48 Hours in Manchester, Vermont

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

Where to Stay

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

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

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

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

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What to Do

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Eat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Until next time, Hill Farm Inn!

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

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

Fall at The Farmhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cheers, friends!  Happy Fall!   

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

Fewer, Better Things while Traveling

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

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

Fewer things: Bring only what you need

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Better things:  Quality over Quantity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24 Hours in Bennington, Vermont

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

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

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W H E R E  T O  S T A Y

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

Bennington Vermont Four Chimneys Inn

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

Bennington Four Chimneys Inn Room
Four Chimneys Inn Bennington hotel

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

W H A T  T O  D O

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

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

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covered bridges bennington

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

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

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

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

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

W H E R E  T O  E A T

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cottage Retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine

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

the cottages at cabot cove

W H E R E  T O  S T A Y

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

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cabot cove cottages lawn

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

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W H A T  T O  D O

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

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cottages at cabot cove tan cottage

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

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kennebunkport historic district home

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

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kayak on cabot cove

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

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

W H E R E  T O  E A T

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

cabot cove breakfast

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

the ramp cape porpoise

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

hidden pond earth restaurant kennebunkport

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

tides beach club kennebunkport hotel
the tides beach club kennebunkport hotel

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

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

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

Woodstock, Vermont Guide

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

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

48 Hours in Lake Placid

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

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What to See and Do

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay

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

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

Until next time, Lake Placid!  

Thank you to the Golden Arrow for providing our accommodations!  

5 Reasons to Visit Kennebunkport this Winter

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

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

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

KPT Inn Lobby Desk.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Documenting the Everyday

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

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

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

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

Lessons learned

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

Tips and Tricks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Technical Stuff

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

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

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

Tools of the Trade

1 Second Everyday App

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

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

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

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

Wintry Weekend in Woodstock

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

plymouthvt1

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

dorset vermont
plymouth notch vermont
plymouth notch vermont
plymouth vermont post office

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

simon pearce restaurant

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

woodstock vermont

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

woodstock inn vermont

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

woodstock vermont winter
middle bridge woodstock
fh gillingham woodstock vermont
woodstock vermont
woodstock vermont
woodstock vermont

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

woodstock vermont barn snow

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

covered bridge vermont

See you oh so soon, Vermont!

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

Leaf Peeping in Vermont

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, pretty little town.

Postcard from Maine

This past week, we took a few days to escape to our very favorite place - Maine!

Tom and I both grew up going to Maine as kids (Tom staying in York and myself in Wells), so we're both very much southern Maine people.  This time, our home base was the Nellie Littlefield Inn in Ogunquit.  It was perfect.  Charles, the innkeeper was the very best (and Charles, if you're reading, we'll be back for more blueberry pancakes ASAP!).

On this trip we arrived to dreary, misty skies, but we really never pay much attention to the weather since our first stop is always Fox's for a big bowl of the best lobster mac and cheese (and a couple of beers for good measure - it's vacation!).  

The next morning we woke up with less than ideal beach weather, so we jumped in the car and headed north, bound first for L.L.Bean, and then for points unknown - for Tommy anyway, I always have a plan, and it's usually farther than he feels like driving so I kept him in the dark ;).

First up was Doubling Point Light, which is on the Kennebec River near Bath.  It's the most adorable little lighthouse in the most peaceful of locations.  The lighthouse is actually located on private property at the end of a long dirt road, but the owner allows the public access to the walkway and light tower, which is owned by a non-profit.  We were the only people there, and I couldn't get over how quiet it was! 

From there we drove north, bound and determined to get a lobster roll from Red's Eats, which is one of the most hyped lobster shacks I've heard about.  We arrived to a line with an estimated hour plus wait, and we just didn't have it in us.

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse was next on our list.  This beauty is perched on top of a rocky cliff, and I bet the view on a less foggy day would be amazing. 

As we left the lighthouse park, we came upon Hotel Pemaquid - a restored 1888 inn with the most charming carriage house and barn covered in buoys, and we made a quick U-turn to peek around the property.  Did I mention it was so charming!?  Definitely on my list for future trips.

Back in the car, we were ready for a sure bet on a lobster roll, and friends, let me tell you - the lobster roll at Eventide in Portland is the best. Hands down my favorite.  I have no pictures to prove it to you, but trust me.  Get yourself there, and you may need to order two.  Did I mention it's a brown butter lobster roll?  So good.

Up early the next day, we walked off our lobster rolls on the Marginal Way (don't miss it - the prettiest views!), parked ourselves on the beach for a few hours, and started thinking about our next lobster roll. 

We headed straight for The Ramp in Kennebunkport - definitely my favorite place for drinks, lobster rolls, atmosphere, everything.  Their lobster roll is a close second if not tie for first on my official favorite list.  A little more traditional, and the view makes everything taste better.  Perfect Maine afternoon! 

Our last morning, we woke up for our sunrise tradition (which I shared on Instagram), made room for yet another lobster roll, and headed home to our goofy yellow pups who we always miss way more than we care to admit :)

See you next time, Maine!

Pups and Plaid with J. McLaughlin

Jeans and plaid, jeeps and labs...

It was actually cool enough for jeans this week, and it has me all excited to break out the fall clothes. Plaids, flannels, sweaters, and Bean boots here I come!  

I was thrilled to partner with J.McLaughlin this week to introduce the Lois Blouse from their fall collection.  This shirt is a new favorite - lightweight and soft and in classic red and blue.  And well, it's plaid, so that's a sure win in my book.    

And if you couldn't tell, Murph and Max are pretty darn excited about the cooler weather too ;)

Shop the shirt here, and check out J.McLaughlin on Instagram to see how 10 other bloggers styled the shirt!

Boots / Jeans (similar) / Sunglasses

Postcard from East Burke, Vermont

This past weekend we snuck away to Vermont for a wedding...

..and it was one of the prettiest venues I've seen in quite a long time. 

Feast your eyes upon The Inn at Mountain View Farm in East Burke, VT.  If you're into classic red barns and mountain views, this place is for you.  I can't even imagine how pretty this place will be in the fall, and I just might have to plan a trip back. 

While we didn't stay on property, we got to peek around the inn and farmhouse, and it was solovely.  As for what else to do in the Northeast Kingdom?  Visit Lake Willoughby - take a quick hike around the shore like we did, or hike up Mount Pisgah for a view from above.  You can also rent kayaks or canoes at the campground at the southern end of the lake.  If I were to go back though, I might just call dibs on those white Adirondack chairs overlooking the barns and call it a day.