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Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Holidays Lights at Lake Compounce - Bristol, CT

We have been going all out with holiday events this season. From a weekend in the Berkshires to light displays and cookie swaps to holiday dinners, it has been a fun Christmas season. We were looking to plan a fun family holiday event for my mother-in-law's 70th birthday and ended up at Lake Compounce on a Sunday night for their Holiday Lights event. 

Lake Compounce is the oldest, continuously-operating amusement park in the country, opening 176 years ago in 1846. The park is famous for its wooden roller coaster, water park, and New England charm. The park operates as your standard amusement park in the spring, summer, and fall before switching gears to Phantom Fall fest for a month in the fall and Holiday Lights in December. 

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Winter Lights at Naumkeag in the Berkshires (Stockbridge, MA)


Winter Lights at Naumkeag

The month of December is when tiny towns across New England turn into a Hallmark movie. The coffee shops and storefronts are decorated with lights and garlands. Carolers sing through the firelit dining room of historic restaurants. Tree lightings and winter festivals bring in the crowds while light parades close down wreath-lined Main Streets. Holiday events take over our weekend calendars and we all bundle up to sip cocoa and enjoy the season.

Stockbridge, a small town home to Norman Rockwell in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, does all of this with a heightened level of charm. Not only do they turn their town into a snowglobe backdrop, but they offer one of the best light shows in the country. Winterlights at Naumkeag offer a magical outdoor holiday experience at the famous estate which is a New England holiday event that cannot be missed. 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Providence Water Fire

Someone mentioned recently how much Adam and I have done relative to the timeline of our togetherness. I guess you can look at the timeline and say we were on a fast track in our mid to late 30s. In just a few short months (February of 2023), Adam and I will have been together for four years. In those four years we sold two houses, bought one together, renovated that house, got engaged and married, had our son, and will have had our daughter. It's a lot of life events in a relatively short timeframe but the truth of the matter is, we felt no need to linger. The beauty of meeting later in life is that we had truly lived full, rich lives before meeting each other. While there is a beauty is growing together (and we'll do that too), there is a fullness in showing up as that best version of yourself. We had established careers, developed goals, and knew what we wanted and needed going forward. We both did our fair share of dating, both short term and long term relationships, and felt ready to reach for those goals with no need to meet imaginary timelines.

This phase of life is awfully quiet right now, the calm before the storm if you will. Travel has been on a standstill as we manage a rambunctious almost 2 year old and finish up a few big house projects before the arrival of our daughter. Between cleaning up the remnants of tree work to renovating and creating a laundry room and master bathroom, it's been busy. We've relied on evening getaways and adventures close to home to get us out of the house and together without power tools in our hands. 

Before I met Adam, I went on a few dates with a sweet guy we'll call "The Dentist". While things didn't work with the Dentist, I had to hand it to him for planning some of the most adventurous and sweet dates. We went apple picking and through corn mazes, brunch and fall walks through New York City, wandered and hiked around the northwest corner of Connecticut, and down to Providence, Rhode Island for their water fire event. I had heard of water fire but had never been myself and it turned out to be a lovely way to spend a Saturday evening in the slower New England month of November. 

About Waterfire
It's a pretty simple event - a few streets in downtown Providence along the three rivers are shut down and turn into an open street fair of sorts. It is free and open to all but donations from visitors help to sponsor the event. It's technically an award-winning sculpture by Barnaby Evans where over eighty bonfires are lit in the river. Gondolas take visitors through the scene by boat and volunteers motor up and down the river, feeding the fires and keeping the flames lit. The fires are paired with themed music from around the world and street performers and other light displays line the streets. If you want to make an evening of it, grab dinner downtown and bundle up before heading back out. Grab a hot chocolate and walk the streets, enjoying the scene, music, and vendors. Sit for a bit along the banks before finding dessert and wrapping up the evening. If you want to ride the gondolas or have a specific restaurant in mind, I recommend making reservations in advance. 

Need to Know 
This was my second time visiting, Adam's first, and it was the perfect little date night away before the chaos of the holidays. I've only visited the event in the fall but the fires are lit from through December. Check the schedule when planning your event as the event is held on certain nights in the fall, and some nights are partial vs full lightings along the rivers. A full lighting includes all the braziers in the installation (85), a partial lighting is usually a single or two-section(s) of the river (approximately 1 city block). Programming along the river inclues ood vendors, an arts/crafts festival, and musical or theatrical performances. 

The lightings start at sunset which is obviously much later in the summer, and earlier in the fall/winter months. While I think this would be a fun event with kids, it does get very busy so navigating crowds with little ones could be tricky. Some people do bring their dogs to walk around the city but again, it's a pretty busy event and I think dogs are best left at home. While the event is free, parking in the city can be a bit pricey so plan on budgeting for a donation if you can, dinner, parking, and cocoa/dessert. 

Event Map 

On-street metered parking is your most cost effective parking option but will definitely be the hardest. There are parking garages throughout the city that are pricey but convenient. The Rhode Island State House offers short-term parking at One Capitol Hill and the Providence Place Mall also offers short-term parking in their garage.

Last Lighting of 2022
The last lighting of the year is coming up, three nights Thursday through Saturday December 1-3. It will be a partial lighting from 5:30 to 9:00, coinciding with the City of Providence's Three Nights of Light celebration. If you are looking for something festive and fun this holiday season, the last lighting of the year is a great way to kick off the holiday season. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Visiting the Beardsley Zoo - Bridgeport, CT

Some things are just so much sweeter through the eyes of a child. I have always loved zoos and aquariums as an adult and visited my fair share before Whitney. I majored in Marine Science and completed an internship at the Mystic Aquarium, working with the beluga whales, sea lions, and penguins, learning the ins and outs of a research-based zoo/aquarium facility. 

Zoos and aquariums often get a bad reputation when visitors see animals in their enclosures. As someone who has seen the ins and outs of these operations, I have a different appreciation for research and non-profit-based zoos and aquariums. I understand that these establishments are needed, captive subjects are researched and studied which in turn helps the larger wild populations. Beyond that, kids (and adults) need to see these animals up close and personal to care. It's one thing to read about a polar bear in a book, it's another thing to see one in real life and truly care about its existence, or possible lack thereof.

I hope Whitney grows to love animals, the kinds in our home, and in the wild. I hope he grows into a curious little boy with a respect for nature and everything in it. What better way to start than your local zoo?

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit owned and operated by the Connecticut Zoological Society. The zoo's mission involves education, recreation, and conservation. There are numerous indoor and outdoor exhibits fun for kids and adults of all ages. There is also a cafe, gift shop, and indoor historic carousel which is a must-visit while at the zoo. It was the perfect size for a toddler and we spent about an hour and a half walking around the exhibits, learning about the animals, and riding the carousel. There was some construction during our visit but we still had a great morning at the zoo. 

We showed up first thing Monday morning and were happily surprised to enjoy the quiet zoo on a beautiful fall day. We even had a sneak peek at the lanterns set up for the after-hours event in the fall called "Glow Wild". Glow Wild runs every Thursday - Sunday from September 15- November 27, from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. The event includes 35 large-scale illuminated displays of lanterns and has been quite the hit this past year. 

Tickets: Tickets can only be purchased online and must be purchased prior to your visit.

Members: Zoo members do not need to reserve tickets prior to their visit.

Hours: The Zoo is open daily from 9:00am - 4:00pm. The zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day (closing at 12pm on the days before these holidays) *Hours are subject to change due to weather and operational capacity.

Adult Admission (ages 12 & older) = $19.00
Child Admission (ages 3 -11) = $15.00
Senior Admission (62 & older) = $15.00
Under 3 years = FREE
Zoo Members = FREE

Covid-19 Protocols: Masks are required for all indoor exhibits (optional outside)

Address: 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06610

Contact: 203-394-6565 /

Friday, October 21, 2022

Soapstone Mountain/Shenipsit State Forest Loop Hike, Somers, CT

Every year, I head up to the beautiful northern New England states for some kind of leaf-peeping fun. Whether it be mountain biking in Vermont or hiking in the Whites, I love to experience the glorious month of October up north. This year, it just didn't happen and I had to keep reminding myself, we are just in a different season of life. Things have been hectic between babies, renovations, colds, and the dogs and we just never found the time to make it north. 

The good news is that my lack of travel meant I had to soak up all the color right here in Connecticut. Forced to slow down and explore a bit around here, I was pleasantly surprised at just how lovely the foliage was this year. From our own backyard to northern parts of Connecticut, the nutmeg state has a lot to offer come mid-October. I originally planned to head to the quiet northwest corner of Connecticut but after a bit of research, wanted to try somewhere a bit different. A quick search on google led me to the northern border to hike Soapstone Mountain in Shenipsit State Park in Somers, Connecticut. Short family and dog-friendly hike in a state park to a scenic vista with an observation tower to enjoy the views. What's not to love?

Monday, October 17, 2022

Sleeping Giant State Park (Tower Trail) - Hamden, CT


Sleeping Giant State Park is a well-known landmark here in Connecticut and has been since 1924. Named for the five ridges that form a "sleeping giant" in the 2-miles of the mountainside and is known for its climbable towers that offers sweeping views of the valley. The park has public restrooms (at the bottom and at the tower), a rentable picnic area, fishing options, and a lot of scenic hiking trails (30 miles). 

The tower trail is a very popular gravel trail 1.5 mile trail (one way) to the scenic tower and is family and fido friendly. If you want time to yourself, there are miles of other trails throughout the park that are far less traveled. Truth be told, I hadn't been to hike Sleeping Giant since 2006 while a freshman at Quinnipiac University. The campus is conveniently located directly across the street and you can often find college students, family and friends sporting their bobcat gear on the trail. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Hackensack Mountain Hike - Lake George Area

If you find yourself in the lower Adirondacks, the Lake George area to be precise, you are almost always guaranteed to be in a crowd. This popular summer tourist spot keeps bustling through the fall season as leaf peepers and balloon festival-goers flock to the village. Things slow down for a bit in November, kick back into gear for holiday festivities in December, and turn into ice festivals/winter carnivals on the lake in February. All this to say it's a busy area with lots to do, see, and eat. If you are in the area for one of the area's famous events, it's nice to sneak away from the crowds and enjoy one of the best things ADK has to offer, a beautiful hike with a bit of a workout. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Northeast Fall Round Up

New England's best season is fall. Fall is when the culture, color, and character of this area all collide. After a hot and humid summer, the cooler days are more than welcome and New Englanders head outside in various shades of flannel. The season is short and weekends in September and October are jam-packed with fairs, hikes, scenic drives, orchards, and haunted houses. This is just a handful of options for any fall fanatic finding themselves in New England during the glorious months of September and October.

New England and New York Fall Road Trip

A road trip that takes you to some of the highlights of New England and New York. It basically covers all of my highlights below in one convenient post. I even included a sample itinerary/route. It includes a few highlights from each state as you make your way through the northeast. 

New Hampshire

Kancamagus Highway

A New England must! The famous Kancamagus Highway is one of New Hampshire's National Scenic Byways, running east to west through the White Mountains. This 34.5-mile road climbs to 3,000' at the summit of Mount Kancamagus. There are great hikes right off the highway or scenic pull-over spots to get out and stretch your legs. It's a stunner and should be at the top of your list. 

Rated one of the best day hikes in New England, the Franconia Ridge Loop is at its prime in the fall. The cooler temps are welcomed on the ridgeline walk as your make your way across some of New Hampshire's 48ers. 

Mount Tecumseh 

This may be the most stunning fall hike I had ever been on in New Hampshire. You can hike up the trails and down the ski mountain trails which overs the most insane views of the Whites. Time it with the foliage and you will not be disappointed. 

Applecrest Farm

What's a fall festivity without a visit to a farm? Applecrest farm has it all - restaurant, orchard, pumpkin patch, wagon rides, store, and even a petting zoo. The perfect fall family-friendly stop on your way up to the Whites to hike. 

Northcountry Hard Cider

What says fall like cider? But let's make it hard cider for all the grownups in the group. They have a lot of fun different flavors featuring local produce like squash and habanero peppers. It's the perfect place to hang out and try a sampling of cider. 



Northwest Connecticut

Northwest Connecticut is a fantastic fall destination. It's bucolic and quiet, quaint apple orchards, lovely hikes, and the cutest decorated downtowns. Here's a weekender's guide because a day up in this corner of Connecticut just isn't enough. If you are looking for a hike or two, here are some of my favorites: White Memorial Conservation CenterPine Knob LoopRand's View
Bear MountainMacedonia Brook LoopRound MountainHenry David Thoreau Footbridge (Hidden Valley Preserve), or Meeker Trail Loop Macricostas Preserve

Bishops Orchard

Bishops orchard in Guilford, Connecticut is a shoreline gem. You can pick your own apples, stop at the pumpkin patch, head into the grocery store for supplies, and try some of their fruit wines. It's a fun local stop and one of my favorite options for apple picking in the fall. 

Housatonic River


Northeast Kingdom/Kingdom Trails 

One of my most favorite fall traditions was loading up the mountain bikes and heading north to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Stowe gets a lot of attention (and for good reason) but you will see all the mountain bikers heading to a slice of fall mountain biking paradise called Kingdom Trails. The town of Burke offers quaint inns and B&Bs, a ski mountain that offers a great hike, and an amazing network of trails. It offers some of the best fall foliage I have ever seen and pair it with a day on our bikes... New England fall at it's best. 

Stowe is a 4 season destination and I can't exactly decide which is my favorite. Fall is in the running as you get the warm sunny days followed by the crisp cool nights. You can head out to some of my favorite hikes colored in crimson, and spend the afternoons at the busy breweries and restaurants. Stowe Pinnacle is a great fall hike that gets you some pretty spectacular views without the long mileage. 

Cute town, lakefront, a fantastic hike, sign me up! Mt. Pisgah and Lake Willoughby take you into northern Vermont to a place I had never even heard of but quickly fell in love with. 

Vermont's tallest peak truly shows off in the fall. Claim one of the New England high points while enjoying the show of color that Vermont is famous for. Bring the dogs but maybe leave the kids behind and enjoy this special Vermont hike. 

Fall Camping Tips 

I love to camp just when the warm summer nights give to chilly fall evenings. There's something about snuggling up with someone you love in the quiet of the woods and that hot cup of coffee in the morning. One of the best ways to enjoy fall in New England is a cute BnB or a camping trip at one of the state parks. This guide is a gem for knowing a few important tips before heading out to camp in the fall. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Lobster Shack Tour - Winner Winner Lobster Roll Dinner

Katie Wanders food tours became my new favorite thing.  

It's kind of an excuse to go bananas on a certain type of food, you know, in the name of "research".  The New Haven Pizza Tour is complete, and the Connecticut Donut Tour is well underway.  The Lobster Shack Tour was my first "food tour baby" if you will, and honestly, it took the longest to complete and how could we close out summer without knowing which lobster roll reigns supreme? Here we are, at the end of summer and in all honesty, a few years later than expected but a lobster roll winner has been crowned in the KW books.  

I started it all in 2016 when I had the idea of finding which overly priced seafood sandwich was worth spending my money on. I wrote a post all about the scoring system, about lobsters, and how this little tour was going to work.  Then, I spent the rest of the summer doing the hard, hard, work of sampling lobster rolls from lobster shacks (not big restaurants) around the Connecticut shoreline.  

Guilford Lobster Pound

I finished this tour and found seven CT lobster shacks worthy of a review. While a lot of Connecticut eateries offer lobster rolls, I wanted to focus on the lobster shacks. You know what I mean.. the almost always seasonal, generally small, limited menu offerings that were known for their lobster rolls.  I didn't just judge the roll although it was a big part. For the roll, I judged on butterage, rolls used, meat ratio and type. On a bigger scale, I judged on ambiance, parking, ordering, BYOB and dog-friendly settings, and more. A lot of restaurants have different-sized rolls at different pricepoint but to keep it fair, I stuck to the standard/smaller roll. We only judged the Connecticut style lobster rolls (warm, with just butter) because the cold mayo variety just doesn't fly here. 

I finished the tour at the Lobster Shack in East Haven and so, we can wrap up the tour and rank these rolls from my favorite to my least favorite.  So sit back, dream of lobster, and read where you can find the best Lobster Shack on the Connecticut shoreline right in time for summer. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Weekender's Guide: Northwest Connecticut/The Litchfield Hills

When I lived in Utah, I had a hard time describing Connecticut to people. It's sandwiched between New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island but it truly has its own identity. The shoreline shifts from a suburb of New York to an extension of Rhode Island. The central area (especially around the Connecticut River) is quaint and iconic, filled with old towns and historic homes. The northeast corner has been dubbed the "quiet corner" and it's known for exactly that.

But the northwest corner is my favorite part of the state. It's known for rolling hills, sleepy towns, and boarding schools that resemble college campuses. This tiny corner is where you can find old covered bridges, quiet country stores, and old romantic inns. The Housatonic River snakes through the area and Route 7 offers a scenic drive of fly fishermen and summer sunbathers. Once you leave the river, you can follow 50 miles of the famous Appalachian Trail and hike to the state's highest point. It's a gem year round but my favorite time is fall. The bugs are gone, the leaves are turning, the apple orchards are open, and bonfire season is in full swing. It's an area I keep coming back to, for a day hike any time of year or an overnight excursion in the summer. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Camping with Kids - a guide, Shred Dog gear for kids, and more

Somewhere between my pre-2021 childless life and my 2022 life with a toddler, I've become an unofficial low-key ambassador for getting outdoors and living a normal life *with kids*. Sure sure, there are pro athletes and big-name influencers getting out there and sharing their stories of life with kids and it's amazing, we love to see it. But, I love sharing a side that's may be a bit more approachable to your average family. I'm your typical mom trying to balance my career outside of this space with the normal stuff like grocery lists, household renovations, overflowing piles of laundry, and weekend get-aways. 

My tone is always aimed at being approachable and it makes every minute spent behind a computer screen worth it to get messages from friends and strangers sharing their inspired stories. All the stories sort of go along the lines of  "I saw this kind of parenting and lifestyle with kids and questioned if I really want kids until I remembered you". It's a powerful statement and a title I don't take lightly. Since having Whitney in early 2021, it's been my mission to prove that kids (babies and toddlers really) aren't a death sentence to your former life and I am beyond excited to keep living this sentiment. 

So today's post is a homage to all the people who gave me a bit of a side eye or inquired with a bit of bewilderment when I told them I was taking my 17-month-old camping for two nights in the Catskills - alongside my three nephews ages 4, 6, and 8. It truly went better than I expected and I hope today's post inspires you to "start em young" and just get out there when it comes to camping with kids. 

Kids at camp

Monday, August 15, 2022

North South Lake - Camping in the Catskills of New York

One of my first trips with Adam was a little winter getaway to the Tiny House Resort in the Catskills of New York. I won a stay on Instagram and invited the man I had known for a month to spend a weekend with me in 200 square feet in snowy New York. He surprisingly said yes and we packed up the dogs and spent the perfect winter weekend hiking in New York. One of our hikes took us to Newman's Ledge at North South Lake. This new to us spot had two lakes with swimming areas, a beautiful campground, playgrounds, canoe rentals, and just about everything you need for a summer camping getaway. Quickly after that trip, the understated Catskills became one of my favorite spots to visit in just about every season. After our hike to Newman's Ledge and seeing the snow-covered lakes, we made a mental note to come back in the summer. A few years later, we finally did with our son. 

Beach/Swimming Area at North Lake
Beach/Swimming Area at North Lake

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Visiting the Azores - A Guide to Adventure on Sao Miguel

You either know about the Azores as they have been high on the radar as a spot for affordable adventure travel, or you are completely new to the name and this chain of islands. Either way, today's post is all about the main island of Sao Miguel and why it's a top destination for adventure travelers all over the world.  

The mainland of Portugal "Continental Portugal" is the small sliver of a country next to Spain on the Iberian Peninsula. What a lot of people don't know is that there are also two Autonomous Regions of Portugal, the Azores and Madeira. I've been to both and while they are both amazing locations, the Azores are a little more rugged while Madeira is a bit more resort-y (you can find my Madeira travel guide here).

Today's post is all about the Azores, an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the Macaronesia region of the North Atlantic Ocean. The islands are about 1,400 km (870 mi) west of Lisbon, about 1,500 km (930 mi) northwest of Morocco, and about 1,930 km (1,200 mi) southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Three Days in Lisbon, Portugal (with a toddler)

If you are just checking in, we spent a week in Portugal and split up our time between 3ish days in the Algarve and 3ish days in Lisbon. On Friday morning, we checked out of our AirBnb in the Algarve and made the drive back north to Portugal's capital of Lisbon. We had three(ish) days to explore the city before flying out of Portugal to spend a week in the Azores. After a few days on the southern coast, we were excited to be in the city within walking distance to just about everything. We stayed at an AirBnb north of Alfama and Bairro Alto which was walking distance to a great park and a lot of restaurants and a great bakery.

Here is how we spent our three days exploring the city (and Sintra). 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Three Days in the Algarve (with a toddler)

Welcome to the first (of several) posts in my Portugal series. To recap, we took off two weeks in mid-June for a European summer holiday. We spent one week on the mainland of Portugal, and one week on the Portuguese island of Sao Miguel in the Azores (roughly 1,000 miles from the Portuguese mainland).  Why Portugal? My parents were born in the Azores and find themselves traveling back to Portugal and the Azores time and time again. It's also a safe and affordable place to travel. I planned this two-week trip abroad with my husband, our 16-month-old son, my parents, and my inlaws. It was our first serious trip with our son and his first time on a plane so we planned our travels when the adult-to-child ratio was in our favor. 

The streets of Ferragudo

This was my second time back to Portugal, but my first time as an adult and my first time with a toddler old in tow. You may be wondering why we chose to drag a toddler on a red-eye flight and all this way when he is too young to ever remember any of it. The truth is I wanted the memories here with him and the confidence to travel with him. I wanted him to learn to be a baby who travels and to be able to adapt to a different culture, different food, and a different way of life. I wanted to raise a child who had been abroad before he had been to Disney and from a young age, could see the world through a lens that wasn't always clouded with our American Exceptionalism. 

It's not that I mean to sound pretentious and if you break it down dollar for dollar, a European vacation is likely cheaper than a week at the parks after you factor in overpriced meals, expensive lodging, and the high cost of park admission. It's that I don't enjoy crowds, the culture at the parks, and Disney World just has little appeal to the way I like to travel. Now more than ever, it's important to expose our children and ourselves to different cultures and experiences. I'll take him once when he's older for his American right of passage but for now, I wanted to experience a family summer vacation the way Europeans do. 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Hammonasset Beach State Park - Madison, CT

Connecticut State Park #5 is one I have been to many, many times. It's only 20 minutes away and while many go for the beach, I almost always come for the paved recreation path and more recently, the nature center. 

I always appreciated a good rec path and seek them out while traveling through the state or around New England. Rec paths appeal to everyone of every ability for a few reasons: they are often flat, exist in a super scenic area, and provide a safe place for any non-motorized activity. I've seen people walk, run, hike, bike, scooter, rollerblade, you name it when visiting the park. 

Once I had Whitney, I learned to appreciate these dedicated pedestrian lanes even more as a safe place to run. Exercise is a priority for my physical and mental health and finding the time to fit it into my busy day usually involves bringing Whitney along for the ride. I run around our neighborhood a lot out of pure convenience (right out the door) and safety (quiet roads with cul-de-sacs). The only problem is it's very hilly and sometimes you just need some flat roads and a change of scenery. 

I started upping my mileage to include some long runs and knew I was bringing Whitney. It had been a while since I visited Hammonasset State Park a few towns over in Madison, Connecticut. It's known for its paved rec path through the park, beach access, campground, and nature center. It's all in the details like the rentable pavilions here families host birthday parties, the playground along the path, water stations along the trail (attached dog water stations included), boardwalks, a nature center, and some trails through the park. It's a great family-friendly place. 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Farmington Polo Summer Saturdays

It's polo season here in Connecticut. It sounds pretentious but the thing about heading to Farmington for a polo match is it can be anything you want. Bring the kids and the dogs and hang out with the family. Dress up and bring your girlfriends for a picnic. Bring your friends and some wine for cocktail hour before dinner. Bring nothing and grab food and drinks there and relax. I've been a few times and every time we go we plan it picnic style. We bring the dogs, pack a few chairs, bring a picnic-style dinner, and enjoy a sunny summer Saturday here in New England. It's relaxing, social, and a fun way for the kids to blow off some energy and the adults to mingle. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Road Trip with a Toddler

If you read my last post, you already know that we went to Maryland as a trial run for traveling with a toddler. Just when you think you have it all figured out, they are out of one stage and into the other and you have to pivot or even completely change your strategy. Traveling with a newborn vs a 6-month-old vs a 1-year-old is all very different. Gone are the days of sleepy babies happy to nap in the car or at a restaurant. Here are the days of a mobile toddler who hates to be restrained in any type of way and demands all sorts of food at all sorts of times. If you are nervous about traveling with a toddler, I can't stress a trial run enough. This road trip gave me confidence that we can travel with him as he moves through his toddler stages and we had the chance to test out some new gear and new strategies. Today's post is all about some tips and tricks that worked well for us. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Weekender's Guide to: Northern Chesapeake Bay, Maryland

Today's Weekender's Guide was a chance to visit Maryland and a trial run of sorts. We are going to Portugal next month and traveling abroad with a 15-month-old (his first flight will be nearly 7 hours) was giving me a boatload of anxiety. Whitney is in that age range where traveling with him is a complete wild card. He is on the move, full of attitude, and on a schedule. Gone are the sleepy, immobile days of traveling.  

I was especially terrified of "naps on the go" as we can't rush back to the Airbnb for 2-3 hours every day while we are out traveling. We traveled a fair amount his first year but he has changed a lot since some of our last trips. I needed the confidence to travel with a toddler out of his element and routine. He is an amazing sleeper at home but he is conditioned to that dark quiet room and his crib in his room. I really needed him to be able to nap in his stroller or in the car on the go. More importantly, I needed to prove to myself that I could do it.

Downtown St Michaels, Maryland

For our "trial run" and weekend getaway, we decided on a road trip to the Northeastern Chesapeake Bay of Maryland. I had never been to the state (besides driving through) and I was excited about spending time on the water with Adam and Whitney to kick off the summer. I'll share a separate guide on a few things that really helped us road trip with a toddler (through temperatures ranging from 60s to 90s). But this is a travel guide. This is a Weekender's Guide, the things worth seeing, the food worth eating, and a few things in-between. It focuses on the northern/central portions of the pay, visiting Chesapeake City, St Michaels, Easton, and Annapolis. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Charles River Running Path, Boston, MA

2022 is the year that simply put, work got crazy. 

I started a company in 2020 a few months before we found out I was pregnant and right when the pandemic was in full force. After working from home for a few months, the small company I worked for decided we all had to come back into the office, pre-vaccine. The second stipulation was my dog was no longer allowed to attend. She had been there with me from the day I brought her home as a 10-month-old puppy and 9 years later, the rules had changed.  The "office" was a windowless trailer in a warehouse where 3-5 people would work. Safety measures at the time were two pieces of tape to make "social distancing" in our tiny trailer and I would have to bring Olive to daycare every day. 

I felt it was unsafe to return to this kind of environment and frankly, there was no need. The world was adapting to remote work and it was working really well. Having people back in the office seemed to be a matter of control and it simply wasn't safe. 

I always wanted to start my own consulting business focusing on a small sector of the environmental consulting industry. I decided a recession and global pandemic was a terrible time but also the push out of the security nest I needed. I gave my notice and got to work creating a company. 

The first year was slow and I focused on the logistics like the website, insurance, taxes, and logos. The second year I had a newborn and took a few small jobs with the idea that "I would let work find me" while I took a maternity leave. Six months into my maternity leave I decided it was time to grow the business and I actively reached out to other companies and clients and started to grow the business. Whitney is a year old now and I can't keep up with the workload finding its way to my desk. A lot of my work over the last few months has involved site visits all throughout the northeast and I've spent a lot of time driving all around New England.

I was spending long days behind the steering wheel and quickly decided to always pack my running sneakers and a sports bra when I headed out the door in the morning. My goal was to try to find a new place to stretch my legs in between jobs, a way to stay active and do a little bit of Katie Wandering in the meantime. It's been a fun way to prioritize my workouts and give them a little refresh with a change of scenery. It's also led me to check out some pretty cool spaces and places, especially the designated rec paths throughout New England. 

So I guess this was the long roundabout way of saying "I went to Boston for work and ran the Charles River Rec Path while I was there".