Summer Road Trip

I have the great honor of sharing my birthday with Canada... and I've also tragically not ever really been to Canada (unless you count when I was 2). For years now, I've been talking about taking a trip to Canada on my birthday so that Canada and I could celebrate together. And so in late June Prince Michael and I loaded up the luxury automobile and set off for the great north (cough, cough) Montreal. The plan was to spend a couple of nights in the Hudson Valley, 4 nights or so in Canada so that we could be there for my birthday and, then drive back through my very favorite state of Vermont on our way home. I would say it was a great plan but it failed tot take into account the frozen tundra that was Montreal in late June. 

It was so terribly, unbearably hot in D.C. in the lead up to this trip that I eagerly looking forward to some cooler temps. And then of course what would happen is what did happen: the temperatures dropped dramatically everywhere on the east coast that week so that it was perfect in D.C. but tres cold and rainy in Montreal. mwap mwap. SO I did make it to Canada but we didn't stay for my birthday because the cold and rain was just too much. I hope Canada will forgive me and perhaps we can celebrate together another year. Below is a little rundown of the trip.

Hudson Valley
I feel like I've been reading about the Hudson Valley on blogs for years so I was so excited to check out a little bit of the region ourselves. From DC we drove up to Beacon where we stopped for lunch and a little walk around. After popping into some of the darling antique shops in town we took off for Hyde Park to see the Roosevelt's house which delighted our nerdy little  hearts. I will say that the house was so small and generally non-impressive that it's a little hard to imagine that it was a big deal back in the day. I did not get to see Eleanor's house (single tear) so that will have to be for another day. From Hyde Park we cruised on up to Hudson where we stayed in a great airbnb for the night. In the morning we had an amazing breakfast here before starting the journey to Burlington.

This was our second visit to Burlington (first one here) and I think I would say I have mixed feelings about the city. I love the size and the food (!!) but church street is a little tacky touristy so I think it's a bummer that it's the center of the things in the city. On a friend's recommendation we checked out Bluebird BBQ which I liked (even without eating meat) and Mike loved. It's a little outside the city and we sat on the porch and enjoyed the woodsy feel of the place. Also enjoyable in Burlington is bike riding. We rented bikes and did a similar bike ride to our last trip with the small adjustment that Mike somehow made us bike up a mountain. I'm sure it was a mountain. For dinner we made the bold decision to do 2 dinners because one dinner in Burlington just didn't seem like enough. So we first checked out Farmhouse and then went back to my favorite place American Flatbread for second dinner and dessert. Also of note, we were told to try Heady Topper which is apparently dominating the beer scene. Mike liked it so we thought we would swing by the store and pick up a 6 pack to take home with us. When we told the store clerk what we were looking for she actually did laugh in our faces while she explained how hard it is to track down heady topper to take home. Apparently people form lines prior to the delivery times of heady topper to grocery stores and they sell out in 10 minutes. So if you're not at the store at say 10 am on a Wednesday then you are screwed.

The thing that really blew me away about Montreal is how quickly you go from driving through pristine farmland into the heart of the city. It made me a touch sad about the sprawl surrounding DC. ho hum. Unfortunately our first day in the city was super rainy and very cold (mid 50s) so we didn't do much except cosy up in restaurants for extended meals. The next day it was only a little rainy, so we bundled up and rented bikes and explored the city. Montreal is such a bike friendly city with bike lanes everywhere and so many people cycling that it was really a joy to bike around (minus the cold temps). We biked to the Mount Royal which is definitely a small hill and not a mountain and enjoyed the great views out over the city. For lunch we obviously had poutine (vegetarian for me) which I don't really get the point of. I think gravy goes better on mashed potatoes and ketchup goes better on fries but who am I to judge. The next morning on our way out of town we stopped at the Atwater market which I loved. After loading up on some canadian baked goods and strawberries we heading south back into Vermont.

I was a tiny bit worried that Woodstock wouldn't live up to my memories of it from my last trip... but that was silly because damn that little town is just as charming as ever. It rained almost the whole time we were there but I still loved being there. We bought some local beers and checked into the Shire Inn where we relaxed on their awesome porch while discussing dinner options. We ended up going for some pub fair at the Woodstock Inn and then watching the US ladies soccer team dominate at Bentley's restaurant. Clearly I also took myself back to Mountain Creamery. Luckily this time I managed to keep it in my clutches so I didn't need to eat it off the ground. I hope to check out Woodstock in the fall or winter at some point so I can see how quaint it is in those seasons.


Twitter FaceBook

Pin It

Goodbye Summer

Despite 10 weeks of Anatomy and Physiology Summer was still a joy. Lots of outdoor time with princess Zoe and some sweet bike rides.

Here's where we're at right now:

1) The Voice is back! Woot Woot. Man I love that silly show.

2) Lab classes are legit guys. Pre-labs and lab reports and lab quizzes. I hate it. BUT microscopes are the MOST fun! I could really look at bacteria all day long. So pretty.

3) Mike and I are planning a trip to Paris for Christmas time. SQUEE!!!

4) Because I spend lots of time reading textbooks these days I don't have much energy for any books that aren't by Agatha Christie. Also did you know that Agatha Christie married a gentleman archaeologist 13 years her junior when she was 40! 


Twitter FaceBook

Pin It

A Comprehensive List of Dog Names For My Next Dog

Not that one dog isn't enough but I do fantasize about having a whole herd of pups roaming around my (also) theoretical farm in Vermont. Here are the names I've got in mind:

Sherlock Holmes
Dr. Watson

Thats' all for now.

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It

2015 Farm Report

This is officially the summer of tomatoes here at Highclere. I haven't taken pictures of the garden since mid spring but here's what everything looked like then. Green and tidy and full of hope. Now everything is enormous and spotty and rather overwhelming. The dreaded tomato blight is back but since I know it's game now I'm not as distraught as I was last summer. We're getting tons of tomatoes and I think I finally came up with a good strategy in planting lots of cherry and grape tomato varieties that are easier to snack on than the enormous heirloom varieties I planted last summer... not that those didn't have their own charm.

This year I sweet talked Prince Michael into building me just one more raised garden bed, which I filled with tomatoes, obviously. Much to Mikes Chagrin that extra space meant I could also plant pumpkins and cantaloupes and I'm thrilled to say those are coming along nicely! I think that might be the first time I've ever typed out the word cantaloupe and, did anyone know that's how cantaloupe is spelled? What's that u doing in there. Also of interest... purple string beans! I never get enough to really do much with so I just eat them straight off the plants. I also in my ambitious early spring planting, planted lots of lemon cucumber seeds that grew wildly (visualize it climbing up trees) but never fruited. I'll need to do a little research on what went wrong there.

My blueberry bushes and raspberry plants also seem to be having great summers but only the birds are reaping the rewards since I haven't worked myself up to do bird netting yet. It doesn't much seem in the spirit of sharing but perhaps next summer I'll reclaim at least the blueberries for myself. The big thing I want to remember for next summer is black eyed susans! Every year I mean to plant those and then somehow forget in my tomato buying haste. Also pictured below are two of my favorite farm hands, Zoe and her new friend Huck. And that's all from the mid-July farm report...

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It

These are the days

 Life is feeling pretty great these days. I'm delighted by the warm weather and feeling extra thankful for our beautiful house now that I'm getting to spend lots of time in the garden (full farm report still to come). It's also been a treat to have Mike around more now that his work schedule has leveled out a bit. We recently took advantage of this by taking a little day trip to Piscataway Park which has a little colonial farm with heritage breed animals and some trails along the water. Zoe was a big fan of the chickens and the cows but I am all about their gigantic pigs. One day when I have a farm, I'll also have pigs and it will be spectacular.

I'm gearing up for my second semester of nursing prereq classes and feeling only mildly sorry for myself that I'm going to be cooped up in a classroom during the fun summer months. Pretty soon I'll know all there is to know about the human body. kidding. But it does feel like my teacher expects me to know everything about the human body. Eeeek!

In other news Mike and I are in the early phases of preparing to remodel our kitchen. And by this I mean to pay someone to remodel our kitchen. Obviously. We're not going to let our precious free time go to something as ridiculous as chores.

And that's the update for this blessedly warm final week of May!

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It


In January sister Kerry and I spent 4 very relaxing days in Tulum, Mexico. This is one of those trendy travel spots that I'd seen listed on blogs and in the NY Times and because winter is hard, and flights to nearby Cancun were quite cheap we planned a trip! Tulum is supposed to be a more eco- friendly, hippy dippy, yoga centric, foodie destination then spring break mecca Cancun which is about ninety minutes to it's north. Sidebar: In a strange parenting decision Mother Courtney had taken Kerry and I to Cancun when we were in middle school. I really enjoyed myself and only vaguely noticed that everyone around me was 19 and drunk. In any case, it was pretty clear that since Kerry and I are mature ladies in our 30s (!) that Cancun was not the right spot for us... so Tulum it was.

Since we got cheap, direct flights to Cancun we felt like there was room in the budget to rent a car, but we really agonized over whether or not it made sense to do so. Kerry and I love little road trips so this was a tough decision but in the end we decided to skip the rental car since there seemed like there would be enough to occupy us in Tulum. In the end I think this was the right decision since there's no real need to drive anywhere in Tulum and almost everyone is biking around which feels more festive and vacationy. I think if we were going to spend more time in the Yucantan penninsula then renting a car would have definitely been worthwhile, but for 4 days we were happy to just noodle around Tulum.

Tulum has two main areas, a small town which is a few miles from the beach, and then the beach strip which is essentially a single long road down the beach. On the beach side of the road are all the hotels/ cabanas/resorts which are all fairly small, and on the jungle side are all the restaurants and shops. The accommodations in Tulum range from camping all the way up to posh resorts, but I think the majority are eco cabanas since there are strict environmental regulations in Tulum. We stayed in two places - Zamas and Cabanas Las Lunas which were both a little rustic but very lovely. We biked a couple of times to the town which I thought was charming in a sort of dilapidated way but I was happy we opted to stay in the more expensive, but more special beach area of Tulum.

 The one activity we did in our 4 days there was to walk to the Tulum ruins which are pretty stunning but nowhere near as impressive as Chichen Itza which we had seen on the previously mentioned middle school trip. Other than that we didn't really do anything. Except eat. If we are counting eating then we did a lot. Also! We did a lot of bike riding, especially sister Kerry. I spent more time reading Elizabeth Gaskell books on the beach. Different strokes for different folks as Prince Michael always says. When we were in Tulum it was warm, but not hot, so I actually didn't go in the water at all and in the evenings I was wearing jeans and long sleeves. I think if I were going to plan another trip I would try to go slightly later in the winter so that I would be able to really soak up the heat.

I think one of the main tourist draws of Tulum is that it's supposed to be a bit of a foodie destination. I had even heard of uber trendy, jungle to table restaurant Hartwood and I was so determined to go after all the mighty praise in the NYTimes. But when we got there 1.5 hours before opening and the line was full of chain smoking backpackers I just couldn't bring myself to wait. I don't know if that was a bad decision but really, I just couldn't. But we did find lots of food we really liked, and I would highly recommend El Tabano, Zamas, Restarare, and the Maya Tulum restaurant for anyone planning a trip. We also went to a great popsicle shop in the pueblo. 

Twitter FaceBook

Pin It

Hitherto All rights reserved © Blog Milk Design - Powered by Blogger