Happy Earth Day, All!
While our bedroom styling post is in the works, I just wanted to jump on here and share with you all a little bit about how I connect with the outdoors and Mother Nature; my go-to’s when I need a break from reality and want to connect with something other than the internet.
Earth Day comes this year at a time when we are all trying to come to terms with our current and new “normal,” and when for some, the outdoors is one of the only saving graces! I know for us, an early morning chat and coffee on the balcony- listening to the birds and enjoying the breeze, or an evening walk to look at the lake has been so enjoyable after being cooped up in the house all day working.
There are a MILLION ways that you can get outside and connect with the world around you, and everyone has a preference. I definitely went through a phase in life where I didn’t like dirt, and bugs freaked me out, and it was too hot or too cold, or I thought being outside wasn’t as fun, but in the last few years especially, I have really re-connected and come to understand what nature does for me and have found a tremendous amount of healing in being on a mountain, or in the lake, and just sitting with my own thoughts, my own body, and my own soul. For those reasons I try to get outside at least once a day, and when I can, plan a bigger trip that allows me to separate from the every day for a while! Below are my Top 3 forms of “getting out there,” and just writing about it gets me excited to plan our next adventure!
Take a Hike
I was always encouraged to spend time outdoors growing up. My Mom and Dad always had us building forts outside, fishing, riding bikes, playing sports, etc., and though we did take some family car camping trips throughout my childhood, it wasn’t until I was in college that I really found a new passion and hobby that connected me to the outdoors, and that was hiking/backpacking.
There are two gentleman in the photos with me below, and one is my Uncle VJ. He picked up backpacking when he was in college and since has tackled many a mountain... has completed all of the 4,000 footers in NH, and many others in his trips across the country. He has every piece of camping/hiking gear, and every gadget you could ever think of, has an incredible sense of direction, is in incredible shape, and knows how to plan the most memorable and incredible trips!
What started as a yearly effort to get my brother and I out to the Whites for a car camping trip, has turned into him and I tackling mountains of our choice over a weekend full of exercise, fresh air, beautiful views, and SO many laughs and memories made. It has been over 5 years now, and we STILL talk about the first few trips we ever took; I love being able to spend that time with him.
A hike in the Spring or Summer is always fun, but what I have really taken to (which surprises most people) is Winter backpacking trips! My Dad for example thinks I am crazy for wanting to be outside for hours at a time in the below zero temperatures, but I look forward to it more and more every time and try to explain to him that its a rush you get... a kind of “Survivor” like game you play while trying to stay warm and make it to the top. I like the challenge of it all; the connection between mind and body.
Over all what I love about hiking in general is the freedom and the overall reward, which for me comes in various forms: the feeling of your body getting you to the top (regardless of how steep or how treacherous the weather or the terrain is), the snacks you get at the top or when you reach the hut, not to mention the most stunning and mind blowing... the views! I have been to many summits, and some even more than once... it never. gets. old.
An assortment of photos from backpacking and camping trips we’ve taken in the White Mountains the last few years. (AMC) Zealand Hut, Garfield Mountain, (AMC) Lonesome Lake Hut, and High Hut on Cardigan Mountain.
Swim like a Fish
Growing up in the Lakes Region, we were ALWAYS at the beach/lake spending time together once the weather got nice. My brother was known for hating the sand between his toes, but my sister and I were known as little kids to be “fish,” and would always fight my Mom for “five more minutes” when she told us it was time to go home. Not huge fans of “going for a dip” back in the day... we would want to stay for HOURS. We would beach it from sun up until sun down if we could, and given that my birthday is in July, we even spent multiple birthday parties with family and friends sat out on the sand or navigating the deep end while playing chicken or Marco Polo. I vividly remember my sister learning to swim and my brother and I taking turns “screaming” under water as we moved backwards to see how far we could hear each other. So many days spent using our imaginations and cooling off when it was too hot outside. Can’t beat it.
There is something about the lake... both the calmness and beauty of it when no one else is around; when the mountains peak out over it in the distance and the birds are chirping, and the chaos of it when tourists come to join us for the Summer and everyone seems to fight for their spot on the sand or in the cool water. I cant think of a time I wasn’t enjoying just relaxing or having fun while somewhere at the beach in our hometown. Now that I am older, I know how lucky we are.
In that same light, my family has also always loved Wells Beach in Maine, which is our beach of choice when we venture out of lake life and head for something bigger! Long walks searching for shells, playing frisbee and jumping waves until all we can taste is salt water and our bodies are tired, eating seafood... what isn’t to like?!
Water does so much for or bodies in the first place, but I am a firm believer in that it does something for the soul as well. Highly recommend!
An assortment of photos from life on Winnipesaukee, along with pictures from our family trip to Wells last Summer for my Nama’s 70th Birthday.
Green Thumb & Farm Fun
For those who might not know, being at a local farm or garden center is one of my favorite places to be when the weather allows! Come Spring and Summer, all I can think about is getting my plant and flower fix, enjoying some homemade treats, checking out some furry friends or supporting local businesses while gathering fresh veggies for a Summer salad!
I worked three seasons at a local farm in Gilford, NH and while working there, I not only made memories that will last a life time, but also gained and learned SO many skills that I still use on the daily. I tended to plants and flowers in the greenhouses, I led field trips during pumpkin and corn maze season, I helped run the retail side of the farm stand, I made sandwiches and salads fresh from ingredients we grew in the deli, baked pies and other goodies in the bakery, made donuts, fed animals, harvested veggies, seeded and transplanted crops, packaged raw chickens to sell to customers, leaned to drive the “gator,” picked many weeds, painted and built things, and got a firm understanding of what happens behind the scenes and the people that work hard to make it all happen... rain or shine. I have since gained an incredible respect for all of those out there living this lifestyle and providing for their communities. I am honored to say that I was a part of it for the time that I was, and I always look forward to visiting to support them even now!
Apple picking, pumpkin picking, petting zoos, fresh fruit and veggies, grass fed beef and other meat, donuts, jellies, jams, fish ponds, flowers... all while being outdoors! Everything about being in that atmosphere makes me happy. I can’t wait to be able to visit all of our favorite farms this year. Until then, I know many farms are running CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture) programs with curbside pick ups or delivery! I will definitely be participating this year!
An assortment of photos from my time working at Beans and Greens in Gilford, and visiting Smith’s Apple Orchard in Gilford, NH, as well as Tougas Family Farm near where we live in Worcester!
I hope this got you all excited about your next adventure, and has inspired you to spend some time out in what is natural in this world! Sometimes all we need is some time to reflect and be in the quiet; especially when things are so uncertain. Please do your part to act sustainably when you can, and take care of our planet, no matter how small you feel your contributions are - it is a gift to be alive and to be here, and we should be showing thanks and gratitude to Mother Earth!