Monday, January 30, 2012

Bullets and Ledges, North Stonington CT

This weekend we enjoyed a nice dinner on Saturday night with Mark and Jen.  It was nice to see them and hopefully, in some small way, we made it up to Mark for plowing AND shoveling while we were in Vermont last weekend.  It was also good to try out the game Qwirkle with them, we highly recommend it.

On Sunday we did a hike right here in North Stonington that took along cliffs, to ledges, along a clear meandering stream.  It was a beautiful day and very mild for January. We enjoyed a picnic lunch on a rocky outcrop.  Kokee even got to go for a swim, okay it was more like a mud bath but who's counting?  We are considering bringing a rope and rock shoes next time.

At home Kokee has a new bed in place in her favorite spot in front of the glass doors (with views to the bird feeder).  The cats quickly moved in and have been holding their own "Occupy" event.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

First Trip to Vermont for 2012

We traveled to Vermont over the weekend in search of snow and some snow covered peaks.   Packing up the car on Friday with predictions for 6-8" of snow in CT for Saturday wasn't easy.   But we were so glad we did we woke Saturday morning to light snow on the Green Mountains.  Indeed it snowed in Connecticut too, but in Vermont we found enough snow to play with.  Also, we had a nice time at the Thames Ski Lodge with fellow TSC members.

On Saturday we went to Bald Mountain in Menden armed with snowshoes and a picnic lunch.  There wasn't enough snow to require snowshoes (so we were glad we weren't on snowboards at nearby Pico Mt). We have fond memories of hiking the same trail with Jo and Eric in the peak of fall color, so it was fun to hike it in the snow (and in some places ice!).  On Sunday we traveled to southern Vermont were the snow was a bit deeper.  There we had a great day on XC skis in Londonderry on the Viking trails.  We can't say enough about how nice it is to XC ski on the Viking trails, the people and trails are lovely.

Overall it was a great weekend.  We were glad to see the recovery effort from Hurricane Irene had paid off.  While evidence of the storm remains, much of the hard hit areas like Menden have made tremendous progress!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Christmas Card Winners

Last week we took down our Christmas cards, and judged the annual competition for the best cards received at Hangman Hill.  It was a very close race this year, and we managed to pick out our top-3 and an honorable mention.  As you can see below we are definitely suckers for colorful 3D cards.  Congratulations to Jo, Eric, Danny, Michael, Janel, Rich and Deb.  You really brightened up our Christmas.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hike to Mount Tom, Exeter RI

We have been enjoying the adventures prompted by a couple of books on local walks in Connecticut and Rhode Island that Sheri received from Santa.  Today we ventured to Arcadia Wildlife Management Area in Exeter, RI and hiked the trail to Mount Tom.  It was crisp (18F at 1pm), but sunny as we set off from the trail head at the Wood River just off of Rt 165.  We have paddled from this same spot, so it was nice to come back to explore on foot.  The trail is a rambling path that soon took us onto a ridge with fantastic views in all directions.  At times we almost felt like we were in the Adirondacks or New Hampshire with rocky outcrops and clear views to distant "hills".  It was a fine day, and we even found a warm spot near an old farm where we enjoyed hot soup for lunch in the brilliant sunshine.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tuscan Stained Glass

One of our Christmas gifts from Pam and Nick was a small stained glass scene of Tuscany.   This beautiful piece was designed and made by Nick based on a photograph from our vacation in 2010.  We have found a sunny window to hang it in so that we can get that Italian-vacation feeling at least once every day!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hiking in the sunshine

Yesterday (Saturday) was a sunny and warm (59F) day, so we headed out for another local hike. We packed a lunch (and blaze orange vests to scare off the hunters), and took the trail to Ell Pond, Long Pond, and finally Ashville Pond. What a spectacular hike and beautiful scenery! Kokee found lots of mud and there were great views in every direction.   After a round trip of 5.3 miles we returned to our car in the failing light with big smiles on our faces!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Holiday photos

We've just managed to merge, edit and label our holiday photos.  Here is the link for anyone who would like to see them all.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day Hike

Today we celebrated the start of 2012 with a hike, following directions from our new local trails book (a present from Santa).  The hike was about 4 miles long and near the Green Falls Pond.  It started just a few miles from our home and we explored caves, lakes, old mill ruins, and mature forests.  The day was beautiful and we hiked in T-shirts and soaked up the sun on every flat rock on the trail.  Kokee especially enjoyed swimming at every opportunity!   We were home in time for tea and cookies in front of the fire - a great way to start 2012.

Nick & Pam visit for Christmas

We were very lucky to have Nick and Pam (Bruno's parents) with us for Christmas in 2011.  They arrived well in advance so we enjoyed lots of fun activities together. This included a trip to the Granite Theatre christmas show, a carol concert at the Watch Hill Chapel, a visit to Mystic Seaport for the Lantern Light Tours, and a day of culture at the Rhode Island School of Design art museum.  We also enjoyed relaxing at home, some long walks with Kokee, and completing a jigsaw puzzle in the quiet moments.  As always, we ate like kings & queens with trips to WholeFoods, Buon Appetito, the Golden Lamb Buttery, The Ocean House, Mangetout, Bruna's Table and "Chez Jen".  The weather  was very mild for the time of year, and this allowed us to be quite active.  There were a few impromptu shopping trips (Mystic, New London, Westerly), a couple of home repair projects (light switches, bath plumbing), and even a chance to harvest kale and Brussels sprouts from the garden.  We hope you enjoy the pictures below from our time together.