Mount Watatic, a 1832 foot tall monadnock is located on the Massachusetts – New Hampshire border and is definitely one of the most popular hikes in Massachusetts. Mount Watatic is a worthy destination for all hikers as it offers easy, moderate as well as hard trail options to explore. Formerly a ski area, Mount Watatic is now a protected land used for hiking and bird watching with clearly marked trails and offers rewarding views.
Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Boston, this hike can definitely be covered in a day. We explored this trail last Saturday and took the moderate trail going to the summit and the easy trail on our way back. I recommend taking the moderate trail going up and the easy trail on the way back as even though the trail is longer than the easy trail it gains elevation steadily not making it very steep while climbing upwards. However if you prefer taking the easy trail it is great as well.
Here is a link to the start of the trailhead. There is free parking available at the trailhead and if the parking is full there is additional parking available on the opposite side in the lane or along the road which is a short walk from the trail head. This trail gets busy during the summer weekends but nothing so busy that you cannot maintain social distance and explore.
Remember there is a small deviation for the easy trail if you plan to take that otherwise you will be headed in the moderate trail direction. The moderate trail is 2.8 miles gaining elevation of 711 feet and the easy trail is 2.2 miles gaining elevation of 643 feet. If you are looking for a hard trail explore the Wapack Trail.
It is a shaded trail almost throughout leaving aside some open spots making it easy to explore at any time. We ourselves started hiking around noon on a sunny day but found it extremely comfortable. Once we reached the top it was breezy even on a hot summer day making it easy to sit and soak in the beautiful views.
This trail is great for new hikers, or even experienced hikers just starting out for the season or to get a good workout while enjoying the scenic panoramic views. Dogs are also allowed on this trail and must be kept on leash.
On a clear day you can see the Boston skyline from the top of the summit. You can enjoy views of Northern Massachussets and Southern New Hampshire from the summit. It is also a great place to catch the sunrise from the summit with beautiful views. Along the trail we saw many different kinds of wild mushrooms.
All in all a great hike with breathtaking views but not breath taking!
Mount Greylock, the highest peak in the state of Massachusetts has an elevation of 3491 feet and is one of the most scenic mountains in the United States. Last Saturday we decided to explore one of the trails Mount Greylock has to offer. We decided to pick a short trail with stunning views of Mount Greylock – Sperry Road to Stony Ledge Trail located near Adams, Massachusetts. It takes approximately 3 hours to reach the trail from Boston but is so worth it.
On our way my husband and I stopped for breakfast at On a Roll Cafe which is on the way to the hike to Sperry Road to Stony Ledge Trail from Boston. I cannot recommend this place enough. The food is amazing and the outdoor seating is absolutely amazing to soak in the summer with the lush greenery and a small manmade pond around it. We got the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Breakfast Burrito, a side of home cut fries and some juice and they were delicious. At the corner there is an Antique store called Route 7 Trading Post which we explored until we got a table as there was a wait time of approximately 20 minutes and they have some great pieces for anyone interested to get antiques.
After some breakfast we continued on our drive until we reached the 2 mile trail. The trailhead starts at CCC Dynamite Trail and there is parking available right at the beginning of the trail.We parked the car and headed on to the gravel road leading us to the Sperry Road to Stony ledge Trail. This trail is easy and is great for all skill levels but offers some magnificient views. Definitely will be a great place to come back to in order catch the beautiful fall colors.
On the trail we saw some beautiful butterflies, cranberry trees and some beautiful wild flowers.
There is also another diversion which takes you to the March Cataract Fall Trails, something we plan to explore the next time we visit there. The best time to visit the falls is definitely when it has rained as otherwise it will not be the same.
The 2 mile trail is an easy trail to soak in the beauty of the mountains without hiking all day and gains approximately 1500 feet in altitude. The stony ledge delivers panoramic views of the foliage and wild forest. After soaking in the views for sometime we started walking back down towards our car as we decided to drive up to the summit.
One great thing about Mount Greylock is that you can drive all the way up to the summit and explore the view as well even if you do not plan to do the summit hike. As we started driving back again from our trail to the summit there are a couple of lookout points on the way offering some dynamic views.
There is parking available at the summit and once we parked we explored the splendorous views by walking around to explore the Eastern, Western, Southern and Northern views.
At the Summit, there is a 92 feet tower Veterans War Memorial Tower built to honor the states dead from World War I. On a clear day, visitors can view as far as 90 miles to the north from the top of the tower. The tower’s beacon is possibly the most powerful light in Massachusetts intended to shine each night to honor the memory of the fallen heroes except for a few weeks in Spring and Fall to avoid confusing the migrating birds. Currently the tower is closed due to Covid-19 however the views are spectacular just by itself without having to actually climb the tower.
The Bascom Lodge located at the summit serves weekend warriors and hikers. It is currently closed due to the pandemic but can be seen from the outside as you walk around.
All in all a great easy trail to explore with spectacular views. Highly Recommend it!
Social Distancing and staying at home has definitely taken me back to my old days where I made it a point to remove at least sometime to do the things I really enjoyed. Reading is one of those things for me and I cannot get enough of it. In these uncertain times I find normalcy in books and love how I switch off from everything happening around in the world for sometime.
Here is a list of books I have been reading. Would love to hear from you guys about books you have been reading and would suggest reading.
Normal People – I decided to pick up reading this book only after the adapted show came up on television (Hulu). I find this book extremely well written, compelling and enthralling though I think you will either really enjoy the book or hate it. There is no in-between with this book. This book touches on so many important things and there is so much to analyze in the class differences, first loves, friendship, physical abuses and family dynamics explored here with nuanced skill. This is a coming of age story.
2. American Dirt – This book has definitely received mixed reception. This novel is about a Mexican woman who has to leave behind her life along with her son and escape to the United States as an undocumented immigrant. This book has controversy written all over it but when read as pure fiction I found it absolutely engaging. I think it is one book you have to pick up yourself and decide if you like it or not. For me, I found the story chilling, tense and gripping.
3. Ask again yes – This book grabbed my attention from the first page and never let it go. A powerful, thought provoking beautifully crafted family drama that explores love, forgiveness and the ability to move on. This book is well written and the writing has great depth and complexity to it and the story flows effortlessly. This is the first book I read of this author and absolutely enjoyed it. A great read.
4. There There – I got this book a while ago planning to read. This is the authors debut novel and a strong and powerful one at that. Beautifully written, creatively and skillfully structured with the stories of multiple characters, each one important and affecting on their own, but when meshed the connections that unfold blew me away. This story is told from 12 widely different perspectives of Native communities from Oakland, California in a way which is both exciting as well as heartbreaking. A gripping read.
Halibut Point State Park located in the town of Rockport, MA is a small trail that spans approximately 2 miles but offers great views. This State Park is approximately one hour to the north of Boston and sits along the Atlantic Ocean featuring the 60 feet deep water filled granite quarry and the relaxing rocky ocean coast.
My husband and I visited this Park on Saturday at around 10.45 am however entered the park only at around 11.30 am as it is a very busy park and had to wait to park the car as the parking was full. Will highly recommend visiting before 10.00 am as once the parking lot is full you might need to wait until another hour to get parking.
Admission – There is a $5 parking fee for all Massachusetts residents and a $20 parking fee for all non Massachusetts residents.
This State Park is a perfect blend of great history and stunning views and is accessible all round the year. The sheets of granite that makes up Halibut Point are around 440 million years old and the quarry ended its operations in 1929 with the collapse of the Cape Ann granite industry.
Just like Massachusetts, this State Park has history under every rock and on every corner. Highly recommend this loop for Instagram worthy photos, the rich history of the granite quarry business and also to visit the watch tower in the visitor center from the WWII era which protected Boston and Portsmouth from attack by the sea. The watch tower offers great panoramic views. Currently the visitor center is closed due to Covid however there is so much more to explore and enjoy.
On a clear day the view stretches from Crane Bridge in Ipswich to Mount Agamenticus in Maine and the Isles of Shoals off the Coast of New Hampshire.
My husband and I spent sometime exploring the numbered self guided tour understanding the evolution of rock quarrying and the significance. On weekends from Columbus Day to Memorial Day they offer quarry tours and on every Saturday morning the tour includes a granite cutting demonstration. Currently they are not offering these tours due to Covid but it is fun exploring yourself too. We definitely want to take the tour once it opens to experience and see for ourselves the demonstration of the granite cutting.
This would be a great spot for a picnic with family and friends to enjoy some snacks while taking in the ocean views which make you feel so calm and relaxed.
After we were done exploring this beautiful loop and trails we headed to grab some lunch at Markouk Bread which is a tiny spot serving Lebanese and Mediterranean food. They make the breads fresh to order which makes it so delicious. We absolutely loved the Manoushie Special and Mohamara flatbreads, hummus and the falafel wrap.
Some other spots on my list to explore around Halibut Point State Park are Good Harbor Beach and Wingaersheek Beach. This can all easily be enjoyed in a day and is great for taking a day trip from Boston.
Kayaking is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and gives us a front row seat to the best shows Mother Nature has to offer . It is a great way to destress and a great outdoor activity for all ages.
On my trip to San Diego, I had a bucket list of things to do and kayaking in the ocean was at the top of my list especially since I had never done it before. Even though my husband had done kayaking before neither of us had done it in the ocean and we decided to take on a new adventure, which brought us to the pristine waters of La Jolla.
We booked our experience Kayak in La Jolla (Sea Caves and Marine Reserve) around 10 days before our travel with Michael and were all set to take on this experience. On the day of the tour in March 2019 we arrived 30 minutes prior to gear up and receive some instructions. The place offers lockers to store valuables and also sells phone covers though I recommend leaving it back in the lockers unless it is waterproof as it will definitely get drenched.
Once we were all geared up in our wetsuits and our group was ready our guides led us to the ocean where they gave us a quick paddling tutorial. The distance from their store where we assembled to the ocean is just a few blocks away.
My husband and I quickly hopped onto the two seater kayak and paddled our way into the water along with the group. Along the way the guide made various stops to provide us with some history. Kayaking in La Jolla is an amazing experience, one that I highly recommend especially because of the La Jolla Underwater Park – a marine sanctuary full of seal life and clear water.
While Kayaking we saw sting rays, fishes, whales, sea lions, seals, sea turtles and leopard sharks alongside with us. This was quite an experience, one we never had before. If the weather permits, they also take you inside the Clam’s Cave which is the only visible sea cave from land. Tip : Our group was fairly small which really comes in handy especially if you get to do inside the caves as there is a limit for the number of kayaks that can go in together at once. A big group would just mean you would have to wait that much longer. We went on kayaking further to other sea caves and then explored more sea life along the way.
After spending time near the sea caves we paddled back towards the shore and as we neared the shore we were sent towards the beach one kayak at a time so that the helpers could pull out the kayak and you don’t get toppled by the waves. It was a great experience and even though I was initially scared to kayak in the ocean especially when I do not know to swim I had an incredible time. It is a great way to experience the pristine La Jolla waters and the sea life.
And the best part is, you can even get some exercise done without even actually trying and enjoying the beautiful landscape.
What to Wear?
You can wear a swimsuit or a tank top with shorts. On a cold day I highly recommend renting the wetsuit to wear over the swimsuit from them as once you are inside it gets a little chilly. Definitely wear a sunscreen. If you get sunburnt easily I highly recommend wearing a fast drying cover up or a wetsuit. They will provide you with helmets and life vests to be worn too at no additional cost.
If you haven’t done this yet I highly recommend it when in San Diego!
I love how candles instantly make your house look cozy and add the same time add the perfect ambiance to any room. They are a great addition to coffee tables, book shelves, mantel, in the dining room as centerpieces, or also in the bedroom.
Today, I wanted to share with you a quick and easy DIY Candle holder which can add to the decor of the house. You can easily make as many of them to use as centerpieces on the dining table or as you please.
Tumbling Tower Game (A mini one)
Black Spray Paint
Led Candle – Pick one that fits inside the cylinder glass.
The first thing I did is washed the clear bowl with warm soapy water to ensure that there are no prints on it and remove any stickers.
Next, I took 4 tumbling tower pieces and using the wood glue stuck them forming a square as per the photo below.
Later I took another 4 tumbling tower pieces and created a cross sign as per the below pictures.
Once you have created the cross sign add some wood glue to the centre of each tumbling tower piece of the cross and stick the square created above diagonally on it as per the picture below.
Once you are done with this, you will need 4 more tumbling tower pieces and stick each vertically on the edges as the below picture using wood glue.
Let it dry for sometime and spray paint the entire piece using a black spray paint in a well ventilated area. Do not miss to spray paint the sides. Let it dry completely.
Once the holder is dry, simply add some sand to the cylinder glass and place the LED candle inside it. It is ready to use.
Thank you for visiting the blog today and hope you enjoy creating this DIY Candle Holder.
Social Distancing has got me try so many new things I never did before. Recently, I tried my hands at sketching and absolutely enjoyed it. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am extremely passionate about Arts and Crafts – I have my Mother to thank for that. I inherit all my creative skills from her.
Here are some of the sketches I created. Let me know what you think of them.
Date Nights have been so much easier until now to simply go out for a dinner, movie, concert or anything fun. But with staying at home we needed to get more creative to spend some quality time with each other especially to unwind from everything going around.
But who says you cannot make At-Home Date Nights fun and exciting? My husband and I tried these At Home Date Nights during the lockdown and had such a fun time. Here is a list of some fun ideas we did together until the pandemic settles.
Tie – Dye Date Night – The tie-dye trend is so strong right now and we thought why not try and do it ourselves. We ordered the Tie-Dye Kit which included all the tie dye colors, gloves, rubber bands and plastic bags and a tie to secure your tie -dyed things. What we enjoyed the most about it was there is no correct or wrong way of doing it. We just let our creative juices flow and created some fun his and her styles tshirts, a baseball cap and even a travel pouch. It was such a fun night of creating something together and spending some quality time. Here is a picture of what we created.
2. Cocktail Making Contest – If both of you enjoy drinking this is definitely a fun idea for a date night. We had so much fun creating our own cocktails from ingredients we already had at home. We were surprised at how creative we got and the result of which was some really amazing concoctions using spirits, fruits, and spices. Even if you don’t come up with the best cocktails you will definitely have a great time.
3. Candlelit Dinner – Convert the experience of cooking at home a fun one by planning a fun Candlelit dinner. You can make it extremely fancy by having a three course meal – Appetizer, Main and Dessert or keep it simple by cooking just the main dish. But who cares as long as you are having fun. Put on some romantic music while cooking and then enjoy your meal at the dining table by lighting a few candles and having a romantic candle lit dinner with your favorite drinks. I love to dress up and use this time to dress up a little to get the whole experience but it is completely up to you.
4. Movie Marathon – A fun things to do is doing a movie marathon. My husband and I are Harry Potter fans so we did a fun Harry Potter movie marathon while binging on some popcorn and tortillas with salsa and guacamole. But literally you can pick anything you have been waiting to watch or love watching together and go with it. To make it feel like we are watching a movie in the theatre we turn off all the lights.
5. Game Nights – If you enjoy game nights then it is definitely a fun date night idea. We enjoy playing board and card games like Sequence, Code names duet, Ludo, Phase 10, Monopoly, etc. Recently I also learnt playing Chess on one of our date nights and was so much fun. Another fun game is the Newlywed game or Not So Newlywed game.
6. Bucket List Theme Date Night – Have a list of countries you want to visit or had been planning to visit if we were not in this pandemic? Why not convert it into a fun experience and make the most of it.
For Example – If you were planning to visit Mexico – How about make some tacos, nachos, quesadillas, etc.
If you were planning to visit India – How about making some Indian curries, biryani or some chaat?
If you were planning to visit Italy – Cook some Italian dishes like spaghetti, pizza, gnocchi, etc.
If you were planning to visit Japan – How about trying to make some sushi or ramen?
If you were planning to visit China – How about making some noodles, stir fry, fried rice or dumplings.
The options are unlimited depending on the country you pick up.
7. Karaoke Date Night – If you have a karaoke microphone great but even if you don’t just put on you tube and select song with lyrics you like and sing your hearts out. Better yet no one is watching you so you don’t need to care how you sing and just have fun.
8. Sip and Paint Date Night – Have some canvas, paints or brushes handy ? How about painting while sipping your favorite drink and also create some fun wall art for your home at the same time? Even if you don’t have a canvas and just have some drawing paper and colors or pencils you can sketch together and frame them and create your own wall art for your home. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated it can be something simple too. We created some fun frames.
9. Watch your wedding video – Now may be a perfect time to sit back, relax and binge on some snacks while watching your wedding video and photos and reliving those moments together. You can also surprise your partner by swapping your wedding DVD with another movie DVD so he/she will not know till you are actually watching it together. At the end if you want you can also make a small cake/cupcake and enjoy it like you did on your wedding.
10. Picnic in your Backyard – If you are looking for a fun date idea during the day you can also have a picnic in your backyard. You can take a blanket to sit on and some snacks, chips and sandwiches with some sangria/mimosas/wine or any beverage of your choice and play some music on your phone and play some board games as well.
11. Make a playlist of your favorite songs – A fun date night idea is creating a playlist of all your favorite songs. You can pen down all your favorite songs and create a mix tape so the next time you fit the road you are all set and have your favorite songs ready to play and groove. We had got a mix tape long ago to create our playlist and finally created one during the social distancing time.
Do you have any fun date night ideas that you enjoy? Feel free to share your thoughts and what you do on your date nights. I would love to hear about them.
With the pandemic going strong we are all feeling a little strange and missing our families but lets not get it in the way to express our love to our loved ones this Mothers day. Make your mom, grandmom and newly minted moms feel special with these small gestures that will go a long way.
Cook her Breakfast in Bed – If you live with her you can prepare her favorite breakfast and coffee and start the day on the right note by pampering her.
2. Watch a Mother Daughter Movie Together – Even if you are not living together you can easily block a time of the day which works for both of you and watch a movie together and Netflix makes it possible with Netflix Party. Some fun movies to watch are Little Women, Monster in Law, Dumplin, Mamma Mia, I Don’t know How she Does it, etc.
3. Take an Online Cooking Class together – Sign up for an online cooking class of your liking and learn to cook something new together. Whether you have always been wanting to take a speciality class or cook a meal from scratch go for it.
4. Host a Virtual Happy Hour on Zoom – Set aside time and using zoom or any video conferencing app tune in to your favorite concert, play games or simply chat your hearts away while sipping on some cocktails or mocktails of your choice.
5. Take a Virtual Fitness Class together – Sign up for a Virtual fitness class together of your choice be it yoga, mat pilates, cardio or even dance and sweat it together.
6. Create a Slideshow for Mothers Day – You can create a fun slideshow for Mothers’s Day and share it with her. It can include pictures from your childhood and messages from her loved ones thanking her or saying something beautiful to appreciate her. It will be a beautiful memory she can cherish forever.
7. Send her an Ecard – You can create your own ECard using any of the free apps available with messages from her loved ones or even a small poem to appreciate her and make her feel special.
8. Create a Video – One of the easiest things to do is you can ask all your siblings or all the loved ones to send a personal message for her and combine it together and share it with her. She will definitely admire the gesture and feel special.
9. Plan a Surprise Dinner for Her – You can always plan a special surprise dinner for her and cook all her favorite things from appetizers, mains and dessert. And off course don’t forget to get her favorite drink. If you have extra time on hand you can also decorate the dining area to add a personal touch.
10. Send Her a Thoughtful Care Package – If you cannot be with her and cannot do anything of the above you can always send her a thoughtful care package to let her know you are thinking of her and really appreciate everything she does for you. Will definitely bring a smile to her face.
If you are looking for Gifts Ideas on Mother’s Day check this post. I have written an entire post on fun gift ideas on a budget. There is something for everyone!
Mothers Day is just around the corner and a great way to show your mother how much she means to you. How great is it to have this one day to celebrate the woman who gave birth to you or raised you and make her feel special. I have put together a list of some fun and thoughtful gift ideas for this Mothers day including budget friendly options. I hope this helps and gives you some ideas!!
For the Mother who loves to Cook
Personalized Wooden Set (Spoons, Spork and Spatula) – How about treating your mother with a personalised wooden set ? Here is a link where you can order it from.
2. Customized mixers from Kitchen Aid – Kitchen Aid is currently having upto 25% discount on its website and you can customize your mixer and also have it engraved and gift wrapped now. Here is a link where you can buy it.
3. Personalized Cutting Board – A great option for your mother to prep her favorite meals with various wood and design options to choose from with personalised engraving. Here is a link where you can buy it.
Another great option is this where you can have the family recipe engraved.
For the Mother who loves to decorate the house
Personalized Throw Pillow – Gift your Mom with a personalised throw pillow with the names of all her loved ones. You have an option to select from four different fonts as well and the option to buy only the pillow cover or both the pillow and the pillow cover. Here is a link where you can order it from.
2. Mother of Pearl Frames – These beautiful and elegant frames are a great gift option for your mother to cherish memories while adding to the decor of the house. Here is a link where you can buy them and currently they are on a discount.
3. Coasters – These beautiful coasters can be a great gift and a beautiful addition to the coffee table. Here is a link where you can buy it.
For the Mother who is always on the go
Commute Clutch – If your mother is always on the go or likes to have her things organized this beautiful organizer will do just that. Available in 3 beautiful colors and made of leather this commute clutch is a great gift option. Here is a link where you can buy it.
Another great option which is on a discount at this time. You can also add an embroidered monogram to add a personal touch. Here is link to buy it.
2. Tote Organizer – If your mom loves totes or bags but always struggles to find things inside her bag this is a great gift option. This felt organizer is available in various sizes to fit all bags and has various color options as well. It is definitely a game changer.
For the Mother who loves to stay Cozy
Plush Throw – If your mother likes to cuddle up in her favorite corner while reading a book or to have some “Me Time” this beautiful plus throw will keep her cozy and also add to the decor of the house. Available in four gorgeous colors and here is a link where you can buy it.
2. Baies/ Berries Candle – A scented candle that will keep the house smelling fresh and fruity. Here is a link where you can buy it.
3. Quarantine T-shirt – If you are looking to give something that will remind you of the current situation and staying indoors this t-shirt can be a great gift option. A variety of color options to choose from. Here is a link to buy it.
For the Mother who loves to get Pampered
Gift Basket – If you are looking to pamper your mother on this special day this gift basket is a great option. You can easily add add-ons to the hamper as well from the various options available and also personalize the gift. Here is the link where you can buy it.
2. Beauty Gift Set – This gift set is filled with 10 premium samples and is beautifully packed including things like a cleanser, serum, soothing tea, hand cream, seed mix, fragnance, lip balm, etc. Here is a link where you can buy it.
For the tech loving Mother
Kindle Paperwhite – If your Mother enjoys reading then the Kindle will be a great and thoughtful gift for her. Here is a link where you can buy it.
2. Apple AirPods with Charging Case – If your Mother enjoys listening to music AirPods are a great gift idea for her to groove to the tunes of her choice. Here is a link where you can buy it.
3. FitBit – If your mother is into fitness the FitBit is a great gift option. It can also control all your Home smart devices and track all information about your health. Here is a link where you can buy the amazon exclusive and choose from a variety of colors.
For the Newly Minted Mother
For new mothers a great way to make them feel special especially during these challenging times when it may not always be possible to be with your loved ones due to social distancing is sending them a gift telling them you are thinking of them and celebrating their first ever Mothers Day.
Gift Hamper – A fun gift hamper making them feel special and telling them that you are thinking of them and sending warm wishes even as you practice social distancing. Here is a link where you can buy it.
Another great option would be this gift hamper for a new mom.
2. Initial Necklace – For a new Mom a great gift idea would be having the initials of the child engraved or the birthday of the child engraved on a necklace. You can customize more than one to add in yours and your husband’s initials as well and wear all 3 in one necklace. A beautiful family memory. Here is a link where you can buy it.
3. Twining Quarantine T-shirt – How cute are these twining quarantine t-shirts for a new mother and a newborn. Here is a link where you can buy it.
Here is a sketch I drew to celebrate Mothers Day. A Bond so pure!!