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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Off leash fun at Wagon Hill Farm

The end of the school year is fast approaching and I am looking forward to summer days! We have been in southeast NH for almost a year now, and we are still finding great new off leash places to take Mizpah. I have been missing hiking the 4000 footers something fierce lately, but finding new trails to walk on with Mizpah and my growing baby bump has been keeping me moving. As I write this I am just starting week 24 of my pregnancy…..crazy how time is flying. The exercise benefits for momma and baby are huge, so walking with Mizpah will be important this summer. I am also keeping up with spin classes at a gym in my town- trying to do 2–3 classes a week.

Wagon Hill Farm is a property owned by the town of Durham, NH, same town where UNH is located. The 139 acre property was acquired by the town back in 1989 to be preserved for many generations to enjoy. There are old orchards, picnic areas, a beachy area where Oyster River meets Little Bay, mowed trails through fields of grass and flowers, as well as wooded paths. Probably one of Mizpah’s favorite features is a point that juts out into the bay, perfect for puppy fetch and play in the water.

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Mizpah frolicking in the grass, I swear she’s part deer sometimes
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Leaving the meadows, entering the woods
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Swimming with some friends at the point! Saltwater pups 🙂
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Beautiful views where Oyster River meets Little Bay
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The time struck 10 AM and we were responsible dog owners and put baby girl back on the leash. Many dogs owners didn’t :/
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Perfect summer phone case! Find them under travel bags here (psst..affiliate link). Hat is from Harding Lane and bracelet is from Lemon & Line
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Views
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The wagon on wagon hill!! Not the original wagon, there have been a few!

The rules of the property are dogs allowed, but off leash only between the hours of 8 AM and 10 AM, on leash the rest of the time. Its a terrific compromise, as long as people follow the rules. Off leash properties are great, but I recognize that there are people out there that would like to enjoy being outdoors without running into off leash dogs. I wish more places would compromise like this. Many beaches in Maine allow dogs before 9 AM, after 5 PM, Gloucester beaches allow dogs off leash every other day in the offseason.

Wagon Hill Farm will definitely be added to the rotation of places to bring Mizpah. I love that it is right on Little Bay, so beautiful. Next up will be the Piscassic Greenway, a property in the Southeast Land Trust of NH.

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Boston Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty

This spring I was fortunate enough to get to see Sleeping Beauty by the Boston Ballet twice! I had plans to go with my sister since back in February, but then a friend in the pit offered me her comp tickets for opening night and I got to have a little date night with my husband. In what seems like a past life, I played bassoon in youth and adult orchestras in Cambridge/Boston. My former section mate from when I was in a youth chamber orchestra at Longy School of Music is now a professional musician totally killing it. It was SO cool that I got her comp tickets. I look up to her now as much as I did back in the 8th grade, made me feel so important to get her comp tickets haha.

When we went to see it opening night, it was a Friday evening. The audience on Friday and Saturday evenings can be interesting, more adults…..often more intoxicated. My sister and I went on a Saturday afternoon there more of a family/children vibe. Traffic was crappy getting to Boston on the Friday night, but it was a beautiful night. We didn’t really have time to do a sit down dinner, so we grabbed some slices and cannolis from Sal’s Pizza. By a slice, I mean almost a quarter a pizza! We sat on a bench on the common and ate our dinner while doing some people watching. It was definitely 5 star dining as far as  I am concerned!

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Beautiful spring evening on the common
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This skirt from J. Crew Factory has an elastic waist band- nice for my growing baby bump! Looks like its sadly sold out though! 😦

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The ballet itself was amazing as usual. We sat in the mezzanine at the Boston Opera House and had a great view. The story is pretty similar to the Disney movie except the fairies aren’t plump little old ladies, they are majestic ballerinas. The prince doesn’t fight Carabosse (the evil fairy who curses Princess Aurora), the Lilac Fairy does, she is really the hero in the ballet. Finally, the last act in the ballet is a star studded wedding reception for Prince Desire and Princess Aurora featuring Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood with her Wolf, and Beauty with her Beast. The music for “I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream” is actually from the Tchaikovsky score, so you will recognize that tune.

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The chandeliers and ceiling details at the Boston Opera House
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The reflection of the chandelier lights on my husband’s phone made the sparkle lights on my shirt, ha! I know its a little blurry, but man, it just shows the wattage of those chandeliers!!!
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So there is a little window by the men’s room on the second level that looks out over the lobby. Kind of a neat view of the beautiful chandelier there.

The Saturday I went to see the ballet with my sister we had more time before the ballet. We got breakfast from Sip Wine Bar and Kitchen, a restaurant close to the Boston Opera House.  They had a great breakfast menu. We both got the American breakfast and loved the crispy breakfast potatoes and the thick fluffy grilled english muffins. After breakfast we went to walk around the common for a bit. There was a protest going on! We grabbed a cookie at the Cookie Monstah food truck (so delicious) and went to check it out. From what we gathered, one side dressed mostly in camo was supporting free speech, the military, government, and some- Donald Trump. The other side dressed in black- some with helmets on, some with ninja face gear on, seemed to fighting against Donald Trump’s brand of free speech. There were Boston police officers and park rangers all over the place. Very exciting but sort of ruined the scenery of the common. People were on the freedom trail tour walking through that craziness, kinda rough on the tourists I think. Our seats were third row for the Saturday performance which was AMAZING. All the sparkle on all the tutus, so close, it was beautiful.

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Everyone else was photographing the protest….annnnd I snapped pictures of the mounted unit, cute pony huh? He looks sturdy, built like a table, short neck, but overall, I would take him!
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Ceiling painting in the center of the opera house
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Ceiling painting towards the stage of the opera house

Sleeping Beauty is a beautiful ballet. The costumes, scenery, and music are gorgeous. I mean, Aurora wears three different tutus- a pinkish one for her birthday party, a blue one for the dream sequence with the prince, and then a white stunner for the last scene. For this ballet they took some stunning promotional photos at Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA.

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Gorgeous right? Follow @bostonballet on instagram to see more promo materials and behind the scenes pics/vids.

The next ballet I would go to is The Nutcracker, but who knows, I will have an infant then, so all bets are off. Next season is going to be HUGE. Boston Ballet is doing Romeo & Juliet AND La Sylphide next season, total ballet swoon.

Here are some other Boston Ballet posts from the past to check out!

Evening at The Nutcracker     Boston Ballet premieres Le Corsaire

Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker 2015

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The Seafarer Phone Case by Very Troubled Child

Hello everyone!! Recently I received my new iPhone case from Very Troubled Child! They are a great company that makes travel bags & accessories, as well as phone cases. As a brand, they seem to be increasing their digital marketing with more frequent instagram posts as well as a new affiliate program. I was so excited to be asked to embark on an affiliate partnership with them because I really like them as a brand. I will always be very upfront with you about products that I review on the blog so while this item was sent to me free of charge and links may be affiliate links, the opinions on the product are 100% my own.

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Checking to see what fruit or veggie the baby is this week before brunch with my sister. At 20 weeks, he is a banana hahaha!!!

Back to the phone case! I have an iPhone 6 and chose the Seafarer case because I loooooved the print. Being a girl who just loves the New England coast and lakes, this print just spoke to me. There are lighthouses, anchors, sailboats, and 4 point compass roses. The print is mostly red and white on a blue background….so I mean, red, white, and blue? Great color combo. ‘Merica! The phone cases from Very Troubled Child are personalized too! I got my initials on mine.

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The case came in a cute box with this little drawstring bag and a thank you card! No, thank you!

The case is stiff plastic, not the bendy/flexy plastic. It doesn’t cover all the sides of the phone equally. All the buttons on the sides are exposed, as well as the top and bottom of the phone. This can certainly be considered the downside to this case if you are looking for protection for your phone. Aesthetically, I love this case, and for the price it is an amazing deal for a personalized phone case. If you are someone who is a little rough with their phone, then something more like the Lifeproof cases might be up your alley. If you enjoy a beautiful phone case that is personalized and will certainly become the subject of many a conversation, BUT you will have to be a little more careful with your phone, then this case is for you.

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There is a cutout in the case on the bottom and top of the phone, but corners are protected
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There is a cutout on both sides where the buttons are on the phone
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Oh hey Mizpah! She is turning 7 years old this week- crazy!!!

The price of this phone case is $59, which is a similar price point to the Minnie and Emma cases here, and much more affordable than the KJP personalized leather cases here. The other VTC patterns are the Savannah which is tan and Birds of a Feather which is green, and they have a leather case too not shown in the pic below, no increase in price, without a print.

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I have gotten so many compliments on the phone case. Multiple people have told me that this case is “so me”, just because I really love those nautical seascapes. I always laugh when people who are comped items comment on the price it costs, but after checking out other companies, the price for this case is right on.

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Phone case c/o // sneakers // bracelet

The first time I saw something from Very Troubled Child was on KJP and Sarah’s instagrams a few years ago. Dave Willis aka nakednantucketer also has a beautiful collection of the VTC travel bags that he features often.

The leather luggage IS pricey, but I will say that as the company grows and adds new products, I think we will see other accessories at lower price points. The luggage might be more like an investment piece for many of us. The quality looks great, the type of thing your kids will fight over borrowing someday. Check out everything Very Troubled Child has to offer here, and definitely follow them and Very Troubled Girl on Instagram to see their fantastic world travels! Literally in the past few weeks they went from Hong Kong to United Arab Emirates to Italy….fabulous for travel inspo/ envy!

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Spring horse show season has begun!

Many horse professionals from New England travel to the Aiken South Carolina or to Wellington/Ocala Florida for the winter to continue training and showing and return in time for the show season up here! My former barn in Massachusetts, Orchard Hill Equestrian Center, started their schooling show series in April AND the very next weekend was the UNH Spring Trials, a recognized show important to many Area 1 eventers. The schooling show at my old barn was a 2 phase, meaning just dressage and stadium jumping. Right now the cross country field is too soft/muddy. The event at UNH was all three phases meaning dressage, stadium jumping, and cross country.

I volunteered as dressage scribe for the schooling show, which is always a fun job. It can be crazy furiously scribbling down every word the dressage judge says onto the score sheets, but I always learn a lot. I am always too busy during dressage to take any dressage pics. Once dressage was done though, I got to be a spectator for the stadium jumping.

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This particular rider lost her stirrup very early in the round, you can see in this pic her foot is out of the stirrup!!! Superstar!

From where I now live in NH, UNH isn’t that far at all! Mizpah and I headed over to watch some friends from Orchard Hill compete. We weren’t there early enough to watch a lot of dressage, but we did get to see some stadium jumping and cross country. Walking the cross country course is always a lot of fun with Mizpah. We totally have her do all the jumps and play in the water complex haha. The course was definitely muddy and wet in some areas, but UNH did a great job of spreading gravelly sand to the approach and landing areas for jumps that needed it. The UNH students in the equine science and agricultural programs volunteer to make this show run as smoothly as possible.

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Pretty much the only good pic I got of my friend stadium jumping
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Mizpah in the XCountry start box!!
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Beautiful scenery for cross country

A great place to watch some cross country is here at the water complex. In that one area you get to see a few jumps and of course the spaaaalash into the water!

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Jump before the water complex
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Jump over the log down into the water!
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Coop after the water! Lots of pats and exclamations of excitement after this jump!

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The earliest I will be riding again will be this coming winter, so for my own sanity, I will be trying to attend a lot of horsey fun events to get my fix until then. It was so nice seeing my barn friends and supporting the schooling show at Orchard Hill as well as the riders at UNH. Mizpah was an absolute star. Most horse people also looooove dogs, so it was a great day to get her out on the leash greeting kids, adults, other dogs, and select horses who I know are ok around dogs. At horse shows its particularly important for Mizpah to NOT jump on people because no one wants muddy paw prints on their riding pants before entering the ring!!

Anyone planning on getting out to some horsey events this spring and summer? Maybe a polo tournament, a race, or a local show?? Kentucky Derby is coming up, wish I was going!!!

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Coastal Adventures with Mizpah

This past week was my April vacation, one of the many joys of being a teacher! I tend to go visit my parents in Florida during the February vacation, and then April vacation I usually look forward to for fun day trips with my pup, Mizpah. The weather wasn’t amazing this past week as we definitely had some of those April showers, but we made the best of the days that had good weather.

The two coastal areas I took Mizpah too this past week were Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester MA and Narragansett/Newport RI. I had wanted to do a little Kennebunkport ME on Friday but it was rainy in the AM! Good Harbor Beach is off leash on the even days until April 30, Wingaersheek is the dog beach on the odd days. I looooove the way Gloucester runs these two beaches in the offseason. The clear rules allow everyone to be happy- the dog people and the not so much dog people. After the beach, we hit up Woodman’s for the lobster roll special- $15 on Mondays during the offseason.

Both beaches in Gloucester have views of lighthouses. From Wingaersheek you can see the Annisquam Lighthouse, and from Good Harbor you can see the Thacher Island Twin Lighthouses. Here is a great post from a terrific website about the lighthouses. Mizpah had a blast running around the beach and playing in the water.

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View looking out toward Rockport, you can just see those twin lighthouses on Thacher Island in the distance!
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Happiest dog
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My friend Alex with her German short haired pointer puppy who is just 7 weeks old and her chocolate lab who is having some joint issues so could only walk, no running 😦
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In LOVE with my Tucker Blair needlepoint flip flops! Find them here! They are a little pricey at $74, but if you follow them on Instagram, you can see when they have sales!
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We would like to move into that house for the summer please!
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My first born, can’t believe she is going to be 7 in May and a big sister in October!

Our other coastal adventure was down in RI. We met friends at the Narragansett Town Beach which allows dogs on leash until May 15th. Now….interesting situation. Dogs are supposed to be on leash, but as you reach a concrete wall on the beach, the dog officer told us he can’t patrol past there because its private property……sooo can your dog be off leash? I let Mizpah off for a bit to run around, but this particular beach has stairs off the beach to the Dunes Club, hotels, and homes….and Mizpah’s explorer personality made it hard for her to resist heading up to those private properties. Its the off season so no one is at these properties for the most part, but still, I don’t want to be an irresponsible dog owner that disrespects property owners’s wishes.

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The weather wasn’t as nice for our RI beach day, a little foggy and overcast!
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Mizpah with my friend’s dog Koby!
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Mizpah posing with the dunes in the background

From the beach, we headed to Iggy’s for lunch and then off to Newport to walk around. As I have said in previous posts, Mizpah really benefits from not only playing off leash out in nature, but also socializing on leash in busier town centers and such. To be her best dog self, she needs to be good at both. I want her to greet people with the same respect off leash on a trail in the White Mountains and she would on leash on Thames St. in Newport.

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We would also happily live here in this adorable home off Thames St for the summer, thanks.
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Bannister’s Wharf
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Walking by the historic Clarke Cooke House. The beautiful daffodils seen throughout Newport were part of the Newport Daffodil Days Festival.

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I do love a tall ship weathervane 🙂
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Chocolate chip ice cream from Kilwins is so good, think more like chocolate chunks!

In the offseason, parking at the metered spots on Thames is free so we nabbed a spot near Kilwins with the plan in mind that ice cream would be procured at the end of the day. If we hadn’t eaten lunch already, I probably would have gone to O’Brien’s Pub because they have an outdoor seating area that is dog friendly. It was a long day with the drives back and forth. From NH to RI, the drive was around two and a half hours each way. As we walked around Bowen’s Wharf, I looked around for spots where the KJP store could be opening and I did happen to see a nice space next to the Alex and Ani that was being renovated…..we shall see! Hope you have enjoyed our adventures!

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