Cape Cod Hike: Monomoy River Conservation Lands

After finishing our windy walk at the Coy’s Brook Wetlands, we made our way over to the Monomoy River (on the Harwich / Chatham border). It was still windy and cold, so this woodsy walk with glimpses of water views made for some good outdoor exercise given the weather. According to the Harwich Conservation Trust website this hike is 1.25 miles and the parking lot is off of Bay Rd. There were a handful of parking spots (not a ton). We were only one of two cars in the lot, so on a wintery day it’s easy to park.

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You can actually kayak along this part of the Monomoy River, but be sure to check the tide and time your visit right. My dad kayaked here and got cut up trying to exit his kayak along the newly renovated bridge area (by Route 28 on the map).

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Yay, the trail head!

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It’s woodsy walking out to the cliffside overlooking the river.

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This is the viewpoint out along the river. See the benches? On a warm day, pack a picnic!

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We did some birding as we followed the path along the cliffside.

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Eventually the water falls from view and it’s back to being a woodsy trek.

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You’ll hit an open area with power lines and you can see about the trail clearly continues along this opening..

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Following the power lines…

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And eventually you’ll follow the path to the right back into he woods where the hike loops back to the  parking lot. This was a great hike to link with the short Coy walk for a fuller workout. We also stopped in nearby Chatham at the fish pier to look for seals (and sharks.. I’m always looking for sharks).

If you’re looking for more exercise, or coffee/lunch, head into Main Street in Chatham and stroll around this super adorable street full of shops and food options.

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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A Cape Cod Hiatus

Sorry for the lack of communication, but I’ve been hiatusing out on Cape Cod with limited internet access and plenty of cold but beautiful weather. I love Cape Cod in the winter. It’s way less crowded, expensive stores are having wild sales (yes, I will buy this at 50% off), and the colors are so unique. Desaturated winter colors are just as gorgeous to me as bright colors. Just see for yourself. The blue sky, soft clouds and golden dried grasses are some of my favorite color combinations that are worth exploring even in the frigid cold.

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Lighthouse Beach, Chatham MA

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Chatham, MA Fish Pier

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Salt Pond, Orleans MA

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Overlooking Nauset Marsh, Orleans MA

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Also overlooking Nauset Marsh in Orleans. This was more about our three shadows.

I’ll check in tomorrow and do a round up of 2013 resolutions (I don’t think I did so hot), and figure out a plan for 2014!

Bringing Israel + Istanbul to Los Angeles

Every time I travel anywhere from home for a New England weekend or a month in Spain (which I don’t get to do either often), I like to bring back some aspect of that lifestyle. This can be a smell, a plant, type of food, or activity. Like after a visit to Cape Cod I’ll buy hydrangeas, cook more seafood, and take time to go to the beach. After spending two weeks in Israel and Istanbul, I’m noticing a lot has come back with me.

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1: Dreams- I can tell every night since I’ve been home, I’ve been dreaming that I’m still abroad. In my dreams people have heavy accents, and I wake up feeling like I spent all night visiting religious sites and walking the narrow cobble stone streets. Every morning I’ve woken up to the thought “where am I?” It’s disorienting, but a relief that in my brain I’m still on an adventure exploring the other side of the world.

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2: Walking- I always love walking, but when I walk it’s often to do a loop for exercise (or secret stairs) and not about walking due to necessity. In Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Istanbul, walking is an essential part of every day. In Jerusalem, it’s nearly impossible to drive in the Old City so you see people (usually women) with their rolling carts for groceries they’re buying from the stalls. Lettuce from one vendor, meat from another, dessert from another. Tel Aviv and Istanbul both have similar markets (the Grand Bazar) where people buy their goods. Today was a rare drizzly LA morning and it was a delight to walk from my home to complete all my errands and shop local at the farmers market. It reminded me that I may be in a very modern city, but by walking it made me feel very connected to the past.

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3: The Spa Lifestyle- I have to thank Brian for this phrase. While in Istanbul we all were brainstorming about hospitality needs and Brain said he’s decided to live the “spa lifestyle” and the phrase has stuck with me. I also equate this phrase with Israel because of the Dead Sea. I brought back some Dead Sea salt (Ahava) and just took a soaking bath. Amazing. There’s something really special about that salt. I also brought back some dried olive oil based soap (a Turkish specialty) which made the bath extra fun. The Middle East knows how to do baths right. It’s made me think about redecorating my long neglected bathroom, as baths are calming and stress releasing which is key to happiness. It’s time I also embraced the spa lifestyle.

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(Photo courtesy of @asherworldturns) This (minus the chicken) was amazing. Hummus!

4: Food- Where to start with this one… I love hummus which was so readily available in Israel. It is common to order hummus as a meal. Just a plate of hummus with some pita. It’s all anyone needs in life. And mezze’s are what all meals should be: many tiny plates of food. In Israel it’s common to eat mezze’s before you even order any food, although by the time you eat the mezze’s you’re often too full for the dish you ordered. An example of mezze’s would be many small plates filled with mashed eggplant, hummus, olives, diced cucumber, plates of cheeses, guacamole (their equivalent), felafel, and so many more that are continuously refilled. Did I mention Israel makes great wine?

I think all travel is invaluable and you can’t put a price on these life experiences that end up changing parts of your everyday routine. It’s fun to travel and to see what everyday life is like for people in other places and absorb some of their ways. This trip has made me see how small this world is which puts things in perspective.

The Secret

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I saw The Secret on Netflix recently, and I can’t get it out of my head.It’s about the power of positive thinking and asking the universe for what you want. The film tries to make it feel magical/mystical but at a basic level it’s about taking time to figure out what you want so you can work toward it. It’s got me thinking about my 5 year plan, my 10 year plan and even what I want to be doing at 60. This all comes right around my birthday (9 days from now) and I always think about my future around my birthday.

When I was a kid I couldn’t wait to be an adult, watching shows like Dawson’s Creek and 90210 made me want to grow up fast. At 30 I figured I’d be married with kids and a self-made millionaire…. or at the very least I would own a house. I have 3 years until I’m 30 and I’ve decided to get my life on a track to something new. This is all leading into me spending a Saturday afternoon making vision board. Call it silly, but I think making a board of goals can only lead to a positive outcome. Positive thinking.

Happy Weekend!

Visiting Home 2: Exploration!

To catch you up to speed, check out the first part of my trek, Visiting Home 1: Getting There + Father’s Day.

This next chapter took place on Tuesday of my week home in Connecticut. I was so inspired riding the train from NYC to New Haven seeing all the little cute downtowns that I’ve never explored that I decided to make a day trip exploring the coast of CT. I decided to explore East Shore, East Haven, Branford and Guilford.

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After a lovely brunch with friends, my buddy Jess and I ventured down 91 to the first exit off the 95. We had no real destination, so when we saw signs for a park, beach or historical landmark we stopped in. Our first stop ended up being Fort Hale where there is little beach called Nathan Hale Beach. I was surprised on this Tuesday noon there were actually people parked here walking around. It was a little overcast, but still fun to explore. This isn’t a beach I would swim at (fyi).

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It was a rough rocky beach, but still a nice view. Onward we go!

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We continued down Townsend Ave and ended up at Lighthouse Park. This beach did have people laying out and picnicking (although I don’t think anyone was swimming). It has a window lined pavilion with a carrousel in the middle! I think this space can be rented out for wedding receptions.

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This is the New Haven Harbor Lighthouse. She’s a beauty.

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After doing a loop of the walking path, we were back on the road looking for our next adventure. We saw a sign near the East Haven Town Green pointing us toward the Shoreline Trolley Museum. As we were debating if we should explore, a conductor flagged us over and told us to hop on, so we did!

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It was adorable. The train conductors are volunteers, so they are in it for passion rather than donations.

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They take you on a short ride through the Beacon Hill Reserve where you learn about this history of trains in CT. Even though it was overcast, we still saw people kayaking. What a great spot for it!

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Views from the train car.

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The have a spot midway through where they keep the very old trains. Everyone exits the trains and explores barns with trains from all over New England. Here’s a photo of the train back when it was in use.

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Once our tour ended, we moved along to the Guilford Town Green. At this point we got coffees and snacks and walked a loop around the Town Green.

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We passed cute houses.

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We had a nice view of the Guildford First Congregational Church.

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After the loop it was starting to drizzle so we made a quick stop down by the water near the Guilford Boat Launch. If we had more time we would have liked to stop into the Henry Whitfield State Museum.

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Right after I took this photo, the rain came in and meant the end of our exploration. It was a lot of fun not knowing where we were going and just following the coast. You never know what you’ll stumble upon and learn about where you’ve spent your life growing up. I highly recommend doing something like this, no matter where you live.