its name from its entirely wood-paneled interior (walls and ceilings), dating from the 1940s.  It is regularly voted the best steakhouse in Dayton, standing head and shoulders above its rivals, and it serves a menu that its original patrons would likely recognize.  Even though almost twenty years have passed, I vividly recall entering the restaurant for the first time and being thrilled to see its knotty pine interior lighted with table lamps and filled with banquettes upholstered in red vinyl.  I was quite happy to be seated at a table in the middle of the main room, where a waitress delivered a relish plate (Heaven!) and a basket of hot dinner rolls while taking our drinks order ("Make mine a highball, please!").  After starting with a classic iceberg-lettuce-and-blue-cheese salad dressed with the restaurant's tangy and sweet house dressing, I and my happy dinner companion polished off perfectly cooked, juicy strip steaks served with sour-cream-smothered baked potatoes and the restaurant's delicious signature stewed tomatoes.  I don't recall what I had for dessert, but I do remember that we had to pay for our meal with cash, as the Pine Club didn't accept credit cards.  It still doesn't.  To this day its customers must pay with either cash or sign under a house account.

So I figured out that the reason I stumbled across the Pine Club salad dressing on the Siasconset Market's shelves was because David Hulme likely still owned a house nearby and had talked the owners of the Market in to stocking his product, and they must have obliged because he was probably a regular customer.  And the Pine Club's dressing had to be a good, steady seller there, too, given the Market's clientele.  While not exactly an earth-shattering connection to work my way through, it was a pleasant puzzle nonetheless.

A Pine Club salad dressing four pack

And that's how I came to find a jar of the Pine Club's house salad dressing at the Siasconset Market on Nantucket.  I happily brought one home with me in the L.L. Bean Boat and Tote bag that I use when out shopping, and Boy and I enjoyed it that evening at dinner sitting on our deck overlooking the ocean.  While Reggie is not ordinarily a fan of prepared salad dressings, the Pine Club's is really quite delicious, and he highly recommends it.

You, too, can own the restaurant's salad dressing, along with its steaks and stewed tomatoes, since--as I learned when researching this essay--the Pine Club will be more than happy to ship its justifiably-famous delicacies to you.  I've copied several images of options available for order from the restaurant here in this essay.

Now that I know the Pine Club does mail order deliveries, I'm planning on ordering some steaks from the restaurant when my Nantucket vacation is over.  I figure if I can't find my way to the Pine Club any time soon I'm happy for it to find its way to me.

The Pine Club
1926 Brown Street
Dayton, Ohio 45409
(937) 228-5371

Please note, Reggie has received nothing from the Pine Club for his recommendation, except the happy memories of his visits there almost two decades ago, for which he is most grateful.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pompey At the Beach

It turns out that Pompey doesn't like going to the beach.  Not one bit.

Pompey, where he's happiest

In fact, it makes him miserable.

He hates the sand.  It's hot and difficult to walk on.

He can't stand the ocean.  It's wet and cold, and the surf crashes alarmingly.

He finds it all too much torture.

But he's perfectly happy at the house, hanging out and enjoying the sun and the breezes.

Just please don't bring him anywhere near the beach.

Does anyone know a pug who likes it?

Photograph by Boy Fenwick

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nantucket Reds . . . I Mean Oranges

One hears a lot about Nantucket Reds, the iconic trousers sold at Murray's Toggery here on the island.  But this post isn't about them, as there are numerous bloggers, such as Maximinimus, who have written far better treatises on them than Reggie can.

A stack of our Vilebrequin bathing suits

This essay is about the color orange.

When thinking about the beach, many people think of the colors blue, green, gray, white, and sand.  And that is to be expected, since such colors predominate in the landscape.  But what has struck me about this particular visit to the seaside is how often I come across the color orange.

A Nantucket sunrise, from our deck

Reggie is an early riser, and I've been enjoying the sunrises here on the mornings I wake up at dawn.  The colors have been fantastic, ranging from deep cerise, to pink, to orange, and yellow.

Boy's wrist with beach watch and rope bracelet

It's gotten me thinking about how often one sees orange at the seashore, both in the natural environment, and the manmade one, too.  And once I started to focus on it, I found that I saw orange almost everywhere that I looked.

Rose hips at our house

Orange is one of my favorite colors.  I am drawn to it, and I wear it a lot, usually as an accent color.  One of my favorite pieces of clothing is an orange tie from Hermes that I wear with a suit to work.  I call it my Happy Tie.

We found this little orange juice pitcher at our house here on Nantucket, and we have been delighted to use it for its designated purpose.

Bonne Maman Apricot Preserves is a favorite jam.  Not only do I like the way it tastes and looks, but it reminds me of breakfasts in Paris, where apricot preserves are a staple.

We've been attempting to be healthy here, which for Boy includes a morning run in these shoes.

We're also being careful about the sun.  We like and use Clarins suntan lotion, both for the product and the packaging.  We brought lots of it with us.

But suntan lotion alone isn't always sufficient, sometimes you need a hat, too.  Particularly if one is as "hair challenged" as we are.

We brought our own beach towels with us, including this one that Boy was given at a company event many years ago.

But Nantucket has a lot more to offer than its lovely beaches.  There's lots to do in town, too.  Neither of us believe it is appropriate to wear a bathing suit in town, and that means we must throw on presentable clothing every once in a while.  We can't bring ourselves to buy Nantucket Reds, even though we've been coming here for years.  But orange shorts are pretty close.  Or at least as close as Boy is willing to go.

And of course, a pair of shorts requires a belt, preferably a ribbon one.

Even the family Rover got into the act!

When in town the other day I spent a happy hour in Mitchell's Book Corner, located at the corner of Main Street and Orange Street.

Where I bought these paperbacks, mainly because they are bound in orange covers.  I believe I may have even read The Catcher In the Rye here on Nantucket many years ago as a summer reading requirement.  I'm going to leave the books behind in the house we've rented at the end of our vacation.

While walking back to the Rover I passed this orange bicycle.  How fun is that?  I can just imagine its pretty owner, pedaling through the streets of this lovely town.

Back at the house, it was time for a pre-lunch refreshment of San Pellegrino Aranciata.

At lunch I served Nigella Lawson's "Rainbow Room Carrot and Peanut Salad" which I made from her Forever Summer cookbook that I found in our house.  I highly recommend the cookbook, Dear Reader, as it is full of delicious recipes, and Ms. Lawson's writing is exceptionally clever and funny.  I laughed out loud when reading through it.  Delightful.

Ford Waring's stylish orange watch band

After lunch our friends George Pinckney and Ford Waring arrived to stay with us.  Both Ford and Boy are great clothes horses, and they have been engaging in an amusing pseudo fashion war during George and Ford's visit.  At least that's how Ford and Boy have been describing it.

Ford's orange and blue ribbon belt

And the next thing I knew, it was cocktail hour!

At Darlington we exclusively use cloth napkins, even for cocktails.  However, we picked up these paper ones at the (late lamented) Charlotte Moss store in Manhattan to use when we let our guard down, such as when staying in a rental beach house.  Besides, the saying printed on the napkins resonated with me.

And what WASP cocktail hour would be complete without Pepperidge Farm Goldfish?

Our favored summer cocktail at the beach this August is made with Stolichnaya's Stoli Ohranj.  I admit that I bought it chiefly for the bottle to show in this story, but I found that it makes a remarkably refreshing cocktail.   Pour a jigger of the vodka over ice, add equal parts tonic water and club soda, and garnish with a healthy slice of naval orange.  Trust me, you'll like it.

Here's a photograph that I took of Boy the other day during cocktails, looking out to sea.  He's wearing a fun hat that he bought in Rome when we visited there earlier this summer.

Here is a shot of yesterday's sunset, taken from our deck overlooking the ocean.   If you look closely, you'll see a sliver of the moon about two-thirds of the way up the image.

And that wraps up my essay about the oranges of Nantucket.

All photographs by Boy Fenwick and Reggie Darling
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