Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A Walk Through Montmartre (Paris)


Picture this...

An authentic little french village perched upon a butte. Steep cobblestone streets weave their way cutting through tall apartment buildings dotted with endless windows and teeny balconies. Some of the building walls are tastefully decorated with various murals and in the town square, artists are perched over easels, painting cityscapes and fields of flowers.


Monday, November 25, 2019

Paris - Major Sights



I sat in the waiting area at the Copenhagen airport, eventually finding a seat next to a well-dressed gentleman who was also waiting to board a flight.  Close quarters meant we quickly exchanged travel plans, talking about our trip through some of Europe's popular cities.  I told him I was on my way to Paris after spending 3 days in Copenhagen, Denmark and a day in Malmo, Sweden.  He was on his way back to Rome and we chatted about the differences between these pretty little cities.  He talked about the cleanliness of Copenhagen and the party scene of Malmo and when it came to Paris, he told me what he thought.  Paris... it's too romantic.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dog Mountain - St Johnsbury, Vermont


Vermont is so incredibly cool.  It's hard to describe, really. If you spent any time in Burlington, you get that vibe from this amazing little city filled with breweries and cobblestone streets, bike lanes and that beautiful lake.  If you prefer the mountain, you have those special spots like Kingdom Trails, miles of mountain biking through Vermont's northeast kingdom.  You have ski areas and long-distance hiking trails,  sweet little towns and famous mountains.  You can find awesome food and some really really good beer.  You can sleep in yurts, snooze in cabins, toss around in tents, bike gravel roads, walk along recreation paths.  You have this amazing variety of recreation and relaxation in Vermont.  

And then, you have places like Dog Mountain. 

Dog Mountain is the most amazing spot you never heard about.  I spent (most of) my life as a die-hard New Englander.  After my time in Utah, I spent my time in New England dedicated to exploring the nook and crannies of these six states.  It wasn't until my trip to Kingdom Trails this year that I heard about this amazing spot called Dog Mountain.  I was dropping Olive off at a dog sitters for the day while I biked the trails.  The dog sitter asked if she could take Olive to someplace called Dog Mountain.  After a quick google search, I was instantly jealous of my dog and her plans for the day.  So jealous, I just had to go myself. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Rand's View - Canaan, Connecticut (AT Highlight)


There's something about driving through those little towns in Northern Connecticut.  There's something about traveling through winding roads through towns called "Cornwall" and "Canaan" with someone in the passenger seat.  

This wasn't my first time in this part of Connecticut, it's a sweet spot in this state that I keep coming back to.  I did this trip with Thatcher and Olive back in 2016, spending time in Salisbury and driving through picturesque Cornwall on our way to hike Connecticut's highest summit, Bear Mountain.  I went back to the northeast corner with Rob and Rogi, summer of 2018, stopping for coffees at Sweet Williams and a drive down Main Street before heading to hike Overlook Mountain in the Catskills.  In the late fall of 2018, Jeff and I spent a day driving through Litchfield County, stopping to stroll through private boarding schools that resembled mini college campus' before stopping for a beer at Kent Falls Brewing, a stroll through Kent Falls State Park, and a hike in Macedonia State Park.  

Kent Falls,  November 2018

I guess this is my way of saying how special this part of the state is, how much I love experiencing a new part of familiar areas with someone and some-dogs by my side.   This trip was no different, we were visiting old places with new sights and scenery, it was Adam and I and the dogs, late September on a warm sunny day.  

Friday, November 8, 2019

Mt. Pisgah Loop Hike - Lake Willoughby, Vermont


The temperatures were in the low 30s as I finished off my coffee and traveled across lonely dirt roads in northern Vermont, away from the quaint little village of Island Pond.  You know the dirt roads I'm talking about, narrow paths that cut through the woodsy untouched patches of Vermont.  These dirt roads are often lonely in the best way possible sometimes dotted with a cabin or two, or sweet houses or properties set back in the woods.  As you drive these dirt roads up and down Vermont, you can't help but stop and wonder how people get to their houses when the snow starts to fall.  This time of year, these dirt roads are an oasis, quiet enough to pull over and take in a picture and enjoy the view and you can drive along and feel like you are in a Lifetime romance movie.  It was the last of the leaves in Northern Vermont and it was just Olive and I at the tail end of my Kingdom Trails weekend, on a mission to catch some more golden hues and check out a new hike in the Northeast Kingdom. 





Before I left Connecticut, I did some research on some of the best hikes in Vermont and was happy to see one of these highly-rated hikes was only 20 minutes north of Kingdom Trails.  Mt. Pisgah in Westmore, Vermont makes the "Must Hike List" for its bird's eye views of Lake Willoughby and mountain vistas featuring Vermont, New Hampshire, and Canada.  It's a lovely little hike that is a moderate effort, a day hike that can be done as an "out and back" or as a loop hike if you don't mind a road walk.  Who minds a road walk when you have the mountains on one side and a lake on the other.  I did not. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

An Introvert's Afternoon in Island Pond, Vermont



You are going to be surprised to read this, but let me share a little secret with you.  I actually consider myself to be an introvert... an outgoing introvert if we are being precise.  It wasn't always obvious to me but the older I got the more I started to realize how true this was.

I'll cancel plans (especially in groups) and a lot of the times if I don't cancel, I sometimes secretly hope you will.  I can talk to anyone, but I despise small talk.  I love deep meaningful one on one conversation more of a one on one style.  Crowds... they make me incredibly anxious.  Social settings drain me and after a long week of work, I genuinely prefer to be home on a Friday night (often myself or with Adam).  I feel like I have an old soul and it's home alone doing things around the house at 7 in bed by 9 with a book when I recharge.  I am genuinely happy to do things on my own, and more importantly, need that time to do things on my own.  So yes, I can talk to anyone and you can pin me as outgoing without a doubt but at my core, I'm actually an introvert. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Katie in the Kingdom - Mountain Biking Kingdom Trails 2019




I love a solo trip.

A solo trip is a chance to go at my pace, spend time just Olive and I, focus on myself and my wants and needs.  There is something to be said for doing things on your own for being independent and comfortable with your own company.  Solo trips are selfish in a way, and a perfect way to recharge.  Solo trips.... they let you think.  Those long hours in the car or miles on the trails let me get in my own head, hashing out where I am in life and what I am doing right and can improve upon. 


This wasn't my first time packing up the car for one girl and one dog, but this trip didn't start that way.  It was originally planned as a 3-day weekend away for Adam and I, leaving the dogs behind to bike Kingdom Trails for a day before heading to Stowe for two more days.  He had never been to Stowe and had never even heard of Kingdom Trails and I was excited to show him some of my favorite parts of Vermont. 

But sometimes plans don't always work out. Life had other plans and mother nature sent some nasty weather our way.  Adam (the lineman) had to work 16-hour shifts until everyone's power was back on.  Non-negotiable.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Hiking Bear Mountain - Highlands, New York


It was still peak foliage in the northern/central regions of New England and we only had a day to spend in the woods.  Saturday was filled with pumpkin carving and Adams nephew's birthday party (and my first time to Stew Leonards, still not sure how I feel about).  So with the weekend commitment of Saturday around Connecticut, Sunday had its limitations.  The plan was kind of a "no plan" plan....sleep in and in the morning, find a hike within a 1-2 hour radius with prime foliage and awesome views.


Bear Mountain was a state park Adam kept referring to just over the border in New York.  He had never been but knew it received high marks as far as viewpoints and accessibility went.  We had been toying around with the idea of the Catskills but ended up opting for Bear Mountain, a supposedly scenic hike closer than the Catskills, located just an hour from Adam's house in Norwalk, Connecticut.

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 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 this loop.... 38 miles in two days climbing 7,500', with a fair amount of struggle on day 2.  I did this loop untrained and unprepared and missing the one peak Ryan needed.  Education isn't free folks.  Sometimes you pay in dollars, sometimes you pay in blood, sweat, and tears.  

But before I get into the specifics of this hike, all miles and emotions, let's 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 that hikers go out to conquer.  These loops are often designed to bag as many peaks as you can, making notoriously long and hard hikes that often done in overnight trips.  

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)

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

Katahdin


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)

Vermont

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.