Martha's Vineyard | Massachusetts

The twins were given relatively free reign to choose a birthday destination this year, and I was thrilled when they suggested Martha’s Vineyard. I think they know it’s one of the few places I’ll let them run free, within reason. As soon as school let out I packed up my four + a girlfriend and we hit the road. We drove from Cape May to Cape Cod, deposited the little girls with my Dad, and took the afternoon ferry over from Falmouth. All in one day. The longest day. The ferry has a bar, thank goodness. We stay in Oak Bluff’s at a magical little cottage owned by the most delightful, warm, generous woman I’ve ever met - a dear family friend named Marushka. The upstairs bedrooms are reserved for family and friends and she rents the downstairs suite on Airbnb. Linked here if you’re interested. I won’t bore you with every little detail of our week. I didn’t even take that many photos actually, because I wanted to feel truly free from work. I brought one lens and pulled my camera out on one day of our visit. I will link you to our favorite MV things to do and places to eat year after year though.

Atlantic : Excellent service, amazing food, and an excuse to spend the afternoon in slightly more posh Edgartown. Arrive early for lunch - a line forms. Sit outside with a view of the luxury yachts and Chris-Crafts. Order everything. Drink their smoked bourbon cocktail.

Murdick’s Café : Attached to a fudge shop, this place has the most amazing mango smoothie (no mixes, straight fruit) and iced chai. It’s on the road headed towards the lighthouse and just down from Vineyard Vines, so grab a beverage before shopping or sightseeing.

Lookout Tavern : Our favorite restaurant in Oak Bluffs. Great food, great sunsets, huge menu - including a full sushi menu.

Backdoor Donuts : Open normal hours, but then open again from 7pm - 1am. The twins love walking to get donuts before bed and their apple fritter is not from this world.

Island Alpaca : The most hands on alpaca farm we’ve ever been to…and we’ve put in the man hours on this. You can wander the farm petting the socialized alpacas at your leisure, buy some beautiful alpaca clothing and souvenirs in the shop, and you can book a tour. This allows you to feed, walk and learn more about these hilarious animals.

Aquinnah : While catching a ride from our hosts or hopping in a taxi is usually my preference, renting a jeep, taking the top off, and cruising across the island to Aquinnah is an absolute must. The winding roads, lush greenery, small lakes, quaint main streets and hidden gems ultimately lead to Aquinnah Lighthouse and the clay cliffs. Picturesque and a great way to spend the afternoon outside. I was told to grab a bottle of wine and stop at Larsen’s Fish Market on the way back for fresh seafood take-out style, but my teenage girl crew weren’t into that.

The Jaws Bridge : This is a famous spot where the movie Jaws was filmed. You’ll find all age ranges lining up to jump off, despite it being against the rules. Whether or not it’s actually illegal, I don’t know. If it is, the entire island looks the other way. Despite it’s popularity, the girls were able to jump several times in a short time span. Worth checking off the bucket list, although I didn’t feel compelled…

Offshore Ale : It’s just a pub. But, it’s open year round and has one of the best lobster rolls I’ve ever had.

Dockside Jewelry : I’m into tangible memories, a.k.a souvenirs, but they have to be practical. My favorites are Christmas ornaments, sweatshirts and jewelry. The twins and now their girlfriend have sweet little necklaces with a simple MV charm and I have one of my favorite ornaments from this place. It’s nothing spectacular, but the selection is awesome.

Edgartown Lighthouse : Beautiful, peaceful, the sweetest lighthouse keeper, still maintained by the Coast Guard and surrounded by a memorial to children who’ve passed, including one of the Sandy Hook shooting victims. It’s not upsetting, it’s more thought provoking. The contrast of the solemnity beneath your feet and the idyllic view before you can be a little surreal. It’s a short walk from town through streets lined with quintessential Cape homes that look too perfect to be lived in. Like really, I've been in some impressive homes, but there are streets in Edgartown that just don’t even look real. And as someone who lives in a coastal town, HOW do they have such amazing and reliable landscaping services??

Farm Dinners at Beach Plum Farm | West Cape May, NJ

Is it time for a personal update with this photo share? I think so. First, I unpublished my Peach and Port Facebook page. I haven’t been updating it and it wasn’t representative of what I’m doing these days anyway [still very active on Instagram].

When I moved to Cape May I stepped away from family photography and into magazine and marketing photography. It pays well, there is no shortage of work, and it’s rarely boring. This lead to shooting monthly for hospitality groups and restaurants who need marketing photography, especially for social media. You guys, I had no idea this was a thing, but of course it makes sense right?. Social Media is a necessary communication tool for businesses these days and it’s image-driven. While knee-deep in this work I was given an opportunity to join a Communications company, to help with social media marketing for a client that I was already providing photography for. Something clicked for me and I fell in love. Being able to create content, photograph it, work with the Marketing and Public Relations teams on story driven imagery…it feeds my left and right brain. After about a year I took over the social media marketing for the primary hospitality group I was shooting for and that’s become my full time job. I still take freelance work and have a few additional clients, but this is my primary focus and I love it.

All of that to say, Beach Plum Farm is one of our properties and it’s a dream. It’s a working farm, market, kitchen, cottage destination with dreamy seasonal farm dinners. The staff is young, hardworking and full of talent, and I just love being on property and working to help tell their story. These are from a recent farm dinner. If you’re looking for more info you can find it here: www.caperesorts.com/capemay/beach-plum-farm

March on the Bay | Townbank, NJ

I need a solid 55 degree day to go to the beach, despite my many winters in Chicago, Cape Cod and now Cape May. It’s just not as fun when your face hurts from biting winter winds, right? We finally have a string of beautiful days lined up and since I also happened to be caught up on my work this happy Sunday, we got dressed and went to the bay. Crab carcasses and seagulls never looked so good.

U.S. Coast Guard Graduation | Cape May, NJ

Last week I was hired by an active duty member of the Air Force to photograph his wife’s Coast Guard graduation. It’s a gig I don’t always accept, but this one felt right. They’re stationed in Hawaii where I was sent after graduating from bootcamp. I always get a little nervous going back to the Training Center. So much of my history is wrapped up in the Coast Guard. Right under the surface is the ever present fear…am I going to get emotional? And the answer is yes, I will get emotional, the same way I do when I see a recruit walking around town or a new graduate at a local restaurant with their family. It feels like going home, like celebrating my family, like honoring the people who helped shape me and who, for better or worse, had the biggest impact on mine and my family’s life for the past 17 years. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to document this couple’s induction into Coast Guard life. They have a great adventure ahead and I’m so excited for them.

Opening day at Beach Plum Farm | West Cape May, NJ

Beach Plum Farm is a 62 acre working farm in West Cape May, NJ. It’s about 4 miles from our home, and one of the more charming corners of Cape May County. We had a busy week and Margo was getting her booster shots later in the afternoon, so I kept the two little ones from school and we enjoyed opening day at the farm instead. The market has the cutest kid’s corner, and while I don’t love dropping $$ on more stuffed toys, they were impossible to pass up. In fact, we’re going back for more. It was adorable seeing Anna cuddle the spotted piglet only to meet the real thing a few minutes later in the field. The kitchen serves breakfast and lunch with ingredients sourced from the farm, and can I tell you, Anna has never ordered and devoured cooked carrots at a restaurant before. Never. We shopped a bit, had lunch, fed the chickens, said hello to the pigs, swung on the tree swing, and when we got in the car Anna said “we had a real adventure today”. And so continues our love affair with all things Cape May.

U.S Coast Guard Training Center | Cape May, NJ

In 2017 I was allowed behind the scenes at the USCG Training Center (TRACEN) in Cape May. I had been there before in 2001 as a Coast Guard recruit. I served four years and met the girl’s Father while serving. He’s still active duty today, as a Company Commander at the TRACEN. I was on base this time as a photographer for a local magazine, which felt full circle in the strangest way. I joined the Coast Guard to become a Public Affairs Officer, but after being stationed on a boat I fell in love with navigation and living on the water. I became a Quartemaster instead and don’t regret the decision.

We’ve chosen to make Cape May our home, and although my time as a Coast Guardsman and Coast Guard spouse is over, this service will always be the biggest character in my story - at least the first 35 years of it.

Not to get political, but let me hit you with some politics. What’s going on in our country right now is disgraceful. This government shutdown and it’s impact on our active duty members and their families is the most tangible piece of evidence, during my adult years, that our leaders are failing us. I’m so proud of the men and women who continue to sacrifice each day, despite the government denying them one of their most basic human rights. I’m so impressed by the spouses who’ve stepped up to take care of each other. I’m so amazed by the outpouring of love and support from business owners and neighbors in Cape May County. Here’s a peek into the beginning of these young recruit’s career in the Coast Guard.

O Christmas Tree | North Cape May, NJ

We very patiently waited until a few days before Thanksgiving to decorate our tree this year. Yes, we still have pumpkins on the front porch and I respect not wanting to rush the holidays, but last year we moved between Thanksgiving and Christmas so the whole season was a bit of a blur. We decided to buy a bigger tree, purge our old ornaments in favor of fresh new ones, and go with a more simple look for 2018. I used to dislike these vintage, arguably tacky, glass ornaments but now they feel like a throwback. Michael’s carries the cutest selection, so we chose a few based on the things we loved this year. We made cocoa, turned on Michael Bublé, and even got a group photo at the end. I’m so thankful to be settled here and can’t wait to share more about life in Cape May, the new house, and these four humans.

The Boardwalk | Wildwood, NJ

The edges of off season in any shore town is the best time of year if you ask most locals. The visitors, who we love for their energy and hard earned vacation money, have all gone home. The streets are walkable, parking spaces are plentiful, and restaurants don’t require advanced reservations. This is our favorite time to explore and fall back in love with our charming little town. Being too small for most rides, Margo had a ball running freely on the boardwalk, buying her own pizza and shopping for souvenirs.

Scallop Trip | Cape May, NJ

Recently, through my work with Cape Resorts, I had the fun task of following fresh bay scallops from boat to plate. I grew up with my Dad grilling bacon wrapped scallops on Sundays and still order them whenever they’re on the menu. Keith Laudeman’s crew and the Blue Pig Tavern are a dream team when it comes to fresh seafood cooked to perfection.

Lunch Date George's | Cape May, NJ

It’s rare that I get time alone with the twins these days and I’m suddenly fully aware of how little time I have with them before they go off to college. I can’t imagine my home down two kids. We wandered the empty streets of Cape May, stopped into George’s for lunch and picked up dessert at the Fudge Kitchen.