Sunday, October 9, 2016

Relaxing in the Adirondacks

And I don't mean chairs. I mean the Adirondack Mountains! It was Sunday, and the only thing we had on our agenda for that day was the drive from Saratoga Springs to Rochester, so we found a hike that was not too far out of the way where we could connect with nature. After a hike of about a mile through a forest carpeted in freshly fallen leaves, we came to these beautiful falls!







This girl... always looking at the details.



We climbed to the top of the falls, and this was our view from up there.



We stayed and played for a couple hours.



Love this crew!



Tender daddy daughter moment.



This kid sent many, many leaf boats down the waterfall.



We had to be careful because leaves that were floating around in the water would gather around the rocks and make it look like solid ground.



Does this look like a fairytale brook or what? Can you even see the little bit of water flowing behind them?



Lots of the rocks were carpeted in green shag. It was pretty cool.



Our souls were refreshed and ready for another week of fun!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fat and Happy in Vermont

Vermont means green mountain in French. I suppose the mountains are green in summer, but they were ablaze in reds, oranges, and yellows while we were there. Vermont is farmland, organic, homegrown, maple syrup, and cheese. Vermont food is legit. It's no wonder we decided to eat our way through this beautiful state. Our first stop was the maple sugar works where we got to taste all four grades of maple syrup.





Grade A is collected earliest in the season and has a light color and delicate flavor. Grade D is collected the latest in the season and has a deep brown color and robust flavor. We liked grade A the best. You can see the stark difference in color between the grades in these little vials that were sitting against a window.



There was a maple trail where we could see the trees up close and examine the system of tubes they had for gathering the sap.



And of course, just to be cute, everybody in Vermont puts out adorable displays of pumpkins in autumn. Everywhere we went looked like a scene from the folk art puzzles we like to do.



Next we went to the Ben & Jerry's factory for some mighty delicious ice cream! This was my lunch.







In the flavor graveyard, I reminisced about Wavy Gravy, which I used to eat in the nineties.



And being a Monty Python fan (in theory), Russ had to get a pic next to this one.





Then we were off to the Cabot cheese shop. This cow was just begging a kid to put their face through. My kids are always happy to oblige.



We tried over 30 types of cheeses! And some other stuff, too. Russ is allergic to dairy, so he's pretty awesome for waiting since the line was so long.



Did I mention they have a chocolate factory, too? Oh yeah, we had caramel apple chocolates.



Next we went to the cider mill.



Of course we had to have the "legendary" cider doughnuts! They weren't nearly as good as the cider.



This cider was unbelievably good. It tasted like real apples! Do you know the difference between cider and juice? I do (and it's not what I thought it was because the grocery store cider led me astray). I'll give you a hint... it's kinda like the difference between jam and jelly.



They had a window where we could watch the apple mash get pressed into cider.



After our bellies were all full, we went to check out Stowe, Vermont, which is a resort town. They had a little walkway that started behind the church, and it had all sorts of outdoor art for us to enjoy. The kids loved this one called Earscape. They could all talk and listen to each other through the ears.









Be still, my heart!



Another joins the group.



And another!



The whole place was just so scenic.







Good thing Paige took over the camera for a while to make sure there were some pictures of me.



I LOVE this picture!!



Russ and the kids had fun with the saw blade art.



When it was almost dusk, we headed up the stairway back to the street.



And this picture just because it's cute.



At the end of the day, we tried to get whoopie pies, which are apparently a big thing in Vermont, but the bakery shop was all out of them, so we settled for some very mediocre treats and a few souvenirs from a gift shop. Goodbye Vermont! Save us some whoopie pies next time!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Red, Gold, and Green

The kids were delighted to learn that our hotel in New Hampshire had a mini golf course.



After playing a few holes of golf, we went to check out the Kancamagus Highway. There is no way to describe to you the beauty of this highway. We saw leaves of maroon, scarlet, crimson, amber, pumpkin, rust, gold, and everything in between! There are also many hikes and lookout points along the highway, which makes it a really great place to explore. Our first stop was a hike to a waterfall.







As we ventured deeper into the woods, the leaves seemed to becomes more and more green. Apparently the leaves that are protected by other trees don't turn colors as early, so the highway was really the best place to view the color. Our next stop was an overlook where we could see the treetops in the distance. Amazing, isn't it?



Seeing all those colorful trees was beautiful, but I longed to pull over and find a great spot to explore and absorb the autumn splendor up close. Wish granted! Now before I post all the pictures of my family, I just want to take a moment to let you get a taste of the beauty we experienced.















Awesome, right?

At our chosen spot, we walked through the woods across beds of freshly fallen leaves.



And then we came upon a stream, which provided the perfect place to relax and play (and take pictures).











After we had our fill, we drove farther down the highway to another trail along the water. I love this picture with all my heart.



It was too dark to get good pictures of the action, but the kids threw leaves up in the air and then had an epic leaf fight.





Paige took this adorable shot.



This trail also had a scenic bridge, and you know I love bridges!





Although we did not have time for all the amazing stops I had planned, we were satisfied after this beautiful day.