Friday, 19 January 2018
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While this time of year we tend to think about Vermont as a ski and snowboard destination, it’s also a great summer retreat. Today’s home sits on Lake Rescue. This custom home designed by Dan Pratt with plenty of room for entertaining both family and friends.
This home features an open concept main floor that includes a chef’s kitchen with large walk-in pantry, two sinks, two stoves, granite/butcher block counters and a large dining area.
The multi-functional great room features a brick fireplace surrounded by custom built wood cabinets and shelving. French doors from the great room open out onto an elevated deck with beautiful lake views. The home is ully furnished with quarter sawn oak floors, custom built-ins, radiant heat, central air and usefully set-up for an optional dumbwaiter.
This home boasts two master suites with private deck as well as two family suites at lake level separated by a living room. The home is wreathed in a mahogany wrap-around deck and has lovely landscaping with Vermont stone walls.
This tranquil retreat is listed for $1.35 million with William Raveis Real Estate Mortgage and Insurance and is showcased by Luxury Portfolio.
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The slow food revolution has swept across the country. While restaurants in Europe and elsewhere have been utilizing locally sourced produce, meat and dairy for some time, Americans were slow to catch on. Thanks to activist chef Alice Waters and others, restaurateurs around the country are beginning to realize the benefits of buying locally, whether its to help local farmers and purveyors or to have fresher and more beneficial foodstuff. If you live near a large city, chances are, you’ve eaten at a farm-to-table restaurant.
Eateries such as the storied French Laundry in Yountville, California, have been slow-food meccas for years. But unlike many locavore restaurants around the country, French Laundry has a working herb garden onsite, allowing for the freshest ingredients possible with the least environmental impact. Is this why chef Thomas Keller’s cuisine gets the highest praise of any American restaurant? Probably not but it definitely helps boost the quality and taste of the food. Following French Laundry’s lead, a number of other fine dining establishments around the country have taken farm-to-table to the next level: either using existing parts of their properties to build herb and vegetable gardens or purchasing nearby farmland to grow produce and raise livestock. Here are six of our favorites from around the country:
Bardessono, Yountville, California
This eco-chic, boutique luxury hotel in California’s Napa Valley has earned accolades for its commitment to sustainability and the environment. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the hotel’s two gardens, one onsite and one a short distance away from the property. Lucy’s Garden is a small green space located on the south side of the property. Here, culinary gardener Noel Lopreore works her magic on two large and two small vegetable and herb beds. The garden is mainly used for herbs and root production but Lopreore grows 18 different varieties of basil as well. The garden is certified organic through the CCOF, making Bardessono the first hotel with that distinction.
Bardessono also leases a quarter acre of land from the Hill Family (the hotel shares farm usage with the nearby French Laundry). The Hill Family Farm has been certified organic for more than 20 years and Bardessono’s portion has two orchards at which peaches, nectarines and citrus fruits grow. The farm also boasts an 8000-square-foot mixed vegetable garden, a 30-year-old black mission fig tree, apple and pear trees and a mulberry tree. Lopreore operates a year-round greenhouse at which she cultivates many of the crops, some of which change season to season. In 2010, the hotel focused on 300 different types of tomatoes as well as black and white garbanzo beans, cucumbers, squash, sun chokes and three different types of corn.
“Through the gardens we lower emissions by not trucking in the amount of food we grow. We also compost our kitchen scraps and use these in our gardens which lowers the need for trash pickup and adding to the landfill,” says Lopeore. “Besides all the environmental benefits, it provides our chef with the unique opportunity of being able to request unusual items like the Bhut Jolokia, which we grow on site. The Bhut Jolokia is the hottest pepper in the world.” See our full review.
Trellis Restaurant, Kirkland, Washington
Guests dining on brook trout with grilled broccolini and oven-dried tomatoes at Trellis restaurant have enjoyed the eatery’s locally grown produce. The Kirkland, Washington, restaurant creates agrarian cuisine for what they dub “Wine Country-inspired dining.” The restaurant mixed modern cooking techniques and rich, rustic flavors to create innovative dishes.
The restaurant owns and operates a 10-acre farm in nearby Woodinville. The farm is salmon safe-certified and subscribes to organic growing methods, according to chef Brian Scheehser. The farm doesn’t raise livestock but grows Flemish pears, baby leeks, red onions, baby garlic, mixed greens, sage blossoms, chive blossoms, six varieties of apples, seven varieties of blueberries, and three varieties and blackberries as well as 30 varieties of tomatoes, among other fruits and vegetables.
“I have been farming years before Trellis and it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to share with dining guests the source of their meal,” Scheehser says. “Immersing myself in the earth has given me a unique understanding of a food’s inherent flavor and texture. The growing process amazes me, and I enjoy the art of coaxing out the earthy, natural attributes of fresh produce using the simplest culinary techniques.”
Although located in the Pacific Northwest, the farm is a year-round operation thanks to the four greenhouses on site.
Rosemary’s, New York, NY
Rosemary’s is an Italian restaurant with a rooftop farm situated in the heart of Greenwich Village. Created by Carlos Suarez, the owner of Bobo and Claudette, Rosemary’s is named after Suarez’s mother and is inspired by both her home in Lucca (Tuscany) and the rich heritage of the restaurant’s Greenwich Village corner.
Executive Chef Wade Moises serves seasonal Italian dishes that highlight the herbs and produce from the rooftop farm, as well as housemade pastas and a selection of focacce, as an homage to the location’s predeccessor, Sutter’s Bakery.
Uncommon Ground, Chicago, Il
Uncommon Ground lays claim to the first Certified Organic rooftop in the nation, which patrons can go up and visit. When dining there, I was pleasantly surprised at how much time their rooftop farmer spent giving me the grand tour of his elevated bounty and explaining the building process. The rooftop is fit with solar panels surrounded by manicured raised garden beds of herbs, tomatoes and more.
Obviously a rooftop can only supply so much for the restaurant, but the local concept goes beyond just their own building, to a commitment to source the majority of their food from local, sustainable organic producers – 24 percent of which comes from within 300 miles of the restaurant. Their menu is constantly changing according to the seasons, which makes each visit a unique experience that gives patrons a strong sense of time and place.
True midwesterners like myself can vouch for their hearty meatloaf, made with local grassfed beef and of course, wrapped in bacon and served with mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, and fried nordic creamery cheese curds (a product commonly found amidst Chicago’s lively farmers markets). For dessert, I’d venture toward the seasonal crème brulee or s’mores tart.
They support the local economy by more than just helping out local farmers, but also local artisans, as you will regularly find local artist’s work featured inside and local musicians entertaining diners. See our full review.
Tupelo Honey Cafe, Asheville, North Carolina
Southern cuisine gets a bad rap as being fattening and highly caloric. Thanks to restaurants such as Tupelo Honey Café, Southern cuisine gets a chance to be hearty and healthy. The Asheville, North Carolina, restaurant lists gluten- and soy-free items and has garnered rave reviews for its char-grilled beef tenderloin and shrimp and grits. Tupelo Honey Cafe operates Sunshot Organics, a revitalized organic berry farm in Burnsville, North Carolina. The 12-acre farm boasts blueberries, blackberries, black raspberries and strawberries as well as edible flowers, greens, lettuces, asparagus, bush beans, cucumbers, herbs and heirloom tomatoes. The farm also keeps chicken for eggs.
Executive Chef/owner Briant T. Sonoskus isn’t new to organic farming. His grandparents had large gardens and stakes in community farms so the desire came naturally. “What I grow does vary a bit season to season. I have a large, fully automated greenhouse for winter growing but my production certainly goes down and is limited to a few cool weather crops. Making a menu item solely from my farm production is difficult but in partnering with other local farms you will see a lot of local combination effort items on menus or on the specials board,” says Sonoskus.
Sonoskus believes the benefits of having your own farm or garden outweigh the costs since customers are appreciative and return for the quality of the food. Growing large amounts of different items allow you to keep the costs down. See our full review.
Zazu Restaurant + Farm, Santa Rosa, California
Much of the farmland in California’s Sonoma county has been converted to wine growing since it’s profitable and attracts the tourists. Husband and wife team Duskie Estes and John Stewart believe in the diversity of agriculture. In 2001, the duo opened Zazu Restaurant, which is situated in an old chicken coop among dairy ranches and grapevines in Santa Rosa. They added the farm in 2005, when a gardener was hired to tend to the half acre of raised beds onsite. Estes and Stewart live on a three-acre estate 10 minutes from the restaurant at which they raise livestock such as chickens, goats, rabbits, turkeys, pigs and babydoll sheep. Macbryde Farm, named for their daughters, Brydie and Mackenzie, also houses a fruit orchard at which figs, Asian pears, apples, persimmons, pomegranates, olives, peaches, plums, cherries and Meyer lemons grow. The two pieces of farmland also provide the restaurants heirloom tomatoes, squash, pole beans, grapes, strawberries, fennel, kale and herbs such as lemon verbena, rose geranium and anise.
“A chef’s best playground is from ingredients picked when ripe, not picked for travel; a strong local economy depends not on monoculture, in case of bad grape years,” Estes says. “Ingredients picked just before service, never refrigerated, have a noticeable vibrancy. It is great for our cooks in terms of morale [being outside everyday instead of in a windowless kitchen] and understanding.”
Zazu educates consumers in various ways. The learn a bit about the garden at the bar before their meal. The restaurant also hosts a farmers market in the garden on Saturdays at which their farmer and chef is available to offer advice on produce and how to cook said produce.
—Shandana A. Durrani (Lesley Lamers also contributed)
If you’re a restaurateur and still skeptical about the cost benefits of growing your own produce, follow the advice of Bardessono’s culinary gardener Noel Lopeore:
* Grow what you can’t get in markets or what is very expensive in the marketplace. This will save you money because it’s always cheaper to buy a pack of seeds. Usually, you can buy carrots in bulk cheaper then you can grow them, so unless your focus is on the best carrot ever, buy it in the store, especially if you have a small area.
* Grow your herbs.
* Focus on what you do well and if you can’t grow a successful beet, then don’t. Let the farmers that specialize and dedicate their whole lives to lettuce grow lettuce and you grow something else.
* Feed your soil. Many people do not focus on the soil, but if you keep the soil healthy it will always give you healthy food that is more resistant to bugs and disease. This will prolong the life of your production. It may seem expensive to get a soil test and follow the recommendations of your lab, but it will be less money than losing your whole crop year after year or growing food that doesn’t taste right because you’re missing a key nutrient in your soil. Not to mention the depression the follows every failed crop.
* No chemicals! The food tastes terrible or completely lacks taste (and it’s not good for any of us).
* Focus on a few items instead of growing many different specialty items. You may find it’s fun to grow 30 different peppers, but if you only have room for 60 pepper plants than you are only getting a very small amount of each pepper. Instead grow 30 plants of one of your best peppers and 30 plants of your next best pepper.
* Let your guests in on the secret. Offer tours or classes if you’re comfortable doing so. Add in the garden to any of your local or repeat customer newsletters or emails. If you stay in contact with your guests, add garden notes, updates, fun blurbs, and/or tips whether it be your daily twitter, facebook, or monthly newsletter.
* Be patient and take the pace of nature.
Secret Gardens: 6 Great Farm-to-Table Restaurants was originally featured on GoodLife Report. Reprinted with permission.
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Tree house architecture is as varied as the trees and areas where they are built. Yet the origins of the tree houses have been focused on three areas –the South Pacific, the Far East and Southeast Asia. Those who originally built tree houses built them to avoid typhoons, floods, earthquakes and predatory animals.
It is no wonder then that many uniquely architected tree houses are still found in these areas. But now, they are designed not for social avoidance, but for social intimacy –often providing an above-it-all, numinous experience for those who choose to break the bounds of terra firma, at least for awhile.
Yet, designing and building a tree house has unique challenges compared to building a structure that sits on the ground. Because the architect builds on a living entity, the process requires eco-sensitive and sustainable environmental principles: the tree should continue to grow, and the house should be build to withstand bad weather, especially wind, more common at a higher elevation. So when the architect creates a design, he or she is aware that lower tree houses will produce lower stress forces on the tree roots and stand less chance of being ruined by gale force winds and rain.
The first step is choosing the right tree. Many architects and builders choose deciduous trees, as their wood is dense can better support tree house frames. It also needs to have a solid and intact root structure. A healthy tree will treat a properly installed tree house the same as it would additional branches; growing additional wood to support it. For this reason, multi-storied tree houses have been built over the period of years, to allow the tree to adapt to its new load.
The Tree House Residence
Takashi Kobayashi knows these ideas very well, as he is self-taught designer who has helped bring the tree house concept to the Japanese landscape. He has architected and built 120 houses, many of them tree houses, throughout Japan, and believes that a tree house has the ability to minimize the boundaries between human and environment. To that end, his tree houses are symbolic of sustainability and eco-awareness. He also has a tree house philosophy, one that abides well with most tree house designs. In a recent interview in the Japan Times, he said, “Today, the tree house has become a kind of icon of LOHAS –lifestyles of health and sustainability. And tree houses can have even more of a wellness aesthetic. Everyone enjoys the scenery together and can get rid of ordinary life, which is anyway too loaded down with information and other things. Clarity and simplicity emerge in a tree house, both of which allow greater mindfulness and health for those who enter and stay awhile.”
Yet, for other tree houses, like the Arruba Bach on the Awhitu Peninsula near New Zealand, the function is different: a simple area for guests, a workroom or a child’s playroom. The red box ‘floats’ above the boat space, and is nestled among the branches of the existing, native, strong-rooted Pohutukawa tree—also called a Kiwi Christmas tree, due to its seasonal red flowers. Bossley Architects of Auckland architected this space, where it won one of the 2013 Auckland Architecture awards. The jury said “ it offers a poetically generated response to the restricted site”– something that could also be said of any creatively designed tree houses mentioned here. It also could be said of the Tea House Tree House, growing in popularity in the Far East.
The Tea House Tree House
Terunobu Fujimori was once a leading historian of modern Japanese architecture, but began to design his own projects in 1990. Since then, he has created a number of original buildings, tree houses included. Fujimori works with natural elements local to his worksites that include trees, mud, wood, stone and, often, living plants.
One of the more interesting tree houses recently built by Mr. Fujimori is the Teahouse Tetsu Tree House – a Japanese teahouse in a tree, surrounded by cherry blossoms, at the Kiyoharu Shirakaba Museum in Hokuto City, Japan. The cypress trunk that supports the structure passes through the interior, creating a unique focal point. Fujimori designed this tree house/tea house to be flexible enough to sway with the tree during stormy conditions.
The Too Tall Tea House, is another of Mr. Fujimori’s, located in Chino, Nagano Prefecture in Japan. This Tea House strides atop three chestnut trees. The house is accessible only by ladder, and guests must remove their shoes and leave them on the platform before venturing inside for tea.
In a video presentation, Mr. Fujimori was asked about his design philosophy, as it related to his materials for the tree houses he had built. He said, he wanted to “focus on what architecture was like before civilization, how people lived in their natural environment. I never wanted my buildings to resemble anything after the Bronze Age.” In seeing his tree house materials and design, it appears he had captured that ancient simplicity and transparency.
Of course it must be said there are many other uses now for the tree house: the restaurant, the hotel, the villa rental, and these buildings are growing in popularity, not only in the Far East, but worldwide. It seems the power of the small space in and above the trees, now used for conversation, for meditation, for personal sanctuary, has become a popular wellness magnet for those in want and in need.
Pursuitist wishes to thank www.urbanarches.com for allowing the reprint of this article.
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Wonderful, wonderful Williamsburg. If you’re looking for a lovely weekend or week-long fall getaway with the family, or as a couple, you will love the slow pace and friendly atmosphere of Greater Williamsburg. Plus, you’ll learn a lot here, so you can feel extra-good about choosing an educational destination…. just don’t tell the kids.
- You will love Colonial Williamsburg. It’s like stepping inside your 4th grade American History textbook, but there’s no test at the end. There are dozens of preserved and restored 18th century buildings and gorgeous gardens to explore, and you’ll learn what life was like in the early colonist days. From the blacksmiths to the tailors to the courthouse to the apothecary to the market square, you’ll learn that sometimes life was easy and not so easy for the colonists. The historic area is about a mile long, along Duke of Gloucester Street, and it’s surprisingly fun to chat with the ‘residents’ in-character. I especially enjoyed the ‘Barber and Peruke Maker’ Shop (a peruke is a wig), where you’ll learn that shaving one’s head is highly recommended, because the wig stays on better. I also loved the Governor’s Palace. One of the guides said the term ‘palace’ was meant to mock the extravagance of the British governors who lived here. You know, pre-Revolution and all. The entryway is decorated with dozens of guns and swords. Sounds like an odd décor choice, I know, but apparently this was to display power and might. I also recommend taking a horse-drawn carriage ride (no cars allowed here in the 1700s) and picking up a few gifts at the ‘Prentis Store’, where you can find hilariously period-correct gifts and toys, like the ‘Bilbo Catcher’. Whatever that is.
- Jamestowne was the first permanent English settlement in North America. You’ll see the British flag still flying over Jamestowne today. James Fort was built in 1607, and the National Park Service has done an incredible job with this site. You can see the archaeological dig of the original fort. More than 20000 artifacts have been unearthed, and many are on display at the Archaearium. I especially enjoyed the archaeology-in–action inside the Jamestown Memorial Church.
- Nearby is Jamestown Settlement: There’s a beautiful and extensive museum, complete with historic displays and films, chronicling colony life in 1600s Virginia. The museum does an especially good job of including the lives the Native Americans and Africans who lived here in the colony. On the day I visited, there was a celebration of Powhatan Indian heritage. Another highlight is the three life-size re-created ships: the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607. They’re docked in the harbour, and you and the kids can climb aboard and explore.
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown: Yorktown is the site of the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War. The brand-new ‘American Revolution Museum at Yorktown’ is wonderful: there’s a great historical film, museum displays, and outside there is a Continental Army encampment and farm. I especially enjoyed the free lectures, given by incredibly educated and enthusiastic volunteers. Yes, you will actually want to attend history class here.
- You absolutely must stay at the Williamsburg Inn. I insist. Just steps away from the Colonial Williamsburg historic center, you will be sleeping in the same inn as royalty. The land surrounding the resort was an outpost of Jamestown in the 1700s, so it has historic value. The Inn was built in 1937 by John D. Rockefeller Jr., the same Rockefeller who supported the preservation of all of Colonial Williamsburg. The design of Williamsburg Inn is simply lovely. From the luxurious lobby and lounges, complete with chandeliers and fireplaces, to the guest rooms with four-poster beds, marble baths, fresh flowers and early American furnishings, no detail has been left undone. For dining options, you will be transported to a more formal time, when men wore suits, and ladies dressed properly for dinner. The Rockefeller Room is not to be missed, and I especially loved Afternoon Tea in the lounge, and the ‘Social Terrace’ outdoor patio, overlooking the golf course, where the Fifes & Drums corps marches in each evening, just in time for sunset.
- Just keep walking west from Colonial Williamsburg, and you’ll step back into modern times into lovely Downtown Williamsburg and Merchants Square. Full of adorable shops and sidewalk cafés, this is a great place to do your souvenir shopping. Downtown hosts a variety of fairs and festivals throughout the year. I visited the lovely ‘An Occasion for the Arts’ in early October, and loved it. From six-foot tall Willy Wonka-esque metal flower sculptures to brightly dyed sillk scarves to funky ceramic fish, there’s always a wide variety of art and artists, happy strollers and happy dogs. It’s a favorite annual festival here. I especially loved the Youth Art Show and the Fiddling Champion on the Courtyard Stage. A bonus highlight was the special ‘Symphony at the Movies’ concert put on by the The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra. Held inside the Kimball Theater in Downtown Williamsburg, this was the perfect don’t-be-intimidated-by-the-symphony, family-friendly performance, featuring music from Star Wars, Harry Potter, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Disney’s Up. Even a sing-a-long at the end. I loved it.
- A string of shops and restaurants along the banks of the York River, this is a nice spot to take a breather from all the sightseeing. On a cool, breezy day, it’s absolutely lovely. I tried the Riverwalk Restaurant, and grabbed an outdoor table for a view of the river. The food and service was great. I also especially like the used bookstore across the street, with the little bear greeting you at the door.
If you’re a lover of fine wines, craft ales, and you know what mead is, you’re in luck. The Williamsburg Tasting Trail is full of tasty experiences, old and new.
- The Williamsburg Winery at Wessex Hundred I recommend you begin your experience here. The Williamsburg Winery is absolutely lovely, and full of history. The 300-acre Wessex Hundred farm dates back to 1606, when the earliest colonists sailed up the James River and discovered this fertile land. On the tour, you’ll learn that the term ‘Hundred’ was used in Colonial times to describe a parcel of land able to support a hundred families. But when you see the property and vineyards today, you’ll wish you had it all to yourself. The tour takes you underground into the cool cellar, where you’ll see and learn all about the special barrels used to age the wine. Another interesting tidbit you’ll learn: the doors operate on a special pulley system, believed to have been invented by Thomas Jefferson. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and wonderful. At the end of the tour, you’ll enter a private tasting room, and get to sample and rate several vintages. I especially enjoyed learning that some of Williamsburg Winery’s wines are named after important colonists. After your tour and tasting, stay for dinner. The winery has two restaurants: The more casual Gabriel Archer Tavern, or the upscale Café Provencal, with beautiful food and wine pairings. Try the Tasting Menu, with the lovely Urban Choice Mushrooms and the Strawberry Cloud.
- The Virginia Beer Company:
- The Virginia Beer Company is a hipster’s dream, complete with craft beers, food trucks and handlebar moustaches. You’ll love it. The brewery, taproom and beer garden feels like you’re inside a fun and funky old airplane hangar. The tasting flight could include year-round favorites, or experimentals, all with fun names like Wrenish Rye, Elbow Patches, Free Verse or I Pray You Remember. The owners are all corporate grind converts, including a financial analyst, consultant and high school teacher. I met AJ, the guy with the awesome moustache, and it’s clear he loves what he does. The Virginia Beer Co. is conveniently located just over a mile from the heart of Colonial Williamsburg.
- Silver Hand Meadery
- What do Vikings and honeybees have in common? Mead! Known as the ‘nectar of the gods’ for millenia, ancient mead is making a comeback. Mead is simply a wine made from honey. What could be more delicious, right? Silver Hand Meadery, near Colonial Williamsburg, is a lovely little bar and shop, where you can taste unique varieties like Scarborough Fair, Strawberry Swing and Coffee Cantata – which yes, is a mead made from coffee. Now you’re talking!
- Copper Fox Distillery:
- The Copper Fox Distillery in Williamsburg is set inside a vintage 1950s drive-up motel. It’s a 6-acre space, complete with tasting room, shop, distillery and the ‘floor malting’ rooms. It’s so impressive to see how it’s done: hand-raking all that barley, which is then dropped through the floor into a second holding room, where it is then aged. Copper Fox was the first distillery in the US to floor malt their own barley, a traditional practice that is now only maintained by 6 Scottish distilleries. You’ll get to tour the facility and see how the whisky is made, using those traditional Scottish techniques. The staff is incredibly friendly, and you’ll be impressed by all the hard work that goes into creating their fine beverages. Their signature spirit is an American Single Malt, featuring 100% barley from the Northern Neck of Virginia, smoked on site with local apple and cherry woods. Other spirits include their Peachwood Single Malt, Copper Fox Rye Whisky and Wasmund’s Single Malt.
- Shields Tavern:
- And just in case you haven’t quenched your thirst after the Williamsburg Tasting Trail, I have one more recommendation for you: For dinner and even more drinks, head back to Colonial Williamsburg for Shields Tavern. Their nightly menu reflects the cosmopolitan influences of Williamsburg Port in the 1700s. So, you’ll experience tastes from all the places early America traded with, including molasses from the West Indies, wines from France and Spain, coffee from Africa, tea from Asia, citrus from the Caribbean, and spices from around the world. On special nights, there’s even a Pig Roast & Pub Crawl. Our costumed pub crawl host was incredible, and taught us the history of ale-making and tavern practices of the time. He also taught us some funny toasts used in Colonial Williamsburg, including ‘Bring the Bowl!’ which was said because in those times, patrons simply scooped their ale out of a giant punch bowl with their mugs. Not very sanitary by today’s standards, but hey, when in Williamsburg…
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