Carkeek Park is a large and lovely family home nestled in the forested greenbelt of a popular local park. The ideal location on a cul-de-sac gives this 4 bedroom 3.5 bath executive residence quiet and serenity, yet it's only a 15 minute drive to the city center. Hardwood floors, ceramic tile, a marvelous curved ceiling in the living room, and a large kitchen with island make this a supurb home-away-from-home. Outdoors the professional landscape offers decks, balconies, a hot tub, and expanses of lawn and garden to blend with the forested edge of Carkeek Park. From the neighborhood there is a local trail to the park and beaches of Puget Sound.

A classic cake from Lucca, traditionally flavored with either aniseed or raisins

2 packages active dry yeast dissolved in:
6 tablespoon tepid water
3 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 tablespoon softened butter
2/3 cup whole milk
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg white
1 teaspoon aniseed
1/2 cup granulated sugar

After yeast has dissolved in warm water, gradually add into a small bowl a half cup of flour to the yeast mixture, stirring vigorously to avoid lumps. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 inch ring mold of your choice. Add salt to the remaining flour and dump onto a work surface. Make a well in the center and pour milk, 2 eggs, aniseed, softened butter, sugar and the raised dough into the well. Using a fork, work the flour into the mixture. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until soft and smooth, about 5 minutes.

Shape dough in prepared ring mold and brush top with egg white. Bake until well risen and golden, about 45 minutes. Serve slightly warm.

Happy 4th of July to all of you and I should say also happy Bastille Day to the people of my homeland of France.

Despite the drought that has taken over the northern hemisphere these last weeks, we sure have been swamped with last minute bookings of opportunist travelers like many of you who know how to grab great deals! Thanks as always for being part of our VillaNet family.

Happy summer to all!

Most kind Regards,

Emmanuel de Ricard, President

We are delighted to be featured in a Travel Smart article in the July/August 2003 AARP Magazine (see There are lots of mature travelers out there, and it seems that Beth Livermore's fine article "It Takes A Villa" is prompting many of you to gather friends and family together to plan another memory! Emmanuel was also just interviewed on WTOP Radio in the Washington, D.C. area. People are thinking about Europe and we're busy sending them!

Jean Michel is one of the key elements of the VillaNet family. Born and raised in France; not only is he a very successful business man but he is also a world traveler, has tons of experience and has very high standards. He 's been instrumental to the success of VillaNet over the last three years since he's taken numerous inspections trip to Italy, France and Portugal where he has met with owners, picked the best properties and has brought back some wonderful descriptions and images we are so proud to feature on our website.

The assistance and advice of his wife Christine has enhanced the wonderful job they keep doing for us! Thank you! Besides his professional skills, Jean Michel is also a top-notch gardener, a fine tennis player, a bon vivant and above all a wise and sincere human being.

We often speak with clients who are trying to avoid driving, particularly in Italy and France, because they're afraid of the responsibility of navigating in a foreign country. We only agree this is the best plan if you're going to stay in a large city such as Paris or Rome where taxis and public transportation are reasonable and well established. But if you're comfortable behind the wheel at home, you most likely will be in Europe. The roads and highways are in good repair, well marked in most cases, and drivers use universal rules of driving etiquette.

It's our position at VillaNet that your entire holiday will be enhanced by the convenience of a personal car. Then you're not limited to the main bus and train routes and in the countryside the pretty medieval villages, wineries, and other points of interest are easily reached, on your time frame.

On my last trip to Italy we rented a car that had a dash mounted GPS. Linda at AutoEurope (see says they now rent portable hand-held Global Positioning Systems (Pilot 3 Receiver) that come with a map of the country you are visiting. What a great help when you're looking for a particular restaurant or villa!

-Kathy Hayes, Editor

VillaNet Vacation Villas and Apartments ( Copyright 2003 )
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phone: (800) 964-1891 fax: (206) 417-1832