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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy Centennial, National Parks Service!

Today is a special day for all of the nature loving open space enthusiasts out there in the U.S.of A. 100 years ago, in 1916, the National Parks Service was created, protecting thousands of acres of land for all Americans to enjoy for years to come. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Saltwater Farm Vineyard - Stonington, Connecticut

Oh how I love the town of Stonington.  
Located just 35 minutes north of where I grew up in Old Lyme, this town has such a different vibe.  This little coastal town is open ocean opposed to the sound, and there is so much to do.  The people are so friendly and approachable, without the pretentious vibe that many coastal Connecticut towns have.  Almost everyone sails, and the Dog Watch is the place to be.  I am within walking distance to restaurants, bars, a beach, shops, a vineyard and a brewery.  But this is not a love letter to Stonington (although I am sure that will come in time).  Instead, this is a post dedicated to one of the gems of Stonington, Saltwater Farms Vineyard.  

Beautiful spot located right outside the borough in Stonington.  Easy access off the highway, plenty of parking, and friendly staff.  Dog friendly and you are encouraged to bring food to enjoy on the vineyard.  Rich in history as an old airplane hanger and you can walk down the old runway between the vines.  A great variety of wines from chardonay to cabernets and we really enjoyed the rose. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Diving for Scallops - Boston, Massachusetts

There are so many wonderful things about being back in the Northeast.  First off, there is the constant access to the water.  Growing up in New England the ocean is something we often take for granted.  Spend two years landlocked and you will realize reallllllly quick how much the ocean means to you.   Secondly, being back around the people I love has been amazing.  Again, we take our family and friends for granted and sometimes it takes a 2,200 mile move to make you realize who and what you need in your life.    

Monday, August 8, 2016

Ford's Lobsters - Noank, Connecticut

Ford's Lobsters - Noank, Connecticut
Ford's Lobsters - Noank, Connecticut 
My lobster research brought me back to the little village of Noank once more.  My third trip on the Katie Wanders Lobster Shack Tour was to Ford's Lobsters in Noank, Connecticut, home to the now famous Lobster Bomb.  This was definitely more a sit down Restaurant than order at the window Shack, but still a small scale operation in a beautiful setting.  

To backtrack for a moment, this series has taken me to Lobster Landing in Clinton, and Abbotts Lobster in the Rough in Noank.  This was the third stop in the Connecticut Lobster Shack Tour, and my second stop in the tiny village of Noank. 

When we stopped at Abbotts last week, we got all wrapped up in Lobster Rolls that I didn't give enough background of this area of the state.  Noank is not a town, but instead, a village of the town of Groton at the mouth of the Mystic River. The area known as "Noank" is basically about 2 square miles, 1.5 miles being land and about .5 miles being water.  Yep folks, we just broke down the entire two miles of this town into land and sea.  It is Old New England, what were you expecting?

Map of Groton, Connecticut 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Abbott's Lobster in the Rough - Noank, Connecticut

Famous Hot Lobster Roll at Abbott's Lobster in the Rough in Noank, CT

The weekend was another beautiful sunny New England weekend.  The temperatures hovered around the mid to high 80s, a mix of sun and clouds overhead and a light breeze coming off the water.  At 8:30 on a Saturday morning I met a few friends at a new spot where we went scuba diving around an old pottery site.  It was a lovely Saturday that was about to get better.  

Lunch ideas were thrown around and we settled on Abbots Lobster in the Rough in nearby Noank, Connecticut.  It was to be stop number 2 on the Lobster Shack tour and we headed to Noank in the name of research after a few preliminary checkpoints were crossed off. They were open, they were BYOB, and they were dog-friendly.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Hike to Willow Lake - Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

Willow Lake Hike
Willow Lake Hike
On my last day in Salt Lake City, I had just enough time for one more quick hike.  While I came to Utah for Amanda's wedding, I was determined to get in as much hiking in as I could. It's amazing the difference from my life in Connecticut to my life in Utah.  While in Utah, I hiked atleast twice a week, discovering some amazing new hike all the time.  When I moved back to Connecticut, I am ashamed to admit I hadn't been hiking at all.  The schedule gets filled with family, friends, and water activities and lets just be honest, the hiking isnt the same (and how could it be?).  So when I make a trip to Utah, I have to fill it with visiting awesome friends, and spending times on trail that are dirt and steep.  

Willow Lake Hike
Hiking to Willow Lake 
I met Hilary of Next Stop Adventure at the well known Red Iguana for lunch, and we caught up on everything Utah, our blogs, and our lives.  We chatted about some of our favorite hikes, and ran through a few easy options for my last Utah Hike before returning my rental car.  I needed relatively short drive, and a quick and easy hike before dropping off my car and heading to the airport.  And of course, I wanted something I haven't hiked before.  Hilary to the rescue when she casually asked if I had hiked Willow Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Not only had I never hiked about it, but I hadn't even heard about it.  New spot, short hike, close by.  We paid our check, hugged goodbye, and I was in my car off to my last hike and alpine lake.