This blog reflects influences from the Philadelphia and Northeast region. It explores perspectives on life, encouragement, travel, wellness, and local living so that you can really enjoy this unique community!
After we arrived in Iceland from the Keflavik International Airport, I instantly knew that we were somewhere truly spectacular. As the bus meandered down the roads to Reykjavik, all that you can see for miles and miles were these gorgeous lava fields. This makes a lot of sense because Iceland was formed from the North American and Eurasian Plates drifting apart which created a series of active volcanoes that eventually made the island.
Our bus driver had a twinkle in their eye when they mentioned the folklore surrounding these lava fields and rock formations. It is thought that the huldufolk (hidden people) can live within some of the fields, and there have been stories, myths, and legends in Iceland for many centuries about them.
In addition to the lava fields that are very present on the island, there are some of the most expansive cliffs and mountains, as well as geysers and hot springs. Also, in many areas, on top of the mountains you can see glaciers as well.
In addition to the natural beauty of the land, I found it to be most inspiring how the people living there truly cherished it. Even when we talked to the locals, it was amazing how they took great lengths to take care of and protect the region. It was amazing to learn that geothermal energy powers the area, as to not make as much pollution.
If you are interested in learning more about how they use this energy source, you will want to visit the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant. There are exhibitions, instillations, presentations, and guided tours as well. I can promise you that you will be very moved after seeing the great lengths that these individuals are taking to preserve the land around them. It brings to light that if we all work together to help the Earth, there really can be positive changes.
Let me know if you have traveled to Iceland, and what you thought of the landscape, land, and climate there as well! I hope that you are having a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!
One of my favorite adventures in Iceland was going to the Glacier Lagoon! We used the Gray Line Tour Bus when we went, and it is about five hours away from the capital of Reykjavik to give you an idea of how long it takes to get there. This was one of the coolest (literally) things that we did in Iceland, and an excellent day trip to do as well.
We went during the summer months, so I did not pack a lot of coats or jackets for this trip (although I am known to over pack) but for this excursion you will want to wear something warm. Initially, I was just going to wear a sweater, but my husband found this humorous and noted that we were going to visit glaciers and if our surroundings were that cold, we would most likely be as well. Although I always enjoy his humor, there is definitely truth in that statement, and I do not regret wearing wool socks, warm pants, and a thick coat over my sweater. If you catch my drift here, you will want to bundle up!
As the tour bus drew closer to the lagoon, we noticed that the mountains surrounding the area were beginning to become very white with thick glaciers. It was a change from the warm sunlit days in Reykjavik, and it is amazing how much the climate can differ, depending on where you are going in Iceland.
As we approached the lagoon, we noticed that the waters had a soft turquoise hues to them, and really brought out colors in the icebergs. In the distance, across the waters, you can see the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. The retreat of this glacier is how the formation of the lagoon has come to be, and the icebergs within it are estimated to be over a thousand years old.
Safety is something that the people working in the glacial lagoon took very seriously, and when you enter you see several signs that tell you the dangers of not using caution in this area. You are urged not to step onto the ice and that there can be dangerous currents in the water as well. This makes sense because the water is connected to the ocean and is composed of the combination of fresh and sea water. On a more positive note, marine life is teeming in this environment, and seals are very present. My husband noted that he even saw one swimming between the icebergs which is so amazing! So if you are traveling to this location, that is something to look out for! If you have them, it may be nice to bring binoculars as well for these viewpoints.
There is a small beachy type area that guests can walk on by the waterline, and really take in the size and beauty of the lagoon. I also noticed in some spots that there were very large ice pieces that drifted to the land, and they were so pretty!
When we made it over to the boat tour our tour guide was amazing and first took us through safety measures (everyone wore a life jacket) and reviewed how crucial it was to use precautions on the boat. She also told us amazing facts about the wildlife and environment as well. We found out that at the time we went, the water went to a depth of 248 meters (about 813 feet) deep, which actually makes it one of Iceland’s deepest lakes.
In addition to the tour boats, there were smaller vessels going about the waters, and at one point, a small boat brought us over a small piece of ice from the lagoon, and those daring enough could even eat a small piece. It was a very fun and educational experience. The boat went fairly close to many of the icebergs, and provided some spectacular vantage perspectives.
When the tour was done, we felt like we truly learnt so much about this area, glaciers, and more of its history as well. It is not too far from Reykjavik, and I think it is a great spot to travel to if you are in Iceland for a really unique day trip experience. Let me know in the comments if you have traveled to this location, and what you thought of it as well. I hope you are having a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!
When we were in Iceland, because we were not familiar with the area, we did utilize a touring company (Gray Line, they were amazing and I will link their site below) for the beginning of the trip to kind of get a feeling for the region. Once we felt more secure about our location, we did rent a car and explore a bit on our own. One place that we noticed driving by initially on the tour bus was the expansive Kerid Volcanic Crater, so once we did have the car this was our first stop!
As you can tell from other posts, we really love nature, hiking, and exploring the land. The Kerid Crater seemed like the perfect day trip spot, and it did not disappoint. As we walked up to the edge of the crater, we noticed that even the landscape around this spot was so beautiful. Mountains were ever present in the distance, and there was a really pretty area full of pine trees too.
Once we were standing on the edge of it, the view was really spectacular. This land formation is about 180 feet (50 meters) deep and is about 560 feet (270 meters) wide, so the area is quite large if you think of the scale of it. It is estimated to be about three thousand years old, and is believed to have been a cone volcano that collapsed into an empty magma chamber. The lake at the bottom of it is a gorgeous aquamarine color due to the various minerals in the soil. (As a side note, at the time we went, swimming was not allowed, but the views and the hike definitely make it worth it!)
Once we had walked around the top of it, there is a path that you can walk down that will take you right by the water to look at that more closely as well. When you are by the water, make sure that you look up, and you will see how deep this magma chamber really was at one point! It is interesting that this particular volcanic crater does have red volcanic rock, and this color really shines through with the green moss on it as well.
This is a really great day trip place to check out, and it is about an hour drive from the capital of Reykjavik. Let me know in the comments if you have also traveled to this location, and what your experience was like as well. Remember to click that subscribe button, and have a wonderful day!
If you love a combination of history, nature, and adventure, you will definitely want to check out the Raufarhólshellir lava tube. It was created from the Leitahraun eruption about 5,200 years ago, and when you go in it, you can actually see its inner workings. We were staying in Reykjavik Iceland, and luckily this location is only about a half an hour away from the capital.
When we started the tour, our guides went over safety precautions for the lava tube, and they provided hard hats for the day as well. I am really glad that they focused on safety, and although the experience is an adventure, you can tell that they really care about their visitors. I also liked that the whole time that you visit the tunnel there is a clear path that you will stay on and you are with your group and guide the whole time.
The colors of the tunnel are so beautiful, and the various minerals and metals such as iron create dazzling effects. We had a very cool experience here as well. On the tour, they brought us so far into the earth so that there is no natural light, and for a couple of minutes everyone turned off the lights on their hard hats and you are in complete darkness. There is no light pollution, and you truly are completely in the dark!
Iceland was literally formed by the divergent boundaries of the North American and Eurasian plates, so it was created by volcanoes erupting and creating this beautiful landscape. One notable eruption that has received much news recently was the Fagradalsfjall volcano that suddenly became active in 2020 after 800 years of inactivity. Nature has its own timing it seems, and Iceland truly is the land of fire and ice.
I highly recommend checking out the lava tubes in Iceland, and I will link the one that we went to below. Let me know in the comments if you have gone into the lava tubes, and what you thought of the area as well! I hope that you have a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!
Iceland has many spectacular areas, and the beauty of this place can honestly overwhelm the senses at times. Everywhere you look, it is as if all of the story book pages that you have read long ago were pulled from your thoughts and pushed into reality. I am being completely serious here, and out of all of these gorgeous places, one of the most delightful and magical villages that we visited was Vik.
We were on a tour of South Iceland, and we stopped at the town of Vik to see Reynisfjara Beach. Leading up to this stop, I was really very excited, because when we were initially planning our trip, we really wanted to see a black sand beach. Luckily for us, this particular area was known for it. As I stepped out of the bus, the cool sea air greeted me with a sense of welcoming in a refreshing breeze.
I had sneakers on, which is not exactly beach apparel, but I did not mind as I ran with joy towards the ocean. The black volcanic sand was lined with smooth rocks, and shined when the sun broke through at times to peak at them. As I reached the waterline, I gazed off into the distance, and noticed towering rock formations known as Reynisdrangar. They are actually remains of basalt sea cliffs, and were even featured on the popular show Game of Thrones in Season 7 “Eastwatch by the Sea.”
It is also important to remember if you are traveling to this location that the waves can really rise up quick, and it is recommended that people stay at least 30 meters or 98 feet away from the water’s edge. The reasoning behind this is a geographical one since there are not major land regions between Antarctica and Reynisfjara, the waves can utilize the entire length of the Atlantic Ocean to build up. With this information, you will want to use a lot of caution in this area if you are traveling here!
There was also an abundance of wildflowers that made their home in this coastal spot. As we gazed at the colors radiating off the blooms, we noticed these immaculate cliffs hugging the area. Upon further inspection we noticed people jumping off them! I had never seen paragliding before in my life, but it is also a popular thing to do if you are visiting Vik and you are feeling adventurous!
After we explored the shore line, we made our way back to the tour bus, honestly wishing we had just a little more time to explore. The natural beauty of this spot was like no other, and it would be so nice just to see a little more of the landscape. As we walked back, we noticed our tour group huddling around the back of the bus, and the driver had a small flashlight looking into the guts of the bus engine. As the rest of the group trickled in, he made an announcement that unfortunately we would be stopped here for several hours because something was going on with the bus, and it would need to be fixed.
Much to my surprise, I would say a majority of the people in our group decided that they would wait out these several hours back in the bus. I shot over a comedic and joyful gaze to my husband, and we quickly hiked away from the bus and into the city of Vik. The village of Vik, in full known as Vík í Mýrdal, is the most southern village in Iceland, and is about 110 miles or 180 km southeast of the city of Reykjavik. Currently, it has under a thousand residents, but it is still one of the largest settlements in the area.
As we walked through the town there were various shops and restaurants. I really liked walking through a Wool Gallery, and there were so many high quality items there from hats and scarves made from wool to even keepsake woolen keychain ornaments! We also found a restaurant Smidjan Brugghus that I recommend as well, and they do have the best burgers, ribs, and hot wings as well as a large variety of brews. If you are vegetarian you are still in luck, because they do carry a delicious vegan burger as well!
After we explored the town, we noticed one of the most beautiful churches sitting high on a hill almost floating above the town. We decided to hike up the hill to see this quaint beauty in person. The door appeared to be slightly open, so we walked in. We were greeted by a sweet Icelandic woman who kindly waved us into the open area. Although it was small, the church had its own brilliance and the pale golden hues danced with the radiant reds to create an area of worship that was peaceful, strong, and elegant all at the same time. We thanked the lady in the church, and felt grateful for this opportunity to see a part of the area that is sacred to those that inhabit it. The Reyniskiraja Lutheran Church was built in 1929, and really helped Vik become more of a bustling region in Southern Iceland.
As we walked back to the bus, we were so grateful for the opportunity to explore and learn more about this lovely area. I think there is a lesson here as well. Sometimes, even if we do not see it, detours can be a benefit to the journey as a whole, and all these layers really do impact our lives and help us see places in new perspectives.
I hope that you have enjoyed this little collection of stories and recommendations for Vik Iceland. I highly recommend it to learn more on the Icelandic culture and landscapes if you are making the journey there. Let me know in the comments if you have also traveled here, and what your experience was like as well. Also remember to click that subscribe button, and have a wonderful day!
When we were exploring the city of Reykjavik Iceland, we found some of the most gorgeous landmarks, and places very specific to the region that you will want to check out when you are traveling there. I think it makes the most sense to go in the actual order in which we found them, so here we go!
Our first day in Reykjavik, we went right into the city to get a feel for the area. As we walked from our hotel, we passed one of the most interesting and tallest churches I have ever seen, a massive Lutheran church known as Hallgrimskirkja. It is over 240 feet (74.5 meters) high, and you literally see it from many of the areas within the city. It is easy to see that this is an Icelandic church since the building is made from concrete. Iceland is prone to many earthquakes since it was formed from the Eurasian and North American plates separating. You will see many structures in Reykjavik are made with concrete to withstand this constant movement. It does not have an over embellished decorated feel to it, and stands in its own elegance.
Next in our travels, we went down to the seaside of central Reykjavik on Saebraut Street and while we were walking noticed this really cool ship sculpture that was delicately reflecting light from the water. This unique art piece is one of the most visited in the capital, and was created by Jon Gunnar Arnason. It is titled the Sun Voyager, and is meant to represent “the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress, and freedom.”
On the same Saebraut Street we stumbled upon a really special monument that celebrates the relationship between Iceland and the United States called “Partnership.” It is meant to commemorate our diplomatic relationship with the country, and our common interests as well. There is an identical “Partnership” sculpture in South Florida. The United States also has also has had a strong military presence in Iceland (the Naval Air Station Keflavik), and the countries stand together in support of democracy, freedom, and human rights.
Also, right on the waterfront is the iconic Harpa, which is a concert hall and conference center. This structure is so delightful to look at, and is truly unique. It is shaped by these spectacular glass panels within a steel framework, and let me tell you, the Harpa is one of the most glorious structures that you will ever see. Even from a distance as we were walking up to it, you could see this rainbow of colors dancing in the light from it. The building was designed by the the Henning Larsen Architects in collaboration with artist Olafur Eliasson who is a Danish-Icelandic artist.
A very interesting spot that you will want to also see in Reykjavik is called Pufa. The Pufa was created by the Icelandic artist Olof Nordal, and his vision was to create a relaxing spot in the bustling city for meditation. It is a very large grassy done, with a spiral path leading to the top of it. Once you reach the top, you will find a fishing shed with dried fish, paying homage to Iceland’s history which heavily relied on fishing economically and sustainably as well. I did make the trek to the top of the Pufa, and it was really neat. I liked how the walking path was built right into it, and you feel like a part of it as you make your way up!
I always like to find a lighthouse if we are traveling somewhere by the ocean and we found a really cute bright yellow one right on the water at Saebraut Street with pretty views called the Hofdi Lighthouse. It overlooks the Faxafloi Bay and also the volcanic mountain range Esja, which is made from tuff and basalt.
Reykjavik is so full of history, nature perspectives, and interesting landmarks. Let me know in the comments if you have also traveled to this Icelandic destination, and what your experience was like there as well. Remember to click that subscribe button, and have a wonderful day!
Once we were settled in Reykjavik, the first thing that we wanted to do was explore the city itself. The main reason why we decided to lodge in this particular spot in Iceland is because it is the country’s largest city and capital. We figured since we had not traveled to the area before, it would be good to stay in a region that we could go to a store if we needed to fairly quickly. We also liked that we could walk to everything easily, and we could really get a good sense of the city by immersing ourselves in it this way.
Our first day there, we put on our walking shoes, and went right to the downtown area. The first thing that really caught my eye were these gigantic boats right on the waterfront. I have seen boats before, but some of the Icelandic boats were on a totally different scale. There was quite a variety too, from fishing boats, commercial boats, sailing boats, recreational boats, and tourism boats as well. They looked very sturdy, strong, and able to sail the Northern Atlantic Ocean with ease. Culturally, this area historically has also relied a lot on boating and fishing as a source of food, and has had an economic impact as well.
When you walk around Reykjavik, there are a lot of restaurants to choose from. I can honestly say that no matter where we stopped, we did not have a bad experience at any of them, but I do have a favorite that I would recommend personally. Located right by the ocean, there is a restaurant called Barion Bryggjan Brugghus that is really really good! They have typical bar food items, seafood, and Icelandic Scandinavian faire. When we went, my husband ordered a sampling of traditional foods with beers from their Bryggjan Brewery which is the first independent microbrewery in Iceland. It looked really neat as well with decor really paying tribute to the historic fisherman culture of the area.
Wherever you go, some traditional Icelandic foods are cod, lamb, fermented shark, rye bread, puffin, and horse. We were somewhat adventurous and tried all of the above except the fermented shark and horse. We did however see others order the shark, and it has a very strong pungent smell to it. When it is fresh, the meat does have a high content of urea in it, but the fermentation process allows it to be consumed safely. It is a national dish in Iceland, and is often part of Icelandic festivals. Another very famous product from Iceland that we had for breakfast everyday while there is “Skyr.” It is a cultured dairy product that has the consistency of yogurt, but with a milder cheese type flavor. It is very high in protein, and it gave us a lot of energy to explore Iceland every day! It has been a part of the Icelandic diet since the Viking age, and it even mentioned in medieval Icelandic sources which include “Egil’s saga and Grettis saga.”
Reykjavik has many little shops in its downtown as well, and a big item that you will see a lot are woolen clothes, which makes sense with the very large sheep population. They also have a variety of coffee, food, snack, art, and trinket spots as well. It is a very lively type city, and they even have a flea market “Kolaportio” which typically takes place on the weekends down by the harbor throughout the year.
You will want to walk around the neighborhoods of Reykjavik as well. The houses are gorgeous, and structurally different from a lot of the other areas in the world. Since the area is highly prone to earthquakes (they can get hundreds to thousands per week) the majority of homes and buildings are made from concrete, sheet metal, and stone to withstand the constant movement and seismic activity. There are often active volcanoes as well, and Iceland itself was created from the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates slowly drifting apart.
One of the sweetest parts of exploring Reykjavik, and even Iceland in general was the prevalence of fairy houses! You can see these adorable stone homes everywhere you look, and huldufolk (hidden people) are a very large part of the Icelandic culture. There have even stopped construction in areas that are believed to be homes of elves, as to not disrupt them. Historically, elves and hidden folk were associated with wealth and prosperity of the Norse and Irish settlers who originally settled in Iceland.
Reykjavik is such a beautiful, magical, and bustling city in Iceland. I definitely recommend this as a great place to travel to in Europe, and it is one of the most unique places on our planet. Let me know in the comments if you have also traveled to this area, and what your experiences were like there as well! Remember to click that subscribe button, and have a wonderful day!
A couple years ago, it was a very busy period in my life. I was working all the time with crazy hours, my husband and I planned a wedding, got married, and then decided to go on a honeymoon somewhere far away, literally in a land that we only had dreamed of. This place was Iceland.
Until that period of time, most of our travel had been primarily in the northeastern part of the United States, which makes sense since we are from the Philadelphia area. We got married in the winter, and decided to take the honeymoon a little later in the summer time. This gave us time to really plot out where we wanted to go in Iceland, and also figure out if there were tours we wanted to go on.
We did end up booking Gray Line Day Tours and I would highly recommend them. The buses we went on were very clean, and the guides were extremely knowledgeable on the various areas we visited. We ended up booking 5 days, and 4 of those we used the Gray Line Tours, and the other we rented a car to explore on our own a bit. We rented the car through a company called Europcar. I think that the combination was a great way to enjoy Iceland, especially as first timers in the region.
I was super excited for this trip, and I remember the week leading up to it, I do not think I slept much. This was a huge deal to us, and I had never gone to Europe before, so I was eager to check it out! We flew out of Newark right to Iceland, and it took about 6 hours which was not too bad. It was an overnight flight and the time really seemed to go by fast on it. The airport that we arrived in Iceland was actually the Keflavik International Airport, and this is the main airport for Iceland, and it only took us about a half hour from there to get to Reykjavik.
I was so happy to finally be in Iceland! We were in awe at the unique landscape of it as well, and the land almost had another worldly lunar feeling with all the lava fields. It is situated on both North American and the Eurasian Plates, and the island itself was formed through active volcanoes along this ridge.
I am so excited to go into more details on this Iceland series of our stories, adventures, and also places that I recommend when you are traveling there. Let me know in the comments below if you have also traveled to Iceland. Also, remember to click that subscribe button and have a wonderful day!
I think I need to start out this article by saying that confidence is not always something that develops overnight. It is almost like this snowball that drifts down a mountain, and collects momentum as it goes. This snowball can start out as a very small wee thing, but as it starts rolling, it gets bigger. I think that in a way life can be like that.
I have had different periods in my life, where my shyness basically overtook me. In a lot of ways, I did feel confident, and I dearly loved music, reading, and individual sport, but there were definitely spots where I almost froze up in certain social situations. I was very lucky in the fact to make several good friends in my schooling years, but I always felt nervous putting myself out there. I feel like a lot of people can honestly relate to that. In a way, it was a catalyst for beginning a relationship with writing, and it was a space where I could truly put down all these thoughts that I had rummaging through my mind. Sometimes if we just take a minute to collect our ideas, we can really find extra stability in that, and you can apply that at any season of your life as well.
As I became older, it was evident to me that I had to do something with this shyness, and I would have to learn how to deal with it in a way that I could have a career, and help other people. I exceled in the sport that I participated in, and I wanted to help others learn it as a coach. There were obviously some steps to get to point A to B, so I will share what helped me, and hopefully in some way, this helps you as well. Let me take you back, because we all start somewhere.
When I was in high school, as I wanted to totally immerse myself in the sport I loved, I started to work several different jobs to help pay for it. I was a little nervous, because I had not worked with the public in that capacity before, but I became employed in several fairly busy local shops, and I had to talk about several products and things like that. I actually feel like a professional situation like this helped me overcome some level of shyness, and it worked quite well because there were boundaries that just helped me open up my personality. Sometimes, if you have a shy type personality, just dealing with the public in this way can kind of help eliminate fears like talking to people in that capacity.
Several years later, I did manage to land an entry level coaching job, and I was lucky enough teach group classes. I was so very happy to be in this field that I had worked so long to get into, and literally it was also facing my shy nature right on. If you have a subject that you have studied, and have the opportunity to help others, it can really develop your confidence. I found my greatest confidence of all when I helped others find their own. It is scary at times going into the unknown with our dreams, but you will gain confidence if you take personal steps, even if they are small towards your goals. In a way repetition of a good pattern will strengthen you and that really builds every day in your confidence.
I think what I mean to say is that we all have these mountains to climb or ideas unique to us that will help the world in some way. Sometimes, it can be scary, even taking little steps, but the amazing things that will come out of it are very worth it. If you are a writer and a planner like me, you can also write down your goals, and really get into the details step by step with how you will get there. If you want to be an environmental scientist, what steps do you need to get to point A to point B? Are there classes that would help you achieve this goal? Maybe the first step would be to research different schools, and then go from there. Every step, small or large that you take to bring you closer to your dreams will help you develop a confidence that will last you a lifetime.
Initially, blogging was just an idea to me. I loved writing and journaling, but I was not always sure if I could do blogging. I researched it a lot, and decided to make a leap of faith to do this, because writing has been such a big influence in my life. I was a little nervous at first, but I am so glad that I did start to write again more, and it is so much fun to share encouraging posts, wellness ideas, and fun travel spots as well!
I hope this post inspires you in some way to go for your dreams and set the goals to get there. You will gain confidence the more that you do something, so remember that the small achievements are absolutely crucial to the big goals. They are a big deal, and you will get more confident in your studies, work, or personal goals. Charts can help too, and can sometimes help you see the larger picture and provide you with a road map of sorts.
I hope that you have a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!
One of our absolute favorite parks in the Philadelphia area is the Wissahickon Valley Park. My husband and I really enjoy a good hike, and with ample trails (the park is over 18,000 acres) you can really enjoy this natural landscape. In total this very large space also has 50 miles of trails.
I would also highly recommend visiting throughout the year as well, because of its beautiful nature setting, you can truly enjoy the four seasons that we get in Pennsylvania. It makes sense that this particular area was an inspiration for writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, John Greenleaf Whittier, George Lippard, and even William Cobbett. Many artists have enjoyed the landscape as well including James Peale, Thomas Moran, Currier and Ives, and William Trost Richards. Also, historically, mills were prevalent in the area which is now the park, and millworkers even made blankets here during the Civil War time. Quarries and various mills existed from the 1680’s until the 1880’s and it is easy to see how important the Wissahickon Creek was to the Philadelphia area.
When we walk around the park, we generally will take the Forbidden Drive Path. It was actually once known as the Wissahickon Turnpike, and is currently tagged with the name Forbidden Drive in conclusion to a protest against cars being allowed to drive in the park. There is even a parade yearly called the Wissahickon Day Parade to celebrate the anniversary of the protest.
I really enjoy the main path (Forbidden Drive) because it is wide and a more relaxing type stroll area. It also runs parallel to the Wissahickon Creek and you have an awesome view point of it the whole time you are hiking since it runs the entire length of this park. I found out when we were hiking the one day that it also won the 2018 Trail Of The Year! If you are feeling more adventurous and want to get into the woods more, there are different off shoot trails that will bring you into more rustic spots. These include the Orange Trail, Yellow Trail, White Trail, Lavender Trail, and the Andorra Meadow Loop. These trails vary in grades and terrain for the more experienced hiker.
It is so crucial that we keep taking care of this land for future generations to enjoy and learn about its history, so make sure that if you bring any containers or water bottles that you take them with you when you leave or discard of them in the appropriate bins if they are available. This is a topic that is really true to my heart personally, and it is so important that we respect all living things and nature. Wissahickon also has a very expansive volunteer program, and I will leave a link to their website to learn more about that too. They have everything from Volunteer Service Days, Individual Stewardship, Litter Clean-Ups, Trail Ambassadors, Crew Leaders, Corporate Work Groups, and even Habitat Monitoring!
If you are traveling to Philadelphia, or live in this area, the Wissahickon Valley Park is one of the most spectacular spots that you do not want to miss. I know personally, when we need a retreat to recharge and just be in a nature setting, this place is always our go to spot. Let me know in the comments if you have visited the park as well, and make sure that you click that subscribe button!
Portland Maine is a very bustling city, and it is the perfect location if you want to see amazing lighthouses, eat delicious food, and even walk around shops in the downtown region. Also, it has a very prevalent art scene with its own Arts District that is centered around Congress Street. This is home to the Maine Historical Society & Museum, the Portland Stage Company, and the Portland Museum of Art. There are also several art galleries and studios here as well.
I was really excited to see the lighthouses in Portland, and the one that we ended up visiting first was the Portland Head Light. There are distinct rock formations surrounding this lighthouse, and although it looks like petrified wood, it is actually dark grey phyllite and quartzite in various layers. When you look out into the distance on the water you will see several other lighthouses including the Spring Point Ledge Light, the Ram Island Ledge Light, the Halfway Rock Light Station, and the Cape Elizabeth Light.
Another Lighthouse that I recommend that you check out is the Bug Light (also known as the Portland Breakwater Light.) This lighthouse is not the biggest out there, but I thought it was absolutely adorable! Initially, this historic lighthouse was a marker for the end of rocky breakwater shielding the Portland Harbor. Also, the Bug Light is located right in the Bug Light Park, and we really enjoyed the walking path in this park, which gives very nice views of the water as well. We did see several families flying kites that day, and I could see making a day trip doing that as well with the wind kicking off the water a bit.
The Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse is located about a mile away from the Bug Light, and is another really elegant spot you will want to check out. This particular structure is considered to be a caisson lighthouse, and it marks an obstruction on the west side of the boating channel into the Portland Harbor. We really enjoyed the unique land walking path leading up to this lighthouse, and had the opportunity to see many boats in the Casco Bay.
One of the most unique hiking spots if you are visiting Portland is Mackworth Island. This location has a 1.25 mile trail, and it encircles the island so that you see spectacular views of Casco Bay. The Governor Baxter School for the Deaf is also located on this island, and it not open to the general public. Originally, in 1946, the Governor Percival Baxter donated the Mackworth Island for state public purposes, and also a sanctuary for local wildlife. One of the most unique spots of the trail are where the fairy houses are. It is encouraged for the general public to participate and you can help make little houses for the fairies out of branches and small natural materials like feathers. I feel like this is just another reason why Maine is so magical!
These are just several spots that we visited and really enjoyed, but truly, Portland has so many activities and is a great area to enjoy city perspectives while still being able to get into nature fast as well. Let me know in the comments if you have also traveled here, and what your favorite places are as well! Make sure you click that subscribe button, and have a wonderful day!
About a week ago, one of my close friends from Lancaster was interested in a visit to the Philadelphia area. I was really excited to see her, and the first place that I thought of that she would really enjoy is the Spruce Street Harbor Park which is located on Penn’s Landing on the Delaware Waterfront.
The park literally has everything, from food trucks, music, walking paths, fountains, museums, restrooms, and ample seating with hammocks to relax on. Sometimes they also have flea markets, concerts, and other outdoor activities as well, so you will want to check their calendar before you go.
In the past years, we personally have gone to various food festivals there, and one time they had a really neat historic boat festival where you could actually walk on them and a historian would tell you about its past. We are history geeks, so this was right up our ally! The whole atmosphere is absolutely gorgeous, and there are even colorful lights on the trees which makes this city area very retreat like.
Since Philadelphia is located right by the Delaware River, it has a strong connection to the sea, and many goods have been transported this way through the years into Pennsylvania. If you are interested in learning more about this, I highly recommend The Independence Seaport Museum which will go more in depth into this history. The USS Olympia is also part of the Seaport Museum, and originally served in World War 1. Another historical submarine, the Becuna, is also on the premises and served in World War 2.
There are so many food options at Penn’s Landing, and we did end up eating there for lunch. The food trucks are awesome and some spots that I recommend are French Toast Bites, Dre’s Water Ice and Ice Cream, and of course Philly Taco. Also, there is an amazing pizza shop right off the Waterfront called The Angelo Pizza which is absolutely delicious. They are located at 229 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106. When we went we ordered The Charlie Bananas, and it was so good! I highly recommend them and their pizza definitely hit the spot after a day of adventures in the city.
Spruce Street Harbor Park is such a fun way to learn about the history of the city, eat a variety of foods, relax, and enjoy fun outdoor activities for the whole family. It is a great place for a day trip, and whether you are from the city, or traveling to it, this location has everything. Let me know in the comments if you have also traveled to Penn’s Landing, and what you thought of the area as well! Make sure you click that subscribe button, and have a wonderful day!
One of the most magical places in the Northeast is the Acadia National Park located in Maine. The area has luscious pine trees, gorgeous ocean views, and the most amazing hiking spots. If you are like me, you will want to have an itinerary ready to go so you can make the most of your trip to this spectacular park.
When we visited Acadia National Park, one of the first places that we ventured to was Cadillac Mountain. Luckily, this spot was accessible by car, so we drove up the mountain to enjoy gorgeous vantage points since the mountain itself is home to highest point on the east coast. There are various overlooks that provide amazing nature views that you will definitely want to see of Bar Harbor and the surrounding areas.
If you like lighthouses, you will also want to visit the Bass Harbor Head Light Station. Located on a large rocky cliff, you can see why this spot has been so important for boats over the years. It was originally constructed back in 1858, and had a major impact on Maine’s economy due to the regions reliance on maritime transportation. One thing that you will want to be aware of when driving to this location is that there is a parking lot, but due to the popularity of the lighthouse, you may want to plan accordingly and try to get there at a time when it is not as crowded. When we went, it was around dinner time, and it did not seem to be that busy.
Thunder Hole is another iconic spot that you should check out in the park. This area is just pure fun, and as the name specifies, the water swooshes up in little waves to make a thunder noise! The reason behind this is that in the rocky coast area, there is a little cavern that when the wave collides with it, it makes this unique thunder sound. When we went to this area, we noticed a lot of families checking this out, and I can see how this was a popular spot for them since you are not hiking a far distance to get to the location.
Jordan Pond is a picturesque spot with super clear water, and it was really neat to see all the rocks in the water with their various shapes and colors. The pond itself covers 187 acres, going to depths of 150 feet with a shoreline of about 3.6 miles. For hiking around the pond, I recommend the Jordan Pond loop, and this takes 1-3 hours for about 3.5 miles. As you hike around the pond, you will see The Bubbles, which are two mountains that rise above the pond itself. Glaciers originally formed the pond with the Wisconsin Ice sheet back in the last glacial period. We always like to think of the history of a place when visiting, and how the Earth has been shaped over the years.
The Ocean Path trail was one of my favorite hiking spots in the park, and it truly does give you delightful views of the coastline. It is also not too arduous of a hike, and provided really nice spots for photos as well. One of my favorite memories from this hike was seeing a little porcupine walking across a road. They seemed very happy and content, and I think it is our responsibility as visitors to make sure that we keep the area nice for the wildlife as well, so they feel comfortable in their home.
I do also have a couple of tips as well for your journey to the park. At the time we went, all visitors did need a park entrance pass, and if you wanted to go on the Cadillac Summit Road you also had to register your vehicle. We personally stayed in a hotel in Bar Harbor, but if you are interested, the park does have campground reservations as well. I will leave a link on this post for the National Park Service, so you can check that out for the most up to date park information. I also recommend bringing a little backpack with sunscreen, water, snacks, and a first aid kit. It is always good to be prepared, especially in a remote nature setting.
Let me know in the comments below if you have also visited Acadia National Park, and what you thought of it! Make sure you click that subscribe button and have a wonderful day!
If you are feeling adventurous, a hike to Bar Island is perfect for you when visiting Bar Harbor Maine. You literally have a time limit to go for your hike (one and a half hours before and after low tide.) There is a gravel land walking path that becomes submerged if you do not make it back in time, so make sure you check the tides before you go.
Even though there is a time limit, we really enjoyed this nature walk. In my mind, I had thought that the water would be very murky since Maine is so far up north, but honestly it was very clear, and I could easily see the beautiful rocks and little shells as we made our way to Bar Island. I thought it was pretty neat that you could see these little pockets of water from when the ocean had covered the gravel trail just hours before!
Once we arrived on the island, we noticed a sign right away that had a warning for travelers making their way through. I did take a picture not just to document this adventure, but to make sure I had the safety phone numbers in case of an emergency. No matter where you are hiking or traveling to, you have to keep safety in your mind.
The trail itself will take you through a forest region (I noticed many gorgeous pine trees, and they smelled so good!) The hike also provides vantage points of Bar Harbor and Frenchmen Bay so make sure you have your phone and camera ready to take pictures.
I highly recommend checking out Bar Island, and it is such a fun hike with really nice water and nature views. For safety reasons, make sure you check out the tides ahead time, and also time your hike so that you make it back before the ocean flows over the gravel lane again. I would also make sure you have sunscreen, water, snacks, and keep your phone charged ahead of time just in case if you need to call for a water taxi. Let me know in the comments below if you have also traveled to Bar Island and what you thought as well. Have a wonderful day and remember to click that subscribe button!
Maine has always been this mystical place in my mind, and before we traveled to Bar Harbor, I imagined it to be a beautiful northern woodland that resided in this remote location. When we finally had the opportunity to travel there, it was like this but so much more.
I remember the drive up to Maine ended up taking a full day from the Philadelphia area. (I would estimate about 15 hours with rest stops. If you traveled from Philly to Bar Harbor in one day without stops, it would probably be about 13 hours.) New England is so gorgeous and it made the drive easy honestly. As you travel more north, there are these lush evergreen and pine trees that line the road, and it smells so good!
As we finally got to the Maine state line, it was dark outside, but we still ended up taking Route 1 along the coast just in case if we could still sneak in some views. The roads basically emptied as we made our way up the coast, and at times it did seem pretty dark because there were not street lights in some of these areas.
One tip I do have for you is to gauge where you are at all times. In the not as populated areas of Maine where it was a little more remote, we did end up losing phone reception at some spots. Luckily, it is not that difficult to just continue going the same direction for awhile, and the reception did come back, it could just get a little spotty at times. By time we arrived at our hotel, it was dark at night, and we quickly settled in so that we were rested for the next days of adventures!
The next day we were up early and ready to explore Bar Harbor! The town itself is so pretty and is lined with restaurants, coffee shops, and little boutiques. Our favorite coffee shop was “Choco-Latte Cafe.” They have delicious coffee, bagels, sandwiches, and even chocolates. When we went, my favorite was the roast beef sandwich, and it was a perfect meal before a long day of hiking!
We stayed in a hotel right by Main Street in Bar Harbor, so we ended up just walking to everything the first day. The coastline is so pretty and it was dotted with boats, so it made it a fun little area to walk around.
The sea life is very present, and as you get close to the water line, you can see mussels enjoying the sun on the rocky areas. We also did see a crab walking as well which was pretty neat. If you enjoy seeing the marine life, there are a lot of whale watching places dotted along the city if you want to check that out. When we went, it was extremely foggy, so we did not end up going, but I heard from the locals that this is a really fun activity! Other activities that you might enjoy when traveling here are hiking, bird watching, and mountain climbing. This scenic area really caters to the outdoor enthusiasts!
I am looking forward to going more in depth with our adventures here in this series all about Maine, and the next feature will be about Bar Island in Bar Harbor so make sure you stay tuned for that! Let me know in the comments if you have also traveled to Bar Harbor Maine, and what your experience was like there. Make sure you click that subscribe button and have a wonderful day!
The Lacawac Sanctuary is located in the Pennsylvania Poconos and has over nine miles of trails to hike. It is also a major influence in the scientific community through initiatives of research, education, and preservation with the conservation of the land located in this upstate Pennsylvania region. The Sanctuary has some of the absolute best hiking trails in the Pocono area, you will be amazed at the vast forest landscape and of course Lake Lacawac which is a “Registered Natural Landmark.”
This lake in particular has a connection to American history and nature that began back in the 19th century. The land was once a summer estate for William Connell, a business man who served in the House of Representatives. Years later, Colonel Louis A.Watres posessed this land during the development of Lake Wallenpaupack, a man made dam created to generate power in the Pocono region. In the 1900s, his grandson, L. Arthur Watres, identified Lake Lacawac as the southern most unpolluted glacial lake in the United States. Luckily, he had connections to many scientists of the time and together they formed the Lacawac Sanctuary Foundation.
If you are a teacher, The Lacawac Sanctuary also provides resources for pre-K to 12th grade students. They have really great field trip opportunities that focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) so if you are interested, I will leave the Sanctuary’s website on the bottom of this post so you can check it out. I think it is amazing that they let students really get involved in a real nature setting. This will honestly help them appreciate the Earth for all of their lives, and who knows perhaps they may even become interested in environmental science!
When we arrived at the Sanctuary, it was really amazing to find out all of the resources that it provides for the community and scientists around the world! It was a very relaxed type day when we went, and there were not too many other hikers out and about. In addition to the trails, we could hear so many birds talking and singing to each other. You can tell that the wildlife is very comfortable in this expansive space. As our trail led us down to the beautiful Lake Lacawac and we did see a snake, so this is something to be aware of on your journey here. He did not bother us at all and slithered right into the water, but you will want to make sure that you really watch your steps.
It is always very important to be respectful of the land whenever you go hiking, and especially in the Lacawac Santuary. There are research studies being conducted on the site from lake ecosystems to even turtle ecophysiology so it is crucial to really stay on the hiking paths. If you are traveling to the Poconos I highly recommend this area if you enjoy hiking! Let me know in the comments if you have traveled here as well and what you thought of it. Remember to click that subscribe button and have a wonderful day!