36 Hours in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

With more freezing rain and cold temps predicted for early last week, we finally cried uncle. We knew we wanted to head for the Charleston area for a little charm and a taste of spring, but totally balked at the expensive last minute flights. We don’t shy away from a long road trip, so we knew we’d drive - BUT - with a 14 hour trip ahead, breaking it up into two parts (and exploring a new place on the way!) sounded pretty appealing. After so many amazing recommendations on this post (thank you!!), we finally settled on Old Town Alexandria since it was perfectly half-way. Well, and because once I saw all those American flags and old brick sidewalks, I was sold.

Old Town Alexandria Travel Guide

With only about 36 hours to play with, we didn’t even scratch the surface here, but if you’re interested, read on for where we strolled, stayed, dined, and played on our quick trip. Can’t recommend it enough as a stop on your road trip south or as a destination on it's own!  

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STROLL

The Historic District | Brick sidewalks with 19th century gas lamps lighting the path, cobblestone streets, arched gates leading into perfectly manicured gardens, American flags waving in the breeze, and original antique door knockers on every door. There was a photo opportunity around every corner here, made even better by the lingering cherry blossoms and wisteria!
Don’t miss: Captain’s Row (the 100 block of Prince Street) with the cobblestone street leading right down to the waterfront.

Old Town Alexandria Virginia Travel Guide

STAY

Morrison House | Always on the lookout for a charming, historic inn, I stumbled upon Morrison House early in my search and we loved it. While we didn’t have much time to linger there, the location was perfect - tucked right into Old Town’s historic neighborhoods and just a block from King Street.  
Don’t miss: enjoying a cocktail on the patio out front, admiring that classic Federal style entrance and fountain.

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EAT

Without much time for research ahead of time, we just enjoyed popping into whatever restaurants we came across (and those that didn’t have a wait!). Here’s what we found:

Coffee | Killer E.S.P. | Right around the corner from Morrison House, how can you go wrong when E.S.P stands for Espresso, Sorbet, and Pie?! We loved this casual spot, and especially loved how dog friendly it was - we met so many pups inside!

Brunch + Drinks | Virtue Feed and Grain | Right near the waterfront, the outdoor patio (and the mimoas) were perfection on a sunny day. Bonus points for the historic brick building - a feed house from the 1800’s!

Dinner | Hank’s Oyster Bar | We ducked in just as two seats opened up at the bar, and loved the New England vibes (and the Goldfish to snack on while we perused the menu!). Don’t miss the lobster roll or the key lime pie.

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PLAY

Nationals Park | Is there anything better than overpriced beer, popcorn, and a day at the ballpark? It ranks pretty high up in our book, and although we’re Mets fans, we don’t typically pass up an opportunity to take in a game when we find ourselves in the vicinity of a major league park. As luck would have it, the Nationals were home while we were in town and we were able to snag some last minute tickets on Stubhub. 
Don’t miss: catching the boat (!!!) to the game from the dock just a quick walk from our hotel. Avoiding all traffic and parking woes AND a bar (okay, a cooler with drinks for sale) on board was a huge win.   

Old Town Alexandria What to Do Where to Stay

On our list for next time: Sugar Shack Donuts, Brabo Tasting Room, Vermilion, Magnolia’s on King, shopping at The Hour, Book Bank, Home on Cameron, Red Barn Mercantile, touring Mount Vernon Estate, and so much more. Would love your additions to the list if you’re local!

In my bag this trip:

Five Quick Tips for Stress Free Travel Prep

As much as I love to travel, this nagging feeling tends to creep up about one week before we leave. It’s that pre-travel stress starting to set in, and it usually stems mostly from having to leave the dogs (can’t we just bring them everywhere?!), and also from feeling like there’s just no way we’ll get our to-do list checked off before we leave. Between the packing, planning itineraries, arranging dog sitters, last-minute shopping, wrapping up work projects, and making sure the house is clean and buttoned up - it always leaves me feeling like it might just be easier to stay home. The thing is, I know once we get through it all and pull out of the driveway, I’ll be so glad we’re on our way.

Up until about six months ago, our departures were pretty much chaos. The dogs start to stress the second our luggage comes out of the hall closet, and let’s just say their panting and pacing while we pack isn’t the most relaxing thing in the world. Then of course there was the last minute vacuuming and dusting we would try to do (gotta make sure the place is clean for the dog sitter!), and the 15 trips back and forth from the car into the house (Forgot my jacket! Did you grab the charger? Did we turn off the lights?). Not the best way to start our adventure.   

But! With practice, we’ve learned some tips and tricks that have made our departures almost 100% stress free AND on time (unheard of!), that we’d love to share with you...

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Plan for departure at least one week ahead | Any little things we can start doing well in advance, we do them. I like to start a running list of things not to forget when packing, and typically start making a pile of clothes and accessories that I want to bring about a week ahead of time (I wrote a bit more about packing tips here).

Then there’s the not so fun stuff: arranging for mail / newspaper hold, lining up a dog sitter (more on on that below!), coordinating snow removal or lawn care while you’re away, and prepping the house for your departure (and return!). These are easy things to get done in advance (this coming from a former procrastinator), and the days leading up to your trip will be much calmer if they’re taken care of. We used to run around like crazy trying to pick up and clean the house right before we left, but have since learned our lesson and do a deep clean the week before, and then just be sure to keep it up during the week.

Hide it from the dogs | This sounds absolutely ridiculous and really only pertains to those that have dogs who do the travel guilt trip like ours do, but I’ve found that packing on the sly has decreased our travel prep stress so much. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind for those sweet pups, and so we “pack” our clothes into piles on the dresser and only pop things into our (hidden) bags when they’re in another room. On the day we leave, one of us will take both dogs for a walk while the other does the back and forth, bringing our luggage from the house to the car. The dogs are SO much calmer when we do leave (since we tricked them into thinking we’re just heading out for the day like usual!), and we’re so much happier when we jump in the car. Win-win!     

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Find a trusted house / dog sitter | Making sure the dogs are well cared for while we’re out of town is always our first priority. Knowing they are comfortable and happy means so much less guilt leaving them (is this turning into a crazy dog lady post yet?!), and we can just relax while we’re away. Our go-to is family first (either at our house or theirs, whichever is most convenient), and we’re lucky to have found a great option for when family isn’t available (if you’re local - call Mallory at LuckyDawg!). If we don’t have someone staying at the house, we have neighbors (and cameras!) keep an eye on the house for us, which leads me to my next tip...

Blink Security Camera

Add security cameras for peace of mind | There’s just something about being able to check in on the house (and dogs!) while we’re away that puts my mind at ease. Being able to actually see with my own eyes that everything is as it should be is priceless. We got these security cameras from Blink a couple years ago, and have loved using them to check in on things while we’re gone. We ended up going with these cameras over other brands since they don’t need to be plugged in (they come with batteries and we haven’t had to change them yet!), and you can mount or place them anywhere you like. It also helped that they’re super affordable!

We love the motion detection alerts (which you can switch on and off as needed), and also love being able to just check in with live video on our iPhone to see the dogs happily snoozing (on my pillow no less!) or to see if a package has been delivered on the front porch from the outdoor camera. We’re up to four cameras now, and if Tom has his way we’ll probably have 10 by the end of the year ;) Love that you can purchase an add-on unit anytime! 

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Prep the house for our return | Returning from an amazing vacation is hard enough, so we do our best to leave the house ready for us to jump right back into the routine when we come home. Things like making the beds with fresh sheets, buying some snacks to stock the cupboards (what’s worse than coming home to no food?!) and just generally making sure that it doesn’t look like a tornado swept through our house all make it so much easier to relax when we get home.  

Would love to hear your tips for lowering stress before you travel!

A big thank you to Blink for sponsoring this post. We’ve used (and loved!) our own Blink cameras for over two years now, so when Blink reached out about collaborating this spring, it was an easy yes - I’m thrilled to share them with you!

Five Upstate NY Maple Farms to Visit this Spring

Vermont typically gets all the love when it comes to maple syrup, but we're lucky to have a long list of amazing maple farms right here in our own back yard! And this time of year, when it's spring but not at all feeling like it, a little road trip and a lotta maple is pretty much the best thing to beat cabin fever. So, if you're up for something sweet, here are a few of our favorite upstate sugar shacks to visit!  

Toad Hill Maple Farm | Athol, NY: The largest of the bunch, the timberframe sugar house at Toad Hill is a beauty. Bonus points for the covered bridge on property, and the wagon ride that takes you over it and through their sugarbush! 
Don't leave without: an enormous bag of maple popcorn, along with the biggest maple leaf bottle of syrup you can buy.

Toad Hill Maple Farm Athol NY

Maple Knoll Farm | Minerva, NY: A most charming sugar house (made with lumber milled from trees on their land!), and the loveliest people. We felt right at home as soon as we walked through the door, and left with a handwritten recipe for maple dip - it doesn't get much better than that!  
Don't leave without: sampling one of their maple donuts, topped with maple dip (grab a jar of maple cream to make your own dip - so good!). 

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Rathbun's Maple Sugar House | North Granville, NY: A local favorite, it's hard to believe it was our first time out here! A horse drawn wagon greeted us out front (along with the smell of maple wafting through the air!) and we loved watching them boil sap into syrup from above in the sugar house. 
Don't leave without: devouring their pancake breakfast. The wait was over an hour when we got there, so we'll be back next weekend! 

Rathbuns Maple Granville Washington County

Mapleland Farms | Salem, NY: Home of an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, and one of the prettiest views in Washington County. Loved checking out their specialty products - need some maple mustard? They've got you covered ;)   
Don't leave without: a bag full of their maple candy (it melts in your mouth!) and a 'gram of the syrup samples in the window, of course. 

Sugar Mill Farm | Greenwich, NY: A classic red-roofed sugar house just outside one of our favorite Washington County towns. Save room for their pancake breakfast, which folks were lining up for when we arrived!
Don't leave without: a jar of their maple cream. Someone has been eating it by the spoonful. Ahem, Tom.

Maple Guide Greenwich NY

If you're not local, you can purchase online from most of the farms mentioned above, as well as our pals at Bixby's Best in Bolton Landing!

Upstate friends - would love to know what your favorites are! Happy Spring! 

Winter in Hometown, USA | A Glens Falls, NY Travel Guide

Allow me to introduce you to Glens Falls - where small-town charm meets big (okay, little) city living. Given the title Hometown, USA by Look Magazine in 1944, the editors described Glens Falls as the typical US hometown that "contained, in microcosm, every aspect of the American idea." And that heavy dose of history and Americana is what we love most about it.   

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We’ve called the city home for the past 7 years (or forever, since I grew up just over the river). No matter where we travel, we’re always happy to come back home. So, it’s high time we put together a travel guide for our own home town! If you ever find yourself in our neck of the woods, tucked between Lake George and Saratoga, come on by! When you do, here are a few of our favorites to get you started. 

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W H E R E  T O  E A T

C o f f e e + B r e a k f a s t

Spektor: The perfect blend of cool and casual with locally roasted coffee from Kru Coffee
Roasters, you won’t be disappointed. Great breakfast + lunch options, but you'll usually find me with a cronut or maple scone, and Tom with a Bulletproof coffee.

Juicin Jar: Our favorite little spot for freshly pressed juice and fruit smoothies. The very freshest menu, best flavors, and lots of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, too! My favorite this week: the Very Berry Smoothie - too good.

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Kelly's Roots: Friendly, fresh and local with a West-coast vibe. Kelly’s is the perfect place to grab
a quick coffee and bite to eat (which Tom does every day on the way to work), or linger over breakfast on the weekend (get the chocolate chip pancakes!). 

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Fresh ADK: Another downtown addition that has brought more clean-eating options to those
with a dietary restriction. Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and all taste great (plus, they’re expanding at the same location to offer a fresh and healthy market - can't wait!). 

Spot Coffee: Another convenient option downtown to drop in, grab a coffee, or have a bite. Open every day until 10pm, they have live music, open mic, and other evening attractions on the menu periodically as well. Tom's fav: the mocha espresso (have you noticed yet that I don't drink coffee?!).

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B r u n c h , L u n c h + D i n n e r

Morgan & Co.: Basically our version of Cheers, you’ll find us here having dinner at the bar at least once a week. The owners and staff are the sweetest, the food is the best, and the location (in a mansion once owned by one of the city’s lumber barons) can’t be beat. Their Sunday brunch is also a favorite – don’t leave without tasting the coffee cake! And I won’t tell you what my favorite dessert is – I want to be sure we’re guaranteed a slice ;) 

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Raul'sOur go-to for Mexican and Margaritas! A downtown staple with a location perfect for people watching, you can usually catch us by the windows polishing off chips and guac. 

Davidson BrothersKnown for their craft beer and pub style menu, the Davidsons played a big role in bringing people back downtown when they opened their brewpub back in 1996. Fun fact: Tom and I went here for beers after offering on both of the houses we’ve purchased in the city, and both offers were accepted! Our own little good luck charm. 

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Downtown City Tavern: Tucked just off Glen Street, the Tavern is a favorite for their rotating craft beer selection and wood-fired pizza. Be sure to top things off with one of their boozy milkshakes if you visit!    

Rock Hill Bakehouse: Every little city needs a great bakery. An easy walk down Exchange
Street brings you a plethora of hand-made and hearth-baked treats (and don't miss the sandwiches!). Great vegan and vegetarian options here as well!

Samantha's Cafe: Conveniently nestled into downtown, this is a great 'gram worthy spot to enjoy their made-to order menu. You must try their “melties” (you can thank us later), and don’t forget the amazing desserts!

Cooper's Cave: Pub, beer, and ice cream – the perfect trifecta. Located right on the Warren County Bikeway, it’s a favorite place to pedal to for a Chopped Salad and a cone come summer! 

D r i n k s

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Mean Max: Awesome craft beer, dart league, trivia, live music. Enough said :) Grab some take out from your favorite downtown spot and head to the tasting room. Success to these guys is simply being able to share their brews with their friends, family, and neighbors. 

Common RootsJust over the river in South Glens Falls, Common Roots is owned by a father-son duo (recently featured in the New York Times!). With a food truck often parked outside, it’s perfectly cozy inside during the winter and even better in the summer with an outdoor firepit and Adirondack chairs. I’m a big fan of their wild ales, and Tom goes for the Last Light IPA every time.     

W H A T  T O  D O

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Get Outside: We’re so lucky to have Crandall Park and Cole’s Woods in our backyard. Winter offers ice skating on idyllic Crandall Pond, sledding down the hill in Crandall Park, trails to walk the pups through the snowy woods (Murphy and Max’s favorite!) and cross country skiing and snowshoeing in Cole’s Woods. West Mountain is just down the road for downhill skiing and tubing. If you’re up for a walk, wander the charming sidewalked neighborhoods adjacent to Crandall Park, or admire the architecture of the old lumber baron’s mansions lining the main streets downtown.

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Stay Inside: If staying warm inside is more your thing, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Glens Falls is home to the exceptional Hyde Collection, which includes works by Rembrandt, Degas, Picasso, and Renoir to name a few. To learn a bit more about the history of Glens Falls, make a stop at the Chapman Museum downtown (and admire the Victorian architecture of the DeLong house while you’re there). If you’re in the market for a bit more action, Glens Falls is home to the Adirondack Thunder (an affiliate of the New Jersey Devils), and home games are played downtown at Cool Insuring Arena. Last but certainly not least, if you're in the mood for a show, check out the upcoming events at the Wood Theatre (and in the summer and fall, the Adirondack Theatre Festival and Adirondack Film Festival!).     

W H E R E  T O  S H O P

Where to begin?! Visit Fountain Square Outfitters for Patagonia and outdoor gear, Minky Mink for favorite brands like Free People and Hunter Boots, and Lake George Olive Oil for the very best - you guessed it - olive oil and vinegar. Check out the Shirt Factory and LARAC Shop for the best works from local artists. If you're hunting for antiques, stop by a few of our favorites in the surrounding area: The Fox and the Chicken Coop, and Antiques Market Place

W H E R E  T O  S T A Y

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The Queensbury Hotel: Built in 1926, The Q is a member of Historic Hotels of America and is currently in the midst of a $6 million dollar restoration. We’ve loved seeing the character and charm of the hotel renewed with classic touches like marble floors and subway tile. There are two restaurants on site, Park 26 and Fenimore’s Neighborhood Pub, and we couldn’t be more excited about their future plans for a rooftop bar! 

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We hope you have a chance to visit our little city, and love it as much as we do! Local friends, please share your favorites in the comments! 

Stay tuned for the summer version of the city guide, coming this May!

For more Glens Falls charm, follow along on Instagram @glensfallsliving!  

 

A Weekend in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

With a name like the Kingdom, it’s no surprise that 36 hours isn’t even close to enough time to do or see it all in this gorgeous corner of Vermont. This region is known for it’s unspoiled beauty, and the quiet, uncommercialized nature of this area is what I loved most about it. When you want a coffee or a quick bite, you’re not headed for Starbucks or McDonalds - you’re popping into the country store or bellying up to the counter at local diner. 

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The views along the hilly country roads in East Burke (Darling Hill Road in particular!) were so picturesque that we found ourselves wishfully searching the real estate listings over drinks the first night. Not only that, but we enjoyed great food, met some wonderful locals, and scored some great finds from local antique shops (at really good prices!). We’ve only just scratched the surface here, and there were so many things we wished we had time for this trip. All the more reason to start planning the next! 

Read on for a few favorites from our weekend...

W H E R E  T O  S T A Y

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Inn at Mountain View Farm | Four barns, a big yellow farmhouse, and a Farm Animal Sanctuary with the sweetest horses, goats, cows you’ve ever met (not to mention Emma the donkey!). The Farm is what my dreams are made of, and we could not have loved it more. 

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Mountain View Farm operates as a bed and breakfast from May - October, and lucky for us, rents suites during the winter season. We stayed in the Peacham Suite in the farmhouse, with a cozy fireplace and perfect view of the aptly named Great Barn. Next door, the stately brick creamery building houses more guest rooms, as well as the parlor where breakfast is served in the warmer months. And speaking of warmer months, we can’t wait to return this summer to enjoy cocktails in the Adirondack chairs, overlooking the barns.   

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W H A T  T O  D O

Everything. And nothing. To be honest, I could probably just spend a weekend enjoying the peace and quiet on the grounds of the Farm. But if you’re in the mood to explore a bit, here are a few of the towns we explored and things we did this trip:

Peacham Cafe | Peacham: Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll have a chance to drive through a plethora of charming little towns and villages on your way north. A little research and a few recommendations turned up Peacham (population 732!), a quintessential Vermont village that was the perfect welcome for our trip into the Northeast Kingdom. Historic homes line the street, with church steeples and red barns dotting the landscape. In the center of town is the Peacham Cafe, where we enjoyed a great lunch surrounded by the friendliest locals. 

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Main Street | St. Johnsbury: We had multiple recommendations to check out the Fairbanks Museum, and while we didn’t have time this trip, we did want to peek at what St. J had to offer! A quick drive down Main Street and loop around Railroad Street turned up lots of classic Victorian charm (the mansions!) mixed with what looked like a fun downtown scene. A few spots that caught our eye: Kingdom Taproom, St. Johnsbury Antiques, Antique Annex, Dog Mountain

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Lake Willoughby | Westmore: Often compared to a Norwegian fjord, this beautiful lake is just 15 minutes from the Inn. After grabbing a coffee in town, we took a quick drive up and around the lake, watching as the ice fisherman made their way out onto the lake with their shelters. The water is crisp and clear in the summer, and we can't wait to come back to paddle the lake (rent kayaks and canoes here) and hike Mount Pisgah in the warmer months. 

Antique Shopping | Lyndonville: We loved exploring the village of Lyndonville (especially their version of the Painted Ladies overlooking the park!), as well as popping into some of the local shops, including Antiques & Emporium and Green Mountain Books & Prints

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On our list for next time: Fat biking + snowshoeing on the Kingdom Trails, skiing at Burke Mountain, and heading north to explore the town of Newport (which we got many recommendations for!).

W H E R E  T O  E A T

Burke Publick House | East Burke: We enjoyed some local craft beers at the bar as we watched the skiers file in in after a day at Burke Mountain. They’ve got a cool, friendly rustic atmosphere with live tunes and all the sports games you can stay tuned into.  

Juniper's | Lyndon:  Classy, casual atmosphere with an great dinner and dessert menu (Mountain of Cookies sundae!) and an amazing view to boot! Looking forward to coming back and grabbing a table on the patio this summer!  

Cafe Lotti | East Burke: Great coffee = road trip necessity. Café Lotti didn't disappoint with a variety of specialty coffees. Hot or iced, they’ve got you covered. (Tom grades the Mocha espresso an A+). 

Miss Lyndonville Diner | Lyndonville: If you're looking for a good old fashioned diner breakfast, this is the place! We bellied up to the counter for omelets, and of course, a side of pancakes to share. 

Auntie Dee Dees | East Burke: A must! Fresh bread and sweet treats, quite literally home made (the bakery is attached to her house!). Get here early - these goodies sell fast! We grabbed some cookies and a lemon bar for the ride home, but the cinnamon buns and bread looked amazing. 

Northeast Kingdom Country Store | East Burke: Right downtown in East Burke, the country store was built in the mid 1800’s and has been recently renovated into an amazing spot for a bite to eat and local shopping (pottery, crafts, antiques, maple syrup, wine...!). 

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On our List for Next Time: Burke Mountain Confectionery - we heard great things about the truffles!

Until next time, Mountain View Farm! You'll see us again this summer, for sure! 

*This trip was in partnership with the Vermont Department of Tourism.  Thank you to the Inn at Mountain View Farm for welcoming us as their guests.  As always, all opinions are my own.  

One Second Everyday | 2017

If you’ve been following along here for a bit, you might remember that last January I professed my love for a new to me app that’s been a game changer for me when it comes to documenting the everyday. And now I’m back this year to tell you - I love it even more. 

I included a run down of the One Second Everyday app in last year’s post, so check it out here if you’re thinking about giving it a try (and please give it a try - you’ll love it!). But to make a long story short, I recorded one second of video, every day, through all of 2017. The good, the bad, the boring and the exciting. And it’s truly my favorite thing ever.  

I’m not the greatest at documenting the little things (well, except those 8,000 photos of our dogs on my iPhone). I can look back at a year and pick out the highlights - exciting life events, a fun vacation - but what about the average day? What did we binge on Netflix? What house projects were we working on? What was our go-to weeknight dinner? And that’s where this little app comes in.    

I’m admittedly a bit lazy when it comes to creating something tangible with my photos. I’ve got 10,000+ photos on my iPhone at any given time and not a printed photo or photo book to show for it (working on that this year!). BUT, perhaps because it’s so easy and so restrictive (just pick ONE second!), the One Second Everyday app is something that has just stuck for me. I honestly can’t picture a year without it now that I’ve started (and I can’t help but wish I had started doing this years ago - what were we even doing in 2013?!).

Can’t wait to see what 2018 brings! And friends, would love to know if you tried this out for 2017, or if you’ll be doing it for 2018 (start now!). 

48 Hours in The Catskills

Since we live just a few minutes from a sign that welcomes you to the Adirondack Park, that tends to be the direction we head when looking for hikes or mountain adventure.  That said, we’ve been itching to explore more of this beautiful state we call home, so we were excited to partner with Visit Catskills on a trip to the mountains south of us.  Long story short - we were smitten.   

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We both agreed it was one of the prettiest drives we’ve been on in the ol’ Wagoneer.  I can't count the number of times I must’ve shrieked, “did you see that waterfall?!” as we were winding along the back roads.  We can’t wait to come back in the summer and cruise with the windows down, and experience the hikes, swimming holes, and evenings by the fire.

There are hundreds (thousands?!) of different ways you could spend your weekend in the Catskills, so I won’t pretend to be an expert, but read on to find out how we spent one of our favorite weekends this year:

Friday

10am | Circle W General Store | Palenville  From our driveway in Glens Falls, it’s only about 1.5 hours to the sign that welcomes you to Catskill Park in Palenville, NY.  Just before we crossed into the Park, we stopped into Circle W General Store for a big dose of small town charm and a healthy serving of their sour cream coffee cake (which we immediately wished we’d gotten more of!). 

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10:30am |  Kaaterskill Clove | Palenville  Just up the road, we made a quick stop at the parking area on the left hand side just past Bastion Falls.  There's a beautiful view of Kaaterskill Clove below and it was the perfect place to enjoy our goodies from Circle W.  

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11:00am | Kaaterskill Falls | Palenville  This 260 foot waterfall is a must see if you're in the area, and can be viewed from the top or the bottom of the falls.  Since it was a bit chilly and we had a lot more on our agenda, we opted to take in the view from the top, which is a quick 5-10 minute walk to the viewing platform from the parking area at the end of Laurel House Road.  Directions and trail info here.   

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11:45am | Antiquing | Tannersville  Otherwise known as the Painted Village in the sky, Tannersville is home to some great antique shops - and you guessed it - they're all painted in lovely pastel hues.  Our favorites - Tannersville Antiques and Artisan's Center and The Antique Annex.   

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1:00pm | Phoenicia Diner | Phoenicia  Once we'd worked up an appetite, we cruised 25 minutes south for some milkshakes and the famed all day breakfast at this retro 60's diner.  Classic diner food with a view of the Catskill mountains = total win in my book.  We both agreed we'd be here every Saturday morning if we were local.   

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3:00pm | Golden hour drive | Lew Beach  I gasped when we rounded a bend and spotted the first of many stunning white houses with green trim lining the Beaverkill Valley floor in the Lew Beach area.  Big old farmhouses with wrap around porches, complete with rocking chairs and views of the river spot the landscape.  This area was a favorite and I should have known - the second I typed Lew Beach history into Google, the name Rockefeller surfaced.    

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3:30pm | Livingston Manor Covered Bridge | Livingston Manor We'll always brake for a covered bridge, and this was a beauty - built in 1860! 

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4:00pm | The Arnold House | Livingston Manor We checked in to The Arnold House, our rustic-chic inn for the weekend, just in time to take in the sunset from the back deck.  Once the light faded, we took our seats by the fire in the sunroom until the sound of music from the jukebox lured us downstairs to The Tavern.  We bellied up to the bar for dinner and enjoyed the very best butternut squash ravioli (local from Northern Farmhouse Pasta!), and pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.  Spoiler alert: we loved it so much we ate here the following night, too!  The Arnold House felt like staying at a friend's (11 room) cabin in the woods - it had a friendly, laid back vibe and we loved the vintage details.  And did I mention that each guest receives a hand written note upon check-in?!  Such a nice touch. 

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Saturday

8:00am | Breakfast  Included with our stay at The Arnold House was breakfast in their 1960's style dining hall, complete with local yogurt and house-made granola, pumpkin bread, and make your own waffles.  It felt a little like summer camp as we pored over The Arnold House's travel guides to plan our day amid the hum of other couples doing the same.   

10:00am | Brandenburg Bakery | Livingston Manor There's always room for a second breakfast on vacation, right?  We stopped in for a coffee and a pastry on our way out for the day, and left with a box full of cinnamon buns and danish.  Whoops!

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10:30am | Main Street Farm | Livingston Manor The perfect spot to stop before we got on the road for the day.  Filled to the brim with fresh food from local farms, and if we were in the market for a third breakfast, their sandwich and salad menu looked amazing.  Definitely a place I could sit and stay a while. 

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11:00am | Prohibition Distillery | Roscoe  We had the best time sampling the spirits and chatting with Robert at Prohibition.  It’s always so much fun to meet people with a genuine enthusiasm for a product, and we loved learning about their process from him.  A special bonus - their strong commitment to raising funds and awareness for veterans and their families.   

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Optional Stop | Northern Farmhouse Pasta | Roscoe We wish we'd stopped in to get some of their ravioli to take home after having it at The Arnold House the night before!  Lucky for us, they ship :)

1:00pm | Wayside Cider | Andes I've followed along with Wayside on Instagram for a while now, and was so excited to finally visit!  It did not disappoint and quite honestly, I didn't want to leave!  We enjoyed the best lunch (salad and mac and cheese!), and loved the ciders.  We left with two bottles to take home, and with a new favorite spot in the Catskills.  

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3:00pm | Catskill Brewery | Livingston Manor  After trying (and loving) their IPA at The Arnold House the night before, we had to swing by the taproom on our way back to The Arnold to see where it's all made!  

5:00pm | Drinks & Dinner  We had every intention of making it to The Kaatskeller for some wood fired pizza, but once back at The Arnold House, we couldn't bring ourselves to leave!  Drinks by the fire in the sunroom, followed by round two of dinner at The Tavern, and it was just as good as the night before.  

Alternate Dinner | We also heard great things about The DeBruce, The Heron, and Brushland Eating House

Sunday

7:30am | The Road Home  We missed Woodstock on the way down, so we opted for an alternate route home which took us along the winding Peekamoose Road - one of the prettiest stretches of road on the trip.    

9:00am | Bread Alone | Woodstock  A perfectly charming spot for coffee and breakfast sandwiches (and we also left with a few bags of pastries for our dog sitters...and ourselves :) Don't miss the lemon currant scone!).

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Alternate Breakfast | Gracie's Luncheonette | Leeds  We had a few recommendations to stop at this retro-modern diner...next time!

Optional Stop | Catskill Animal Sanctuary | Saugerties  We visited a few weeks ago and if you're an animal lover like me, this will be your happy place.  I had to visit after seeing this video of Reggie, one of the resident pigs, and falling in love.  Tom told me I didn't stop smiling the entire time.  And, well, neither did he :)  

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We can't wait to spend more time exploring the Catskills, and I would love to know your favorites for our next trip!  

In my bag this trip: Travel CasesRed Coat (similar) / Gray Coat / Plaid Scarf / Bean BootsHiking Boots / Mittens 

*This trip was in partnership with Visit Catskills.  Thank you to The Arnold House for welcoming us as their guests.  As always, all opinions are my own.  

48 Hours in Manchester, Vermont

As much as we love how quick and easy it is to day trip over to the Manchester area of Vermont, we have never really been able to get out and explore as much as we’d like.  We were so excited to spend a couple nights there last weekend (check out the video recap here) and would love to share a few favorites with you in this mini travel guide!  

Where to Stay

Hill Farm Inn //  I hesitate to even tell you this because Hill Farm Inn is one of those gems that I’d (selfishly) like to keep hidden. :)

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hill farm inn details

Just outside Manchester in the town of Sunderland, this beautiful property sits on a hill (hence the name) overlooking the valley and mountains beyond. The main house and inn date back to 1790(!!), and are beautifully updated to feel modern but still maintain that cozy farmhouse vibe.  

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An added bonus (and if you’re anything like me, the best part) is the big red barn on property, housing the resident pigs, goats, and sheep.  They were our first stop every morning before walking the trail down to the Battenkill River (which, by the way, is the perfect thing to do to burn some calories before the amazing breakfast back at the Inn).  The lovely Innkeeper Mariah also just so happens to be a fantastic chef, and whips up everything from homemade granola to pumpkin bread and french toast with Vermont maple syrup.    

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Hill Farm is the kind of place that makes you want to sit and stay awhile.  For someone like me that is constantly planning the next activity, this is the perfect place to just be.

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What to Do

There’s plenty to do nearby (though cozying up by the fire at Hill Farm the entire time is a perfectly good choice too!).  Here are a few of our favorites from this trip:

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Get Lost!  My favorite part of any road trip is venturing off the beaten path.  The best views are typically on the back roads, and we just turn down any road that looks promising.  Between Manchester, Dorset, Arlington, and Sunderland, you're bound to find plenty of old barns, covered bridges, historic homes, and country stores (check out the West Arlington Covered Bridge and the Dorset Union Store, pictured here!). 

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Visit Hildene  Tour the gorgeous estate of Robert Todd Lincoln (son of Abraham Lincoln!) - don't miss the gardens and of course, the farm!

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Shopping  The Manchester outlets are just minutes up the road and have all the favorites (J. Crew Factory, Loft, Brooks Brothers, etc), and don't miss Northshire Bookstore (grab coffee and a cinnamon roll at Spiral Press next door!).  

On our list for next trip:  A visit to Merck Forest and Farm, a cruise up Skyline Drive, hike and picnic at Equinox Pond, a jaunt to nearby Weston and the Vermont Country Store.

Where to Eat

Hill Farm Inn  Included in (and one of the best parts!) of the stay here.  You definitely won’t need lunch after this spread!

Copper Grouse  Part of the Taconic hotel in town, this came highly recommended.  Cocktails by the fire to start, and the coziest atmosphere inside (not to mention the food!).  Topped off with Brown Sugar Molasses Cheesecake, this is a must.   

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Dorset Inn  Our second night, this was a top pick from Innkeeper Mariah at Hill Farm and it did not disappoint.  The food was perfect and the small town atmosphere sitting at the bar in the tavern was even better.  

Mother Myrick's If you’re looking for a little dessert to take back to the Inn after dinner, this is our pick.  The Buttercrunch is a must and don't leave without a Lemon Lulu Cake (grab a six pack of minis to go!).

On our list for next trip:  Ye Olde Tavern (we've eaten here in the past and loved it), Silver Fork, Al Ducci's Market, Dorset Rising, Barrows House

As perfect as the trip to Hill Farm Inn was in the fall for the sunny days and chilly evenings by the fire, I can only imagine how cozy this place will be in the winter with a fresh blanket of snow on the ground.  If you're looking for me in January, you know where I’ll be ;)  And if you have any suggestions for the Manchester area, I’d love to hear!

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Until next time, Hill Farm Inn!

In my bag this trip:   Bag / Travel CasesPlaid Shirt / Bean Boots / Gingham Shirt / Black Watch Flannel / Plaid Shirtdress

*This trip was in partnership with Vermont Department of Tourism.  A huge thank you to Hill Farm Inn and Copper Grouse for welcoming us as their guests.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Fall at The Farmhouse

A couple weeks back, Tom and I made our (first ever!) day trip down to the Catskills and had a chance to visit and brunch with Shawn and Kris of The Farmhouse Project.  It was so much fun to tour their beautiful 1800 farmhouse that we’ve seen so many gorgeous photos of on Instagram. They’ve done such an amazing job restoring and decorating, and it was inspiring to see how they added fall touches throughout their home without it being too overwhelming.  Read on for five quick tips to incorporate fall into your home that I've picked up from my friends at The Farmhouse Project!

Keep it simple.  "Less is more and simple is beautiful."  We loved the monochromatic look of these little white pumpkins amongst the white ironstone.      

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These neutral pumpkins blend seamlessly into the decor of their cozy living / dining room.

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Never ever too many mums. And the more colors, the better.

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Bring the outside in.  Whether snipped from their own yard or from the cutting garden down the road, the Farmhouse was filled with fresh flowers and colorful branches.   

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Embrace the outdoors.  From the rocking chairs on the front porch, to the dining table on the patio, out to the fire pit surrounded by Adirondack chairs - each area was so inviting and festive - it made me want to cozy up with a good book, a cup of hot chocolate, and a throw blanket.   

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Serve up the season.  Shawn and Kris whipped up this delicious signature cocktail during our visit and it was perfect for the crisp fall afternoon.  Here's the recipe:

- 2 oz. good bourbon
- 3 oz. local apple cider
- 1/2 oz. rosemary simple syrup
- Shake to combine and garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary (makes 1 cocktail)       

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The boys also make a mean cheeseboard (those figs!) - check out their tips on putting together the perfect spread here.  

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Cheers, friends!  Happy Fall!   

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This post was created in partnership with our friends at The Farmhouse Project

Fewer, Better Things while Traveling

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Hello September! A little chill in the air, changing leaves, cozy fires, and of course, all the apple cider donuts I can eat. September and October are my favorite months of the year for sure, and also our favorite time of year to travel  in the northeast (fewer crowds, and did I mention the foliage?!).

With all the weekend road trips we’ve been on this year, we’re getting pretty skilled at packing (and this coming from a former serial over-packer). I’m partnering with Cuyana - a brand with one of my favorite mission statements ever - to share some of our tips on packing efficiently using their philosophy of fewer, better things.

Fewer things: Bring only what you need

You know the drill - you’re going away for 2 nights but you need to bring everything. I mean, how will you ever know today what you’ll want to wear tomorrow?! :) The old over-packing me would toss in a few extra tops and dresses just in case, a jacket and a sweater because what if it gets cold?! and a raincoat and Hunter boots because you never know, it might rain! And in classic over-packing fashion, I’d wear two things and come back with a bag wrinkled clothes that I’d rifled through all weekend.

A few tips I’ve learned that have helped me change my ways:  

Have a plan.  I love a good itinerary. I could write a whole post on that, but the short story is that I research our destination ahead of time, make a list of where I’d like to eat, drink, shop, and wander, and then I create a rough itinerary that hits those spots. Knowing what we’ll be up to helps me plan ahead for what to wear and what we’ll need.

Be realistic.  I tend to have pretty lofty goals regarding what we can accomplish within a 48 hour period. We’ll wake up early and jog! Squeeze in a quick 3 mile hike! Have a picnic at a viewpoint 45 minutes away! Fewer things can also mean doing fewer things - hey, even relaxing! - and that’s okay too (...talking to myself here!).

The point is, if squeezing in a workout is a long shot, save the space in your bag and leave the workout clothes and sneaks at home. They’ll still be there when you get back (and you’ll probably be logging extra steps exploring anyway!).  

Plan (and try on!) your outfits in advance.  Once I have our itinerary down, I’ll plan an outfit for each day based on what we’re doing. Something that transitions from day to night is ideal, and I always try to mix and match (two tops with one pair of jeans, etc.).

Check the weather.  Sunny weekend ahead? Take the Hunter boots and rain jacket out of the car.  You don’t need them, I promise.    

Invest in a great tote or weekender (or both!).  Leave your oversized luggage at home, and bring a bag thats the right size for the trip. I typically end up bringing a weekender bag (love this one!), and a tote or two, which helps me stay organized and also keeps the stuff to a minimum.

Better things:  Quality over Quantity

We’re huge fans of a road trip (even more so now that we have our ol’ Wagoneer!), but there’s a lot of in and out of the car with our bags so we want something that can hold up well over time, while still giving us the function that we need to pack efficiently.

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Quality and function first.  But bonus points for a beautiful, classic look! What’s the point of bringing less if you can’t pack it efficiently? I used to have a leather tote that looked great, but had no pockets, no zipper, and everything always wound up in a heap. This new hobo from Cuyana has a thick shoulder strap, plenty of pockets, and a zipper to keep everything from toppling over in the back seat.  A sure win in my book.

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Pouches and more pouches.  Definitely not a new or revolutionary idea, but it’s saved my life since I’ve started doing it. Organize all of your smaller items into pouches by category.  Technology, toiletries, make-up, etc. No more digging through the bottom of your bag for your glasses, your contacts, your phone charger, etc. A pouch is infinitely easier to find within a tote or bag than that tiny little something you’re looking for. This cute little pouch is perfect for coins or headphones and chargers, and I adore these travel cases for toiletries and makeup.  

Keep the important stuff organized and easily accessible.  Credit cards, gift cards, cash for tips, ID, phone… Historically, it’s been thrown in my cross body bag and I’m left rummaging through when I need something. It was time for a better option for the valuable stuff, and this navy zip around wallet fit the bill. 

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Bringing less stuff with us makes the trip just a bit less stressful, and being selective with the pieces that we do bring (only bringing what brings us joy a la Marie Kondo) makes the trip that much more fun.  

We’re off on our next road trip soon, so if you’ve got any other tips - send them my way!

Thanks to Cuyana for partnering on this post.  As always, all opinions are my own. 

24 Hours in Bennington, Vermont | A Mini Travel Guide

If you follow along on Instagram, you know the affinity Tom and I have for Vermont.  And if you know us in “real life”, you may be one of the many people who’ve asked when we’re moving there.  It’s hard not to love (but we won’t be leaving our beloved hometown of Glens Falls in upstate NY any time soon!).  Lucky for us, we can have our cake and eat it too with the Vermont border just a quick 45 minute drive from our back door.  

While we tend to frequent Woodstock and Manchester, we know there are plenty of hidden Vermont gems yet to be explored - Bennington being one!  It was our first time, and it definitely won’t be the last (we may be headed back sooner than later to pick up a couple of antique pieces we can’t stop thinking about!).  If you’re looking to explore a new Vermont town, read on for the scoop on Bennington (...and if you’d like to see, we made a short video of some of our favorites from the trip using my favorite app - scroll to the bottom or click here to watch!).

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W H E R E  T O  S T A Y

The Four Chimneys Inn:  This inn is quintessential Vermont with its lush expansive lawn, meandering brick path and stately white exterior (all tucked behind a charming old stone wall!).  The best of both worlds, you instantly feel miles away and yet you're walking distance to the Bennington Monument and Old First Church, and minutes away from antique shops and downtown restaurants.  

Bennington Vermont Four Chimneys Inn

Our room (Room 10) was perfect with the adorable blue and white wallpaper, an old door repurposed as a headboard, and a bright and airy sunroom overlooking the lawn.  Each of the eleven rooms is unique, and I'm already thinking about Room 1 with its big seven-bay window overlooking the foliage in the fall, and the wood burning fireplace in Room 2 for a winter stay.  

Bennington Four Chimneys Inn Room
Four Chimneys Inn Bennington hotel

Breakfast was delicious (and so many choices!), and the staff were so very kind.  We can't wait to go back!

W H A T  T O  D O

Stroll through Old Bennington:  Just around the corner from the Four Chimneys is the village of Old Bennington.  A stretch of beautiful historic homes line the street starting with the Old First Church and cemetery (where Robert Frost is buried) and leading up the hill to the Bennington Battle Monument.  At the monument, take the elevator up to the top for gorgeous views of the hills and valleys of Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts - already thinking about the view in the fall.

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Go Hunting for Covered Bridges: Is any trip to Vermont complete without laying eyes on one of these beauties?  Lucky for us, there are 5 within striking distance of Bennington (here is a good overview on all five).  We visited 3 on this trip, all within a few minutes of the Four Chimneys Inn.  Our favorite of the three was Henry Bridge - it's tucked a bit further away from the main roads than the others, and also has a park and picnic area overlooking the bridge (perfect for an impromptu cider donut picnic).

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covered bridges bennington

Visit Bennington Potters:  Take a tour, meet the potters, and shop the gorgeous stoneware and pottery in their beautifully curated home goods store.  I wanted one of everything, and the colors were so good.  

bennington potters

Get Mini Cider Donuts at The Apple Barn:  A must.  We picked up two dozen and they were gone in an embarrassing amount of time.  We missed berry picking by just a few days, but their blueberry fields are open for picking now!

Tour the Park-McCullough House:  We arrived a bit late to tour the House, but luckily the grounds are open until dusk, and we had the gorgeous gardens and wrap around porch to ourselves.  There is an adorable carriage house on property which hosts concerts and theatre and we would've loved to stay for that evening's show.  Next time for sure!  

park mccullough house bennington vermont

Antique Shopping:  There are no shortage of antique shops in Bennington, and we probably could have used another day to see everything.  Our favorite was Green Mountain Antiques (bonus points for the cute shop dog!), and there were rooms upon rooms (...upon rooms!) of treasures at Camelot Village

On our list for next time:  Bennington Museum, Covered Bridge Museum, Hemmings Motor News Vehicle Display

W H E R E  T O  E A T

Aside from the delicious breakfast at Four Chimneys Inn, of course... 

South Street Cafe:  Went in for a coffee, left with a coffee and a warm cinnamon roll (fresh out of the oven!) which we devoured within 1 minute of returning to the Jeep.  Delicious.

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Allegro:  With only one night in town, we wanted to make sure we went to the place in Bennington.  A little online research and a lot of recommendations from locals once we arrived pointed us toward Allegro and it did not disappoint.  We had delicious pasta and wine, and enjoyed a great atmosphere with most folks at nearby tables lingering over drinks for a long while after their meals.  

allegro bennington vermont restaurant

Powers Market:  Just like covered bridges, I can't leave a Vermont town without a visit to the local country store.  A quick search turned up Powers Market, and turns out it is the oldest country store in Vermont, having been built in 1840.  We ordered a grilled cheese, sat on the porch, and never wanted to leave.

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Vermont Confectionery & Dairy Bar:  Affectionately known as the sweetest place in Vermont, this is home to the very best maple creams I've ever had.  Do yourself a favor and get a pound before you head home, and if you plan on sharing, get another ;)  

On our list for next time:  Madison Brewing Company, Pangaea, The Grille at Mt. Anthony Country Club

So long for now, Bennington!  We'll be back for more of your charm (and your cider donuts and maple creams) very soon.

A short video with some of our favorite moments from the trip, if you'd like to see!

*This travel guide was in partnership with Vermont Tourism and The Four Chimneys Inn.  Thank you to The Four Chimneys Inn for welcoming us as their guests.  As always, all opinions are my own.  

Cottage Retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine

Another trip to Kennebunkport in the books, and a trip recap that looks completely different from the last.  That’s the beauty of a place like KPT, it simultaneously feels like home and yet keeps you on your toes with hidden gems and new-to-you places around every turn.  And the best part is, we’ve only just scratched the surface - I’ve already got a full list for next time!  Read on for our favorites from our 48 hours in Kennebunkport this month.  

the cottages at cabot cove

W H E R E  T O  S T A Y

The Cottages at Cabot Cove:  The second we pulled into this charming little cottage enclave, I was smitten.  Sixteen little cottages in beachy shades of blue, teal, and tan surround a lush green lawn with white Adirondack chairs, and just beyond - a view of the cove.  Fresh baked cookies awaited us in the office when we checked in, and in the mornings - a breakfast basket is delivered to your door with fresh pastries, fruit and yogurt.  Basically my dream come true. 

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cabot cove cottages lawn

Each cottage was decorated by a different interior designer (which of course means I need to go back to experience another!).  We stayed in Infatuation Cottage, which was nautical perfection with its bright whites, stripes, and touches of navy.  Infatuation will be tough to beat, but on my list for next trip is Float In Cottage or Harbor Cottage.    

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cabot cove cottage bedroom
cabot cove cottage living room infatuation

W H A T  T O  D O

Relax:  Not typically my strong suit, but Cabot Cove made it pretty easy.  With our choice of the private patio outside our cottage, the Adirondack chairs out on the lawn, or the lounge chairs overlooking the cove, this place just invites you to sit and stay awhile. (And the kitchen in the cottage is stocked with wine glasses, so…).  

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cottages at cabot cove tan cottage

Bike Ride:  Borrow one of the beach cruisers at Cabot Cove and pedal into town for a drink or ice cream (or both!).  It’s also my favorite mode of transportation for admiring the historic homes lining the side streets in Kennebunkport.  

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kennebunkport historic district home

Kayak:  Cabot Cove provides rowboats and kayaks for guests to use, so you can launch just steps from your cottage and explore the Kennebunk River.  The staff were great with letting us know what timeframe was safe to paddle (it’s a tidal cove fed by the sea, so you don’t want to get stuck out there at low tide!).  The cottages look even cuter from the cove.  

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kayak on cabot cove

…and kayak again:  It’s been on my wish list to get out to see Goat Island Lighthouse in Cape Porpoise for a few years now.  With a couple of hours to spare and a beautiful day, we finally made it happen this trip.  We rented a tandem kayak from Coastal Maine Kayak and Michael (who was the nicest ever, by the way) made everything super easy - loading the kayak on the Jeep, providing fitted paddles and PFDs, and pointing out the best route.  There’s a kayak launch on the left side of the road just before you get to The Ramp in Cape Porpoise, and we set out from there for a quick 20 minute paddle to the lighthouse.  The water was calm and there was no boat traffic, which made for a perfect trip.  The views of the ocean front homes from the water weren't half bad either.  

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Kennebunkport Festival:  We were lucky enough to be in town for Kennebunkport Festival, which is a week long art, food, and wine festival and so much fun.  There are cocktail parties, food and wine tastings, a music and craft beer festival, and big fun parties.  If you’re planning a trip next summer, the Festival runs June 4-9, 2018, so that would be a great time to go! 

W H E R E  T O  E A T

Cabot Cove:  There’s something pretty special about breakfast showing up just outside your door.  Our first day, we were treated to fresh baked muffins, yogurt, and mason jars filled to the brim with fruit.  We devoured those muffins before we had a chance to take a photo, but snapped a picture before we dove in to our goodies the next morning - a baguette, soft cheese and strawberries - perfect way to start the day.

cabot cove breakfast

The Ramp:  A fan favorite.  We love this place, and we come here every trip.  Vintage pennants, sports memorabilia, posters, and you name it cover the ceiling and the walls.  Not to mention awesome clam chowder and lobster rolls.  Get there early and snag a yellow Adirondack chair outside overlooking the harbor!  

the ramp cape porpoise

Earth at Hidden Pond:  Our first time here, and certainly not the last.  We grabbed a pre-dinner drink at the Farm Bar outside, and as luck would have it, a table popped up overlooking the fire pit.  We enjoyed the best wood oven pizza, and I stole a few bites of Tom’s wood fired lobster - so good.  We lingered after dark, and the staff brought out blankets to wrap up in while we finished our cocktails and listened to the chorus of the frogs and insects in the woods.  Also - Hidden Pond looks like such an amazing place to stay - basically summer camp for adults.  Adding it to my list for sure.  

hidden pond earth restaurant kennebunkport

The Tides Beach Club:  We had lunch here on our last day, and were it not our last day, we would have eaten lunch here every day until further notice.  Right across from Goose Rocks Beach, you can feel the ocean breeze come through the window behind your table.  They have an amazing cocktail list (try the Citrus Kiss!), and the food was awesome.  A bucket of fries, buffalo fried shrimp, a lobster roll...and a second cocktail, please!  Another one to add to my list of places to stay, this classic yellow beach house is a total charmer - and that ocean view!  

tides beach club kennebunkport hotel
the tides beach club kennebunkport hotel

Until next time, Kennebunkport!  We can't wait for our next trip.  

In my bag this trip:  Stripe Ruffle Tank // Huarache sandals // Greetings from Maine tee // Embroidered Chambray Tank // Ankle strap wedge sandals // Stripe Ruffle Top // 

*This trip was in partnership with the Kennebunkport Resort Collection.  Thank you to the KRC for welcoming us as their guests.  As always, all opinions are my own.  

Woodstock, Vermont Guide

It's no secret that I love the little town of Woodstock, Vermont.  So when the kind folks over at One Kings Lane asked if I'd be their virtual tour guide through my favorite Vermont town, I jumped at the chance.  What resulted was a guide perfectly put together by their team and filled with all the little places that make Woodstock my happy place.  Reading back through it made me want to jump in the car this weekend, so what are you waiting for?!  Head on over to One Kings Lane to read the full post and plan your trip!  

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P.S. - If you love the vintage farmhouse style as much as I do, the team also put together a collection of Vermont inspired finds that you can shop here!  

48 Hours in Lake Placid

Last week, Tom and I packed up our snowshoes and headed north to Lake Placid for a couple of days of adventure in partnership with Golden Arrow Resort.  Snow (and lots of it!) was in the forecast, and we were so excited to spend a couple of nights in the winter wonderland.  We’d been to Lake Placid before to grab a quick bite after hiking, but this was our first time staying in town, and it definitely won’t be our last.  We both agreed as we were packing up to head home that we could’ve used an extra day or two to fit everything in! If you’re headed to Lake Placid this winter, here are some of our favorites from this trip.

wagoneer

What to See and Do

Snowshoeing at Mt Van Hoevenberg  This was the perfect first stop before we checked into our hotel.  It had just started snowing lightly, and we had the trails to ourselves.  Peaceful, and so, so beautiful.  There are a few different snowshoe trails - we chose the yellow trail since it took us right by Josie’s Cabin, an adorable little woodland retreat.  We warmed up at the Cabin over hot chocolate and bowls of chili.  (Also pretty tempting - the s’mores kits - perfect for the fire they had burning outside!)

Toboggan Slide  We passed the Toboggan Slide on the way to our hotel, so we couldn’t not try it.  It’s a 30 ft high icy slide, which sends you out onto the frozen lake on your wooden toboggan.  So, so fun, but a definite reminder that this tailbone of mine is not as young as it used to be ;)  

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Ice Skating (or walking!) on Mirror Lake  One of my favorite parts of staying at the Golden Arrow was its location right on the lake, which meant you could skate right off the snowy beach!  Rent skates at Lake Placid Skate Rentals, or just take a walk around the path that is plowed on the lake.  It was so much fun checking out the lake houses and boat houses from that perspective.  Copper, the resident pup at the Golden Arrow, was so much fun to play with out on the ice: she loved it! 

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Strolls around town  There is no shortage of cute shops and scenic views in this town.  We loved ducking in and out of the shops to get out of the snow (and ducking into bars to grab a drink and take in the view, too!).

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Cloudsplitter Gondola  Fun fact: I live in upstate New York and have never skied.  I know, I know.  I had said this was my year to learn, but since that hasn’t happened yet, we went for the Cloudsplitter Gondola ride at Whiteface Mountain.  A 15 minute ride to the top, and the most gorgeous view.  If that doesn’t make me want to ski, what will?! 

High Falls Gorge  We spent our last morning exploring the waterfalls at High Falls Gorge, which is a gorgeous privately owned park with four waterfalls.  They provide you with Yaktrax for traction on your boots as you explore the waterfalls on the trails, bridges, and platforms.  It was so stunning with the snow and ice, and we can't wait to check it out in the summer as well.  And to top it off, they had a fire with marshmallows and toasting sticks waiting at the end of the trail!

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The view from our room at Golden Arrow  Last but not least, this view.  We’d been socked in with (beautiful!) snow on the first 2 days of our trip, but on our last morning I jumped out of bed to the most beautiful sunrise and clear skies over the frozen lake.  We got our first views of the mountains (you can see Whiteface from the balcony!), and sipped some hot chocolate while we watched the early morning ice skaters below.  

Where to Eat  We got so many great recommendations, but these were the few we had time for this trip!

Smoke Signals  This was recommended by a couple of you for dinner, and it did not disappoint. Yummy barbecue and a cool atmosphere.  Still thinking about those ADK BBQ tacos…and the mac and cheese. 

Breakfast Club  Perfect views of the lake and yummy breakfast skillets.  And pancakes for the table, of course.

Generations  A great spot for a casual meal after a busy day!  Had a delicious burger and loved their focus on sustainable dining.

Where to Stay

Golden Arrow Resort  We so enjoyed our stay here.  Everyone we met was SO friendly, including our pup pal Copper!  The location was perfect (that view!), and the resort itself is very family friendly with access to lots of activities.  I especially loved their green initiatives, including solar panels, and a green roof!    

We’re already thinking about a summer trip for some hiking and canoeing (and to try out all the restaurants we missed this trip!).  Would love to hear any recommendations you have!

Until next time, Lake Placid!  

Thank you to the Golden Arrow for providing our accommodations!  

5 Reasons to Visit Kennebunkport this Winter

Two weeks ago, Tom and I packed up our Bean boots and headed to Maine for a sunny winter weekend by the sea.  We are frequent visitors to Maine in the summer months, but we've never been there in winter, so when the lovely folks at the Kennebunkport Resort Collection asked if we'd like to be their guests for the kick off weekend of Paint the Town Red (going on through the end of February!), we couldn't say yes fast enough!

Tom and I both grew up vacationing in Maine every summer (separately, of course):  he in York Beach and myself in Wells Beach, about 15 minutes south of Kennebunkport.  So when we got together, it was an easy decision to continue our summer Maine tradition.  We'd been through the charming town of Kennebunkport for a little shopping before, but this was our first experience staying, and it was pretty much the best.  Also the best?  Maine in the winter.  Here's why:

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The Kennebunkport Inn:  Okay, so this recommendation spans all seasons, but there was something pretty special about this place and it’s cozy factor in the winter.  First, the decor of the Inn can’t be beat.  It’s the perfect mix of historic charm and modern styling, with a nautical flair.  From the adorable lobby, decked out in red, white and blue, to the sophisticated living room with a gas fireplace and classic board games laid out on the tables, this place is a dream.  The staff was perfection - accommodating, helpful and kind.  We can’t wait to go back when it’s a bit warmer - the porch is perfect for lingering with a cocktail and watching the sun set! 

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“Private” beaches:  If you know me, you know I have a major thing for sunrises (and sunsets for that matter).  When I’m on vacation, I’ve got to get up at least one day for sunrise.  This trip, we caught sunrise both mornings (bonus for winter: sunrise is after 7!), and we had the beaches to ourselves.  Sure it was cold, but there was something pretty special about taking in a private screening of mother nature’s prettiest show.  We went to Goose Rocks Beach and Parsons Beach, and both were beautiful.  Can’t wait to check them out this summer!    

No lines:  One of the bummers about summer vacation?  Everyone seems to head to dinner at the same time.  One of our favorite summer spots to get drinks and a lobster roll is The Ramp.  It’s got a fantastic vintage “dream man-cave” vibe, as it’s covered in old pennants and sports and political memorabilia (check out Meg's blog for a snap of the inside!).  And it’s always crowded, as every cool spot should be!  This time of year, we scooted right in, and lingered for a few hours over drinks, chowder, and a lobster roll.  Couldn’t recommend it more for a casual afternoon/night out.  If it's not too cold, get there early and enjoy your drink on one of the yellow Adirondack chairs overlooking the cove!  

Leafless trees = better views:  If you follow me on Instagram, you know by now that I’m a sucker for classic old homes.  A quick walk through Kennebunkport or a drive through historic Kennebunk reveals the prettiest homes you’ll find, and without those pesky leaves in the way, you can appreciate just how massive and beautifully constructed this old homes really are.  

David's KPT:  Alright, another year round recommendation.  We enjoyed the most delicious meal at Davids our first night in town.  Do yourself a favor and order the clam chowder, lobster ravioli, and if carrot cake is on the dessert menu, it's a must.  Wish I could show you a photo, but it was gone just as quickly as it was put in front of me.  We're looking forward to heading back this summer and enjoying the deck with waterfront views!

So, have I convinced you yet?  If you've been, I'd love to hear your Maine favorites for our next trip! 

In my bag this trip: Red Coat / Gray Coat / LL Bean boots / Tote bag / Tassel Loafers / Cable Sweater / Striped Sweater / Plaid Scarf / Camp Socks /

A big thank you to the Kennebunkport Inn and KRC for hosting us!

Documenting the Everyday

One of my goals for 2016 was to document the "everyday" a bit better.  I love taking photos, editing, and posting to Instagram, but I started to feel like I was missing the little things that made our life ours in the day to day.  The quiet moments at home on the couch with the dogs.  Making breakfast on Sunday morning.  Sitting on the back porch on a summer night.  Going out to dinner at our favorite restaurant.  Even the mundane:  mowing the lawn, loading the dishwasher, walking the dogs around the block, telling the dogs to stop barking

If you think back three, four, five years - you likely remember the big things (Bought our first home!  Went on a road trip!), but I can't necessarily remember what we did on an average day.  What show was our favorite?  Where did we get takeout?  Who did we get drinks with on Friday night?  Enter my new favorite app:  One Second Everyday.  (And for the record, this isn't sponsored!

I recorded one second, every single day, through all of 2016.  The fun seconds, the boring seconds, the happy and sad seconds.  It's not perfect, it's not fancy, but it's us.  And it might be my favorite thing ever. 

Here's a highlight of some of my favorite seconds of 2016, if you'd like to see.  

Lessons learned

When I started this project, it was my goal to just make it through.  When I finished this project, I was professing my love for it to anyone who would listen.  2016 was not a perfect year.  There were some sad days and we got some bad news.  BUT.  The biggest thing I've learned from this little project is that although there were some bad days, the good days outnumber the bad by far.  This video is the best proof.  

Tips and Tricks

Want to try?  You're going to love it.  Here are some general tips and tricks I've learned along the way.

Just get the second.  The hardest thing about this project is sticking with it.  You'll forget.  You'll think there's nothing worth capturing today.  Just get the second.  You'll be glad you did.  You can also set reminders within the app - just go to the menu at top right, and select Reminders.

You can cheat.  Alright, so I didn't exactly take a video every day.  I did forget a handful of times, and so I just took two videos the next day, and popped the extra second in to fill the previous day.  Here's how.

It doesn't have to be perfect.  Life isn't perfect.  You're going to have bad days.  I recorded our bad days, whether I was sick in bed, or sitting next to a box of tissues with some bad news.  I promise, when you see your year stitched together in seconds, it gives such perspective to see the good day after your bad day.

Also, it doesn't have to be perfect.  When I first started, I was so excited to get the creative shot.  That artistically directed second.  As time went on, I was thrilled just to have recorded a second that day.  Do your best not to overthink it, and you'll be more likely to stick with it.

Get in the shot!  I've seen some videos recorded solely from the first person perspective, but I preferred to get myself in the frame whenever I could.  I bought this iPhone tripod, which came in so handy when I wanted to hop into the video.

Hold your phone horizontally.  It ensures the video, when stitched together, looks uniform and feels more like a movie instead of an Instagram story.

Don't forget the sounds.  I didn't think much about it at the time, but after watching the video, I appreciate the sound within the clips so much more.  The dogs nails as they run on the hardwood floors.  The sound of the news on the tv in the background.  How loud Murphy groans when he wants you to keep petting him.  My family singing Happy Birthday.  All things a photo can't capture and sound bites that I'll absolutely treasure in five years.  (Side note: while I did add music over our highlight clip above in iMovie, our full year movie has no music since I love the little sounds so much).

The Technical Stuff

Edit larger clips.  When I say that I recorded one second, I mean to say that I edited my longer clips down to one second.  You can do this within the app, or right within the video in your Photo Album.  I preferred the latter, and then I just inserted my chosen one second into the app for that day.

So much storage.  Video takes up so much space on your phone.  The app saves your one second clips, so feel free to delete or store your videos elsewhere once you've saved your second in the app.

Save and save again.  After all this work, I wasn't taking any chances with losing this project.  You can "mash" your seconds together to form your movie at any time to watch and save.  I saved about every two weeks and exported to a USB drive as well as my computer.

Tools of the Trade

1 Second Everyday App

Tripod:  We use this all the time for video and photo

Camera Remote:  Start and stop recording your video remotely.  Also great to use for photos when you don't want to make a mad dash to beat the self timer!

USB-Apple Lightning Drive: Works great for getting photos/videos off your phone and transferring to your computer quickly and without cords

I'm absolutely doing this again for 2017!  I'd love to hear if you're going to give it a try (don't feel like you have to wait for a new year to start!), and if you've done this before, I'd love to hear how it went for you!

Wintry Weekend in Woodstock

Every year, before Christmas, I get the itch to get out of town for a night or two to see another town decked out for the holidays.  It's also a good time for Tom and I to get away from the (sometimes stressful!) holiday prep, and just spend some time relaxing.  We didn't have quite as much time this year, but we did sneak in a quick 24 hour trip to Vermont, and it did not disappoint. 

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This trip, for the first time, we decided to head off the beaten path a short way to check out Plymouth Notch, Vermont.  This charming little town is the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge, and it is perfectly preserved.  From the general store, to the church, to the cheese factory - everything looks like it did in the early 20th century.  We were bummed to see the Visitors Center was closed that day, but we still enjoyed a gorgeous walk and then went to warm up and sample some Vermont cheese at Plymouth Artisan Cheese (the Smoked was our favorite)!   

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Back on the road, we were more than ready for lunch, so we made our way to Simon Pearce in Quechee and as luck would have it, they were still serving brunch (yess!) AND we scored a table windowside overlooking the covered bridge and the waterfall. 

simon pearce restaurant

Pretty sure I've said this before, but if you go, get the Vermont cheddar soup.  It's the best.  We also got the quiche, which was amazing, followed by the maple crème brulee AND some eggnog ice cream.  It's vacation, right?    

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After making our way back to Woodstock, we walked around town a bit before checking into the Woodstock Inn for the night - our favorite hotel in town!  Cozy rooms, a giant fireplace in the lobby, and two great restaurants.  If you're looking for another great option, we've also stayed at On the River Inn (just a bit out of town, situated on the river - great rooms, décor, and food!). 

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The next morning we awoke to a few inches of fresh snow, and it was still coming down!  We jumped out of bed (well, I did anyway ;)), put on our boots and went for a wintry walk before breakfast at The Red Rooster.  Pretty sure I didn't wipe the smile off my face for our entire stroll around town.

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With our two big pups waiting for us at home, we had to get out of town shortly after breakfast.  We took one more cruise around town, and had to stop when we saw this bright red barn covered in snow.  

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When we have a bit more time, we love to stop in to Farmhouse Pottery (you'll want one of everything), go snowshoeing at the Nordic Adventure Center, or hike Mount Tom.  Top on my list for our next trip is a Sleigh Ride at Billings Farm!  Any other suggestions for our next trip?

covered bridge vermont

See you oh so soon, Vermont!

In my bag this trip: Black Puffer Jacket / Fair Isle Sweater / Bean Boots / Camp Socks

Leaf Peeping in Vermont

Over the weekend, we headed east into Vermont for a little lunch date and a lot of leaf peeping! 

The destination was Woodstock, but with the whole morning to burn, we took the long way and headed through Dorset, Manchester, and Grafton on the way.

We’ve been to Dorset plenty of times since it’s less than an hour from our front door, and it’s just the most adorable little town.  We didn’t stop on this trip (well, except for a few snaps) but when we’re in the area we love The Dorset Inn (grab a drink at the bar and sit by the fire!). 

Cruising from Manchester to Grafton, I slammed on the breaks when I saw this beauty, made even prettier by the foliage behind it!

This was my first time through Grafton, and it definitely won’t be the last.  It’s quaint and charming, and I’m thinking it would be the perfect place to visit when there’s a blanket of snow on the ground as well.  The Grafton Inn is the place to stay in town, and looks perfect.  

We grabbed lunch at Simon Pearce in Queechee (get the Vermont cheddar soup!), and spent the rest of the afternoon strolling through Woodstock admiring the foliage. 

Woodstock is perfect at any time of year, but fall just might be my favorite.  (Although I’m already planning a trip back before the holidays!). 

Until next time, pretty little town.