When I travel, I don't buy souvenirs like t-shirts or plastic key chains readily available in most tourist traps. I try to find something a little different.
This switch plate, for example, was from our honeymoon in Puerto Rico ...
Its a little imperfect and doesn't hang straight but its in our kitchen and every so often, I'll look at it and remember walking on the blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan and finding this in a little shop the same day we had a fantastic meal in a restaurant with an open air courtyard. What a beautiful place.
The botanical prints on my living room wall ...
Souvenir note cards from my trip to Monticello a few years ago when pre-kids we traveled in a roundabout way to West Virginia to whitewater raft a treacherous river.
My most recent acquisition is this little teapot set.
We stopped at a little store on our trip to Vermont and while the typical tourist kitsch was in abundance, there were several of these little tea pots there. I have always wanted one of these so I decided to buy one. There was a beautiful one that I loved which had delicate flowers on it, but I ended up choosing this one instead. Why?
Even though we were in Vermont, the state bird of Virginia (where we live) is the Cardinal. The more I looked at it, the more it grew on me. I thought of Virginia and how I've had such a life here. Virginia has given me a great career, the love of my life, a house I've grown to appreciate (even if it isn't my dream home) and both of my girls were born here. When people ask where I'm from, my first reaction is to answer New York which is where I grew up and will always be where my roots are but Virginia has a special place in my heart no matter where I end up. Such deep thoughts for someone on vacation ... but I thought of all this as I perused the tea pots in front of me and of how often I see those Cardinals in my yard.
Interestingly enough when I got it home and unpacked it I realized that, like the switch plate, it's slightly imperfect and the teapot does not nest perfectly on the cup. Just like so many others out there, I try to find value in items that people would consider flawed. It adds character, right? It seems the little teapot was destined to be mine.