MDW Hike up Mt. Cabot

Well another Memorial Day weekend has come and gone. From what I have heard, Sunday was a miserable day in most of New England, but it was a beautiful day in northern New Hampshire on Mt. Cabot! Mt. Cabot is the farthest north of the 4000 footers up in Berlin NH. The trailhead is at one of the NH State Hatcheries, soooooo many trouts!!! We were already up at my inlaws’ house in NH, and from there it was still another 2.5 hours to drive. My sister, Brenda, came up to do this hike with me and my husband too! This was her 3rd 4000 footer, my 40th 4000 footer, and who knows what number it is for my husband haha, over 100?

So we went up Cabot via the Bunnel Notch Trail to the Kilkenny Ridge Trail. In total, the mileage was a little over 9 miles- took us about 6 hours. The trail was in great shape except for some mud which is normal for this time of year. It was a really warm day, many water breaks.  There are some nice features along the way- a spot with some beautiful views, an old fire warden’s cabin that you can stay in, and a clearing close to the summit that has the remnants of an old fire tower. Many people stop at the tower clearing thinking that they have made it to the summit…but really you have to continue on and you will get to another clearing with a sign that says Mt. Cabot-4120′, and that still isn’t the summit, you have to go a little further to the true summit at 4170′. Two false summits. We saw many people at the fire tower clearing that never continued on to the actual summit.

IMG_5092
Green lush scenery has returned to the White Mountains
IMG_5105
My sister and I love our LLBean Backpacks. Mine on the left is here and my sister’s on the right is here. My pack is smaller, more appropriate for a little day pack, and my sister’s is a little more appropriate for an overnight too.
IMG_5112
The girls at the view, Mizpah, me, and Brenda
IMG_5115
The views were a little hazy on Sunday, but still beautiful. Everything is so green again!!!
IMG_5123
The old fire warden cabin near the summit of Mt. Cabot. The only cabin I have seen in the 4000 footers higher elevation. There are shelters, and then the AMC huts, and cabins at lower elevations, but this is a unique fixture.
IMG_5131
False summit #2 haha, me and Jon
IMG_5143
Stopping at the view for a little break on the way down. Best hiking dog. Love her.

On the way home, we stopped at Mountain Fire Pizza in Gorham NH for some dinner and a beer. Jon and I split the maple and bacon pizza, it was amazing. My sister got a pizza with chicken and artichoke on it, it looked great too! If you like thin crust brick oven pizza, then this is the place for you. Gorham is an interesting town, way up in the mountains. We went to Gorham last year for 4th of July fireworks when we were camping at Dolly Cop. ATVs are street legal in the town. Think about that for a second, you can drive 4-wheelers anywhere…to McDonald’s, to get some pizza, to pick up a friend, whatever. Pretty cool place. More pics from Memorial Day on Lake Winnepesaukee tomorrow!!

Signature 2

Advertisements

Memorial Day Thoughts

Memorial Day weekend has always felt like the unofficial start of summer in New England. We will be heading up to NH for the weekend to do some hiking and we are still undecided about heading to the lake or maybe going to Portsmouth for a day. Favorite thing about NH….lakes, coast, mountains….you can do them all in a day there if you want! As the blog posts and ads begin touting Memorial Day sales, and we all head out into the long weekend, hopefully we can all take a minute to remember what Memorial Day is all about.

Memorial Day is for our men and women who did not return from service; they gave their lives while serving in a branch of our armed forces. You can certainly thank a veteran on Memorial Day, but this holiday is not about the living. It’s not about veterans that have passed since their service…although some could argue that many of our veterans are back, but never left combat completely. Back during World War I, families would fly a flag with a blue star for each member of the family serving; and if a member died, the blue star was replaced by a gold star to show the community that their family member had sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. Gold Star families in our communities often hold events/fundraisers around Memorial Day which are really awesome ways to remember a soldier who didn’t make it home.

My grandmother was young when both of her parents died within a couple years of each other, and then her brother, Thomas McHugh, died in WWII. He was an aviation machinist on an aircraft carrier that got hit by our own planes. He was a student at MIT, and they lived in Dorchester with their uncle, cousins, and many Irish immigrants. Their uncle Bartley McHugh ran an unofficial boarding house for Irish immigrants. He had a large victory garden, and got his neighbors, friends, and family from Ireland jobs in the electric company for the men, and cleaning houses for the women. A member of a Gold Star family came to speak at my school about remembering the true meaning behind Memorial Day. Her brother was killed in Afghanistan, and so for her family, every day is Memorial Day. The real sentiment I caught from her, and that I remember getting from my grandmother is the overwhelming sadness of what could have been. My grandmother didn’t get to watch the only immediate family member she had left graduate from college, or get married, or have children.

This weekend, there will be much talk of Memorial Day cookouts, outfits, drinks, sales and so on. In Massachusetts, its especially fancy to head to Nantucket for the Figawi sailing race and celebrations. Last year we were in Charleson SC, year before Newport RI, and year before that Chatham on the cape for Memorial Day. This year we are going a little more low key up in NH. Somewhere or sometime during the weekend, I hope that we can all take a few minutes to appreciate our service men and women that did not return home, and for their friends and family who think of them every day.

Signature 2

Oak Hill Conservation Area

After being sick with allergies and some flu like symptoms last week, I attacked this weekend with a vengeance! Sunday I ran my first 5k road race with my sister, Brenda, in Stow MA. It was the 18th annual Run for the Woods, and the money raised benefits the Stow Conservation Trust. The course had minimal hills, and winds by some beautiful spots- an apple orchard, a farm with goats/cows, and a farm with sheep! That afternoon I was tired, but we had to do something with the pup, so we decided to try out the Oak Hill Conservation Area in Littleton, MA. The two big features there are the Lookout Rock, which I guess you can see the Hancock tower in Boston from on a clear day (it wasn’t that clear for us), and Tophet Chasm. Tophet Chasm was formed 15,000 years ago by an outlet from Lake Nashua, a glacial lake. There are trails along the ridge of the chasm looking down into it, and then a trail along the bottom of the chasm. We will NEVER take the trail at the bottom again, Mizpah had a blast running through the swampy areas down there and honestly, I don’t think I have seen her that muddy ever!!IMG_4961IMG_4960IMG_4959IMG_4934

IMG_4941
Walking uphill felt great after running a 5k earlier haha!!!
IMG_4937
View from Lookout Rock
IMG_4943
Highest point in Littleton- 508′
IMG_4944
Farm/land boundary

IMG_4945

IMG_4955
Sidewall of the chasm
IMG_4954
Trail through the swampy bottom of the chasm
IMG_4947
Another shot of the wall of the chasm
IMG_4946
Looking down into the chasm from the top of the ridge
IMG_4956
This picture doesn’t even do justice to how muddy Mizpah was because you can’t see her back legs really well, she was gross!

We will hopefully be heading up to do some hiking in NH this coming weekend, but it is fun to explore smaller local spots when we can’t get up there. This area had conflicting information posted about leashing your dog. The leash law for Littleton was posted, but then another sign said dogs needed to be on leash or under verbal command, and then yet another sign said dogs needed to be in sight and under verbal control and were not allowed to approach people or dogs unless invited. We did a mix of leash and off leash….if we heard people, we put her on the leash. When she got super gross, we put her on a leash so she wouldn’t be gross greeting people. It was pretty quiet there though, not a lot of people at all. We had such a nice weekend weather wise this past weekend. I hope it continues!

Signature 2

Barbour Clearance Center, Milford NH

So my celebratory-finished my MS-shopping weekend (see my other shopping victories here)  continued and brought me north into New Hampshire. I have been searching for deals on a hood for my Barbour Argon jacket and for a jacket for my pup, Mizpah. There is a new Barbour outlet in the Merrimack Outlets, but I was surprised to see a location in Milford, NH. Milford NH? Yep, that’s right, the US headquarters for Barbour is in a warehouse/tech park in Milford ha. Everything that is sold in the US goes through this facility, and repairs/reproofing are done here too.

IMG_4832
This is the real deal factory/warehouse outlet!
IMG_4833
The warehouse & repair/rewaxing area!!

IMG_4834

IMG_4835
This gorgeous image hangs above the cashier area, one of the few pieces of decor in the store
IMG_4836
I was checking these out because I would really love a navy quilted jacket someday!

IMG_4837

The outlet attached was awesome. The sales associates were really sweet and helpful- they had to go out back to find me a hood- it was the only one left! Lets go over the deals here though….

-All items have some sort of markdown. They sell out fast of any classics that come in, as well as any dog stuff sadly.

-Buy 3 or more items and you get 20% off! One of the sales associates told me that they are getting in some accessories like socks soon which will make this easier on the wallet!

-They do sample sales- size 6 in women’s and large in men’s. Sometimes the discount doesn’t seem huge on an item in the sample sale, but its the best of the best stuff usually. So if you are those sizes, you could get some cool stuff.

-Red tag sales- any item that has been deemed imperfect is on sale for huge discounts. Sometimes the item might just be missing a snap, which they will fix for you!

I am now on the email list for the sample and red tag sales- pretty exciting stuff. I am still on the hunt for a jacket for the pup, but I love my hood. The hood is typically $49, but at the outlet it was $29.

We did hit up the Merrimack Outlets too, and just an FYI, I liked the Milford outlet way better. I got a great deal on a staple Polo Ralph Lauren oxford- $30. I am a perfect medium in the custom fit. Oxfords can be tough- finding a shirt that fits your shoulders, bust, and arms that isn’t too boxy feels a little like winning a contest haha. IMG_4841

If you want to see more pictures and get more info, Salt Water New England has a great post on the Barbour headquarters in Milford. The only thing to remember though is that the outlet is only open Thursday- Saturday 10-6, and Sunday 11-5. After our shopping adventure, we grabbed dinner with my inlaws for Mother’s Day at the Common Man in Concord, NH. Definitely my favorite chain of restaurants in NH, so lucky my mother-in-law loves it too! If you are ever traveling through NH, stop at the Mt. Washington Hotel, the white mountains, and check out Lake Winnipesaukee….but if something from Barbour sounds like a good souvenir, swing by this out of the way location in Milford!!

Signature 2

TJ Maxx Finds!

My MS is done!! I finished at the end of last week, and did a little shopping this past weekend to reward myself for all my hard work. I had a TJ Maxx gift card from bridal shower, which was actually an awesome gift because it was more for me, than for the home or the kitchen. I will be honest, I get a little overwhelmed at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. My husband is all like, be a maxxinista! and I’m like omg all these racks to go through. I lucked out though on some good stuff!

IMG_4861

These earrings….they were $19.99 and exactly what I was looking for. I had been looking for an every day earring that was the pin cushion style. These are little fake pearls with a little halo of crystals around it. I have really small ear lobes, and these are the perfect size. IMG_4844

This navy blazer is a really light weight, linen type material. The lining is white and navy stripes and it has two gold buttons. Its great for this time of year with the sleeves rolled up just a touch. It was $29.99. Such a great deal. Fits me perfectly too.

IMG_4845Ok, basic white tank top doesn’t seem like such an amazing find but I like having a few white tanks to wear with my printed shorts/skirts. This one is great for $16.99. Its a little flowy which is nice especially if we are going somewhere where I will overeat…you know what I mean. Good white tank tops that aren’t tissue thin are hard to find. The shorts are pink seersucker with navy embroidered anchors. Again, $16.99! They are thin, like you can’t do colored underwear, but that’s ok, we just plan right?

I have been taking classes for this masters for years. Its amazing to be done and have my afternoons and weekends back!!! Everyone have a good Kentucky Derby?? The bar we went to didn’t have mint so I got an old fashioned. We got one of those mint julep kits- mint, sugar cubes, and sugarcane swizzle sticks and did them on Sunday for Game of Thrones! So much mint for just two people haha. They are a pretty drink though.

IMG_4839

Happy Monday everyone!! It’s been a good one here because the sun is finally out!!

Signature 2

Talkin Derby 2016 Looks & Bets!!

Today is the Kentucky Derby! Attending all three of the Triple Crown races as well as the Maryland Hunt Cup is on my bucket list. Last year I went with some friends to a Derby party in Boston, right on the water, it was so fun. This year, the weather has been so blah that we didn’t make any plans. My husband and I will probably just go somewhere local and grab a drink to watch the races. I think that derby day is a great time to unleash some floral prints as it is the race for the roses. Here are some fun dresses that I found for a nice price!

FullSizeRender-58

                                                Eliza J Floral Fit & Flare Dress @ $54.97

FullSizeRender-57

                    Db Signature Sabrina Floral Dress @ $39.50 not in many sizes now, but there               was a huge selection of floral dresses at Dress Barn

FullSizeRender-56

Mahi Gold Paradise Parade @ $98.00 in Hydrangea Walk- the most expensive out of the 3 but with the iconic Cape Cod blue hydrangeas…I need this. Mahi’s dresses are so soft and comfortable. Mahi Gold is definitely one reason why I love shopping in Chatham.

Now, one retailer that I have left off of my list is Vineyard Vines. They are the official style of the Kentucky Derby. They have a rose print dress that is gorgeous BUT its $248….and they have a white dress with a rose print sash for $198. If I was going to the event I would steer clear of these because you will see a lot of ladies wearing them and they are expensive….so unless you got it c/0….I mean, just look this year at all the gentlemen wearing the rose print sport coat from VV. If I was going, I would want to wear a dress that wouldn’t break my budget and that I wouldn’t see on every girl there 🙂

I am not much of a big hat girl, but I can’t wear headbands for a fascinator because I will get a headache. What I would actually probably do is decorate a hair clip to match my dress. These fabulous hair clips would definitely be my inspiration!

il_570xN.561066118_qgmt
Hair Clip via Etsy
il_570xN.410402691_a6ju
Hair Clip via Etsy

Making a decorated hair clip means it can’t have too much weight, so I would probably do mesh/organza and feathers- maybe one flower….but you can’t do too much or it will be too heavy to stay in your hair!

As for who I am rooting for this year at the derby, Nyquist is the favorite. Nyquist is one of three babies, along with Mo Tom and Outwork, in the derby that have the same sire, Uncle Mo. Crazy. If we look at trainers, two proven trainers have contenders this year: Bob Baffert has Mor Spirit who is a favorite, and then Todd Pletcher has Destin and Outwork. Steven Asmussen has Creator and Gun Runner in the race, and he has had some good horses out there too. His career survived a PETA investigation in 2014 and now he has 2 horses in the derby- not too shabby. Nyquist is the top money winner in the field with over $3 million in earnings, and surprisingly Lani with not so great odds is 3rd place with the money at $1.3 million. Second place is Exaggerator at $1.7 million but he has pretty good odds right now.

Nyquist is a safe bet, there is a good chance this guy will be in the winner’s circle. If you are looking for a horse that would be fun to bet on because they are in the mids for odds, then maybe Mor Spirit, or Destin, or if you are just looking for a fun name, then I like Oscar Nominated. The rules to name a thoroughbred for the Jockey Club make for some creative names!

Alright folks, from rain soaked Massachusetts, I am wishing everyone a fabulous Kentucky Derby day, I can’t wait to see all the looks on blogs and instagram, and watch the most exciting 2 minutes in sports tonight. Enjoy it!

Signature 2

Trail Running Sneaks Review!

This entire week is gloomy and rainy here in Massachusetts so its a great time to dream about trail running and talk about my new trail running sneakers!! Dalmatians are very high energy dogs and they were bred to run alongside horse drawn carriages. They would run ahead and clear the crowds and then guard the goods when the men went inside. That’s why dalmatians are associated with firehouses and Budweiser, because firetrucks and the Budweiser trucks were originally horse drawn. What does that mean for someone who owns a dalmatian though? That means you are in the company of an animal that was bred to run miles and miles every day. Part of the reason why dalmatians got such a bad rep back when the dalmatian movies came out is because they are only good dogs with plenty of exercise. I once read that puppies can do 20k no problem. When we run on the trails, we do between 3-5 miles of hilly terrain…and she could totally do more. I love running with Mizpah in the woods, and I finally got my first pair of trail running sneakers about a month ago.

FullSizeRender-55

I got my North Face Ultra 109 Goretex sneaks from REI. We are members of the REI coop, so we had a $20 member dividend from when I bought my crampons last year, and a 20% coupon back on the member rewards weekend. The sneakers are $120, but I think I ended up paying $76. Great deal! They are not the best looking sneaker, gray and blue are a little boring, but they have great stability so I can run on rocks and roots without rolling my ankles, and they are goretex which means I am a little more protected in mud and puddles on the trail. I also got some new socks from LLBean for trail running because I wanted socks that weren’t so low cut.

IMG_4571

 

Now, why get trail running sneakers? Can’t I just run on the trails with my normal running sneakers!?

You can! I did for years. I have noticed some huge improvements since I finally got some trail specific shoes though.

  1. Running uphill- trails in MA are covered in dead leaves with roots and rocks underneath. Running uphill with my new sneaks which have awesome dirt biting treads is soooooo much easier. No more slipping back every step, or trying to navigate the trail to put my feet on non-slip ground.
  2. Stability- these particular sneakers are made for stability so that when you are running over roots and rocks, it doesn’t impact your footfall as much. I roll my ankle and trip way less now.
  3. Goretex- the first piece of clothing I owned with Goretex was my crew jacket and I have been in love ever since. My sneakers are able to go through mud and shallow puddles and my feet stay warm and dry.

A big rule that I have to follow with these sneakers is to only use the on the trails. Running on pavement in them would damage and wear down the amazing treads.

IMG_4677

Thats my little Mizpah coming back to me after checking out an unfinished/abandoned beaver lodge. It was sorta a scary moment watching her traipse around on logs, but she has an explorer’s spirit that can’t be harnessed. We couldn’t hike this past weekend because of the rain….and its been raining all week so who knows about this weekend. Anyone have any fun Kentucky Derby plans!?

Signature 2

UNH Spring Eventing Trials!

This past Saturday I packed up the pup and we headed to the UNH spring eventing trials to support one of my good friends. She moved up a level this year to training from novice which is very exciting, and this was her and her horse, Clover’s, first outing of the year. It was a beautiful day, sun shining with a breeze, and we got there in time for my favorite part of supporting a friend at an eventing trial- walking the cross country course!! Cross country is the 3rd phase of an eventing trial where horse and rider take off into fields, woods, and water features. They are timed and assessed time penalties depending on how far off they were from the optimal time. You can also get penalties in cross country if your horse refuses a jump- 20 for the first refusal, 40 for the second, and then if you get a 3rd refusal on a jump, its elimination. If the rider falls at a jump, its elimination….in the levels below training, if you fall and land on your feet you can hop back on but its 65 penalties!

Cross country features are really cool. Logs, drops, banks, ditches, water jumps, roll tops, oxers with tree/shrub brushes, coops…some that are a direct straight shot to get to, some that you have to turn into, all really interesting & challenging. Some are really fun too, like jumping a giant duck or something like that. The horses cover some serious ground typically, and they are usually ridden at a gallop, maybe a bit slower for the lower levels, like you might see people decelerate coming up to a jump to prepare. Riders need to condition themselves and their horses by schooling cross country at different places, so when its time to do it at an event, all that hard work can pay off! My friend did an amazing job, she came in 4th!! She did a great job in dressage, double clear (no time or jump faults) in stadium jumping,  and no penalties in xcountry. Mizpah had an awesome time walking with us and socializing with dogs, horses, and people. She loves Clover, walks right next to her like she is Clover’s escort. Her affinity for horses is actually part of her breeding. Dalmatians were bred to travel with horse drawn vehicles, hence their rep as fire house and Budweiser dogs. Mizpah naturally coaches when she is with horses. Here are some pics from the day, enjoy!!

IMG_4688
Dogs heading to walk xcountry!

IMG_4695IMG_4696IMG_4699

IMG_4689
Pretty cool water feature!! The jump leading up to this is a ditch!
IMG_4707
Mizpah walking with Clover ❤
IMG_4701
🙂
IMG_4692
Jack Pack!
IMG_4690
Mizpah watching for the next horse!
IMG_4716
Clover going through the water!

UNH has a very popular equine science program. The cross country course is right on campus, like some buildings actually have a view out their window of a jump! The dressage arenas and the jumping arena were all very close too which is nice for horses. They are actually fundraising to improve their cross country course for 2017, so it will be fun to go back next year and see the changes. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!!

Signature 2