The 52nd Head of the Charles Regatta

Hello everyone! It has been a crazy couple weeks. We finished ripping up carpets and putting down hardwoods in our living room and bedroom and painted the walls. The place looks completely different with fresh paint and nice oak hardwoods! I am glad we finished up in time for one of my favorite weekends, the Head of the Charles!

I decided against going down on Saturday because it was pouring for most of the day, but I did head down on Sunday because I was volunteering! Sunday is also a great day to go because parking is free in Harvard Sq and its the day of the Championship 4s and 8s! This was my fifth year of volunteering. I volunteered my senior year of high school and freshman year of college, and then the first two years out of college. My first two years we got long sleeve tshirts, the next two years we got fleeces from Nautica BUT unless you were there Friday night you got the big sizes so I gave those away. Brooks Brothers took over the volunteer apparel in 2009. This year they did a fantastic blue and red down vests and black hats. Love it. I have volunteered out on the docks in the past and I have volunteered in the info booths. This year I was in the info booth right across from the Brooks Brothers tent at Attager Row, the retail area between Elliot Bridge and the finish line. My fellow volunteers were great, all very helpful and interesting people. Volunteers aren’t just rowers, they come from all different backgrounds to help this amazing two day event go as smoothly as possible.

I think that having rowed in the event two years does help me to be a good info booth volunteer, as well as the fact that I got to learn how to row on the Charles in high school. I know all the bridges, all the boathouses, and the good places to watch. I have had some mishaps out there too:  I coxed a boat (the only time I ever coxed a boat) into the shallows on the Cambridge side by the Weeks Bridge (oops), rowed around in the basin during what felt like a hurricane, and swamped a four. Swamping the four meant hopping out of the boat to flip it, and then getting back in…not easy. For next year I am going to put together a HOCR guide- all the food, shopping, places to watch, and such. It will be really fun for me to write 🙂

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I did take a break to run over for a pic at the Brooks Brothers photo area.
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It was a cold and windy day, but gorgeous blue skies.
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I just loved the pink and navy unisuits on this crew
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Four launching out of Cambridge Boat Club from the Eliot Bridge.
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Beautiful scene by the Eliot Bridge. The boathouse up towards the left belongs to the Belmont Hill School and the Winsor School.

There were some fabulous highlights this year. Gevvie Stone who won the silver medal in Rio won the women’s championship singles. The O’Donovan Brothers who were hilarious in Rio rowed in a quad for a second place finish, the US Para Team rowed in the mixed eight race, and the gold medal women’s eight was on hand for autographs. The HOCR just after the summer olympics every four years is always a little special. I would love to row in the HOCR again. We shot for an alumni 8 but didn’t get a bid, maybe next year!

Now, sadly the HOCR gear from Brooks Brothers is not available anywhere else but their tent during the event. I really liked the HOCR long sleeve cotton sweatshirts but they were a little too expensive for me. The official HOCR merchandise is really nice too and can be a bit more affordable depending on what you are looking for.  There was no KJP presence this year in the Brooks Brothers tent which was interesting. The past few years there was an area within the Brooks Brothers tent featuring members of the KJP team and products.

How was everyone else’s weekend? Whose coming to the HOCR next year? Counting down already…

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North Country ATV Adventure

This weekend we headed up to the Great North Woods of NH to a friend’s family camp for some ATV fun and beautiful foliage. We boarded the pup so that she could have fun and socialize with other pups while we played out on the ATVs. We got up there on Friday night and headed on the ATVs Saturday morning. Up in North Country NH, there is an awesome trail network for ATVs called Ride the Wilds established in 2013. There are 1000+ miles of trails connected, which include town roads and sections of highway when necessary to connect sections. Eleven different clubs within the region take care of the trail system with donations only- no tax dollars were spent on them.

Before 2013, the trail network wasn’t as connected and was really dependent on permission from private landowners. The signage along the trails was amazing and really helps keep people on the trails and off land that the landowners would like to keep private. There are restaurants, lodges, general stores, and campgrounds along the way. For this adventure I wore my LLBean fleece, Harding Lane mountain hat, buff to cover my face for the dust, jeans, my old Merrell boots, and my Fox mountain biking gloves.  It was definitely a day for functional clothing that you didn’t mind getting dusty/muddy!

Our first stop on our ATV adventure was the Blueberry Hill Inn & Cafe for breakfast. The food there is fabulous- our party got blueberry pancakes, grilled blueberry muffins, bacon, homemade corn beef hash, home fries, and endless cups of coffee. The blueberries for the pancakes & muffins come from blueberry fields right on the property and of course, the maple syrup was locally produced.

From there we headed up the Cree Notch Trails to a great lookout/picnic spot. Along the way we rode along a railroad, saw glimpses of the Connecticut River, & rode through a Christmas tree farm.

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Along the railroad trail was the most dust, but I liked it because it was cool to see the old school telephone poles still standing

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Feeling like a bandit through the dusty parts
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The Christmas tree farm!

The views from Cree Notch were amazing. The foliage was just breathtaking.

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My husband Jon and I rode on a Polaris Sportsman ATV. He drove the whole way out, and I drove part of the way home. Our friend was on a Kawasaki ATV, and then his parents, our amazing hosts, were in a Polaris side by side. They have had their camp up north for about 30 years and have really been there since the beginning for ATVing up there. img_7219

From there we headed to Bear Bait Mountain which also had some beautiful views. As the day progressed, the clouds rolled in and there were even a couple rain drops but thankfully nothing that disrupted our day. We saw a juvenile moose alongside the trail coming down from the notch view. It was early in the day for it to be out and about, and it didn’t move when we approached. Sadly the poor thing might be sick with something. We didn’t stick around too long in case mom was close by. It may have had some sort of tick borne disease like lyme. It was still a pretty cool encounter.

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After our amazing day of four wheeling, Jon did some fishing at the brook right near camp, and we had a campfire to warm up before dinner. He caught and released six beautiful brook trouts to hopefully grow and increase the healthy trout population.

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Beautiful brook trout, caught & released

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We had such an amazing day and made it home on Sunday in time to watch Tom Brady play with the Patriots for the first time this season. I am pretty sure this weekend is the peak foliage for northern NH, but southern NH still has a week or so. I am just loving all the fall colors, and secretly I am totally getting excited for snow and skiing in a few months hopefully!

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October Hike up Galehead Mtn

Last Sunday, despite some cloudy conditions, we hiked up Galehead Mountain in the White Mountains. This is a mountain that I have already done in July last year, but my sister and a friend needed it for their 48. Our friend brought his dog, Marshall, and this was his first hike! Its a great hike- nothing too technical, just 6 hours. There is a hut on the way to the summit with some views, the Galehead Hut, and the summit itself is in the trees. The Galehead Hut is a nice one because its just one building- so the lodge, bunks, and bathrooms are all together. Some of the huts are multiple buildings so you have to find the one with the bathrooms in it.

The trail we took in an out was called the Gale River Trail  and then Garfield Ridge Trail to the hut, and finally the Frost Trail to the summit. All together round trip the distance is about 10 miles.

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Foliage starting to turn
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Foliage on the left!

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Mountain hat from Harding Lane here 🙂

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Leaving the hut to head up the Frost Trail to the summit
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Four people, two dogs at the summit cairn- 16 legs in all 🙂
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Sisters ❤ LLBean packs can be found here and here.

Its always fun to hike with a group because the constant conversation makes the hike fly by. After we hiked we hit up Truant’s Tavern in Woodstock NH for some dinner. It was a cool & damp day, so having some chili really warmed me up. The trail was actually dry despite the conditions and the crossings were very manageable. The dogs were great, it was fun to see Mizpah hike with another pup.

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Autumn Fair in Deerfield, NH

I love autumn in New England. A tradition that I have never been able to pass up is a fall harvest fair! I love the animals, the food, the crafts, and all the competitions for biggest pumpkin, best photo, best floral arrangement, prize jersey cow, etc. I grew up in MA going to the Topsfield Fair every year, then in college out in Worcester I learned about the amazing Big E in Springfield. This year with my move to NH, we stayed local and headed to the Deerfield Fair.

The fair has been running for 140 years, it is the oldest running fair in New England. We went on Saturday morning and the crowds were small due to the subpar weather. It was a little rainy/windy but I was ok in my Sperry rain boots and Barbour jacket.

So first up, the food!!! I had apple crisp, hot apple cider, and apple cider donuts. There were mini apple cider donuts and normal sized ones. I also had some ice cream thanks to the Granite State Dairy Promotion folks!

The animals are awesome at the fair. There are oxen, dairy & beef cows, sheep, pigs, draft horses, and show horses. There is also a little petting zoo with goats, alpacas, and a camel! The oxen participate in an oxen pulling competition. They work together as a pair and are trained from a young age- conditioning, strength, and obedience to their trainer. It was really cool to watch. I read articles accusing this event of being cruel to the oxen, but I saw a lot of love between the handlers and their animals and really amazing training shining through this Herculean task. There is a pretty constant flow of horse events going on throughout the day from huntseat to saddlebred pleasure to lead line classes.

The agricultural exhibits and competitions are awesome. The state record was set for the giant pumpkin with 2066 lbs!!!! I loved all the farm displays. My favorite depicted a scene from The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It was perfect. I also loved trying all the free samples- from cheese at the Yankee Cheeseman to maple roasted cashews at the Maple House thanks to the NH Maple Producers Association.

We got some chicken tenders from Krisi’s Chicken Tenders and some french fries made right there with fresh potatoes for lunch. Everything was so good and fresh. I think its safe to say I definitely ate too much, but I left full and happy.

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