Hike #35: Westwoods Reserve Trails- Lost Lake in Guildford, CT

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A big thing I did when I lived in Los Angeles were the Secret Stair walks. That guide book got me out in the sun, visiting a neighborhood that was new to me, plenty of exercise, and all of the cheap price of a one-time book purchase. Now that it’s spring, I dug out my AMC Best Day Hikes In Connecticut hiking book and decided that I should tackle the hikes in this book during 2017. I won’t be able to do all 50 in 2017, but I certainly hope to do most of these hikes. My posts will not reveal all aspects of the hike, as I am not a replacement for owning this book, but hopefully my images can help encourage you to buy the book and follow along. Or at least inspire you to get a hike book for wherever you live and to get outside!

Now to share my first hike from this book! I started with hike #35 Westwoods Reserve Trails- Lost Lake in Guildford, CT.

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I went right to the small lot that the book described (which only holds about 5 cars by the way). I imagine street parking is allowed as overflow from the lot.. but I’m not exactly sure, so check road signs! The first thing I did was photograph the map. I ALWAYS photograph the map of the trail I’m about to climb with my cell phone, to use as reference incase I get lost. This is surprisingly helpful.

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The book clarifies this hike as “easy with moderate sections” and I would totally agree. For the most part is was small hills and wide stone paths (like photographed above) but there were short sections that involved steep climbing over rocks, up hill and down hill. I was very glad to have my hiking boots on and was glad there wasn’t more snow on the ground – too slippery!

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This path starts be taking you by the railroad tracks which meant you could hear train noises frequently along the trail.

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There are several splits in the trail, so keep vigilant looking for trail markers and confirm on the map.

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At a few points you climb down the rocks along big boulders. The book talks a lot about the types of rock, trees, and plants.. although in the snow none of this was really applicable.

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There are some steep uphill sections that lead to great water views of the lake.

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Okay this made me laugh out loud when I saw it. I have no clue what/who this group is and I refuse to google “Team Alpha Butt Stuff” for obvious reasons.

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Great views from the trail! I saw birds circling, so I imagine this is a great birding spot.

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The hike takes you from down by the water to up on large rocks high above the lake.

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This was a section where I had to use my hands to get up the boulders and then be careful not to slide down the rock faces. This is where the hiking boots really came in handy. It was also around here where I totally got lost. Since it was snowy, I figured if I followed the fresh footprints, Id eventually link back up with the trail. This theory turned out to be a good one, as it did lead me to where I needed to meet back up with the trail.. but I did end up climbing through muddy/swampy areas. So if you find yourself no longer seeing trail markers, work backward until you meet back up with the trail.

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At the furthest point in the loop, there are some watery areas with little wood “bridge” planks. It was pretty fun. Don’t fall in!

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The blue path that I was on became the orange “X” trail, which would lead me back to the parking lot.

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Snowy, but pretty! I like that this trail had a pretty wide path, and the snow actually kept it from getting crowded. I only passed two people on the trail, but I imagine on a nice day this would be a busy trek.

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Once again, you pass by the train tracks to get to the parking lot.

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One thing that is fun about doing a hike in a new-to-me area is checking out the local coffee shops after the hike as a reward. I’m not new to Guilford but it was fun to make time to visit a local coffee shop and soak up the pretty Guilford Square scenery.

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I stopped into Cilantro Specialty Foods Coffee Shop along the Guilford Green to warm up (it was a very cold day), refuel, and read up on the next hike I was headed to this afternoon.

Next up: Hike 47, McKinney National Wildlife Refuge (Salt Meadow Unit) !

March 10, 2017

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I have to say, as much as I miss Los Angeles, this is still really freakin pretty to me. There’s nothing like the silence of snowfall, and it somehow makes everything really quiet and peaceful. Of course now that it’s late in the day the snow is starting to melt. It’s loud again, and the day goes on as usual.

This weekend in Connecticut is expected to be really cold which really bums me out. I’m so longing to be outside hiking, and moving up hill. Well this will give me a chance to figure out what that smell is that’s coming from my fridge (it’s really bad) and hopefully cross something off my “things to see in CT that are indoors!” list. Aquarium? A museum? Something with a big fireplace to sit in front of?

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Last night I attempted to visit the Nasty Women New Haven exhibit at the Institute Library downtown. The opening event ran from 6-8p, and I arrived around 7:15 to not just a packed gallery but a packed street leading to the gallery.

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The closer I got the more congested it was. There was a long line to enter the event, and there’s nothing I hate more than a packed exhibit (makes it way too hard to really see the artwork). I’m glad it was packed, as that shows just how much New Haven cares, and from images online I’ve seen of the art, it was a very entertaining exhibit. I did not wait in the line and decided that I would come back, not on opening night, so I could really see the pieces in the exhibit. It will be running until April 8th!

March 3, 2017: Trolley Trail Branford, CT

How do you like the new logo? Thought it was about time I jazzed it up a bit, as it hasn’t been touched in 2 years.

One thing that I miss  about my LA life is doing fun activities and blogging about them, which I stopped doing due to lack of time now that I’m on the east coast. I also noticed that I have a hard time finding important details about hikes on the east coast. I’m channeling my inner MODERN HIKER and sharing a post about a fun outdoor walk in Branford, CT called the Trolley Trail.

The Trolley Trail is a very easy, flat outdoor trail along the water in Branford, CT… specifically the Thimble Island area. The views are excellent and this one-way-out, one-way-back trail is pretty short so you can add on laps in the neighborhoods on either side of the walk (obeying privacy signs) to make it a full workout. Super easy, super pretty, so bring a camera and a picnic lunch 🙂

The Map:

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There are two areas to park (“P”). One lot is by W Point Rd & Thimble Island Rd (by a baseball field) and the other is at the end of Tilcon Rd. The walk stretches between these two lots. In my images I start by the baseball field, walk out to Tilcon Rd, and back (adding on an extra walking loop down Thimble Island Rd for more exercise). I imagine on a really nice summer day, parking would be harder to come by, but I was surprised at how generous both lots were.

Check out the RULES:

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The walk begins by taking you over a bridge (fun photo op!)

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There are excellent views throughout the walk, so be sure to look up while you stroll. See the Thimble Islands off in the distance? Bring binoculars for birding/gawking at gorgeous homes.

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A chunk of this path is even PAVED (and there are benches to rest!). I should note that there are some additional trails that go off into the woods from this trail. We didn’t explore this, but families with children were heading off to snack on the rocks overlooking the trail.

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This was a surprisingly sunny (but chilly) Sunday in February at low tide, so it wasn’t the most colorful time for plants and trees (dullsville) but there’s still something beautiful about dried muted plants.

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At one point we went under a bridge and there was a well dressed graffiti artist working his magic. I’m not sure what he was adding to these walls, but it had to be Banksy. I’m sure of it 😉

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After looping back, this is the view heading back over the bridge to the parking lot.

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On our way back to the car (just beyond the bridge) is a little trail with a tree swing and a spot to get closer to the water.

TRAIL EXTENSION:

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So to make this a longer walk (although I guess you could just do laps back and forth along the Trolley Trail if you wanted) I suggest leaving your parked car in the lot and walking into town along Thimble Island Rd. This above is a view from a little sandy beach front. If it’s warm, put your feet in!

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Above is the view from the dock where you can take a ferry boat around the Islands (in the summer). I will 100% be doing this in the summer, and I’ll share the deets with you when I do. I suggest walking down the little side streets, stop at the deli by the water for lunch (or pack a picnic and eat it on the beach) and enjoy the pretty views and gorgeous houses.

 

Fall in New England

I’ve been on a blogging hiatus as I’ve just been incredibly busy, but I’ve decided to adjust my time to start posting more. I miss sharing with you, and frankly blogging gives a person a purpose. The past 11 months that I’ve been in CT (has it really been that long?!) I’ve been focused on settling in and getting into some type of a routine. Life felt so chaotic, that blogging had to take a backseat while I figured things out. Now that I’m starting to get into a rhythm. I’m excited to start sharing again. Blogging world, how I’ve missed you!

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Let me start by saying being in New England for fall has been so much fun. I’ve been staying in CT each weekend of October to really soak it up. I think it’s the celebration of fall that really prepares you for winter, and lets you appreciate it.

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The two photos above, and one photo below were taken this past Sunday on a walk with Oscar. We’ve got a new walking route that we take, which I’m loving! It’s the closest thing I could find to being like Toluca Lake and it’s so close to where I live. This Sunday we did that loop and then tied in East Rock Park to it so we could see more of the foliage.

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The past two weekends before Halloween I did north CT drive arounds and got to see the foliage peak in the Kent/Sharon/Litchfield area, and this past weekend was New Haven’s turn.

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Earlier this month we drove to Millerton NY and got coffee at Irving Farm Coffee House.

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We brought sandwiches from the Berkshire Country Store in Goshen (so yummy!) and had a picnic at the Lime Rock Race Track! What a nice celebration for my Dad’s birthday (who LOVES cars). It is free to hang out there on non-event days (they were still racing it just wasn’t a big event day).

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Mid road trip we had to stop at the Litchfield White Memorial Conservation Center and do a loop around the pond. It was a great way to get some exercise mid-road trip.

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Another fabulous thing about the past Fall, has been just seeing it out my window at Meyer Wire! The leaves have been changing all around us while the temps have been really comfortable (65 most days).

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The warm weather has encouraged me to get my bike out of hiding, and take it for spins around the parking lot… that is when my Dad doesn’t take it from me for his own joy rides.

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Cozy Corner

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One thing my favorite bloggers share is photos of their homes. I consider myself a curator in my own apartment and it would be a shame not to share some of it with you, given the amount of energy and thought I put into every design decision. I just want to preface for all future apartment and DIY projects I share with you: it’s not meant as a brag (“Oh look at all this pretty stuff I own, aren’t I great?”), but really just meant to share something that I feel is beautiful and inspiring to me, which hopefully inspires you. This is something I struggle with looking at other blogs (as the line between sharing and bragging can be fuzzy), and I just want my intensions to be clear.

Now that I got that out of the way, I just had to snap my cozy couch view last night. Is it weird that I like to lay there and stare at my apartment? Now that plants and greenery are warming up the space (which I talked about here), Im especially loving it.

credits:
couch: West Elm
map pillow: Ikea
pattern pillow: bought from a vendor at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I’ll share their info as soon as I find it!
lightbulb matchbox: Yankee Ingenuity
candle: water lily scent by Target (yuck, I know, but I love the scent)
table lamp: a Hand-Me-Down that I love!
plant: fittonia “mini white” vase: a Home Goods find

A Rainy New England Day

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You heard me right, rainy not snowy 🙂
This isn’t my first rainy day since moving back east but it feels like the first official rainy day. It’s one of those Nick Drake/Joni Mitchell mornings, where it’s pretty dark out all day, constant trickling of rain hitting the windows, and a warm cup of coffee in my hand as I gaze outside. I love it. There were LA mornings where I so wished it was a drizzly day, and now I’m in a place where this happens. Rain keeps life interesting.

Today I’m finishing up my headboard which I had to disassemble to bring cross-country in my tiny mazda. It’s been on the back burner of my to-do list, but Ill be done today and install it tomorrow. I also got an order for a desk I’m REALLY excited about! The design is a combination of the look of my headboard and the pipe system I used on my console table.  Photos to come, and follow along on Instagram for updated photos!

I’m also placing a big order at Ikea today for a new kitchen for Meyer Wire! And by new kitchen I mean, Meyer Wire’s getting an office kitchen! No more washing dishes in the bathroom (gross!). I’m excited for the transformation. Later this week I’ll do a post showing the before, some concept drawings, and in-process shots. I’m really excited to share this with you.
Now put your goulashes on go puddle-jumping!

California Dreamin’



Anyone else longing for spring? I love the snow but I’m tired of the cold. I hop on a jet Thursday for some California time back in LA. I’m looking forward to sunshine, warmth and good friends. Im also VERY jazzed about the impending time change. It’s happening people, spring is coming. I’m hoping that when I get back to CT mid March that the change to spring will officially be in motion. Longer daylight hours, warmer temps, and I can explore more of New Haven on foot after work. 

Thinking warm thoughts, 

Life Absorbed