Mexico 2019: Excursion to Tulum, Muyil, Coba

During our recent visit to Quintana Roo, Jason and I rented a car and took a day trip down the coast and slightly inland. We watched the sunrise over Tulum, swam in a few Cenotes, and explored the archaeological ruins of Muyil and Coba. Along the way, we took both personal travel photographs and created imagery commissioned by the brands participating in our Travel Lifestyle Photography Co-Op. Here are some favorites!

Mexico 2019: Travel Lifestyle Photography Collective

There is nothing quite like flying south in the winter to soak soak up the warm Caribbean sunshine. Over the past years, Jason and I have taken advantage of our mid-winter travels to Mexico to photograph Wild Mantle’s warm weather offerings. These photo shoots have become a travel tradition of ours, and this year we were excited to bring other brands with us as well through our newly launched Travel Lifestyle Photography Collective. It is excited to share the collection of work we’ve created for some of our newest clients. Here are some of the photographs we created for the Collective, in addition to some of our personal travel photographs. Thanks to all the brands that participated, I hope you love the images!

Photographs by Avi Loren Fox and Jason Allen Pemberton

Location: Iberostar Paraiso del Mar & Paraiso del Beach in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

West Oak Design: Travels through Appalachia

As an artisan entrepreneur, you get to know your fellow crafts(wo)men pretty well. One of my favorite members of the local scene is Christie Sommers. She has a zero-waste brand called West Oak Design. I’ve been craving her pieces for years, and was so excited to finally snatch a few up for my recent trip to the Anderson Kitchen Cottage in Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains. I had planned to wear these pieces as a part of Wild Mantle’s early winter 2019 styled shoot (new releases coming soon!), but West Oak ended up became a staple in my wardrobe. One thing Christie and I have in common is a love of pockets, and colors that blend into the cold weather landscape of Virginia’s foothills. Here are some favorite photos of Christie’s gorgeous work from our trip!

Photographs by Jason Allen Pemberton and Avi Loren Fox

The Anderson Cottage: Warm Springs, Virginia

When the opportunity presented itself for a little getaway the week before Christmas, a memory arose of The Anderson Cottage in Warm Springs, Virginia (population: 123). More specifically, the Kitchen Cottage, which is a delightful stand alone house just behind the main Inn. Jason and I first discovered this gem a few years ago when we escaped here for New Years eve (more on that trip later). Just under 6 hours from Philadelphia, Bath County doesn’t have a single stoplight and 89% is comprised of natural forest and state park. The creek that winds through the forest and farmland of the Allegheny Mountains is fed by mineral infused warm springs, causing steam to rise from the water on clear crisp winter days. It’s been a pleasure to return here once again this past week: to be able to ride our bikes down the road to the Old Dairy for lunch, and to walk around the corner to the Water Wheel Restaurant for dinner. Here are some photographs, both of the Anderson Cottage and our adventures in the area. Thank you to Innkeeper Alma for a wonderful stay!

Photographs by Avi Loren Fox and Jason Allen Pemberton.




Grand Marais & Lake Superior, Michigan

We found our way Up North, where your phone says "no service" and touffalla trees are real. I try to cross the 45th Parallel at least once a year. It feels really good every time, things are just more chill near the North Pole. 

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There's nothing like spending hours on Michigan's lakeshores, specifically Lake Superior; hunting for agates, getting distracted by pretty rocks, braving the chilly surf for a swim, soaking up the goodness when magic hour perfectly illuminates all the beautiful natural treasures. 

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We built campfires by night on Muskallonge Lake at Deer Park Lodge, which was just a few hundred yards inland of Lake Superior. By we, I mean Jason. I made sure we had blankets and mantles and all the cozy things. 

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With dirt roads below and Sandhill Cranes swooping above, we ventured along the coast to spend a day in Grand Marais, a small outpost of a town overlooking a harbor and beach. We discovered beached shipwrecks, aging post offices, and the most delicious peaches either of us have ever had.

On the last night, we wandered over to Lake Superior at Muskallonge State Park beach. Jason went for a swim; I cozied up on some driftwood.

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There aren't a lot of people that far up north. Usually you're the only one on the beach. But that evening a tribe of fellow travelers congregated to soak up the beauty. A couple taking selfies, two best friends walking their dog, a playful group of children wandering into the surf. We watched them in delight, soaking up good vibes and a sunset to remember. 

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Until next time, Lake Superior...

A Great Grandmother Discovery

My 95-year-old grandmother was rummaging around her bottom dresser drawer when I noticed a flash of turquoise. 

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"Nana, what's that?" I asked, pointing at an ancient looking knit carefully folded. "Oh this? This was my mother's, your grandmother's. She used to wear it all the time." We quickly did some math and realized that made this garment nearly 100 years old. 

I picked it up and carefully threw it around my shoulders. My hands found two pockets in the perfect location and allowed me to wrap up.

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Nearly five years into Wild Mantle, I couldn't believe this treasure had been waiting for me all this time. Nana sent me home with it, of course.

It's not for sale, but I call it the Elizabeth. Discovering this family heirloom felt like a wink from my great-grandmother saying "keep going, Avi. There are exciting discoveries ahead."

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Little Women: The Orchard House

And there it was, just like that, the Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set the beloved classic, Little Women. When we made reservations at the Hawthorne Inn in Concord, Massachusetts en route to Maine, we had no idea this treasure was across the street.

Visiting hours were over, but I walked up the path towards the house anyway, half expected Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy to run out and greet me. 

No such thing happened, of course, but I was greeted by a fiercely friendly lion door knocker and built up the courage to look inside.Oh my! It was exactly as in the book, and movie...down to the fire place and the piano in the corner. 

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I left pretty quickly after peeking in the window, so as not to disturb any ghosts of the past getting ready for tea time (or, more like, because mosquitos were biting my legs). On my way down from the house another structure to the left caught my eye: the most beautiful barn house. Did you know I'm obsessed with barn houses? 

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To learn more about Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House you can visit their website. Or, do what I did and go pull Little Women back of the shelf and give it another spin. 

The Hawthorne Inn

Mercury was in retrograde, and I was glad to use that as an excuse to get outta dodge. We stopped at the Hawthorne Inn in Concord, Massachusetts on our way to Maine. 

A member of my family is a fan of Select Registry, which I'm pretty sure is how we found this gem of a boutique bed and breakfast. The land was once owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Of course knowing this ahead of time made the whole stay feel awfully poetic. 

Even though the property was built over 150 years ago in the 1860s, the rooms had all been recently renovated with rich colors and textures that perfectly blended historical details with modern decor. Can I move in? Probably not, but I can at least stay for a night and then blog about it...

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I was also really pleasantly surprised by the breakfast spread. They had lots of gluten free options (for you weirdos like me) and I couldn't help taking out my camera and photographing the amazing delicious sweet potato cakes that were served with homemade salsa. And so, there you have it, the potato breakfast cakes that inspired this post. 

P.S. Just down the street is the Little Women Orchard House (see my previous post), if you visit, it's worth a stop!

Wild Mantle FW 16/17 at The Jefferson Pools

UPDATE 1/13/19: Sadly, the Jefferson Pools are now permanently closed due to safety issues with the structures (which were built in the 1700s). This saddens me greatly, as we had such a wonderful experience soaking in the healing waters over New Years in 2016! When we returned more recently this past Christmas 2018, we stayed at both the Omni Hotel and Anderson Cottage. Everyone and their cousin was talking about the controversial closing of the Jefferson Pools and what would happen next. From what I gathered, the Omni hotel chain now owns the Jefferson Pools and had to close the pools because the round white houses built over top the water responsible for making safety updates. One perspective argued that the Omni was ready and willing to make updates, but couldn’t get past the Historical Society. Another perspective was that the Omni simply wasn’t making moves on the repairs because they would be expensive and they have a similar (less awesome / less potent, if you ask me) hot spring on their Omni Homestead property. My vote is that the bath houses should be fixed as soon as possible. There is no other place like this on the East Coast where you can soak in naturally healing waters in the middle of winter.

Wild Mantle Lookbook

Fall/Winter 2016/2017

Wearing: Alpaca Mantle in Charcoal

Location: the Jefferson Pools in Warm Springs, Virginia

Photographer: Jason Allen Pemberton