Postcard from Rensselaerville, NY

We’ve been more than ready for a cruise on a back country road with the windows down, so when the sun finally came out this past weekend, we couldn’t pile into the Jeep fast enough. This time, we headed south. And while we travel the Northway between Glens Falls and Albany frequently, it’s rare that we venture off the beaten path once we get to the Albany area. So, we were excited to partner with Discover Albany to explore some of the hilltowns west of the city of Albany, especially since it just so happens there’s one town in particular that we’ve got heartstrings attached to…

Rensselaerville NY Guide

Turns out, a love for small towns runs in the family. Tom’s great-grandfather, Dr. Thomas Ordway, was the Dean of Albany Medical College from 1915-1937. During that time, his friend and colleague Edmund Niles Huyck introduced him to the beauty that was Rensselaerville, New York. Dr. Ordway purchased a farmhouse on Pond Hill Road as a vacation home away from the hospital in Albany, which the family enjoyed for years to come. I’ve always loved hearing stories about Rensselaerville from Tom’s mother and his Grandma Jane, and it was clear from our first visit that it’s a truly special place.

So, history lesson aside, we’re excited to share some stops from our most recent day trip with you! Off we go!

EAT + DRINK

Kuhar Farm Cafe Rensselaerville NY

Breakfast, Lunch, + Sweets | Kuhar Family Farm Café: The sweetest people and the best food, this is the place to grab brunch in town on Saturday morning. It’s also the only place, but even if it wasn’t, we’d still be here ;) Tom ran in to grab us a couple of breakfast sandwiches (egg and cheese, loaded up with veggies on a perfectly toasted brioche bun) while I stayed back with the pups, and when I looked at the photos he snapped later, I couldn’t believe he hadn’t grabbed one of those pastries on the counter! Next time, for sure (ahem, right Tom?!). They’re open for dinner on Wednesday evenings and brunch on Saturdays, so if you go, be sure to plan your visit around their schedule if you’d like to grab a bite. And if you’re there for dinner, get the chickpea and spinach fritters - so good!

Post-Hike Drinks | Helderberg Brewery Taproom: Conveniently located right next to the Kuhar Café, this was the perfect spot to grab drinks after our hike (and bonus - they’re dog friendly!). We loved the vintage chairs out on the porch, where we sat sipping our drinks and enjoying the breeze up on the hill. The farm brewery is operated by the Carey Institute as part of their Sustainable Communities program with over 90% of their hops and grain coming from local farms. And, if you’re not into craft beer, they also have New York State wines and ciders (Nine Pin for me, please!).

Helderberg Brewery Taproom Rensselaerville NY

SEE + DO

Hike | The Huyck Preserve: The big draw for us on that sunny Saturday was the Huyck Preserve, a gorgeously maintained nature preserve with over 12 miles of trails, which meander through forests, fields, wetlands, and around beautiful Lake Myosotis. The gem of the Preserve is Rensselaerville Falls - a 120 foot waterfall - and that was the trail we picked for the day, along with a portion of the Lake Myosotis Trail.

Rensselaerville Falls Huyck Preserve

It’s been a while since we’ve taken the dogs on a hike, and the Lake Myosotis Trail was especially great for our (dare I say - senior?!) boys. With just the sounds of the birds and the waterfalls beyond, it was the perfect peaceful afternoon away from it all.

Next time, we’re looking forward to checking out the Ordway Trail, which runs behind Tom’s great-grandparents’ old farmhouse on Pond Hill Road and connects with the Race Track, which his great-grandfather built behind their house for the locals to enjoy horse races.

Picnic | Lake Myosotis: The picnic tables and rustic wooden benches lining the east side of Lake Myosotis were the ideal spot for us to finally dive into those sandwiches from Kuhar Café. The lake was quiet, aside from one couple gliding along the shoreline in their canoe. The lake allows non-motorized boats only, which we love, and we made a mental note to bring our canoe down with us when we return.

See | Carey Institute for Global Good: We were lucky to get a tour of this beautiful and historic country estate, which is now a multi-faceted creative institute housing the Logan Nonfiction Program for writers and filmmakers, the Sustainable Communities Program, the Center for Learning in Practice, an Art and Music Program, and a meeting and retreat center. They host a variety of events throughout the year (like this Historic Walking Tour and this Pub Crawl), as well as hosting featured artists monthly in their Guggenheim Gallery.

Browse | Rensselaerville Library: There’s just something special about a small town library, and this one was particularly charming (just look at that exterior!). We couldn’t resist popping in to browse, and were immediately drawn to the sitting room on the second floor and a sweet vintage yellow sofa overlooking the back lawn, which slopes down to the creek below. Perfect place to curl up with a book for the afternoon.

Rensselaerville Library NY

Tour | Rensselaerville Historical Society: Housed in the old red grist mill on Main Street, it was so neat to take a peek at how the Grist Mill would have run back in the day. That, and we loved the old signage displayed on the walls.

Rensselaerville Historical Society

Stroll | Historic Main Street: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hamlet of Rensselaerville is filled with historic homes and beautiful architecture. While you can easily drive through, getting out of the car gave us a completely different perspective, and we loved seeing the details of the old homes up close (especially the old door knockers, carriage houses and gardens!).

Rensselaerville NY

SHOP

Art | Way Out Gallery: Just across the street from The Historical Society, it was fun to pop in to see some work from local artists (like this exhibit - Photographs and Schrapnel!).

Antiques | Chipped, Tarnished & Torn, South Westerlo: We couldn’t let the day go by without finding ourselves an antique shop, and we were so happy to stumble upon this one on our way home. I was, of course, drawn to this wall of blue and white, and we were excited to find out that he has a barn sale across the street most every weekend during the summer! We’ll be back for that, without a doubt.

South Westerlo NY

Until next time, Rensselaerville! We’ll see you again sooner than later. And if you’ve visited any of the hilltowns, outside Albany, we’d love to hear your suggestions for next trip!

*This post is in partnership with our friends at Discover Albany. We were so thrilled for the opportunity to share a place that is near and dear to our hearts with you!

In the Mail: Father's Day

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been finding myself wanting to spend a little less time on my phone the past few months, and missing those old fashioned ways of letting someone know you’re thinking of them. What better way than sending an adorable card (and supporting a small business while you’re at it!). And so, this series was born in hopes you’ll join me in brightening up a mailbox or two instead of sending that text or DM.

First up - Father’s Day! Truth be told, I usually just end up writing my dad a yellow note for Father’s Day (this will make more sense if you read this post!), but I couldn’t resist rounding up some favorites for you to give or send this month, and hey, maybe pair with one of our address stamps to send it or as a gift! Here goes…

There you have it, folks! Happiest Father’s Day to all the dads, dads-to-be, hoping someday dads, and all the special guys in between. Cheers!

Spring in Dorset, Vermont

Since the sun actually came out this past weekend, we decided to take a ride over to Dorset - one of our very favorite Vermont towns (no surprise there if you’ve been following along for a while!). We have our favorite stops when we’re in town (we’re looking at you, JK Adams!), and we were also itching to see something new this trip. That’s when I remembered a recommendation I’d heard a few years back - Merck Forest and Farmland Center. And folks, I think we have our new favorite Dorset area day trip itinerary. Read on for some favorites, in partnership with JK Adams!

JK Adams Tailgate Picnic Dorset VT

The Kitchen Store at JK Adams | We can’t pass through Dorset without stopping at JK Adams. You might remember me singing their praises on our apple picking trip last fall, but we were excited to stop in this trip with a different shopping list - picnic supplies! As you might’ve read in my Earth Day Instagram post, we’re trying to cut back significantly on single use products, so paper plates and plastic cups were definitely out. Thankfully, JK Adams had the perfect products to fit the bill, and bonus - we’ll be using them for a long time to come (in fact, maybe we should just keep most of them in a picnic basket in the Wagoneer for next trip!).

JK Adams The Kitchen Store Dorset VT

And, not only did they have the wares for our picnic, we couldn’t resist grabbing a bag-full of foodstuff here as well - from Shelburne Farms cheeses to artisan crackers and the most delicious dipping sauces and jams - they pretty much have it all!

Dorset Union Store | We couldn’t not stop at another of our favorites, Dorset Union Store, for the last few picnic essentials. Namely, their Ginger Molasses cookies. Four to be exact - and we may or may not have been down to three when we arrived at Merck Forest. We also picked up a couple of their sandwiches - the best - and hurried out of the store before we could be tempted by any more baked goods. Next time, we’re getting that cinnamon roll. And the berry pie. And the blueberry muffins. You get the idea.

Merck Forest and Farmland Center Vermont

Merck Forest and Farmland Center | The view as we drove up the hill on the approach to the Visitor’s Center was worth the trip alone, and we couldn’t believe what was waiting for us inside. A quick walk down Old Town Road revealed the gorgeous farm, and of course more of that amazing view. We immediately grabbed a picnic table overlooking Harwood Barn and the sheep and chickens below, and had a little snack before we set out on our walk. The Mini Maple Bar Board and Opinel No.8 Pocket Knife from JK Adams were the perfect size to carry in my tote, and made slicing up our apples an easy task. Pretty sure we’ll be taking this little cutting board on all of our hikes from now on, too, since Tom always makes me nervous trying to cut up our apples while he’s holding them in his hand - yikes!

JK Adams Serving Board

As per usual, I couldn’t tear myself away from the animals (sweet little lambs!) so we didn’t get very far. We mainly strolled Old Town Road and down to Page Pond (and quick note: many trails are closed until Memorial Day due to mud season, so check the map here). We were thrilled to find out that they also have rustic cabins you can reserve as well as camping, and we can’t wait to come back again to explore the rest of the property. Also, we hear Meet the Lambs Day is coming up on May 18, and we may just need to go back for that!

Tailgate | After a couple hours on the farm, our snacks beckoned us back to the Wagoneer. We found a little spot to pull over, pop down the tailgate, set up our old rickety chairs, and partake in a picnic with a view. We are not fancy food people by any means, so we typically just grab whatever looks good, and pile it onto our serving boards. Here’s what was on the menu (and the perfect pieces from JK Adams to serve it on or in!):

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- Veggies and hummus, brought from home stored in Kilner jars

- Crackers, cheese, fruit and dip, served on the Large Artisan Board (which, by the way, you can personalize - and they have so many great options!)

JK Adams Serving Boards

- Egg Salad Sandwiches from Dorset Union Store, served on the prettiest enamelware plates from JK Adams

- Ginger Molasses Cookies, served on the Round Artisan Board from JK Adams

- Bee’s Wrap for the leftovers, a great eco-friendly swap for plastic wrap!

- Water, which stayed cold in this Wagoneer inspired Corkcicle Canteen.

Corkcicle Canteen
Bees Wrap

- Gingham Tablecloth, which doubled as a blanket on this windy day!

- And a little light reading - we had to pick up this adorable book The Picnic at JK Adams - so much inspiration for our next picnic!

Vermont Picnic

I have to say, using the JK Adams serving boards and plates definitely made our picnic feel a little more put together, and even made our simple picnic fare feel just a bit fancy. The setting and this beautiful view didn’t hurt either, and we’re happy to be doing our small part for this pretty planet with our reusable picnic wares in place of single use products.

Until next time, Vermont!

JK Adams Serving Boards

Shop the post and other JK Adams favorites here!

This post was in partnership with our friends at JK Adams, a brand whose products we regularly use and love. All opinions expressed are my own.

At Home: Blue + White Planters

For those of you who asked (aka - my sister!), I wanted to share a little round-up of my favorite blue and white planters and where to snag them. So maybe this is just a really great excuse to do a little online window shopping, however, if it helps you find some inspiration - all the better! Most of mine are vintage, which tends to be my preference - probably the thrill of the (endless) hunt through Etsy listings and antique shops that makes it that much more satisfying to find a good one. That, and I love the idea of giving an item a second chance instead of seeing it get tossed out.

So, without further ado, some favorites are below! You may have to beat me to some of the vintage ones though ;)

Chinoiserie Planter
Blue and White Planters

(And since we’re on the topic of blue and white, this gingham button down is a favorite this spring!)

Blue and White Pots Chinoiserie

Happy shopping!

Exploring Washington County, NY - Antiques Edition

Fort Ann Antiques | Antique Shops in Washington County

We’ve spent many an afternoon cruising along the backroads of Washington County in the Wagoneer. With rolling hills, old barns, covered bridges, and beautiful views, it’s easy to see why we keep coming back. There’s something about small towns that we love, and Washington County just has an extra special combination of charming Main Streets, hardworking farms and the nicest people (we know that even better based on the number of people who stop to help when we’re broken down out there in the Wagoneer!).

We’re so excited to partner with our friends at Washington County Tourism to share more about this beautiful area that’s both close to our home and close to our hearts. And what better way to kick it off than with one of our favorite activities - antiquing! Read on for six antique shops to visit in Washington County (we’re just scratching the surface here - there are so many more!), AND once you’re done reading, you can watch all of our antiquing adventures unfold in our first video at the end of the post!

Fort Ann Antiques | Whitehall, NY

Washington County Antiques - Fort Ann Antiques

We’ve driven by here hundreds of times on our way into Vermont and out to Maine, and each time we promise that we’ll stop on our way home (which, of course, never happens since we’re always so eager to see the pups!). Anyway, we were so excited to finally make Fort Ann Antiques the destination for once, and after our experience it looks like we’ll be doing that much more often (in fact, we’ve gone twice in the last month!).

With a little bit of everything, it’s easy to spend hours here (which, by the way, we did). One of the best parts of antiquing, in my opinion, is the anticipation of what gems might be hiding around the next corner - and here that just went on and on! Some favorites: a great selection of old wooden soda crates, a vintage pie basket that I may need to go back for, a stoneware water cooler that I also may need to scoop up, vintage paint by numbers and oil paintings, and… I could go on. We left with an armful of treasures and can’t wait to go back in a month or two to see what’s new.

While you’re in town: grab coffee and a blueberry scone at Historic Grounds, a - you guessed it - historic 1906 brick building converted into a charming coffee house.

The Village Booksmith | Hudson Falls, NY

A gem hidden right before our eyes on Route 4 in Hudson Falls, we were so happy to stumble upon The Village Booksmith. We love looking to old books for inspiration, and there are shelves upon shelves to flip through here. Ranging from recent “vintage” like Goosebumps (anyone else grow up reading them?!) to antiques, this was another place we could’ve spent all afternoon...which was a fairly common theme this trip!

I’m always on the hunt for a great read, but I’m also always on the hunt for great books to add as decor around the house. Titles like “Adventures to Come” will always have a place on our bookshelves. We left with “Vacationland USA” in hand (a 1970’s guide to road trips and adventures), and a plan to return soon when we have a couple more hours to spare.

While you’re in town: check out the newly opened Hudson River Brewhouse for coffee or beers, and if you’re hungry for dinner, hop over to Forged!

Greenwich Hardware Antiques | Greenwich, NY

Greenwich Hardware Antiques Washington County NY

A favorite of ours, we’ve visited many times before - how could we not with that charming stained glass sign calling us in off of Main Street? Once a hardware store, we love popping in to peruse their two floors of antiques, along with the barn out back.

They have a great mix of more formal antiques along with country pieces, vintage signage, and furniture. A stand out about this shop are the tags hanging from the items - thoughtfully handwritten, you’ll find the history of the item, what it might have been used for, and where it came from. One of the best parts of antiquing is the history and stories, and we love being able to find out more - whether it was picked from an old barn, or came from a farmhouse outside of town - the stories behind the items make them all the more special.

While you’re in town: stop in for a brewski at Argyle Brewing Co., or head to Greenwich Village Cafe or Lynn’s Country Cafe for some lunch.  

Cambridge Antiques Center | Cambridge, NY

With a little bit of everything spanning 2 floors, Cambridge Antiques is another place you could easily spend an afternoon. Some of my favorites are always waiting on the landing at the top of the stairs - vintage signage, rustic wooden trunks, and a bit of blue-and-white chinoiserie. This is another place with a great mix of formal and country / rustic, and a fantastic selection of lighting (perfect for anyone restoring an old home!). Oh! And the vintage rugs - I was bending down to look at one around every turn.

We loved talking with the owner about where some of his pieces had come from and subsequently, the homes or buildings to which they’ve gone. After spending a few hours in antique shops like this one, it’s easy to see that we’d be just as happy (and hey, so would the environment!) if we filled our house with previously loved things instead of buying all new.

Hubbard Block Antiques | Cambridge, NY

Just down the street in Cambridge, Hubbard Block is a smaller shop with a lot of heart. It’s always so great chatting with the owners of shops in these small towns, and this one was no exception. We loved being pointed in the direction of some of her favorites, and we’re always smitten with a good Christmas room (Hubbard Block has a great one!).

Tom’s clear winner here were the old magazines and license plates (which I basically had to drag him away from), and there’s a decent chance I’ll be heading back to scoop up a pretty Delft Blue planter that I had my eye on!

While you’re in town: grab a cookie or three at Round House Bakery Cafe (highly recommend the ginger spice cookie..okay, and the maple cookie!), and check out what’s playing at historic Hubbard Hall.

Eagle Bridge Antique Center | Eagle Bridge, NY

Quite possibly the largest shop we visited this trip, this was definitely a place with a surprise around every corner. When I say there was a little bit of everything, I mean it! Vintage board games, pull-down classroom maps, Hess trucks (Tom’s favorite), lots of blue and white jars and vases (I needed a cart), vintage picnic baskets, old frames, you name it.

Everything seemed to bring up a memory from our childhood - whether it was a toy we played with or finding something that one of our grandparents had at their house when we were growing up. That’s the great thing about shopping for antiques - so much nostalgia. We left with as much as we could carry, and they’ll be seeing more of us in the future for sure!

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We’re excited to have worked with Cornell Digital and 8 of Eight Strategies to bring our antiquing adventure to life through video! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (just kidding), and you’ll roll your eyes along with me at everything Tom wants to buy ;) But most importantly, we’re hoping you’ll be inspired to plan a little day trip to beautiful Washington County, a place that’s near and dear to our hearts.

Until next time, Washington County!


*This post was in partnership with our friends at Washington County NY Tourism, a place we’ve visited and loved for as long as we can remember. You’ll see the Wagoneer winding along the backroads here frequently, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share some of our favorite places in the county with you. Thank you for supporting the businesses and organizations that support The Yellow Note.

24 Hours in the Southern Adirondacks

In partnership with our friends at Warren County Tourism and VisitLakeGeorge.com

With winter winding down (…maybe?), we’ve been itching to get away to soak in the last of this snowy season. One of the best parts of living in Glens Falls is the proximity to places that feel a world away, but in reality are a quick drive from home. Case in point: the southern Adirondacks of Warren County.

Gore Mountain Travel Guide

Within 40 minutes, we found ourselves winding through the mountains, between lakes and along the Hudson River. We were excited to be reminded how much the western portion of the county has to offer, especially in the winter. While Gore Mountain is a major draw, relaxation (okay, and eating) was the name of our game, and we’re looking forward to sharing some of our favorites from the North Creek / Chestertown / Warrensburg area with you!

Fern Lodge ADK

STAY

The Fern Lodge | On Friends Lake in Chestertown | Fern Lodge is one of those places that instantly feels like home (Shadow, the sweet yellow lab as the lead member of the welcoming committee sure helped!). We entered to a roaring fire in the stone fireplace of the great room, a snowy lake view out the back windows, and the cheerful welcome of the owners, Sharon and Greg (and their adorable labs, Shadow and Noche!).

The lodge has just five rooms (each with their own fireplace), which makes it the perfect place for a quiet getaway, or the perfect place to enjoy some wine and conversation with other couples! We opted for a bit of both and ended up having the very best time.

Fern Lodge Friends Lake NY

It felt a bit like we’d rented our very own Adirondack camp for the weekend (and like we’d won the vintage rug lottery - couldn’t get over the amazing collection throughout!). Each room is completely different, and though I hate to play favorites, check out the amazing bed in the Pine room!

We both left feeling like we’d gotten away for a week, despite just staying one night. We can’t wait to go back to experience the property in the summer, with a glass of wine in the Adirondack chairs overlooking Friends Lake below. Oh, and how could I forget - a ride in their boat!

Southern Adirondack Travel Guide

EAT + DRINK

Breakfast | The Fern Lodge | It doesn’t get much better than a delicious breakfast just steps from a cozy fire, with two pups underfoot (the comforts of home!). The smells of coffee and the crackle of the fire lured us downstairs, and we were spoiled with fresh fruit and yogurt, French toast with local maple syrup, and an amazing egg strata. All while sweet Shadow weaved his way around the table, trying to figure out who was the likeliest of the bunch to drop a bit of bacon :)

Coffee + Pastry | Cafe Sarah | North Creek | The first sign that caught our eye on our drive into North Creek, Cafe Sarah was just as cute inside as it is outside. The perfect spot to pop into for a coffee, and once at the counter, we couldn’t pass up a maple glazed cinnamon roll. SO good. Everyone deserves a second breakfast on vacation, right?

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Lunch | Main Street Ice Cream Parlor | Chestertown | A must! Our first time here was this past fall, and their breakfast was so good that I contemplated hanging around until lunch ;) Needless to say, we were excited to come back for sandwiches (and just to spend some more time in this amazing space - it’s straight out of the pages of Country Living Magazine!). We both ordered the grilled cheese, which was perfect with their addition of red onions and tomatoes. We didn’t have room left for dessert, but that gives us an excuse to come back again soon!

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Sweets | Izzy’s Market & Deli | North Creek | We love a good old fashioned country store, and Izzy’s gave us all of those warm and fuzzy vibes as soon as we walked in. From the old tin ceilings to the beadboard walls and creaky wood floor, it’s everything you’d want in a small town store. It looked like the perfect spot for a coffee or a sandwich, but we made a bee-line for the chocolate chip cookies on the counter (which, by the way, were amazing. And huge!).

Izzy's Market North Creek NY

More Sweets | Barkeater Chocolates | North Creek | Since we can never get enough sweets, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to swing into one of our favorites - Barkeater Chocolates. Tom loves their Sea Salt chocolate bars, and after trying a few free samples of the Black Bear bar - we had to pick up a couple (made with black raspberry and black pepper - so unexpected and so good!).

Barkeater Chocolates North Creek NY

Dinner + Drinks | barVino | North Creek | The place to go for dinner in North Creek, we had heard so many great things about barVino and couldn’t wait to try it. A beautiful space, with a fireplace and tables on one side and a lively bar on the other. We lucked out with a spot at the bar and enjoyed the perfect dinner of small plates and wine. Our favorites: the deviled eggs (amongst the best we’ve ever had!) and the deep fried Brussels sprouts (…and the frites..and the hummus..oh! And the bread!). Can’t wait to go back again soon (and we’ll snap some photos next time - it’s easy to forget about photos with five plates of delicious food in front of us)!

DO

Snowshoe | Since I don’t ski (I know, I know), snowshoeing has always been my winter sport of choice. We were so happy to learn that we could just slip on our snowshoes (Fern Lodge has some you can borrow if you don’t have your own), and snowshoe off the beach onto the frozen lake below the Lodge. We lucked out with a gorgeous sunset, and as beautiful as it was in the snow, we couldn’t help chatting about how pretty it must be here in the warmer months as well. And what could be better than catching a glimpse of the smoke coming out of the chimney at the Lodge as we made our way back, and knowing a fire and a glass of wine were waiting for us?!

Snowshoe Friends Lake NY Adirondacks

On our list for next time: ski lessons at Gore Mountain, just about 25 minutes away from Fern Lodge!

SHOP

Deadwood Mountain Trading Company | Warrensburg | Is there anything better than a Bernese Mountain Dog as a shop greeter? Sweet Leica (named after the camera!) the pup met us at the door at Deadwood Mountain Trading, and she was as beautiful as the goodies in the shop! Stocked with gorgeous pieces from local artists, this is definitely worth the stop if you’re in or around Warrensburg!

Deadwood Mountain Trading Company Warrensburg NY

Riverside Gallery | Warrensburg | We spotted this beautiful old building as we headed north to Friends Lake and had to turn around so that we could pop in. They offer traditional framing services (which is great, because we have a pile of maps and prints to be framed!), as well as a room dedicated to items from local artists (loved the hooked wool pillows!). We’ll be back - pile of prints in tow ;)

Riverside Gallery Warrensburg NY

The Foothills | North Creek | One peek in the windows and we knew this shop would be a gem. A perfectly curated mix of new and vintage, and one of those places where each time we walked towards the door to leave, something else caught our eye. Loved those red galvanized trays (and the stools underneath!).

The Foothills North Creek NY

Hudson River Trading Company | North Creek | Housed in a restored 1898 building (with the original horse stable in the basement!), Hudson River Trading is chock full of quintessential Adirondack home goods and clothing. Stocked with favorites like Hudson Bay, Woolrich, and Pendleton, they also had plenty of vintage pieces (like those snowshoes!), and basically everything you’d need for the Adirondack camp of your dreams.

Hudson River Trading Company North Creek NY

Panther Mountain Traders | Chestertown | If you thought the log cabin exterior was beautiful, wait until you see the beautifully curated collection inside Panther Mountain Traders. We love the vintage inspired pennants, and wanted to take home pretty much everything you see on that table below (those wooden bowls, in particular!). Just down the road from Main Street Ice Cream Parlor, this is the perfect place to shop off some calories from lunch!

Panther Mountain Traders Chestertown NY

Can’t wait to re-trace our steps again this spring and summer to see the area in a new light. Have any North Creek / Chestertown / Warrensburg favorites? We’d love to hear!

*This post is in partnership with our friends at Warren County Tourism and VisitLakeGeorge.com, a destination close to our hearts and just outside our door. Thank you to The Fern Lodge for welcoming us as their guests. We’re always thrilled to discover these nearby gems. After immediately recommending this trip to family and friends, we’re thrilled to pass along the tips to you! Thanks for supporting the businesses that support The Yellow Note.

Of Note | January

Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Well, that’s a wrap on January, and I can’t help but be excited that we only have 42 days until spring. It’s not that I’m not a winter person, but I’m so much more a rest of the year person.  

January was all about both Tom and I catching colds, getting over colds, and just being cold in general ;) You know it’s bad when the dogs don’t even want to go for a walk, and we’ve happily obliged. That said, we’re all starting to get a bit of cabin fever, so we’re spending our time by the fire dreaming up some winter adventures to get us out of the house lots more in February.

Here were some of our favorites in January:

Favorite Road Trip | We finally got the Wagoneer back on the road this month (back on the road without spewing a black cloud of smoke behind us, that is), and took our first day trip out of town over to Manchester and Dorset. A few covered bridges, quick stroll by the pond, a general store, and a giant chocolate chip cookie for the ride home. Always a day well spent. Here are some of our top picks from the Manchester area, if you’re headed that way!

Favorite Moment | Starting off the year with a new business partner! Tom joined the business full time late last year, and I could not be more excited. He’s been helping behind the scenes for so long and I’m so happy to have extra hands on deck to be able to take on some new projects (let us know if we can help you!), and we’re also working on a little something special for our own hometown (sneak a peek at what we’re up to with that here).

Favorite Thing | This plaid bag! Not only is it the cutest weekender for winter (or anytime, really), but it’s made of a water resistant nylon canvas - which just so happens to make it also DOG HAIR RESISTANT! A serious life saver when you have two big yellow boys that shed like mad men. They’re sold out in the red/black I have but I love this one just as much. Or this one. Anyway, bringing this on all of our road trips this season for sure. And speaking of dog hair, now taking suggestions for a new favorite vacuum ;)

Favorite Book | One of my goals in January was to read ONE book. Just one! No such luck (insert face palm emoji here), but this book is sitting at the ready on my nightstand and I can’t wait to dive in.

Favorite Seconds | I’m keeping my word from this post and sharing some of our seconds from our One Second Everyday project with you here. It didn’t take long to get back in the habit and I’m so happy to have these little moments documented again, no matter how ordinary.

Happy February!

The Story Behind The Yellow Note

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“So…The Yellow Note. You mean like a post-it?” The conversation inevitably goes there when I introduce myself and business. I figure most people must envision those yellow sticky notes, haphazardly stuck above an office desk, and piling up in the trash can once the task written on it has been completed.

But, the yellow notes I’m referring to are worth keeping. In fact, I’ve got a shoebox full of them that I’ve been collecting since before I could read.

I started my business back in 2013, after a few degrees and a career in social work left me longing for a creative outlet. Deciding to start my own thing was easy, but what held me back was deciding on a name. Back then, I was starting an Etsy shop and selling stationery and custom address stamps. I wanted something catchy and cute, but turns out, so did everyone else. The domains of most of the names I thought of were taken, and when something wasn’t, I just couldn’t commit to it. There was no connection there.

And I wasn’t just looking for connection to a business name. I wanted the shop (and now, creative studio) to actually provide connection for others, be it through a handwritten note that they addressed using one of our address stamps, or now, through our photography and Instagram, a connection to a place they used to know or longed to visit made through a photo we’ve taken. A connection to one another, to the simpler things, the little things, the everyday moments. In a world where we can connect all day via iPhones and Instagram, I longed for sweet and simple connections made the old fashioned way.

Like coming downstairs in the morning as a kid, after my dad had left for work, and finding a note on the table, just for me.

“Can’t believe it’s your last day of kindergarten - feels like only yesterday that I watched you get on the bus for the first time.”

“You’ve worked so hard studying for this test. You’ll do great!”.

“Good luck in your game today - I’ll be there right when I get out of work!”.

“I’m so proud of you.”

And there it was. The notes my dad has been writing for me since I was little. Most of them written on yellow note paper. Connections made, the old fashioned way. Moments captured via yellow note. A shoebox full of nostalgia. Simpler times. Happy moments. Words of encouragement and love.

Just like the yellow note delivery has changed over the years (my dad hand writes the notes and texts me a picture of them, and delivers a hard copy later :), The Yellow Note as a business has evolved as well, from stationery to photography and creative consulting. But, the meaning and purpose of a yellow note will always remain - connection - and one of my favorite parts is connecting with all of you. So, thank you. It means so much to have you along for the ride.

And thanks for all the notes, Dad. Love you!

--

P.S. - After a bit of a hiatus, we re-opened The Yellow Note online shop. So excited to get back into creating address stamps for you to send your own “yellow notes”, and even more excited to launch some new products to help you send more letters very soon. Pop in here, if you’re so inclined :)  


One Second Everyday(ish) | 2018

Typically around this time I share my One Second Everyday video with you and sing its praises as the greatest way to document the everyday since I don’t know, disposable cameras. And while I started out strong this year, for one reason or another, it started slipping my mind and the project faded pretty quickly once I got out of the habit.

Probably the main thing that contributed was that I made a concerted effort to spend less time on my phone in 2018. I got an Apple watch for Christmas last year which meant I was able to have my phone with me less and my real camera with me more, but that also meant I was less able to capture moments with video.

While we’re pretty bummed that we don’t have a full video for this year (seriously, I just watched our 2016 and 2017 videos as I’m writing this and now I’m even more sad we don’t have a full one for 2018!), I did snag enough seconds to piece together a mini video, just about 60 seconds long. Everyday(ish) or not, it’s so much fun to see our years chronicled this way, and as I’ve said in past posts, it makes you realize that bad days are few and far between and it’s the little moments that truly bring us joy throughout the year instead of the big trips and grand scenery.

SO! I’m back on board for 2019 and I’m holding myself accountable by sharing the highlights here on the blog at the end of every month. Seriously, hold me to it! And let me know if you decide to give it a try (or if you’ve done it before). If you can get (and stay) in the habit, you won’t regret it. It’s addicting and gives me all the warm and fuzzies re-watching our videos from years past. And hey, even if you only remember every fifth day, you’ll still have a pretty darn good memento from the year.

I included most of my tips and tricks for the project in my 2016 post here, but my most important tip going into this year is this: just get the second! If you have your phone with you and you remember to take the second - do it then! Yes, there might be a more exciting or pretty second you could record later, but just in case you forget, take one right then. You can always delete it later if you grab another one, but at least you’ll have it.

Happy 2019! Hope your year is filled with the people and experiences that make you happiest (and some video to remember them by).  

Tools of the Trade

iPhone Tripod: So helpful when you want to jump in the shot instead of always being behind the camera (which I highly recommend, by the way!). We also like this one for using when there’s not a flat surface to put the other one on.

Camera Remote: Great for starting and stopping the video recording remotely

One Second Everyday App

Leaf Peeping in Lake George, New York

In partnership with our friends at Cape Cod Potato Chips

Foliage season is one of my favorites. Okay, it’s definitely my favorite. The food, the colors, the cozy fires. If you blink, you might miss it, and that’s why we like to stretch our enjoyment of the season as much as humanly possible. Come September 1st, I’m glued to the foliage forecast websites. We start the season peeping the foliage in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks, followed by Vermont from north to south, and around mid to late October, we’re finally able to enjoy the peak colors a bit closer to home in the Lake George region of New York.

Last weekend, we packed our favorite road trip snack - Cape Cod Potato Chips - and made a day trip up the western shore of the lake. Read on for a few of our stops along the way!

Lake George Picnic

SEE + DO

Hike | The Pinnacle | A popular local hike, this is a quick one with an amazing view. We lucked out with the lookout to ourselves, and as we sat there, the first snowflakes of the season began to fall - pretty magical! Since it’s just not possible for us to hike without a snack, we couldn’t help but open up our Cape Cod Potato Chips to enjoy just a few before we stopped for lunch later on.

Lake George The Pinnacle Hiking

Drive | Prospect Mountain | If hiking isn’t your cup of tea, you can still get a great view of the lake by driving up Prospect Mountain. It’s a 5.5 mile drive up the mountain with a few places to pull over and enjoy the view along the way. And fun fact: this was actually one of the first things Tom and I did together when we started dating :)

See | Sabbath Day Point Overlook | As you make your way up Route 9N (Lake Shore Drive), you’ll pass Northwest Bay (one of our favorite spots for a quick paddle!), and after winding your way through a colorful forest, you’ll find yourself back on the shore at an expansive lookout of the northern portion of the lake. We’ve stopped here dozens of times, and the view never gets old.

What to Do Lake George, NY

Stroll | Silver Bay YMCA | It’s been on my list for ages to pull off and explore the Silver Bay YMCA (founded in 1902 and on the National Registry of Historic Places!). We finally made the stop and I’m so glad we did. With stunning views of the lake and historic buildings dotting the property, this is definitely a place I could spend a full day exploring. We are already excited to come back in the summer months to take advantage of the canoes and kayaks. This trip, we were pretty happy just pulling up a couple of Adirondack chairs and enjoying the view and a few leftover Cape Cod Potato Chips before we got back on the road.

Cape Cod Chips Lake George

EAT + DRINK

Breakfast | Bolton Beans | We love the nostalgia and charm of this 1946 Service Diner. Though we opted for a light breakfast sandwich to fuel our morning hike this time, the pancakes and omelets are in our regular rotation here. This is a popular spot amongst locals and tourists alike, so if you go during busy season, get there early to snag a spot!

Bolton Breakfast Where to Eat

Lunch | Hague Market | While Vermont tends to get all the love for its country stores, we have a hidden gem tucked right into our own backyard. The Hague Market is the Adirondack’s oldest running general store, and the perfect spot to grab a couple of sandwiches, sodas, and peanut butter cookies for lunch. We brought along our trusty Cape Cod Potato Chips, and while Tom had already eaten half the bag, we somehow managed to have enough left to enjoy with lunch (which by the way, we ate in the Hague Town Park across the street while enjoying the prettiest view!).

Lake George Travel Guide

SHOP

Antiques | We’ll brake for antique shops and barn sales, always. A couple of our regular stops in Bolton Landing are Black Bass and Lakeview Antiques, and while we didn’t have time this trip, we’re itching to get up to Longergan’s Antiques in Ticonderoga.

Antiques Bolton Landing NY

Would love to hear your Lake George area favorites! And I’m sure Tom would love to hear your favorite road trip snacks ;) Until next time, Lake George!

This post was in partnership with Cape Cod Potato Chips, a brand we’ve brought along on many a road trip over the years. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that support The Yellow Note!

Roadtrip to Brewery Ommegang

After a summer spent close to home (and an unexpected hiatus for our Wagoneer as it awaits a new engine), we were itching for a mini road trip this month. We made a quick trip to Cooperstown last fall, but the one thing on our list that we didn’t have time for was a stop at Brewery Ommegang. So, with the forecast calling for sunny skies and 80 degrees, we decided there was no better location for a quick adventure.

Brewery Ommegang - Cooperstown Barn

You know your destination is going to be good when you wind up using barns as landmarks along the way. We oohed and ahhed at the farms, fields, and views along our drive, and upon pulling up to the farmstead Brewery, with its welcoming white archway framing the rolling hills behind it, we immediately decided that a trip back during foliage season is a must. If you’re looking for a mini road trip destination this fall, read on for our favorites from our trip to Brewery Ommegang.

Ommegang Brewery Cooperstown Travel

EAT + DRINK

brewery ommegang cooperstown ny

Café Ommegang | First things first - after a couple of hours on the road, we were ready for a bite to eat, and of course, a beer! Brewery Ommegang just recently renovated its Visitors’ Center + Café and we were excited to enjoy it from a table under their new outdoor pavilion, with views of the hills and hops behind us. We picked our favorites after a flight (Witte for me + the Nirvana IPA for Tom), and ordered some snacks, which we quickly devoured before our tour.
Don’t miss: the frites! Served with truffle mayo, garlic aioli, and my fav - the sun-dried tomato pesto - they were gone in an embarrassing amount of time.

Brewery Ommegang Flight of Beer
brewery ommegang cafe

SEE + STROLL

The Grounds | The brewery grounds are a destination in and of itself. With no shortage of space to roam, we grabbed our beers, sipped, and strolled. A quick walk up the back hill had us exploring the rows of hops, and two pretty perches await for you to rest and take in the view of the brewery below. Highly recommend for sunset!

Brewery Ommegang Cooperstown New York
Cooperstown NY Brewery
Cooperstown NY Brewery

Tour + Tasting | It wouldn’t be a visit here without a behind the scenes look at the brewing process and an even more extensive sampling of their beer. We found new favorites (Fruition for me, Hopstate for Tom), and of course, made our way into the shop afterward to grab some to take home. Get there early on weekends, because tours + tastings filled up fast!

Cooperstown NY Travel Guide - Brewery Ommegang

Don’t miss: the events! Firepit Fridays with live music, drink specials and you guessed it - a bonfire; Brunch Bingo on Sundays, complete with a beermosa (yes, please!); and Bed and Brew - an exclusive craft beer experience in collaboration with The Inn at Cooperstown, including a beer and food pairing dinner (sign me up!). I already have my eyes peeled for their concert schedule next summer - Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats played there this past summer and I can only imagine what a fun show that must’ve been!

And lastly, please oh please, drink responsibly, and arrange for a designated driver or a ride back into town if you’re planning to indulge. Brewery Ommegang recommends A & D Taxi or Uber.

Brewery Ommegang Cooperstown NY Travel Guide

*This post was in partnership with our friends at Brewery Ommegang, a destination we’ve had on our list to visit for years. We were thrilled to finally make the trip and it exceeded our expectations. We’ve since recommended it to our friends and family, and happily now, to you! Thanks for supporting the businesses that support The Yellow Note.

A Dorset Day Trip + A Homemade Pie with JK Adams

Maybe it’s the pretty white houses lining the streets, with American flags waving in the Vermont breeze... Or maybe it’s the mountains and valleys just beyond with the trees showing just a hint of red and gold leaves in the early autumn sun. Either way, it was clear from our first visit to Dorset, Vermont years ago that this was a special place we’d be coming back to again and again (lucky for us, it’s less than an hour away!). I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about Dorset a time or two (or ten), so I’m excited to share a couple of our fall favorites there in partnership with our friends at JK Adams.

Apple Picking at Mad Tom Orchard | Once you pick apples here, you may never pick anywhere else. The views from the orchard are incredible and the details are so charming (think hand painted signs on the trees, little red wagons, and an apple chart - written and illustrated by hand!). The owners, Tom and Sylvia Smith, are the very sweetest and we loved looking at the old photos of the orchard on the wall and hearing a bit of its history from Tom (his dad purchased the orchard in 1962, and they’ve since purchased it, pruned the old trees, and planted 1200 new ones!).

Mad Tom Orchard Dorset Vermont

We picked a basket of McIntosh, which are a favorite for baking (and appreciated that they let folks bring their own reusable baskets and bags to save on plastic!). Afterward, we lingered on an orchard bench with a cup of local cider and agreed that this is the best orchard we’ve ever been to.

Apple Picking Dorset Vermont

Before we left, we grabbed a half dozen donuts to snack on later (fresh from Mrs. Murphy’s in Manchester!), and I decided that I when I grow up, I want to live in a little red house with white apple shutters next to an orchard. It just doesn’t get much better.

Apple Picking Dorset Vermont

The Kitchen Store at JK Adams | A favorite stop when we’re in town, this visit was all about collecting the essentials to whip up a pie with our freshly picked apples.

JK Adams The Kitchen Store Dorset VT

Not only does JK Adams design and craft all of our favorite cutting and serving boards at their factory in Dorset, they also curate and stock the very best products for cooking, baking, and home right onsite at their Kitchen Store. I was in the market for a new pie dish and rolling pin, but couldn’t help but leave with a few more essentials for baking and entertaining on the porch this fall.

JK Adams The Kitchen Store

We’re huge fans of JK Adams for many reasons, but most of all for their commitment to hand-crafted, American made products, and their passion for creating heirloom pieces that can be used by families for years to come. One of my very favorite quotes from their website is, “disposable is not in our vocabulary”. As we’ve reduced our single use products, we’re finding ourselves prioritizing the purchase of fewer, high quality pieces that will last. Bonus points for their great design! If you’d like, you can see more about their mission and brand here (if you’re a fan of small, family-owned, American businesses like we are, their video will give you all the warm and fuzzies).

JK Adams The Kitchen Store Dorset

Dorset Farmers Market | We love to stop into the local farmers market when we’re traveling, and the Dorset Market was such a treat. From flowers to fresh produce and bread to local artisan goods, we could have easily spent all afternoon enjoying the atmosphere and live music here. Held at the HN Williams General Store during the warmer months, the market is just getting ready to move indoors to the woodworking shop at JK Adams for the fall and winter season beginning October 14.

Dorset Farmers Market

At Home: Bake an Apple Pie | As hard as it was to tear ourselves away from Dorset, we were excited to get home to put our apples and kitchen gear to use. And of course, the pups were on hand to welcome us home and take stock of what we brought them :)

JK Adams baking supplies

First things first, a pie is nothing without a good crust. I’m no expert, but I’ve tried a few recipes, and my favorite is this recipe from The Pioneer Woman. It’s quick, easy, and it comes out perfect every time. I love using the French Dowel Rolling Pin from JK Adams to roll the dough since it helps me to feel more in control of the process than when I’m using a pin with handles. That said, I may have to pick up the Lovely Rolling Pin to try next time, which has edges on the ends of the pin to ensure your dough gets rolled to an even thickness (which usually never happens for me!). The Maple Artisan Board was perfect for rolling out the dough and for keeping my mess off the countertop (because cleaning up after making a pie is always the worst part!).

JK Adams Rolling Pin and Artisan Board

Peeling apples is typically my least favorite step in any type of apple baking. However! We got this apple peeling machine a few years ago, and it is a game changer my friends. It peels, cores, and slices the apples in seconds. I’ve also somehow convinced Tom that this is his job, so it literally takes me no time at all ;) The dogs get excited whenever this little machine comes out of the cabinet, since they always get the leftover apple slices when we inevitably end up peeling too many. These boards from JK Adams are perfect for any further slicing (and for serving afterwards!).

Apple Pie Apple Peeler

For the filling, I mix the sliced apples with 1 cup + 2 tbsp of sugar, 3 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Bake (in this pretty pie dish!) at 425 for the first 15 minutes, then at 375 for the remaining 45-50 minutes.

JK Adams baking

We served the pie with leftover apples and cider donuts from Mad Tom Orchard, and some cheese and crackers that we picked up at JK Adams (they have tons of picnic supplies, by the way!). The perfect end to a perfect day.

JK Adams Apple Pie

Shop the post and other JK Adams favorites:

This post was in partnership with our friends at JK Adams, a brand whose products we regularly use and love. All opinions expressed are my own.

At Home: The Before Tour

Home sweet home. It feels like we spent much of the spring and early summer on the go, but with our pup's ACL surgery and recovery, it’s been kind of nice to spend a bit more time at home! I’ve shared bits and pieces of our old house on Instagram, and I figure it’s high time I take you all on a little tour of the place. But what’s a home tour without a good “before” tour and a little backstory? :)  

Entry + Living Room (Before)

Entry + Living Room (Before)

We bought our center hall colonial almost five years ago, after it had been on the market for at least three years. It was built in 1900 and came complete with wall to wall carpet, some dark paneling, and royal blue countertops. Behind all that, there was a ton of character (and a ton of opportunity to add more) that we couldn’t pass up. We loved the layout of the first floor (we tend to like separate spaces instead of open concept, but we love having a circular “flow") - plus, we knew the back porch could be something special (despite the fact that we realized it was leaking when it rained the day after we got the keys!). 

Living Room (Before)

Living Room (Before)

Truth be told, we’ve had a bit of a love / hate relationship with this place over the last few years. If you’ve ever lived through a complete renovation (like floor boards open to the basement, no kitchen for months kind of renovation), you totally know what I mean. Quite literally, we’ve put our blood, sweat, and tears into this house (and definitely watched The Money Pit on repeat to make ourselves feel better - classic Tom Hanks is good for that). But now, with most of the hard work and renovation behind us, we’re so happy it’s ours (though that will never stop me from keeping an eye on the real estate market, you know, just in case ;)    

Dining Room (Before) - Check out those black and red built-ins!

Dining Room (Before) - Check out those black and red built-ins!

A lot of the house still feels a bit “un-done” decor wise, but perhaps this little tour will hold me accountable for getting some spaces finished up, as well as getting some advice from you all on decisions I have yet to make (bay window treatments - help!).  

Master Bedroom (Before)

Master Bedroom (Before)

Stay tuned for the After Tour of one of the only rooms I’d consider “done” - the kitchen!

Kitchen (Before) - Those royal blue countertops!

Kitchen (Before) - Those royal blue countertops!

Summer in Hometown, USA - A Glens Falls, New York Travel Guide

If you've been following along for a bit, you'll know we have a serious love for our little hometown of Glens Falls, NY, which only grows deeper in the summertime. Neighbors gather on front porches, couples bike to the Saturday Farmers Market, and families enjoy Friday night movies under the stars in City Park. Our summer nights are spent walking downtown, enjoying drinks on the patios of our favorite restaurants, and listening to the sounds of live music floating through the air from different venues in the city. It's our own little slice of Stars Hollow, and it just keeps on getting better.   

Glens Falls New York Travel Guide

We gave you the run down of our favorite spots in our Winter Guide here, but since this pretty city comes alive in a new way in the summer, we’d love to share our tried and true summer favorites and a few great new spots that have popped up since last post.

Glens Falls NY

WHERE TO EAT

Coffee + Breakfast

Glens Falls NY Breakfast

Fresh ADK: A weekend favorite, we love grabbing breakfast on their sidewalk patio after the Farmers Market. Our usual: avocado toast and the egg white sandwich. Tons of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options make this a hit for us, and coming soon: a marketplace selling dry goods and fresh produce. 

Juicin Jar: Perfect for a grab-and-go juice or smoothie, or stick around on their sweet patio for a fresh summer salad. Our top picks: the Berry Bliss Smoothie and every last one of their cookies and muffins - delish!

Breakfast Glens Falls NY

Spot Coffee: The perfect place for a morning coffee made better by the windows that open wide onto Glen Street and the sweet little tables set up out front. We love walking down here first thing in the morning on weekends, sitting outside with the pups, and watching the city wake up. 

Kelly's Roots: Basically Tom's second home, he grabs coffee or a Nutty Kale smoothie here every day on his way to work. We love to relax on their covered patio on weekends with a smoothie or açaí bowl and just maybe some blueberry pancakes on the side ;)  

Spektor: A great coffee spot with a warm, cozy atmosphere. It's one of Tom's usual coffee stops on our way out of town on a road trip. In the nicer weather, they've got some outdoor seating while you're sipping your coffee (Tom) and devouring your cronut (me)! 

Lunch + Dinner

Downtown Social Glens Falls NY

Downtown Social: New this summer, DTS is an exciting addition to downtown that boasts an amazing restaurant space and bar, a stage area for live entertainment, and a speak-easy style Bourbon Room. I honestly can't say what I love more - the atmosphere or the food. Favorites so far: the Breads and Spreads platter, the Vegetable Risotto (so good I've had it twice!), and the Carbonara. Did I mention there's prosecco on draft? See you there ;) 

If that weren't enough, their multi-faceted approach also includes a deli, which just opened! We can't wait to enjoy the space in the mornings over coffee and an egg sandwich.  

Doc's Restaurant Glens Falls NY

Doc's Restaurant and Bar: Also new this summer, we're so excited that Doc's has opened their doors just below the Park Theater (more on that below), and just as excited to see their progress on an outdoor patio coming soon! The perfect spot to enjoy a meal at the bar (beware: the pub mix is so good I had to tell Tom to take it away!), we love their grilled cheese (with mushrooms, asparagus, and red pepper!) and are so happy that they have the Impossible Burger on the menu. We also really love the staff's willingness to put the Mets game on - thanks guys! :) 

Dinner Glens Falls NY

Morgan and Company: One of our favorite date night spots, Morgan and Co. is summer dining at it's finest. Between their beautiful hardwood porch and their stone patio surrounded by blooms, you just can't beat it. You can usually find us at the porch bar enjoying a prosecco (for me) and a Common Roots IPA (for Tom), with our pal Kris the bartender having put in our appetizer before we even sit down :) Our version of Cheers for sure, we just love everyone here. 

Raul's: Overlooking the circle downtown, Raul's has a prime sidewalk patio and the very best margaritas, chips and guac. Bonus points for their commitment to our environment by going straw-less and incorporating great vegetarian and vegan options into their menu!  

Restaurants Glens Falls NY

Davidson Brothers: In the words of my dad, "everyone always looks like they're having so much fun there!" :) . With a perfect outdoor seating area on Glen and Exchange Streets with bistro lights hanging above and live music playing, it's easy to see why. We love grabbing a table for two on the Glen Street side and watching the world go by. 

Park Patio at The Q: Overlooking our beautiful City Park, the Park Patio is a great spot to relax in the evening while enjoying their outdoor fire pits. Don't miss the Park Patio Summer Music Series on Wednesdays from 4-8pm for live music, drinks, and small plates! 

Downtown City Tavern: Our go-to for pizza and benders, DTCT is also a favorite spot for craft beer. With a screen rotating through their extensive selection, you're sure to find a brew that fits the bill. Bonus points for their sunny patio on Elm Street in the summer! 

Samantha's: Always delivering on atmosphere and freshly made comfort food, Samantha's is a weekday favorite. Tom swears by the "Melties" section of the menu (try the Caprese and the Hot Mess!), and I'm all for the Caprese Salad. 

Rock Hill Bakehouse: A popular lunch-time stop during the week, be sure to stick around on weekends for some live music to keep you entertained. A great local staple on Exchange Street with lots of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options.  

Drinks

Brewery Glens Falls NY

Mean Max: Join the dart league, test your brain power on trivia night. or just belly up to the bar for a drink. The tap room offers cider, wine, and cocktail options as well and this just in... they've started canning their most popular beers to take home!

Common Roots: A long time favorite of ours, Tom has been known to accidentally take the long way home to pick up a favorite four pack for the fridge. That said, we tend to linger much longer in the summer, enjoying a cold brew and relaxing on the red Adirondack Chairs out front. There's always something going on, from pop-up food trucks, to yoga classes, Wednesday geers and beers, Thursday music series and more.  

Sweets

Ice Cream Glens Falls NY

Coopers Cave: Situated directly on the Warren County Bikeway, Coopers Cave is a great spot to pedal for ice cream on a hot summer day. Grab a couple scoops of their homemade hard ice cream and relax on a picnic table under the shade trees before biking home. The perfect afternoon treat!

Rob and Deb's Frozen Dreams: My favorite place for soft ice cream in the city, their flavor calendar is always on my radar! Though it's tough to pass on my old stand-by (vanilla in a dish with rainbow sprinkles - I know, I'm basically five years old), their chocolate/peanut butter twist and raspberry chocolate twist are high on the list of family favorites. 

WHAT TO DO

Things to Do in Glens Falls New York

Summer Events: We are so lucky to be able to enjoy a full itinerary of events downtown during the summer, from Take a Bite on Wednesdays (featuring small plates of favorite meals from local restaurants), to Friday night Movies in City Park under the stars. On Monday nights, you can find concerts in the City Park Gazebo, and Thursdays bring the Food Truck Corral at The Shirt Factory. And on Saturday morning, you can bet you'll find us at the Farmers Market in the Pavilion downtown.  

Entertainment What to Do Glens Falls

Park Theater: We couldn't love The Park more. Our city has so much history and even more potential, and The Park is the perfect recent representation of this. Thanks to the foresight, determination and investment of local developer Elizabeth Miller and her team, The Park Theater has been completely restored and is once again bringing entertainment to Park Street. From concerts to theater and dance, The Park has a little something for everyone. An added bonus: being able to enjoy drinks and dinner at Doc's Restaurant before a show! Check out the schedule of upcoming events and grab tickets here

Adirondack Theatre Festival: ATF is such a special part of the city in the summer, and it's so exciting to see the award winning talent the festival draws to our little city. Year after year, the festival grows in popularity and continues to bring more dynamic features to the stage. The season is already in full swing and we can't wait to see the next show - The Jedi Handbook! Check out the rest of the season and buy tickets here

Warren County Bikeway: Stretching from downtown Glens Falls all the way to Lake George, the bikeway is the perfect place to pedal in the summer. We mainly use the path to bike to Coopers Cave for ice cream ;) , but this beautiful paved path is perfect for walking, biking, and running on any stretch of the nearly 10 miles. 

Things to do in Glens Falls NY

Crandall Park: Our favorite place to walk the dogs, we're in the park at least once a day (although the pups would rather we were there more!). We love watching the new families of ducks with their ducklings swim on the pond throughout the spring and summer, and spying the turtles sunning themselves on logs. Parents teach their kids to fish in the stocked pond, and you can usually find a hammock or two swinging between the pine trees on a sunny summer day.  

Hyde Collection: Including works by Rembrandt, Degas, Picasso, and Renoir to name a few, the Hyde is a perfect place to while away a summer afternoon. Be sure to take a few minutes to visit the Butterfly Garden behind the Hyde House. Inside tip: admission is free on the second Sunday of the month!

Chapman Museum: We are loving this summer's exhibit - The Secret Life of Signs! An ode to the craftsmanship of these visual landmarks, the exhibit celebrates ghost signs, neon signs, and vintage plastic signs from around the region. Bonus: they are offering walking tours of Glens Falls for an up-close look at the signs of the city and the history behind them.  

WHERE TO SHOP

Glens Falls Shopping

New since our last post, Rude Betty is full of cards and gifts from favorites including Beekman 1802 and Emily McDowell. Visit Fountain Square Outfitters for Patagonia and outdoor gear, Minky Mink for favorite brands like Free People and 7 For All Mankind, 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. For fun stationery and goods designed in Glens Falls, check out Ramble Goods online shop. 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

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We hope you have a chance to visit our little city this summer, and love it as much as we do! If you're local, we'd love to hear your summer favorites in the comments! 

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

 

Where's the Wagoneer?

Jeep Grand Wagoneer

“What about this one?”, I asked as I turned my iPhone in his direction. On the screen was a burgundy 1987 Grand Wagoneer, looking shiny and new under the Oklahoma sun.

Amused, Tom grabbed my phone and flipped through the photos. His eyes seemed to smile, and before I knew it we were on the phone with Larry, the current owner. 

Buying a vehicle sight unseen (and having it shipped across the country) seems a little crazy, but if you know us, that’s kind of our style. Our best decisions have always been made without over-analyzing. And when I say best, I don’t necessarily mean the most wise. I mean the most fun. 

Less than 24 hours later, our wagon was on her way.

We laid eyes on our old gal in person for the first time two weeks later, as she barreled down our upstate New York street entirely too fast on the back of a flatbed truck. Larry was nice enough to make sure it arrived with a full tank of gas, or so we thought. When we ran out of gas a few hours later with the gauge still pointed at Full, we knew this would be the first of many adventures and mis-adventures.

We got to know our Jeep even better over those next few months. Including the importance of checking to be sure those unreliable power windows will go up completely before entering the automatic car wash. And making sure to bring ponchos for next time.

More often than not, our rides in the Jeep don’t have a destination. With Tom Petty or John Mellencamp as our soundtrack, we wind along the back roads with coffee and country store donuts in hand, dropping crumbs and debating which way to turn next. 

We’ve watched the sun rise over the ocean in Maine from the front seat, and run out of gas on the country roads of Vermont in the heat of summer. We’ve hauled firewood, freshly picked apples, barn sale finds, Christmas trees, and our most precious cargo, our labs Murphy and Max. We’ve chased hot air balloons down dirt roads, locked the keys inside, and had the sweetest conversations with folks we’ve met at gas stations, reminiscing about their old Wagoneer. 

There’s just something about walking out of a restaurant or grocery store and seeing that old Wagoneer sitting there waiting for us. It brings a smile to my face. To us, this isn’t just a car. It’s a feeling. It’s our happy place. And we can’t wait to see where she brings us next. 

A Weekend in Vermont's Mad River Valley

Having never been to the Mad River Valley, we weren’t quite sure what to expect as we rolled along (or shall I say squeaked along - in the Wagoneer) toward the village of Warren. As soon as we turned onto Vermont's Route 100, we knew we were in for a treat. We fell in love with Warren almost immediately, as we passed by a covered bridge and a barn before pulling up to The Pitcher Inn, just across the street from the local general store. With all of my favorite things in one little place, I could tell this was going to be a perfect weekend. Read on to see our top picks from this trip, and if you have any recommendations for our next trip, we'd love to hear!

Mad River Valley Travel Guide

STAY

The Pitcher Inn

The Pitcher Inn | Nestled in the heart of the village next to a hillside brook, the Inn is what dreams are made of. Filled to the brim with character, each of the eleven rooms have a different theme - some playful, some historic, but all gorgeous in their own way. There are no shortage of cozy nooks to relax in - from the front and back porches, to the Adirondack chairs on back lawn, to the balcony we were lucky enough to have in our room. Even the dining room had a comfy leather couch to relax on while we finished our drinks.  

Coolidge Room Pitcher Inn

We stayed in the Coolidge Room, with the former President keeping watch from above the nightstand. Our balcony looked out over the village and was perfect for enjoying a glass of wine as the sun began to set. The light in this little valley was magical, and we couldn't help but linger in all of the outdoor spaces, enjoying the sound of the brook flowing by. We're already dreaming about a trip here in the fall - I can only imagine how beautiful the foliage will be (and how cozy the wood burning fireplaces would be in the cooler weather!).  

Coolidge Room Porch
Pitcher Inn Adirondack Chairs

EAT + DRINK

Breakfast | The Pitcher Inn | Included with the stay at the Inn, we loved waking up each morning to spend an hour lingering over our breakfast in the dining room (though we wished the weather were just a touch warmer, so that we could have enjoyed it outside on the porch!). The warm muffins to start were such a treat, and we loved all the healthy options (though we were seriously tempted by the French toast and pancakes each day - next time!). 

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Lunch | Warren Store | The place to go for sandwiches + chips come lunchtime. Head to the back of the store to place your order (and don't forget a cookie for dessert), and take it outside to eat overlooking the brook. You won't regret it. 
On our list for next time: The Mad Taco

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Sweets | The Sweet Spot | A coffee shop, a bakery, an ice cream shop, and a bar - all rolled into one. So basically, a dream! We stopped here in the early afternoon, and enjoyed cookies and drinks (local craft beer and rosé!) on their patio overlooking the covered bridge. It just doesn't get much better than that.
On our list for next time: Canteen Creemee

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Dinner | American Flatbread | One of the highlights of our trip, for sure - American Flatbread is a must. I'm going to go ahead and call it the best pizza I've ever had (we got the sundried tomato and mushroom). Plus (and this is a big plus), it's located on a farm complete with red barns, lush green fields, Adirondack chairs and bonfires to enjoy in the evening. It does get busy on weekends, so your best bet is to arrive early to put your name your name on the list and enjoy your drinks on the lawn while the sun sets behind the trees. 

American Flatbread

Dinner | 275 Main | Located at The Pitcher Inn, we loved being able to spend the entire evening on property - from enjoying a bottle of rosé on our balcony, to a delicious dinner in the dining room, and on to drinks on the back lawn. Our picks: the Cavatelli pasta (get a double portion!), and the Halibut. And don't leave without dessert! Perfection.
On our list for next time: Mint and Peasant

Pitcher-Inn-Dining

Cocktails | Tracks | The coziest tavern, located downstairs in The Pitcher Inn, Tracks was the perfect place to grab a pre or post-dinner drink. We claimed the Adirondack chairs on the back lawn to enjoy our drinks most of the time, but the comfy seating around the fireplace inside was perfect when the evening got a bit too chilly.
Our drinks of choice: the A&M Manhattan + a glass of rosé, of course.  

Pitcher Inn Warren Vermont

DO

Drive | With amazing mountain views in every direction, there are certainly no shortage of scenic drives around these parts. We picked up a map from The Warren Store that showed all of the scenic routes in the area, and enjoyed a sunny afternoon cruising along the dirt back roads. Big red barns, rolling hills, and a lot of conversation about how we could most definitely live here. 
Don't miss: the drive down Common Road. Stop by Mountain Valley Farm for fresh eggs and honey and enjoy the amazing mountain views beyond. 

Shop | We didn't leave too much time for shopping this trip, but we did make sure to pop into The Store, which was filled with the best collection of kitchenware (and a great selection of antiques upstairs!). Of course, we also made multiple trips to The Warren Store, just across the street from the Inn. An amazing craft beer selection, and an upstairs filled with gifts and Vermont made treasures. 
On our list for next time4orty Bridge, Waitsfield Farmer's MarketEast Warren Community Market

Hike | Without a lot of time for a longer hike, we were in the market for a trail with a little effort and a big view. Sunset Ledge fit the bill perfectly. We packed up some drinks and some Jack's Snax trail mix from The Warren Store and set off on a (mostly easy, aside from a few steep switchbacks to start) hike to the viewpoint. About 30 minutes later, we emerged from the trees to an amazing view (and all to ourselves!). Known for it's sunsets - and I can see why - it's gorgeous at any time of day.  
On our list for next time: Stetson Hollow or Bobbin Mill (you can get directions from the front desk!)

Sunset Rock Warren Vermont

On our list for next time: canoeing at Blueberry Lake, a visit to Von Trapp Farmstead

IN MY BAG

Would love to hear your Mad River Valley favorites! We loved it so much we're talking about making another trip back in the late summer or fall :)

Until next time, Vermont!

A huge thank you to The Pitcher Inn for welcoming us as their guests.  As always, all opinions are my own. 

 

24 Hours in Saratoga Springs, New York

While we’re lucky enough to live about 20 minutes from this pretty city, we don’t get down here nearly as much as we’d like. So, since Tom and I were celebrating the 10th anniversary of our first date (which just so happened to be in Saratoga!), we figured it was a perfect time to get away for a little staycation to check out our old favorite spots as well as see what’s new (hint: SO much!).   

First things first: 24 hours is nowhere near enough time to see and do all that Saratoga has to offer. Even just reaching out to a few people for recommendations gave me a list a mile long of restaurants to try, drinks to sip, and things to do. We could put together a 24 hour Saratoga guide every month and it would look completely different and be just as much fun as the one before (in fact, maybe that’s a good idea…!). That said, read on to find out where we stayed, strolled, and dined during our short but sweet 24 hours in Saratoga, and we’d love to hear your favorites for our next trip!

STAY

Saratoga Springs Travel Guide

Saratoga Arms | A beautifully restored Second Empire brick building AND a perfect location right on Broadway: win-win! We were smitten with the wrap around porch from the moment we arrived - perfect for our morning coffee, afternoon drinks, and of course, people watching! :) Inside, we loved the classic charm mixed with modern touches (especially the wallpaper + plaid duo in our room!). A place where you feel like family from the moment you walk through the door, we ended up having wonderful conversations with staff each time we came and went. 

Saratoga Arms Porch

Don’t miss: the chocolate chip cookies that magically appear in the Guest Pantry around 7pm. The best treat to come back to after dinner, and made with Saratoga Potato Chips! 

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STROLL

East Side Historic District | No secret, one of our favorite things to do when we’re exploring a new place is to grab a coffee and stroll the historic neighborhoods. Saratoga is home to some of the most beautiful houses in the area, which will be showcased in this Saturday’s Historic Homes Tour. As luck would have it, we were able to grab a sneak peek into one of the homes on the tour while we were there (150 Phila), and it did not disappoint. We always love seeing people pouring love into old homes now that we live in one ourselves! 
Don’t miss: the tour, of course! If you’re in town, grab your tickets for Saturday’s tour here

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Broadway and Congress Park | The main street of Saratoga, Broadway is filled with coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, and so much more. You could easily spend an entire morning (or an entire day!) perusing the shops, and when you need a break, wander through Congress Park (designed by the same architect that planned Central Park!) and claim a seat on one of the benches overlooking the pond.
Don't miss: a couple of our favorite shops - Northshire Bookstore (something about being able to walk through a good book store every once in a while!) and Caroline and Main for the cutest clothing from some favorite brands like Joules and Wooden Ships. 

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EAT + DRINK

Coffee | Saratoga Coffee Traders | Home of Death Wish Coffee and just a few doors down from Saratoga Arms, this was the perfect spot to grab coffee before a stroll downtown.
Another favorite: Kru Coffee

Breakfast | Saratoga Arms | We both ordered (and happily finished!) the breakfast sampler, and I'm still thinking about those corn cakes. The most delicious spread!
On our list for next time: Sweet Mimi's

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Lunch | Farmer's Hardware | A favorite since it opened last year, Farmer's Hardware is our go-to spot for lunch when we're in Saratoga. We were psyched to see that they added the Impossible Burger (a plant based burger) this year, and like everything else on their menu, it did not disappoint! 
Don't leave without: trying the sweet potato tots! Perfect with spicy honey. 

Farmers Hardware Saratoga

Dinner | Henry Street Taproom | After a pretty big lunch, this was the perfect casual spot for a few appetizers and drinks. We're excited to head back with a bigger appetite, since the Maple Brown Sugar Bread Pudding (with salted maple caramel!) sounds right up my alley. 
On our list for next time: Hamlet & Ghost, Osteria Danny, 15 Church

Henry Street Taproom

Looking for more to do in the area? Check out our Glens Falls Travel Guide here!

In my bag this trip: 

A Woodstock Weekend with Dooney and Bourke

It should come as no surprise that one of our favorite spring getaways (okay, really any season) is heading to Woodstock, Vermont. A quick 90 minute trip brought us to the doorstep of the Woodstock Inn, and we couldn’t have been happier to see the smallest hints of spring when we arrived. Although we were a liiittle early for the tulips (they should pop up within the next week or two, if you’re going!), we still lucked out with an entire afternoon of sunshine and 65 degree temps. So basically heaven after the winter we’ve had.

For this trip, I was excited to put my Dooney and Bourke duffle to use for the first time. I’m typically a weekender bag kind of girl, but I always end up needing to use another tote or two to fit the bulkier stuff, like shoes, hair dryer, etc. The medium duffle was the perfect size for everything - no extra bags needed (and for those of you that pack a bit more efficiently, they do have a smaller version here!). We’ll definitely be putting this beauty to good use on all of the long weekend travels we have planned this summer!

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We’ve gotten comfortable in our well-loved routine in Woodstock, since it’s one of those places that feels like home to us. Here are some highlights from this trip (much the same as others..see posts here and here!), and as always, I’d love to hear any of your favorites that we should fit in next time. 

STAY

Woodstock Inn | One of our all time favorite places to rest our heads in New England, it also houses two of our favorite restaurants in town - The Red Rooster and Richardson's Tavern. Can't wait to head back this summer to claim a white Adirondack chair on the front lawn and sip Rosé for the afternoon. 
Don't leave without: spending a morning at The Spa. We missed it this trip, and I'm still kicking myself. 

EAT + DRINK

The Mill at Simon Pearce | A staple on our trips to this area, this time we opted for a couple of seats at the bar and enjoyed our drinks and Vermont Cheddar Soup with a view of the gorgeous glassware displayed in the shop (...speaking of the shop, we have this glass pup which is one of our favorites!)
Don't leave without: heading downstairs to the workshop to watch the glassblowing up close (and stepping outside to grab a photo of the waterfall flowing under the covered bridge!). 

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SEE + STROLL

Covered Bridges | Our favorite to stroll over by far is Middle Bridge, just across the Village Green from the Woodstock Inn. This trip, we finally stopped to snap a few photos at the Taftsville Covered Bridge - one of the oldest covered bridges in Vermont! 

Woodstock Covered Bridge
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Village Green | And of course, it wouldn't be a trip to Woodstock without a stroll around the Village Green and the neighborhoods beyond, dreaming about which one we'd pick if we ever moved here. 

Woodstock Village Green

SHOP

Woodstock Farmer's Market | Typically our last stop on the way out of town, this time we grabbed some fresh flowers (they have the best selection!), and a big bag of maple kettle corn for the ride home. 
Don't leave without: a second bag of maple kettle corn. You're going to need it ;)

South Woodstock Country Store

South Woodstock Country Store | We've never been down to South Woodstock, so we made a point to take a ride there this trip. We stumbled upon the cutest country store nestled amongst old Federalist homes in a historic little village. 
Don't leave without: spending a half hour on the front porch, enjoying a homemade cookie or two. 

South Woodstock Country Store Porch

My prettiest companion this trip was this bag in Saddle from Dooney and Bourke. The perfect size to fit my camera along with my wallet and phone, while still leaving room for anything we bought around town. I’ve long admired Dooney and Bourke for their classic American style, so this was the perfect compliment to carry around one of our favorite New England towns. Shop this style and some of my other favorites below:

Until next time, Woodstock!

Many thanks to Dooney and Bourke for sponsoring this post. I’ve loved Dooney since getting my first bag in high school, and have long admired their classic American style, New England roots, and commitment to quality (hence why there are so many vintage Dooney and Bourke bags in great shape!). All opinions expressed are my own.  

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!