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Monday, February 27, 2017

Winter Hike to Camel's Hump, Vermont

For my 29th birthday, I rented a yurt in the woods of northern Vermont for the weekend. It was a great way to camp in the winter, spend some time in the woods and experience something new. The yurt was also close to some great hiking in Vermont's Green Mountains. Specifically, the yurt was only 7.5 miles to the trailhead to hike up to famous Camel's Hump. Camel's Hump is Vermont's 3rd highest mountain at 4,083' and is a registered 4,000' summit. The distinct topography of the mountain (resembling a camel's hump) makes it one of the State's most recognizable mountains.

Olive and I taking a break on the trail
Camel's Hump can also be hiked all year round, making it a very popular winter hike. Even in the middle of February, you can still find 20+ cars at the end of Camels Hump Road at the Burrows Trailhead. The Burrows Trail is the popular route in the winter and because of it's popularity, it is well packed down, easy to navigate and the only route I can safely suggest for you to tackle in a winter with heavy snowfall.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Vermont Yurt Rentals - Maple Wind Farm

Birthdays look different for everyone.  It can be a tropical vacation, a nice dinner out or a week long celebration.  My birthdays have always been fun and different from trips abroad to fancy dinners and themed parties with friends.  This year (my last birthday in my 20's) looked a lot different than most.  While a nice dinner out was scheduled for the following week, my actual birthday took place up north in the woods of Vermont. 

 In a yurt.  

Maple Yurt- Maple Wind Farms 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Visiting Stowe, Vermont

I was so impressed by the Town of Stowe.  From breweries, cideries and coffee shops to restaurants, general stores and recreation paths, there is more to this town than the namesake ski mountain. Stowe is a historic mountain town with so many awesome attractions. Stowe prides themselves in combining a 200 year old Village with Vermont's highest peak. As far as ski towns go, this was one of my favorites in the East (Park City, UT stole a little piece of my heart while I lived out west).  I was lucky enough to get a tour of the town by someone who has spent nearly every winter there.  It worked; in one weekend I was able to get a quick tour of the town, eating, drinking, and shopping my way around the best spots in town.    

Stowe Weekend Stops:
Black Cap Coffee and Beer (Coffee and amazing local beer selection)
The Alchemist (Local brewery famous for its DIPA Heady Topper)
The Country Store (Classic Country Store)
Shaw's General Store (Another Stowe General Store)
Stowe Mercantile (My favorite of the many general stores!)
Doc Ponds (Awesome place for apres-ski drinks and food)
Von Trapp Brewing (gorgeous new brewery - great beer, great space with food)
Trapp Family Lodge (Famous Austrian style lodge and XC ski resort)
Picasso Pizza (Great yet expensive pizza)
McCarthy's Restaurant (Amazing breakfast) 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont

Stowe, I like you.  I like you a lot.  

With so many ski resorts in Vermont, it can be hard to decide where to ski when the Green State of Vermont shifts into a winter wonderland of white.  We have Mount Snow, one of the first mountains as you make your way north into Vermont.  We have huge resorts like Okemo.  We have family friendly like Smugglers Notch.  We have "skiers only" and more rugged terrain like Mad River Glen.  There is also Stratton with its groomed rollers, and Killington with its expansive terrain.  Then we have some of the other guys:  Jay Peak, Sugarbush, Magic Mountain, Bromley, and more.  While Stowe has always been on my list, its high ticket prices and longer drive always turned me off.  When a friend invited me to stay at their condo at the bottom of the mountain, I finally took the chance to ski the famously fun mountain.  I packed up my skis and a cooler of beer and headed North. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Waylands Wharf - Stonington, CT

I have lived in Stonington for nearly 9 months and have yet to tell you all about this beautiful little town.  I have shared a few snipped from Stonington Vineyards and Salt Water Farms Vineyard, but not a whole lot about the town.  I promise I am working on a post all about this little town.  But for now, let's focus on another little aspect of what makes Stonington the best place in Connecticut. 

Although I grew up on the New England coast, and spent a lot of time scuba diving in Stonington, there was so much I didn't know about this town.  There were so many little shops to discover, restaurants to try, and swimming spots to find.  I am learning a valuable lesson -- adventure awaits just about anywhere, even in the smallest of boroughs.  

Walking down Water Street, the main street in the borough, I decided to follow the public access way through an overpass of a brick building.  It was cute and confusing at the same time, a walkway through an alley of a residential building in the borough.  At the end of the walkway, the area opens up to a large parking area, a public parking lot for the borough. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

von Trapp Brewing - Stowe, VT

A Beer Flight and Map of the Trap Family Lodge Cross-Country Ski Trails 
Stowe sorta blew my ski socks off.  I feel like every time I go to Vermont, I am taken back by how awesome Vermont is.  Did I really just forget? Did I never fully experience it?  Do I have a new outlook on all things New England?  When I was there in October to bike Kingdom Trails and hike the state's highest peak (Mansfield), I was amazed by how gorgeous the state was.  I also felt a wave of nostalgia to be back in the mountains, a new love affair sprung from my time living in Salt Lake City.  

I have only heard good things about Stowe from friends but truth be told, I was not expecting to be so smitten with this little town so far away from the coast (you know me, coast is king).  This adorable ski town has it all with amazing restaurants, several breweries, the cutest general stores, recreation trails, oh and an awesome ski mountain.  I kept saying over and over "we HAVE to come back in the summer".  I loved that the town and the mountain share the iconic Stowe logo and everywhere you go, you are reminded of where you are from the towns many signs, banners and logos representing the mountain town.  My weekend in Stowe was just one awesome adventure after another, and just what I needed to start off the ski season.  From shopping to skiing to trips to local breweries, Stowe did not disappoint. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

East Beach - Charlestown, Rhode Island

February probably seems like a weird time to post about the beach. Stick with me for a few more paragraphs and I promise it will all start to make sense.   The small state of Rhode Island is known for its beautiful wide sandy beaches, steady surf, and seafood shacks. Beaches like Watch Hill, Block Island and Misquamicut are always popular spots for beach lovers from June to September.

While summer is the season here in New England, there is something to be said for these beautiful (and virtually empty) beaches in the off season.  For starters, many of Rhode Island's state beaches allow dogs in the off season.  East Beach in Charlestown, Salty Brine Beach in Naraganset, East Matunuck State Beach in South Kingston and Misquamicut in Westerly all allow dogs on their beaches from October 1st to March 31 (ban from April 1 to September 30).

While I have been to many of the areas beaches, East Beach was so different from all of the area beaches I have visited. The main reason is simply that it is one of the least developed of Rhode Island's State Beaches. The real shining star here is that you can even go horseback riding on the beach (BYOH of course). Three miles each way, you have six miles of perfect flat sandy beaches to enjoy a sunny day on horseback.  East Beach in Charlestown with its beautiful beach and critter friendly atmosphere is my kind of hidden gem.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Grey Sail Brewing - Rhode Island

I swear I do more than visit breweries and drink beer.  The problem is, if you can even call this a "problem" is that there are so many awesome breweries popping up all over New England.  Some (like this one) are virtually in my backyard.  Add in the fact that it's winter in New England and outdoor activities are a little limited and all the brewery tours suddenly make sense.  Summer is for playing in the woods.  Winter is for drinking beer in breweries. 

This week, the blog is taking you over to one of my newly found and favorite local breweries.  Grey Sail Brewing calls the town of Westerly, Rhode Island home.  Yes, I live in Connecticut but the little Pawcatuck River is what separates the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island, Pawcatuck (CT) and Westerly (RI).  Over state lines but still virtually in my back yard.  Now let's talk beer!