It wouldn’t be Memorial Day weekend without either a torrential downpour or sweltering 85 degree heat, and luckily this year we had the latter.
After displaying my patriotism by way of food, I slapped on some zinc oxide, and it was off to Rocky Neck beach.
I always get excited when visiting a new beach, because they all have their own unique characteristics and waterfront landscapes, and Rocky Neck did not disappoint.
The only real downside were the crowds. We waited in a line of cars for about 35 minutes to get into the park, so if you are visiting Rocky Neck on a sunny weekend, try to get there by 10:30 AM.
The frustration of traffic though was quickly forgotten once we made it to the beach.
How eerie is it to see such clear blue water in Long Island Sound?!
Growing up in Fairfield, I’m used to murky shorelines filled with questionable oceanic deposits, so it was an unexpected treat to find such clear water along the Southern coast of Connecticut.
There is also a really incredible boardwalk that stretches the entire length of the beach.
The nice thing about this boardwalk, is rather than being entirely in the sun, it takes you through wooded areas, which offer a nice shady escape not easily found on most beaches.
As you can tell by my skin tone, I don’t have much patience when it comes to lying in the sun, so I took quite a few boardwalk breaks throughout the day.
The boardwalk also takes you out along a charming little estuary.
Below Michal watches a family of crabs along the bottom of the river.
A few other pros and cons:
PRO – the sand is really soft (not rocky–despite the name).
PRO – there are ice cream trucks located at BOTH entrances to the beach
CON – with so many people, one of them is bound to piss you off (a guy threw his bottle of coke into the estuary right in front of me, and I snapped).
PRO – the bathroom and changing facilities are clean
CON – certain areas of the beach are extremely narrow, so on a crowded day expect to overhear lots of other peoples conversations, and vice versa.
PRO – besides the beach, Rocky Neck offers hiking, camping, picnicking, and bike trails!
Camping trip anyone?
May 31, 2010 2 Comments
I’ve been super busy this past week, so sadly the blog has fallen to the wayside, but the plan is to get caught up this Memorial Day weekend, starting with a very exciting event that happened last Saturday–my first Renaissance Fair!
I promise I will reward you all with video footage if you make it through to the end of this entry.
I learned a lot about myself while attending my first Renaissance Fair, such as….
-Spelling the word “fair” as “faire” bothers me
-I do not excel in medieval warfare
-I do not like the smell of leather combined with the smell of hay combined with the smell of small animals
-I only like historical reenactments when I can hide behind the safety of my TV screen
Actually, I’d like to revise my last statement: I only like historical reenactments when I can hide behind the safety of my own TV screen, OR when my friends are being publicly humiliated…
The trip to the fair also doubled as a scouting trip for Michal and Noah, who were on the hunt for some movie props for the film they’re working on this summer–NINJA ZOMBIES.
Below is Meredith checking out some possible daggers for the film (she’s heading up the art department).
We also had the chance to practice our skills at throwing sharp objects.
I love the gusto in which everyone is throwing their axe in the next photo.
Below is what happens when you leave your boyfriend alone for two seconds….
Twould be wise to stay on friendly terms with this brave warrior,
and these fearsome two also….
As promised, I leave you with some video footage….
May 29, 2010 No Comments
Who knew that above Heroes Tunnel on the Merritt Parkway is a scenic state park with over 12 miles of trails?
Being a Connecticut native, I’ve driven through this iconic tunnel hundreds of times, but only just discovered the parks existence this past weekend while researching state parks online.
When I first looked at the map and saw a big yellow blob titled, “West Rock State Park,” right over the Merritt, I thought it was a mistake.
Despite my skepticism, I decided to venture up there on Sunday, and was relieved to find it existed.
To be honest, I half expected the park to be a boring open space with some amateur man-made trails. Even after seeing the entrance, I remember thinking, “this is going to be lame.”
And then I entered the park, and I was a bit taken a back by how wrong I was.
Once you enter there is this gigantic lake that appears out of nowhere, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
From the lake, there are a variety of different trail options, but I mapped out a 3.5 mile course which takes you up along the side of the mountain, and then circles you back down around the base of the lake.
The forest was so lush with vegetation, that it almost seemed foreign.
If someone were to show me the photos I took, my first guess would not be Connecticut.
The path I mapped out was a fairly strenuous 2 hour hike to the top, and there were lots of rocky sections…
So if you’re looking for something a bit more moderate, I recommend sticking to the trails that circle around the base of the lake. I actually merged onto these trails during the last 25 minutes of my hike, and it was a nice cool down
When I finally exited the woods, the sun was blinding, but once my eyes adjusted I got to experience one last view before I left.
I live for pretty landscapes.
May 18, 2010 1 Comment
After breakfast on Sunday, I felt exhausted, so I crawled back into bed and didn’t wake up again until around 1:30 in the afternoon.
I don’t know if it was my allergies, or the fact that I was just a bit behind on sleep, but even after sleeping in, I still felt extremely groggy and a bit in a funk. Even though I was in no mood to get out of bed, I forced myself to at least take a nice long walk outside (which often is the best cure for a stale mood).
First stop along the walk was Cafe Romeo for lunch, because my stomach was already grumbling like crazy. I guess my banana bread oatmeal for breakfast wasn’t decadent enough?
Cafe Romeo is a fairly new eatery in East Rock, and although the competition for Italian food is fierce in this area, they’ve sort of carved out their own little niche by pairing good sandwiches with good aesthetic design.
With their open-air store front and large outdoor seating area, the ambiance is definitely a step above the competition, but their service still hasn’t quite reached the level of professionalism that I guess comes with time. I don’t think this has deterred anyone from going though, because the place was packed!
I ended up ordering something I’ve enjoyed at Cafe Romeo before—their tuna salad sandwich.
I had my tuna salad on their whole wheat bread, but in the past I’ve had it on their pumpernickel rye bread, and that’s definitely my favorite.
I also got to sample their foccacia bread, which Michal had an Eggplant Panini on.
Grilled balsamic marinated eggplant, roasted red peppers, and baby spinach, with a kalamata olive tapenade.
This sandwich melts in your mouth
I also ordered some freshly brewed ice tea, which tasted amazing, and really helped perk me up for the remainder of my Sunday walk.
After Cafe Romeo, I came across a store near the New Haven green that I’ve never noticed before (which is odd since I’ve walked past it at least a dozen times now).
Ten Thousand Villages is fair trade non-profit organization whose mission is to, “provide vital, fair income to Third World people by marketing their handicrafts and telling their stories in North America. Ten Thousand Villages works with artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed. This income helps pay for food, education, health care and housing.” (Source: Ten Thousand Villages website).
Walking through the store felt like someone had stocked the shelves based on my personal taste in jewelry and home decor.
…And because it was for such a good cause, I had to buy a few things, right?
I immediately grabbed a bar of extra dark chocolate, because it’s really hard for me to find authentic chocolate at the local grocery store, and once you acquire a taste for real chocolate, everything else just tastes processed and fake.
My next purchase was the most beautiful card ever, but I can’t show it here, because it’s for mother’s day, and my mother sort of stalks me through this blog, so I don’t want to ruin it for her (sorry mom–you’ll have to wait until Sunday).
My last (and favorite) purchase was a necklace and pair of earrings made from recycled brass.
I’m a bit obsessed with the craftsmanship and beauty of this necklace (this photo doesn’t do it justice), and the coolest part is that they can provide you with a print-out with background information on any item in the store…
My particular necklace came from the non-profit, Jacaranada Workshop, in Kenya, which provides employment, training, and other assistance to artisans with mental or physical abilities.
The sad thing is that I never really realized the impact one can have by simply choosing to buy their jewelry or home decor from developing countries.
I’m definitely going to make more of an effort from here on out to buy jewelry and other decorative items from non-profits such as Ten Thousand Villages, rather than Anthropologie other stores.
On my walk home I passed this advertisement:
I thought the tag-line would be a great motto for this blog, even though my motto for today was sort of “get out more, spend a little!”
Although there was nothing particularly adventurous about this Sunday, by the end of my long walk I felt so much more energized (and happier) than when I had begun, so I stand strong in my belief that it’s always better to just force yourself to get outside if you’re in a funk.
I know it’s hard sometimes, but a long walk in the sunshine can cure even the most stubborn of mental states.
May 4, 2010 1 Comment
That’s right, it’s time to get your smelliest cooler out of the basement, because beach season has officially begun!
On Saturday, Michal and I packed a cooler full of lunch items, and headed out to Hammonassett State Park to spend the day at the beach.
The entry fee into the park is $9, but if you’re like me, it will end up costing you more, because the minute you park you’ll realize you forgot to bring any sort of beach towels or blankets. Luckily your entry receipt is good for the rest of the day, so you can go buy towels at Job Lot leave for a bit and then re-enter the park without having to pay again.
I liked that there were a variety of different landscapes at the park.
Scenic fields, picnic areas, bike paths, boardwalks, and of course the beach….
We did a few epic walks to explore the coast line…
Other than the awful sunburn I now have on my right shoulder, the first beach day of the season was a success.
May 3, 2010 No Comments
What is it about cascading water on steep rocks that makes us so happy?
On Saturday, my friends and I took a break from the film festival to visit Kent Falls State Park, which was only a 5 minute drive up the road.
From the parking lot, you cross over a scenic little bridge to enter the park.
Now I knew there was going to be a waterfall here, but I didn’t quite expect it to be right out in the open once you entered the park. It was a pretty incredible view to be immediately hit with.
There is a beautiful sitting area built around the waterfall too. Below is a picture I snapped at the base of the waterfall looking out onto the park.
For those looking to get a nice hike in, there is a steep trail along the stream that takes you to various lookout points. We didn’t have that much time before we had to get back to the festival, so I only climbed about half-way up.
As fun as this short hike was, I enjoyed my time at the base of the waterfall the most.
I felt so relaxed and happy sitting at the base of the waterfall, and I think it was pretty clear that it had the same therapeutic effect on everyone else…
There is nothing cooler than getting to relax in the sunshine with a rushing waterfall as your soundtrack.
And just in case you missed the waterfall, there was this kid to point it out for you…
cute baby + scenic waterfall = sensory overload
After visiting Kent Falls, I became curious if “waterfall therapy” existed, so I googled it, but only came across a spa that offers a”waterfall therapy package,” where you drench yourself in a cold waterfall and then receive a deep tissue massage. I would much rather just save my money and enjoy the therapeutic view from a far.
I’m happy to report that I can now add “waterfalls” to my list of adventures that cost zero dollars.
April 28, 2010 1 Comment
You know you’re going to have a good Saturday when it starts off with Starbucks and a Garmin.
At around 9:30 am my friend Mandy and I set off on our mini-road trip to Kent, CT to attend the Kent Film Festival.
I was extremely excited to attend the festival for a few reasons.
The first was because I love the idea behind independent film making, and how if you’re passionate enough, you can make a powerful film on any budget. And the second (and main reason) was because Michal had a film in the festival!
Mike (Actor), Noah (Director AND Writer), Michal (Cinematographer)
I was extremely proud of Michal, along with everyone else involved in the project, and I’m always amazed to see how much a person can light up when they’re in an area with hundreds of others who are equally as passionate about their dreams as they are.
My parents also drove up for the event, and absolutely loved it. Below is my mom showing off her cool new film festival tote which she purchased to “support the event,” but I just think she wanted to look more “indie.”
The film screenings took place in various buildings all over town, but Michal’s film played in the Kent Community House, which was a really beautiful venue.
After the screening, everyone was starving, so we all split up to grab some lunch at various places. Michal, Mandy, Jesse and I chose to get sandwiches at J.P. Gifford.
The town was packed, but we were able to score a nice table outside.
And the sandwiches were very tasty…
I had turkey with sun-dried tomatoes, topped with lots and lots of pesto. I was very happy that they were generous with the pesto, because that was the best part.
After lunch the four of us explored the town a bit, but be warned, you are about to experience cuteness overload….
These pictures don’t even really do the place justice. You just have to go there and experience Kent for yourself.
After lunch we met back up with the rest of our friends, and decided to all drive up to Kent Falls (about 5 minutes up the street). This adventure deserves it’s own entry, so I’m going to write about it later this week, but here is a preview….
If you enjoy art, Kent would make for a great day trip, especially since there is no charge to explore the galleries, and there are gorgeous sculptures displayed all over town. Below was one of my favorites.
Later on that night, they had an awards ceremony, which was held in the same art gallery that Mandy and I had explored earlier.
It seemed as though everyone (including myself) had some sort of camera in their hand, but around this same time my exhaustion started to take over, so the above photo was my last.
I guess I’ll end this entry then with one of the first pictures I took, so it will be as if this awesome day is just beginning….
April 25, 2010 2 Comments
On Sunday was New Haven’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Although there were no cherry blossoms (I guess they hadn’t bloomed yet?), every church-going woman over the age of 60 was there to dazzle you with cherry-themed knickknacks.
Everyone at the festival was so nice that it was hard not to make a donation or buy a little trinket at every table. At one point I almost adopted a bow-legged dog, but Michal stepped in, and suggested we take a “break” from the animal shelter booth until I stopped crying in front of all the happy kids with balloons.
So we took a breather and listened to some great steel drum music….
And smelled some amazing smells…
And then we each bought a cookie…
With camera in hand, I was able to document the four stages of cookie rapture:
4) SHARING (some people just repeat stages 2 and 3)
Since my cookie was a gift, I remained in the euphoric phase of anticipation for the rest of the festival.
After staring at so many anthropomorphic baked goods, I was feeling a lot more emotionally stable, so it was back to The Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter booth.
What an incredible organization. They basically direct all of their efforts to three fundamental areas: increasing adoptions/decreasing euthanasia, reducing pet overpopulation, and enhancing the quality of life for animals by providing medical care beyond the shelter’s ability and by socializing with the animals.
Michal and I were really impressed with their compassionate views on animal care in shelters, and after reading through a few of their brochures, I definitely want to attend their next volunteer group meeting to see how I can help out this summer.
Above is a photo of Piglet. She’s thought to be a cross between a pit bull and a chihuahua, and she has some pretty serious knee issues. The good news is that the organization just finished saving up the funds to get her the costly surgery she needs to have full mobility again, and after her surgery she’ll be fostered, and then put up for adoption. I spent some time interacting with her, and she was extremely loving, and really lit up around people.
If you know of any loving families who might be looking to adopt a dog, please pass along this information, or have them visit the website.
Definitely expect some animal-themed volunteer adventures in the upcoming months.
April 19, 2010 No Comments
B.good burger joint…
The best thing to happen to Boston since the Red Sox won the world series.
I’m confident that I’ve eaten at least 100 b.good burgers, especially since I went through a 3 month phase where all I ate for lunch was their blackbean veggie burger topped with avocado, cilantro, and Chipotle salsa. Let’s just say that working around the corner from their Dartmouth Street location and having no concept of money was a dangerous combination my first year after college.
As fate would have it, they just opened up a sixth location around the corner from where I was staying for the weekend.
I was downright giddy when we walked inside to place our orders, especially since I hadn’t enjoyed one of their burgers in over a year, and also because I have a profound respect for their philosophy on food (i.e. raising cattle right, and buying produce from local farmers!).
Everything, down to the potatoes, is grown locally and grown right. They even have bios hanging on the walls of the farmers they use for each ingredient. Love it!
I ordered my favorite (the”West-Side”), except I swapped out my usual veggie burger for a turkey burger.
Perfection = Avocado, cilantro, tomato, and homemade chipotle salsa.
Below is Michal’s order (the “Cousin Oliver”), which is lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, all atop a homemade veggie burger.
We wanted so badly to order the sweet potato fries, but after all the food we had consumed in the past 48 hours, we didn’t think our bodies could handle it, so we opted for the healthier option, and split a side of crisp veggies.
And now I must place my vanity to the side to show you what happened next:
Believe it or not, these were the “classiest” photos of the bunch. All the others were even more disturbing, and looked as though I was brutally attacking my burger with my mouth (apparently I like to inflict pain on my food and those who watch me eat).
On a final note, if you live in the Boston area, and haven’t yet tasted the mouthwatering wonders of b.good, then you’re missing out on what’s sure to be a Boston trademark in a few more years.
April 14, 2010 1 Comment
The Boston Public Library is one of those places that makes me happy for no reason. I could basically be in the worst mood ever, and the minute I pass through its doors, a sense of calm washes over me. The best part is, admission is free!
Now I know that all libraries are free, but the architecture of the BPL is so impressive, that you will feel like you should be paying someone to enter.
And how can you not be in awe of Bates Hall…
I spent many late nights here in college studying and writing papers–mostly because Bates Hall always made me feel smarter than I was.
And lastly, the courtyard. Although it’s not yet in full bloom, it’s still a site to behold, and on a warm day it’s probably the best place in all of Boston to enjoy a good book.
Tonight I discovered that the BPL has a twitter account, so I relish in the fact that my stalking can now progress from people to inanimate structures.
April 12, 2010 No Comments