Sunday, July 28, 2013

New Hampshire

This, unfortunately, was a quick trip to New Hampshire to celebrate my dad's birthday with him, a bit early, but celebratory none-the-less. When my parents were down earlier to visit us earlier this spring, they enjoyed the winery and brewery tours and tastings so much that they wanted to do it we did. My dad and Adam bond over tasty beer, and my mom and I enjoy the people watching and learning new things. We also enjoy watching the boys revel in their beer.
Smuttynose Brewing Company was a really cool brewery, along the same size at Heavy Seas here in Baltimore, but with a nice yankee flair to it. Who doesn't love a bit of yankee flair? You get some "wickeds" thrown in with a nice dropping of anything involving an "r", and a dash of speaking REALLY quickly. That and beer. The men were happy and the women were entertained.
That being said, Throwback Brewery was second on our list to visit, and first on our list of breweries ever visited. If you are looking for fancy, or formal, or anything resembling a large formal operation, you should skip this place. If you are looking for AWESOME, down-to-earth, local, engaging, and relaxing...well, this should be the top of your list. It is in the middle of an industrial park (as we are learning most breweries are), and is a single large room with a bar and tables at the front with the brewing operation at the back. We all could have easily spent the day here, even if not a beer drinker like my mom and myself. It is the honor system, take a token for each tasting and pay at the end. You sit a few formica tables recycles from the 50s and 60s with mismatched chairs (I had an awesome barbers chair re-appolstered in velvet) and enjoy the relaxation of the day. It was absolutely amazing, and still my FAVORITE brewery to date. I seriously wish this outfit all the success in the world, they truly deserve it.

Tasting before the tour


And kegs


More love

Throwback Brewery = AWESOMENESS

We are on the bridge in from of an apt. complex, this goes under the complex!

The remainder of the trip was spent catching up with family and relaxation. We spent an awesome morning at Panera with my Aunt Rita and Uncle Pete, and Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Steve (actually my dad's aunts and uncles, but my pseudo-grandparents) as traditions foretells (we do this EVERY time we visit as Panera is my vice and reserved for NH trips), and then an afternoon with my cousin Sam at Harpoon Brewery after checking out his new and awesome house that he and my dad are renovating. It's funny how much time can pass between visits, but how, when you are all together, it is as if no time has passed at all.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Laurel Highlights Trail Hike

I know,  I's been a while. Life has been full of fun activities and time not spent at home, now that the weather is nice, and this time of year is extremely conducive to traveling. And we all know how addicted we are to that...
One of our big fetes for the year was to hike the Laurel Highlands Trail in western PA. It starts in Ohiopyle State Park and ends in Johnstown, where Adam's parents live, so it is extremely convenient. The trail is approximately 70 miles, but a fairly easy hike after the first 10 miles, so we were excited. We thought that 4 days over the July4th holiday weekend would be enough to complete it, since we could easily average 15-20 miles a day on much more difficult terrain. It was a beautiful, absolutely gorgeous actually, hike.
This being our longest hike we have planned, combined with my propensity for self-injury with my volleyball-ruined ankles, I decided the smart thing to do was to actually wear my ankle braces (that I am suppose to wear with any activity with unstable footing, but NEVER have). Well, that was the end of it. After the end of the first 18 miles, my left knee was KILLING me on the declines. I thought it was just the fatigue of the hike, since it hit at the end of the day, and thought a night of rest would cure it. Wrong...oh, so very very wrong. I think wearing the braces changed my gait and my knee was not tolerating it, there was no injury otherwise. We needed to average ~18 miles a day to complete the hike in time. The second day was slow going, but I could keep going. The declines were excruciating, but I could fly on the flats and uphills. Unfortunately, there was a lot of downhill and I was only able to accomplish 12 miles. For this reason, we knew that I would not be able to complete the trail in the time that we had allotted, and Adam was have trouble dealing with me in pain. Me, I was just mad and frustrated and wanted to keep going. We bailed on the hike the morning of the third day because my knee was definitely not okay. We did manage to knock out 35 miles, so I was glad for that, and I really did enjoy the was just so beautiful and serene.

At the Ohiopyle Trail Head

Night 1 shelter

Seven Springs Ski Area

Seven Spring

Not all was lost by bailing on the hike though and we had a fantastic weekend with Adam's family. We were able to make it to the 5th Annual Studer Beer Olympics for a few hours to hang out and watch the festivities, enjoy some wine with the neighbors and help them plan their trip to Hawaii next month (oh how we LOVE reminiscing and sharing everything we loved about living there!), and venture down to Adam's dad's high school reunion (I know, I thought it sounded odd to go, but it was a really great time with lots of people we already knew). That and my awesome mother-in-law kept cutting me up watermelon to consume...I probably left there 5-10 pound heavier in watermelon....I LOVE WATERMELON. Seriously, it's a problem. I won't even buy it for myself anymore.