Vermont Travel Diary

I flew out on Wednesday morning and spent pretty much the whole day traveling. There are definitely no direct flights form Salt Lake to Burlington so I had a layover in Newark and there was lots of weather there. I didn’t end up getting in until 12:30am. So my trip in Vermont really starts on Thursday!

Day 1: We stayed the night in a hotel in Burlington since I got in so late. Because we were in town we went to breakfast with my brother at Sneakers in Winooski. Apparently it is usually very crowded but we got there just at the right time and I was really glad we went because they had some amazing vegetarian options. I feel like there are often only a couple of veg options on menus but there were so many options! From there we dropped my brother at his class (he goes to UVM) and went to Church street to check out Crow Bookshop (of course). On our drive to Middlebury we stopped to taste maple syrup at the Dakin Farm store (so delicious and I highly recommend it). My uncle works at Middlebury College so we met at the school to see his office and then his house. We all drove to Snake Mountain for an absolutely beautiful hike. The drive was gorgeous and the hike was even more spectacular. We drove back to town and had dinner at Two Brother’s.

7291192C-9BC9-40D0-898B-490E94639875
Crow Bookshop on Church Street has a really great collection of used books.
5FD349AB-1C81-409D-B2A8-B891CE5A9292
An amazing farm with delicious maple syrup and yummy cheeses. We had to make a stop along the way. 
6EF5BAC6-A0E5-4645-A080-FDE1B2A5DEF1
View from Snake Mountain!

Day 2: Our second day started with pastries from Otter Creek Bakery and homemade breakfast. We spent the day driving around and stopping at orchard’s for cider donuts and apples. Vergennes was the first top (such a quaint town) and then we went to Boyer’s Orchard (amazing donuts). We drove around the countryside for a while longer, enjoying the foliage and stopping at more orchards. From Bristol we took a drive up 17 toward Mad River Glen to really see all the leaves in full color. It was truly beautiful. We stopped back in Bristol for lunch at Bristol Cliffs Cafe. I think Bristol is the town I would want to go back and explore a little. It is tiny and would only take a couple of hours but the shops were so cute and we had to kind of rush back since my dad had a meeting at UVM. My mom and I checked into our hotel and then went down to the shop, Common Deer, to meet up with my brother. The rest of our family (uncles, cousins) met us at Foam for drinks. It is close to lake Champlain and the sunset was beautiful. I also just highly recommend Foam because they have a great atmosphere (and music!), lots of beers and some great local ciders. We ended the day with dinner at Daily Planet.

E8226D40-E704-4300-AB84-1279374BA817
Mom and I at a park in Vergennes. The weather overall was much colder than I was expecting!
52123412-2842-4ABD-AA01-D208011B07DD
First cider donut of the trip at Boyer Orchards. They might be the best cider donuts I have ever had. So fresh and the perfect texture.(I know I know that porta potty really adds to the fall vibe).
7E2E70CC-9D1F-4C5F-9851-99063BD16123
Amazing views and foliage from the top of the pass at Mad River. My dad and I actually started a little hike but the trail was really wet and we were not wearing great shoes.

Day 3: We drove down to Perkins Pier in the morning to see my friend who was working a boating event. It was very random but I actually really enjoyed it! We stopped for breakfast at The Spot before really starting our day (great breakfast plus not too expensive and the breakfast burrito was amazing). The next stop was Shelburne Orchard for more fall adventures. This is by far the orchard with the most to do (of the ones we went to). There was bourbon tasting (so good), gorgeous views of the lake, donut ice cream sandwiches, tons of pumpkins and much more. We started with the bourbon tasting and then went to pick apples (they also have such a big picking area). Just before leaving with tried their cider donuts. From there we drove back to Burlington to watch the men’s UVM soccer game (fun to watch but I won’t talk too much about it). After refreshing at the hotel we headed to my brother’s fraternity house for their family weekend social. We finally made it to dinner at Bleu Northeast Seafood. That dinner was so fun and both the food and the service were probably the best of the trip.

FBAA629C-EE74-47F8-A02B-19226D2A0DE1
Grapevines at Shelburne Orchards (we did not get to do a wine tasting here but that is on my list for next time).
80A41FA2-AFA9-4C74-A277-03A9E3FA961E
This door at the orchard is amazing. Also the dead bird symbol above it is the logo for the bourbon company.
30823866-8128-4069-86D9-92542BFF5DEA
Another day, another delicious cider donut. These were probably my second favorite cider donuts.
44931F3D-7971-4B16-B78C-81AE08A6F394
Pumpkins pouring out from the Shelburne Orchard farm store.
7E7CDFB2-5CA5-46C0-BE2A-4024875F29C1
Family dinner at Bleu.

Day 4: While the whole trip was amazing this was the day I was definitely the most sick. My mom and I met a friend of mine at Feldman’s Bagels for breakfast. They have a little bookshelf that made my day. We spent the rest of the morning/afternoon walking around downtown Burlington with my brother. There are some amazing stores. We ate lunch at The Farmhouse Tap and Grill (number one favorite place for brunch and right in Burlington). My mom’s flight was in the evening so we said goodbye to her and I drove to my friend’s house in Addison. That drive as absolutely gorgeous! I would really do it just for the drive. She lives right on Lake Champlain so while she had a dinner I got to enjoy the beautiful views!

26804889-19E4-4DAF-B391-59D3A62C0D16
The book cart at Feldman’s Bagels had some real gems.
6C787E28-8F5E-4BE9-AAB9-C6DDE2A7EFE1
Lunch at The Farmhouse Tap and Grill. It actually started to sprinkle on us!
BAE0AE37-5696-4151-993A-3B32A719B503
Shopping on Church street. Monelle and Ecco were my favs.
4051F52C-0B18-4163-8335-4F53EEAA3C9F
Pumpkins on the porch in Addison getting me psyched for Halloween.

Day 5: My last day in Vermont! Ahh I was so sad to leave. It is just such a beautiful place with so much local food and drink. I had a delicious breakfast with my friend before driving back to Burlington. I stopped along the way to pick up some things from Dakin Farm Store and to check out the Vermont Flannel Company. It was pretty so rainy! I headed back to spend some time with my brother before flying back to Salt Lake. I was able to eat at the Skinny Pancake in the airport before flying out. It was good but they hype gave me pretty high expectations so it was not my favorite.

B7F0B5D3-96DA-411E-9FAA-B78081C5AF21
The rainy view from my friend’s porch.
8161A8C2-FCD1-4F07-B49A-8A43CB254A4B
Vermont Flannel Company for the win. Their flannels are so so soft.

Vermont is amazing and I definitely recommend visiting when you can! I would love to go back even without the foliage.

Erin

Best Hikes in Boulder (IMO)

There are so many amazing hikes in the front range area. If you are from the area you know just how popular hiking is (and for good reason, it is so beautiful). If you aren’t from the area I highly recommend checking it out. I thought of more and more good hikes as I was writing this post so this is by no means a comprehensive list, I just needed to stop somewhere. I will probably do a part two at some point but for now I stuck to sharing the hikes that I have either done most often or that are my favorites. I also stuck with shorter hikes (all of these can be done in under two hours) that are relatively close to Boulder.

Sanitas: This mountain is a must do when visiting Boulder. It is a pretty significant elevation gain and will take a couple of hours so I suggesting planning accordingly (hike in the morning, take lots of water and get adjusted to the altitude first).  While is on the more challenging side, the views of Boulder and the plains are incredible and it is so worth it. It might be the most popular hike in the area so I suggest parking at the base of the goat trail (Linden).

IMG_7878

Boulder Valley Ranch: This is area is one of my favorites for running. There are gorgeous views of the plains and mountains the whole way and you can can extend your route to cover more mileage. I also like that this is a loop, that always helps me motive myself when running. The loop itself is around three miles and it is relatively flat so it is a great place to take people who are just adjusting to the altitude.

9A01ED7C-ABEF-4C98-8C4D-CD3180D9E97FIMG_9138

Heil Valley Ranch: While I went here as a kid quite a few times it had been years, I could barely remember it. I went back with some family while I was home in August and I really loved it. There is such a variety of trails. There is a short nature trail that is perfect for kids. And there is a much longer hike that goes up into the mountains. There is also a great trail back along the road that has lots of wildlife. I would say the only thing to watch out for is mountain bikers. It is a pretty popular place for biking.

0A23A431-6481-4E76-B75B-BAE85A0CFD771205E3A3-8651-4FEC-838A-4A1A25E600CA

Walden Ponds: These ponds are out on the plains and a great place to take the whole family. You can explore the trails as much as you like and there is quite a bit of wildlife. It is another great option for beginner hikers and for getting used to the altitude.

3B53A011-D062-47C6-B6E3-A9A0199AB827

Bear Peak: This is the other more challenging hike that I am including. It takes several hours (so start early) and you gain a lot of elevation. This mountain is a great alternative to Sanitas in that it is a little less popular, parking is not as hard (you park at NCAR) and it also has some stellar views. I could not find photos from Bear Peak so these are from a hike just north of NCAR.

IMG_2977.jpgIMG_2975.jpg

Wonderland Lake: I could never make this list without including my favorite spot in Boulder. It is less than a ten minute walk from the house I grew up in and I have spent so many hours walking, hiking and even cross country skiing around this lake. The views are stunning and while there are always a few people it is not quite as busy as Sanitas or Chautauqua. While it is a short walk around the lake (maybe 45 minutes) you can do more challenging hikes up in the foothills. I love extending my run around the lake by going up to the look out on the mountain.

395CA672-DBD9-4D9B-A4E5-CCF4EAA72E2A

Chautauqua and the Flat Irons: This list would also not be complete without including the iconic flat irons. They are just as amazing in person and I highly recommend at least a short hike in this area. It can be really crowded so I would time it well (ideally during the work day) and do a longer route to get out of the busy areas. Hiking up to the flatirons is a popular option but lots of the foothills trails connect so there are so many options.

4FA73DAC-7253-4D17-B0DE-70C282B3D71A

I hope these give you some ideas for the next time you are visiting the front range area (or if you are just wanting something different from your usual). Let me know if you have any recommendations! I grew up in Boulder (almost 20 years) and go back a ton but am still always finding new things. I actually love that about this area.

Erin

Utah Road Trip

In mid August we met Aiden’s family in southern Utah to go on a road trip of some the Utah parks.

Day 1: We drove from Boulder, CO to Bryce Canyon. This was by far the longest driving day but we left early enough to make some fun stops along the way. Goblin Valley State Park is one of my favorite state parks and we decided last minute to stop there so Aiden could see the hoodoos. It is just such a unique place, I feel like the sandstone formations look like mushrooms and I love it! Next we drove through Capitol Reef National Park and stopped at the petroglyphs and some of the viewpoints. I loved just driving through the riverbed, it is so beautiful. We did not enter the other side of the park since we knew we were coming back on the way to Moab. We had an Airbnb in ____ for the night and they had some delicious fruit trees which was a great end to the day!

CE86FBAB-4A8C-4EE9-A8AC-47BA1F45C4AD
Driving through western Colorado
C9F15DAC-9504-40A1-9E54-56E590B96F0F
Goblin Valley State Park
AA255795-500B-472F-8122-1EC2896F2A7A
The hoodoos at Goblin Valley are amazing!
9E256A7F-C97D-4079-A2F3-288EAD03F4B4
More Goblin Valley Views
32EFACA0-A2C4-4489-8575-D172A12F2E0C
Capitol Reef Overlook

Day 2:  My absolute favorite national park is by far Bryce canyon. I think it is so underrated and just amazing! We spent most of they hiking through the valley and up along the rim. We ate lunch at the lodge (not my favorite but they had a couple really delicious dishes). Late afternoon we drove to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park to meet up with Aiden’s family. There is a big reservoir that is perfect for swimming and paddle boarding. We did hike through the park and the petrified logs are super interesting and cool looking but I highly recommend doing it in the early morning. It was so so hot (a jump in the lake really helped though!). After hiking we headed to the Slot Canyon Inn which was absolutely amazing. The property is stunning and there are lots of animals. The views are so pretty! We got the best sunset views during dinner at their restaurant, North Creek Grill (the pizza was the absolute best I have had in a while). They even have petroglyphs just on their cliffs.

1F5369B3-DB92-453C-A8EE-63972410D592
Bryce Canyon National Park, headed up to Sunrise Point
0BAC6D1B-DF71-46D5-934A-DC221FB7DCB6
The views from Bryce Point (totally unreal)
A1B1353C-D6E1-401A-B2DE-B9AA4C37CED2
Our hike from Sunset Point to Sunrise Point, through the valley
2434C69A-E7B0-4E8A-A9EB-4D4BED9C8C48
Driving to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
E6508538-B694-41E2-A435-DE6E22D4E9A5
Reading by the lake at Petrified Forest State Park
703C8A7E-8F0B-4188-8CA3-57AF2AD05AB5
Taking a break from the heat on a petrified log
8F792157-8C9D-40EA-8B68-9D2A5B9DAD80
The amazing pizza at North Creek Grill
22725AEF-481E-4105-A4CE-01DCAB837906
Plum and apricot lemonade added the incredible meal!

Day 3: We started the day with a delicious breakfast at the Inn then headed out to hike to the Lower Calf Creek Falls. I wasn’t sure what to expect but we got to the top (after a long and hot hike) and it was definitely worth it. The water is freezing but I had to go for a swim anyways! It is a 5.5 mile hike roundtrip and not that difficult as far as terrain goes, but bring lots of water since it is so hot. The next stop was driving the Burr Trail in Boulder, UT. There was almost no one there and the views were, in my opinion, just as interesting and beautiful as Capitol Reef (and way less people). We ended the day with dinner at Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm which I 10/10 recommend. There carrot puree was amazing and they had an ice cream s’more dessert that was to die for. We drove from Boulder, UT to Teasdale up over the mountains and it was like nothing I have seen before. I think that drive was my favorite part of the whole trip. It is this gorgeous hike mountain range that looks down into the dessert and cliffs of Utah. It is indescribable. We stayed the night at The Muddy Duck Bed and Breakfast which is nestled up against some cliffs and looks over the rest of the valley (so beautiful and the kindest host).

B3345B10-835F-4F75-9049-5F84DA610A1A
The friendliest cat joined me at Slot Canyon Inn
B6C8DF9E-DC43-4467-9F9F-6E875078C59D
Driving Burr Trail
860F7518-C228-40F7-94E3-9E6BAB8BD496
S’more Sunday at Hell’s Backbone Inn & Grill
A55ED748-6FB0-4567-BED5-A0BDBA9BADB3
Driving through the high mountains to Teasdale

Day 4: We drove through Capitol Reef on our way to Moab but this time we explored a little more and went on hike. We drove down the scenic drive (absolutely beautiful) and through the gorge on a dirt road. It is crazy how narrow it gets, you are basically driving in the riverbed. We hiked along the Gorge trail from there to further enjoy the views. Before heading out we stopped for pie at the Gifford House. It is strange there are some orchards and the old town nestled right in the gorge. We drove on to Moab, stopping in Green Rive to buy melons. There is a local melon stand at one of the gas stations and they have a big variety of different melons. In Moab we checked into our Airbnb (a lovely house right in town). We walked to Miguel’s Baja Grill for dinner and then browsed Back of Beyond Books (of course).

684C1012-9F28-49EC-9CAA-24F92BAD51F4
Morning views at the Mucky Duck
B3DBA1C9-CF84-4923-9FE0-E9087C9154EB
Driving to Capitol Reef
F90EA155-BE9C-482D-B9EB-D061451FC3DB
Gorge Trail in Capitol Reef
1DC12EE7-A99A-4E2C-BD79-26B9913FA887
More Gorge Trail views

M

A0910AC7-8838-413A-B91C-33D5C6E18D8C
Walking home from dinner in Moab
8F559CC3-3B2F-4FAE-A116-6BA98F600F1B
Getting my book fix at Back of Beyond Books

Day 5: We grabbed some breakfast burritos from Love Muffin Cafe (which are seriously delicious, the locals burrito is my favorite) before heading to Canyonlands National Park. We spent the day exploring different areas of the Island in the Sky area of the park. There are some gorgeous overlooks and short hikes totally worth checking out. We did the Mesa Arch hike and hiked along the rim at Grand Point Overlook. My biggest recommendation for this part is to get a four wheel drive car (or rent an off road jeep) because there are a ton of amazing dirt roads to explore, with way less people on them. Next we headed to Dead Horse Point State Park. The views here are totally worth it and different from Canyonlands. You can see beautiful views of the rivers and the salt flats. For dinner we went to Zaks in Moab, they have great buffet deal with the best bear cheese soup I have ever had.

E8BD55B8-AFAF-4CC4-AB85-E282FD188FFE
Dead Horse Point State Park views of the river
746E3ECC-2302-4D21-B939-376F29F14AAA
Salt flats views from Dead Horse Point State Park
A5EEE9F2-7F1B-4D1C-B31C-A1BB20C608BC
Canyonlands viewpoint
81E6E1C6-C97F-43BA-B10F-D3E519F7BD29
Grand Point Overlook in Canyonlands National Park

Day 6: Our final full day in the parks was spent mostly at Arches National Park. We have been here before so we still only spent half day here but it is definitely a cool place to visit. This time we hiked in the Devil’s Garden area, checking out Tunnel and Pine Tree Arches. We also went to the viewpoints for Delicate Arch so Aiden’s family could see it. In general my favorite area in Arches is the Window’s Section, there is so much to see! We walked around the shops in Moab for part of the afternoon (I recommend Moab Made, everything they carry is locally made and so interesting/unique). For dinner we headed to Sunset Grill for beautiful views and delicious food. It was definitely my favorite restaurant in Moab (the French Onion Soup and Chocolate Mousse were my favorites, of the things we ordered).

0FFBEA76-B6AC-4E5C-8C2A-E48C5219FA38
Pine Tree Arch
5F9419A6-A7D8-42EE-AC01-EC19DE2BCB02
Starting our hike in the Devil’s Garden area
F704CD25-8F76-47F9-A830-E5BA793C3D1B
A mojito while watching the sun set at Sunset Grill

I can’t recommend a Utah parks trip enough. They all have such unique landscapes and rock formations. Let me know if you want any more recommendations and/or trip advice! Thanks for reading!

Happy Sunday!

Erin

New York City for a Day

During the holidays I went into New York City with my boyfriend’s family. It has been over a month since this little trip but I still really wanted to share it since I had such a great time. The last time I was in the city was for several hours during a layover on the way to Iceland and we did not have time to really do or see much. Before that I had not been to NYC since I was eleven. That trip was amazing (we saw the Rockettes) but I no longer remember that much. My boyfriend and his family are not really city people so although they live close ( in New Jersey) they don’t go in that often. I was very excited to explore a little!

We started by walking from Bryant Park to Times Square. You could see the ball all set up and ready for new years. We got a nice view by going up a nearby hotel (the Marriott Marquis, it is a great way to avoid crowds as well). From here we walked to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and ice skating rink. Skating would have been fun but the line was hours long and the rink was pretty crowded (I am clearly not used to being in busy cities, not to mention the time of year in NYC). Our next stop was the New York Public Library. It is such a beautiful building (and its free!) with lots of books and some interesting art exhibits. We ate dinner at Virgil’s near Times Square (very affordable and delicious BBQ). For dessert we got cookie dough from Cookie Dough Confections at the market in Bryant Park and did a little shopping and exploring. For our final adventure of the night we walked to Saks 5th Avenue in attempt to see the windows but it ended up being much more of an adventure then we had anticipated. There were hundreds (probably thousands) of people throughout the street. You literally could not move. It ended up being an amazing light show at Sak’s. It was amazing but the number of people was a little ridiculous (pushing and shoving). Eventually we made it out of the mob and headed back to New Jersey. It was quite the adventure!

fullsizerender-1img_2768img_2810img_5851img_5853img_5856img_5858img_5861img_6458fullsizerender

Personally, I would love to go back. I feel like there is so much more to do and see. I think if I actually wanted to do things going back at a time of year when there aren’t so many people would be key.

2018 in Pictures

I am a little later than I had hoped for this, but I wanted to do the same thing as last year and review 2018 in photos (here is the link to 2017’s year in pictures). I think this is such a fun way to look back on the year and remember all that has happened. I will sat that 2018 was filled with more challenges than 2017 but there were also some major life changes and fun adventures. I hope to do a bigger reflection post on this in the future but for now, here was my year in pictures:

slide1

I am so thankful for all the opportunities I had in 2018 and for all the people who have been in my life (and who I met!). I look forward to continuing to grow and challenge myself in 2019.

Happy 2019!

Erin

A Backpacking Adventure…

So I have had a crazy summer filled with lots of adventures and there is one kind of hilarious one that I have been dying to share.

One of my close friends from college came out to  visit me during one of my last weeks living in Colorado. We did lots of local hiking but she really wanted to do a several day backpacking trip during her visit. We planned to do a three-day, two night backpacking trip about 45 minutes west of Boulder. We chose the route because it was close and my sister had done it last summer with her friends. Hessie trailhead (Indian Peaks Wilderness) was our start and we were going to hike the trail that runs through the Indian Peaks Wilderness, up to the Continental Divide and down to Rogers Peak Lake and then Moffat Tunnel. I included a map of our route because it is a great one to do if you are looking for a relatively low mileage but beautiful trail in the Boulder/Denver area.

IMG_3145

The first day was a beautiful hike up through the trees from Hessie trailhead (past the town of Eldora). Once we gained enough elevation the trees cleared and the views were amazing. There are also lots of small lakes up there that are great for fishing (we met several fishing groups along the way!). King Lake is nestled just below the divide and was such a gorgeous place to break. If I do the same trip again I would get a permit and camp near that lake (you have to get a permit during the summer for Indian Peaks Wilderness but not James Peak). We hiked up above the lake and onto the divide where we walked to the parking lot and down another trail to Pumphouse Lake. We had planned on hiking further, to Corona Lake, to camp but the site at Pumphouse was so beautiful so we decided to make camp there. The afternoon included some naps, reading and Indian food on the MSR. The real story started around 10:00pm once we were about to go to sleep.

I hadn’t really thought much of the bear warning sign at the trailhead since I have camped and hiked in Colorado a lot and never seen a bear. So we piled our food away from our tents and covered it with pots, pans and our crazy creeks (this has worked well for me in the High Uintas but was a big mistake here). We just turned the lights out in our tent when we started to hear noises outside. It sounded like something throwing things and rustling bags. It was literally terrifying… sitting in our sleeping bags listening to something rummage through our food and not knowing what it was. It was at least 30 minutes of freaking out. We didn’t wanted to go outside because habituated bears can be pretty dangerous and neither of us were about to confront a bear. When it seemed quiet we got out and did some investigating. Whatever it was had somehow taken most of our food but left our pile covering the food intact. We put everything back, got into our tent and started hearing noises again. Instead of sitting there freaking out in the dark we turned our lights on and listened to a podcast/music (not sure this is the best practice but it worked for us). The next morning we were making tea and saw some marmots on the snowfield across the lake… it was probably marmots although a bear definitely makes for a better story.

IMG_3203IMG_3178

They only food we had left was our snacks (trail mix and a few Cliff bars) and a jar of peanut butter. We probably could have finished our trip as scheduled however we would have been super hungry hiking out on the third day. After some though we decided we would keep going and try to hike what we would have done in two days in one day (i.e. hike out to the trailhead). In order to get picked up we had to get service somehow. Luckily we were going straight up onto the divide which was in clear sight of Winter Park. This hike up on the divide is around 4-5 miles and is absolutely gorgeous. The 360 degree views are stunning. We started our decent back down the East side of the divide just before James Peak. The decent is so steep and pretty long (coming up would be pretty rough). There are several lakes nestled into the mountains just below the divide (at tree line). We had intended to camp here (at Rogers Peak Lake) and it would have been beautiful. There were so many incredible wildflowers and great camping spots. We continued around 6 miles down to the Moffat tunnel were my sister picked us up.

IMG_3201IMG_8169

My piece of advice regarding food on backpacking trips is: do your research! The safest thing is probably a bear barrel or hanging your food however if you are in an area with NO grizzlies it seems people generally leave their food inside packs.

Such an adventure!

IMG_8142

Erin

Backpacking CO Route 2018

Denmark Travel Diary

I have finally been able to get to some of my travel posts! I am currently on my big Europe trip traveling around with my sister. We are in Nice, France right now but I was able to get my Denmark travel diary done on the train rides. In general I really loved this country! It is so beautiful and the city of Copenhagen is a great place to be. I am a little jealous of my friend who lives there!

Day 1- Just a note, that first picture is from the plane just before landing and I was just so impressed by how many wind turbines there were. I had never seen them in the ocean! I got to Copenhagen around 12:30pm on Sunday after a flight from Denver to London and then London to Copenhagen. I was extremely jet lagged but needed to stay up as long as possible so I could get on the right time zone. My friend picked me up from the airport, with Carlsberg beers as welcoming gifts. We rode the train back to his house in Hellerup. This town is very cute with lots of nice houses, flowers and a great beach/harbor. My friend’s boyfriend had a delicious danish lunch waiting for us so we ate open-faced sandwiches before taking a train to Klampenborg. It is only one or two stops and probably walkable (definitely an easy bike ride). First we walked around the deer park. It is a really pretty park which would be great for picnicking or biking through. There is a manor several kilometers from the entrance because the property used to be a hunting home for nobility. We saw several species of deer, including the fallow deer which I had never seen before (they have very fuzzy, wide antlers). After walking a little ways we headed to Bakken which is the world’s oldest amusement park. it was created in the 1500’s (I can only imagine what that was like). You do not have to pay an entrance fee so we just walked through the park and got some ice cream cones. Some of the buildings definitely channel a historical look with sloping roofs. They have lots of horse drawn carriages for rides around the area. From here we walked across the rode to the sandy beach for a swim. The water was chilly but so refreshing and really woke me up. It was a really nice, sunny day so there were lots of people! Back at home we had a traditional dish called Flæskesteg, which was amazing! Apparently it is usually made around Christmas time. We finished dinner around 9:30 and the sun was just starting to set (I forgot about the whole more sunlight thing). We walked through the neighborhood to downtown Hellerup and the beach/harbor. There is such a nice rose garden there as well.

Slide1Day 2- This day was pretty much entirely exploring Copenhagen. I woke up to fresh coffee and croissants (such a treat!). My friend and I went out around 8:30 and he took me on a long walking tour of the city. We started with Christiania which is an artist community in the city that sort of follows its own rules. There are lots of colorful buildings and beautiful art. You can’t take pictures inside so I only have one from the side entrance. It was a Monday morning so it was pretty dead but they usually have lots of food, music and shops. From here we walked along side the canals, past Church of Our Savior. I had no idea that Denmark is comprised largely of islands. There are so many canals in the city and just walking around is so nice, especially along Nyhavn. Nyhavn is the postcard Copenhagen with the colorful buildings and boats lining the canal. I would note that this area is so packed! It can be a little difficult to navigate with all the people so I recommend timing this well so you aren’t there during peak times. There are lots of great restaurants and cafes along here that would be so lovely to eat at. From Nyhavn we headed along the water towards the mermaid statue. Honestly this is not very worth it. It is very out of the way, tons of tourists are there and it is really small. I recommend just seeing it from the boat tour. There is a great view of the opera house, statue, royal houses and church along that walk though. From the mermaid we headed past the Gefion Fountain and St. Albans Church to the royal houses. The palace was burnt down several times so the royal family now lives in several houses that belong to noble families. The lutheran church is there as well so we walked through it, the ceiling is pretty cool! By this time we had walked a ton and were super hungry. We ended up walking a ton more to get to Gasoline Grill, a burger place that had been recommended to my friend. It was worth the walk! We ate in the park nearby before walking through the crown jewel palace to the botanical gardens. It was Monday so the butterfly garden was closed but we had a nice time checking out the plants and flowers. From here we walked through some nice market plazas that I definitely want to check out more when I come back. We walked through the Royal Copenhagen store (very beautiful but expensive tableware) and then had coffees at the top of the Illum, enjoying nice views of the city. We ran a couple of errands before heading back to Hellerup. Dinner was another traditional meal of Frikadeller and then we watched the world cup semi-finals.

Slide1Day 3- We took a train to Hillerød in the morning to visit Fredriksborg Castle. This was by far the most beautiful castle I have ever seen. There are such beautiful views from the town so we stopped there for some pictures. There are also some cafes there that would be fun to try! You walk across a bridge to get into the courtyard where there is a beautiful fountain. Originally we weren’t sure if we were going to get tickets to go in or just explore the courtyard and gardens. We ended up getting tickets and I am so glad we did. The interior was incredible. I was especially impressed by the ceilings and chandeliers (so ornate!). My other highlight was the church (yes inside the castle). We hopped on a tour for a bit before exploring by ourselves for a while. I cannot imagine only one family living in a place that big. We walked around the grounds next, which we just as amazing. The crown emblem is literally carved out of a hedge on either side of the canal that runs from the water fountains. We walked out the other side of the garden and though the other side of town to the train station.

Slide1Day 4- We headed out early to pick up my sister, Meghan, from the airport (she came on a 8:15am flight from Stockholm). Meghan and I ate some food before heading to Helsingor for some more castle adventures. This town is definitely worth a visit whether or not you decide to see the castle. There is also a maritime museum and some interesting things. The castle was costs around 120 krone and neither of us were dying to see it so we chose to skip the castle and just walk around it and down the shore. I am pretty sure this was the home of a noble family so it is not nearly as big as the Fredriksborg castle but it is right up against the sea which was very cool! After walking around the castle we headed back through the town, exploring, taking pictures and hitting up a thrift shop. We hopped on a bus to Humlebaek. This stop is worth it if you want to see the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, none of the exhibits caught my eye at the time so instead of going in we walked along the rocky beach and then up along the street (the house and gardens are all very nice).

Slide1Day 5- I took my sister into Copenhagen so she could see everything. We did some shopping along the main streets and walked around for a while. For lunch we went to Dalle Valle which is an affordable buffet that has lots of danish options. After lunch we walked to Nyhavn for a boat tour of the city. I highly recommend seeing the city via boat. They take you along the canals and point out all the important landmarks and the history in both Danish and English. We went with Netto boat tours which was 50 krone per person.

Slide1Day 6- We went back into the city with the sole purpose of reserving our train tickets to Germany. If you need to make reservations or get international tickets in Copenhagen make sure you leave a lot of time because we spent at least an hour just waiting for our turn. We then grabbed a bite to eat outside of Tivoli and then walked back through the city. We were pretty tired by that point so decided to head back to Hellerup to get packed up. We walked down to the Hellerup beach for a swim because it was very hot and sunny. The water was even better than the first day! Our last little adventure involved a very long walk to University of Copenhagen for my friend’s BBQ. It was so much fun! Lots of dancing, drinks and good food.Slide1

This part of my trip was truly amazing. I love love love the city of Copenhagen and it was so incredible to see my friend again!

Erin

A Day in Charleston

Charleston just might be my new favorite city. The buildings are beautiful and the narrow streets create a historical but picturesque vibe. I loved it so much that I am going to recap all the highlights in this Charleston in a day post. I realized very quickly that coming back is most definitely a must. I know there is so much more to see and do.

Magnolia Plantations: This was the very first stop on our way into Charleston. I highly recommend checking out one of the many gardens/halls/plantations just outside of the city. There is a lot of history associated with these places as well as beautiful grounds. It can be pricier depending on what you choose to do but we had a great time just walking around.

DSC_0661DSC_0532DSC_0549

Brunch at Butcher & Bee: This is the perfect brunch spot. The food was amazing and reminded me of home. They have healthy, delicious food that is reasonably priced and the atmosphere is very homey but modern. Also a plus was parking, since it is not directly downtown.

IMG_6221IMG_6205IMG_6213

South of Broad: This iconic Charleston neighborhood is filled with picturesque houses skirted by extensive gardens. Beautiful houses line the streets, many of which have much historical significance. The streets are narrow and make if feel much older. We were there during the Garden Tours which actually was useful because they had lots of very friendly people stationed throughout the streets, helping you.

IMG_6269IMG_6227IMG_6247IMG_6267IMG_6309IMG_6322

White Point Garden: While wandering the streets, we ended up at this park right at the water’s edge. Historically this is a great area to visit.

IMG_6272IMG_6276IMG_6287

Jeni’s Ice Cream: This is actually the best ice cream I have ever had. There service was great and I recommend trying lots of flavors (they are all so good!).

IMG_6361

King’s Street: The shops are a great stop that is not too far from South of Broad. Of course I had to find a great bookstore, Blue Bicycle Books. Other than that I just enjoyed walking the street and exploring a bit.

IMG_6358IMG_6357IMG_6354

Dinner at Leon’s: Seafood is a must for any coastal visit. We didn’t want to break the bank so I found Leon’s which has great food (especially seafood) for very reasonable prices.

IMG_6364

Sullivan’s Island: Our last stop, on the way out of town, was the beach. I had heard the area is very beautiful and can never resist an excuse for the beach. It was very windy but that actually made for some incredible views.

IMG_6412IMG_6389

It was such an amazing experience and I highly recommend a visit. I can’t wait for next time!

Erin

Maine Travel Diary

Day 1: This first day was mostly just driving up to Ellsworth, ME from North Dartmouth, Rhode Island. We stayed in Dartmouth to make the drive a little bit easier. There was quite a bit of traffic so it took us five to six hours to drive there. After getting dinner we drove the 30 minutes to Beech Hill Pond where the house we rented was. The lake was so beautiful and pretty much all of the houses on the water have docks where was great because we were able to swim a bunch. A couple people ran into town to get some grocery’s and other necessary items.

IMG_0045IMG_0056IMG_0069

Day 2: So for the second day we took it easy and got settled in. There was a great wrap around porch so after breakfast outside we blew up the tubes we bought in town and hopped in the water.

IMG_0091IMG_0108

Day 3: This day was probably my highlight of the entire summer. We spent the day in Acadia National Park and it was absolutely beautiful. There are so many amazing trails with beaches, mountains and wild blueberries! We did a shorter hike called Gorham Mountain Trail which wound up one of the smaller mountains and provided some incredible coastal views. I would highly recommend visiting the park in the off season however because it was very crowded. Parking was so crazy that we decided to take the shuttle which was a good move (although in peak season the shuttle even gets full). It was just such a beautiful park and I am so glad we had the opportunity to visit. After our day hiking we headed to Bar Harbor to walk the town and enjoy some delicious food. The town is very tourist so it was also very crowded but it is so cute with amazing restaurants, ice cream parlors and artesian shops.  We went to Geddy’s for lobster dinners and to Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium for dessert (there as so many options though!).

IMG_0132IMG_0159IMG_0169IMG_0174IMG_0218IMG_0222IMG_0249IMG_0269IMG_0274IMG_0302IMG_0306

Day 4: This was the most foggy and drizzly day we had. It is actually a beautiful way to experience Maine though because the harbors are so beautiful and peaceful in the fog. We went to Schoodic Point and drove around the beautiful coast. We made a point of visiting all of the artesian shops we could find. There were some amazing pottery studios and one right on the water. We walked around the tide pools after observing the artist’s work. We also went to a studio which made big granite sculpture out of the rock right there on the property. For lunch we ate some fried lobster, scallops and smoked salmon at a great little dinner on the coast.

IMG_0314IMG_0355IMG_0465IMG_0545IMG_0556IMG_0565

Day 5: Yesterdays tide pools inspired us to find some more the next day. We went to Mccellan State Park first to visit the tide pools. It is such a pretty area and we even met some researchers doing work on bird diet in tidal areas. Next we went to an area referred to as the reverse falls. It is an area where the river creates some rapids but they switch direction with the change in tide. It was pretty interesting and there is a great coast line there. We had burritos for lunch at a delicious Mexican restaurant. Next we drove to the Maine Sea Salt company and took a tour of their facility which was incredibly interesting. We also got to try out all their different salts (there were surprising numbers of different flavors). My personal favorite was the herb salt. They have several different smoked varieties as well, where they use different types of wood to infuse different flavors during the smoking process. Our final stop was Pebble Beach just further than the sea salt company. It is an amazing beach because it is made entirely of these smooth pebbles and the sound they make when the waves crash into them is one of a kind (so hard to even describe!).

DSC_0003IMG_0570IMG_0583IMG_0593IMG_0598DSC_0078

Day 6: Most of this day we spent just hanging out on the lake. We did some more swimming in the cool fresh water and explored the area. For dinner we went to a Lobster Pound in Trenton. It was so delicious and quite the experience for me since I had never been to one before! We got some firewood on the way back and made s’mores. The evening was finished with some star gazing over the lake. It was a perfectly clear night so we were graced with an amazing view and lots of shooting stars.

IMG_0610IMG_0646IMG_0654IMG_0661IMG_0673

Day 7: Our final day a rainy one but we made it out into town regardless. First we played mini golf outside Ellsworth (I lost but it was still a blast). We then drove around some more finding other art studios. We even met an artist couple who went to the same college at me! I had my last fix of lobster for the summer in the form of a lobster roll. We ended the day at the L.L. Bean outlet in Ellsworth where I bought a sweater and some cozy socks for fall.

IMG_0774IMG_0686IMG_0766IMG_0769IMG_0776IMG_0779

Top American Eagle, Trench ASOS, Mules Nordstrom, Bag Nordstrom

Day 8: It was such a sad day to be driving back because the weather was so beautiful. We got a late start so I got to enjoy one last morning breakfast on the lake before packing up and heading out. The drive back to New Jersey took nearly the whole day. We did stop in Portland though for some lunch!

I truly cannot wait to go back to Maine. It has quickly become on of my favorite places with its gorgeous landscapes, cool weather and abundance of seafood. I highly recommend this trip. I do warn you however one week is definitely not enough time to see all of Maine. I could have stayed the whole summer!

Erin

Westport Highlights

Our big family vacation this summer was a trip back to Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I love this area and have missed our yearly summers there so much. I was thrilled to hear we would be going back this summer. As always we had such a blast renting a cottage in Westport, which took up most of our vacation time. Here are my highlights from our time there.

IMG_9814

Sunsets at Gooseberry Point: Almost every evening we went out to Gooseberry point. It is a small peninsula that jets out into the Atlantic allowing for views of the Vineyard and some incredible sunsets. It was so beautiful. We would swim, fish and hang out on the beach for a little while and then walk over to the rocky coast to watch the sun drop below the horizon. This is definitely a must if you are ever in the area. It also is a good idea to go late in the day because the beach is much less crowded.

IMG_9609IMG_9604IMG_9605

Quahogging in the Westport River: We dug for quahogs in the the river several days and found lots of them. We made some delicious clams casino and a great pasta sauce. We also found mussels in the smaller channels in the marshes at high tide. You do need a permit but it is really worth it and fairly easy to get enough for a delicious meal. We even found some oysters and scallops.

IMG_9719IMG_9614

Fun in the sand at Horseneck beach: We had a couple incredible days at the beach building epic drip castles, surfing and creating our clam shell mermaid. Low tide is definitely the best time to walk the beach finding shells and sea glass and provides for lots of space for castles!

IMG_9186IMG_9588IMG_9596

Farm stands on the back rounds: There are some really beautiful backroads between Westport, MA and Little Compton, RI that are home to some really great farm stands and unique little shops. Farm fresh food is available and it is so much cheaper directly from the sources than at the grocery store. The local grocery store, Lee’s, has pretty much everything but it is super expensive since it is a vacation town on the beach.

IMG_9237IMG_9234IMG_9231

Jumping off the dock: This is definitely a tradition every time we come. We have so much family there and several have houses right on the Westport River so we always jump off the dock with the cousins.

IMG_0020IMG_9923

Coastal walks: Just walking along the coast both at the beach and the more rocky shores was a major highlight for me. We had pretty good weather the whole time so we were able to make lots of adventures out of the coastal landscape.

IMG_9753IMG_9768

Seafood at the best restaurants: This place has some of the best seafood restaurants I have ever been to. Its great because there are different price points as well. Handyhill Creamery is along the highway just as you are getting to the river and it is really cheap and absolutely delicious. There ice cream is amazing as well!!! The Bayside is our go to dinner place and they have a wide variety of options with yummy local seafood. There drinks were so good this time as well. I had got the goat cheese salad with scallops every time we went because it is the best salad I have ever had. The Bayside also sits right across from the ocean with a great ocean walk in between which allows for the most beautiful table wait. The Back Eddy is also pretty great with a nice view of the river. I highly recommend reservations here (also at The Bayside) because it gets really crowded. There is a lobster place across the river which has great lobster rolls for lunch and you sit right along the river.

IMG_9346IMG_9382DSC_0068IMG_9200

Other activities included some bird watching on the wildlife preservation, our day trip up to Newport and another to Worcester as well as some much needed time with the family. It was an incredible trip with many gorgeous location and fun activities.

Erin