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Thursday, September 22, 2022

Northeast Fall Round Up

New England's best season is fall. Fall is when the culture, color, and character of this area all collide. After a hot and humid summer, the cooler days are more than welcome and New Englanders head outside in various shades of flannel. The season is short and weekends in September and October are jam-packed with fairs, hikes, scenic drives, orchards, and haunted houses. This is just a handful of options for any fall fanatic finding themselves in New England during the glorious months of September and October.


New England and New York Fall Road Trip

A road trip that takes you to some of the highlights of New England and New York. It basically covers all of my highlights below in one convenient post. I even included a sample itinerary/route. It includes a few highlights from each state as you make your way through the northeast. 


New Hampshire

Kancamagus Highway

A New England must! The famous Kancamagus Highway is one of New Hampshire's National Scenic Byways, running east to west through the White Mountains. This 34.5-mile road climbs to 3,000' at the summit of Mount Kancamagus. There are great hikes right off the highway or scenic pull-over spots to get out and stretch your legs. It's a stunner and should be at the top of your list. 



Rated one of the best day hikes in New England, the Franconia Ridge Loop is at its prime in the fall. The cooler temps are welcomed on the ridgeline walk as your make your way across some of New Hampshire's 48ers. 

Mount Tecumseh 

This may be the most stunning fall hike I had ever been on in New Hampshire. You can hike up the trails and down the ski mountain trails which overs the most insane views of the Whites. Time it with the foliage and you will not be disappointed. 


Applecrest Farm

What's a fall festivity without a visit to a farm? Applecrest farm has it all - restaurant, orchard, pumpkin patch, wagon rides, store, and even a petting zoo. The perfect fall family-friendly stop on your way up to the Whites to hike. 


Northcountry Hard Cider

What says fall like cider? But let's make it hard cider for all the grownups in the group. They have a lot of fun different flavors featuring local produce like squash and habanero peppers. It's the perfect place to hang out and try a sampling of cider. 

Connecticut


 

Northwest Connecticut

Northwest Connecticut is a fantastic fall destination. It's bucolic and quiet, quaint apple orchards, lovely hikes, and the cutest decorated downtowns. Here's a weekender's guide because a day up in this corner of Connecticut just isn't enough. If you are looking for a hike or two, here are some of my favorites: White Memorial Conservation CenterPine Knob LoopRand's View
Bear MountainMacedonia Brook LoopRound MountainHenry David Thoreau Footbridge (Hidden Valley Preserve), or Meeker Trail Loop Macricostas Preserve


Bishops Orchard

Bishops orchard in Guilford, Connecticut is a shoreline gem. You can pick your own apples, stop at the pumpkin patch, head into the grocery store for supplies, and try some of their fruit wines. It's a fun local stop and one of my favorite options for apple picking in the fall. 


Housatonic River


Vermont



Northeast Kingdom/Kingdom Trails 

One of my most favorite fall traditions was loading up the mountain bikes and heading north to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Stowe gets a lot of attention (and for good reason) but you will see all the mountain bikers heading to a slice of fall mountain biking paradise called Kingdom Trails. The town of Burke offers quaint inns and B&Bs, a ski mountain that offers a great hike, and an amazing network of trails. It offers some of the best fall foliage I have ever seen and pair it with a day on our bikes... New England fall at it's best. 


Stowe is a 4 season destination and I can't exactly decide which is my favorite. Fall is in the running as you get the warm sunny days followed by the crisp cool nights. You can head out to some of my favorite hikes colored in crimson, and spend the afternoons at the busy breweries and restaurants. Stowe Pinnacle is a great fall hike that gets you some pretty spectacular views without the long mileage. 


Cute town, lakefront, a fantastic hike, sign me up! Mt. Pisgah and Lake Willoughby take you into northern Vermont to a place I had never even heard of but quickly fell in love with. 


Vermont's tallest peak truly shows off in the fall. Claim one of the New England high points while enjoying the show of color that Vermont is famous for. Bring the dogs but maybe leave the kids behind and enjoy this special Vermont hike. 



Fall Camping Tips 

I love to camp just when the warm summer nights give to chilly fall evenings. There's something about snuggling up with someone you love in the quiet of the woods and that hot cup of coffee in the morning. One of the best ways to enjoy fall in New England is a cute BnB or a camping trip at one of the state parks. This guide is a gem for knowing a few important tips before heading out to camp in the fall. 




Monday, September 19, 2022

Lobster Shack Tour - Winner Winner Lobster Roll Dinner


Katie Wanders food tours became my new favorite thing.  

It's kind of an excuse to go bananas on a certain type of food, you know, in the name of "research".  The New Haven Pizza Tour is complete, and the Connecticut Donut Tour is well underway.  The Lobster Shack Tour was my first "food tour baby" if you will, and honestly, it took the longest to complete and how could we close out summer without knowing which lobster roll reigns supreme? Here we are, at the end of summer and in all honesty, a few years later than expected but a lobster roll winner has been crowned in the KW books.  

I started it all in 2016 when I had the idea of finding which overly priced seafood sandwich was worth spending my money on. I wrote a post all about the scoring system, about lobsters, and how this little tour was going to work.  Then, I spent the rest of the summer doing the hard, hard, work of sampling lobster rolls from lobster shacks (not big restaurants) around the Connecticut shoreline.  

Guilford Lobster Pound

I finished this tour and found seven CT lobster shacks worthy of a review. While a lot of Connecticut eateries offer lobster rolls, I wanted to focus on the lobster shacks. You know what I mean.. the almost always seasonal, generally small, limited menu offerings that were known for their lobster rolls.  I didn't just judge the roll although it was a big part. For the roll, I judged on butterage, rolls used, meat ratio and type. On a bigger scale, I judged on ambiance, parking, ordering, BYOB and dog-friendly settings, and more. A lot of restaurants have different-sized rolls at different pricepoint but to keep it fair, I stuck to the standard/smaller roll. We only judged the Connecticut style lobster rolls (warm, with just butter) because the cold mayo variety just doesn't fly here. 

I finished the tour at the Lobster Shack in East Haven and so, we can wrap up the tour and rank these rolls from my favorite to my least favorite.  So sit back, dream of lobster, and read where you can find the best Lobster Shack on the Connecticut shoreline right in time for summer. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Weekender's Guide: Northwest Connecticut/The Litchfield Hills


When I lived in Utah, I had a hard time describing Connecticut to people. It's sandwiched between New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island but it truly has its own identity. The shoreline shifts from a suburb of New York to an extension of Rhode Island. The central area (especially around the Connecticut River) is quaint and iconic, filled with old towns and historic homes. The northeast corner has been dubbed the "quiet corner" and it's known for exactly that.

But the northwest corner is my favorite part of the state. It's known for rolling hills, sleepy towns, and boarding schools that resemble college campuses. This tiny corner is where you can find old covered bridges, quiet country stores, and old romantic inns. The Housatonic River snakes through the area and Route 7 offers a scenic drive of fly fishermen and summer sunbathers. Once you leave the river, you can follow 50 miles of the famous Appalachian Trail and hike to the state's highest point. It's a gem year round but my favorite time is fall. The bugs are gone, the leaves are turning, the apple orchards are open, and bonfire season is in full swing. It's an area I keep coming back to, for a day hike any time of year or an overnight excursion in the summer. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Camping with Kids - a guide, Shred Dog gear for kids, and more


Somewhere between my pre-2021 childless life and my 2022 life with a toddler, I've become an unofficial low-key ambassador for getting outdoors and living a normal life *with kids*. Sure sure, there are pro athletes and big-name influencers getting out there and sharing their stories of life with kids and it's amazing, we love to see it. But, I love sharing a side that's may be a bit more approachable to your average family. I'm your typical mom trying to balance my career outside of this space with the normal stuff like grocery lists, household renovations, overflowing piles of laundry, and weekend get-aways. 

My tone is always aimed at being approachable and it makes every minute spent behind a computer screen worth it to get messages from friends and strangers sharing their inspired stories. All the stories sort of go along the lines of  "I saw this kind of parenting and lifestyle with kids and questioned if I really want kids until I remembered you". It's a powerful statement and a title I don't take lightly. Since having Whitney in early 2021, it's been my mission to prove that kids (babies and toddlers really) aren't a death sentence to your former life and I am beyond excited to keep living this sentiment. 

So today's post is a homage to all the people who gave me a bit of a side eye or inquired with a bit of bewilderment when I told them I was taking my 17-month-old camping for two nights in the Catskills - alongside my three nephews ages 4, 6, and 8. It truly went better than I expected and I hope today's post inspires you to "start em young" and just get out there when it comes to camping with kids. 

Kids at camp

Monday, August 15, 2022

North South Lake - Camping in the Catskills of New York


One of my first trips with Adam was a little winter getaway to the Tiny House Resort in the Catskills of New York. I won a stay on Instagram and invited the man I had known for a month to spend a weekend with me in 200 square feet in snowy New York. He surprisingly said yes and we packed up the dogs and spent the perfect winter weekend hiking in New York. One of our hikes took us to Newman's Ledge at North South Lake. This new to us spot had two lakes with swimming areas, a beautiful campground, playgrounds, canoe rentals, and just about everything you need for a summer camping getaway. Quickly after that trip, the understated Catskills became one of my favorite spots to visit in just about every season. After our hike to Newman's Ledge and seeing the snow-covered lakes, we made a mental note to come back in the summer. A few years later, we finally did with our son. 

Beach/Swimming Area at North Lake
Beach/Swimming Area at North Lake