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?

Vacati(on) continued…

Rain droplets.  Cool breeze.  Smells of coffee eradiating from the kitchen.  Sounds of bare feet tip-tapping across the kitchen tile.

Every morning could wake me up in this exact same way.  I wouldn’t mind.  At all.

I made a quickie breakfast so that I’d have a bit of extra morning time for reading.  Same as yesterday’s combo, only with an addition of FEED apple granola and some shredded coconut.

 

Books and Coffee!!!

I’m working my way through each chapter, loving this book more and more.  I can’t even explain what it is that I love about the book.  The author’s vivid descriptions of life, emotions, adventures?  The fact that it involves a beautiful tale of the tie between boy and dog?  The adventures?  I don’t know.  Honest to goodness.  But it’s captivating and I can not put it down. 

Now let me introduce you to Mt. Tecumseh

4,003 ft.

2.5 miles to the top, 5 miles round trip

Shortest of NH’s 4,000 ft. mountains.

Short but steep.

I don’t really know what I was expecting from this mountain.  I guess I was equating “short” with “easy.”  Lesson learned.  Short does not necessarily mean easy.

The first 1/3 of the mountain was decently reasonable, but from there on, the trail took us on a direct shot to the summit.  No fooling around!  I can think of but one word to most adequately explain this trail: stairmaster. 

 

 Or maybe three: stairmaster on steroids.

What.  A.  Workout. 

 

 I packed lots of goodies to keep us fueled though…

Granola bars…

Gorp (i.e., kashi heart to heart, craisins, mixed nuts)…

Lemonade…

Oranges…

Crackers with peanut butter and jarlsberg cheese.

I ate my weight and more.  I’m always starving when I’m hiking which is a good thing.  It’s important to stay well fueled and hydrated. 😀

 I loved the trail, for all its unexpected twists and turns, steep & grueling climbs, and gorgeous openings.  Stunning.

 

 View from the summit (below).

 

 Oh, and mom’s hiking boots were finally laid to rest after today’s hike.  They served her well, through countless mountains, muddy trails, rocks, medical tape and duct tape.

FYI, you never know when you might need duct tape on a hike.  Just sayin’. 

 

 Post-hiking trip, we found a nearby river to ice our legs in…

 

 I’ll  bet this was the old fashioned method used by many hikers and frontiersmen alike.  The icy water felt so delicious on my tired legs. 😀

 

 Time to EAT!

I dove right into the last of the watermelon while Dad got to work on the grill.

 

 Then I moved on to a large salad, complete with the basics (i.e., cucumber, tomato, lettuce, etc.) as well as some gourmet green olives and the last of the refried beans.  No dressing required!

 

 Dad cooked up some grilled zucchini and summer squash (simply drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with garlic powder…cook directly on the grill) and Al Fresco Buffalo Chicken Sausages in a whole wheat bun.  I topped mine with sauteed green bell peppers, vidalia onions and ketchup.  Lots and lots of ketchup.

Amazing.

 

Two big ol’ scoops of Edy’s Sandwich Cookie icecream were also consumed, followed not long after with a bowl of kashi heart to heart cereal and soymilk. 

Finally full and happy.

 

 Somehow I have a feeling that tomorrow, being the last full day of our vacation, is going to involve a lot of R&R. 

Can’t wait! 😀

Question: Which do you prefer: oceans, lakes, pools, or rivers? 

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?