Pine Cobble Trail, Williamstown, MA September 2017

Last summer, we took a beautiful hike up the pine cobble trail in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  It was communicated to us as being a “mild walk over a ridge.” We had visions of it being a quick up and down again- but it ended up being much more of a hike than we expected.  ( I think it took about 4 hours total.) Part of the hike was along the Appalachian trail.  This part of the AT was unknown to me as I have ever only encountered the section in the presidential range of the White Mountains.  I was pleased to find that it was well marked and full of interesting thru- hikers who were all very friendly.   We had a blast and it was a lovely adventure.   I wanted to show some pictures of this wonderful day.

IMG_7029

The view from the top of the ridge was spectacular.  Below you can see Williamstown itself.

IMG_7030

Finally, on the return down the other side of the ridge we came across an old mill pond. The sound of the water running in the woods along the trail was so peaceful.  If you are ever in the Williamstown area and looking for a (relatively) easy day hike I totally recommend it.  Have a week great everyone!

IMG_7036

Luton Hoo, England 2016

Hello travelers! I hope you had a nice weekend.  I thought I would share with you my visit to Luton Hoo Hotel from June 2016.  It is a spectacular luxury hotel in what was a grand country estate.

IMG_3970

IMG_3944

Above is my mom standing at the side entrance.  I learned about Luton Hoo after seeing the same stairwell in several films.  It was so spectacular that I kept noticing it- and I am sure it will look familiar to many of you as it has been in everything from Eyes Wide Shut to various James Bond films to War Horse.

 

While this was mildly interesting to me, the building itself and especially the gardens were what I found fascinating.  During our explorations of the grounds we came across a grass tennis court…

IMG_3952

We also found a Japanese inspired garden – which I wish I had more photos of because it was so lovely and picturesque.  It had many cute water features and stone walk ways. Below is unfortunately the best picture I took.IMG_3958

At the end of our ramble we encountered one of the great features of the English county estate: The haha! This clever design element allows for an uninterrupted view of the landscape and fields without running the risk of any cattle or sheep to come too close to the main building.  Thee can be seen all over England.  We also saw them at Rousham.

IMG_3956

I am not sure if the picture does it justice- it is quite formidable and if one should foolishly decide to jump into it, (as I may or may not have done) it is really hard to get back out again!

I would highly recommend Luton Hoo- if you like expensive hotels and feel like a splurge, this would be the place to do it! (I should also note that the hotel is now surrounded by a golf course which seems to draw many people here. Also weddings. Lots and lots of weddings!

IMG_3936

Lake Waban, Wellesley, Massachusetts

Lake Waban is not a long journey from my home, but it is a very special place.  I grew up nearby and learned to swim in this lake.  My mom sent me this spectacular picture of the sunset last night and it looked so tranquil I had to share.  If you are ever in the Boston area and looking for a beautiful place to take a walk, I highly recommend it.  There is also a beautiful topiary garden which I will write about more in another post. Happy Thursday!

IMG_0065

Seattle, Washington May 2018

Greetings! This past weekend I was lucky enough to have the chance to visit some family in Seattle.  I had previously been there in 2016, and was eager to return and do some more exploring.  On this visit, I spent some time on Bainbridge Island and did a hike up Rattlesnake Ridge.

Bainbridge Island

IMG_8756

The Ferry ride over to the Island was very short and easy.  We got in line, without any reservation, and were soon on our way across to the island with only minimal waiting as we took a car across.  Above is the view of the city from the ferry- sadly no Space Needle in this picture.

We took a walk along a beautiful beach in Fay- Bainbridge State Park. This beach featured some old dead logs that presumably washed up on shore after falling off of a boat.  This seems to be a feature of the Pacific Northwest- on our previous visit we spent some time exploring a beach on the other side of the Olympic Mountain range which had the same type of logs:

IMG_4489

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the town on the Island. It was very reminiscent of many little island towns in New England- cute, charming shops and cozy little restaurants. We then took a ferry back to the city.  Again, it was smooth and easy. (This is surprising to me, as I am used to the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard which requires reservations to be made months and months in advance when taking a car across.)

Rattlesnake Ridge

We spent the second day of my visit hiking up Rattlesnake Ridge– and we were not alone. The walk up was slightly less crowded, but going down it was practically a moving line of people.  It was understandable, as this was a beautiful day of a long weekend, but it did diminish the sense of solitude that the woods can provide.

The hike is a lovely gradual path up switchbacks through the forest. Unlike hiking in New England, the path was almost totally devoid of rocks which needed to be scrambled over. (I am not such a fan of that aspect of hiking in New Hampshire).  The contrast of this flat, smooth, even trail was quite astounding.

IMG_8782

The trees were really spectacular- they towered over us, seemingly 10 stories tall.

IMG_8786

The view from the top of the ridge was of Mount Si on one side- (far too steep for the likes of me.)

IMG_8798

And the other view point was Rattlesnake Lake.  I began to get very nervous about how precarious the cliff was and the number of other people who were there- it seemed like it would be quite easy to fall off the edge!

IMG_8802

As it turns out, tragically, there have been numerous accidental deaths here- several people got too close to the edge and fell off, so my apprehension about getting too close was well justified!

I had a fantastic time in Seattle and the visit was all too brief. Until next time! (Above is a picture of my brother Josh and I being goofy and a view of the Olympic Mountain Range from Golden Gardens Park.)

 

Musée d’Orsay, Paris May 2018

During our visit to France, we spent a Sunday afternoon at the Musee d’ Orsay.   This is one of the best known museums in the world, so there is not too much I can contribute, other than my experience.

We bought tickets ahead of time, in a effort to beat the crowds and it turned out that many others had had the same idea… we waited for almost an hour to get in. However, it was not raining at the time, and we had just arrived in Paris, so the experience of waiting was not at all unpleasant.  We made friends with some fellow museum goers waiting with us.

IMG_8289

There are no words to describe the collection of Impressionists.  (By the time we got inside, we only had an hour and a half to see everything, so we went for the most popular, of course).  It was truly astounding. Room after room of masterpieces.  The only down side was that we were not alone.

This was our experience of trying to see Starry Night Over the Rhône:

IMG_8301

(I have included a link to the actual painting so you know which painting I am talking about.  Its impossible to tell through the fog of tourists.)

My favorites however, were the lesser known paintings by Monet:

img_8293.jpg

IMG_8292

And, my personal favorite, the Turkeys:

img_8291.jpg

We also were able to see some lesser known VanGogh Paintings also:

 

(Apologies for the strange angles, it was challenging to get clear pictures that did not have other people in them.)

Sadly, as the museum was closing, things got less crowded and we came across this lovely little painting, The White Cat, by Pierre Bonnard

 

(As a cat lover, this was a highlight for me).  I wish you Merry travels!