new jersey - winter hiking - 01

Hiking when everything is covered in snow is magic. I couldn't begin to capture how beautiful it is with my camera, so you'll just have to go for yourself when possible :) Everything the sun shines on shimmers, sparkles, & looks like glitter in the snow. There is also a silence that is different from other seasons & the air is so crisp &  refreshing. There will definitely be more winter hiking posts to come!


new york - woodstock - garden cafe

The Garden Cafe is located in Woodstock NY & it is an amazing place. I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere & once the food came I fell in love with that too. There were so many delicious things on the menu & can't wait to go back!

Their Philosophy...
We are passionate about using fresh, organic, local and high quality ingredients at the Garden Cafe on the Green as well as using ingredients that are cruelty free to animals as we do not use animal products or any other products that cause pain and suffering. Our menu is a reflection of this as it is created from products that are as pure, organic and natural as possible. Choosing the simplest ingredients…whole grains, beans, soy foods, fruits and vegetables, we add inspiration and creativity. Our wish is to bring to the table food that will support our personal, community and global health as well as our local farmers and producers. We use no preservatives, chemicals, trans fats or genetically engineered products. All of our food is carefully and conscientiously made from scratch to provide delicious, nourishing and balanced meals.

Eclectic art all over the walls, curated from a local gallery.

Love this dream catcher, it's inspiring me to make one of my own.

A delicious glass of Riesling.

One of my favorite moments from our time at the Garden Cafe was discovering this drawer. We choose a table at random & we sat down at random. While we were waiting for our food to arrive I looked down & noticed a drawer, so I opened it & found a wonderful surprise. The drawer was filled with mementos from since the cafe first opened, scraps of paper each written on by customers...some were drawings, others quotes, there were stories, & lots of bits of wisdom. They were so fun to read & some were really inspiring.  We all left one before we left :)
Below are some of my favorites...

Up cycled instruments.

We all split the appetizer special, which was a Lentil Pecan Pate with Sage...sooo good

Our meals...
Mine is the one that's closest, I got the Indian Vegetable & Chickpea Enchiladas with Bombay Sauce plus curried apple coconut salad & sauteed greens on the side...it is one of the best meals I've ever had, so delicious.


the first real snow + soup + oatmeal cookies + tea

Loves the snow.

A lot of tea was drank throughout the day. This is a pot of Jasmine Rose from The Tea Shop of Woodstock.


*used all organic 

5-10 cloves of garlic...I really love garlic
2 large yellow onions
Olive Oil
5 carrots
3 large sweet potatoes
4 apples, of your choice...I just used what was in the house which was 2 granny smith & 2 gala
1/2 cup white wine
3 tea kettles full of boiling water
3 heaping tablespoons of organic chicken base (vegetable base will work too) I use this base which I love & is good for a wide range of things
Pepper, to taste
Chipotle Powder, to taste...I used about 1 teaspoon
No-Salt Seasoning, to taste...I use this, which I just discovered at Costco & use for a wide range of things as well


Peel & chop all the veggies.
In a large pot saute pressed garlic with onions in a little bit of olive oil until golden
Add the white wine & let it reduce off before adding anything else
Begin to boil a full tea kettle of water.
Next add the carrots & continue to cook
Once the tea kettle water boils add it to the pot. then refill it & boil again
Add in the 3 heaping tablespoons of the chicken base
Upon adding the next kettle full of boiling water add the sweet potatoes & apples
Boil one last kettle of water
Add seasonings to taste
Once the last kettle of boiling water is added & the soup has been seasoned to your liking let it simmer until all the ingredients are soft...about 1/2 hour - 1 hour
Remove the pot from the heat & then use an immersion blender (like this) to blend the soup into a smooth consistency


Oatmeal Cookies
*I used this recipe here, just with organic ingredients 

If you enjoy crispy cookies these are amazing, I've made them again since because they were devoured in my house so quickly.

It was a wonderful day :)


new york - a weekend on the appalachian trail

The section hike was about 9 miles. We did the first 3 miles on Saturday after visiting the Lakota Wolf Preserve & Brook Hollow Winery (post here). We set up camp for the night along the AT & it was quite cold, like 18 degrees cold + a pretty fierce wind + it snowed! This was my first experience with winter camping & I'm really glad I did it. We woke up the next morning & hiked the remaining 6 miles to the Mohican Outdoor Center where we had reserved lodging at the Blueberry Hill Cabin for Sunday night. The journey along the AT was beautiful. We passed Sunfish Pond, a glacial lake, & much of the hike followed the Delaware River so there were a lot of beautiful vistas. Below is our journey...

View from a ridge of the Delaware River.

A field of  rock towers made by hikers along the AT, this was really cool to see both for its beauty & how it links so many people...we all added a rock.

Our tents, which we set up right off the trail. This picture is from Sunday morning because by the time we arrived Saturday night it was already dark. We set up with our headlamps, cooked some food, & then got as cozy as possible in our tents. *Tip: We boiled water before we got in our tents as well & each filled a water bottle/thermos which went in our sleeping bags with us & really radiated heat throughout the night. Mine was still warm enough to brew tea in in the morning. I have this thermos, which I absolutely love. I really wasn't cold in the tent, the worst part for me was when I stood still outside & my feet were the first to get really cold, but as soon as you start moving you feel great. Jon & I got up with the sun & both couldn't sleep anymore so we decided to get a head start with packing our packs back up. We intended to wait for our friends to get up too, but after we were finished packing it was just too cold to wait around standing still, so we headed out first at about 7:30  letting them know we'd see them at the cabin. This was not something we planned, but I am grateful for the time Jon & I got to spend alone together.

More collaborative hiker nature art with rocks & driftwood at Sunfish Pond.

All bundled up, looking out at the Delaware River & beyond.


Sunfish Pond, we arrived just as the sun was rising up above the tree line, it was so peaceful & beautiful & I am very grateful for these moments that activities such as this bring.

Basking in the warmth of the sun.

Sunfish Pond 

Snow :)
Winter hiking is beautiful, so peaceful, & the air is so crisp & refreshing.

I love this guy...a lot 
& I love how we both enjoy going on adventures like this.

Jon & I arrived at the Mohican Outdoor Center first, before our cabin was ready for check in so we hung out in the main lodge, did some reading, & got warm. I also joined the Appalachian Mountain Club, which you can do as well here, & got this really awesome mug which they gave me as much free tea in while we waited to check in & for our friends to arrive...I had 3 cups, they warmed me right up :) Joining for the year only cost me $25 because I am under 30 & the membership supports a great cause plus you get a lot of perks & discounts. 

Ironically, our friends walked up to the main lodge just as Jon & I were walking out the front because we had just been handed the key to check into the cabin. It was perfect timing. We stayed at Blueberry Hill, one of the large group cabins that sleeps up to 16, on Sunday...it was awesome.

The cabin comes equip with an awesome fire place plus a lot of wood. Jon started the fire as soon as we got into the cabin & we kept it going all all night.

It felt really good to get all cozy in the cabin...these are my slippers.

I made simple sugar cookies, with blackberry brandy for dessert.

One of 3 bunk rooms.

Jon's pack.

The living area of the cabin. We all just hung around here all night, eating, drinking, & talking around the fire...it was perfect.

Full kitchen equip with anything & everything you could possibility need. We cooked two dinners :) + dessert.

Already longing to return to this place...
& have more weekends like this.