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Monday, October 14, 2019

Semi Pemi Loop - Backpacking in the Whites

Dear Reader, 

If you noticed, yes, I am sort of blogging in reverse.  I was wrapping up my trip to Europe before switching over to last weekend in New Hampshire for peak foliage, and now backtracking my way back to September.  While I did this hike towards the end of summer (early September) with enough gear and preparation, you can easily hike this loop in the fall.  And this loop - it is famous and challenging and pushed me in ways I was not expecting.  It's not for the faint of heart but if you can do it, you will be rewarded with the most amazing views, spectacular vistas, ridgeline hiking, a hut in the woods and a good amount of 4,000' summits.  

I did it, 38 miles in two days at points on the verge of tears.  Untrained and unprepared and missing the one peak Ryan needed.  

But before I get into the specifics of this hike, all miles and emotions, we have to chat about these famous loops in the Whites.  You see, you need a little bit of background on these crazy loops and lists of peaks hikers go out to conquer.  These loops are often designed to bag as many peaks as you can, making notoriously long and hard hikes, often done in overnight trips.  These loops have long milage, reaching impressive amounts of vertical climb and crossing over a hefty list of 4,000 footers.  

East Branch Pemigewasset River

Here are the most famous 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fall Camping Tips - Camping in New Hampshire

It is pretty standard for me to make some last-minute decision to drive up north on a Friday night.   

This past weekend, I had a friend's daughter's first birthday party in the middle of the day Saturday which clashed with a weekend I was planning to see the foliage and drive Kancamagus Highway.  I wanted to be there for this special little girl's first birthday, but at the same time peak foliage waits for no one.  I had to find a way to do both.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Kancamagus Highway, NH - New England's Best Fall Foliage Drive

If there is a New England fall foliage drive to slay them all, this is it.  

New England is famous for its fall foliage and this drive is probably the most famous within the border of these 6 states.  It's often rated New England's Best Scenic Drive and has made its way onto the Travel Channel.  It's one of New Hampshire's National Scenic Byways, running east to west through the White Mountains, climbing to 3,000' at the summit of Mount Kancamagus.  It's 34.5 miles of "basic bitch", foliage obsessed, bean boots and crunchy leaves New England nostalgic heaven. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Fall Hike up Mount Tecumseh via Waterville Valley - New Hampshire's Smallest 48

I am so out of order.  So out of the adventure order. 

I try to blog in the sequence that I travel but sometimes life gets oh so good and I play a lot more than I can blog.  Don't get me wrong, it is a good problem to have when you are enjoying life so much in the present moment you forget to write about it in the past tense.  

So because of all my adventures, I have this sweet lovely yet daunting backlog of posts to share with you.  This one, this post could not wait.  The fall foliage is peak right now in northern New England and this has to be my favorite hike to date.  This may be the best weekend I have had in a long time.  So excuse me as I jump around, but I needed to share this amazing morning in New Hampshire with you. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Tour Paris by Boat - Seine River Cruise

Paris is a dreamy city.  Actually, it's a gilded, ornate, historic, romantic, beautiful, river bound dreamy city.  

You hear about it all the time, about just how beautiful and magical of a city it is.   And then you step off the plane and onto the train and after about 40 minutes, you are there - walking along with this iconic city that pulses along the river.  

During the day it's blue skies and sidewalk cafes and statues.  But at night - it comes alive - the River Seine being the epicenter.  People pack picnics and drink wine with their legs dangling over the riverbank; they dance, they walk hand in hand and they kiss.  It's the kind of city you need to experience for yourself, walking over symbolic bridges, strolling with a baguette past historic buildings many of which now house beautiful museums, and sipping wine along one of the thousand street cafes.  Baguettes, historic buildings, and ornate bridges - welcome to Paris.  

Walking over one of Paris' 37 bridges

One of my unexpected favorite parts about Paris was the bridges.  Lucky for me, there was no shortage of bridges to gawk over.  Thirty-seven to be exact.  Some are gilded while some are decorated with ornate sculptures, but they all have interesting names and a story behind their construction.  Some of the bridges were built for World Fairs, some were built to symbolize relations with other countries, and some were built for the people themselves.  Walk over the bridges and along the river Seine and it's easy to imagine Paris back in the day of World Fairs and War.  It may be obvious but one of the best ways to see these bridges is by boat.  So how did I start my stay in Paris? With a trip down the Seine of course.  

Monday, September 30, 2019

Visiting Malmö, Sweden

While relaxing in the outdoor seating area at our hotel in downtown Copenhagen, I started to look at a map of this pretty little southern section of Scandinavia.  I soon noticed that the neighboring country Sweden had a big city just a short train ride away.  While I love to plan, there's something about looking at a map, shrugging your shoulders and heading in that direction.  For the sake of wandering, why not spend an unplanned half a day in a country I had never been to? 

After a little bit of time researching Sweden's third-largest city, I headed to Copenhagens Central Station to catch a train to Malmö, Sweden. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Visitor's Guide - Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is a gem.  It is a beautiful, pristine, modern, friendly and generally cool city.  Step off the train and into the center of Copenhagen and you will be instantly amazed by the impressive bike lanes, the beautiful canal system, and how clean everything is. 

If you are thinking of visiting, know that you can see a lot of Denmark's capital city in just a few days if you plan it right.  From amusement parks and boat tours to the best swim spots along the canal... this is how we spent 3 and 1/2 days in the city; biking, boating, and eating our way around the canals of Copenhagen. 

Monday, September 23, 2019

First Day of Fall - Hiking Guide Round Up!

I love summer, I do, I do.  But Fall is the best season in New England.  Hands Down.  

It is everything you could want in a season.  It's short and sweet and the perfect mix of warm days and cool nights, amazing foliage and the best activities.  This weekend it hit 80 during the day and 50 at night and I am thanking the weather gods for this mix of everything lovely.  The bugs are gone, the AC is away, and you don't need to turn on the heat just yet.  Heck, its the cheaper season where the weather is so perfect you only need a sweater in the morning, sunscreen in the afternoon, and can sleep blissfully with the windows open. 

Here in New England, fall is especially special.  It's fair season and we flock to our local fairs for tractor pulls and fried dough.  We pick apples, bake pies and make our way through corn mazes.  We grab our flannel and throw on a Patagucci vest.  We head to haunted houses, craft festivals, and hayrides.  We go on "foliage drives" through New Hampshire, cross covered bridges in Vermont, hiking mountainsides that turn into shades of fiery reds, deep oranges, and bright yellows.  I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. 

To celebrate the First Day of Fall, I am sharing my Everything Autumn Guide to New England (foliage prediction maps, how to tell the leaves apart, best trees for color, etc) and some of my favorite fall hikes.  If you are outside the northeast, you can see the peak foliage in your neck of the woods on this Fall Foliage Map. I almost always carry "The Bible" (Fodor's Guide to New England with the best fall foliage guides and scenic road trips) during any road trip up north and this is especially true for the fall.  There is an entire section devoted to the foliage, the best scenic drives, and primo New England destinations.  Don't worry, you can Amazon Prime is and have your very own New England Bible in 2 days.  

For everyone in the Northeast, prime foliage is the last weekend of September/first week of October for the northern elevations of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York and the second to the third week of October for Connecticut.  If you are like me, you start your hikes up north and make your way south, catching the prime foliage from Maine to Rhode Island.  

F e a t u r e d   i n   t h e   f a l l 

Stowe Pinnacle - Vermont
3.2-miles round trip, 1,520 ft elevation gain, dog and kid-friendly - Trail Guide

Kingdom Trails - Vermont
A network of trails (over 100 miles) popular mountain biking destination Guide

Lantern Hill - Connecticut
2.5-miles round trip, 400 ' elevation gained, dog and kid-friendly - Trail Guide

Mount Mansfield - Vermont
7-miles round trip, 2,600 ' elevation gained, dog and kid-friendly Trail Guide

Devil's Hopyard - Connecticut
4.5-miles, 870' elevation gained, kid and dog-friendly Trail Guide

Burke Mountain - Vermont
6-miles, 2,100' elevation gained, Dog-Friendly Trail Guide

a n d  m o r e . . . 

I did not hike these actual trails IN fall (so you will notice the trees are still green in all my photos) but I do know that these hikes offer some amazing fall foliage. 

Indian Head 

H i k e  N e w  Y o r k 

Overlook Mountain 
(Easy to Moderate Hike to hotel ruins and the fire tower with views)

Indian Head 
(Moderate Hike gorgeous views off the cliffs, will be STUNNING when the leaves change)

Carter Moriah Traverse

H i k e   N e w   H a m p s h i r e 

Carter Moriah Traverse 
(Moderate to Difficult Backpacking loop in the whites)

Mount Monadnock 
(Moderate Hike, elevation and stunning views)

Franconia Ridge 
(Challenging  Hike but voted the best day hike in New England)

Mount Washington 
(Challenging, short window to hike, highest point in New England with gorgeous views on Tuckerman's Ravine)

Ragged Mountain Hike

H i k e  C o n n e c t i c u t 

Lake Zoar 
(Easy to Moderate Loop Hike along the Lake with gorgeous views)

Ragged Mountain 
(Easy Loop Hike with changes in elevation and pretty vistas)

Mount Tom

H i k e  M a s s a c h u s e t t s

Mount Tom 
(Easy Hike with vistas and overlook)

(Moderate Hike along pretty trail, summit views with a cabin)


H i k e  M a i n e

Katahdin, Baxter 
(Challenge hike, the tallest peak in ME, stunning views all along, and a short window to hike)


H i k e  V e r m o n t

Hunger Mountain 
(Moderate to Hard, great views above the treeline) 

Bingham Falls, Stowe 
(Easy, short hike, swim in the waterfall)

Deer Leap Overlook, Killington 
(Easy hike, short, scenic, cool viewpoint at the end)

Friday, September 20, 2019

Nyhavn | Copenhagen, Denmark

n y h a v n 

Every city has it's "famous" spot.  You know the spot - the one displayed on postcards, made into ornaments or magnets, or found on artwork all over the world.  In Copenhagen, it's Nyhavn.  It's a part of the city that is all waterfront and sunshine, colored houses and old sailing ships creating a floating museum.  Its a mecca of outdoor dining and cozy bars. So if you find yourself in Denmark, a trip to Nyhavn cannot be missed.  Spend some time in one of the most photographed spots in Copenhagen and stay for a drink in "The Longest Bar in Scandinavia".  

v i s i t 

It's no wonder this little canal is so famous and quickly became one of the most visited historical places in the city.  The brightly colored 17th and 18th-century houses beg to be photographed and the vibe is everything you could ever want.  It looks like you are stepped right into a watercolor painting. 

The atmosphere in the quay (the area/structure built parallel to the bank of a waterway for use as a landing place) is slow evenings, cold drinks, live music and a mix of hustle and relaxation.  

Trust me, it's not up for discussion.  If you find yourself in Denmark, you have to carve out some time to head to Nyhavn for a canal tour before, spend the evening dangling your legs over the bulkhead (drink in hand ) lounge long enough for one hell of a sunset, and walk your wine logged legs over to one of the restaurants outside tables for a seafood dinner.  

h i s t o r y 

Nyhavn was constructed by King Christian V from 1670 to 1675.  The canal itself was dug by Swedish prisoners from the Dano-Swedish War.  The canal served as a gateway from the sea to the old inner city to transport cargo and fish.  This area was historically notorious for your typical port haunts:  beer, sailors, and prostitution.  

The oldest house, (No. 9) dates as far back as1681.  Nyhavn was also home to Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote Princess and the Pea right here and called this area home for 18 years. 

Today the old houses have been updated and renovated and restaurants run along the canal.  The waterfront is the mecca for canal tour boats and it is now a place to find locals and tourists alike listening to music, sharing a meal, or just sipping wine along the canal. 

You will also find old ships in the harbor as the Nyhavn Veteran Ship and Museum Harbour occupies the inner section of Nyhavn.  From the foundation of the heritage harbor in 1977, the south side of the canal has been reserved for museum ships owned by the Danish National Museum.  

w i n e  &  d i n e 

This area is loved by tourists and locals alike.  It is the spot to hang out and relax on the water, unwind and imbibe and soak in a sunset.  You can't help but smile as you walk along the quay, watching everyone enjoy a perfect summer day in this splendid little city.  We passed through here several times during our stay in Denmark, and one evening made it a point to sit along the canal, sip wine and slow down with a sunset.  It was the perfect way to end our stay in Copenhagen.  After the sun slipped below the horizon, we made our way to dinner at one o the many restaurants lined up along the sidewalk, followed by ice cream in freshly made waffle cones at Vaffelbageren.  We loved hopping on our bikes and escaping to this little canal to enjoy some of the spoils of Denmark.  

Thanks for the memories Copenhagen, you are so dang cool. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Tivoli Gardens - The Park That Inspired Disney World

There is something so special about Tivoli Gardens.  

It has that old world charm, a mix of an amusement park and a garden, a lot of history, so much beauty and it's thrown right into the middle of the city.  If you are wondering why you would spend your time visiting an amusement park while traveling abroad, know that Tivoli is not your average park and you should get the images of a junky Six Flags out of your head.  

This is Europe baby, and there is something for everyone behind these gates.  You walk through beautiful gardens by day and stroll under the thousands of beautiful lights reflecting off the pond by night.  You walk by castles and roller coasters, flume rides, and ornate stages, expansive lawns, intricate gardens and restaurants on boats.  It's really like the rest of Copenhagen, clean and orderly, beautifully manicured, well thought out and constructed.  It's an ambiance and experience that is hard to describe and really has to be felt for yourself.  It's no wonder that Tivoli was the inspiration behind Walt Disney's famous park. 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Why You Should Rent a Bike in Copenhagen

There's something about just jumping into the culture of a new place, surrendering what you know and what you are used to to do things a little differently.  That's the beauty of travel, isn't it?  

Traveling in Europe opens your eyes to slower meals, a decent amount of wine, a lot of walking, a ton of second-hand smoke and a completely different culture across the pond.  Various European countries follow this similar pattern, each with their own little flair and Copenhagen is no exception. There are slow meals and wine and still a lot of smokers, but to me, there were two things that really set Copenhagen apart.  First off, this city was so damn clean but even more noticeable - 

There are so many bikes.   

So in Copenhagen, if you want to do as the Danes do, you need to jump on a bike.  
Here are all the reasons why you should. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Trials of Traveling - New York City to Copenhagen

Journey’s to JFK on a Friday night are tough.

Journey’s to JFK on a Friday night when you park at a random fried chicken joint in the ghetto of New York City makes for an interesting one.

Adam was coming from Ocean City, New Jersey and I was coming from work in Old Lyme, Connecticut.  We left at 3pm to make a 10pm flight for one big reason…. Interstate 95 to New York City on a Friday evening.  It's a two lane highway backed up with traffic for miles on end.  All it takes is one fender bender and you are missing your flight.  Living off 95 in Connecticut, we are all too familiar with this gave of bumper cars and knew we had to allow time for traffic and accidents.  We also needed extra time for parking and shuttling, long baggage check-in and security lines and finding our gate in a big airport.  Good thing we did because we hit a lot of traffic and ended up parking at the sketchiest parking lot I have ever seen.  

I gave Adam the address, advertised as a discount parking lot just outside the airport.  As we drove through a less than desirable neighborhood, I got my first call from Adam who cannot find said parking lot.  What he did find was a few guys sitting at a picnic table outside a fried chicken joint with a small makeshift sign that said “Park”.  

Now read this closely: You stop in the middle of a busy street where you leave your blinkers on and your car will sit for 15-20 minutes until someone takes it away to an unknown location.  It isn’t a parking lot, just some guys working out of a restaurant which I couldn't tell was even open for business.  We were told 20 minutes for a shuttle which turned out to be a mini van that could not fit us all.  After much complaining, we finally got in an unmarked van (1 hour later) and made the 10-minute drive to the airport. 

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Story of Katie Smile - teeth whitening review and giveaway

I know you are all patiently waiting to hear about my last trip across the pond, a trip I had been looking forward to all summer long.  It was absolutely wonderful, as beautiful as I expected, and all my guides will be up soon.  But before we talk about the trip, I wanted to talk a bit about preparing for a big trip.  Because let's face it, getting ready for a trip to some of Europe's most beautiful cities involves a lot of little steps.  From buying things you need, getting documents in order, all that trip planning, and then the final steps of packing, charging devices, putting travel alerts on your cards and so on.  This trip was a little different than most of my trips where I am hiking somewhere outdoors and taking a lot of pictures of the scenery.  

A confident smile on the bridges of Paris
This trip, I was actually packing nice clothes - no hiking boots and gym shorts in my suitcase.  I planned on taking a lot of pictures on this trip (with me in the frame) and so, there were a few things I knew I needed to do before my countdown hit the single digits. 

      1)  I really needed some fun dresses that would stand out in the city

     2)  I needed to test out some good walking shoes, and

     3) I really needed to make sure this smile was as white as it could be for the 456 photos 
     I was planning on taking.  ** Spoiler: Thanks to Smile Brilliant, I did 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Best of the Boardwalk - Ocean City, New Jersey

There is something so innocent and youthful about a weekend in Ocean City, New Jersey.  This "Beach Resort Town" has been rated the #1 family beach community in the country by the Travel Channel and let's face it, you can't help but feel like a kid again as you stroll down the boardwalk and play in the surf. 

For starters, it's a dry county meaning no alcohol is served within the county.  No package stores/liquor stores here and the restaurants do not serve alcohol either.  By default, this sort of keeps a lot of the riff-raff out as you will not see spring breakers or bachelor parties roaming the boardwalk at night.  This part of Dry Jersey helps keep the town cleaner, safer, and family-friendly. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Plan Bee Farm Brewery - Poughkeepsie, New York

After a hiking weekend in the Catskills and a sort of failed local brewery attempt at Hunter Mountain Brewery (great food, no on-site brewed beer, still confused) I was excited to find a local brewery with great beer, and yes, a brewery that actually made beer on-site.  

What we found was even better.  
Not only do they brew a variety of great beer, but they do it using ingredients from the farm. 

This second brewery attempt was a trendy little brewery outside of Poughkeepsie where you can drink a beer brewed with local "right from the farm" ingredients while dodging roaming chickens and petting friendly goats.  If this is up your alley (or er, field?) look no further than Plan Bee Farm Brewery.

Hunter Mountain Scenic Skyride - Catskills, New York

I've spent a lot of time on ski lifts.  From the mountains of Massachusetts to the peaks of Utah, summits in Wyoming and slopes of Colorado, I have seen a lot of different chairlifts in my day.  But a chairlift in the summer?  This was a first.  

It was the first time I walked right onto a lift in a summer dress and a flip flops with a tan and a smile instead of my winter coat and skis.  The prognosis? it was absolutely lovely to be on a lift not freezing my buns off.  So let's just say that my (new) favorite way to get up a mountain is on a perfect sunny summer day, sitting on a chairlift and enjoying the breeze and the views below.  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Kaaterskill Falls (summer) Hike - Catskills, New York

The first time we hiked Kaaterskill Falls was late March.  Snow fell on the higher elevations overnight and when we walked to the trailhead, there was a perfect white coating of snow on the ground.  We had microspikes and beanies, layers and gloves as we made our way along the trail and up to the top of the icey falls.  It was also just a few weeks into knowing Adam, less than a month when I casually suggested I had a weekend booked at a dog-friendly tiny house in the Catskills and if you wanted to come, you know, it could be fun (or weird, who knew). 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Giant Ledge Hike - Catskills, New York

The Catskills have become my calming place.  An escape when I need to feel the quiet of the woods and the trail without journeying too far away from home.  A place where there are more trees, less people and things slow down a little bit.  A place where I spend time with a handsome dark-haired man and our two dogs, making summer memories in the mountains. 

My summer has revolved around work and two crazy jobs so by the time Friday rolls around - I am wound.  Wound up in meetings and emails, commutes and phone calls, days managing projects in the field and nights behind the bar.  I am short on sleep and time and certainly short on patience.  Adam had a rough July as well, recovering from a sinus infection, wisdom teeth surgery, and then another surgery on his nose.  We were mentally (me) and physically (him) wounded.  I knew the solution for me: get in the car and drive north.  It was a little tougher for him (wisdom teeth extraction and nose surgery) but we seemed to find a casual compromise between my need for peaks and his limitations post procedures.  

Our compromise was the Catskills: no backpacking, smaller hikes, a quiet evening of camping.  

Monday, August 5, 2019

Bluff Head and Northwoods (Guilford) - Connecticut Best Hikes

I've been working on a "Best of Connecticut" Hike List for some time now.  With great hiking in the Whites of New Hampshire, Greens of Vermont, Berkshires of Massachusetts, and the Catskills and Adirondacks of New York, it's easy to forget that Connecticut has some great options.  While a lot of the trails in Connecticut are on the "walk in the woods" or "not much of a view" category, there are truly some gems in this state.  Would you believe me if I told you can find everything ranging from challenging hikes with elevation to pretty lakes and expansive vistas? Listen up Nutmegers, we have it. 

A hiking spot called "Bluff Head" kept coming up when people talked about some of their favorite local hikes.  Best part?  This hike is actually located in my town.  And so, it had been on my list for a while but life got busy and this hike was constantly pushed to the backburner.  I finally had the time in the middle of summer when I had an injured Adam and a new hiker in town.   I figured this quick hike with great views was the perfect way to show a different side of Connecticut and yes, show off Guilford.  In this town, you can go clamming in the sound before changing into some shorts and grabbing Fido for a hike to the Bluff Head viewpoint.  Extra points if you end the day with ice cream at the llama farm.  

Ocean and a hike with a view.  
You can have your cake and eat it too. 

Northwoods and Bluff Head Preserve cover 500 acres of land protected by the Guilford Land Conservation Trust.  The Bluff Head summit (the viewpoint) is an exposed ridge with beautiful views of Meyer Huber Pond and the surrounding hillsides.  The geology consists of the "Broomstick Ledges", gray schist that was actually once the sea bottom. These outcrops of rock offer some pretty viewpoints of the Connecticut landscape below.  The viewpoint stands at 720 feet above sea level making it the highest point in Guilford. 

Before you head to Bluff Head, there are a few things you should know.  You can get up to the viewpoint pretty quickly at the sacrifice of some steep and unsteady terrain.  Or, you can take a more gradual (but longer) trail to the viewpoint.  Mileage or incline, pick your poison.  And speaking of poison, we did happen to see some of it along the trail.  In fact, Gian, a newbie hiker who I convinced to join us on this quick jaunt, sort of actually fell back into some of the poison ivy on the steeper parts of the trail.  Bad luck, good laughs.  


I gave Gian my secret stash of Tecnu and even after landing in a bunch of the stuff, he never developed the rash (it's all about the elbow grease, you need to scrub the oils off).  The moral of the story? If you want to hike in New England you need a sturdy hiking shoe and a whole lot of tecnu

The trail is part of the Mattabesset hiking trail, a 60-mile trail traveling through the towns of Guilford, Durham, Madison, Haddam, Middletown, North Branford, Wallingford, Middlefield, Meriden and Berlin,  The Matabesset hiking trail is part of the 215 mile New England Scenic Trail (which goes from Long Island Sound in Guilford to the MA/NH border).

Parking:  There is a lot at the Bluff Head trailhead on Rt. 77 about 1/2 mi. north of Great Hill Rd (it should come up on Google Maps).  Once you get off the highway (I-95), follow Route 77 for approximately  8.6 miles where you will see a blue sign and a parking area on your left.  There are no bathrooms at the trailhead.

Kids/Dogs:  Dogs are allowed on the trail (but must be on-leash).  The less steep section (blue orange trail) would be okay for older kids.  The steep blue trail is very steep and may even be tough for some adults.  Also, there are also exposed ledges which would be dangerous for young children.

Pick Your Trail: The trail map was a little confusing at the parking lot.  It seemed to contradict itself on which trail was the steeper shorter and which was the longer trail.  We went with our gut and followed the steep looking trail directly adjacent to the trailhead map/marker (blue trail). 

And then at home doing some research, I found this "The Mattabesett section of the New England Trail over Bluff Head in Guilford has undergone a blaze change. The blue/orange side trail is now the primary route to the top of the ridge and is marked with blue blazes. The old trail has experienced severe erosion and is, at times, unsafe. We encourage hikers to follow the blue blazes to ascend and descend from Bluff Head."

I read this after and followed the steep section of the trail (now mislabeled but you can clearly see the difference at the beginning of the trail).  We did end up following the blue/orange trail for a little bit once we reached the first viewpoint by accident.  I quickly realized this was taking us back down so we turned around and made our way back to the blue trail that follows the bluff.   

Trail 1: Blue-Blazed Trail - Direct, Short and Steep *Marked "M" on the map.
The trail immediately to the west of the parking lot, marked with light blue blazes, very steep for the first 300-yards.  You will get to your first overlook with views to the east.  Stay straight on the blue trail and do NOT turn left onto the blue and orange trail (heading to the left/west) and back down the trail.  The blue trail continues north along the bluff until you reach the view of the green landscape and the very green Meyer Huber Pond.  Turn around at the viewpoint as the trail is part of the Mattabessert and NET and you can follow it all the way to New Hampshire.  Be careful coming down the steeper section of the trail.  The Blue-Orange trail is the recommended route. 
Distance: Shorter/blue option, 1-mile to 1.25-miles round trip 

Trail 2:  Blue/Orange - More Gradual, Longer Distance  *Marked "B" on the map.  
The second trail from the parking lot is more gradual, reaching the bluff after about one mile of walking.  This trail leaves the parking lot on the dirt road on the south side of the lot and is marked by light blue blazes with an orange dot in the center.  It continues along the dirt road – an old town road called Fire Tower Road – until it turns right (north) off the road onto a foot trail which leads to the main blue trail.  It basically does a big loop west, cutting down on the elevation over distance, before ending and joining the blue-blazed Mattabesett Trail which takes you to the vistas.
Distance: Longer, less steep option 2-miles 

It was a hot humid day but the quick short hike with the dogs to this pretty viewpoint was exactly what we needed. A bit of a scramble but worth it to be able to hike to some views fairly close to the shoreline of Connecticut. With the heat, we planned this late in the day, armed with a bottle of water and headlamps with the hope of making this a fun little sunset hike.  And then I realized it was an east-facing viewpoint and this would actually be a perfect morning sunrise hike. 

Guilford, thanks for the views and I can't wait to see the sunrise from the highest point in town.  

Other Connecticut Best Hikes

Monday, July 29, 2019

Elizabeth Park Rose Garden - Hartford, Connecticut

One day long, long, ago in my early twenties, I was sitting at the break room table at my job as a seasonal employee in the middle of summertime, exasperated that it was only Wednesday.  Between bites of whatever I was eating, I sighed out loud that I wished it was Friday.  And then I heard some of the best advice I have ever been given.  Don't wish your life away. 

Boom, it was such a short saying that packed a punch. You can't live for the weekend, and you certainly can't sit at the break room table miserable with your job wishing it was Friday.  Because Monday through Thursday?  Well, they can rock too. 

So maybe you can't go on an epic hiking trip on a Tuesday afternoon.  But what you can do is find a new-to-you treasure right there in your home state, maybe even the next town over.  I am thankful that Connecticut has a lot to offer in the summertime.  Concerts on the beach, amazing parks, beaches galore, dinner on the farm series, and so much more.  What I didn't know until recently was that Connecticut also has this amazing rose garden in a place where you least expect it, our less than glamourous capital city of Hartford.  Not only does it have this beautiful rose garden but it is dog-friendly, FREE, and home to a Wednesday concert series.