Vacationing Adventures

I love vacation, but I love the vacation mindset even more.  Relax.  Breathe.  Take your time.  Do what you love.  Enjoy.

I wouldn’t want vacation all the time—it wouldn’t feel quite as special, now would it?  But at the same time, it’s nice to think that you can always experience a little bit of vacation whenever and wherever you are.  Even if that means trying a new restaurant that you’ve never been to or taking pictures of everything—everything!!—in your very own neighborhood.  Your own backyard.  I dare you to go out and see your town through an outsiders’ eye.  I’ll bet there are a ton of treasures just waiting to be discovered.

Anyways, on to breakfast.  I simply mixed in the last of the yogurt with about a cups worth of kashi heart to heart, and topped it all off with 1/2 a banana, craisins, coconut and a dollop of teddy peanut butter.

Simple.  But very tasty and satisfying. 😀

 

 Everyone felt like walking.  Nobody felt like hiking.  Well, the idea of Mt. Washington did come up once or twice, but only in a joking, “haha” sort of way.  A nature walk sounded more appropriate for a warm, sunny afternoon. 

 

 The nature walk ended up taking us through dirt roads, past raspberry bushes, and over hills.  Four miles, round trip.  My legs were feeling a little tired from yesterday’s hike, and I considered waiting by the sign for a bus. 

 

 But I was soon drawn in to view the rapids.  The mad, rushing fury of the river intertwined with the calm, peaceful serenity of New Hampshire’s woods was breathtaking.  Breathtaking. 

Oh how I love New Hampshire.

 

 That was when I slipped on a rock and practically threw my camera up into the air.  Visions of a shattered lens upon the rocks.  Smash.  Glass.  Tears.

But that never actually happened.  Somehow I managed to catch myself midair, and tucked my camera in before I could plummet to the earth.  With my camera safely tucked away, back in the case where it belonged, I sat down on the rocks and just took in all the scenery and sounds of the river.

New Hampshire.  Walking and hiking.  Fun.  Adventure.

 

 For lunch, we found a picnic table near a river and pulled out some goodies that we had packed in our cooler.

Plums

Italian Baguette

Vermont Goat Cheese

Salad

 

 Everything was so fresh and delicious!

 

 And the Italian bread from a local cafe pretty much made this meal.  Crispy, doughy, and still warm from being baked that very morning.

The thick slab of creamy goat cheese didn’t hurt either. 😉

 

 The rain began to fall this afternoon, and when we were safely back at the cottage, the books came out and coffee was made.  I took a shower, plopped down on the couch and just read.  It felt so incredibly luxurious. :mrgreen:

Afternoon Snack: Last of the salad with a dollop of roasted red pepper hummus

 

 I’m one of those people who would normally rather make a meal at home, versus going out to a restaurant.  Let’s be honest.  How many restaurants can offer a warm, inviting atmosphere, along with serving food that you will remember for days?  Months?  Years?  I’ve been sorely disappointed too many times, leaving a restaurant with a big bill and nothing to show for it.  Nothing to brag about. 

But that’s not always the case.  And today, my family found a jewel of a restaurant in Lincoln, NH.  A place that I’m already looking forward to visiting again the next time I’m here on vacation.

The Common Man

 

 

 The decor of the restaurant was quaint and rustic.  With smells of warm bread baking in the oven, and a warm, inviting atmosphere, I felt an immediate connection to the place.   I imagine it’s a little like walking into a favorite aunt’s house for the holidays and feeling nothing but comfort.  Or talking with someone whom you’ve never met before and immediately feeling as if you’ve known that person all your life. 

It’s that kind of feeling.

 

 

 

 There were two floors to the restaurant, and my family was seated upstairs in a dining room.  Down on the first floor, there was a trio of cheese offerings.  I sampled a lil’ bit of each, but somehow convinced myself to save room for the main course. 

 

 Although I definitely could have made a meal out of this Italian bread and whipped butter.  Amazing. 

 

 

 For my main entree, I ordered the Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Peach Compote.  It came with a baked potato (I requested that it be served dry without sour cream or butter) and green beans.

Oh.  My.  Word.

The baked potato skin was crispy and sea salted, the beans were tender and fresh, and the pork was out-of-this-world delicious.  Melt in your mouth delicious. 

 

 I couldn’t fathom the idea of eating dessert after my meal, despite the tempting dessert menu.  But the complimentary white chocolate was the perfect, sweet finale to a wonderful meal.

 

 I am now off to read the night away!!

Question: Do you have a favorite restaurant?

D-D-D-Drivin’ Along

I love waking up to a big bowl of fruit.  A big ol’ bowl of watermelon.  Juicy.  Sweet.  Refreshing.

 

It held me over until everyone else woke up around 8:30.  Time for oats, coffee, and the discussion of plans for the day.

I made the same mix as yesterday, only I subbed in a nectarine for the banana. 

 

We decided to keep the plans laid back for today.  It was raining, so hiking was out of the question.  Not that I’m against hiking in the rain, but I’d much rather be out hiking and have it start to rain, versus starting out a hike in the rain.  If that makes any sense at all.  Probably not. 😉

Anyways, as I was saying, the plans were laid back. 

Drive.

Eat.

Act like a tourist.

 

 We took a drive out to North Conway, and hit one of our favorite restaurants in the area for lunch.  The Muddy Moose.  I have yet to be disappointed here.  Their food is always delicious and the selection is great—everyone leaves happy and satisfied, no matter what the palate preference.

Dad ordered a dish of mussels in a white wine sauce for the table to share.  Um.  Amazing.  ‘Nuff said.

 

 

 Love the New Hampshire charm of the restaurant.

Picture drawing is NOT just for kids, FYI.

 

 In addition to the mussels, the meal started out with some warm, crispy bread.  So good!  I’m kind of a self-proclaimed bread snob, and this one was perfect.  Doughy on the inside, crispy on the out.  Yum!

 

 For my entree, I ordered the Portobello Burger.  I was expecting an actual burger-styled mushroom, but it came out in a roll.  At first I felt disappointed.  And then I took a bite.  Disapointment flew out the window.  Whoooosh!!!

This.  Was.  Delicious. 

The mushrooms were moist and meaty—packed with flavor.  They mixed and mingled with the broccoli, onions, olive oil & garlic, and tomatoes, creating the ultimate flavor combination.  I will definitely be attempting a “remake” at home. 😉

 

 Fellow Bloggie! :mrgreen:

 

 The rest of the day involved:

More driving…

More eating… (granola bars, fruits, hummus & veggies)

 

Viewing rivers, mountains, lakes…

 Being silly…

 Shopping…

Trying on hats and looking totally chic while doing it…

 

 Did I mention driving?

We drove through mountains, over mountains, by mountains.  We drove through towns, cities, forests.  We drove through rainstorms.

 

Driving.  Lots of driving.

Nicole and I entered into fits of laughter by the end of the car trip.  We’ll just blame it on exhaustion.  Pure, complete exhaustion. 😉

 

 By the time we rolled on home, we were all starving, and Nate & Nicole treated everyone to some pizza.  I had one giant slice of vegetable pizza and a large side salad, dolloped with a bit of refried beans. 

 

 

 Dinner was delicious.  😀

Cheers!

Peace Out.

Question: What is the longest car ride you have ever been on? 

Vacation: Day 2

Good Morning!!!

I woke up bright and early this morning after a solid 8 hours of sleep.  Slept so good!

Breakfast

Just some plain ol’ oats (1/2 c.) mixed with about a cup’s worth of plain yogurt, topped with cinnamon & nutmeg, and then finished off with a dollop of peanut butter. 

 

And then we all decided to relax with some reading.  My dad and I have ambitions to start a book club at some point, but we always seem to be reading different books at the same time…haha.  Dad is currently reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo…

 

 And I’m reading my way through The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. 

So far?  Lovin’ it!  More reviews as I get further through the book.

 Deckside Reading.

 Morning Snack: Nectarine and a handful of mixed nuts

 

We took a brisk walk to stretch out the soreness and kinks after yesterday’s hike and then headed out for a drive along the Kangamangus Highway. 

You’re probably thinking…highway?  Boring.  Right? 

This highway, however, isn’t ordinary.  It holds spectacular views of the White Mountains, New Hampshire, and there are a ton of vistas and trails to stop at and enjoy the awesome scenery.  So gorgeous! 

 

My lunch was a hodgepodge of all things delicious.

Basic (but delicious) salad.  Sliced green olives.  Walnuts.  Craisins.  Pesto Baguette from a local cafe.  Jarlsberg cheese.  And some more refried beans for protien and fun. :mrgreen:

 

Dessert!!!!

 

 I heart picnic lunches. :mrgreen:

Time to stretch the legs out again!!

We went for a laid back “nature style” walk at Sabbaday Falls.  It felt delicious to  S-T-R-E-T-C-H.

 

I felt as if I had instantly entered a rainforest at the top.  So pretty!

 

 

 This afternoon demanded coffee.  Mostly for a refreshing, cool treat.  But also for the caffeine boost.

We meandered over to a local cafe, and I ordered a medium iced soy au lait.  It was just okay.  Nothing special or wonderful, and it needed some serious doctoring.  I ended up throwing in some cocoa powder and a few sprigs of mint (offered by the cafe, which I loved.) 

Icy.  Cold.  Sweetness.  Perfect for a sunny afternoon treat.

 

 

Looking like the locals. 😀

 

 New Hampshire is full of rivers and swimming pools…

  

 …and places for soaking your feet.

 

 

 

Afternoon Snack: 1/2 a Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax Granola Bar

 

 Dinner

I always look forward to dinner on vacation.  It’s relaxed.  It’s laid back.  It’s delicious.

Tonight’s menu was simple but tasty.  Whole wheat pasta with mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce and some extra sauteed peppers & onions thrown in.

 

 Twirl, twirl, twirl.

 Dessert!!!

It didn’t end there.  Nicole and Nate rolled in the driveway to spend two nights in New Hampshire with us, and we’re all digging into some Edy’s Sandwich Icecream.  Life is good.  End of story.

G’night!

Question: What are you currently reading?  OR, what is your favorite book?  Favorite book: To Kill A Mockingbird

Vaction Day 1 (continued!!)

Mt. Moosilauke

4,802 ft

10 miles round trip

6 hours to complete

 

I woke up this morning at 7:30 sharp.  After taking one quick look at the weather forecast, my heart sank.  Today was supposed to be the nicest of days.  Sunny.  Cool.  Perfect.

Figuring it was too late to get started on a long hike though, I just sipped my coffee and journaled for a bit.  But once I acknowledged this weather news to dad, it wasn’t long before everyone was ready, getting situated in the car, and driving towards the base of Mt. Moosilauke.

I was in charge of preparing the food and packed copious amounts of gorp (i.e. kashi heart to heart, mixed nuts and craisins.)  We stopped at least every hour for handfuls of this stuff.

 

 I also packed granola bars, oranges…

 

 …and bagels.  With globs and globs of peanut butter.  I can not eat enough when I’m hiking and this tasted amazing.  Not even a fancy restaurant meal could have satisfied me more at this point. 😉

 

 

Each mountain holds a story.  A mystery, waiting to be uncovered.  Tales and adventures. 

Mt. Moosilauke had many.  One of the major adventures involved a lost, very young lab/rottweiler mix who followed us up for most of the mountain, sharing our gorp and water, and waiting for us as if he knew he would be safer to follow our “pack.”  I was afraid we wouldn’t find his owner, but at the same time, I knew he would have a home with us if we didn’t.  He was such a great hiking companion and friend, and we all fell quickly in love with the little goober. 

Eventually, we ran into another family and asked them if they would take the dog back down to the hut and see if his owners were waiting for him down at the bottom.  Despite knowing it was better that the pup make his way down the mountain (he was getting tuckered out by this point and we didn’t have enough water), I still almost cried.  I needed to know he would be okay.

And then (the end of this story is in sight) on top of the mountain, I spotted a dog that looked identical to the dog that had been our hiking companion.  Identical!!  Turns out, that dog was “our” dog’s father, and the owner had been searching for him on a different trail.  The story ended happily when the owner reunited with her pup down at the bottom once again. 

I love adventures.  Especially when they have happy endings.

 

 

Once the trees began to look shorter and shorter, we knew that we were quickly approaching the top…

Gorgeous.  Breathtaking.  Surreal.

I felt as if I were in another country.  I’ve never actually visited Scotland, but this is kind of what I would expect it to look like.  I don’t think I would have been the least surprised to spot Sir William Wallace riding his trusty horse along the trail.  :mrgreen:

I love the entire journey of hiking.  The muddy boots.  The smells of pine.  The conversations.  The cleanest of clean fresh air. *Sigh*

But views like this are what make it all come together.  It’s the cherry on the icecream

Goodbye, Mt. Moosilauke!  Until next time. 😀

Driving Home

Three hungry hikers arrived home, and I immediatley pulled out some sushi to munch on.  I’m not even entirely sure what each roll consisted of, but I do know there was shrimp, avocado, and cucumber.  Delicious!

 For the main meal, I made a gigantuous salad, topped with refried beans and half an avocado. Not very pretty, but entirely what I was craving after a long day of hiking.

And then there was food, straight from the grill.  Dad was at it once again…

There was asparagus…

Rib Eye Steak and Grilled Home Fries

Life is good.

Goodnight world…

Until tomorrow!

Question: Do you enjoy sushi?  What is your favorite kind? 

Question: Do you see any shapes in the clouds in the picture above?  I’m curious if other people are seeing the same thing that I’m seeing. 😉

Vacation: Day 1

Listening to the Beatles.  Driving through a gorgeous sunset.  Munching on a hummus veggie sandwich.  Laughing.

I love car trips.

Vacation has commensed.  :mrgreen:

Although my family is not normal.  We don’t relax like normal people do while on vacation.  Instead, I’m rushing around this morning, taking bites of a whole wheat bagel with honey roasted peanut butter & banana, with thoughts of Mt. Moosilauke looming over.  Making gorp.  Making coffee.  Packing lunch (which will probably involve another bagel…HA!) 

I love it. :mrgreen:

Mmmm…hiking fuel.  Gotta love it.

Alrighty, off to help pack up before the day gets too warm! 

Question: What is your ideal vacation?

hiking & summer

This morning demanded a filling breakfast.  This morning demanded oats. 

Same ol’, same ol’ as yesterday, except with the substitution of walnuts for the coconut.  I absolutely love this summery combo!

The reason I needed such a filling breakfast, you ask?

This:

That would be Mt. Monadnock.  It’s not a 4,000ft mountain, but I definitely find it to be one of the more challenging hikes in New Hampshire.  Personal experience.  But this mountain also rewards you with a fantastic view from the top, which makes it all so worth it.

This is what I call lunch with a view.  I would love to be up here at sunset someday.  Maybe I should add that to my Life’s To-Do’s. 😉

My parents and I had such an awesome time, but were completely zonked from the sun by the time we got back to the bottom.  Some of the trail was in the shade, but a lot of it (at least 1-2 hrs. worth of hiking time) was spent in the sun.  Dad was smart to bring a hat.  At least I loaded up on the sunscreen to keep my skin protected. 😉

And, when all is said and done, all I want is pizza (or anything with salt!!) after a long day of hiking.  My parents agreed.

Tomatoes.  Broccoli.  Mushrooms.  Onions.  Peppers.  One deliciously doughy and flaky crust.  Three hungry hikers.

What.  A.  Day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

These past three days have been filled—-absolutely FILLED—with summer.  I almost don’t want it to end. 😀

Campfires.

Cookouts with Family.

Corn on the Cob.

Being Silly and Laughing.

Berry Picking. 

Berry Eating. 

Visiting Farms.

Fresh Strawberries.

Homemade Strawberry Desserts.

Flip-Flops.

Family.

Fourth of July.

Playing volleyball in my bare feet.

Watermelon.

Relaxing.

Peace.

Question: Have you ever gone hiking?  Do you enjoy it?  Where would you go hiking if you could go anywhere?

Hiking and Cookouts…

4th of July weekends are never complete without…

Time Spent Outdoors

The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and the mountain was calling our names. 😉 

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The views on top were absolutely beautiful, making the hike well worth all the effort. 😉  We were trying to figure out how many times we’ve hiked this one up.  I remember climbing up it with the family since I was 4 years old (although I’m pretty sure my dad carried me up at least half-way at that point 😉 ).  I didn’t always enjoy hiking when I was small, but looking back, I’m so glad we did.  So many great memories and now I absolutely love it!!!  You can’t beet getting outside and active on a gorgeous day. 😀

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The mountain has a road to the top too, so I decided to try and hitchhike my way down.  Haha…kidding!  Considering how “busy” the road was, I might have still been there at this very moment.  😉

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Backyard Cookouts

I quickly threw together this pork chop marinade from weber’s great grilling website.  It was so easy to put together.  I simply threw the marinade into a bag, added in the pork chops, and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Just enough time for the coals on the weber to heat right up to the correct temperature.  The outside of the pork chops got all crispy, and the marinade was so very flavorful.  You can barely taste the brown sugar, but it did offer nice crispy edges and markings.  I was a little afraid the lemon juice was going to make it sour, you know?  But it came out nicely balanced with the soysauce, sugar, and olive oil.  Loved it, and I’ll be keeping it on record for the next time we grill up some chops.

Dad did an awesome grilling job, by the way… 😀

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The brussell sprouts were perfecto too!  I drizzled about 1.5 pounds of sprouts with1 T. olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.  I tossed them and threw ’em into a sprayed baking pan, cooking in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

The outer “burnt” edges are the best part. 😀

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There were also some grilled taters.  I sprayed a doubled sheet of foil, threw on 4 chopped potatoes, and drizzled 1 T. olive oil.  Then I liberally sprinkled on garlic powder, cajun, and paprika.  Throw the enclosed packet on the grill, and cook until tender and it starts to brown and gets crispy on the edges.

Easy Peazy!  😀

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All together to make a very delightful meal…

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Watermelon

Because, honestly, what 4th of July celebration is complete without it? 😀

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It was a very enjoyable weekend.  I fit in lots of outdoor activities, spent some great quality time with the family, and enjoyed some very good food too.  I hope you all have really enjoyed this past weekend as well! 😀