Search This Blog

Monday, December 30, 2019

Year in Review 2019

Every year when the last week of December comes into view on my calendar, I stop to reflect on the year behind me.  It's the best way I know to really appreciate all of my adventures throughout the year to really love and appreciate my life, taking a minute to revisit the memories from local hikes to trips abroad.  These posts are highlight reels - my life in snapshots - a way to savor some of the best memories of each month.  

Because it's the end of the decade, this year in review is a little special.  I went back through all my years in review (2014 to now) and relived some of the memories of the last five years.  In those years I moved across the country and yep, I moved back. I loved and I was loved. I broke my own heart and I experienced loneliness in its different forms from holidays alone to the pang of a Sunday morning for one.  

It's a lovely idea to do this sort of "meditation" at the close of each year.  It's the idea that instead of comparing your life to someone else's, you compare it to your own.   You celebrate your own achievements and setbacks and spend some time really analyzing your time here as we make another trip around the sun. 

2014: MOVED WEST - I spent a lot of time with Bradley (horseshowing) and even visited Thatcher out in Utah a few times.  I ran my first marathon here in Rhode Island and as the summer ended, I drove across the country and moved to Utah to be with Thatcher and start grad school at the University of Utah.  I started to learn what life in the west so far from my family was like. I did a lot of skiing and studying and was miserably homesick at times.  

2015:  YEAR OF TRAVEL - A full year living out in Utah and a year of exploring.  I visited Great Salt Lake, walked Bonneville Salt Flats, skied Jackson Hole, soaked in the sunshine in Las Vegas, hiked Zion National Park, went over to Colorado to see Rocky Mountain National Park and Denver, I sipped wine in Napa, I saw the sea lions in San Francisco, I drove Highway 1 down the California Coast to Big Sur, I flew home and went to Maine Vermont and Block Island, I did a lot more Utah hiking including trips to Southern Utah (Bryce, Capitol Reef and Escalante) and fell in love with the desert, I did a lot of Utah skiing, I ran my second marathon, I ran the Salt Lake City Half Marathon and I coached Girls On The Run.

2016: MOVED EAST - I started the year with a trip to Madeira with my family where I went scuba diving and hiked along levadas, I went to Puerto Rico for more scuba diving, a wedding, a walk through the rainforest, and fun in the sun.  Back in Utah I learned to XC ski, I walked through fancy ice castles and I rode my mountain bike through Moab, I soaked in hot springs and joined a group of friends for a road trip to Southern Utah and Arizona (Monument valley and Natural Bridges National Monument), I skied Utah and did a lot more local hiking, I took a road trip to Oregon across the state and down the rugged coast, my parents came out to visit Utah and watch me graduate with my Master's Degree.  Thatcher and I moved back east, taking the U-Haul to Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park, we resumed life back east and we moved into Stonington, I flew back to Utah to watch Amanda tie the knot and of course did a lot of hiking, back east I worked on my New England high points, I jumped back into diving and went on my first scallop diving trip in Boston, I biked Kingdom Trails for the first time and enjoyed my first holiday season back home. 

2017:  YEAR BACK HOME -  It was all about being back east and enjoying time with family and friends.  We skied the east, we slept in yurts in the middle of winter and hiked camels hump in a lot of snow, we went to a lot of breweries.  I went out to Grand Cayman for a scuba diving trip, I flew out to California to explore the LA/Santa Monica area, I explored NYC Boston and Newport with Amanda, I went to the Belmont Horse Race, I did a lot of New Hampshire hiking, I hiked Maine's highest peak and did more diving in Gloucester, I watched Kristen get married and spent 10 days driving around and exploring Iceland (waterfalls, horses, mountain tops, and glaciers oh my). 

2018:  YEAR OF GROWTH - It was the year I was challenged, the year I grew and the year of change.  It was the year Thatcher and I went our separate ways and I made big moves.  I spent a long weekend in Florida, I celebrated my 30th birthday on the back of a dogsled in Banff National Park, I soared in hot air balloons over Arizona, I bought a house all on my own in Guilford Connecticut, I went to the Adirondacks of New York with my parents and Stowe Vermont with the girls, I went diving with seals in Massachusetts and did my first overnight backpacking trip in the Whites of New Hampshire with Ryan, I traveled out to Utah to blog about Carbon County and spent a week mountain biking and hiking with Amanda, I explored the quiet corner of Connecticut, I went to NYC for Christmas with my mom and Philip, I did some New England skiing and spent some time in the Adirondacks of New York,  Oh, and I went on a lot of first dates. 

2 0 1 9

The last five years (and the last year) taught me how important adventure is in my life and how lucky I have been to travel and explore with the people I love. I have been to some amazing places from the glaciers of Iceland to levadas in Madeira, scuba diving in Grand Cayman and driving the west coast of the USA.  My 20's were an amazing decade of my life and my 30s are the best in change and growth. So now that you are officially all caught up, let's talk about the last 12 months, 2019.

Moose River Lodge - Adirondacks 

j a n u a r y
I started 2019 in a very new relationship.  For the first time in a long time I was hopeful that this one would work out (spoiler alert, I was wrong).  I rang in the new year in a quiet little corner of the Adirondacks.  It was Pat, Olive, Dax and I in the "Moose River Lodge" enjoying the quiet of a New Years' Eve in the woods.  We explored new-to-me spots, spent some time in the gym and wandered through the woods not yet ready for snowmobiles.  Pat taught me a bit about CrossFit, a gym down the road I had been considering joining for a while.  Towards the end of the month we headed north for a long weekend - Pat and I met Liz, Alex, and their friends up in Stowe for another long snowy weekend.  We stayed with his parents at their house in Stowe Hollow, skied one busy day with Liz and Alex, and I skied a second day with Pat's dad Steve and some of his friends.  We got to the mountain in time to get in line for the first turn of the lifts and we were rewarded with one of the best powder days I have ever had, right here in Vermont.  Our last day in Stowe we threw on some cross country skis and skied our way over to Stowe Cider for some cider flights before heading back to the house and eventually back home to the Connecticut coast. 

Snowmobiling - Adirondacks, NY

f e b r u a r y
Thanks to Pat's push to finally walk through the door and try a class, I officially started my membership with Guilford CrossFit, happy to welcome this new form of workout into my life as I struggled with a thyroid diagnosis that was causing some serious and out of control weight gain.  The month started slow but picked up speed because February is my birthday month.  To celebrate 31, I headed back up north to Pat's Moose River Lodge.  We spent two days snowmobiling around the Adirondacks, my first time on a sled all on my own. I got the sled stuck once as we made our way through the trails, a bar crawl on sleds if you will.  We ended the trip with a day down at Brantingham's Ice Festival by the lake and some snowshoeing out in the woods, turning 31 as the snow fell around me in a beautiful section of New York.  That relationship ended with that trip to the Adirondacks and as frustrated as I was, I went back to the world of dating in your 30s.  Oh, am I thankful I did because in the last week of February, I agreed to meet a sweet and insanely handsome lineman at one of New Haven's famous pizza joints and as they say, the rest is history.   

Loon Mountain, New Hampshire

Vail, Colorado 

Vail, Colorado

Beaver Creek, Colorado 

Catskills, New York

Catskills, New York

m a r c h
March was all winter fun and getting to now Adam.  I started the month with a trip to ski Loon with my uncle.  We had a great day on a new-to-me ski mountain, using Loon as a warmup for my next big ski trip.  The next week, I met Liz and Madison at the park and ride in Rhode Island and we loaded our ski bags into our cars and dragged them through the Boston airport, destination Colorado for an epic girls ski trip.  We arrived in Denver just in time for some wild weather that was causing avalanches and highway closures.  We finally arrived in Frisco to our cute little Airbnb, home base for a week of skiing the Rockies.  We skied Beaver Creek and Vail until I sprained my ankle badly enough to put me in the lodge as Madison and Liz skied Breckenridge and back to Vail again.  Even with the injury, I had an amazing trip with the girls, following a scavenger hunt Adam creatively made for me, all while soaking up everything I love about home-town friendships and the mountains out west.  

After Colorado, I spent a few weeks at home, celebrating Adam's birthday with homemade sushi before inviting him to spend two nights in a tiny house resort in the Catskills.  Thankfully he agreed to spend the weekend in 200 square feet with me at a Tiny House Resort in the woods.  We packed up our winter clothes and our dogs and headed into the Catskills for our first weekend away, a weekend of great hiking and awesome food wandering through some of the quaint towns in the area.  We hiked famous Kaaterskill falls in a fresh snowfall and enjoyed the views from Newman's Ledge.  

Connecticut/New York/Massachusetts border 

Mount Greylock, Massachusetts

a p r i l 

April meant fun around town where I embraced the melting snow and rain of spring.  I spent a lot of time with the horses, time driving to and from Norwalk to spend time with Adam, and I spent some miles on the trails with the dogs.  Adam met my friends for the first time as we celebrated Liz's birthday at a perfect paella dinner at her house. Adam and I also signed up for a Griswald Inn Wine Tour where we learned about the history of the inn and about some of the paintings hanging on its walls.   I spent Easter soaking up the sunshine with Adam's family (Adam in an easter bunny suit included) and a trip to a rescue farm in New York to meet his friends and spend a Sunday learning the routine of taking care of the rescued animals.  The month ended with a trip to the tri-state marker of Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts with Adam and Chris.  We hiked Connecticut's highest point (Mount Frissel) before driving into Greylock and hiking up to the campsite where we spent a chilly night in a tent with our dogs.  The next day, we summited Massachusett's tallest peak (my second time) on a snowy spring morning before heading home to the warmth of my 1,100 square feet. 

Ragged Mountain, Berlin, CT

West Palm Beach, Florida 

m a y
May in New England meant everything was finally back to green and the flowers were starting to blossom.  I met Dana for a hike with our dogs at Ragged Mountain where we caught up as the miles passed, enjoying my first hike without the snow this year.  I spent a lot of time at the barn and Adam and I continued our trips from Norwalk to Guilford to spend time together.  In the middle of May, Adam and I hopped on a plane, our first flight/real trip together to spend a few days in West Palm Beach, Florida.  We relaxed on sandy beaches, swam in the pool, kayaked with manatees, walked around Singer Island, and I even snuck away for two dives out in the ocean.  We ended the month with a trip to the local lobster shack, we worked on the never-ending deck project and celebrated Mother's Day with my family at an Ashley Dwyer picnic on the river.  

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Shining Sea Bike Path Falmouth Cape Cod
Falmouth, Massachusetts

Paugussett State Forest Blue Blazed Zoar Trail dog Lake Zoar
Lake Zoar, Connecticut 

Elizabeth Park Rose Garden, Connecticut 

j u n e
June started strong with a trip to somewhere new, Martha's Vineyard.  Adam, Ashley, Jon, myself, my parents and my aunt and uncle loaded our bikes onto the ferry in Woods Hole where we spent the day exploring the island.  It was a perfect almost summer day and we traversed the island in a bike "gang", enjoying picnics by the lighthouse and strolls past quaint New England storefronts.  We spent the night in Woods Hole and spent the next day exploring Falmouth, Massachusetts.  Back in Connecticut, Adam and I took the dogs hiking in Newtown along Lake Zoar and we went to my parents to celebrate Father's Day with my family.  The month ended with more lobster rolls, trips to the movies, and time at the barn, a picnic with Ashley at Elizabeth Park Rose Garden in Hartford and another one on the beach in Old Saybrook. 

Gorge Trail Robert H. Trehman State Park Bridge
Finger Lakes, New York 

Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park, New York 

Trail and Streambed Taughannock Falls State Park
Taughannock Falls State Park, New york

Catskills, New York

Catskills, New York

j u l y
July was more traveling with Adam, first with a trip far into New York, into the Finger Lakes region with my parents and their glamper.  We spent a few days hiking in the gorges, stopping at wineries and restaurants, ice cream stands and stores.  We went to Robert Trehman State ParkLetchworth State ParkTaughannock Falls State Park, even stopping at Buttonwoods Winery along the Finger Lakes famous wine trail.  The rest of the month entailed trips to the beach, hikes in Guilford, kayaking in Norwalk, and another weekend in New York, this time a weekend in the Catskills, hiking Giant Ledges and Kaaterskill falls and camping at a quiet spot and taking the scenic chair lift ride up Hunter Mountain.  The month ended with a CrossFit related knee injury that forced me to take two months off from running and the gym. 

Ocean City, New Jersey

Ocean City, New Jersey 

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Malmo, Sweden

Paris, France

Paris, France

a u g u s t
August in New England means summer is in full swing and the end is near.  We celebrated a Connecticut summer with more exploring with Adam, my favorite thing to do.  I took Adam to Stonington to show him my favorite parts about my favorite New England town.  We went clamming and tried to stay local, stopping at Liv's Shack with my family for lobster, spending time in the sound with Adam's parents on their boat, and finally, a trip to New Jersey to spend a weekend with Adam and his friends on the boardwalk.  After New Jersey, we headed to the airport where we caught a flight to Copenhagen Denmark with my parents, aunt, uncle, and Philip.  We spent a few days in Copenhagenbiking around busy streets, visiting Tivoli Gardens, jumping into the canals, eating local fare and taking in perfect sunsets in Nyhavn before taking a train to Sweden for the day and eventually hopping on a plane to Paris.  It was just Philip, Adam and I in Paris and we were happy to be in the land of beautiful bridges and see the major sights, stroll through authentic Parisian villages and amazing carbs.  We went on boat tours, walked through museums, ate as much as we could, and even took a trip underground to explore the Catacombs of Paris.  

White Mountains, New Hampshire

Bondcliff,  New Hampshire

Bondcliff, New Hampshire

Lovers Leap State Park, Connecticut

Housatonic River, Connecticut 

s e p t e m b e r
September is truly the best month in New England as the humidity winds down and the warm days turn into cool nights.  I had taken nearly two months off from running, CrossFit and hiking, letting a knee injury heal.  Ryan and I had planned our annual backpacking trip, the Semi-Pemi loop, this one bigger and more untrained than the last.  The hike got a bit longer than we expected with a 15-mile day the first day and a 22-mile day the second day.  I was untrained, unfit and some exhaustion anxiety hit me in the middle of day two.  Nonetheless, we had a great hike, taking in views of the Bonds, spending the night at Guyot campsite where Ryan had once again trekked wine, cheese crackers, and pepperoni 15 miles into the woods.  We made it back to the car 30 something miles later, another overzealous backpacking trip under my belt.  On a warm Sunday, we made our way north to Farmington, Connecticut to watch a polo match with Ashley and Jon.  Another weekend, we traveled to the northwest corner of Connecticut.  We hiked along the Appalachian Trail to Rand's View, known as the "crown jewel" of Connecticut AT hiking. We left work early one day and spent an afternoon at the Big E (a large New England fair), enjoying fried food, farm animals, and a stroll through the statehouses.  We ended the month at home with a trip to the driving range and some time in the woods where we discovered a new-to-us favorite place to hike. 

Mount Tecumseh, New Hampshire

Pemigewasset, New Hampshire

Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

Kingdom Trails, Vermont 

Island Pond, Vermont 

Mt Pisgah, Vermont 

Bear Mountain, New York 

o c t o b e r 
Fall made its way into New England and the leaves were in peak foliage as we drove north to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  We hiked a 4,000 footer, Mt. Tecumseh, hiking up the trails and down the ski mountain for amazing views and foliage.  We camped out in New Hampshire and in the morning, traveled through one of New England's most famous scenic drives, Kancamagus Highway.  We leaf peeped our way along, stopping to follow leaf-littered trails and follow fast-flowing streams through the woods.  I made my way to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for my annual mountain biking trip at Kingdom Trails.  I also made time to stop at Dog Mountain, check out a new quaint New England town Island Pond, and hike Mt Pisgah. We kept chasing the leaves, getting closer and closer to home, this time to hike Bear Mountain in New York.  We battled the crowds to enjoy some views along the NY section of the AT.  The leaves finally started to change here on the shoreline towards the end of the month.  We took the horses trail riding down along the Connecticut River in Old Lyme and I focused on my running, enjoying the last of the leaves before stick season took over. 

n o v e m b e r
I was finally back to CrossFit full time and thankful my base of running meant I maintained (and rebuilt) a lot of my fitness after my knee injury.  I spent time in the gym and along the roads running with Olive, training for our annual Thanksgiving 5-mile run.  It was a month spent working on the house, taking down the old fireplace, rebuilding a new propane fireplace setup, and insulating the attic.  We spent a lot of time on the local trails, trail running with the dogs and enjoying a slow change of pace (and a lot of housework) as we waited for the snow to fall and a new season of hobbies.  We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family and a five-mile run, thankful for a year of health, family, and friends.  We cut down a tree that weekend and just like that, the magic of Christmas worked its way into the house.

Guilford, Connecticut 

Chester, Connecticut 

Westbrook, Connecticut 

Loon, New Hampshire 

d e c e m b e r
We spent every weekend of the month getting in the Christmas spirit.  We started by walking to the Guilford Green to see the town come alive for the tree lighting and a luminaria event down in Connecticut's oldest stone house, enjoying the night and drinking hot chocolate by the fire.   The next weekend we went over to Newport, Rhode Island to tour the Newport Mansions decked out for the holidays.  I dragged my skis out from the basement and hit the slopes of Stratton with my friend Matt for my first day of the years on the slope, putting my Ikon pass to good use.  We went to the Buchanan holiday Christmas party, celebrating the season with friends that turned into family. We closed out the month with a trip to Northern New Hampshire.  Ski day 2 was a perfect day at Loon and a night spent in a cabin in the woods with Adam's family.  We took the nephews to Santa's Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire, watching their eyes light up as they thought we made it to what they thought was the North Pole.  

Mt Tecumseh, New Hampshire 

In 2019, I visited three new countries:  France, Sweden, Denmark.  Here in the U.S., I traveled through Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Colorado and Florida.  I spent a lot of time with family, a lot of time with Adam, and explored new places with the people I love. I rededicated myself to being healthy despite an autoimmune disorder and lost the 20 lbs I had gained.  In 2019, I made living a healthier lifestyle a goal - I spent a lot of time at CrossFit, a lot of time running (and hiking, and walking, and skiing).  2019 was so good but 2020 is already full of amazing plans. 

As Adam and I reflected on our first Christmas together, we daydreamed about how different the next one is going to be in so many amazing ways.  We both had tears in our eyes as we embraced how lucky we are and how good things are now and will continue to be.  My hopes for the future are continuing to build the best version of myself (mentally and physically), building a life and a family, and living my sense of adventure in a four-season mountain town.  

New year, same us, better together. 


No comments :

Post a Comment

Let's Chat!