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Monday, May 13, 2024

Riding the Bernina Railway (Italy to Switzerland) - Everything You Need To Know

Bernina Express and Regular Train

We went to northern Italy for nine days and let me tell you   i t   w a s   m a g i c a l . 

We avoided (most) of the touristy places and spaces and truly had an amazing week+ exploring the mountains and lakes of northern Italy. The trip included it all - planes, trains, and automobiles and I fell in love with Italy. 

To be a bit more specific, I fell in love with parts of the country many Americans haven't spent much time in. While busy places tend to be busy for a good reason, I know I prefer natural places and quiet spaces. We skipped Lake Como, passed right on through Milan, and said "Maybe Next Time" to Venice. Instead, we set up home base on one of Italy's lesser known lakes, Lake Iseo, explored beautiful little towns and mountain lakes like Lake Garda, and took an other worldly "commuter train" into Switzerland.

Today's post is all about the latter, our wild train ride into Italy's northern neighbor and how to do it in the least touristy way possible (quiet spaces, natural places). This post is going to be a long one because I have so much to share. The first half is all about the railway, the train cars, and everything you need to know **including why you should skip the panoramic trains and ride the commuter train**. The second part is a recap of our trip. 

Let's talk about Bernina.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Losing a Good, Bad Dog

Grief is consuming. It consumes our thoughts with their name and memories, the only thing in our brain from sunup to sun down. It consumes us whole, that "elephant on your chest" feeling and the shaky nerves, lack of appetite and numbing brain fog.

You can't understand the feeling unless you've been in it and it feels different every time. When I was in my early 20s, I put down my beloved horse I had since I was 12 after he had a sudden stomach problem. I spent days in bed crying and googled "can you be dehydrated from crying". In my early 30s just when our son was born, I put down my cat and felt a different kind of grief from my sweet simple companion who had traveled across the country and back with me, a kitten I bottle fed at a few weeks old and had until her late teens.

And then there was Marshall. 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Bolton Notch State Park - Bolton, CT

Bolton Notch State Park is a pretty little state park with one of the scariest entrances I have ever seen. You are traveling at speed down a turnpike and need to make a sharp turn into the parking lot. I'm not even sure how its legal but regardless, it's still worth a visit. At the park you can hike the loop trail, follow the trail by the pond, or to connect over to the Hop River State Park Rail Trail. 

I stopped by the park while working in the area, just Olive and I on a sunny day with an hour to spare between jobs. The parking lot was small and served as a starting point for the state park or to jump on the connecting Hop River State Park Rail Trail. I jumped on Alltrails to see a 2 mile loop around the park and headed out. 

The hike itself was pretty, a loop which took you to a vista and ended by the pond. Nothing to really brag about but a quiet park with some pretty scenery to stretch your legs and the option to log miles at neighboring parks. The section of the park that included the Hop River State Park Rail Trail was probably the prettiest, with these high walls on either side of the wide flat trail. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Winter Hike up Mount Willard, New Hampshire - 52 With A View

Winter Hike Mount Willard

It was day two of our Girl's Hiking Trip and our first full day in the Whites. The day before, Kristen and I had gotten up to the lodge before 3:00 pm and donned our snow gear to head into the woods for a short hike up to the waterfalls. We did a bit more post holing than we anticipated the following morning and decided to talk to the staff for future trail selection. After some deliberation headed up to hike Mount Pierce a beautiful hike with absolutely zero views as a summit was sucked in my gray clouds Doom and Gloom.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

7 Reasons to Stay at the AMC Highland Center in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

AMC Highland Center

It's a Sunday morning and I'm watching the snow fall and the sunrise outside of the two story windows in the sitting area of the Appalachian Mountain Club Highland Center in Crawford Notch, nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I'm on a girls trip, joined by six other female hikers all staying at the lodge, organized by a friend and fellow hiker. It's my first time here and to be quite frank, for someone who has spent so much time in the woods and a fair amount of time up here in the Whites, it's a place I've never even heard of.

I knew the AMC had their famous inter-mountain hut system, these beautiful lodges tucked into mountain peaks with lodging and meals available. What I didn't realize was there there were these larger beautiful drive up lodges at the base of the mountain where for a very reasonable price, you could spend the night; bedding, towels, and meals included. For just over $100 a night in the winter with a group, we had a quad bunk room in the lodge and a home base where we could really enjoy the peace the quiet and the access to some of New England's most iconic trails. If I didn't know about it, there's a fair chance you dear reader were left in the dark as well so let's go through six reasons why you should pack your bags and head north for a stay at this beautiful lodge in the whites.