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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Applecrest Farm- New Hampshire

Ever been to a farmers market and wish there was also a restaurant?  What if it also had a store, gift shop, apple orchard, horse wagon ride, stuff your own scarecrow station, pumpkin patch and petting zoo?  If you would like to buy some apples and eat a delicious homestyle breakfast before buying local maple syrup and mingling with the cows, this is your place. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

North Country Hard Cider - New Hampshire

Breweries are great and I am happy to say they are popping up everywhere.  I mean, we have over 40 breweries in the small state of Connecticut and more every year.  But Cideries?  Cideries are rare, unique, and so so delicious.  Where can you find a specialty brewhouse making cider, only cider, and six different kinds of cider?   Locally sourced apples, unpasteurized, unfiltered, without additives or preservatives.  If you are in New Hampshire, you can find this at North Country Hard Cider Company. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Mountain Biking Kingdom Trails - East Burke, Vermont

It wasn't until I moved to Utah that I rode my first mountain bike.  I quickly adjusted to this new hobby and while the learning process can be rocky (pun intended), I finally started to get the hang of propelling my bike up mountains, enjoying time spent on trails on two wheels instead of two feet.  

I learned in Utah and I learned to love Utah's trail network.  A lot of Utah's trails are flowing groomers or steep climbs, giving you a chance to "gain some vert" over a well-groomed trail with some insane views. When I moved to New England and took my bike on the trails here, it was entirely different.  No real elevation and the trails are technical, with a lot of roots, rocks, and bridges over streams.  I hated it.  I hated how technical all the trails were, how disconnected the systems are, and pretty soon decided this new(ish) hobby wasn't worth breaking an arm or a skull over in the rooty rocky trails of New England. 

When I heard about a group trip to Kingdom Trails in Vermont, I was eager to take my bike on some different terrain.  I heard about flowy well-groomed trails stretching over an expanse trail network.  I was excited to experience some groomed trails, and even find some elevation in Vermont.  It all sounded like a fairy tale, a taste of my favorite riding back here in the northeast.  And so, off to the Northeast Kingdom we went.  

Biking Trails at KT

"Kingdom Trails is a charitable non-profit conservation organization, driven by a volunteer Board of Directors, working in partnership with private landowners, local businesses, government agencies and other non-profit organizations to create and manage out-door recreation opportunities and preserve and protect trails. During all seasons of the year we offer an extensive trail network for non-motorized, multi-use recreation activity. Currently, all mapped trails in our local area are on private land. Kingdom Trail Association was formed to create legal access to these trails and manage the system. In order to generate the funds needed to maintain the trail system and manage usage on private land the Association requires all users to purchase either a Day Member Pass or a Membership to access the trail system. We strive to keep our rates extremely low so that everyone will be able to enjoy the trails…"

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hiking Mount Mansfield, Vermont

I forgot how beautiful the state of Vermont is.  And I guess I just never fully witnessed how beautiful it is during fall.  I knew Vermont was famous for its covered bridges and foliage, maple syrup and country roads, but I just hadn't witnessed it all as beautifully as I had this weekend.  The leaves were in their prime, and the hues of greens, yellows, reds and oranges were straight from a New England postcard.  While fall in Utah was absolutely beautiful with its shades of yellows and aspens, mountain peaks and alpine lakes, I am convinced the fall in New England just can't be beat.  Oh, those vibrant reds in contrast with all the other hues were just so dreamy.

Driving west from East Burke to Stowe 
Covered bridge on my way to Stowe 
One of the best places to see some awesome fall color is from the "ceiling" of Vermont. From it's highest peak, the "chin" of Mount Mansfield, you can see the amazing gradient of rocky peaks, changing to dense evergreens, before putting on a show of oranges, yellows, and reds before mixing more mixes of autumn foliage and green in the rolling hills of Vermont.

So far, I am half way through summiting the six New England Peaks.  I have hiked the highest peaks in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, with only Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island left.  I had plans to head to Vermont for the weekend to join a bunch of friends mountain biking at Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont (that's an entirely awesome post next on the blog).  When I saw that the Town of Stowe and trailhead to Mount Mansfield was only about 1.5 hours away from where I was staying, I decided to seize the opportunity. I left the mountain biking crew to spend Saturdays on a solo hike with Olive- to the top of Vermont's highest peak and a "New England 4,000 footer" .

View from Sunset Ridge Trail above the treeline 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Guest Post: 5 reasons why Queensland should be on your bucket list

Variety is the spice of life, and variety is one thing I strive for in my day to day life (and this blog!).  Today I am off to Vermont for a weekend in the mountains but in the name of spicing things up, we are taking the blog to Australia. 

I love to feature different travelers on this blog, especially the fierce female off-to-see-the-world variety. Nicole is an avid traveler and yoga aficionado passionate about healthy living, interior design and fashion. She is a contributor to several lifestyle blogs and editor at HighStyLife magazine. When Nicole reached out to me to share her article on my blog, I jumped at the chance to share her experiences and photos with you all.   Australia is at the top of my bucket list and Nicole is here to tell you all why Queensland specifically should make the list. 

Unless you live in New Zealand or Papua New Guinea, Australia is probably a far destination for you. Still, it has an amazing tourist offer and almost 8 million tourists visiting it annually, with Queensland being one of the most popular destinations. Also called the Sunshine State, Queensland has everything you can imagine: from vivid urban areas, indigenous cultural experiences, World Heritage sites, dreamy paradise beaches, to mesmerizing biodiversity that cannot be found anywhere else in the world and amazing activities that help your experience the land down under in a way you’ll never forget. Here are five reasons why it should be on your bucket list.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Hiking for Beginners - 8 Tips to a safe and awesome hike

Earlier in the summer, I wrote a guest post for my friend Hilary over at Next Stop Adventure.  I shared five hiking tips for beginner hikers, offering some sound advice for anyone looking to spend more time on trails that are dirt.  After I wrote the post, and spent more time hiking on different types of trails, I had a few extra tips that I wanted to share.  So, welcome to the revised and updated post on hiking tips, building off the list I wrote for Hilary.  

Life in Utah reinforced my love for the outdoors and I spent a lot of time hiking.  When I moved back East, I was excited to explore New England and Northeast hiking.  In September alone, I climbed three of New Englands tallest peaks, Bear Mountain, Mount Greylock and Mount Washington.  And this weekend, I am heading to Vermont to tackle Vermont's tallest peak and get in some prime leaf peeping. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Hog River Brewing- Hartford, Connecticut

Next stop on the Connecticut Brewery tour was in Connecticut's capital city, Hartford.  Hog River Brewing is located in the Parkville neighborhood, a trendy little area that made you kind of think "Hartford isn't so bad after-all".  This section seems to be an up and coming neighborhood that was once industrial and is being converted to a commercial space with cute storefronts, restaurants and now a brewery.   The quick and dirty of this brewery is a historic rubber factory turned beer making, shiny brewing tanks and 20' machine presses sitting in this lofty industrial building.  The guy behind the beer left his 9-5 to brew full time, working his way up the ranks to create Hog River.  He has a variety of styles and overall decent beer in an awesome space.  Bring your own food or enjoy the ndifferent food trucks that park right outside on the weekend.  Read on to learn more about one of Hartford's new breweries.