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.

Mt Mansfield

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.

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My Favorite Things to do in Upstate New York in The Spring

I haven’t really told you all about my hometown and what to do there during the different seasons. Now that’s I’ve finished my posts about preparing for England I’m going to give you advice on what to do if you’re ever in my area. I’ll do advice based on season and try and do itineraries for short and long-term stays.

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Spring, it can be a fabulous time and it can be a horrible time here in the Northeast. I’m writing this post on April 17th and we had snow/ice mix today, but this weekend will be sunny and 60 so to say to be prepared for anything would be an understatement.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to see the Tulips (usually in May) at Washington Park Historic District but since the weather is so unpredictable in Spring, I would suggest seeing the history of Upstate New York. The New York State Museum in Albany is one of my favorites, but don’t be too surprised if you get a little emotional. Cost for admission is free too! If you’re in Albany, try and check out for a tour with the New York State Capitol a building which has been around since the 1880s. The admission for this tour is free as well. Afterwards, grab a drink at Nine Pin Cider and stop for lunch or dinner at Dinosaur BBQ, originally from Syracuse, this restaurant has quick service, inexpensive, good BBQ and a view of the Hudson River.

A little farther north of Albany is my hometown of Saratoga Springs — one of the hot spots for the summer and fall (we’ll get to that later). But in the Spring there is still a bunch of history to be seen — including the Saratoga National Battle Grounds, Yaddo Gardens, The Auto Museum, The Saratoga State Park and National Museum of Dance and while you’re at it, try some of the many natural springs in the area for your health.

The Nightlife is awesome in Saratoga, I’d recommend some wine from Thirsty Owl and Swedish Hill and when you’re done with that, try dinner at Wheatfields if you’re a fan of Italian (PS- homemade pasta), it’s inexpensive with a great atmosphere.

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Those are my suggestions for coming to visit my area in the Spring. There is so much more to tell you and I can’t wait to give advice on seasonal and multiple day vacations.

Saratoga Battlefield

Happy Monday Everyone! I wanted to share another New York Adventure that is perfect anytime of the year. I know I’ve said this before, but I love where I grew up and part of that is because of the history that is here. A history that I personally think should be celebrated as much as the histories of Massachusetts and Philadelphia. So let’s get into the history of the Battle of Saratoga! The Battle of Saratoga is known as the Turning Point of the Revolutionary War, where American troops beat British soldiers to change the tide of independence (see why I think my hometown is so cool?). You can read more about this at the park, but once you’re there, take a short drive to Victory Woods and The Saratoga Monument where you can learn more about the history and even walk through a cemetery with tombstones that read from the 1700s.

Spoiler: On a novel note, if you’ve read all the Outlander books, the Battle of Saratoga will sound familiar, even Diana Gabaldon wrote about it! IMG_0340.jpg Anyway, I’ve found some friends who love to get out on the weekends and are patient when I’m attempting to use my new  camera. The end of January saw Upstate New York without any snow and 50 degree weather so we decided instead of snowshoeing to go for a walk around the battlefields. This U.S. National Historical Park has everything someone could be looking for. With a toll road (closed in the winter), historical artifacts, bike paths, walking paths, and reenactments that happen in the summer, this is an ideal spot for picnics and learning. We probably walked a little over 3 miles today on rolling hills that were once walked by the very people who gave this country their Independence.

PS: To get into the Park just became free any time in the year.

6 hrs in Key West

Since I was in Miami, I begged my friend to go to Key West for the day. It wasn’t hard, she’s up for just about anything (lucky me). Once I set foot on Key West, I knew I had to come back. I could stay a few days there, go parasailing, lay out on the beach, go snorkeling, do a sunset cruise or maybe go on a dolphin cruise. There were so many activities out on the water that I wanted to run to a boat and get on.

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But since we were only there for about 6 hours, I didn’t have time to do any of the things that I mentioned above and still have time to do some of the land things on my list. Which is reason #1 why I want to go back.

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Key West reminded me a lot of Cape Cod but with clearer and bluer water — above is me in the Gulf of Mexico, an ocean I hadn’t put my toes in before so I knew I had to do that here just to say I had!

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If you’re looking for some places to walk around and just hang out, try hitting up Mallory Square or Duval Street — while you’re at it, go to Kermit’s Key Lime Shop for some Key Lime pie. If you like Key Lime, this is the snack for you. For lunch, try stopping by Conche Republic Seafood or Waterfront Brewery which are scenically located right on the water and boat dock.

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Last but not least try Hemighway’s House — which has his “ancestor cats”, I love that the cats can go wherever they want but us humans can’t touch the bed. Don’t forget about the Southernmost point in the US! That has to be the first thing you do, don’t forget about it! Who knows when you will be able to say that you stood there again!

Overall, I can’t wait to go back to Key West and just relax for a weekend there. It’s definitely worth the 3+ hour drive (one-way) from Miami.