02 May 2009

Roman Holiday

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Our View:   From the condo at the Parkshore where we stay on South Padre Island

 

Each summer Ben and I and usually Elisabeth take a beach holiday to South Padre Island, Texas.   At the border of Texas and Mexico, it is without a doubt the prettiest beach in Texas: the water is clear blue, mostly calm, and wonderfully warm.    We usually stay for three weeks, although last summer we were scheduled for a month. 

 

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This is where you will find us in July – under this umbrella, usually sleeping and drooling over our magazines.

 

Last summer things started to go downhill when the day before we were due to leave for South Padre Island – a storm blew through and shut down the island for the entire summer.   So, we went to Galveston instead, where after a few days a small hurricane chased us back to Houston, only to be hit a few weeks later by another hurricane, the worst Houston had seen in years.  Hurricane  Ike plunged us all in the dark for days and turned Galveston and everything north of the island into a wasteland.  So after being totally jinxed last year,  what should we do this summer??   Ben told me to pick out two places I want to go, as long as it’s on a beach, and he’ll decide between the two.  YES!!!!   I mean, how sweet is this man?

OK – today you can judge between the two places I’ve picked out.  I’m not sure which one would be better.   To keep it simple, I’ve picked two beaches close to each – both are in Italy. 

 

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Porto Ercole is a peninsula right off Tuscany, on the Mediterranean side of Italy – right where the big red #1 is.   Nice.

 

 

First Choice:    Il Carubbo

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This is what the beach looks like at the first property, Il Carubbo.

 

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The front facade of Il Carrubo, a 5 bedroom, 5 bath house, located high on the cliffs above the ocean.  A little bigger than we actually need – we could probably talk someone into coming with us and sharing the house – like a sister or a brother and a niece or nephew.    I love the tiled roof and the white stucco walls and all the hydrangeas and petunias.   Check out those wonderful window grills too.   This house looks so charming!

 

 

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The back of the stucco house opens to a large terrace with an ocean view. 

 

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The brick paved terrace has views of the Mediterranean Ocean.  Charming stairs lead upstairs to the second level.

 

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There is a covered pavilion for outdoor dining – day and night.

 

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The view of the ocean from the terrace.

 

 

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There is a sunbathing pavilion down from the terrace, closer to the water. 

 

 

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The bathing pavilion leads right to the water.

 

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There are two other ways from the house to get to the ocean.  Or, you can walk to the sandy beach next door.  

 

 

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The front entrance to the house is reached through stucco arches which are covered in flowering vines.

 

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The inside of the house is as charming as the outside.  Blue and white striped slips cover the down filled cushions on the sofas and chair.  The fireplace mantel appears to be made of Italian faience – incredible!   Those are probably old silver sailing trophies on the shelves.    The large French doors open to the breeze.   Very nice.   This property really looks like an old family home, cluttered through the years from all the summer vacations – I love it!  This place is going to be hard to top.

 

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Closer view of the fireplace mantel.

 

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The living area appears to be on a lower level than the rest of the house.  Notice the antique armoire in the higher area behind the sofa.   What a library!   Too bad I don’t speak Italian.

 

 

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Another incredible fireplace mantel with antique andirons.    What a cozy atmosphere.  Wonder if it gets chilly enough to light a fire during July?

 

 

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This is one of the five bedrooms.  All are located on the second floor with stucco walls and terra cotta floors.  Beautiful antique Italian bed. 

 

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Another bedroom with a vaulted ceiling.   It looks like all the beds have a Madonna over them.   That would be good for Ben’s mother if she comes to visit. 

 

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Close-up of the Italian antique desk in the bedroom.  So many books! 

 

 

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This bedroom looks a little different with no ceiling beams and a different tiled floor – but it has the Madonna and a ceiling fan – Ben would love that!  I like the set of bird prints, myself.

 

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And finally, for Il Carrubo, a view out the window with its distinctive grill. 

 

 

Second Choice:  La Quercia

 

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This is the ocean view of the second property.  Both choices are located in the same general area, right off the coast of Tuscany.

 

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La Quercia is a large estate, 18 hectares, 16 are orchards and olives groves and 2 are landscaped grounds surrounding the main house and the guest house.  The house is a terra cotta colored stucco with deep green shutters.   The view is of the islands Monte Christo and Elba.  This property is larger than the previous one with six bedrooms, 3 in the main house and 3 in the annex.  So, if we got this one, we really could include lots of family!

 

 

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There is a large swimming pool on this estate, along with an eating pavilion.

 

 

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Besides the pavilion, there is another table set up closer to the ocean view.

 

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The grounds are covered in flowers and flowering bushes like these oleanders. 

 

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Same view, from higher ground.  The sky and water is so blue – I wonder if these images are photoshopped????

 

 

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The swimming pool’s terrace also overlooks the Mediterranean ocean.

 

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Lavender!  Wouldn’t it be great to just go outside and pick all the fresh lavender you wanted?  Or is this lilac?

 

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There is this outdoor eating area.

 

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And there is this one – with a clear view of the islands off the coastline.  Hmm, not sure which dining area I prefer.

 

 

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This property is newer and less cluttered than the other property, but it doesn’t seem quite as spacious.   Large, downy, white slipcovered sofas, just my style!  Love the limestone fireplace. 

 

 

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I love the antique secretary behind the sofa – but I think I’d have to hide those two sculptures – what are those???  It looks like the dining area is behind the arch with the lovely sculpture.

 

 

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What a view out the living room!   I like that driftwood lamp.  Reminds me of Sally Wheat’s work!

 

 

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This is a Chalon kitchen (whatever that means! ha!) – love it, those tiles are wonderful.  Really adorable kitchen.  Oooh, I wonder if it comes with a chef???

 

 

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I’ll probably take this bedroom, right off the terrace.  I love how there is clean white linen everywhere.  So fresh and beachy.

 

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This bathroom looks perfect to me.  Sign me up!

 

So, which one should we rent?     The first estate, with an older, charming family house is filled with antiques, books,  and happy memories from a lifetime of vacations – it has direct beach access, but no swimming pool!  OR should we rent the second house,  the new, larger estate with a guest building, huge swimming pool, but with no direct access to the beach?   While you are deciding I’ll go see which one Ben likes!!!!!  Soooo exciting!!!!

 

Oh, wait, what?????????      OH NO!!!!!!!!!!    I TOTALLY misunderstood what Ben said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   He said to pick two places anywhere I wanted to go in TEXAS!!!!  Oh!!!!!!!   I didn’t hear the “in” Texas” – I thought he said anywhere BUT Texas.  Well, I should have known.   To him Texas IS the world.  OK, I’m pretty disappointed right now.   Alright,  let’s start over.  Sorry about that.   

 

Two places in Texas, on the beach.  Well – that can only be So. Padre Island, home of the nicest beaches in Texas.    OK, let’s judge the two property choices from there. 

 

 

Choice #1

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Lovely teal colored pouf leather sofas.   Don’t miss the pillows or the K-Mart art.

 

Choice #2

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Tufted sofa, vintage unknown.   Nice faux ficus tree.  Neon blue and yellow paint.

 

You think I’m kidding you?????   These are my two choices.

Why, why, why, why can’t these condo owners EVER remodel???????   Is it asking TOO much?????    HaHa!!!   Oh well.  

 

P.S.  I just showed this to Ben and he’s cracking up laughing.  At the blue and yellow condo with the tufted white sofa, he said “ooh – that’s horrible!”  Yeah, Ben – I know.   Remember we stayed there last time????   He said he “thought” it looked familiar.   That’s the difference between someone who lives design and someone who doesn’t.   How could anyone forget that sofa?