Thursday, June 08, 2006

Home Plate

I have mixed feelings on travel. (Doesn't everyone?) I love to explore new places, but I miss the comfort and the reliability of familiar things from home.

That's probably why most of my travels focus on visiting with friends and staying in their homes. Granted, there's still the stress of travel and getting out of the usual routine, but there's also the adventure of exploring new cities, historical sites, and restaurants balanced by the home environment.

This vacation is no exception. My friend Sojourner graciously invited me to visit her and her husband in Springfield, IL, a year ago, and I am finally able to take them up on their kind offer, enjoying the domestic comfort of their elegant but cozy four-square home along with the daily expeditions into the Land of Lincoln.

And, of course, since these friends enjoy good food as much as I do, this visit will include a sampling of good local restaurants, starting with lunch at the Middle Eastern buffet at the Holy Land Cafe, across from the old capitol building.


But on this first day out, what I've enjoyed the most has been the pleasure of simple meals and between-meals at their house. After our first round of touring, Sojourner and I returned to the house to refresh ourselves with a plate full of fruit, muffins, and cookies alongside cold drinks out on the shaded front porch.


Since we had a late nosh and a comfortable rest on the wicker furniture, we decided not to do much for dinner, settling for fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and garnished with fresh basil (from her labyrinth garden), whole wheat artisan bread, and herb-laced cheese.


Sitting on the back deck overlooking the labyrinth garden, we savored the bliss of fresh foods in fresh warm breezes, with birds serenading us.

More adventures await us, but for the first day, this suits me just fine.

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