Mother’s Day weekend at the Mountain View Grand

I have always been enamored with the days of the big old wooden hotels in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire. Sadly, many of these hotels burned down or were torn down from disrepair due to financial hardships brought on by easier transportation. The days of the grand old hotels came to an end when patrons could drive to the mountains for a day trip. Only a few of the grand old hotels remain and I have made it my mission to see them!

This past mother’s day weekend, we stayed at the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield NH. This beautiful hotel dates back to 1865 and began as many hotels did in that time. William and Mary Dodge opened their family farmhouse to boarders passing through the area and named their inn the Mountain View House. Many additions later, the hotel has 200 guest rooms and the very well known tower rose to 89′. Due to financial issues, the hotel actually closed in 1985. It was reopened with new life in 2002 after many renovations.

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There is a hot tub up at the top of the tower that you can reserve for a truly romantic evening.

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Adirondack chair heaven
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One of the beautiful little spots at MVG, imagine wedding photos here
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View of the mountains on the golf course, look at that alpen glow!

While at the hotel, my husband and I played tennis on their Australian clay courts. We ran on their trail system and swam in the indoor pool. They also have an outdoor pool but it was still a bit cool for that. They also have farm animals and gardens at the Mountain View Grand. A popular activity that we didn’t participate in is the axe throwing! There is also an 18 hole golf course onsite.

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Lower tennis courts, the red building there is the farm!
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Beautiful mountain views while playing tennis on the upper courts
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Ruined chimney seen on our trail run!

For dining options, they have a restaurant and bar onsite for casual dining called the Harvest Tavern. We ate dinner at the bar and did the breakfast buffet in the restaurant. Their fine dining option is called the 1865 Wine Cellar and requires reservations. The menu is a fixed price menu and I believe there’s only a handful of tables down there. They do a daily tour of the wine cellar, otherwise you can’t really go see it unless you are eating down there. There is also a menu available across the street at the clubhouse by the the pool. We ate there once a couple years ago with a group after my husband’s grandfather’s funeral and the only thing I will say is the service was a bit slow. Before dinner we did partake in the smores at the firepit over by the pool clubhouse. It was fun making a smore and enjoying the mountain views.

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View from the tavern for our Mother’s Day breakfast buffet
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The buffet was amazing!

So what mountains are you viewing…..well you can see the Presidential Range and the Twins from the front veranda. In the back you can see Waumbek and Cabot I believe. I love the views….but I will admit the views from the Mt. Washington Hotel veranda are more impressive.

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I took this photo with that tree strategically covering the wind turbine 🙂

I really enjoyed our stay at the Mountain View Grand. There was a wedding going on the last time we were there and the ballroom and outdoor spaces for a wedding were just gorgeous. There is a spa right there at the hotel too. They also have some great green initiatives. They have their own wind energy turbine and they use paper straws. We stopped at a couple breweries on the way too which was fun. Schilling Beer Co in Littleton, NH and Reklis Brewing in Bethlehem, NH both have great beer, atmosphere, and food!

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Seven months later…returning to the blog!

Hello everyone!! I can’t believe that my last blog post on here was October 3, 2017.  My amazing son Cabot was born on September 29th at 7:05 PM. He weighed 7 lb 9 oz and was 19 inches long. Now my little Cab is over 18 lbs, and over 27 inches long! The past seven months have been challenging and hectic at times, and I really just wanted to let myself return to my blog without any pressure; when I was ready.

Cabot’s first two months were full of stress over his weight, marathon breastfeeding sessions, 5 am bed times, and many tears (sometimes from Cabot, sometimes me, sometimes both haha). Around 2 months I started pumping for bottles so we could make sure he was getting enough….then he was diagnosed with a lip & tongue tie and had laser surgery to fix that…..then there was still a mix of breastfeeding and pumping bottles….then I went back to work in January and have been exclusively pumping ever since. In the midst of all of that, my little guy has absolutely stolen our hearts, there have been snuggles, kisses, smiles, and yes since six months old, he sleeps through the night, 7 PM to somewhere between 6:30-8 AM. Breastfeeding was hard, pumping is hard, but I really wanted Cabot to have breastmilk until at least 9 months and I am physically able to do it, so we carry on. I am freezing at least a bottle every day to so he can have a breastmilk bottle a day until he turns 1 if we choose to stop pumping at 9 months.

Motherhood has really taught me humility. I have always been an overachiever in school, my job, and any extracurricular activities I participate in. I wanted to give birth naturally and breastfeed for a year. I got the epidural at hour 12 and breastfeeding alone wasn’t getting enough food to Cabot. The world kept spinning.

As Cabot is getting older, I am recovering little bits of my life 🙂 I started running again, my husband and I have had some fun date nights, and we even have a night at the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield NH planned soon! Cabot is a good eater and a good sleeper, his smile just makes your day, and thankfully he smiles often. He crawls like a man on a mission and has been pulling himself to stand up on any furniture or toy he deems sturdy enough. Here’s some of my fave pics with my little man.

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Cabot at 3 months! New Year’s Day Brunch at the barn. LLBean Shearling Boots here. So warm for winter, get them NOW for next winter!
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Cabot at 6 months for National Stripes Day! It’s a J Crew holiday but we both went with Ralph Lauren for the occasion ❤
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Cabot at 7 months old in Florida visiting my parents! Wearing the GiGi V-Neck Tank, print from last summer, sold out 😦

I am really looking forward to spending the summer home with Cabot. We already have parent-baby swim classes scheduled, first friends playgroup and story time at the local children’s museum, and hopefully many trips to the beach! I hope everyone out there in the blogosphere has had a great 2018 so far!

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P.S. If anyone reading this is struggling with breastfeeding and pumping, just know that you are NOT alone, and whatever choices YOU make for your own health and the health of your baby are right and ok!! I have been subjected to judgement from all sides- from people telling me to just give up already and switch to formula to people telling me I wasn’t trying hard enough to breastfeed…I could write a whole post about this alone, ha.

A Day at Winslow Park, Freeport ME

Every year we camp up at the Winslow Park & Campground for Labor Day Weekend, but this year being 37 weeks pregnant made us think twice! Instead we just went up for the day to enjoy some time with friends and enjoy the scenery. We spent the day at the campground with our friends and did make a trip to Mainely Custard and Maine Beer Co. which are just down the street. Usually when we are there for the whole weekend, we go into the Freeport shopping area for a day and visit LLBean and such, BUT we didn’t want to deal with the crowds just being up there for a day.

We played with our new camera a little bit and tried to get some shots of scenery and of me and my beautifully large baby bump to have for posterity’s sake. I didn’t want a full maternity shoot, but these few photos that my husband took in one of our favorite places are so simple and I don’t know…quiet? I really like how they came out 🙂

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The dress I am wearing is the most comfortable maxi from Old Navy seen here for just $25.

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Jon caught me in sort of an emotional moment here, I cry at the drop of a hat right now ha, so the fact that I shed tears here, pretty typical.

The house on Pound of Tea Island is one of my favorite landmarks that you can see from the park. I go check it out every year. It was just one bedroom, has its own little dock, and its just so cute. Well, I went to check it out this year and it is getting some work down!! Looks like they redid the shingling on the outside (it used to be blue) and added a second floor! Now, why is it called Pound of Tea Island? Story goes that early settlers paid the American Indians a pound of tea in exchange for the island! In 2015, it was sold for around a half a million sooooo the value of this island has really increased over the years, ha!

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Cute little lobster boat coming into Harraseeket River from the bay
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This is just a shot of the dock into Casco Bay from the Harb Cottage, a house that you can rent through a lottery through the Winslow Park & Campground. We have talked about putting in for the lottery, it would be so fun to stay there!

When we were planning the day, I was holding out for a trip into town to go to Ben and Jerry’s but I was convinced to try Mainely Custard. What they serve is very similar to ice cream, but it does contain egg. It gives it more of a smooth/creamy texture and it was a little less sweet than ice cream. I loooooved it! They typically have chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, and then one or two special flavors that they make daily. When I went, the special flavor was butterscotch, so I got a scoop of butterscotch and a scoop of chocolate. It was delicious, I am a convert! I guess there is a location in Kennebunkport too! From there we met up with friends at the Maine Beer Co. which btw is undergoing a big expansion. Very exciting for a great brewery!

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By the time this posts, I might have a baby! He is really enjoying life on the inside, but we shall see what the next days bring. I have cleaned literally everything in the house, we have a month of freezer meals stored, I made cookies, hospital bags are packed, and the nursery is set up- all we need now is our little man!

Send me some of those good-breezy-easy going-sneezed and he popped out-makes all the other women jealous-healthy baby boy at the end-birth story vibes k? 🙂

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Dog Friendly Beach in Rye NH!!

Alright folks, one day past my due date..continuing to distract myself through writing 🙂

We found a beach in NH that Mizpah can be off leash on!!! Wooo!!! New Hampshire’s state beaches which include Hampton, North Hampton, Wallis Sands, Rye Harbor, and Jenness do not allow dogs EVER. These beaches do not allow dogs in the mornings, evenings, or in the off season. Now, we have of course seen violations of this rule in the off season, but we are rule followers. Rye NH has a stretch of beach that is considered to be a town beach though and before 9 AM, dogs are allowed under voice control! They even have the little dog poo bag stations for us responsible dog owners AND streetside parking is free! Its not the longest stretch of beach, and at high tide you definitely need to prepare to be in the surf with your pup BUT its still worth it for us. Changing up Mizpah’s scenery is great for her, and I love being at the beach. Alrighty, here are some pics of beautiful Rye Beach and our little pup romping through the surf!

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Hazy morning at the beach
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Mizpah looooves playing fetch with her ball in the surf. She will dunk her whole face and head in the water to get her ball, its so cute. 

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In the distance, you can see the building with the red roof which is Ray’s Seafood. We totally use that red roof as a landmark to know where our car is and climb back up the jetty back out to the road.
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My little water lovin pup!
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View from the jetty, you can see the white tent in the distance, not a bad spot out on the jetty for an event eh?
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The lovely Ray’s Seafood!

The picnic area at Ray’s is dog friendly 🙂 These pics are from two different occasions in case you noticed that Mizpah has a harness on in some, and no harness in some ha. Going to the beach before 9AM means dealing with some haze, but it usually clears up a bit by the time we leave. Starting the day with a walk on the beach and a tired, happy pup is pretty great! We are so happy we found a close beach that is more dog friendly. The beaches in York ME are probably equally as close BUT pups have to be on leash. Hope you enjoyed the frolicking Mizpah pics!

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Fall Wardrobe Picks!

Good morning!!! Happy first day of fall!!!

I am sitting here 39 weeks pregnant, home from work with gestational high blood pressure (not preeclampsia thankfully) trying to stay busy! I will be on maternity leave and really trying to save money this fall/winter so I am committed to NOT shopping for a while, but I couldn’t help sharing my faves for new fall staples!

The two websites I always gravitate to are J Crew Factory and LLBean, so here are my picks!

J. Crew Factory

Cotton V-Neck Sweater in Light Mustard- $29.50 Its time for the sweaters to come back out!!! I love the v-neck because it looks great by itself, and then later in winter you can layer the button downs and flannels underneath. The light mustard color is great for fall.

Tweed Mini Skirt- $51.00 Every year J Crew Factory has a cute plaid mini or tweed mini that becomes such a classic, and I am really loving this one!

Cuffed Striped Boatneck Shirt- $29.50 So this shirt might not scream fall so much, but I love a long sleeve navy and white stripe shirt as it gets cooler and while I am not sure how nice the cuff looks in real life, I would be open to checking it out!

LLBean

Mountain Pile Fleece Jacket- $79.99-89 I am really loving this fleece zipup with the Katahdin LLBean logo tag. This is the sandstone color which is one of the ones that is on sale for the cheaper price point.

Tumbled-Leather LLBean Boots- Flannel Lined- $149 These Bean boots are a part of the small batch boot collection. They are being released in October but you can order them now and the website says they are backordered at the moment. I want these….real bad, but I know I should resist- we’ll see haha.

Scotch Plaid Shirt Slightly Fitted- $49.95 I can’t recommend the LLBean Scotch plaid flannel shirts enough. I want them in every color and want to live in them all fall and winter. The color I featured is ‘Princess Mary’ which I really like. These sell out pretty fast usually, so get em now while all the colors are still in stock!

Signature Cotton Fisherman Tunic Sweater- $99.00 I have a couple of the regular sweaters which I love, but I really like this longer tunic sweater too! I would definitely get the black cherry color because I think its such a nice fall color.

Signature Merino Textured Fair Isle Crewneck- $99.00 This is the one thing that I actually DID buy! I love bird sweaters, and am obsessed with loons. I have been looking for a loon sweater for a few years now. This is a reproduction of a sweater LLBean made back in the 80s I believe. I can’t wait to be able to wear this one 🙂

What are your fall favorites this year? I will admit, every year I look forward to all the fall bucket list/fall wardrobe staples blog posts. I love this season; its so fun that my little boy will be a fall baby! Enjoy the first weekend of fall!

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MS Mount Washington Cruise

One sort of touristy thing that I have wanted to do since we moved to New Hampshire is take a cruise on the MS Mount Washington around Lake Winnepesaukee. Their website with the schedule and event info is here. Since I have had to be careful out on friends’s smaller boats with the pregnancy, this summer seemed like the perfect time to head out on the nice large and stable MS Mount Washington!

We went out on a Sunday, so the boat left from Alton Bay and motored to Weirs Beach in Laconia, and then came back. They had a brunch buffet on board but we brought a picnic of our own to save some dollars! It was a beautiful day and we got to try out our new camera. We have been wanting to get a nice camera for a while now, but definitely the impending arrival of our son who will surely be our favorite subject made us finally get one. We got a Nikon D3300 and so far so good. These are some of my favorite snaps from the day!

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Here’s our boat coming into Alton Bay!!
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Captain’s Office!
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35 weeks pregnant here!!
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This is Kimball Castle! Built in the 1890s by Benjamin Kimball, who was president of the Boston, Montreal, and Concord Railways. Interesting article of when it had fallen into disarray and was for sale for just 799,000 in 2013 can be seen here.
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Up on top of Brickyard Mountain in Weirs Beach is a structure that looks like a light house, but its actually fake! It’s actually a water tower and cell phone tower for the area.
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It was windy the day we were out, probably perfect for sailing!!
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One of the very large houses on luxurious Governor’s Island in Gilford. Looked like this one had a for sale sign out on the water, want to guess how many millions of dollars this beauty is going for?
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Pulling back into Alton Bay, this lovely home on this cute little island was just begging to be photographed.

Lake Winnepesaukee is beautiful, and a cruise on the MS Mount Washington is a great way to see it! On other days, the boat goes to Wolfeboro which is one of my favorite towns, and also Meredith & Center Harbor. All of the port towns on the lake where the boat stops have their own vibe and character. Center Harbor is probably the quietest with really just the Mug on the Bay, and Weirs Beach might be the liveliest with restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Wolfeboro has a cute street of restaurants and shopping right off the boat. Meredith has the Town Docks restaurant which is popular, and Alton Bay has some food places like Shibley’s athe Pier and Pop’s Clam Shell too.  Another couple that we chatted with on the boat was celebrating their one year anniversary. They had their wedding on the Mount Washington and brought the top of the wedding cake to share while on the cruise- so sweet!

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Kayaking Adventures in New Hampshire

I am so grateful for this gloriously uneventful pregnancy. We are at 34 weeks this week and thankfully I am still able to take Mizpah for walks, kayak around while Jon fishes, and go to a couple spin classes a week. Now, my walks with Miz have gotten shorter. Jon is still able to run and mountain bike with her so she is still getting plenty of exercise. My kayak adventures are not very strenuous and when I go to spin classes, I am careful not to overdo it with the jumps- the stand up, sit down type stuff.

I have been really enjoying the kayaking a lot. I was a camp counselor in the summer for years and took my campers out to kayak around and find frogs and turtles. It was fun, but it was a part of the job meaning I was watching my campers and it was NOT always relaxing ha. Every year we camp up on Casco Bay in Freeport ME, and I would go out and kayak around which was awesome, but it was a once a year thing. This summer being a little limited in the activity I can do, my husband and I started going out with the kayak for me and the float tube for Jon to fly fish.

We have gone to Lucas Pond in Northwood NH, Stonehouse Pond in Barrington NH, and I paddled around Pawtuckaway Lake in Nottingham NH while Jon ran with Mizpah on the trails. Jon did catch a trout at Stonehouse which was exciting! Its getting a little late in the summer to catch trout in the ponds though, they hide out in the cool depths in the heat. I have seen some loons which was amazing, some herons, ducks, and some beavers. Kayaking has been great to have an upper body workout and get to be outside doing something. Here are some of my favorite pics from paddling out and about!

Lucas Pond

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There are some really cute houses on this pond as well as a summer camp! Cool thing about this pond is only non motorized craft are allowed. We saw lots of kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and swimmers…..and honestly my favorite little swimmer was the loon that let me get so close! It was great.

Stonehouse Pond

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Top pic is from an evening paddle and the bottom two are from a morning paddle. This was the smallest of the three bodies of water. People kayak, swim, float, and there is a trail that goes around the pond to the top of the stone. There is a serious beaver family living here, like a compound of lodges, but so fun to see them out swimming around!

Pawtuckaway Lake

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Great blue heron!
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Loony for loons!

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Top two pics are from one evening, bottom two are from another! Pawtuckaway Lake is the biggest body of water I kayaked this summer. Actually I only saw half of it, it would have taken me toooo long to get to the other side. This body of water has lots of trails, a campground, a beach which is sadly contaminated with cyanobacteria at the moment, some houses, and this one allows motorized craft. No trout in this lake, just bass, so this is where I kayak when Jon is running the trails with Miz.

Any other paddlers out there? I really wish I could get into standup paddleboarding, maybe in the next couple years! Hope you enjoy my amateur wildlife/nature kayak pics!

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Family history in Kennebunkport, ME

Growing up in New England, you just know that Kennebunkport ME is a magical place. After all, it’s where the Bush family has a home right? So it has to be good! I have great memories of going to a family cookout or two up there, and driving by the beautiful wedding cake house! My mother, grandmother, and aunt all love Kennebunkport too. Day trips to walk around the shops, look out at the boats, get a lobster roll and ice cream…I mean what’s better than that?

My family has always been into genealogy and family history. On my mother’s side, the family history that I grew to be most familiar with was for the Milligans. My great great grandfather was Rev. Herbert Freeman Milligan. He married Effie Robbins in 1898 in MA and had 9 children with Effie over 21 years.  Being a clergyman, the family moved a lot as Rev. Milligan got different appointments in different churches. From 1912 on, their travels took them through various towns in Maine. My great grandmother, Alice, was the third born child in 1902 and she graduated high school when the family was in Waldoboro Maine.  Sometime between the mid 1920s and 1930s, the family moved to Kennebunk. The last son, Jonathan, was born in 1920 and went to Kennebunk’s high school. Effie passed away in 1940, and Rev. Milligan remarried in 1941 believing that a church man ought to be married. His new wife, Florence “Foddie” Weeks and him retired and lived for 19 years on Cat Mousam Road in Kennebunk.

Jonathan Milligan is where my family’s continued link to the area and some fun history lies. He married his high school sweetheart, Liz Perkins, in 1940. If you know the area at all, the name Perkins should sound familiar- yes, Perkins as in Perkins Cove! Liz’s father, Silas Henry Perkins, is the namesake of a park in Kennebunk as well. He was a great poet known for a poem about Kennebunkport. Jon and Liz were very active in the goings on in the Kennebunkport area. The couple bought the Sagamore Inn at Gooch’s Beach and ran it as the Sea Spray Motor Inn, which was sadly torn down in the 80s to become a private home. They had many business and real estate ventures together, including the Lands End Cottage community.

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Postcard for Sea Spray Motor Inn
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Other side of the Sea Spray Inn post card- hotel decor has come a long way huh?
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One side of post card for the Lands End Cottages- can’t find the other side 😦
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Map of the Kennebunk Region with stamps for “Jon Milligan Company Kennebunk Maine” and “Lands End Cottages on Cape Porpoise Harbor in Kennebunkport, Maine for your Family Vacation”

Jon and Liz started to develop this community on Lands End Road, which goes out to Cape Porpoise Harbor, in the 1950s, in the wake of the devastating fire of 1947.  The community began as vacation cottages for rent, and now is a lovely residential neighborhood. In the 80s, plots of land were offered to the family- the price range was $15K to $25k. Some members of the family jumped on the opportunity, my parents did not 😦 They were just starting out then and didn’t want to risk the investment- can’t blame them there. Now of course, houses in that  neighborhood are listed for $450K and up!!

Liz Milligan passed away on Valentine’s Day this past year at the age of 96!! Two of her daughters, Judy and Debbie are currently realtors for Andrews Milligan Real Estate Company.  My mother was in town for my baby shower this past weekend and we spent a day visiting with one of my fabulous great aunts up at her house in the Lands End neighborhood. It is beautiful there- always a nice breeze from the ocean. They started with a cabin on their lot and have built it into a beautiful 3 bedroom home with an outdoor shower and a great screened in porch. She has watched Kennebunkport evolve over the years into really what some might call the Nantucket of the north. From Lands End, you can take a right down to the village of Cape Porpoise, which really just consists of Bradbury’s, Cape Porpoise Kitchen, a church, and a fire dept. You can keep driving to get to the pier on Bickford Island which is the home of Cape Pier Chowder House, Cape Porpoise Lobster Co., and Pier 77 Restaurant/The Ramp Bar & Grill. There are beautiful views of the harbor and you can see the light house on Goat Island from there too!

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Buoys! Stairs are part of the Pier 77/Ramp Restaurant/Bar complex
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30 Weeks Pregnant!! 10 to go!
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Fishing/Lobster Boats in Cape Porpoise Harbor
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Lobster operation, most likely for Cape Porpoise Lobster Co. right off the pier!
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Goat Island Lighthouse!
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A little nautical art in the parking area- good use of old boats right?

The Kennebunkport area has been flooded lately with social media influencers. I have seen bloggers/instagrammers working with Cape Arundel Inn, the Cabot Cove Cottages, Hidden Pond Cottages, Kennebunkport Inn, The Tides Beach Club, and most recently the new glamp sites at the Sandy Pines Campground. Now, when this subject came up with my great aunt, Tim Harrington’s name came up. I didn’t know this, but all of the accommodations listed above besides the campground are a part of his resort collection, and the locals joke that every time a piece of land in the area goes up for sale, Tim can’t be far. See more about the Kennebunkport Resort Collection and Tim Harrington here. Abby Capalbo has a nice travel guide on her blog with reviews of many of KRC lodging and dining locations as well as others here.  Also following Jackie Greaney and PJ Havel will give you many images of the area to drool over 🙂

Anyways, I apologize, this post got a wee bit long. There are so many coastal vacation spots in New England, but definitely Kennebunkport is close to my heart. I hope that you all had a great weekend! Where are your family vacation spots?? Let me know in the comments!

Edit/Correction: While Sandy Pines is not listed on the KRC website as of now, it is actually a Tim Harrington property along with Debra Lennon!

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Seven Years with Mizpah the Dalmatian

This past May marked Mizpah’s seventh birthday! We have been through so much together. I held Mizpah on my lap from Fall River MA to my house in Lancaster MA when she was just 10 weeks old. My ex-husband was actually the driving force behind getting a dalmatian, something I will always be thankful for. She cried and screamed bloody murder the entire way. While she is an absolutely stunning dog, I’ll be honest, she was a very needy demanding puppy. She destroyed a beautiful pair of turquoise patent leather flats, ate a stick of body glide out of my triathlon bag, and even ate an entire aloe plant once- roots and all. She had deemadex mites on her adorable little paws once, then there was the ringworm on the top of her little head, and then we can’t forget all the numerous upset stomachs and scrapes.

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Puppy Mizpah!
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Sometimes I forget she was every this small.
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Short little legs!

Many people stop to say hi to her when we are out and about and make comments about how you never see dalmatians anymore, or how they had never actually seen a dalmatian. They marvel at her friendliness and talk about a mean dalmatian a neighbor or family member had or recant some story about a mean and vicious dalmatian. We have heard it all- that dalmatians don’t even growl before they bite, that dalmatians attack when you turn your back on them….I could go on and on. We do run into dalmatian fans who have had good experiences every once in a while.

Dalmatians were certainly overbred when they were a popular pet due to the 101Dalmatians movies. Overbreeding is bad for any breed. There is deafness in the dalmatian gene pool. All puppies should be BAER tested to determine their level of hearing. In Mizpah’s litter they were all bilateral except one unilateral. Dalmatians are high energy dogs, capable of running for hours without tiring. They were bred to be carriage dogs, running alongside horsedrawn carriages clearing crowds and protecting whatever what in the carriage. This is how they ended up as mascots for firehouses and for Budweiser. They are suitable only for families who do dog friendly activities. Dalmatians will destroy your house and not let you sleep if they don’t get attention and exercise.

Looking back, the two keys to happiness for Mizpah and her family have been socialization & exercise.

Socialization

We started taking Mizpah to puppy socials at the local Petco as soon as she finished her shots. It was $10 dollars for an hour in a big exercise pen with other puppies, toys, and a trainer. The trainer would act as referee, encourage play and sharing of toys/water.  Honestly this might have been the best investment I made for Mizpah. Mizpah had a little referee in her as well. When puppies started to play rough, she would get in between them and bark. I also noticed Mizpah’s flexibility with other dogs. If they were more dominant, she laid down and played the more submissive dog. If they were nervous and submissive, she approached slowly with a toy and let them take control.

As she grew, weekend mornings turned from Petco socials to time at off leash parks with lots of dogs to play with. I ventured away from my leashed walks/runs in my neighborhood to run on trails with her. One of the most important things I learned about Mizpah was her drive to move forward on a trail. Not every meeting between Mizpah and other dogs OR other people has gone well, but with Mizpah the quickest way to get her out of a scrape was not to get in the middle of it, but just enthusiastically move forward like nothing happened and call her along. She has always out run anything trying to get at her. Figuring this out has made it so we can always remove her from any situation on the trails….which has definitely been helpful MANY times.

Anywhere Mizpah could go, she has gone. She has gone to many family member homes, she goes to many towns/cities just to walk around and socialize, she goes to Lowes with us, she runs in road races with us, she goes to dog friendly beaches, campgrounds, hotels, & cabins, and she goes to horse shows with me. Being with my husband and I is her greatest reward in life, so we take her everywhere we can. We drove down to Florida to spend a week with my parents with Mizpah in the back. When we do have to leave her behind for a night, she goes to a boarding place that doesn’t use kennels or crates. She is welcomed there as a part of a pack/family which only increases her social well being.

Exercise

Mizpah as a puppy needed multiple walks in order to have quiet nap times. Walks turned into runs, and runs on the road turned into off leash runs in the woods. My husband and I are both trail runners, hikers, and mountain bikers. Mizpah will happily run alongside a mountain bike. She is a stellar trail dog and has climbed I think 39 of the 48 New Hampshire 4000 footers.

I learned early on that there would be very few days off with Mizpah as my personal trainer. Hungover…sick….busy….depressed….none of that matters to Mizpah. Spring and fall are the worst- the whining and crying, pure desperation to go out and run. It can be a lot. I have never looked back and said oh man, I wish I hadn’t gone out with Miz though. I am always happy that I exercised with Mizpah. Being out on the trails with her makes me feel centered and calm, no matter what is going on in my life.

Things that don’t work with Mizpah? She is NOT a yard dog. Roaming around our fenced in yard is nice for hanging out with us or just going to the bathroom, but she does NOT consider that to be exercise. Now leash walks are only cool if its a recovery day. Long runs on leash are ok, but just a walk around the block will not do it. Girlfriend also loooooves swimming. If we can combine running with swimming, then we have really nailed the workout routine for Mizpah that day. Even now at six months pregnant, Jon and I have to work together to make sure Mizpah gets her exercise. I am so fortunate that I am still able to go out with her, no medical issues yet, knock on wood!

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Hiking Mt. Pierce, out first 4000 footer back in 2013. The Mizpah Spring Hut is on this mountain!
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Mt. Moosilauke, 2014
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Mt. Monroe/Mt. Eisenhower Hike, 2014
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Mt. Jefferson Hike, 2015

Our Next Chapter

Mizpah will soon have to share our attention with a newborn! Jon and I have already discussed the importance of still tending to Mizpah’s needs. We have found some nice off leash areas that are really close to the house. We plan on doing leash walks with the stroller, and we are getting a great jogging stroller to run with baby and Mizpah. We have a k’tan wrap & an ergo baby carrier coming too so that we will be able to do family walks on the trails. Thankfully Mizpah is 7 now, and less demanding about her exercise regimen. She spends more time lounging as she’s getting older. She even laid down while we were at Groton House Farm’s summer horse trials this past week!

The first breeder of dalmatians in America was actually George Washington! His coach dog was a dal named Madame Moose. He paid 12 shillings to import her in 1786, and the pup was quite a companion for George and his wife Martha. Washington imported a male to breed with her the following August and actually wrote in his diary: “A new coach dog [arrived] for the benefit of Madame Moose; her amorous fits should therefore be attended to.”  My husband and I fell in love with this quote because at the end of the day, Mizpah is extremely affectionate and just happy to be with her people. We joke about Mizpah’s amorous fits often.

Dalmatians are beautiful dogs, but they aren’t for everyone. I never sugar coat it with people that ask. She is beautiful and friendly, but very high energy and in need of exercise. As I write this, she is laying on the couch next to me but I know its in everyone’s best interest to take her to run somewhere today. Maintaining a happy Mizpah keeps everyone in the house happy.

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Snugglepup

Any other dog lovers out there? What do you do with your dog? What works and what doesn’t? Let me know in the comments!

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Piscassic Greenway with Mizpah

New England is truly beautiful this time of year. After many days of rain, the fields and forests in this area are so lush and green! The rainy days can be tough, but now on the nicer days we can see the beautiful scenery as a result. We entered the Piscassic Greenway trails from Bald Hill Road in Newfields, NH. The Mraz trail starts there through a beautiful field and then enters the wooded area. There is a community garden that might have a charitable purpose at that entrance as well. In these photos I am five months pregnant (eep!) and I managed these trails really well.

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Mizpah on the grassy path before we entered the woods
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Action shot! Happiest dog 🙂
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Shorts from J.Crew Factory // tshirt from J.Crew Factory // hat from Vineyard Vines // bracelet not available anymore at KJP, click link to see others!
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Love the lilly pads and how the sky/clouds reflected off the water

The greenway is a part of the Southeast Land Trust of NH (SELT) and the rules in general (although you should check the site for each individual property) are that dogs should be on a leash OR under owner voice control. We went on a Sunday before lunch and had the place to ourselves. We kept Mizpah on a least until we passed the community garden and then let her go! We only ended up doing the Mraz Loop and we did the Byrne Trail/Spur to the scenic outlook. There is more Byrne Trail to see and the Otis Hill Trail.

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Part of the cellar hole for a large building out in the woods. I wish I knew exactly what was here!
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A little Americana here in the woods
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We saw so many pink/purple lady slippers! In New Hampshire, lady slippers, loons, and lupine are held sacred.
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I don’t know about you, but my baseball cap collection saves my skin in the summer! Sometimes its nice to see my back because I still look normal aka not pregnant from the back haha!
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One last shot on the way back to the car!

This property has an interesting history. We saw many cellar holes and rock walls indicating that it was most likely a few family farms long ago. In 2005, it almost became a 102 unit subdivision called “Mill Woods”, but thankfully SELT stepped in and made a deal with developers to protect this land. The property has fields, wooded areas, and wetlands that are important habitats for NH wildlife, so I am really happy they found a way to keep it undeveloped!!

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