10.16.2014

Things to Do in October Around New Hampshire

Ryan surprised me with an trip to New Hampshire last week before our lives started to get a little hectic busy.  It sure was an amazing surprise.  He put so much planning into it by renting us a lake cabin and secretly inviting our friends to join us up there.  I really had no idea all of it was being planned. 

We ended up going up to New Hampshire during prime time when all the leaf peepers (yes that is what they are really called!) head up to see the tree colors.  This post is to tell you the places we went to see to act more as a guide for others looking for activities while there. I will be posting more about our adventures and the lake cabin a little later.
Let me first start out saying we were in the North Conway, NH area.  
Everything we did was within an hours drive.

Mt. Washington
This was truly great.  The trip up and down were narrated and was informative as you took in the views.  I've driven to the top of Mt. Washington before on the Auto Road and I preferred the railway to driving for the simple fact I wasn't so worried for my life the entire time.  If that kind of stuff doesn't bother you, both ways up are good.  Or even better,  hike it!  Anyway you do it, get to the top of Mt. Washington!

Lincoln, NH
The Flume is a natural gorge with a waterfall/river going through.  Plank ways were built so we were able to walk right into the gorge.  It was breathtaking and unexpected.  We ended up walking the full loop hike instead of going back down through the gorge which I wish we would have gone back through just to see it again.

Mt. Loon, Lincoln, NH
This activity wasn't my favorite.  To me it felt like a regular ride up a ski lift and it made me motion sick on the way down.  Although, the view on top was good and there was a neat glacier cave trail.

A 26 mile stretch of highway with amazing views and scenic stops.

North Conway, NH
We caught a sunrise here!  There is a road to the top, which we took, but you can also hike to the top.  The view is perfect for the sunrise.  We brought our hiking stove and made breakfast on top.

and some great restaurants...
North Conway, NH

North Woodstock, NH

That is what we fit into our too short vacation up to New Hampshire.  We also spent time enjoying our cabin and kayaking on the lake.  New Hampshire has "Brake for Moose" signs everywhere and did I see one moose?.... no.  Anyway have any of you been to New Hampshire?  What did you do while you were there? I'd love to hear.

xo
Erin



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10.13.2014

DIY Gourd Wreath

I love decorating this time of year, especially with all the gourds and mini pumpkins you can get from an orchard.  I usually get the gourds and set them on the deck railings or up the stairs but this year I wanted to try something a little different and make a wreath.
I don't love buying materials for DIY projects and tend to make due with what I have on hand, so instead of buying a wreath base I made it all from ivy in the yard.

Items You Need:
 (Giant Dog Not Needed)

Ivy - I used some that was growing up trees in my front yard, I know one kind was English Ivy but I'm not sure what the other type of ivy I grabbed was.  Although, I know it wasn't poisonous, so don't be grabbing any poison oak.  Any branch or ivy (non-poisonous) that is bending will probably work for this.

Wire - I used some floral wire I had on hand. Most any wire will do.

Scissors - or wire cutter

Gourds and/or Mini Pumpkins
Start by making one of the ivy branches into a circle and then secure and then continue to add ivy branches until it looks like a full wreath.  Secure each main branch as you go and I tucked the off shooting branches in where they fit so they didn't stick out everywhere.
Then lay out where you want your gourds and/or mini pumpkins before you start securing so you get the look you want.
Now start securing the gourds and pumpkins to the wreath with your wire.  This is the hardest part.  I have no great way to do this.  A little tip though is to know which way is up when you will be hanging your wreath and wire according to which way gravity will be pulling.
And viola, hang your gourd wreath!

I love how it looks and adds more interest then just setting some gourds on my deck railings.

xo
Erin

10.06.2014

Camping at Pachaug State Forest

Back in June we went camping at the Pachaug State Forest (I've been a bit busy in the meantime having a baby and all so I'm just posting it now). It was a campsite where you parked and had to hike into so you only brought what you could fit on your back.  Carrying everything in isn't as easy as it may sound; it's the camp fire wood and water that really make things heavy, but on the way out it's a lot lighter!
The campsite was free, we just had to register online so we knew it wasn't taken. 
I think it is no dogs allowed though.... (shhh don't tell).
The hike in was only about a mile or so and had a shelter to prop your tent up in.  We brought books and some good food to cook over the fire.  It was probably one of the most relaxing camping trips we've had together.  The state forest also has another free shelter to hike into that we would like to try out sometime.

Are any of you going camping this Fall?  I might be too soft to handle the cold.

xo 
Erin

9.30.2014

How CSA Helps Me Eat Allergy Free

We were new to the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) concept this year.  We heard about a local CSA early last spring from a co-worker and decided to check it out for a few reasons:

1) We wanted to spend less on healthy food. (Eating allergy free/organic can be expensive!)
2) We are bad about actually going to grocery store to get food therefore eating out a lot.
3) We love fresh local food but don't have a place to grow it ourselves.

So we went to check out the farm.  This particular farm had meat as an option for the CSA (I guess most only do vegetables).  They raise chickens (for meat and eggs) and pigs.  So basically one goes weekly to pick up their 'share' as they call it and you get about $20 - $30 worth of local, seasonal food.  The share we choose we got contained vegetables, fruits, herbs, eggs, and meat (chicken and pork alternating each week).

What I thought of it: 

 Overall, I liked the experience so much I also signed us up for the Autumn share without the eggs though.  I'm allergic to eggs so Ryan was on his own and just didn't eat enough of them so many were wasted.  In the future we will just buy a dozen eggs from them here and there when Ryan wants them.

I was concerned at first about the meat because they supplemented their chickens with soy and was hoping I wouldn't have a reaction being I'm allergic to soy and all.  Thankfully I didn't have a reaction to any of the meat!

Every other week we got a whole chicken which is a bit daunting to cut and cook.  I'm still working on this, and still maybe a little scared (I have seven whole chickens in freezer right now).  I'm looking for easy ways to cook this whole bird if you have any suggestions.  I will be trying it in the crock pot this week.

We always ate our pork immediately each week we got it.

As for the vegetables, there were some I didn't care for, or maybe didn't know what to do with such as the turnups but this was rare.  Our farmers often let us choose, for example we could pick up one eggplant OR a couple bell peppers.

I ate more of a variety of vegetables than usual.  I sometimes get in a rut and buy the same familiar things at the grocery store but with the CSA I ate what was in season.  For a while, I had zucchini in my stir fry a few times a week or made a green bean casserole; two vegetables I NEVER would have bought on my own.

If you eat Paleo or eat allergy free you can't go wrong with a CSA like this.  So if  you have any in your area, I encourage you to go check it out and see if it would be a good fit for your lifestyle.

xo
Erin

9.29.2014

Things I Did Last Fall

Mt. Washington
I rediscover my love for Autumn each year when it comes along.  Last year we had a few adventures during the season including my first trip to Mt. Washington (above).  We have plans to go back in a couple weeks so Ryan can do a night hike.... EEEK!
Amanda and I threw an awesome Autumn dinner party, which we are planning on doing again in the next few weeks!
We went to the Roger Williams Pumpkin Spectacular for our third year.  You bet we will be going back for our annual trip this year.
Last year I was able to fly home to my parent's house during their business season at  Nature's Select Orchard and I loved it!  Wish I could have gone this year but we plan on going at a different time this year.  

In the meantime I have to find some orchards or pumpkin patches in New England worth going to.
Stay tuned, I'll let you know what I find and the other adventures this season brings.

xo
Erin

6.02.2014

Things to Do in June Around Connecticut

I have family coming out to visit me in June.  They have been out here several times before so we always try to find something a little different to do each time.  I put together a  list of things we may do in the CT/RI area this June.  I'll be sure to report back after the visit.

Coventry, CT
They've been cited as New England’s BEST farmers’ market by YankeeMagazine AND selected as one of USA Today’s “Top 10 great places to shop at a farmers market!”

Niantic, CT
This store is actually a barn with meandering paths to themed sheds full of books.  I especially love all the friendly cats, goats and beautiful gardens you can sit in and read.  It's no ordinary book shop!

Stony Creek, CT
Take a narrated boat tour of all the rocky islands and their history in the Long Island Sound.

Westerly, RI (just over the CT border)
One of my favorite coastal towns with shops, restaurants and beaches.
I've posted some on my favorite beach here and here.

Point Judith, RI
A small cape with a working lighthouse, fisherman's beach and where you can buy lobsters right off the boats as they come in!

Mystic, CT
A museum including a 19th century village and many old ships in seaport you can explore.
Mystic, CT is also a must see town with some great restaurants!  This one is my favorite because it is
 allergy-free!

Pick-Your-Own Strawberries
Middlefield, CT
or
Old Lyme, CT
June is pick-your-own strawberries season!

I can't wait for summer!
xo
Erin

P.S. Click here to see what we did when my family visited last June
P.P.S. Photos above were taken at the Watch Hill Harbor.