Tag Archives: winter

It’s March 26th Already?

26 Mar

I hate when bloggers disappear for months or years and then make excuses for not blogging.

So, I will pretend I’ve been blogging all along, with no hiatus to speak of – because you don’t deserve to listen to excuses and I shouldn’t be making them!

So what’s up in the world of Blue Bin and Hardtack today?

FACTS:

  • Spring is here, but it’s not. We’ve had a fire in the fireplace 2 of the last 4 nights.
  • We’re coming up on 6 months married (amazing!).

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  • I’m working on a travel bucket list for 2015.
  • We’re both in physical therapy for separate injuries (he’s recovering from surgery like a champ).
  • We took up cross country skiing this winter, and loved it (but have not yet purchased gear).

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  • We have been cooking less than we should – let this be a public proclamation of intention to improve upon that.

 

So – look for some throwback posts over the next couple months as I share things worth sharing that I may have missed (our honeymoon!!!), some future planning posts to keep the fires of excitement burning for new adventures and new travels (island kayak camping with old friends!), and hopefully some guest posts (ahem, Portland cousin who shall not be named)!

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Good to be back (not that I was ever away).

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From the Mountaintop to Marriage

18 Jan

I’ve been away too long, again. This time there’s a very, very good reason. I’ve been celebrating all day, every day (and working just enough hours not to starve) for the past two weeks, exactly. On January 4th, 2014, HT and I got engaged!!

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It was just the most love-filled and joyous night of my entire life, so I thought I’d document a bit of it here. Then back on the blogging horse we go!

To start at the beginning, we were supposed to spend New Year’s Eve in Great Barrington, MA. We loved it up there on a previous trip, we wanted a low key but special locale for a fun night together, it seemed appropriate. Then I got sick as a dog for a few days and we had to cancel the whole thing. BUT—luckily the gods were smiling and we were able to reschedule all of our plans for the following Saturday, thus planning a Faux New Year’s Eve. I was instructed by HT to still pack my NYE dress and still get excited, so I did.

We journeyed up to the Berkshires (beautiful in the snow) and after grabbing a coffee in Stockbridge, decided to wander through the Norman Rockwell Museum. It’s so cute and well done, so New Englandy and so Americana…we enjoyed it. I had quite a few favorite Saturday Evening Post covers.

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Later in the day, befitting the day’s events, one in particular became my absolute favorite. Can you guess which?

Plus, despite 6 degree temps, the sun was shining all day.

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We ate pizza (divine) at Baba Louie’s in GB and made our way to the motel/hotel/inn to hang before dinner.

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Then I opened some wine, we enjoyed the sweet, sweet vibe at The Briarcliff Motel.

The second we arrived at the Briarcliff, I was convinced we’d be back. It has such a laid back vibe as a completely renovated, vintage-obsessed hipster-meets-IKEA 60’s motel, owned and operated by the coolest English couple in Great Barrington (Lee, actually). It was super clean, thoughtful, and the continental breakfast was completely homemade, delicious, AND they had beagle pillows in the lobby lounge. Cute. Shot_10AA-560x373

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I left there thinking I want to do the same thing and overhaul an old dusty motel in the Adirondacks, actually.

So we drank wine, we lounged, HT asked the innkeepers to light the beautiful fire bowl outside for us and we layered up (6 degrees, mind you, and the sun is setting) to go enjoy the fire at the foot of Monument Mountain. They brought blankets and hot chocolate. Life was good.

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Then, a magical thing happened. On top of being in a beautiful, charming place, cozy by the fire and happy to be celebrating faux New Year’s Eve, HT got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife!

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Long story short, I have been floating ever since. I didn’t know how this would feel until it happened, and now that it has, it’s truly better than I could have ever imagined—just to know that the person I love most, wants to sign up for a whole, long, lively life with me. It’s the best feeling in the world. The night was a blast, with dinner at Allium and drinks and a funny country band at this awesome hippie bar, the Gypsy Joynt. What a night.

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So now, if you’re like everyone else, you ask when’s the wedding? To which I say, we’re not sure, but start training, ’cause you may have to climb to get there. Will Hike For Fiancee, that’s what I say.

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HIKE & EAT: Camp Smith Trail & Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

25 Jan

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A challenging day hike a mere 45 minutes from New York City is the Camp Smith Trail from the Bear Mountain Bridge Toll House to Anthony’s Nose and back.  We recently completed this hike on Martin Luther King Day.   According to our mapmyhike reading, it is a 7.77 mile hike back and forth.   I have found mapmyhike to be relatively accurate in determining distances.  The Town of Cortlandt lists the hike as only being 2.5 miles each way—this is absolutely wrong as the road distance between the two trails is 2.5 miles and the trail is anything but straight.  In fact, part of what makes it a challenging day hike is the constant change in direction and elevation changes. 

Given our struggles at Storm King as detailed in my last post, we came prepared with Yaktrax.  Bear Mountain to the West appeared covered in snow.  Fortunately, the trail was in great shape and except for a few icy areas we could hike at a quick pace.  As with most of our hikes, the Red Headed Stranger led the way.  We can always tell if there are hikers ahead as she pushes the pace to absurd levels in their pursuit. 

There were a few stretches where we might as well have been running. 

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HIKE: Storm King (The Howell Trail)

11 Jan

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On Saturday we made our way to Storm King State Park for a challenging winter hike.   I’ve done this 9.6 mile loop many times and I consider it one of the toughest day hikes in the Hudson Highlands.   Storm King Mountain lies on the west side of the Hudson River, just across the river from the far more famous and busier Breakneck Ridge hike.   Storm King is blessed in that unlike Breakneck Ridge, it doesn’t have a convenient train stop from NYC near the trailhead, and therefore, far less traffic.     For whatever reason, trail guide books never include the Howell Trail in their suggested hikes for Storm King.  I don’t know why.  The trail starts about 5.5 miles into the hike at a mere 200 feet above sea level and quickly ascends to 1200 feet.  Along the way, the views of the Hudson River are spectacular.  It eventually drops back down to 520 feet before rising back to 1100, all of this in just a couple of miles.  If you think the elevation gains are paltry, you are wrong.  This stretch is tough and the terrain can be unforgiving.  I’m not going to compare it to difficult stretches of Devil’s Path in the Catskills, but it isn’t Bear Mountain either.  I’ve never encountered another hiker on the Howell Trail. It is the road less travelled.

We set off around 11:30am.  It was crisp, cold day, but perfect for a hike.  We expected snow on the ground, but not as nearly as much as we encountered.   For most of the first 5.5 miles the snow had been packed down by previous hikers.  I always find hiking in New York to be deceptively hard as most trails have a myriad of rocks, roots, fallen trees, and rarely if ever, a switchback.  You tend to go straight up and straight down.   This day we were making great time as the packed snow created a sometimes slick, but mostly an easy path to travel on.  The Red Headed Stranger, a veteran of this hike, led the way and pushed the pace.  Blue Bin had no idea what was ahead. Continue reading

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