If it wasn't for this annual break from my work schedule, my Christmas spirit would last as long as the buzz from two Christmas Eve margaritas. But as soon as you step off the dock in Nantucket, the town envelopes you with the sights, sounds and smells of a 19th century Christmas. Which, of course, is what it's intended to do.
While I always bring my ubiquitous electronic leashes -- my cellphone and laptop -- I rarely use them. It's basically five days of rest, relaxation and sore feet from negotiating Nantucket's slippery cobblestone streets. And unending heartburn from the gallon of quahog chowder, five pounds of prime rib and the hot eggnogs I scarf during the trip with no regard for the consequences.
It also gives me a chance to get away from the often ostentatious and overly precious rehabs and restorations of Brooklyn to study the subtlety of understated Nantucket architecture and to possibly steal a few ideas I can use for myself.
Love it or hate it, Nantucket's strict architecture codes have resulted in an island where you won't find five different kinds of siding and three different styles of modern windows on the same house. Nor a beautiful old Victorian obliterated with vinyl siding, a Home Depot metal entry door and a stainless steel fence surrounding a concrete slab where a lawn is supposed to be. Even the island restorations are made to look like they were done twenty years ago.
As a result, you won't find a single example of "eyesore" on Nantucket.
"Wait," sez me. "That sounds like HouseBlogs for the wellness community." So I sent him to HouseBlogs and he told me it was similar to what he envisioned. He wanted a few additional features, like a Wiki, a virtual "home page" where the publisher could talk about his organization, answer user questions, post links to other resources and manage his own feed, and a Slashdot-type of ratings system. Okay, the last idea was mine. No harm in up-selling an eager client.
Working on your house blog is a lot like working on your house. You get a microscopic obsession with details like a hairline crack in your newly painted wall and a lockset that's a little too sloppy. And, of course, you know where all the "hacks" you made are and they'll bug you for years, or at least until early Alzheimers kicks in.