Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Carbon Footprint: Can you buy back yours?

When I flew up to Boston this weekend for my brother's wedding I started thinking about my carbon footprint again. Usually when you buy a plane ticket, nowadays, there is the option to add a fee which "buys back your CO2 consumption" and supports companies who contribute to green technologies or something. I decided to see exactly where this money goes by researching the companies being invested in.

(First, you should calculate your carbon footprint by visiting this online calculator...)

But I know mine's high. I'm a teacher: I get a lot of vacation time: so I travel a lot...how can I invest some of my money to help reduce my carbon emissions? Here are some companies willing to help:

1. The Nature Conservancy accepts charitable gift donations and plants trees to offset CO2. 
2. Carbonfund.org also offers a carbon footprint calculator and through money gifts invests in projects in three categories: Renewable Energy & methane, Energy efficiency & carbon credits, and Reforestation and avoided deforestation. (Read about their projects here.)
3. Green Mountain Energy (and its projects) support alternative fuels: wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, landfill, methane capture carbon offsets, and hydro.
4. Carbon Footprint also offers a clean energy portfolio and Certified Emission Reduction. (Chosen by IKEA, Hoover, and Deutsche Bank businesses.)

I wonder if there are actually statistics of what percentage of people actually pay the voluntary airline fee/donation to these companies-and how much this opportunity is actually helping the world. The native Massachusetts-taxachusetts democratic influence over me wishes the $12? Fee could just be tacked on- just like the environmental fee with every oil change these days...although there is something inherently wrong with the mentality of "buying back" bad environmental behaviors. That sort of mentality could foster a nonchalance and indifference that sets us back 20 years again. (Check out the Climate Commissioners that agree with me: we can't stop the heat.) There has to be a way to unite everyone uncertain practices that improve our world instead if burdening it with gases and trash...I guess simply educating people about the difference a single person can make is a start.

Carbon Emissions in the News: (What you should know).
Mar 28th: "Five Everyday Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint." By Susan Cornell.
Mar 28th: China announces targets for carbon emissions and energy cuts.
Mar 7th: The EU sets emissions targets for airlines as of 2012.


Aimee's RECYCLING CHALLENGE! (Yes, there is a prize!)

Aimee's Recycling Challenge!

Think you're a great recycler? Play my game this week to win a prize!

The Challenge: collect as many pieces of recycling as possible, take a picture at the end of the week, I will determine who has the biggest "pile" or fullest bin(s). Please no cheating!

What counts: paper, magazines, cans, glasses, plastics, etc.

Photos should be uploaded here on this wall
 by Saturday (April 2nd, 2011) by Noon EST. The winner will be announced on Sunday morning. The prize (a gift card of your choice) will be mailed out on Monday morning! Go get those recyclables!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Red Sox Spring Training Report: March 2011

"Aimee's Red Sox Spring Training Report: March 2011."

I was lucky enough to see a Red Sox game down at the City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers, Florida this past Sunday: March 20th, 2011, and I thought I'd write a fan post, and report about the game, the park, the team, and the spectator climate.

The park holds only about 8,000 people- so getting tickets to a spring training game is almost as big an ordeal as it is to get tickets to a Fenway game. I waited online in a "virtual waiting room" (a chart with boxes where your 'little man' figure walks to the left until it is your turn, and every twenty minutes of waiting you have to either enter a code or confirm from the sounds emmiting from your computer announcing it's your turn (turn up the volume!) and click that you are still waiting in order to continue before it kicks you out of line.) It's stressful...but eventually, I was successful and we scored tickets to the March 20th game against the St. Louis Cardinals- my husband's team.

So Tom and I arrived to see our respective teams face off in what was the first spring training game either one of us had ever seen on Sunday- to a sold out crowd. We sat with the above view off of right field with great views of the players and the whole game in such an intimate park. I regret that there was no jumbo-tron like screen to see replays like they have at the bigger parks (and even AAA teams) but it did make me pay attention better than I have in years at the umpire calls and the number of outs during each half of the inning. The game continued 0-0 into the sixth inning, when I decided to go find my friend Melissa, who was sitting in a nearby section. (See photo left). While we stood in line for ice cream and pretzels the Cardinals scored two runs...and then eight more. When I returned to my seat the score was 10-0 Cardinals. I was perturbed slightly. Even more annoying were the random Yankee's fans (in front of and to the left of where I was sitting) who were heckling both Cardinal's and Red Sox fans throughout the whole game. (And people wonder why no one can stand Yankees fans.) Although, my frustration was paid off in the many giggles and laughs I had at the quartet of six-year-olds who decided after ineffectively raising a "Let's-Go-Red-Sox!" chant a few dozen times, to try out the iconic staple, "Yankee's Suck!" Which was enthusiastically applauded  by both Cardinal's fans and Red Sox fans. (Although- being a teacher- I should be appaled at the useage of such bad sportsmanship at such an early age, it did take the edge off of the game my team was losing badly, but I'll just have to be a role model of better behaviors instead.) Even though we were losing, and we eventually did (10-3), I really enjoyed seeing Marco Scutaro play, (I didn't see him play much of last season) and I enjoyed the crowd's rendition of the classic "MARCO! POLO!" turn into "MARCO!!! SCUUUUTARO!!!" across the stadium.

All in all it was a fun day. I got to walk up to the Cardinal's dugout, to get the close up shot (see photo left) for my sister in law (also a Cardinal's fan) and I could see Varitek catching for legendary Pujols, (if only he would go the same way as Crawford! If you can't beat 'em, hire them!) and Terry Francona lounging but analyzing, and all of my favorite players most of which already sit on the rotation. (A rotation which heading into the Rays game and the Phillies on Friday might change the five-game slump.) I agree with Jared Stegall (Over the Monster-A Red Sox Blog) that this lineup is starting to look like a opening day lineup:

6. David Ortiz, DH
7. J.D. Drew, RF
...A list of champions that might need some reshuffling to create the tour de force needed to, um, actually win some games. There's so much hype about that lineup rotation- like every other Red Sox fan out there, I'm pretty proud of it- but nervously hopeful and seasoned enough to know- you don't leave until the game ends..and for a Red Sox fan...that better be in October...

Over and out. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Escapism: the latest hook, line and sinker," by Aimee.

Escapism: A growing trend?
Last week, during our spring break vacation from school, I found that I’d spent much of my time off from work completely engrossed in alternative universes: from movies, to books, and television shows, vacation retreats, and meditation, and prayer. I spent a lot of time disconnected from society with friends and family who, like me, are also escaping. Which poses the question to me: What exactly are we escaping from? Personally, I think it's a reaction to the over-stimulation of media, electronics and information, frankly. So I asked myself: What are the statistics and trends of current employee work performance with special correlation to information overload? Is there causation between information overload and the need to "check out" more frequently? Or is this startling trend universal- regardless of the amount of work- a result of a generational laziness? What happens if we all "check out" of life? Is this an American trend? A global trend? (I’d really like to hear from my readers around the world on your thoughts about this topic: please comment on your observations below!)
An ad for Tommy Bahama
There are lots of famous people and brands that have made their fortunes selling "the leisurely lifestyle": Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney and Tommy Bahama, to mention a few. I feel like this trend is (to use an appropriate fishing analogy) hooking us, dragging us and sinking our mentalities, energies and passions about working.
There are so many ways of escaping that it’s impossible to go through a day without being assaulted with a barrage of advertisements and products and activities and trips to help you “escape.” From cigarettes and their 2-4 minute escape, to a coffee break, to a lunch experience, cars, the daily Groupon e-mail deal for an unusual activity, etc… there’s something for everyone! I find that my favorite way to escape is to see movies. I have always enjoyed watching movies. I find that because my short term memory is nonexistent that I can enjoy many of my favorites over and over again as if seeing them for the first time in a long time.

Escapism seems to be, like so many things, a 'in moderation' stimulation necessary for success... but lately, I've come to look at it more and more as a caffeine-like degenerative addiction: one that our country needs to break...
The issue of Escapism came to me after viewing the recent remake of Tron Legacy over Christmas break. In the darkness of the movie theater we can forget about reality and submerge ourselves into the world which is presented to us. This was especially true for the video game world of Tron. While the plot and dialogue were mediocre at best, the viewer did get the feeling of being “inside” the video game, even more so when watching it in 3-D. Leaving the neon, pristine, white sanitized world of Tron made me instantly crave trees and green. I wanted to escape the movie in which I had tried to escape life in. This denouement spurred the larger issue of the escapism dilemma for me.
Escapism: Microcosm or macrocosm?: Is escapism only for the uber-wealthy? The stats say no.

To get an idea of the global health and wealth situation: check out this movie I share with my eighth graders during our global studies and literature unit:

This video gives us a basis about the general growth of health and wealth in the world from the past 200 years, and raises the question: what exactly is the wealth distribution in America?

If I'm understanding this chart correctly: the bottoms 80% of Americans only have 7% of the financial wealth (red zone, right pie)...and this is a four year old chart. However: back to the question, of escapism: micro or macrocosm, I must infer that if I am able to successfully "escape" with smaller and cheaper diversions than even the most affluent Americans, than it is possible for anyone in our country to afford to be able to do so. (As I represent the bottom 80%.) So, the next question is: who is actually working and who is 'escaping'? What is the work/escape ratio in all types of Americans? 

More than half of the companies in this survey have banned facebook and twitter from their businesses, which you would think would raise productivity, but until they ban smartphones, that's not going to stop people who can still access the sites on their personal cell phones. In the U.K, (in 2009) there was the impressive statistic that social media is causing a loss of $2.25B per year. Although, another statistic from that same article states that merely web surfing costs the U.S $63B each year. It seems we are becoming more and more distracted and losing more and more productivity as we more through the first part of the 21st century...

The Past and Present Escapism Trends:
My colleague Jay brought up the point that trends in escapism growth usually revolve around depressions and recessions. Nicole agreed using the example of the original "Silver Shoes" in the Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum was about some people pushing for the silver standard, and the yellow brick road was adopted to represent the gold standard. (Check out the money and politics behind The Wizard of Oz here...). The movie version of the Wizard of Oz took the original piece of literature and created the world of Oz, providing an enormously successful escapism for the Depression-era (1939) world. In 2009, amidst the crux of the Great Recession in America, Avatar provided the same type of escape: into a lush futuristic world. This week, viewers can "check out" with Battle: Los Angeles. (Which made $36M this past weekend.)

But, before we start drowning in cultural laziness and withdrawal from society, I do have some suggestions on how to maintain connections to humanity: (because that is what my blog is all about). Start a dialogue with someone today, read the news, call someone you haven't talked to in a while, call a parent, call a grandparent, share a meal with someone, share an activity. Take a break from your comfortable routine and do something radically different. Challenge your own lifestyle.

Lisa Kennedy in the Denver Post two days ago talked about the paltry American psyche when it comes to global crises: "Watch. Get anxious. Ignore. Get anxious. Repeat." (source) She states that escapism is overrated: and I agree with her. I think it's an easy way out. I think it's actually more challenging to begin a dialogue with people, especially strangers on the blogosphere for example, where you cannot control the comments, and it creates a healthy transaction and communication of critical thoughts and ideas- a dialogue which connects us to each other, AND challenges our brains at the levels of previous post or secondary educations did long ago. It's too easy to get lost in the social media outlets and the narcissistic "profiles" of self-identity and to waste countless hours this way. I like Lisa's article in that she suggests films that help us understand the current issues and conflicts in the Middle East: using the usual 'escape medium' of film to educate. The important segway from film back into humanity being: what you decide to do with the information that is provided to you, how you share it, how you help educate others about these issues. What have you done after experiencing something that 'moves' you lately? Tweeted about it? Liked it? These are the superficial triggers of connection. I challenge you do do something more, to take a stand for something. To get up on your soap box and holler out your feelings to the world. But like the church sign says on my street: It's easier to preach ten sermons than to follow one- so I've got to work on this too.

Friday, March 18, 2011

"The Modern Survivalist," by Aimee.

So, I should admit that I like to consider the future and possible economic or environmental outcomes, a lot. (I have created an "Apocalypse Betting Book" and survival and gear packing guides for wolf attacks, Supervolcano eruptions and the next Ice Age.  While they were created mostly in jest, they did include real research into the impact of the particular gear needed and provide information to further study survival, even I will admit that my guides fall short in event likelihood or gear investments, I do hope that people will consider how to protect themselves in the event of disaster. The more prepared I am, the safer I feel about the situation.)

Nicole forwarded me a link the other day called www.thesurvivalpodcast.com, (thank you Nicole: for providing me with this apocalypse/survival resource!) where survivalists can join and post and listen to the shows. I for one, don't have a lot of time to listen to podcasts on a daily basis generally, so I prefer written articles and research, but there is a lot of wisdom in this page that I would like to share some of it with you today in a review.

"The Survivalist Podcast: A Review by Aimee Nadow."

The site has some articles by Jack, the founder, who touts his website as "one man's opinion" like I do mine, and includes his general philosophy about the modern survivalist in a way we can all relate to, and  in some way apply to our own lives:

"The survivalist community is often perceived as a bunch of gloom and doom types sitting on a pile of MREs, ammunition and guns in some far out corner of the North West. Of course the survivalist is also typecast as expecting TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) to occur any day now, in fact he is actually hoping for it. Honestly it is time for this stereotype to die a deserving death. Modern survivalists are many things but very few are actually concerned about the infamous black helicopters or FEMA Camps. Most instead are simply realists who understand that sometimes things do go wrong and it is better to be prepared than to expect someone else to solve your problems. " (Source: Jack's Survival Tenet #1: from thesurvivalpodcast.com. )

He lays out his ten-point philosophy about Survival and how it should apply to us, but to summarize, here are the most encompassing:

"Plan for disaster in the following order of priority – Personal-Localized-Regional-State-National-Global. [This resonated with me the most.] Despite the real possibility of a true economic melt down or catastrophic terrorist attack or some other major global disaster the most probable “disaster” for any individual is personal. Loss of a job, loss of a family member, a fire or localized weather event are the most probable threats to impact any individual. So plan and prepare for those first, then continue to build going forward." (source)

Which makes me think that these should be our survival priorities:

(1) A fire escape plane.
(2) Life insurance. (Will creation).

(3) A hurricane/tornado/brief (1-3 week) disaster plan/kit.
(4) Flood/fire/house & car insurance.

(5) An evacuation plan/destination and emergency funds.

(6) Supervolcano eruption plan/gear.
(7) Viral/bacterial plan/gear.
(8) Emergency funds/food/first aid kit/gear.

(9) Environmental plan/gear.
(10) Ice Age survival plan/gear.
(11) Insert any other Apocalypse plans/survival gear here.

I guess I'm going to have to read more on the subject. Jack has a list of recommended books here.  I mostly like the Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants, (see left) but I vaguely remember the kid in Into the Wild dying of consuming the wrong (but similar poisonou one from his field guide. I also liked the The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live it. These look like great reads: although, I'm slightly partial to Survival books- ever since I read that first copy of The Worst Case Scenario Handbook... 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"How to Catch a Leprechaun!" by Aimee.

Happy St. Patty's Day!

In honor of my favorite day, I've decided to inform my dear readers about the original folklore of the elusive Leprechaun. Please watch the following (charming) and informative background informational video. This video tells us about how to set a trap, and what to do once you've caught your leprechaun. 

To summarize:
1. Build your trap of household items so it blends in with its surroundings.
2.  Use bait. Leprechauns love shiny gold items. They also love Lucky Charms.
3. Once you've got your Leprechaun, you can not take your eyes off of him! Or else he will disappear! And he will lead you to his pot of gold. Sometimes, buried, sometimes at the end of the rainbow. 

There are two kinds of Leprechaun: The Leprechaun and the Clurichaun. The difference? "Leprechauns come in two distinct groups - leprechaun and cluricaun. A cluricaun dresses very stylishly with a jaunty cap, large silver buckles on his shoes, beautiful gold laces and pale blue stockings. You will never see him wear an apron or carry a hammer. He has a jolly grin, a slightly pink-tipped nose and is almost always drunk and cheerful. Pass him by, for he never has any money, or any idea where treasure is buried." (source)

If you do not live in Ireland, and you would like to watch the Leprechaun Webcam: Please visit the "Leprechaun Watch Webcam" a live viewing of Tipperary, Ireland.

If you're interested in the original history of the Leprechaun's and their origins, click here...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On Vacation...

...barely. Currently undergoing a move: hence the delay in posting. Expecting posting to resume early next week, unless I get sick of looking at boxes and decide to update my Apocalypse Survival Guides...

A tout a l'heure!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Carpe Diem," by Aimee.

Carpe Diem.
I'm typing this from the fifth floor of the Pink Shell Resort on Fort Myers Beach, thinking about how lovely the past few days have been here on the beach with my mom, my cousin Jessie, and my Aunt Mary, Aunt Sue and Aunt Kathy. It's becoming a yearly tradition during March for the sisters to come down to Florida to enjoy the spring weather and the sun, but it's bittersweet because we all remember being here with my Memere, who we've since lost, and my grandfather. My Memere and Pepere vacationed here at this resort for years. Leavi nf behind them a staff who still remembers how kind they were-an inspiration for their kids and grandkids...

It's a much needed break and recharge after an intense week of grading and report cards. However, I am much overdue for a blog post. So today's simple message is: Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Stop and smell the roses. Have a moment. Breathe the air like it will run out. Watch the stars until they get fuzzy. Lose yourself in view of water.

On that note: time to follow my own advice.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sunday, March 06, 2011

"Get Outdoors: Start Planning your Summer Trips!" By Aimee.

"A Review of the Best Hiking/Camping/Rafting/Kayaking and Outdoor Trips on the East Coast of North America."
 (From Florida to Prince Edward Island) By, Aimee Nadow.


Ft. Myers Beach
Aims & Billy, Ft. Myers Beach Pier
Having hiked most of Clearwater and St. Pete on the West Coast on the 3-Day and in training (for the Susan G. Komen 60-mile walk in 2010) I can tell you some of the best places to walk on the West Coast: (1) Flatwoods Park (New Tampa, FL) for the 7-mile loop (2) Honeymoon Park, (Palm Harbor, FL) for the beaches (3) Ft. De Soto Park, (St. Petersburg, FL) for the beaches and outdoor recreations (4) Homosassa Springs Wildlife Preserve, (Homosassa, FL) for the manatees, (5) Sand Key, for the beaches (Clearwater, FL), (6) Sanibel Beach in Ft. Myers, (7) Ft. Myers Beach and Pier. 

On the Panhandle: (1) Okaloosa Island: Henderson Beach State Park, (2) the Village of Baytowne Wharf, in Sandestin Resort, Front Beach Road in Panama City, FL (beware of Spring Breakers!).

On the East Coast: (1) Space View Park, in Titusville, FL. (2) The Kennedy Space Center on the Cape Canaveral Seashore.

 In South Florida: (1) The Everglades Alligator Farm, (2) Scuba Dive the Florida Keys with the Florida Keys Dive Center, (3) go on a walking tour of Key West! 

Be sure to check out the haunting Andersonville, (Camp Sumter) a Confederate Civil War Prision for Union soldiers (where my relative Benjamin Nadeau just barely survived) with horrific living conditions and tragic history. 
Best Hiking: Located in the Great Smoky Mountains national forest, Mt. LeConte is the highest mountain I have ever climbed at 6, 593 feet. It is preferable to it's higher neighbor and the infamous Clingman's Dome, because C's Dome has a noisy road that runs all the way up to the summit right next to the trail and has lots of tourists at the summit observatory. (Like New Hampshire's Mt. Washington.) There is a rustic lodge that you can book for the crag of LeConte ahead of time if you want to stay the night. 

Best Rafting: Rafting the Nolichucky River with Cherokee Adventures. The Upper Nolichucky boasts class III and IV rapids, and a full day (or extended trip) rafting experiences with lunch and breaks and swimming included. 

South Carolina
Walking around downtown Columbia, there are so many great outdoor places to eat and drink. Especially at Five Corners. There is a great park there on the capitol, with monuments and greenery where you can see the infamous Confederate flag.

North Carolina
Maggie Valley: home of the Blue Ridge Parkway is also one of the great mid-Atlantic places to hike or ski (especially at Cataloochie) that are a resonable drive from the South. Beech and Sugar mountains in Boone, NC, are two other ski mountains, although when I skiied there they had record colds (-5 degrees Fahrenheit) and ice cover.

If you want an overnight, "camp" like experience, or need to build corporate team building skills, or just want to get away for some high ropes, low ropes, spelunking, hiking, camping, (they have a hotel-like lodge too) rock climbing, canoeing, and mountain biking with some of the most qualified guides I've ever met: check out Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing, in New Castle, VA (click for map), where we take the 8th graders in the fall every year for a week of personal challenges and extreme adventures. The caves are amazing living ecosystems, the biking just the right amount of work and reward with amazing views, the high ropes just "high enough" to provide thrill and safety. I recommend this facility at the highest level of accolades. Also, one of the coolest outdoor "living history"places are Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown and the Harrison's Berkeley Plantation (on the East Coast) which was featured on my favorite show Ghost Hunters.

New York
Spleunking: For the best caving in New England, head to Howe Caverns in upstate New York. Just visiting the webpage reminds me of all the cool attractions: from the river boat tour to the walking caverns tour. Gorgeous lighting and educated guides complete the caving experience. (Even if you don't get dirty at all.)
On the Bike Trails of Cape Cod
Some of my favorite outdoor places are in Massachusetts: state of my birth and 22 years of life! From (1) The National Seashore in Cape Cod, to (2) Biking the amazing and hilly trails of P-Town, to (3) walking/biking the Cape Cod Canal, to (4) seeing the Ames' family mansion and beautiful trails and grounds of Borderland State Park, to (4) walking through the South Boston Open Art studios tour in the Fall, or (5) the Freedom Trail, to (6) camping and visiting the battlements and forts of the Boston Harbor Islands, to (7) hiking Mt. Greylock, to (8) seeing the Pops play outside at Tanglewood in western MA.  To walking around Oak Bluffs and riding the Flying Horses Carousel on Martha's Vineyard. Not to mention: Salem, Sturbridge Village and Plymouth, Ma!
Martha's Vineyard with Mom

Cliff Walk, Newport RI
Rhode Island
Rhode Island (the state, not the drivers) remains close to my heart, especially when I think of Newport. From the (1) Cliff Walk in Newport, to the (2) mansions of Bellevue Ave, to (3) Horseneck Beach,  to (4) Sachuest beach and Sachuest Wildlife Refuge, to (4) WaterFire walk in Providence, Rhode Island has some treasures of outdoor places that I have to visit every year!

New Hampshire

Summit of Lafayette

At Galehead Hut '08

My home away from home. My happy place. I've spent more time in New Hampshire over the course of my life than any other state (aside the ones I have lived in). Whether our family was kayaking/fun-yaking/rafting the Pemigewasset River, or the Saco river, we always had fun water adventure trips. I've been hiking the mountains of New Hampshire since I was four in 1989 when I first climbed Mt. Monadnock, and then when we summited Mt. Washington for the first time in 1994, when I was nine. 1994 started the bucket list goal for my Mom & I: to hike all 48 of the 4000'ers, and 16 years later, we only have ten left! From skiing at Bretton Woods, Wildcat, Pat's Peak, and more, to staying at ALL of the AMC's high huts and lodges, I plan to spend a good chunk of the rest-of-my-life here. Other great placs to visit are: the gondolas at Cannon & Wildcat (for the foliage), walking around downtown Portsmouth on a weekend night for the nightlife and local festivities, boating on Lake Winniepeusake, Keene's Pumpkin Fest, and driving the scenic Kangamangus Highway.

Summit of Mt. Garfield

Me at Killington

Tom at Killington
Skiing Killington, or Mt. Snow are my normal reasons to visit Vermont, although I have been for Maple Syrup and for the famous "Sugar and Snow" suppers.  Check out my ski review of the Vermont Green Mountains here...


Bar Harbor, ME
College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor

Camping at the Baker River campground as a kid, and then as a college student twice, has been so memorable for me. Located on the western ME border with eastern NH: from tubing, to kayaking/canoe trips, the swimming and fireside: the campground has it all. Seeing the famous Maine Seacoast in Bar Harbor in winter, still resonates in my mind as some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen. The summer cottages in Pinerest Cottage Road around Lake Maranacook are a staple of my childhood summers and fall weekends.  Shopping and walking around Freeport, Maine is another one of my guilty pleasures. I could spend a week at L. L. Bean checking out all of the gear in the now four+ stores attached to the Flagship store. Hiking Kathadin, and also white water rafting the Dead River were very memorable trips in Maine in my life!

Pinerest Cottage Rd

New Brunswick
Fundy National Park in New Bruswick, Canada, was another one of my favorite outdoor places from both of our childhood trips into Canada. (Back before you needed passports!) The Canadian national parks are full of educational programs for kids and adults alike, have pristine riverbeds to hike and swim in and plenty of trails for hiking and biking. The campgrounds were immaculate and everyone was friendly. I remember feeling so safe! 

Nova Scotia
Kejimkujik National Park (Kej-gi-ma-coo-jik) was the infamous playground on the beautiful Nova Scotia, where my brother nailed his chin on a slide on the playground and had to go the hospital for stitches. TWICE in one weekend. But I remember how beautiful the park was, and how gorgeous and stunning the entire of Nova Scotia was!

Prince Edward Island
Of course, I would be remiss not to include the gorgeous beaches and inlands of P.E.I. (Mostly due to Charlottetown, and Green Gables and the "Anne of Green Gables Musical" where I remember the audio cassette was $20 at the time, never mention the $35 CD! And that was fifteen years ago!) But really- as a young girl- this was the HIGHLIGHT of my life: thank you Mom & Dad!