Hello and welcome to Sundays With Celia Vol 86. Thanks so much for being here today. I hope you’re enjoying a great day. I’m spending the day in San Diego with my Chicago dwelling son and his wife. They are in SoCal for a wedding and have the day to kill before taking a redeye back to Chicago tonight. I’m looking forward to a really fun day with them. If you recall, this is the son who was married in our Lake Arrowhead home last September.


Looking Back On Sunday

Did you catch my blog post this week from my recent trip to merry old England? I took you on a tour of enchanting Windsor Castle, the weekend home of Queen Elisabeth II and the location of Prince Harry & Megan Markle’s Wedding.  So, if you missed my really regal & very royal blog post please click here to see it!


THE ROMANTIC CHAPEL WHERE ROYALTY ARE WED | St. George's Chapel Windsor Castle | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comA VISIT TO ENCHANTING WINDSOR CASTLE | The Norman Gate |

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

It’s been a couple of Sundays since I’ve joined you for Sundays With Celia, and for that I apologize. I’ve been busy doing a little unexpected traveling. At last minute my DC dwelling son suggested that I join him and the family on the east coast for Memorial Day weekend. So who could resist that invitation?

The weekend visit turned into a 6 day trip that started in DC where my son treated me to a special Birthday dinner at the Line Hotel in the Adam’s Morgan neighborhood. Once a more seedy section of town, this area is barely recognizable from its former self, thanks to the addition of this hip hotel and many new restaurants, bars and shops. The revitalized area is one many avoided just a few years ago. Now it bustles with a new vigor and vitality.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 86 | The Line Hotel & Restaurant, Washington, DC |

The hotel lobby and its bars and restaurants are housed in a historic, neoclassical-style, former church that was built in 1912. The building had lay dormant for nearly a quarter-century until the Sydell Group rescued it. They spent 4 years incarnating it into what many consider to now be DC’s hippest hotel. My son chose the hotel as the location for a 2 day Director’s meeting of his company, and would not disagree with that description.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 86 | The Line Hotel & Restaurant, Washington, DC |

Upon entering what was once the church’s sanctuary you can’t miss the chandelier, which was actually fashioned from the church’s pipe organ pipes. Steps that once carried parishioners to the choir loft, now deliver diners to the dining room of James Beard Award–winning chef Spike Gjerde latest restaurant,  A Rake’s Progress.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 86 | The Line Hotel & Restaurant, Washington, DC |

Chef Spike uses ingredients found only within the local food system. So, in the case of this restaurant, he only cooks what he sources from Mid-Atlantic farms and waters. So for example, that means he uses no olive oil, because olive trees don’t grow in the Mid-Atlantic. But did we miss it? No. His all-local menu is fueled by a wood-fired hearth that one can’t help but smell and see, as chefs prepare the food in an open kitchen. And the tastes coming out of that kitchen, well, they were simple out-of-this-world!

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 86 | The Line Hotel & Restaurant, Washington, DC |

Choir Loft Dining Room

Of course we started with cocktails. A Rake’s Bar showcases area distillers and brewers and has Maryland ciders on tap. The drink menu includes fruit and herb based cocktails with fresh herbs growing right there in the bar. When I asked for my usual Gin & Tonic I was told they don’t carry Hendricks Gin because it’s not local, nor did they have any citrus for garnish. That’s right, you won’t find lemons and limes at A Rake’s Bar, or in the restaurant. They decided to eliminate citrus as part of their intense focus on Mid-Atlantic sourcing. Citrus does not grow in the Mid-Atlantic. Instead they use an acidic grape juice. Well, we didn’t miss it for a second.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 86 | The Line Hotel & Restaurant, Washington, DC |

Most of the menu is designed to share, so we each selected an item from the menu. This way we were able to enjoy a wider array of the deliciousness arriving from the kitchen. These photos taken in low light do not do the food justice. All I can say is every morsel was delicious, including the trout shown below.

The hearth-roasted whole chicken with buttermilk potatoes and creamed greens was simply divine.

And the complimentary slice of birthday cake they brought for us to share was pretty as a picture.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 86 | The Line Hotel & Restaurant, Washington, DC |

I’d highly recommend dinner at A Rake’s Progress, and I know my son enjoyed his 2 day stay at the Line Hotel. So we give both establishments our highest recommendations for dining and accommodations in Washington, DC.

Next Stop – River Dunes – North Carolina

If you’re a regular around After Orange County then you already know that Brad and I have put a steak in the ground in North Carolina. We are now the proud owners of a beautiful piece of property in the quintessentially charming southern community of River Dunes.

So, after one night in DC we piled in my son’s car and drove south to my future community.  We had reserved one of their utterly charming Harborside Guest Cottages for 4 nights over the Memorial Day weekend.

The cottage we occupied is the largest of several guest cottages River Dunes has available to rent to visitors. It’s called the Grand Banks Cottage and sleeps 6 people in 3 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms. I’ll give you a quick tour around, because in my opinion it is simply one of the most special little places I’ve ever stayed in.

The entire space, walls, ceiling and floors are made of beautifully restored reclaimed wood.

The gourmet kitchen is open to the living room and is complete with a Wolf Range and Sub Zero Fridge and Dishwasher.

There are two queen bedrooms with identical spacious bathrooms.

Upstairs there’s a cute loft-style bedroom with 2 twin beds and another spacious bathroom. It’s perfect for a family. I’d love for you to visit River Dunes too! It’s such a special place. For information about renting a cottage at River Dunes click here.

So, moving right along…

I was so excited to be able to show my grandchildren our property. Below is our land looking toward the harbor from the rear of the property.

And here it is from the front of the property. I’m working on plans for a Low-Country style home, and met with a builder during our visit.

And that’s the view of our lot in the photo below (where the trees are) from the harbor. The white house is our next door neighbor.

We spent a lot of time relaxing by the beautiful pool during our stay.


We escaped the sun in the cute little poolside cabanas, and enjoyed great food and drinks which are served poolside.


Activities also include kayaking or paddle-boarding.

River Dunes is a yachting community and many of the homeowners keep their boats in the harbor. Transient boaters can also stop in for a night or two. One evening before dinner at the Harbor club we had fun exploring the docks and speaking with some of the boaters. The Harbor Master told me there were 100 boats in the harbor that weekend.


My grandkids decided that they like River Dunes a whole lot and can’t wait to go back!


I can’t wait to go back too!

The Harbor Club

And speaking of Grandkids…

Last Night I Attended A Book Signing Party

You may recall from this recent post that I have a very accomplished friend, Marianne Waggoner Day, who just published a really great book, Camp Grandma, celebrating the joy of being a grandmother. Last night we celebrated her at a book signing event here in Lake Arrowhead at the beautiful home of our friend Sue.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 86 | Marianne Wagoner Day | Camp Grandma |

I just can’t say enough about how Maryann’s book has touched and inspired me to make the most of my unique role as a grandmother. What a gift to be able to tap into my special talents and offer them up to my grandchildren, becoming a “next-generation grandparent” as Marianne suggests in her book, Camp Grandma. We have so much to offer the little ones in our lives and in doing so, gain so much in return. If you’re a grandparent or know a grandparent, I can’t recommend this book enough. Pick up your copy by clicking here.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 86 | Marianne Wagoner Day | Camp Grandma |

A Cake in the Image of Her Book

What Are You Binge Watching These Days?

Well, I know what will be keeping me up at night starting tonight. Big Little Lies Season 2 starts tonight. Will you be watching the Emmy award-winning HBO show starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Merle Streep?

Plus, Designated Survivor Season 3 starring Kiefer Sutherland started last week. Will I be getting any sleep at all???

So there you have it: SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 86

Thanks so much for dropping in!

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ and may not be reproduced without specific permission. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  It’s what helps to make this blog possible. Thanks very much for your support.