My first summer hike up Mt. Washington

Mid July we found a great little Sunday for my husband, a couple friends and I to hike the big rockpile. We leave our dog Mizpah home for the northern Presidentials. The rocks can be very tough on their pads and joints. I have hiked Mt. Washington in late March before, which was still very wintery. I had never hiked it in the summer.  There are quite a few routes up and down it; people hike it, ski it, drive up it, take ATVs up it (on special days), bike it, take the cog railway, and run it! The weather on Mt. Washington can be some of the worst weather on the planet, and I believe the number of deaths up there is hovering around 150 since 1849. Many deaths have been from hypothermia, and then there are accidents, and of course things like heart attacks. My husband accuses me of putting Washington on a pedestal, but man, it really is something. He is the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River at 6,288 feet (EDIT- this is incorrect and apparently just something I say haha, tallest peak east of the Mississippi is actually Mount Mitchell at 6684 ft in NC).

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One of the trains down at the station. The trailhead for Ammo is up and to the right and the trailhead for Jewell is to the left!
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The tracks! Near the tracks the whole length of the mountain there are chunks of black coal from the train #leavenotrace ?

We took the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail up, and the Jewell Trail down.  Those trails are on the cog railway station side of the mountain. Someday I really want to do the Tuckerman Ravine Trail which is the most popular trail and is on the Pinkham Notch side. There are a few features over there I want to see like the Harvard cabin and the Lunch Rocks. My husband convinced me that a beautiful summer Sunday was not the day to do the most popular trail there 🙂

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Views from a summit are beautiful but I think sights like this are pretty amazing too
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Looks like a great spot for a dip!
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Lakes in the Clouds Hut…..literally in a cloud on this day!
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Misty lakes near the hut
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Another misty lake view, visibility was low!

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The Tip Top House, built as a hotel in 1853 is the oldest structure on Mt. Washington, and might be the oldest mountain top holstery in the world! The last time I was up on top of Mt. Washington in March of 2015, the Tip Top House had snow up the to the top of the windows, you could only see the roof!!

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MWOBS- The Observatory! I would love to stay the night sometime or be a volunteer at the observatory when I retire or something.
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I did have to wait in a short line behind both hikers and people that drove or took the train up. I guess its just part of Mt. Washington’s deal in the summer.
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Walking down the Jewell Trail- the sun came out!
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Great Gulf- formed by a glacier! The lake down there is Spaulding Lake

Mt. Washington is more than just a part of the White Mountain National Forest, its a New Hampshire State Park. In the summer months, summit visitors can check out the Tip Top House which is sorta staged like the hotel it once was, enjoy the amazing views, hit up a gift shop, check out weather exhibits, and get a slice of pizza at the little food court. It was bizarre to say the least. Also, the cell service is amazing up there; I passed no less than 4 hikers on their phones on the Jewell Trail coming down : | It is what it is, Mt. Washington is special and so we all must share it. My memories of being up there in a winter wonderland with maybe 3 other people the last time I was there are now even more precious. It was definitely a long day; cool, raw, and misty to start, and then sun beating on us above treeline coming down. Thats how it is with Washington though, you obsess over the forecast in the days leading up to your hike, but truly you have no idea.

It wasn’t Mt. Washington until the late 1700s. Before then it was known by its Native American name, Agiocochook, which means “Home of the Great Spirit”. This mountain definitely lives up to that name.

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Fall Wardrobe Picks!

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

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

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

J. Crew Factory

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

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

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

LLBean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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Christmas Wish List 2016 Edition

I can’t believe that Christmas is coming up this weekend!!! This year has been full of big changes for me- getting married, moving to NH, buying a house, new job…my husband and I decided that really the best thing we could get each other would be a weekend away full of winter fun and relaxation! We will be spending a weekend later this winter up at The Eagle Mountain House in Jackson NH. Its one of the big old hotels in the White Mountains and I can’t wait to stay there.

When it comes to the other people in my life asking for ideas for Christmas presents, here are some of the items on my list! I try to think about people’s budgets when I come up with lists for the family. A bunch of items in the $30-50 range is nice because it gives people some flexibility with their budget. If their budget is $30-50, well perfect, if they are looking spend more like the gift is from multiple people, they can double up and do a couple gifts. Of course I think that time and conversation are the best gifts from family, but I also get the frustration trying to come up with gift ideas, and a well thought list can really help your family out!

  1. First up! A winter hat from LLBean! The Katahdin Pom Hat in midnight at $29.95. Many social media influencers were given the more colorful version of this hat, but I really like the classic navy and white of this one. fullsizerender-8
  2. Next, I am in love with this snow globe sweater from Talbots! Its currently on sale from $89.50 down to $53.70. fullsizerender-9
  3. This past summer I got so much use out of my Harding Lane mountain needlepoint hat. I decided I could use some more hats for this coming summer so here a few that I told my elves about!
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    Harding Lane @ $35
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    Port Royal Outfitters @ $20

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    Smathers and Branson @ $30
  4. I love my KJP bracelets. I realized this past year that a color combination that I could really use is blue and white. Here is one called Mackarel Cove at $40.00. KJP has really blossomed into so much more than just a bracelet company. I love this pearl necklace too! Maybe a birthday present? fullsizerender-11What are some things on your wish list this year? I truly love all the holiday blog posts, keep em coming everyone!

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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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Mt. Isolation Hike

This past weekend we finally got some fall weather! My husband, Jon, and I celebrated the fantastic weather by heading up north to hike Mt. Isolation. This particular peak is just over 4000 feet at 4003 feet and is technically in the Presidential Range. I never considered it a part of the Presidential Range because it isn’t named after a president, but it is. Its also in the Dry River Wilderness, which means a couple things- any existing structures will be removed when maintenance is needed and not replaced, no bridges, some planks that are logs not lumber, signs aren’t painted, and not many blazes between signs. There was a shelter built on the trail that has been removed. There are some primitive camp sites up there though. Most people are not huge fans of the hike because it is very long, the river crossings can be treacherous, and the trail is usually muddy and gross. Right now, New Hampshire is in a drought though! So I guess the only good thing that can come from the drought is the pleasant trail I got to hike on?

We took the Rocky Branch Trail to the Isolation Trail to Davis Path up to the summit. That made a 14.5 mi, 9 hour trip. There is a shorter route in both time and mileage but it is harder up and down the Glen Boulder Trail. You gain elevation, lose it, and then gain it again. The crossings over the Rocky Branch were beautiful. Some foliage is starting to turn, mostly the leaves are green and yellow, very few red leaves.

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Rocky Branch. These crossings can be tough in the spring and winter depending on the amount of precip the mountains get!
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My pack and fleece are both from LLBean
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The peak just to the left of center is Mt. Monroe. That ravine you can see there is Oak’s Gulf. Mt. Washington is hidden in the cloud in the right center.
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Our boots are La Sportiva Pamirs. These are the boots I would grab if I had to take one pair of shoes for a zombie apocalypse. 
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In this pic you can kinda tell how windy it was, it was crazy up there.

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Mizpah stayed home for this hike because it was just soo long. Now I only have 4 peaks left to have hiked all 48 4000 footers in NH. I need to do the three Bonds and Owls Head. We want to do both of those hikes as overnights, so I probably won’t finish until next summer. It was cold up there, and the winds were gusting up to ~50 mph. The views were so worth is though. I was just a little bummed that Mt. Washington was in a cloud. From Mt. Isolation you can take trails over to Mt. Washington, Mt. Monroe, and to the Mizpah Spring Hut just below Mt. Pierce. I am looking forward to more fall hiking, bring on the leaf peepers!

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LLBean for Fall!

It’s Wednesday but my Labor Day weekend is still fresh in my mind. We camp up in Freeport ME every Labor Day weekend right on Casco Bay. It is my favorite weekend of the year! The scenery is beautiful, and there are trails to walk on along the water at the campground. In the past we have done the LLBean discovery classes (stand up paddle boarding & clay shooting), but this year we decided to do some kayaking. My husband and some of the other guys went mountain biking, and I went for a great run in beautiful Freeport. LLBean was busy this past weekend with back to school shopping. It is the time right now to snag some great LLBean items for the fall and winter!!!

LLBean Boots

This is the time to buy LLBean boots BEFORE the rush at the holidays. Bean boots were backordered for months last year. I have these and these, but I am always keeping my eye out for the boots featured in the photo below. I love these and haven’t seen them in a while. Remember to order down a size from what you normally wear unless you want to wear super thick socks with your boots!

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Via originally from KJP

Fisherman Sweaters

LLBean has some great fisherman sweaters. The one I have is here  and I love it. This one is a tunic sweater so a little longer with a slightly bigger neck. I would really love the tunic in green. These are from the signature line and so are more true to size than regular shirts/sweaters.

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Sweater Fleeces

A great item to have during the colder months is the LLBean sweater fleece pullover. This year they added some new colors! I really like the kelp green one. I have the pewter one and it washes well, but I do line dry it. I love the retro label on these!

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Scotch Plaid Flannel Shirts, Slightly Fitted

These sold out last year, so grab them now while they in stock! They are a nice weight flannel, not too thin like a lot of brands. See them here for $44.95. I have the black watch and just got the stewart victoria. They are great flannel shirts- warm and not too boxy. For both the sweater fleece and this shirt, I sized down from my normal size.

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Daybreak Scuffs

LLBean has great slippers. They are well known for their wicked good moccasins, but the daybreak scuffs are worth a shoutout too! I got the ones with the moose on them, but I am going to guess that the lobster will be VERY popular. The chocolate lab was popular last year. There is a cat and owl pair too! I ordered my normal size for these. I wear mine barefoot or with light socks, so you might want to go up a size if you want to wear thick socks.

Labor Day has come and gone BUT summer isn’t over yet. We have some seriously warm weather coming our way! Summer isn’t over until September 22 🙂 Hopefully this post has given you some fall fashion inspiration!

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Backyard Footwear and other canvas sneakers!

Living in New England means a lot of different footwear depending on the season and the weather. I love it because you can never get bored with your wardrobe, just when you think you can’t bear to put those boots on again, its time to take out your Palm Beach Sandals! A hole in my wardrobe recently has been a nice pair of casual canvas sneakers. There are a lot of choices out there, but I got these Backyard Footwear sneakers that I found on @dave_money3‘s insta. I didn’t want to do white because I KNOW I would get them so dirty, but these gray ones were perfect for me. The sizing is European as they are from Denmark, and I am a size 8 which translates to a 38. They were a little snug so I sent them back for a 39. They were $60 with free shipping and they can also be purchased on Amazon! They are gray canvas with little  blue suede inner toe patches and the rubber soles are molded up around the toe, so the rubber isn’t glued on.

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These are some of the other options out there that I checked out before purchasing my Backyard sneaks. Let me know if I forgot any!

LLBean sells Superga sneakers here. They are $65, free shipping, and come in some nice colors. My problem with these is I like a rounded toe to my sneaks and these have more like a square/trapezoid shaped toe I guess? They look like fabulous sneakers though.

FullSizeRender-6 Sperry has some beautiful canvas sneakers too here in many colors for $60 with free shipping. I really liked these because they have the traditional topsider laces, but they have a similar toe box to the Superga sneakers AND I felt like I saw these everywhere this past spring and summer, so I wanted to find something a little different. I have a friend who has them in navy and said they are wicked comfortable.

FullSizeRender-5J. Crew sells a couple different canvas sneakers. There are the SeaVees for $78 and then the TreTorn sneakers for $68. I sort of crossed these off my list because they were more expensive and some of the colors are backordered.

Of course, there are Keds which are the classic canvas sneaker. Here is a link to the canvas sneaker page because honestly its pretty cool to see the whole collection. They have so many colors!! The sneakers run from $45-60 for the most part. I had Keds growing up, and loved them…but I kicked the crap out of them ha. I remember retiring many pairs of Keds with holes in them and the rubber around the sides coming off. The quality might be much better now…hopefully it is because they are more expensive now than I remember…but I guess I have those memories and wanted something more sturdy.

FullSizeRender-2Converse Chuck Taylors are also a nice classic canvas sneaker for a great price at $50. My sister has a pair of these and loves them. I like them and have a pair of the taller Chuck Taylors in green.

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I am looking forward to wearing my Copenhagens on days when I don’t want to wear sandals, am not ready for boots, my neon blue/green running sneakers would be a little overkill.  They are handmade in the same factory in Europe since 1972 in an eco-friendly way and they are cushioned for wear all day. Lets be honest, I kinda want them in every color.

The Superga, Tretorn, and Sperry sneakers all sort of flare out to the toe. I like the Seavees, Keds, Chucks, and of course the Backyard sneakers because they taper to the toe. I suppose its personal preference.

What is your go to sneaker??

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