Saturday, January 26, 2013


Bird Gotta' Sing - Nomad Gotta' Sit

The southern expression "Come in an' set a spell" is one of those colloquialisms that has no specific historical reference as to who actually "invented" the admonition, but it has come to mean "you are welcome" to friend, family and even the occasional stranger.

One of the things that is seemingly disappearing as fast as land line telephones, pan fried chicken and simple civil discourse in conversation is the desire of people to simply sit and talk (without I-phones in hand), listen to music or just watch the world go by. Well, here at The Nomad Architect, we think that some things should never be banished from our cultural experiences, particularly when traveling. I remember sitting and waiting for a train in Cinque Terre Italy and overhearing a group of twenty something girls sitting and discussing Tallahassee, my home town. As it turns out, they were on summer break from FSU and decided to do Italy for two months. Just meeting and talking with other nomads from the place I grew up in a  land far far away was serendipity at its best.

You Gotta Have A  List - Right?

I am an obsessive list maker. I rarely actually do anything on my lists, but a list of places to just sit and listen, watch, day dream or even nap, is unlike other lists. All it requires me to do is nothing. I encourage you to make your own list and keep those places in your mind's eye for future reference. This is especially true for all you overachieving, Type A types who don't have enough time in the day. Slow down and sit. And when you travel, make yourself sit and do absolutely nothing for at least a portion of your day. Even when you're traveling as a True Nomad, you need time to ponder, think and just be. And sitting in a favorite spot allows you to "be" better.

In No Particular Order, IMHO

1 - Nomad's Rock, Deer Springs Ranch, Utah. There's this big rock - which I named Nomad's Rock - where we can sit and see as far as the eye can see over the desert of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. It's in the middle of nowhere. Where better to do nothing than in the middle of nowhere?
2 - The Terrace of Castello Di Tornano in Tuscany. Overlooking the rolling, golden hills of the Tuscan countryside in the shadow of a thousand year old castle turned boutique hotel is restful to the soul. A nice Pinot and some local cheese makes doing nothing even more enjoyable.
3 - Any Beach at Sunset or Sunup. The sand, the water, the breeze and the sun, rising or setting, make the beach the perfect place to just sit at the end or the beginning of the day and take in the solace that only the beach can bring.
4 - My Aunt Helen's Patio on Lake Blackshear in Southern Georgia. It is utter tranquility with nothing but birds, breezes, a shimmering lake and the sounds of laughter.
5 - The Cliff House Deck on Whidbey Island. This place is special. Deep in a virgin forest on the western shore of Whidbey Island, Washington, nature blends with modern architecture to provide the perfect backdrop for contemplation.
6 - The Water Garden of Vechio Molino in Umbria. This little boutique hotel, in the heart of Umbria, has managed to turn a former mill into a peaceful, landscaped environment perfect for sitting and sipping, the numerous small active sluices provide the constant sound of gently moving water.
7 - Any Sidewalk Cafe in Paris - Conversation and people watching is an art form in the most elegant city in the world.
8 - The Big Porch at Cibilo Creek Ranch, Texas. The first privately built fort in 1800's Texas has been turned into a small destination boutique resort in southwest Texas. The porch is big and intimate at the same time and it overlooks a small lake. It also has day beds for those that need a little nap before dinner around the big table.
9 - Millennium Park Chicago. OK, this one does have a lot of tourists, but, it's one of the most fascinating places to watch people watching people. The best seat in the house is a bench with a view of the Crown Fountain, an interactive fountain where young and old alike enjoy the water and architecture. Besides, its only a stones throw from The Chicago Art Institute.
10 - Frank Lloyd Wright's Seth Peterson Cottage Terrace on Mirror Lake, Wisconsin.. No list of great places to sit would be complete without something by the master. The terrace of the smallest house Wright ever designed sits atop a bluff overlooking Mirror Lake and it shows why he he is considered America's greatest architect. It's one of the few Wright houses you can actually stay in. Based on our time there, I give it a five star Nomad Architect double diamond rating. 
Remember - Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself
(Zen Proverb).
d.l. stafford
P.S. If you are so inclined, feel free to send me your favorite spot or spots for sitting. Just click on the word comment below and a comment box will open.


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