Won't You Be My Neighbor

Neighbors rock. That is, if you have good ones. Good neighbors qualify as people you can hang with and have a good a time, all in the comfort of each others homes (without having to drive anywhere). We used to live in a rockin' neighborhood--perfect for the young professional set. Wine socials, deck parties, pool parties...it was a blast.

Then we moved, and so did everybody else. At the lake, all the folks around us are what we refer to as "full-timers", people that live here year round. Until recently, we were "weekenders", but our temporary living situation now allows us to play in the other category.

We've known our neighbors around us for a long time, but only recently became social with them. It's a very friendly little cove on the lake, but everyone is a bit older than us. I've come to learn it doesn't matter.

Last night, our neighbors invited us up for a glass of wine. This couple in particular are retired school teachers--smart, eccentric, interesting, and fun.  They've lived in Europe, traveled extensively, are highly active in the community and for the past 25 years have lived in the house right up the hill. They've seen a lot and have many stories to tell, as does their home.

Let me put it this way...all that stuff you see in the Pottery Barn catalogs? These people are the inspiration. What I mean is, their house is decorated to a "T" without trying. The items they have amassed over the years complete the modern lake cottage look, with not a single PB catalog ever opened or store visited. I can assure you they have never gone to Home Goods looking for the perfect basket to complete a room.

Wood ceilings, terra cotta walls with green moulding accents, beautiful built ins, and an organized chaos of decorative accents--each of which holds a story. Stained glass window panes from England, an authentic wood lobster trap bought on the cheap in Maine, snowshoes and copper pots found in Germany...all of which are displayed on a high shelf that runs the length of the great room. Not to mention, a great-grandmother's iron stove and an upright piano that isn't just for decoration--I indulged in a little Heart & Soul, and can't remember the last time I had so much fun trying to remember Fleur de Lis and Chopsticks.

I have not yet mentioned the screened in porch, which has destroyed my idea of what I thought I wanted in my own home. Enviable awesomeness. Overlooking the woods and the water, complete with a mish mash of rocking chairs and gliders in various woods collected over a lifetime. There's even a water feature providing a complimentary tune to the tree frog chorus.

I love these neighbors and this house. As I took the tour, commented on the incredible ambiance and  marveled at the collection of memories, my neighbor said "it's just me"...completely unaware of how beautiful her home is, and how other people spend thousands of dollars trying to achieve the same authenticity with manufactured baubles and expensive paint.

Couple this setting with great conversation and a shared bottle of wine, and you have a truly wonderful evening.

So nice to be neighborly.


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