Some Florida snaps during Blizzard Stella….

A couple weeks ago was the school vacation week in New Hampshire, so I took some time to run away to Florida and see my lovely parents. They are a bit outside of Tampa, living the retired life! Now I am sitting in my living room watching the blizzard through the windows definitely missing the sunshine and warmth! Besides spending some time in Tampa and at my parents’s house, we also spent some time in Tarpon Springs and Clearwater.

IMG_9223

One of my favorite things to do at my parents’s house is just walk around or go for runs to enjoy the nice weather. The birds are so pretty down there, and so are all the flowers and plants. My parents have a couple palm trees and beautiful hibiscus flowers in their yard. Their backyard is actually the golf course, and it makes for some fun people watching from the lanai.

IMG_9219
I wore this outfit for a luncheon with my mother and some of her friends. Lilly Pulitzer shirt is sold out but this one is similar. White jeans here from Vineyard Vines and sandals are here from Palm Beach Sandals!

Tarpon Springs is a coastal city on the Gulf of Mexico northeast of Tampa. It is an important location for harvesting natural sponges and the historic sponge dock area has fun shopping and Greek restaurants. Tarpons Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US.

It was so nice to be near the water and all the sponge boats. My past few visits to the water had been pretty cold compared to this one 🙂 Walking around Tarpon Springs, there are lots of decorated bikes. My favorite was the one above decorated in sponges. They started appearing in the spring of 2015, and they are truly art. Warren Gregory is the artist behind the bikes. He was inspired by many years living in Amsterdam. From Tarpon Springs, we headed south to Clearwater for some beach.

IMG_9251
The Clearwater Beach sand is very fine, so soft on your feet. I love all the palm trees and the dunes here.

IMG_9247
Clear water indeed!

IMG_9249
The hotels along Clearwater Beach are so colorful

IMG_9257
Dress from Mahi Gold// Hat from Vineyard Vines// Sandals from Jack Rogers// Bracelet from Kiel James Patrick

Watching the snow fly and blow around outside, its hard to believe I was ever in warm Florida. I have gone down every February since my parents moved down there, and it really is such a nice winter getaway. Hopefully anyone else affected by this winter weather is staying safe and warm and maybe, just maybe, my pics will help get you through!

Signature 2

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!

fullsizerender-3
Still a little bit of snow on the dunes. Check out our super long winter shadows!

img_9105

img_9120

img_9117

img_9116
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!

Signature 2

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.

img_7112img_7114

img_7116
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

img_7120img_7121img_7123

img_7130
Feeling like a bandit through the dusty parts

img_7180
The Christmas tree farm!

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

img_7142img_7147

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.

img_7165img_7173img_7192img_7201img_7197img_7199

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.

img_7208
Beautiful brook trout, caught & released

img_7203img_7216img_7210

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!

Signature 2

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

Bluebird day hike up Mt. Garfield

I hiked Mt. Garfield in December 2014, but we still aren’t quite ready to do any of the 9 remaining mountains I have left to finish the New Hampshire 48  4000 footers, so we did Mt. Garfield on Sunday for my husband’s grid. My husband, Jon, is doing the grid, which is all 48 in all 12 months. It takes years to accomplish for most; probably close to 20 years for Jon. When I did Garfield in December, we were socked in meaning it was a cloudy day with no views. When we did it Sunday there was not one cloud in the sky!!! Mt. Garfield is a part of the Franconia Ridge, so you can see Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Lincoln, Little Haystack, Mt. Liberty, and Mt. Flume to one side,  and North & South Twin, and the Bonds to other side. You can look down into the Pemigewassett River Valley to see Owls Head, and on a really clear day, you can see Mt. Washington past the Bonds. We took the Garfield Ridge Trail up, which is a beautiful trail. The road to the trailhead from Rt 3 is still closed, so that does add 2 miles of walking to the distance. Overall I think it was 12 miles. There are a couple river crossings which were very low/safe for this time of year. Sometimes spring can be tough for river crossings because the melting snow makes for raging rivers. The trail was a sheet of ice for probably the last 2-3 miles to and from the summit. We had our microspikes, and even then it was a little tough. We both really wished that we had our crampons. We saw one couple turn around because they didn’t have any traction, another couple where one didn’t have traction and struggled hardcore, and another couple that shared 1 pair of microspikes (they each had one on their right foot). The happiest and safest folks had microspikes 🙂

IMG_4606
Water levels are so low right now for spring, rock hopping across!

IMG_4617
Icy trails!

IMG_4599
Mizpah making it look easy!

IMG_4607
View of Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Lincoln, Little Haystack, Mt. Liberty, and the side of Mt. Flume from the center out to the left

IMG_4609
Cold n windy day! 

IMG_4615
Owls Head

IMG_4614
A river runs through it: The Pemi River Valley

IMG_4611
Foundation of the tower that used to be on Mt. Garfield

IMG_4612
South and North Twin

IMG_4613
The Bonds behind the Twins

Mizpah did an amazing job as usual. She is so athletic, surefooted, and agile. I am constantly impressed by Mizpah out on the trails. She’s so aware of her surroundings and just in tune with the trails. We purposely let her nails stay a little long in the winter/spring until the ice melts because they give her little microspikes of her own. She was the only dog we saw up there, and she got a lot of love from our fellow hikers. This coming weekend, we are planning to do Mt. Cabot, which I do need for my 48, so I am really excited about that!!!

Signature 2

Mizpah’s 1st Trip to Wingaersheek Beach & Rockport!

This past weekend was so beautiful in Mass. My fiancé was out on his bachelor party with his friends, and I knew that I wanted to take Mizpah to the beach! I was so excited to learn that a couple of my favorite beaches, Good Harbor and Wingaersheek in Gloucester, are off leash every other day in the off-season! Wingaersheek is off leash on odd days, Good Harbor is off leash on even days. I think the season starts May 1? Growing up in Merrimack Valley in Mass meant that the north shore beaches on Cape Ann were the closest beaches. I have many awesome memories of going to Wingaersheek, Good Harbor, and Crane Beach (Ipswich). My mom grew up in Reading MA, so the north shore beaches are her favorite.

Mizpah was literally the happiest dog in the world running in the sand and surf. Wingaersheek has a really fine sand beach, fun rocks to climb and play on, and the water is clear and not very sea-weedy. There were so many dogs there and because it was a dog day, everyone was happy to see dogs. Its nice because if you want to walk the beach without dogs, you just go to the other beach, or wait a day. Keeps everyone happy!

Here are some pics from the beach! My hat is from Harding Lane, monogrammed quarter zip is from Trendy Tulip Designs (Etsy), my boat shoes are Sperry Authentic Originals, and my bracelet which I think you only see in one pic is from KJP but sadly I think the navy/green color for turk’s head bracelets is gone now.

IMG_3877IMG_3881

IMG_3888
Swimming pup!

IMG_3891IMG_3896

IMG_3901
Annisquam Lighthouse there in the distance!

IMG_3905IMG_3904IMG_3921

The awesome thing was that the sand is so fine and it was such a dry day, I just rubbed her down with a towel and we were ready to go! I really hope I get to go back with her before the season starts. From the beach, we headed to Rockport MA. Rockport is a really cute coastal town, lots of little shops, cute harbor, cute houses, very New England. This is a typical second stop for my family after the beach, another typical stop would be Woodmans in Essex….beach, fried seafood, and ice cream, the stuff summer dreams are made of. Here are some pics from Rockport!

IMG_3979.jpg
Mizpah & me in front of Motif #1 on Rockport Harbor

Motif Number 1 on Bradley Wharf is known as the “most often painted building in America”. The building you seen in the pictures is actually a replica; the original built in 1840 was destroyed in the blizzard of 1978. The replica was built that same year. A painter named Lester Hornby is credited with its name because it was such a favorite among artists to portray. In the 1930s, it was owned by John Buckley, who used it as a studio, and then it was sold to Rockport in 1945. It stands as a tribute to all from Rockport who have served in the armed forces and is still a popular subject for painters and photographers.

This weekend is not going to be as nice I don’t think, which might be good because the fiancé and I have a lot to do for the impending nuptials!! It was definitely nice to get a little beach time in though, and its always nice to see Mizpah enjoying the nice weather!

What’s your favorite beach? Is it a lake or an ocean? Tell me all about it!

Signature 2

 

Southern Presidentials Hike to End February

Oh man is this week kicking my butt! Between work, classes, homework, and wedding stuff, it feels like my free time is nonexistent! Today I finally took my wedding dress to get altered though, so that was a huge check off my list! Woo hoo accomplishment! This past weekend, we hiked Mount Jackson and Mount Pierce in NH. These are the southern most mountains in the Presidential Range and the trails start in the beautiful Crawford Notch area. Fun fact- Mount Jackson is actually named after Charles Jackson, the state geologist back in the 19th century NOT Andrew Jackson, our seventh president.

Jon, Mizpah, two friends, and myself set out on Sunday morning around 9 AM. Immediately we all put on our traction, three of us have crampons, and one of our friends just had microspikes. The trail was solid ice from melting snows. Wearing crampons is pretty serious business. You have to be careful of every step, making sure you don’t slice yourself or one of your hiking companions. Super scary with Mizpah running afoot. The day started a little gray, but over the course of the day, the sun came out and blue skies prevailed! We had pretty good views of the rest of the Presidentials. Mizpah had a great hike with the warmer temps and her claws were perfect in the soft ice. She will probably never hike the northern Presidentials (Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison) because of the rocky terrain, but the southern ones are ok. Her hut, the Mizpah Spring Hut, is on Pierce 🙂 Here are some pics from the hike!!!

IMG_3656
Crawford Notch Depot- station for the Notch Train of the Conway Scenic Railroad which will resume service on June 14th!

IMG_3668

IMG_3666
Winter wonderland trails, like our very own Narnia

IMG_3670
View from Jackson- up on the left you can see Bretton Woods Ski Resort and thats the Mount Washington Hotel in the middle. The red roof is really easy to see up on the mountain, not so much in the photo!

IMG_3689
It’s really important to remember to bring food for yourself AND your dog. We bring a bag of Mizpah’s food for her to eat on the trail, and a water bowl!

IMG_3665
Yep, that ice is the trail, crazy!!

IMG_3683
For hiking on ice….here are my La Sportiva Nepal mountaineering boots, Grivel crampons, and EMS Gaiters (similar here) . Winter hiking is pretty awesome if you like to collect gear!

IMG_3712
The rest of the Presidential Range from Mt. Pierce- the ridge to Mt. Eisenhower looks so cool. Mt. Washington’s summit is in the clouds.

IMG_3728

IMG_3717
Frozen waterfalls on the Crawford Path down from Pierce

IMG_3721
Picturesque little pup in her Ruffwear jacket and collar

IMG_3726
Had to take a quick snap on the way home of the Mount Washington Hotel and the Presi’s

My fiancé broke his toe the other day soooooo we might not be hiking again until April! Poor guy. I had already done these two mountains, but we were with a friend sort of new to hiking and wanted a short hike with nice views for him. This hike was about 6 1/2 hours. I still have 9 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 4000 Footers. Goal is to finish by the end of this summer!

Hiking, horseback riding, trail running, swimming, biking…I love anything that gets me outside. What do you like to do to get outside? Do you have any outdoorsy goals for this spring/summer??

Signature 2

 

Sunny days in Florida

Hello everyone!! Sorry for my absence this past week! I was in Florida enjoying the sun, and then right to Killington VT for some skiing, and then I have had 2 exams for classes already this week!

My parents retired to Florida a few years ago. Its hard not having them just a drive away to have dinner on a Sunday or meet up, but certainly having family in Florida has its perks! I wasn’t down there very long at all, so we focused on just relaxing instead of hitting up any parks or tourist attractions. I didn’t even want to waste time on driving to the beach, so we  hung out at the pool…which is heated….so nice!!!

Here are some pics from my quick but awesomely sunny and warm visit!

IMG_3401
Hangin with this little sand crane!!  #edsftg

IMG_3402IMG_3403IMG_3405

IMG_3409
Not a cloud in the sky at the pool!

IMG_3407
Not a bad spot for lunch! Loved being able to eat outside!

IMG_3416
Sunset on the golf course my parents live on

IMG_3414
Pano of the lovely sunset!

IMG_3424
Til next time Florida!

You can see I am kinda obsessed with the palm trees down there ha! I also looove the birds down there. They have sand cranes that walk around in pairs, and they are so cute. You can see a little bachelor sand crane in my first picture. The sunsets are beautiful too because they are on the western side of Florida. I love February vacation as a teacher because I get to run away to Florida for a dose of sunshine.

Where would you go to get a little sun and warmth this winter!?

Signature 2

 

Fun in the snow this past week!

Happy Friday everyone!!! We are currently in a serious freeze in New England. I was supposed to try out my new skis at Gunstock this weekend BUT that might not happen in these sub freezing temperatures. There are rumors that the ski mountains might even close Sunday because of the extreme temperatures.

Next week is February vacation for schools in Massachusetts so I will be heading to Florida next week. The temps will be in the 70s which isn’t hot, but will be amazing after this cold!! Even in these cold temperatures, I still need to get outside and so does my dog. I can’t wait to run down in Florida in a tshirt. Here are some pics from the week out and about in the snow!!

IMG_3264
During the snow storm on Monday!

IMG_3253
Mizpah in the snow ❤

IMG_3280
Enter a caption

IMG_3287
Paw prints and bean boot prints, love ❤

IMG_3307
On planet Hoth, going to look for Luke, brb

My down jacket is from EMS and can be seen here. It is an amazingly warm, but light down jacket with a great hood AND the downtek coating makes it water repellent. It’s ok in snow or light rain, not really appropriate for a downpour though.

IMG_3302
Pup out on the ice!!! 

IMG_3304
In honor of love

IMG_3312
Pure joy running around in the snow

In light of this freezing cold weather, I am unsure of my weekend plans! What are you all up to this weekend? I hope that the weekend and Valentine’s Day treats you right ❤

Signature 2

 

As the leaves turn…

It has been a week! It is finally Friday and this work week has come to a rainy end. I was going to do a ride today with one of the school horses after school today but he is still lame and sadly all the other horses had dates this Friday afternoon. Now…when we say a horse is lame, that means that his gait is off for some reason, not that he is a loser ha. The vet narrowed is down to a hoof and thought rest and bute (horse tylenol), would be just the trick, but the lameness has persisted. We don’t ride our horse friends until they are sound again, meaning the issue that has caused the lameness has been resolved. Some horses do have chronic issues and vets can give people the ok to ride a horse like that, but generally we want our horses to have 4 happy legs/hooves for riding.

While I was there, I took a couple snaps of the trees just starting to turn. The barn I ride at is literally one of the most beautiful places on the planet, I’m so lucky.

IMG_1054 IMG_1056

The barn is on a property that used to be an apple orchard. That’s pretty typical for central Massachusetts, so for the next couple weeks, free apples at the barn!

IMG_1059
Enjoy the apples, just return the baskets! 😉

I would have taken some if I didn’t already have plans to go apple picking tomorrow! We’ll see, if we get rained out I might be going back to the barn for some free apples 🙂 Have a great weekend!!

Signature 2