Hampton Beach with Mizpah

Yesterday was quite the day for my pup Mizpah. We did off leash fun at a park with awesome trails near us and then made the short trip to Hampton Beach. Massachusetts and Maine both have beaches with more lenient rules for dogs in the offseason. Maine beaches and some of the beaches on the cape actually allow dogs during the summer before a certain time and after a certain time…usually before 9 and after 5. I moved to New Hampshire, the land of live free or die, and our short coast line here is made up of state parks and there is a hard and fast rule that there are no dogs allowed. Even the short sections of beach that are considered “town beach” can’t be accessed without going through state beaches.

We went expecting to just walk along the boardwalk- not as good as walking on the beach, but still nice views. When we got there though, sure enough there were lots of people walking their dogs on the beach! They were all on leash. It seems like the rule is in effect, but just not enforced because the rangers aren’t around patrolling.

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Pretty unbelievable that all the snow melted in much of the trails! My outfit was perfect for the weather. The needlepoint hat from Smathers & Branson, my Barbour Argon jacket (sold out but similar here) , LLBean scarf (sold out), and my LLBean boots held up nicely on this cool day. 
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One end of Hampton Beach, past here its mostly rocks up against the wall
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Mizpah loves the feeling of sand between her paws
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Running around the beach with Mizpah
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Down at the other end of the beach, a very brave surfer heading into the water

It was strange to be at Hampton with all the stores and restaurants boarded up, but it was also so nice and quiet! Hampton Beach is…..lively in the summer. The first time I went to Hampton was in 6th grade with two friends and I was totally overwhelmed in a good way I guess. The beach, arcade, and all the food. I had only ever been to Wingaersheek, Crane, and Good Harbor on the North Shore in MA where we brought our food in a cooler and just ran around the beach. The best deal on the boardwalk was at Sal’s Pizza- $5 for a huge slice of pizza and a can of soda. There’s the Candy Corner, the numerous trashy tshirt companies, and leaving the beach, we always had to stop for ice cream at Hodgie’s Too. Hampton is certainly not the most classy or picturesque beach, but it is definitely fun. Ok, time to stop procrastinating and pack for Florida!

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Warm winter afternoon at Crane Beach

So from pretty much the day after snow polo to the end of this past week, I have had the worst cold!! Coughing, sneezing, watering eyes, fatigue, all of it. Thankfully I started to feel better this past week just in time for the unseasonable heat wave here in New England.

For my first “finally feeling better afternoon out”, I headed to Ipswich MA to visit a friend who just moved there just down the street from Crane Beach. It felt so good to get out of the house for more than just work, hang out with friends, and of course be at the beach!!! Crane Beach allows horseback riding and off leash dogs from October 1 to March 31, so we brought her chocolate lab Wellie with us. I totally felt like I was cheating on Mizpah, she will come next time. We both ride horses so of course are both dreaming of trail riding there as well.

Here are some pics I snapped. With the blue sky and the setting sun, the water looked an iridescent blue. It was perfection for my first adventure out in the world post-sickness!

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Still a little bit of snow on the dunes. Check out our super long winter shadows!

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Sun setting on a beautiful day. To the right of the sun, you can just make out the roof/chimney line of Crane Estate.

My friend got her resident beach sticker recently, which I think will make for some really fun day trips this coming summer! Crane Beach is usually pretty busy in the summer, the normal parking rate can be pricey at $25 but they do have nice bathroom/shower facilities and a snack shack type place with food and novelty ice cream. Where I am in NH now, while I of course have way closer access to the NH beaches, I am more excited about being closer to the North Shore beaches in MA that I grew up loving. Alrighty, hope everyone enjoys their weekends! I am on vacation next week so I will be heading to Florida to dust off the Palm Beach sandals again!

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Snow Polo in Georgetown MA

Hello! Its been a crazy few days. Huge blizzard this past Thursday into Friday, and another big one Sunday in today. We have gotten over two feet of snow in these storms. Thank god for our snowblower. This past Saturday that snow was useful for the first annual Northeast Snow Polo Championship. The match was between a team from NY and Boston Polo at Boston Polo’s new home as of this summer, Twisdenwood Farms in Georgetown MA.

Boston Polo, Stage Hill Polo, Newport Polo; all polo clubs in New England that have serious high level players but also have lessons and programming to help people get involved and develop skills in polo to eventually play in the higher level chukkers! It’s smart, they bring more people into the sport while generating revenue to keep the clubs going. Mark Tashjian is the man behind Boston Polo- head instructor and manager of the club. He served as the umpire for the match on a cute flea-bitten gray pony named Mimosa. They used red arena balls and played 3 on 3 for 4 chukkers.

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Boston Polo was wearing green, NY was wearing the white/gray
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The white pants that we typically see on our polo players are called polo whites!
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Love the BP clip job
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There were gray ponies, bays, chestnuts, and yes…a palomino polo pony!
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This pic shows the red arena ball over to the right! It was challenging to deal with the ball getting lost in the snow and bouncing in the uneven terrain

It was a cold day for sure but we dressed for it, brought blankets, and of course some thermoses of hot apple cider. We packed some chicken salad sandwiches, cheese n crackers, and I even made some chocolate dipped strawberries. Spectators set up around the arena and there was also an indoor area that had live music and get this, heated bathrooms!

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Hot drinks were a necessity! We brought our LLBean thermos and our Woolrich thermos
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Bundled up in my favorite LLBean pom hat and my Horseware Newmarket throw blanket. That’s Mark Tashjian to the left of the photo!

It wasn’t St. Moritz or Aspen, but it was beautiful. I love horses, I love watching them move. Watching these polo ponies race through the snow kicking up snow dust instead of dirt was pretty cool.

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To check out some of my other posts on polo:

Aiken, SC Part 2: Sunday Polo!

Polo lessons with Stage Hill Polo

Sunday Funday at Myopia Polo

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The Lighthouses of Portsmouth Harbor

The Piscataqua River is a tidal river that separates NH from ME, forms Portsmouth Harbor, and empties into the Gulf of Maine. Recently I ventured out into New Castle, NH, which is an island. Driving around the island I found a nice spot to see the Portsmouth Harbor Light and was so happy to see that from the same park, you can see the Whaleback Light just over the border in Kittery ME. Another site worth checking out in New Castle is Wentworth by the Sea, but I made the decision that visiting that historic beauty would need more time than I had…probably a nicer outfit too.

Portsmouth Harbor Light is actually at Fort Constitution. You can drive toward the Coast Guard Base and then follow the signs for the Fort Constitution Historic Site. From May to mid-October they actually do tours of the lighthouse! I am definitely going this coming summer. You can actually climb all the way up to the lantern room! Fort Constitution was originally Fort William and Mary. In 1791, NH gave the site to the US, and the fort was renovated and renamed something a little more American : )

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Coastline of New Castle NH from Great Island Commons
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Coastline of New Castle NH from Great Island Commons. The seagulls are so cute right now, all puffed up with their winter down.

I viewed the light houses from Great Island Commons, which is a pay to enter park in the summer, but is free right now! I also got a closer look at the Portsmouth Harbor Light from the end of Ocean St…..like I was one step away from trespassing on US Government property haha. The original wooden lighthouse was built in 1771. It was rebuilt in 1804, shortened in 1851, and then rebuilt again in 1878 lined with cast-iron bricks. There is an oil house built in 1903 and a keeper’s house from 1872 that is being used as US Coast Guard offices.

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Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

The Portsmouth Harbor Light is a fixed green beacon that can be seen 12 nautical miles out. Part of the reason for the steady fixed beacon and for the shortening of the light house was the construction of Whaleback Light, a little farther out in the harbor. Whaleback Light is actually just over the border in Kittery Maine off the coast of Wood Island. The original Whaleback was built in 1820, rebuilt in 1872 after a bad storm caused cracks to the foundation. The lighthouse is made of granite blocks and sits on a rocky outcrop in the harbor. There is a keeper’s living area and a storage area within the house. Whaleback has a bright white LED light (new in 2009) every 10 seconds. It originally had a fog bell, but at some point it was changed to a horn. The light was automated in 1963, so the last keeper to live there was James Pope, USCG in the early 1960s.

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Wood Island Life Saving Station & Whaleback Lighthouse

Wood Island is home to the Wood Island Life Saving Station. It was built in 1907 in Kittery, and before the USCG was around, this station had rowboats for the US Life Saving Service to help mariners in distress. The station is actually in the midst of a restoration to be used as a maritime museum! See the progress and more history of the station here.

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Whaleback Light- love the solitary gull there on the rock

There is something about exploring the coastal areas of New England during the off season. Great Island Commons is probably packed in the summer with walkers, families, picnic-ers, and so on. I bet there are days when the parking lot gets full and they have to turn people away! It is definitely cold, but for me its rejuvenating! Getting out of the car to this beautiful scenery and that raw wind blowing in your face- talk about all the shivers! In the winter, these coastal areas are so quiet, and still.

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New LLBean Staple: The Rugby

LLBean has brought quite a few wardrobe staples into my life. There’s the fisherman sweater, the slightly fitted Scotch plaid flannel, the sweater fleece pullover, Bean boots, camp socks, and now, the super soft rugby.

The shirt comes in two solid colors right now, gray and navy. It also comes in three striped colors combos– red with white stripes, cobalt with white stripes, and white with navy blue stripes. The stripes start around the chest and get wider as you go down the shirt. The lining inside the collar, down the button front, and in the side slits is a soft chambray type material. The shirt itself is a cotton French terry material- its maybe just a bit thinner than the Vineyard Vines shep shirt. The LLBean logo on the front is the traditional little LLBean/Katahdin patch that I just love.

I purchased the solid navy shirt and as usual with LLBean, I sized down to a small. The shirt is light, comfortable, and as advertised, slightly fitted. I wore a tshirt under it which worked, but it is definitely more fitted in the shoulders/arms than the sweater fleece pullover, so it might not be meant to worn over too much. I wore it on a casual Friday to work when we had a professional development day- got lots of compliments.

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The price point? Not too bad- the solid colors are going for $39.95 and the striped colors are $44.95. The red and navy strip combos, and some sizes for the navy and gray solid options are already backordered! I think it will be a popular item heading into spring and for years to come. I am looking forward to more colors in the future.

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