Take a hike, or a nature walk

WARNING: This post has a lot of pictures…but smile, the post could be way worse 🙂

Saturday morning I woke up feeling refreshed.  I actually slept like a log and woke up around 9.  I always get worried when I go away that I will either sleep too long or not long enough.  I stress over what I will do if I wake up too early and hate the thought that I would hold everyone up.  Since I slept of the murphy bed (which pulls down from the living room wall) I knew that movement of the ladies would wake me!

Breakfast was pancakes.  I heart pancakes for breakfast.  Since the beginning of the summer I have been super lazy with my breakfast, often just eating an energy bar or waiting until lunch so I forgot how much I missed these babies.

Amy mixed the batter and I cooked them up.  I always cook my pancakes in butter.  I love the crispy edges they get when they cook that way.  When I was younger I used to LOVE when my dad made us pancakes because he would put chocolate chips in them.  Since I was on vacation, and had none available to me (I did contemplate adding some cookie dough), I settled for a yogurt on the side.

Stonyfield Key Lime is delicious.

After breakfast we got dressed, jumped in the cars, and cruised to our hiking spot for the day which was about 5 minutes from the resort.  The trail was a very flat, very straight, 3 mile walk to some natural water slides and pools.  I was looking forward to an easier hike than Friday’s.

Amy, Me, Andrea, Maria, Devon

The path was soooo straight.  We literally saw this for 3 miles (each way!)

We kept ourselves entertained, don’t worry!  First, we stopped and checked out a log that had fallen across the rocks in the river.

Amy is a daredevil!

Then we came across this nifty sign:

Fun!  We all immediately stopped talking to count (in our heads) how many paces were in 200ft.  I forget exactly but I want to say it was like 80-something for me.

End 200ft.....

And then we came to a bridge, which we didn’t have to cross…….

so we took a picture on the rocks in front of it.  See, we were very entertained 😉

When we got to the natural slides the sun was not out (so it was chilly) and the water wasn’t too high.  We took some time to enjoy the scenery.

I liked taking pictures of the moving water with my camera on “sport” mode.  It looks like it is still moving!

I snacked on a Dulce de Dulce Luna Bar around noon.  These are fantastically sweet and satisfying.

I built some rock piles…..

I am uber talented..don't hate

Amy did some heavy lifting…..

Devon cheered on Maria as she “slid” down a non-slippery rock….

Andrea jumped right into the very frigid water……

Everyone took turns sliding down a very steep, slippery rock…..

ok, everyone but me (yes I am a chicken) slid down that rock….I took pics!

After nature-walking 6 miles and taking so many damn pictures, I couldn’t wait for a local wine shop’s wine tasting that night!  We had eaten lunch (intentionally) in front of The Abbey Cellars after the hike Friday so that is how we found out about it.

The wine tasting featured three red wines and three white wines.  I tried all six because the pours were so small I felt like I just had to.  We tried to talk up the lady but I think she was a wine snob and referenced hundred-dollar bottles of wine several times.  I will probably never drink a glass of wine from such an expensive bottle and I am ok with that.  Free wine that night tasted like a million bucks!

Before going to bed I told Amy that I really wished we could get a couple of days of rain so I can spend a lazy Sunday doing nothing and a productive few days in my classroom.  Rain definitely makes it easier to return to school.  Famous last words because what followed was FOUR freakin’ days of rain in the Boston area.  What a waste of the last week of summer!

Anyway, we woke up Sunday to the fire alarm blasting throughout the hotel.  We got evacuated and stood in the rain (well under the awning in front) for quite sometime before they let us back in and apologized for the “false alarm”.

Girl’s weekend= a must to get through the fall/winter/spring

peace out

~L

Advertisements

New Hampshire: Friday Night

So you may (or may not) have noticed my disappearance in the blog world for the past few weeks.  I have no good excuses…and I am sorry if you have missed me (I have missed you 🙂 )….

Now, let’s move on….

The weekend of August 20th I went on a girls weekend in New Hampshire with some lovely ladies.  I headed up early and hike with Amy to the summit of Bald Peak, which is located on Mt. Kinsman.  It was a lovely hike, check it out here.

Friday afternoon we checked into our suite at the Rivergreen Resort, which is near Loon Mountain.  The hotel was kind of dated but the suite was H U G E!  it slept 6 people comfortably, had a separate bedroom, two bathrooms (one had a hot tub), a living room, dining room, and kitchen.  It was a great deal (scored on the site Buy With Me) at $150 for the weekend.  Each girl paid $25! (The very tiny photos below are courtesy of the hotel’s website)

I made dinner Friday night.  I like cooking so it was no big deal to me.  Of course I only cook when I have a big glass of wine to enjoy while doing it!

This was a Tuscan blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot.  It is so smooth and tasty and pairs perfectly with pasta.  If you are a red wine drinker, looking for a new fall wine, try it out!

Amy started us out with her now-famous bruschetta made with grape tomatoes, garlic powder, basil, EVOO, and crispy baked baguette slices.  We topped some with the tomato mix and mozzerella cheese and some with just cheese.

Tomato-less bruschetta is quite fancy 😉

Dinner was chicken parmesan with whole wheat pasta.  We all planned ahead and tried to bring as many of the non-perishable cooking materials we would need and headed to the store for milk, eggs, cookie dough, etc.  We remembered everything but the most important part: the breadcrumbs (fail!).  Andrea headed to the store though and saved the day….

We (or at least I) chowed until stuffed silly.  Had a couple more glasses-o-wine and decided dessert was a must.

In celebration of being in the mountains we did the most out doors-y thing we could….

we made s’mores on the stove.  YUM.

My s’more roasting technique (though usually done over open flame) is to let the marshmallow catch on fire so it is super crispy.  Then I eat the crisp part and smear the gooey part on the chocolate.

Heaven!

I forget what time we actually called it a night, but I know that after waking up at 5 to head up for the hike, and actually hiking the hike, I had a full belly and could’ve fallen asleep on my empty plate.

Next post: hike numero dos……

~L

New Hampshire Weekend: The Friday Hike

This weekend I got to get away with some lovely ladies.  It was a great end-of-the-summer type trip that included lots of hiking, eating, and wine drinking!

Amy and I headed up to New Hampshire very early Friday morning- 6 a.m. to be exact. Our plan for the day included a moderate hike up Mount Kinsman to Bald Peak, which has a summit at 2,470 feet and a total mileage of 4.6 roundtrip.

We got to the trail head around 8:45 and promptly geared up with our sneakers, lots of bug spray, and an energy bar.  I had a Blueberry Bliss Luna Bar.

The hike started off pretty easy, with wide, flat surfaces that walked us passed an old sugar house and plenty of trees 🙂

Sorry it's sideways 😉

But, let me tell you, once we started our climb to the summit (I’d say around the end of mile one?) we didn’t stop climbing.  It was pretty tough!  We would keep trying to push through until we came to a plateau but they almost never came!  It was a pretty steep climb too!

Now you see me...

Now you don't!

My hamstrings and calves burned almost 100% of the time (in a good way).

The ground was mostly dry so I didn’t get muddy like I have in previous hikes.

When we reached the summit  around 10 there were 360 degree views of Mount Kinsman and the surrounding area.

We took a bunch of goofy pics.

cell phone service at top of the mountain!

We also met a girl who had camped there at the top for the night.  She must’ve been super lonely, or friendly, because she talked our ear off for about twenty minutes.

We lounged around the top for about an hour before heading back down.  Say hello to Mr. Frog!

Thanks to Amy for being such a great hiker/photographer.  I don’t know how she had the energy in her to snap pics while walking up a steep mountain side.

After the hike we drove into the town where we were staying for the weekend.  We parked in front of a wine shop (my idea) and ate a couple of peanut butter sammies and sour cream and onion Cape Cod chips.  Yum!

Friday night dinner post and Saturday hike post coming up!

Stay tuned 🙂

~L

Hiking the Long Trail? No, I’ll Just Drink It

Well, I made it to the Health and Fitness Center this morning for a 4 mile run on the treadmill.  Running on the treadmill is pretty boring but it was too chilly/rainy to run outside.  The facility is pretty big, much bigger than I expected.  It not only has indoor and outdoor tennis courts, but a racket ball court too.  The cardio and weight lifting equipment was limited, but there was a snack machine filled with chips and candy! Weird!

Is this what my gym is missing??

A yoga class had started like 10 minutes prior to me get there, and the spin class was at 9 so I missed that too.  I had planned to go back tonight to hit up the pool and jacuzzi but it closed at 6! AND it is closed tomorrow for a cleaning or something.  In the end, I was happy with my decision to run 🙂  I never regret working out after the fact, but almost always regret NOT working out.

Boooooo 😦

Jack and I stopped in a few stores downtown in Woodstock Village before lunch.  There really wasn’t much going on!

For lunch Jack and I met my friend Holly and her fiance Rick at the Long Trail Brewery.  The Brewery was located on a river (I feel like everything in this state is located on a river) and had a large outdoor deck.  There was a great selection of music playing too: The Doors, The Stones, and Dave Matthews Band.  I kept thinking to myself that Long Trail is the perfect summer day drinking spot! Since Jack and I got there early we were able to take the self-guided brewery tour.

The space for the self-guided tour was very small!  It was just a walkway above the factory floor.  It had a very grainy/sweet smell too. I remember going to the Bud factory in NH when I was younger and thinking how terrible the smell was, and I wonder: does the Long Trail Brewery smell good to me because I am a beer drinker and I couldn’t appreciate the smell when I was ten? 🙂 Hmmmm,  I’m guessing yes.

It was Sunday and they were not making any beer but on a beer-making day each person bottles 5,000 bottles of beer per shift.  That is 120,000 bottles of beer per shift total!

There are 4 main ingredients in Long Trail beer.

  1. Water- beer is 95% water and Long Trail has a subterranean well that is 200 feet below, and that is where they get the water to make their beer!
  2. Hops- This is the spice in the beer that balances the sweetness of the malt.  Hops actually grow on vines and there are many different varieties that can be used to make beer
  3. Yeast- This converts sugar into alcohol, carbon dioxide, and heat which ferments the beer
  4. Malted Barley- All beer uses barley, Long Trail uses malted barley to add color and flavor to the beer

By the end of the tour I couldn’t wait to try some of their beer.  I know that Long Trail is available in Massachusetts but there was something about being at the brewery that made the beer taste better!  I started with the Blackbeary Wheat (yes, beary, not berry).  It was the lightest of all their beers and had the slightest hint of berry flavor.  This is a perfect summer beer!  I also loved they had Trivial Pursuit cards in pint glasses on the counter!  The only other place that had that was The Granary, our college bar.  Awwww, memories!  I happen to not be so good at trivia, but I enjoyed having them there anyway.

Jack and I also split a plate of nachos which were soooo good!  They had just melted cheese and jalapenos with a side of salsa and they were perfect with my beer!

this is the "Self Portrait" setting on my camera!

When Holly and Rick got there we ordered another round of drinks and this is where I got crazy- haha 🙂  I ordered their 6 beer sampler which had all 5 of their regular beers and one special beer served in 6, 4-ounce juice glasses.  To top it off they were served in a cupcake pan!  Whoever thought that using a cupcake pan as a beer holder should have their picture hanging on the wall of the brewery, so genious!

Now, they mean business with this sampler because there was even a specific order in which I was to sample each.  I started from upper left to right, then lower left to right.

  1. Blackbeary Wheat- light, slightly fruity, delicious!
  2. Belgian White- light and yummy too
  3. Long Trail Ale- a little darker, tasted like beer
  4. Pale Ale- good!
  5. Double Bag- had over 7% alcohol, wowzas!
  6. Traditional IPA-  mmmmm

Each beer was really delicious, but since I had nachos and a chicken sandwich I had a hard time finishing them all.  But I did…

it was hard to drink them on a full stomach but not impossible!

For lunch I had a super spicy blackened chicken wrap that had a pickle and lettuce inside.  It had a symbol of a hiker next to it which meant it was a healthy option.  I was happy with myself that despite drinking beer I opted for a healthy option- go me!  I did have some fries too!  Food was really good!

After lunch, Holly and Rick took us to see Thundering Falls, which is an accessible waterfall along Route 4.  It was accessible because it had a wooden trail built to bring you from the road to the falls.  The drive there was scenic, through the mountains and along (yet another!) river!

Thundering Falls is actually a part of the Long Trail, which is a hiking trail that shares about 100 miles of terrain with the Appalachian Trail.  It is the oldest long distance hiking trail in the U.S. and is believed to be the inspiration for the Appalachian trail.  It runs 227 miles from Massachusetts through the length of Vermont to Canada.  The trail is very rugged and crosses the highest peaks throughout Vermont, and did I mention it was over 200 miles long?  There are people who actually hike the ENTIRE Long Trail!  Like, they sleep in the woods and carry 100lb backpack of food and stuff.  Wow!  I am getting to like the outdoors but I’d much rather drink the Long Trail than hike it!  {Source 1, Source 2}

Are you a hiker?  Where are your favorite spots to go and how often do you go?

This is the only part of the Long Trail I'd hike!

It was really great seeing Holly and catching up!  I haven’t seen her since this summer.  She and Rick got engaged at Christmas and I hadn’t gotten a chance to even hear the proposal story until today.  Her ring is beautiful!  Congrats again girl and thanks for being a great tour guide 😉 I love seeing old friends and catching up and feeling like you’ve never lost touch.  Seeing Holly helped make up for the lack of a tropical beach on my vacation!

Holly and I

On the way back to the Inn we stopped at the Woodstock Farmer’s Market for some local goodies.  It was just like a supermarket at home, except more expensive.  They had bakery fresh desserts.  Jack and I got a couplde chocolate chip cookies and I got a snickerdoodle cookie.  I also got a bottle of wine to drink when I get home. OOOOO and I got two bags of Vermont made, all-natural granola.  I read somewhere that if sugar is on of the first three ingridients listed then there is too much sugar in the product, and that is what the problem is with most granolas.  We think we are being earthy crunchy and healthy by mixing it with yogurt but that isn’t always the case!  The first three ingridients of the Woodstock Granola are:

  1. Whole Grain Oats
  2. Honey or pure Maple Syrup
  3. Expeller Pressed Canola Oil (this oil uses a “cold press” method to extract the oils, which yeilds the purest flavor and the most nutrients, and not chemical solvents are used like with regular oils {Source 3}

Woodstock Granola

Each bag has a serving size of 1/2 cup and has: 230 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 4 grams of dietary fiber .  This granola will compliment the berries I put in my yogurt nicely!

What are your favorite healthy, but filling, snack?  Do you make them from scratch or buy them at a store?

We napped again and slept through dinner and now everything is closed!  I might have to crack open the granola tonight!

Peace out

~L