Weekly Obsessions

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END OF SUMMER KAYAKING
Nate and I didn’t do as much kayaking as we would have liked this summer due to travel, busy weekends and general “it’s way too hot for this” vibes. This past weekend was sooooo fall-y, though, that we went kayaking two days in a row! We even got to catch the most perfect sunset up in NH.

CIDER SEASON
With the end of summer comes the beginning of cider season. Being the adventurous humans we are, Nate and I have tried a couple new brands recently. My personal favorite has been Citizen cider, while Nate has been digging Stowe’s product. I also want to give a shout out to Lookout Farm‘s new cider, it’s good and luckily they are located just up the street from us! I’ll definitely be supporting local this season. ūüėČ

CASTRO + CARLY RAE + ARIZONA
My three music picks for this season are pretty different from each other! Castro is a singer-songwriter sibling trio who have honest lyrics and impeccable harmonies. Carly Rae Jepsen, I believe, is the unofficial queen of pop, and ARIZONA has some serious electronic beats that are a perfect addition to your running playlist. Listen to my fall playlist with jams from all these artists here!

Have a great week!!

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

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This year our¬†Memorial Day weekend was also known as “crazy wedding weekend”! Crazy in a good way. Nate’s sister, Erica, got married to Greg on Saturday! This happened to be the hottest day of the year so far, so you can bet sitting in the non-ACed church was tough on everyone, bride and groom included! They took a fan and water break halfway through the ceremony :O !¬†One of my favorite memories was our¬†super legit family dance party at their reception. We definitely got a little wild! Then on Sunday,¬†Nate’s brother, Jesse, and our new sis-in-law, Kim, had¬†their¬†stateside wedding reception (they got married in Italy, remember?). So we changed our fancy outfits to different fancy outfits and partied for another day! One of my favorite memories from Sunday was the bonfire we had in my in-laws backyard after the main celebration was over… it felt like summer had officially begun!

memorial day - letters from rita blog

Let’s be honest, two back-to-back wedding celebrations can take a toll on you.¬†So Monday was our day of rest. We spent the afternoon uncovering and cleaning our beloved kayaks to take them on their first ride of 2016. Then we hopped on over to Dug Pond in Natick (like a 1 minute drive from our house) and paddled around for¬†about an hour. It felt so good to be on the water again. These kayaks have made me love summer twice as much as I already did.

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I’m gearing up for my birthday (tomorrow!) a half marathon¬†(on Sunday!). Come back next week for pics¬†and stories from both of those events! OR! follow along on Snapchat if you want to be in the moment ūüôā (@ st3ph-kr1st) ~S

Favorite New England Kayaking Locations

kayaking elm bank charles river kayak

If you’re new around these parts: Nate and I invested in some pretty sweet kayaks at the beginning of the summer! We kayaked 2-3 times¬†a month from June through October, but¬†now that our kayaks are all packed up for the winter, I wanted to¬†share / reminisce about all the cool places we took them!

Charles River via Elm Bank Рto the right
When you get to Elm Bank in South Natick, MA, drive around the one-way loop until you cross a small stone bridge. Park in the lot to your right and from there¬†you’ll carry your kayaks down to the water (a one minute¬†walk). Start kayaking off¬†to the right! It’s a quiet and narrow part of the river¬†and¬†the water is calm.
Charles River via Elm Bank – to the left
If you start kayaking to your left, you will go under a small bridge in the first 5 minutes. This part of the river is wider and you’ll see pretty houses along the banks. We also saw a family of ducklings ūüôā We spent about 30 minutes kayaking away, and then another 30 minutes to come back to the shore.

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Dug Pond, Natick MA
Dug Pond is very pretty and had really clear water when we visited¬†in August. You can kayak around the perimeter in about 30 minutes¬†so it’s easy to do twice. Dug has a little island that you can stop at and explore (we didn’t, but it’s possible). There is also a sand bar about halfway across the pond that you could stop, hop out and swim at!

dug pond kayaking

Spofford Lake, Spofford NH
Spofford is a large lake; I would allot at least an hour to go around the perimeter. And I would also suggest sticking to the perimeter because there are lots of speed boats during the summer. Spofford also has a large island that you can explore and swim near (with a rope swing! you’ll see it on the east side).¬†Summer sunrises are a dream to watch¬†–¬†it’s so worth it to start¬†kayaking early! (or late, if you’re a sunset person ūüėČ )

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Charles River via Nahanton Park
This is a great place to meet your friends if they want to join you on the water, but need to rent boats. Charles River Canoe and Kayak is stationed there, so it’s easy to rent. But they also allow owners to drop their boats in, since it’s public property. We really liked this part of the Charles. It was very wide-open and we saw so many different birds flying around. We easily kayaked out for an hour, and back for an hour. Probably one of our longest jaunts!

charles river kayaing

Charles River via Bridge St. in Dover Рto the left
This tiny parking lot is immediately off the road, so be on the lookout! It comes up quickly. This was probably our least favorite outing, simply because the water was very murky and dirty when we went in early September. I have no idea if that was because of the season, or what. But we did see some heron and geese, and it was still a nice ride.
Charles River via Bridge St. in Dover –¬†to the right
We tried the same place about a month later and the water had cleared up, plus the leaves were colorful! We started out the opposite direction and ended up liking it more because it was more interesting (aka: big, pretty houses to look at). There were some rocky parts, so be careful of that. We saw more heron! This part of the Charles is definitely where we saw the most wildlife.

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Walden Pond, Concord MA
I didn’t kayak this, I swam it! But Nate kayaked by my side and then did a loop on his own. It’s a smaller pond; it only took him about 25 minutes to go around the perimeter. We were there in July, but I’m betting fall is gorgeous!

You might notice that Lake Kanasatka, the New Hampshire lake where my¬†dad’s side of the family owns a cottage, is missing from the list. Well, that’s because¬†we were only up there for a total of 4 days this summer, and unfortunately the car with our kayak racks on it was in the shop during that time! So we were kayak-less!¬†ūüôĀ Next year, definitely.

I hope this was a helpful list for all ya’ll kayakers out there!¬†I have sooo many places already on my list that I want to explore for next year. Do you know of any places we neeeeed to visit? Mass, New Hampsh, even Maine! We’ll take any suggestions ūüôā

S

Pros & Cons of Owning a Kayak

Most of you guys know that Nate and I bought kayaks this summer.¬†We weren’t even gung-ho, seasoned kayakers before the purchase, but we had always talked about how it would be fun to¬†go exploring whenever we wanted. So after a bunch of research (we landed on the L.L.Bean Manatees) we went for it, and had probably around¬†12 amazing kayak rides all over New England this summer! I wanted to write out a pros and cons list, in case you are thinking of buying kayaks in the future. Maybe this will help your decision!

Letters from Rita kayaking

Pro of owning a kayak: You can go on adventures whenever you want!
Con of owning a kayak: And whenever that time is, get ready to hoist 55 pounds of solid plastic over your head onto the top of your car (4 times: twice up, twice down)
Pro of the con: MUSCLES. ūüėČ

Letters from Rita kayaking

Pro: You’ll always have really good Instagram material.
Con: It takes every ounce of self control not to post 6 kayaking photos in a row!

Pro: It’s a great way to get some healthy activity in!
Con: Just don’t counter-act that healthiness by packing up your kayak with a million snacks (because it’s totally possible!)

Pro: You will see lots of cool nature and animals on your excursions.
Con:¬†Next¬†up on your ‘hobbies to try’¬†list is ‘bird-watching’. And then comes¬†your 65th birthday.

Letters from Rita kayaking

Pro: You have an automatic fun thing to do with friends on the weekend!
Con: Except if your friends don’t own kayaks, then they are paying a lot to rent them whenever they want to hang out with you.

Pro:¬†It’s a great conversation starter at get-togethers.
Con: Until the conversation goes from “That’s so cool!”¬†to “Where the heck are you storing them this winter?” (we have no idea)

Letters from Rita kayaking

No, but really, there are way more pros than cons, I promise! See?
Pro: Being out in the sunshine, and more importantly, on the water.
Pro: Quality time with your person.
Pro: Awesome views for days.
Pro: Feeling like Lewis and Clark.
Pro: A friendly game of bumper boats.
Pro: Exploring new parts of your¬†area in a way most people don’t get to explore.
Pro: A really good reason to get up to catch the sunrise.

Soon I will do a helpful, informative post about all the rivers, lakes and ponds we kayaked on this summer, and why we liked/disliked each one! Coming soon!