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We are embracing winter this year! If you’ve been reading/following me on social media, you might know that summer is far and away my favorite time of year, and I have a really hard time dealing with dark and cold.

Last winter and recently I have read articles on the Danish concept of hygge, the idea of coziness and a positive state of mind and mental well being. Hygge is about the feelings that come from creating a cozy space and positivity, and I am trying my best to keep this concept in mind.

After a very busy work week, we had a quiet Friday night in by the fire. Friday happened to be Nollaig na mBan, or Women’s Christmas in Irish. This is celebrated as a day for women, who tend to do much of the Christmas shopping and cooking, to relax. And relax I did! My husband waited on me with our favorite Indian takeout as I sat with sparkling wine by the fire. We watched The Missing (so good!) and went to bed early.

sparkling wine by the fire  

With hours of cozy sleep under our belts, Saturday morning was full of energy, and we walked to our favorite Irish bakery, Greenhills Bakery in Adams Village for giant cups of tea and a shared chocolate croissant. Hearing Irish spoken in Boston is always a delight, and we soaked up the homey atmosphere before walking a bit more in the snow and deciding a proper brunch at Lucy’s, also in Adams Village, was necessary!

Greenhills Bakery

Look at that biscuit!

The food at Lucy’s is delicious, and with snow falling outside, there was such  cozy vibe inside. We lingered over our meals, not checking phones, just talking and watching the snow fall before venturing out for our beautiful winter wonderland walk home.

 Lucy's Dorchester

snow day

  After another quiet night in, we decided that Sunday should be for hiking at World’s End. We should have brought our snowshoes, but instead laughed and trudged through the drifts to get to high points, where we enjoyed amazing coastal views. It was SO fun.

World's End Hingham 

World's End Hingham 

World's End Hingham

Hiking always works up an appetite, and especially when it’s snow hiking, so we headed to nearby Hingham Shipyard to try Trident Galley & Raw Bar. They had live music, an incredible brunch menu, and excellent service.

Trying to be a little healthy, we shared a beet salad and the short rib hash, which was a spot-on recommendation. It was amazing.

short rib hash

I love splitting plates like this; we were full but didn’t feel awful, and we got a taste of a couple of great dishes. The live music was a nice touch as well. Covers of old favorites, not-too-loud, and uplifting, it was a lovely addition to brunch.

 

Trident Hingham

 

Hingham Shipyard

After even MORE outdoor wandering at the Shipyard, we decided we needed a little bit more time outside, and stopped at the Milton Yacht Club on the way home to capture the setting sun and beautiful late afternoon winter light.

Milton Yacht Club 

I thawed out with a hot Epsom salt bath before pouring a glass of Navarra wine and whipping up Chicken, Bacon, and Potato Soup (with kale).

chicken bacon stew

It was the perfect weekend. I realize I can either hate this time of year or spend more time being grateful for all I have to get through it – food, shelter, warmth, love. I think if I can keep that focus, I can make it to spring!

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Tags: brunch, cooking, Dorchester, hiking, Hingham, Nature, New England, outdoors, recipes, snow, winter

I get cabin fever incredibly easily, and aside from a weekend day here or there where I really want to just hang around the house and cook, I often am itching on the weekends to hit the road (or the sea) for an adventure. We’ve spent enough time in Ireland that we’ve become of the mind that if you don’t go out in the rain, you’ll never go out at all. As such, we’ve started making sure we have all of the attire we need for bad weather. . . which for me means all the L.L. Bean!

It really does make a difference though, to have a good rain coat and boots and to be able to stay dry and warm.

A few weeks ago our New England wanderings took us down to Carver and Plymouth, Massachusetts, for some fun in the rain.

Carver, Massachusetts Our first stop was Carver for a quick walk amongst the evergreens. I crave nature, and the misty air and the smell of green just filled my soul with happiness, setting us up for a great afternoon.

Not long after, we made a visit to the lovely and historic Flax Pond Farms where we learned about the history of cranberry growing in the area and got to pretend we were workers back in the olden days, sorting out green and wrinkled cranberries on a conveyor belt.

Flax Pond Farms Flax Pond Farms Flax Pond Farms was a beautiful space surrounded by nature and reflecting its cranberry history, in addition to being full of delicious treats like a spicy cranberry spread and cranberry honey I got to go with some soft cheeses. One of my favorite parts about unplanned trips like this is the potential to come across little gems like Flax Pond Farms.

Flax Pond Farms After we left Carver, our rainy day travels took us to Plymouth, where we explored antiques and other secondhand items in some of the adorable downtown stores. There was plenty to see in town, but still wanting to be outdoors, we headed to the waterfront, where we discovered a charming little park with a beautiful stream running through it and foggy views of the sea beyond.

Plymouth, MA

I did some skipping and puddle jumping, because I simply can not resist jumping in puddles!

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

And of course, we spent plenty of time admiring boats in Plymouth Harbor.

Plymouth, MA  Ramble on Rose

This gorgeous sailboat brought together three loves: boats, the Grateful Dead, and San Francisco.

After some more walking around the waterfront and the town and a quick spin through the John Carver Inn, we made our way back to the waterfront to the Plymouth Yacht Club. With our own club membership in Boston, we’re usually welcomed into other clubs around the US, and Plymouth certainly made us feel at home.

Plymouth Yacht Club  Plymouth Yacht Club

A sprawling waterfront lawn and plenty of seating gave way to a grand building, which we soon explored, eventually making our way to the top floor members bar to soak up the coziness and a couple of Dark n Stormy cocktails as we chatted boating with some locals.

Plymouth Yacht Club It’s amazing what you can discover when you don’t have any plans! We had such a fun day together exploring a new-to-us place, and while I loved the harbor on a rainy fall day, I am even more looking forward to boating into it next summer.

Have you discovered any fun places by accident lately?

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Tags: blogger, boating, Boston, clubs, cocktails, fall, New England, outdoors, Plymouth, sailing, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger

We could visit Puerto Rico 10 times and not to or see it all. We discovered that there’s so much to do on this enchanted island, and in between beach days and lazing on our balcony, we set out for a few adventures on land and at sea.

First there was hiking in El Yunque National Forest, a must-do while visiting Puerto Rico. It’s the only rainforest in the National Park system, and it is pretty spectacular.

 

El Yunque

El Yunque National Forest

 

El Yunque El Yunque waterfalls

El Yunque has some great, paved trails for hiking and beautiful waterfalls and pools for swimming and relaxing. The air smells so fresh and green, and the sounds of tropical birds and frogs fill the space. Even though there was a steady stream of tourists, the forest felt so peaceful and far away from the rest of the world.

Ell Yunque trail  El Yunque waterfalls

tropical flowers

 

 

 

 

 

El Yunque

While the park feels remote, it is also super well equipped with great roads and a visitor’s center with a helpful staff and information on the flora and fauna you might find.

El Yunque   rain forest water fall

 

And the views were simply stunning.

El Yunque Puerto Rico

 

Puerto Rico

 

The other adventure we took was a snorkeling and sailing trip to Icacos, a magical island off of the coast of Puerto Rico. We debated spending timing in Culebra, which we decided to do for a few days on a future trip. Culebra is apparently one of the best places in the world, and I can’t wait to get to know it.

We went to Icacos with East Island, and I recommend them highly. The boat was beautiful and clean, and the staff was so much fun.

 

 

 

sail to Icacos

 

sail to Icacos

The cost of our tickets included delicious local pastries, fresh fruit, and a sandwich and salad bar at lunch, along with rum. All of the rum. We headed first to a reef for snorkeling, followed by a really delicious lunch, then the trip to anchor at Icacos for swimming and sunning.

tropical fruit

 

Icacos Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Icacos Island sailing in Puerto Rico Icacos sailing The sky was blue, fun music was blasting, the water was warm, and it was basically the best day ever. Oh yeah, and there was a slide!

 

Puerto Rico We met a bunch of fun people, there was dancing, and I didn’t want the day to end. If you head to Puerto Rico definitely check this company out. They also do Culebra day trips.

Las Croabas Puerto Rico

And finally, after some sunset swimming, we headed to Fajardo pier for a night time boat tour with BioIsland to the Bioluminescent Lagoon in Las Croabas. We originally considered doing a kayak tour, and I was SO GLAD we went with the electric boat option. It was very, very dark, and the route requires navigating water with thick growths of mangrove trees and plenty of iguanas. It appeared many of the kayakers we passed were having difficulty with the trip.

Maybe it’s lazy of me, but I enjoyed just being able to sit back and enjoy the beautiful star-filled sky and the glowing organisms in the water, which we saw, but not as well as we would have if it had been warmer. It was a really beautiful experience though, to be out in the pitch dark on the lagoon with just the water and sky and the quiet. Whether you kayak or take the electric boat, I definitely recommend getting out there!

Bioluminescent Bay boat tour

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Tags: outdoors, Puerto Rico, Travel, travel blog

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