June Roundup

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This summer is going to go by so fast, June had so much going on!

What’s new:

  • The Blog was updated! I can now be found under the name wandering and reading. I made the change on my blog-aversary. It’s so good to have a new name and a new layout. It feels fresh and more like me and my blog.

Current obsessions:

The past couple of months I’ve been posting about songs that have really had me obsessed. Today I’m really excited to mention that Dierks Bentley officially has a new album out. If you’ve been having a tough couple of weeks, I recommend you consider the album here. Below is a performance of one of my favorite songs off the album.

Speaking of some country music, can we just take a minute to appreciate the Queen and all she did at the CMT Awards. I mean, does anyone sing better than her?

Oh and I saw Keith Urban this month, I was pleasantly surprised but more on that in a later post.

However my summer jam this year, and current obsession has to be Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa. You can listen to it here.

The Adventures

Ummm we went to England! My first trip ever to Europe you guys! We saw Cornwall (hi Poldark!), Stonehenge (I mean, really?) and London (hello city life!) It was amazing! You’ll see a ton of posts about it in the next couple of months — everything you need to know about the trip and how to see what we saw, I can’t wait.

Books Read in June:

We did so much traveling, that I didn’t really feel like I read much this month. Which honestly, felt amazing. I took a break from my normal everyday life for over a week, it was the perfect refresh.

3.5/4 Stars

4/5 stars

5/5 stars

5/5 stars

5/5 stars

Upcoming:
July is going to be packed with moving out of our apartment and into our house! Which means the adventures will be on the back burner for a bit. But don’t worry, I still have some local Northeastern things to do! I can’t wait to tell you all about the house and how I’m feeling about it!

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4 Epic Days in Cornwall, England

It finally happened! I’ve always wanted to go to England, but it wasn’t until I read the Poldark series by Winston Graham and started watching the T.V. show that brought me to the point in my life of: I need to go there.

My boyfriend and I have had England planned for awhile now. You might be remember my post on what we choose to see when there.

But now it’s time to tell you all what we actually did. This all about our 4 days in Cornwall (technically we were there 5, but we basically just went to the beach and left on day 5 so I’m scratching that). You’ll see other posts in the future on our time in London, my favorite pictures (which will probably coincide with my favorite things that we did), the do’s and don’ts of traveling there, and how to save some money on your trip.

Day 1:

We were mighty adventurous on Day 1. After not really sleeping on our overnight, and waiting around in Heathrow for 3 hours, we finally made our way out to the countryside — a 4 hour drive from Heathrow to our little home away from home in St Agnes. If you are a Poldark fan, then St Agnes and Cornwall are just what you need. Anyway, to say we were tired was an understatement, we took a power nap, I’m not sure if we could have done any sight seeing that first day if we didn’t. But it was beautiful day and I just had to see something of Cornwall before we truly crashed for the night. This is what I had dreamed about for too long. I needed to see the coastline and it did not disappoint. IMG_0767.jpgSince we were at Porthtowan Beach, we decided it only made sense to sit out, relax and eat at it’s multiple different restaurants, we chose the beach cafe where we got some delicious burgers (reasonably priced). But there were at least two other places for eating plus Moomaid of Zennor ice cream. As an FYI — you do have to pay for parking almost everywhere in Cornwall.

Day 2:

Remember how I said we were jet lagged? Yeah, we slept for awhile into day 2 but were still able to see a lot! When we planned our vacation, we planned based off of geographical locations. So Day 2 was the Northern section (or what I considered Northern) of Cornwall. We got a little lost and ended up in Bodim, the cutest town, with the loveliest walking trail and the buildings were so old. Exactly what I was looking for. We also saw a festival going on that had it’s own reenactment of an execution!

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Once Bodim was done we headed to Tintagel Castle, which is really more of a ruin than castle. This is the supposed birthplace of King Arthur. You can even find a cove called Merlin’s Cove (PS — you can buy your tickets there, you also have to pay for parking or you can buy an Overseas Visitor Pass from English Heritage — which is what we did, more on that later). I mean, we really walked into history here, the Castle is a ruin now because it hadn’t been used in over 500 years — that’s right over 500 years. How unbelievable is that?

 

After our activities for the day, it was off to dinner (yes, we brought our lunches with us — more on that later) in Port Isaac, there was no real reason why we went to Port Isaac other than I wanted to see it. We had a lovely little dinner of fish and chips right on the water at the pier at The Slipway.

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Day 3:

Day 3 was our only truly rainy day. But even with that being said, it was pretty amazing. It didn’t downpour so that made it better. This was our first day of seeing a Castle that was not in ruin. Pendennis Castle was pretty amazing, not only was the Castle itself old and had a lot going on, it was cool to see the history of what it was used for after it was a castle, like a barracks during the WWI and WWII.

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After this, we went to Truro and had our first ever Cornish Pasty. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Everyone needs to have one, seriously. They even have Vegetarian ones as well as their traditional meat version. When in Truro, you have to see the Cathedral, it is a must see — gorgeous (with free admission) and of course, a lot of history.

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The last thing we did on day 3 was something I had been waiting to do since we started planning. If you’re a Poldark fan, you have to go to Chapel Porth Beach and Wheal Coates. When walking up the trail and seeing the water and the old mines.  It was everything I hoped it would be, I was so happy I think my boyfriend might have laughed at me. Honestly, I could post so many more picture but I chose three, maybe you’ll see more in some later posts.

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The mines were mainly for copper, tin and ore and very popular until the 1800s, I was in awe at the fact that I finally seeing it.

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Day 4

If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t mentioned anything about TEA. Anyway, we finally had some tea and scones near St Michael’s Mount. We got to the location early which was the perfect excuse to have some tea — we went to the Godolphin Arms and had a picturesque view of the Castle while we ate and waited.

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Why did we have to wait, do you wonder? Well, one of the coolest things about St Michael’s Mount is getting there. It’s on it’s own Island, technically you can take a little boat but we wanted the full experience of waiting for the tide to go out and then walk across the brick road like shown above. It was such a cool experience, we both loved it (FYI — Parking is about $4 pounds for the day and attraction pass is about $10 pounds, this is not part of the Heritage Pass mentioned earlier).

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Once there, you get to walk through a little town as you make your way up to the actual Castle. Be aware, this Castle is on a hill and is a cobblestone walkway, I would suggest sneakers. We were honestly thinking that anyone who has trouble on uneven surfaces might have trouble with this place. It’s worth it though if you can get to the top. The Castle itself is amazing, but the view of the ocean and the little town is also amazing. We took a lot of pictures and probably could have spent all day there.

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After St Michael’s Mount, we drove about 45mins to Land’s End. To say we did a lot of hiking/walking in Cornwall would be an understatement. Land’s End is the most south westernly point of Britain — which means I’ve been there and to the southernmost point of the US all within a year! I’m pretty happy with myself.

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What surprised me about Land’s End is how much of an attraction site it was. I expected to go there and just see lush cliffs — which don’t get me wrong, we saw (and I loved). But there was also a lot of fun attractions for families and kids even before you start walking the cliffs.

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I’m not going to lie, there were also some sketchy areas that we hiked. At one point, we seemed so close to the edge that I didn’t want to continue on the trail. If you ever feel like this though, don’t worry, you can go on a trail that’s not as close to the edge and still get the view you’re looking for.

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Then we drove to St Ives (honestly, the coolest town) and had dinner at Harbor Fish and Chips (our favorite Fish and Chips on the vacation) and then had a drink with some Cornishmen and Cornishwomen while watching England play in the World Cup. There was honestly no better way to end our first leg of our England trip and Cornwall.

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What I loved the most about Cornwall was the relaxed feel and nature of the whole place. Four hours from London and I felt like I was in a completely different country. I could have spent a week there, not just a couple of days.

 

What I’ve Learned From House Hunting

Ugh, house hunting. I knew it was going to be a struggle. Everyone told us it was going to take months and that it wasn’t going to be easy. We heard struggles from our friends and coworkers: struggles of not finding a house, having the wrong people helping you find a house and the worst of them all — finding a house and losing it (whether out-bid or already under contract) but no one mentioned how there weren’t any houses out there.

To be honest, most of our friends aren’t looking for a house at the same time we did, so for them, the market was better, but I’ve learned recently that it’s definitely a seller’s market and as a buyer, that really stinks.

Here’s some things I’ve learned:

Find the Right Realtor

We had the perfect realtor from Howard Hanna. Maureen was so professional, informative, nice but also laid back which made the whole process easy. She also didn’t try to sway us at all — she was honest, she watched us as we went through houses for our reactions and used that to tell us if she thought it was worth it. For example, we saw a house that we didn’t love but could make it work, she was honest with us and said, you know there is a lot of showings today, I don’t think this house is worth a bidding war. We agreed and that settled that.

Find the Right Mortgage Broker

We also had a mortgage broker which was really great as well. We even met with ClearPath Mortgage Solutions before our realtor, not just to get pre-approved but to understand in advance examples of what we would pay a month depending on the cost of a house. When we were serious about buying one, we got in touch with them first and found out our monthly payments and what the cost of closing etc would be. It was a great help to feel really comfortable financially before we committed.

Don’t forget about the Closing Costs

Which is definitely something I forgot about when looking for the house. I wasn’t thinking that on top of my deposit, there would also be all these other costs that would happen too. Which was a bummer, but again, good to know in advance.

Expect to find some duds.

There has definitely been some houses that even before I walked in I had said no to. If you know what you don’t like, it makes it easy.

Know what you want but be flexible.

This has been the hardest thing for us. We really want certain things but we are starting to realize we might not get everything we want. Which means we need to be flexible in what we want and be willing to change some of our needs if we think we can “live” with it.

Stay in a range you feel comfortable with

Sure you might find a house that you love, and sure you might be pre-approved for a certain amount but that doesn’t mean you can actually afford that amount. Stay realistic. Make sure you can still live your lifestyle even with your house. A mortgage broker from the start is the perfect way to do this. We ended up in a multiple-offer house and both our realtor and mortgage broker were able to 1) give us ideas on how to win the house and 2) financially be able to let us know that we could do it.

It’s probably going to be terrible

The whole process isn’t going to be easy, remember, it’s the biggest purchase of your life. There will probably be a lot of frustration and there might be some arguments. Try to stay patient (definitely one of my weaknesses)

This is what I’ve learned so far at house hunting. We did end up winning on the house with multiple offers, so now it’s just time for all the other stuff. Look for a post later in the summer on the process after you say yes!

Hiking Mount Mansfield

Most people know the Stowe area of Vermont for it’s Skiing. I am not a skier. Okay, that’s a little of a lie, I can ski and will go but I would prefer to see the Mountains without snow on them. When we lived in VT we tried to hit some of the higher peaks of Vermont. Mt. Mansfield is one of those Mountains in Stowe.

In fact, Mt Mansfield is the highest peak in VT at 4,339 feet, which in Adirondack terms, isn’t that high. The High Peaks of the Adirondacks has over 46 mountains at over 4,000 feet, it’s highest over 5,000 feet (Mount Marcy). Knowing that we were moving to New York a few years ago had us thinking about getting ready for some of these higher elevations — like Mt. Mansfield.

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The trail is about a 6.6 mile round trip hike. At times I thought I was going to die, I’m not going to lie but I also want to say I was really out of shape. There were some times where it seemed really steep for my 5 foot 2 short legs but I mean look at the view above! It was so worth it! Be aware that it’s highly popular, so don’t expect a quiet hike, there will be families and dogs everywhere, I would have loved to go maybe during the week with less people but you know, real work gets in the way.