Wissahickon Valley Park

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Wissahickon Valley Park

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.

Wissahickon Valley Park

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.

Wissahickon Valley Park
Wissahickon Valley Park
Wissahickon Valley Park

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.

Wissahickon Valley Park
Wissahickon Valley Park
Wissahickon Valley Park

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.

Forbidden Drive Trail
Wissahickon Valley Park

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!

Wissahickon Valley Park
Wissahickon Creek

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!

Wissahickon Valley Park

https://fow.org

https://northeastallie.com/2021/05/11/lacawac-sanctuary-in-the-pennsylvania-poconos/

https://northeastallie.com/2021/04/20/ricketts-glen-state-park/

The Best Locations In Portland Maine

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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.

Portland Head Light

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.

Bug Light

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.

Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse
Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse
View From Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse

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!

Fairy Houses At Mackworth Island

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!

http://www.portlandmaine.com

https://northeastallie.com/2021/05/25/bar-island-acadia-national-park-maine/

https://northeastallie.com/2021/06/02/the-top-five-places-i-recommend-visiting-in-acadia-national-park/

https://northeastallie.com/2021/05/25/bar-island-acadia-national-park-maine/

Spruce Street Harbor Park A Fun Philly Destination

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Spruce Street Harbor Park

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.

Spruce Street Harbor Park
Lockets Of Love In Spruce Street Harbor Park

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.

Places To Relax at Spruce Street

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.

Spruce Street Harbor Has Outdoor Games Set Up For The Whole Family

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.

The Independence Seaport Museum
Spruce Street Harbor

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.

The Angelo Pizza Is Delicious
Delaware Waterfront

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!

https://www.delawareriverwaterfront.com/places/spruce-street-harbor-park

https://phillyseaport.org/visit

https://northeastallie.com/2021/04/27/boathouse-row-the-iconic-philadelphia-landmark/

The Top Five Places I Recommend Visiting in Acadia National Park

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Acadia National Park

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.

Acadia National 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.

Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park

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.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Acadia National Park

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.

Thunder Hole Acadia National Park

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.

Jordan Pond Acadia National Park

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.

Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park

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.

Acadia National Park

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!

https://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/index.htm

https://northeastallie.com/2021/05/25/bar-island-acadia-national-park-maine/

https://northeastallie.com/2021/05/18/why-you-should-visit-bar-harbor-maine/

Bar Island Acadia National Park Maine

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Gravel Walkway Connecting Bar Harbor To Bar Island Maine

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.

The Tide Can Move In Fast On The Path To Bar Island

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!

Bar Island Acadia National Park

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.

Trail On Bar Island
Bar Harbor Views From The Trail
Views From Bar Island

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!

Watching The Tide In Bar Harbor Maine

https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/hike-bar-island-trail.htm

https://northeastallie.com/2021/05/18/why-you-should-visit-bar-harbor-maine/

https://northeastallie.com/2021/06/02/the-top-five-places-i-recommend-visiting-in-acadia-national-park/

Why You Should Visit Bar Harbor Maine

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Bar Harbor Maine

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.

Bar Harbor Maine

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!

Bar Harbor Maine

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!

Bar Harbor Maine

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!

“Choco-Latte” Coffee Shop In Bar Harbor Maine

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.

Sea Life At Bar Harbor Maine

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!

Bar Harbor Maine

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!

https://www.visitbarharbor.com

https://northeastallie.com/2021/05/25/bar-island-acadia-national-park-maine/

https://northeastallie.com/2021/06/02/the-top-five-places-i-recommend-visiting-in-acadia-national-park/

Lacawac Sanctuary In The Pennsylvania Poconos

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The Lacawac Sanctuary

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.”

The Lacawac Sanctuary
The author hiking on a path in the Lacawac Sanctuary

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.

The Lacawac Sanctuary
The Lacawac Sanctuary
The Lacawac Sanctuary

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!

The Lacawac Sanctuary
The Lacawac Sanctuary
The Lacawac Sanctuary

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.

A snake at the Lacawac Sanctuary
The Lacawac Sanctuary
The Lacawac Sanctuary

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!

The Lacawac Santuary

https://www.lacawac.org/

https://northeastallie.com/2021/03/16/lake-wallenpaupack/

https://northeastallie.com/2021/04/06/canoeing-in-lake-wallenpaupack/

Why It Is So Important To Spend Time In Nature

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Pennsylvania Poconos

I think one of the most profound things that I have found and took note of from an early age was nature. One of my first memories is stepping out to the porch on a rainy day, talking to a kitten and taking note of a magnificent rainbow drifting in the sky. As we put a bowl of milk down for this small creature, I looked into the cloudy sky melting with rain and sun, and I was truly amazed that such a thing as a rainbow could exist.

When I was younger, we traveled and were on the road a lot, moving from Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, and various other places in the Northeast. All my family is from the Philly area, but we ended up branching out a lot. I devoted myself to music and writing. I will say that writing has been the constant in my journey at every age, and this drive is what made me create this blog for you all today.

Pennsylvania Poconos

When I met my husband, he was definitely on the same wave length with me in regards to exploring the great outdoors. Whenever we can, we absolutely love to go to various parks and hiking adventures. You will find that many of the guides or suggestions on this site are related to this, and I think that the reason being is that we are very inspired by nature.

The Author With Her Husband In The Pennsylvania Poconos

It is the truth in the world that belongs to nature, and I think that we must truly care for it. My advice is to try to get out in an earthy type setting every day a little if possible, even if it is to take a walk around your neighborhood.

If you are ever very deep in thought about something, one of the best ways to clear your mind is taking a couple minutes, and just get outside and breathe. Just taking this time and listening to the birds and the wind can really center you. It is so healthy and good for the mind and soul to get fresh air, appreciate the Earth, and relax. I always recommend bringing a small notebook along with you, and you can write some poetry or thoughts down in it and just be present.

Pennsylvania Poconos

Somehow the world looks a little brighter if we just get out in the sun a little more. You will feel inspired in your day to day activities if you cherish the Earth, and find the peace in its delicate beauty. I hope this post inspires you to get outdoors today! Let me know in the comments below if you have a favorite activity for the spring and summer time. Remember to click that subscribe button, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/10/green-spaces-for-health/

https://northeastallie.com/2021/04/28/actions-to-get-out-of-a-slump/

Actions To Get Out Of A Slump!

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The Author checking out flowers in the Poconos

In this blog, it is important to me to share ways of finding positive focuses in life, whether it is through travel, or your wellness journey. One thing that is so crucial is to know how to get out of a slump, and I honestly think that by really working on this, you can have a lot of positive changes happen day by day.

To me, I feel like a slump is nervous energy that is not directed in an encouraging manner. If you are an over thinker, or if you dwell on certain situations, this can be more prevalent. It is definitely possible to counteract this behavior, especially if you work on it every day. Someone once told me, if you have that nervous energy it is okay, it just means that you care a lot about something. It is just important to figure out ways to use that energy!

The first step is honestly to prioritize your goals, and what you need to get done. There are obviously necessities such as working, maintaining good hygiene habits, and the day to day tasks that we all have. I have found it extremely helpful, throughout my life, to make a list. You will want to write down things that you have to get done immediately, then short term and long term goals. You will feel very accomplished after completing each thing, and this will encourage a confidence too! For example, as a blogger I may have the goal of writing at least one post a week, so every week on a certain day, I am blocking out time to write.

Once you have your list and action goals you will want to see what works with your particular situation. Honestly, you may want to go about it slowly. (An example of this would be to add one positive action in your day to day routine, even if it is just ten minutes.) Or you could also go all in, and I think that the approach can vary due to personal preference. You may want to experiment with it and see what works for you!

When I am overthinking a project, work task, or house cleaning, I feel a weight being lifted off of me after I start going for it. In any manner, it is a good idea to have that balance of rest, healthy habits, daily goals, or any changes that you want to implement.

I hope this post motivates you in a positive direction in your life! Let me know in the comments what your goals are as well, and I will be rooting for you! Remember to click that subscribe button and have a wonderful day!

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/10/green-spaces-for-health/

Boathouse Row The Iconic Philadelphia Landmark

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Boathouse Row Philadelphia

Boathouse Row is one of the most identifiable spots in Philadelphia. When you take the Schuylkill Expressway, you will drive past Boathouse Row right before you get into Center City. It is right by the Art Museum and the historical Fairmount Water Works.

Boathouse Row Philadelphia

The weather was absolutely gorgeous this weekend, so we made a little time to stop by Boathouse Row for a little walk to take it all in. There is a walking path (the Schuylkill River Trail) that is right beside the boathouses (the address is 1 Boathouse Row, Philadelphia, PA 19130.) It is a very long trail, and they even have really cute push bikes that you can rent located in between the Water Works and the Boathouses if you are interested in that as well.

Boathouse Row Philadelphia
Boathouse Row Philadelphia

Boathouse Row is very significant in the history of Philadelphia, and started with the construction of the Fairmount Dam and Water Works. Originally, this dam was created in 1821 to withhold brackish tidal waters from going into the city’s water supply. Eventually, this formation between the dam and East Falls created a tidal river into slack water which appeared like a very long freshwater lake. Back in the 1800s, the surface was ideal for ice skating in the winter months, and rowing in the summer. The first historical note of rowing took place back in 1835 between the Imps Barge clubs and the Blue Devils.

Boathouse Row Philadelphia
Boathouse Row Philadelphia
Boathouse Row Philadelphia

There was a lot of enthusiasm from the community in response to this race, and it sparked the formation of different barge clubs. During the 1860s and (mostly 1870s) the boathouses that we see today were created. Currently, Boathouse Row also is the center hub for many rowing regattas, which include the Independence Day Regatta, the Head of the Schuylkill, the Navy Day Regatta, Stotesbury Cup Regatta, and the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta. The boathouses are viewed as the center of the rowing community across the United States.

Boathouse Row Philadelphia

As we hiked around the area, we noticed an elevated path, that seemed to rise above the historic Water Works, and gave an amazing view of the area. I later found out that this was the Cliffside path area, and it was originally constructed in the 1820s. The areas on the cliff that you will want to check out are the Mercury Pavilion, Rustic Pavilion, Distribution Arch, and Reservoir all linked to the Engine House. The day we went, we could see from this vantage point that there was probably a wedding at the Water Works because we noticed trucks filled with flowers milling in and about!

Cliffside Path
Cliffside Path
Cliffside Path

Boathouse Row truly connects the past history of the city to the present, and gives visitors an opportunity to learn about the context of the land, while enjoying its beauty at the same time. Our families are from Philadelphia, so on a personal level, we really have a connection to it as well, but I believe everyone will really enjoy this landmark when traveling to the city! It has always been this hub of great activities, get togethers, sports, entertainment, and hopefully will be enjoyed for many years to come!

View From Cliffside Path of Water Works and Boathouse Row
View From Cliffside Path of Boathouse Row

Let me know in the comments if you have also visited Boathouse Row or the Water Works and what you thought of the area as well! Also, do you have a personal favorite spot in Philly? Let me know! I hope that you have a wonderful day and remember to click that subscribe button!

https://www.visitphilly.com/things-to-do/attractions/boathouse-row/

Ricketts Glen State Park

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Ricketts Glen State Park (located in Benton Pennsylvania) was highly recommended to us by a lot of locals when we stayed in the Poconos. This majestic park is known in upstate Pennsylvania for having amazing immersive nature trails with 22 named waterfalls. Within it are 13,193 acres of land located in Sullivan, Luzerne, and Columbia counties.

Ricketts Glen State Park
Ricketts Glen State Park

Most of the waterfalls are located within the Glens Natural Area, and we personally took the loop going on the Highland Trail which is a little more then 3 miles. As you hike through the trail, you can tell that this area has a lot of older growth timber, in combination to the newer wildlife that inhabits this region as well. The forest was very peaceful, and had a lot of shaded areas with the multitude of trees.

Ricketts Glen State Park
Ricketts Glen State Park

The path in the forest brought us directly to the waterfall trail, and going into it, it is easy to follow, but you will want to use caution because it can get steep in certain areas. I personally did take a little tumble because I was going down a stair path very quickly, and I believe it had rained earlier on that particular day, so you will want to be careful in your stepping.

Ricketts Glen State Park
Ricketts Glen State Park

This is another area which I highly recommend wearing hiking shoes, or something that will support your feet well in a hilly type terrain. We also brought a little bag with sunscreen, water, snacks, and sunglasses. Whenever you go into nature type settings, it is very important that you take safety into account first and foremost!

Ricketts Glen State Park

As we walked around the loop, we were in total awe with how vast and diverse the waterfalls themselves were. They are all very unique, and it is interesting how this ancient land has formed over the years. For this reason, you will want to set aside extra time to really enjoy this gorgeous area, especially if you like taking nature pictures!

Ricketts Glen State Park

If you enjoy mesmerizing nature perspectives, this is the perfect spot for you when you visit upstate Pennsylvania! Let me know in the comments below if you have visited Ricketts Glen before, and what you thought of the area. Make sure that you click that subscribe button and have a wonderful day!

Ricketts Glen State Park

https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/RickettsGlenStatePark/

Shuman Point The Pennsylvania Poconos

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When my husband and I travel, we always look for amazing hiking locations. Luckily, when we went to the Pennsylvania Poconos, we had ample opportunities. One of my favorite spots was Shuman Point because of its expansive forest resting right by Lake Wallenpaupack. The trail that we took was about three miles long, and because we stopped to take snack and water breaks, it was about an hour and a half to walk through it.

Shuman Point is one of the very last undeveloped regions that are by Lake Wallenpaupack. This specific spot was farmed before the man made lake was created in 1926. What we thought was very interesting was that parts of the farm still remained enact, even all these years later. This stone wall still boarded areas of the park, and at one point, it literally went directly into the water. This would make sense, given the fact that the lake in question was not constructed yet back then.

As we walked through the trail, we noticed a variety of beautiful plant life. There were a lot of pine trees, which were very refreshing to smell as we walked by the lake. We also noticed a lot of boulders that were left behind from a time long ago, that most likely formed from glaciers pulling through the Pennsylvania soil. There was also a lot of ferns and moss covering the region.

Let me know in the comments below if you have also gone to Shuman Point, and what you thought of it. I highly recommend it to nature enthusiasts, just remember to pack some snacks, water, sunscreen, and good hiking boots for this adventure! I hope you have a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!

Canoeing In Lake Wallenpaupack

Lake Wallenpaupack

http:visitwaynecounty.com/place/Shuman_Point_Natural_Area

Canoeing In Lake Wallenpaupack

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When we traveled up to the Poconos to explore Lake Wallenpaupack, we were immediately fascinated by everyone boating or in a canoe. My husband is pretty avid when it comes to the outdoors, so he was definitely for the idea of taking a canoe out on the calm lake waters. After checking into it, our hotel actually did offer free canoe rentals with our room so that was pretty sweet. If that is something you are interested in, you will want to check with yours before you go.

To prepare for canoeing, I did a couple steps beforehand, and these will also help you as well! Summers in upstate Pennsylvania are very sunny, so you will want to apply generous amounts of sunscreen before you go out boating or on the water. The water reflects the sun back at you, so it is really important that you take steps to insure you do not get sun burnt. I also brought a very large hat, extra water, snacks, water shoes (your feet are going to get wet), and of course even more sunscreen! We wanted to take pictures on the lake, so a neat trick for you is to bring a little sandwich bag for your phone. That way, say if it happened to get a little splash of water on it, the phone would be safe. I put mine in a sandwich bag, and then in the snack container to keep it out of the sun as much as possible as well. After you are out of the water, it is also nice to have extra towels and clothing with you. When we go on a trip, we usually try to do as much as possible in a short amount of time to really take in the area, so this helped save time to go right to the next activity afterwards. The hotel provided us with safety vests, paddles, and the canoe itself.

Once we arrived at the lake, they pulled a canoe right up on the edge of the water. Since I had never done this before, I honestly was wondering how we were going to get it moving! We took a couple steps forward into the lake holding the canoe and jumped right in. (This is where those water shoes come in handy!) Luckily, it went right into the lake with ease.

We had hiked the day prior, and the water looked fairly calm. It was not too windy, but I think because you are on a canoe, you do feel the movement of water a little bit more. It is a completely different perspective being on the water, and it was so neat to see the houses lining the lake, other boats, and keeping an eye out for fish. We did see really little ones and that was so cool! A couple times, larger boats would fly by, and to keep our balance in the canoe, we kind of ducked down into it to keep it steady. Coordinating our paddling was something else we figured out there, but once we got it, we were flying around Lake Wallenpaupack.

I would recommend going on a canoe if you are traveling to the Poconos, and it is a very fun outdoor experience! It is imperative that you take safety first into account and really be aware of your surroundings. You will also want to check out the weather, and make sure you ask your hotel if there are any other safety measures you will want to take when on a canoe, and always wear your life jacket! It is especially important if you have not done this before that you take all safety measures into account before your journey.

Let me know in the comments if you have gone on a canoe before, and what you thought of it! I hope that you have a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!

https://www.visitpa.com/region/pocono-mountains/lake-wallenpaupack

https://northeastallie.com/2021/03/16/lake-wallenpaupack/

Adventures In Hibernia County Park

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Around a month or so ago, one of my best friends told me that she was scouting a location with nature perspectives. She is a photographer based out of Lancaster Pennsylvania, and was searching for something somewhat local, and also a place that provided gorgeous backdrops. Then, she had a really great idea and mentioned Hibernia Park, which sounded amazing since it also has connections to Pennsylvania history. When she mentioned that we should go together to explore the location in depth, of course I was in!

Photo Credit Marisa Renee Photography

We live in the Philadelphia area, so the park, which is located in Coatesville was only about a 45 minute drive. I think from the Lancaster area it was about the same, so if you are visiting either Philly or Lancaster, this could be a nice place if you are looking for a beautiful park to relax at on your travels. One of the first thing that we noticed upon arrival (we pulled into 1 Park Road, Coatesville, PA 19320) was the ample parking that was available. I am sure that depending on the time of day or year this can fluctuate, but it was nice that there was a large lot at the time we visited.

Photo Credit Marisa Renee Photo

After greeting our friends, my husband and I were literally awe struck by this immaculate mansion that looked elegant and historic all at once! That day, we did not go on a tour, but apparently, they do have them available. At one time, this place was home of Ironmasters in the 19th century.

Photo Credit Marisa Renee Photo

I thought it was very interesting that the Hibernia Mansion was once the home of Thomas Costigan, a Philadelphia contractor, and his wife Mary in the 1880s. They had their own railroad car and used it on various occasions to travel between the city and Hibernia. Another Philly native, Colonel Franklin Swayne, who was a prominent real estate lawyer, purchased the mansion in 1894. Once he settled in to the region, he farmed, raised sheep, and sold ice. His dedication to the property continues its legacy to this very day.

After we looked around this building a bit, we decided to go right into the walking trail. Many trees embraced the walking path, and some were even labeled. These included Sassafras, Black Oak, Sycamore, and Eastern Hemlock. We were amazed at how tall these trees were, and it seemed as if they were dancing with the sky! Eventually, the trail led to a little overlook section and Chambers Lake. It was really neat to see little canoes and boats out with people enjoying a sunny day right on the water.

History danced with the present, as we hiked past the Iron Forge And Furnace Complex. You could actually see part of the Water Wheel Ruins and it is amazing that this structure has stood all these years. The legacy of the iron masters of the past reveals a more industrial time in Pennsylvania.

Our final stop on our hiking adventure was the Hibernia Childrens Fishing Pond. This really sweet pond actually is just for children to fish, and the limit is 5 trout per day per child! (In Pennsylvania we really love our fishing.) My husband also spotted a really cool frog at this pond that looked like it was the size of a hand!

Hibernia is an amazing park with such rich history, and if you are traveling to the area, this is a must visit place! The location has been put on the National Register of Historic Places by The United States Department of The Interior, and it is a spot to be enjoyed by many for years to come. Hibernia County Park also has playgrounds, pavilions, park offices, restrooms, open fields, camping, and even picnic areas. Make sure you check out their website for more up to date information, and reservations.

https://www.chesco.org/4625/Hibernia-Park

Photo Credit Marisa Renee Photography
Photo Credit Marisa Renee Photography
Photo Credit Marisa Renee Photography

Also thank you very much to Marisa for highlighting various areas of the park with your photography! Marisa is the best in the business, and is one of the most talented photographers I have ever known. She is based out of Lancaster Pennsylvania and you can contact her at https://www.marisareneephoto.com/ and her Instagram handle is @marisareneephoto. She is an amazing sweet person and will help you feel comfortable and confident in your photoshoot, so make sure that you book with her today!

Perkiomen Trail Pennsylvania

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There is something about early spring that gets the local crowds in Pennsylvania excited. We love the longer days after a winter cooped up inside, especially since our winters here can be very dark in addition to the bitter coldness. I mean, we absolutely love our snow days (when we do not have to drive anywhere) but there is something magical about the start of spring.

This weekend, we wanted to go for a hike to really soak up the sun and get fresh air. We decided to try out the Perkiomen Trail. The trail itself runs about 20 miles and hugs the route of the Perkiomen Creek from Oaks to the Green Lane Borough. The nickname for this trail is the “Perky” and it utilizes the former rail bed from the Reading Railroad.

When we went for our hike, we really enjoyed that the trail was very distinct and easy to follow. The area that we went on was paved, but there are crushed stone areas too. From our experience hiking in very dense woodsy type regions, this made it more relaxing since there was a clear path to go on. (One time we went on a trail where you really did have to pay attention to the direction that you traveled because the plants basically overgrew it!) For that reason, I would definitely recommend this trail, and it seemed to be a great area for families and people of all ages.

Pennsylvania has so many gorgeous parks and state land regions, and I would highly recommend the Perkiomen Trail if you are looking for a relaxing walk. It meanders through so many historic towns and parks that include Collegeville, Schwenksville, Arcola, Green Lane Park, Central/Lower Perkiomen Valley Parks, and even the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove.

Let me know in the comments below if you have also visited the Perkiomen Trail and what you thought of it! I hope you have a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!

https://www.montcopa.org/1153/Perkiomen-Trail

Lake Wallenpaupack

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If you are in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or New York area, you most likely have at least heard about the Poconos. The Poconos are a gorgeous rural area that are a very popular place to retreat into a more woodsy type atmosphere. There are a lot of lakes, mountain areas, and amazing hiking spots that make this part of the state very special. One of our favorite places to visit was Lake Wallenpaupack.

Even before we left on the trip to the Poconos, I really loved the name Wallenpaupack. In Pennsylvania, the Lenape tribe named the area “Wallenpaupack” which translates to “The Stream of Swift and Slow Water.” Lake Wallenpaupack is one of the largest lakes in our state. An interesting fact that I learnt while staying in the Poconos, is that this particular body of water is man made, and is also a reservoir. It spans over 52 miles and is about 13 miles long to give you a perspective on the size of it. There are a lot of trails to explore which is amazing if you are a hiking enthusiast, and you can be sure that you can really connect with nature!

We live in the Philadelphia area, so it took us about a couple hours to get there. I am usually the one to take a while packing up items, so when we did arrive, it was a couple hours before sunset. (We usually pack the night before, but sometimes the day of I will do a snack run. If you can, I think it is always a good idea to bring granola and water with you, especially for hiking trips.)

We walked on a path that went around the lake which did go off into woodsy areas, but it was fairly easy to navigate. I was really amazed at the quantity of boats. There seemed to be docking stations every mile or so on the trail. We also noticed that there was a more sandy type area for visitors to enjoy. At the time we went, there was a really cute duck family enjoying this lake point!

As we retraced our steps, we were lucky enough to see the sunset. Even the boats stopped to take in a glimpse. Perhaps it was just us, but we thought the sun looked really big that evening. It is important to us to connect with nature, the Earth, and the Poconos really gave us that opportunity.

I highly recommend a visit to Lake Wallenpaupack if you are in upstate Pennsylvania. I think this location is really awesome for travelers of all ages, and there seemed to be a range of a lot of activities to choose from which is really nice. Let me know in the comments if you have also visited Lake Wallenpaupack. Make sure you click that subscribe button, and have a wonderful day!

https://www.poconomountains.com/explore-our-area/lake-wallenpaupack/

https://www.visitpa.com/region/pocono-mountains/lake-wallenpaupack

Bethlehem Steel Stacks

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One of our favorite things to do when searching for an amazing place to travel is going to a location that has the combination of scenery, history, and walking areas. We found all of that and more in Bethlehem Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania, and especially Bethlehem, was a very booming center of trade and industry during the industrial revolution in the United States. Bethlehem was actually the second-largest steel producer in Pennsylvania and was a leader in the American manufacturing leadership. It should also be known that Bethlehem Steel also created the “I-beam” and was utilized in skyscrapers, some of which were used in New York and other major cities. The company was also a major supplier in both World Wars of armor plates and manufactured 1,100 warships. Bethlehem Steel ran from 1857 to 2003.

When you walk through the Steel Stacks, you are literally walking through history. On the different parts of the walk ways, you can see areas where the workers at various different time periods etched their names into the metal. When you look at the historical context of this, it like a letter to the future, and when we look at how these individuals changed American history and even efforts in the World Wars, you have to look back and feel grateful for what these people worked hard for.

In addition to the Steel Stacks, there are so many other opportunities to explore in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. If you want a more in depth historical overview of Bethlehem The National Museum of Industrial History is an amazing place to visit. The town also has a great shopping district, casino (Wind Creek Bethlehem), Musikfest, and Christkindlmarkt one of the best holiday markets in the U.S.

Let me know in the comments if you have also visited Bethlehem Pennsylvania, and what you thought of it. Also remember to click that subscribe button and have an amazing day!

https://bethlehempa.org/

https://www.bethlehem-pa.gov/

Bethlehem Christmas Market

Natural Bridges State Park Santa Cruz California

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When we traveled to San Francisco, we did end up taking a day to drive down the coast a little bit. It is worth the trip, and if you do go, you absolutely have to go to the Natural Bridges State Park. Scientists believe that the arches in the park were formed over a million years ago when the combination of clay, silt, and diatoms formed into a unique stone mixture. While some areas have become eroded with time, the fact that we can still see part of them today is quite extraordinary!

When we went, we did not see any, however this area is apparently also a great place to see monarch butterfly migrations from October to early in February. If you are interested in checking that out, you probably would want to go during the winter season.

Since my husband and I are from the East Coast, before this trip, we had never seen the sunset on the ocean, so that is another travel tip I have for you. Definitely make sure you go when you can see it because it is really gorgeous! There are various areas within the park as well, from the sandy beach to more walk way focused places for safety reasons. You really could spend several hours here if you wanted. The Walton Lighthouse is in Santa Cruz too, and if you are going to the state park, it would be easy to go there for an additional stop. I will leave the link for the lighthouse below as well.

Let me know in the comments if you have also gone to the Natural Bridges State Park, and what you thought about it! It is a really fun day trip, and if you are visiting California, I would rent a car, pack some snacks, beach bag, and enjoy exploring the coast! I hope that you have a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!

Walton Lighthouse

https://www.parks.ca.gov/

Lands End Park San Francisco

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Typically, when we are traveling somewhere new, we are on the move (quite literally). At the beginning of the planning process, we usually make a list of all of the unique attractions that are part of the history of an area, and then decide which ones we really want to visit. Since we are fairly active travelers, we generally will find a place where we can go for a nature hike. One of our favorite hikes that we had the opportunity to go on was at the Lands End Park in San Francisco.

The unique aspect of Lands End is the fact that you are weaving and going around these gorgeous rocky cliffs decorated with eucalyptus, cypress, and spectacular nature elements all about. There is a lot of history to this specific area, and some of the actual hiking trails are in the paths of the Cliff House Railway and its old railbeds. Also, the Golden Gate Bridge is visible from the Mile Rock Beach and Mile Rock point. I recommend a stop at the Visitor Center located at the Lands End Lookout so you can get more in depth information regarding the history of the park.

We were amazed at the power of the waves in this area, and you really could see how the currents pull in the bay. There are so many flowers, plants, and trees everywhere which is striking by the shore. As an important safety note, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area does advise that if you are hiking, you should stay on the trails, and keep distance from the cliffs. I would also add you may want to bring a little backpack with water, snacks, extra light jackets, and sunscreen as well.

Let me know in the comments below if you have also traveled to the Lands End Park in San Francisco, and what you thought about it! Have a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!

https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/landsend.htm

Pier 39 San Francisco (A Great Place To See Sea Lions!)

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We live in the Philadelphia area in Pennsylvania and absolutely love the beach. There are a couple months (mostly July and August) that are great for swimming and we usually go to the Jersey Shore. On all of our trips going “Down The Shore” as locals in Philly call it, I have never seen a sea lion in person. Fast forward to our trip to the Bay Area in California, and we were in for a really cool surprise!

There was an earthquake in California in 1989 called the Loma Prieta, and it literally shook up the marine life in the area. After being displaced, sea lions found refuge at Pier 39 in San Francisco and discovered that they could feed on a plentiful supply of herring. The structure of the dock itself also created this source of protection for the sea lions. Currently, during the winter season, the populations have an increase of about nine hundred of these magnificent creatures. In the summer some of the sea lions do choose to migrate to the Channel Islands for breeding season, while others have decided to make this a more permanent residence, and do not to leave at all.

When we saw them in person, they really did seem like playful puppies of the ocean. They banter, frolic, and seem to work together as a team as well! Also, they have a distinct bark and you can definitely hear them talk. They are super intelligent and the California sea lions are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is against the law if citizens handle them or feed them without authorization.

If you are visiting San Francisco, this is a great day trip idea for the whole family. I highly recommend it, and it can be a wonderful educational experience as well. I feel that as humans, it is our responsibility to protect these amazing creatures of the sea, and it is another reason why we must reduce our plastic consumption and pollution. Let me know in the comments if you have gone to the Pier 39, and what you thought of it as well! I hope you have a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!

https://pier39.com/sealions/

https://northeastallie.com/2021/02/22/why-i-recommend-visiting-the-marine-mammal-center-in-sausalito-california/

Why I Recommend Visiting The Marine Mammal Center In Sausalito California

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If you are in the Sausalito area in California, I highly recommend a trip to the Marine Mammal Center. It is an amazing organization that helps injured or distressed marine animals (such as seals, otters, or sea lions.) The center provides a source of rehabilitation which enables a fighting chance for these creatures to have the opportunity to return to their homes in the wild.

This is something that really moved and resonated with me, since the organization is not just trapping the wildlife in a locked zoo setting forever. The plan is to get them back to their habitat to live a healthy life again. There are mammals that are separated from their mothers, bitten by sharks, or have unfortunately gotten stuck in debris or fishing lines. It is truly unfortunate that pollution can have an effect on these animals, and this in turn can make their lives in the wild more difficult.

We as humans really must be aware of how we are disposing our waste, and not just constantly dumping it on their homes. We must do better as a society and become more eco friendly. I am attaching the website for The Marine Mammal Center below, and not only is it informative on how they help wildlife, there are a ton of really great webinars, and educational tools and resources as well. If there is an animal in need, you can also contact them right away on their website and they will do everything they can to help them. They have rescued more than 24,000 animals to date. If you are an educator, they also have award winning programs that connect students to science programs, and have professional development for teachers too.

I hope that this post inspires you to find ways in your community to spread the word and find strategies to promote eco friendliness. It is important that we work together on this front. The Earth has given us so much, we must respect her and all the creatures that roam it too! I hope you have a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!

https://www.marinemammalcenter.org/

Why You Need To Visit The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps And Hidden Garden Steps In San Francisco

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I think that sometimes the creativity of a city can be hidden in the corners of it, so let me tell you, the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps and Hidden Garden Steps are amazing gems in San Francisco to find. These visual masterpieces were literally created from the actual people living in the neighborhoods of Golden Gate Heights.

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps project began in 2003 from residents Alice Yee Xavier and Jessie Audette when they wanted to build connection with others in their neighborhood through this artistic adventure. The community chose to bring in artists Colette Crutcher and Aileen Barr in the collaboration effort to create the mosaic panels. The concept behind these gorgeous stairs was to create a flowing view of the ocean to the stars on the 163 stairway. There was not a detail left unturned, and from the sea shells to the rays of the golden sun, it was almost like seeing this detailed picture book come to life!

Another really unique community public art project is the Hidden Garden Steps. You literally get to walk next to beautiful gardens right by the mosaic stairs that have these amazing flower and earthy designs. This volunteer art project was created to shine light to nature and personality of the neighborhood itself. The gardens created next to the steps are home to native California plants and also succulents since they do really well in the Bay Area climate. I loved how they really focused on the small details, there is even a mosaic butterfly!

If you have the opportunity to visit these community art pieces, I would recommend it! I will leave the direct links here from their organizations too, in case if you are looking for travel directions or more information about the mosaics themselves. Remember to click that subscribe button and have a wonderful day!

http://hiddengardensteps.org/

Japanese Tea Garden San Francisco

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In San Francisco, there is actually the oldest public Japanese Tea Garden in the United States. It was originally in an exhibit within the 1894 Midwinter International Exposition. After the exposition left, the creator, landscape architect Makoto Hagiwara maintained the garden and became a caretaker of the property. He was known to have put all of his income and creativity into it, and expanded the gardens to about five acres where he dwelled until 1942 when he and his family were forced into internment camps. At this time, about 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly put into camps.

After World War 2, the Hagiwara family was not allowed to move back to their home, and over the years, many Hagiwara family treasures have been removed and new additions took their place. I think it is important to know the history of a place when you visit, and respect the lives that created it.

Another interesting historical note, and this one is a according to family members of Makoto Hagiwara, is that he introduced fortune cookies to the United States. Apparently, he had a special iron mold to create them on his site, and when they became more popular in the area, he hired the San Francisco confectioner Benkyodo to make fortune cookies in larger quantities. He modified them slightly, and created a sweeter version for the States with a vanilla flavoring to them. The gardens do currently have a Tea House on the property where they have Japanese refreshments, and fortune cookies tucked into their bowl of rice crackers or arare. It is amazing to think about the historical context of the fortune cookies, and how much of an impact Makoto Hagiwara has had on society.

If you are in the Bay Area and can visit this historic landmark, I would recommend it! It is one of the most elegant and calming places to visit, and the garden is one to appreciate. I hope you have a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!

https://www.japaneseteagardensf.com/

A California Pacific Coast Highway Trip To The Santa Cruz Walton Lighthouse

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On our travels to the Bay Area, we felt for a more authentic California experience, we had to do at least a mini day trip down the Pacific Coast Highway. So one of the days, we set out, rented a car, and went for it. If time allows for it on your visit, this is a must do on your list! The state route literally hugs the ocean as you wind around bends and mountains, and provides you with really unique perspectives.

After we rented the car, we made the coastline trip from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. The highway is over 600 miles long, so we did not do the whole ride since we only had the rental for that day. We are from the Philadelphia area, so when we typically go to the beach, we go down the shore (Jersey Shore) and I personally had never seen surfing before. We honestly do not get too many on the east coast, so it was awesome to witness that in person! Especially as we got closer to the Santa Cruz region, we did see a lot in action catching the waves and that was very cool.

When we arrived at Santa Cruz, besides the beautiful beach, we wanted to see the Walton Lighthouse. After we parked our car, there was a little bit of a hike to get there, and I heard a noise coming off the docks with the boats. It turns out that there were a couple seals hanging out by the docks, one swimming around, and the other was taking a sun bath. I am very happy that we investigated this noise, and they are fairly typical in this region!

As we made our way up to the lighthouse, one thing I made note of is that there is a very wide path leading up to it. The structure itself is very tall, regal, and elegant. Location wise, it is right at the northern end of the Monterey Bay, and close to the Natural Bridges Park. There is a relaxed beachy surfer vibe going on in Santa Cruz, and I highly recommend it for a fun day trip!

Let me know in the comments if you have ever traveled to Santa Cruz, and what you thought about it as well. Remember to click that subscribe button, and have a wonderful day!

https://www.santacruz.org/

https://www.visitcalifornia.com/

Why Exercise Is So Important

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Every day most of us take vitamins, but are we getting enough exercise into our routine? It is so important that we take care of our health and well being. In addition to a healthy diet, we have to remember to keep moving.

I find exercise particularly helpful if I feel like I am in a funk. Sometimes just staying in the moment, and feeling the motions of a run or doing Pilates can bring me back to the present. A lot of us feel guilty for taking time out to exercise, but this is actually very good for you. I am someone that does not prescribe to a particular routine, and I like to listen to my body intuitively. I have lost over twenty pounds last year just by leaning in, and really focusing on the most healthy option every day. If I have a big work day, then I will try to fit in a walk on a lighter scheduled day. The most important thing is that you find something that actually works with your schedule.

You have to remember that sometimes, you do need to really rest yourself as well. If you have a highly active profession, and you are on your feet most of the time, something more relaxing like yoga may be a better exercise for you then a high impact sport. I believe that there are different parts of life, and the main thing to focus on is balance. That is definitely a more healthy perspective.

Several years ago, I was exercising quite a lot, and yet I was gaining weight. In the hustle and bustle of life, I was not focused on what I was consuming, and after much research, I have tried my best to implement whole foods, fruits, and veggies when feasible. We as humans are so different in our internal systems, again, I think it is important to listen to ourselves and our doctors to figure out the best plan. While vegan diets work for one person, sometimes a whole foods diet will work for another. I would always consult your doctor of course before beginning any diet or exercise plan.

I hope this post inspires you to go outside, take a walk, and enjoy your day. It is important to remember that exercise should be adding to your life. Sometimes honestly putting on your favorite jams and dancing around for five minutes has the greatest benefit. Balance is everything and every day is different so we should enjoy the ride!

Remember to click that subscribe button and have a wonderful day!

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

Muir Woods National Monument

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When we travel, it is important to us to visit places that connect us with the local nature and environment of the area. It is so good and healthy to enjoy the sun, Earth, and to really get a true sense of the history of the land. There is nothing like a hike among forests that brings true joy to the soul.

One of the most peaceful and delightful places you can visit near the Bay Area is Muir Woods. You totally get lost in the ages of their beauty (some of the redwoods are on average 600-800 years old and have grown over 200 feet.) The oldest tree in the monument is estimated to be at least 1200 years old. There is this deep appreciation of these trees that have stood the test of time. It is as if you have been whisked away in this natural fairy land filled with magic, love, and wisdom. At least that is how I felt walking through the forest. The reason why these trees can reach magnificent heights is due to the temperate weather conditions near the California coast.

Of course, I have to tell you a little about the namesake of this place John Muir. He actually originally worked on mechanical inventions, but due to an industrial incident, he left this profession to write, develop scientific theories, and promote conservation and preservation of land. He had a large part in the establishment of Yosemite National Park, and the Sequoia National Park as well. As a founder of the Sierra Club, he was able to write in this publication about the environmental issues that were true to his heart. He even influenced President Theodore Roosevelt in his conservation efforts. With all of his contributions to the environment, it is fitting that the redwood monument is named after John Muir himself.

When we were walking through the forests, the path was very easy to follow, and it was not too arduous of a hike. There are some hills but overall I think this path should be fairly easy to navigate. They also do have a cute gift shop and restrooms on the site by the entrance that you should check out as well!

Make sure that you review the resources below for more travel and historical information. I highly recommend this as a must see on your travel list. My husband and I really liked this stop, and it is a fun hike! Also remember to click that subscribe button. Let me know in the comments if you have gone to Muir Woods and what your experience was like there too! I hope that you have a wonderful day!

https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm

https://www.visitcalifornia.com/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Muir

Cable Car Museum San Francisco

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For years, before I had traveled to the Bay Area, I imagined that cable cars lined the streets. It may have been a particular rice commercial that had first enabled me to have this vision. If you grew up in the nineties, I think you know what treat I am referring to! Once we were finally there, my thoughts were realized as I saw the smooth cars rummage down the lanes. The hills were indeed rather steep as well, but walking the city, at least we had a good workout!

There is a lot of history in regards to the cable cars. What began in the 1870s is now actually the world’s last manually operated cable car arrangement. The routes that are being used currently run in the downtown area around Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf, and also along California Street. We went on them once during the day, and once at night. If it is possible with your schedule, I highly recommend going during both times. You get way different perspectives, and you could take pictures during the day of the city, but then see the lights at night.

The Cable Car Museum is a great place to stop if you are interested in seeing how the process works, as you actually see the inner mechanics of them, and also for a more in depth historical view point. I thought it was so neat to see the exact way the cables pull the cars down the streets! This particular stop is a great place to go if you have a family and also if you are interested in a fun educational experience. I will leave some resources below for you to check out, and make sure you also hit that subscribe button. Have a wonderful day!

https://www.visitcalifornia.com/

http://www.cablecarmuseum.org/museum.html

A Journey To Yosemite

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Yosemite was on my mind a lot even before we got there. It has always been one of those places we always wanted to go to, and luckily it is not too far away from San Francisco (where our hotel was.) There are different restrictions depending on weather or the time of the year, such as having chains for your tires, so we decided on doing a day trip with a local tour bus. We really liked the company Gray Line when we went to Iceland, so in San Francisco we booked with them again. The tour guides are amazing and great at answering any questions too!

Location wise, the park is about 140 miles east of San Francisco and about 100 miles southeast of Sacramento. It is a mountain range (Sierra Nevada Range) surrounded by natural forest land. Depending on the time of year that you visit, the weather can vary from extremely warm in the summer to bitterly cold and snowy in the winter. I think with this National Park, it is crucial that you make sure the weather conditions are safe before you go.

One of the first places that we went to on the tour was El Capitan. When I had the opportunity to personally view El Capitan, I was blown away. It is an immaculate granite monolith, with vertical walls expanding 7,569 feet above sea level. In Spanish, the name El Capitan is translated to “The Captain.” Our tour guide also informed us that it is a very popular place for rock climbing, which if you look through your binoculars, you may see. If you do see them, they barely look like dots on this gigantic mountain. I honestly do not think I saw any, however, due to the size of the climbers from my vantage point, they would be difficult to find.

A distinguishing feature of El Capitan is the heart formation right in the middle of it. You can really see this in the photos that we took on the tour. It is a unique feature of this mountain, and I can see how many artists and photographers really flock to this range.

If you are looking for a peaceful region of the park, Yosemite Falls would be your best bet. They are visible from numerous places around Yosemite Valley, and particularly by the Yosemite Village and Valley Lodge. The waterfall is one of the largest in North America, and is highly active November through July with the largest flow in May. (The snowfall melt is the greatest during spring which helps in the water accumulation in the Falls.) Our photos were taken in late winter to give you a time perspective.

While the mountain ranges within Yosemite are immaculate, the woodlands and tree ecosystems are as well. In the park, you will see thick areas of trees, which interestingly enough have sometimes been burnt. To provide you with a historical perspective on this, during different time periods the forests have been set on fire to promote vegetation growth. Currently, fires are becoming more of an issue with their increased prevalence due to lack of precipitation. When you actually see this in person, you can tell how it is effecting the wildlife.

Yosemite is a truly special place, and I highly recommend that you visit this park. It will change your life in a very positive way. It is truly magnificent, precious, elegant and will leave you with a profound respect for the Earth, and all she is.

Remember to click that subscribe button, and have a wonderful day! Make sure you check out the resources below as well as you plan your own trip to Yosemite!

https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm

https://www.grayline.com/

The Golden Gate Bridge/Wave Organ With Interesting Historical Connections to Philadelphia

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Nothing says San Francisco like the Golden Gate Bridge. This may be one of the most iconic bridges, not just in the United States, but in the world. It was actually built during the Great Depression and has been quoted as being part of “American resolve and ingenuity.” The bridge itself typically carries around forty million vehicles a year, just to give you an idea of how meaningful this structure is to the Bay Area. It connects San Francisco to Marin County.

In addition to being an architectural marvel, it is truly amazing to view. If you are visiting San Francisco, please please go and see it up close in person. It is worth the visit and may possibly take your breath away. I know it did to me. Since we were in the area over several days, I did manage to take pictures at different times with different weather conditions. You will see the colors seem slightly different radiating off the bridge with certain degrees of light.

My absolute favorite were the sunset pictures! The bright sun had a great contrast against the bridge and softens the colors and textures quite a bit. The sunset views were taken from an area called The Wave Organ. The Wave Organ creates various sounds using pipes that interact directly with the tides of the bay. The unique stones used in the build are actually from salvaged pieces from the Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco. Yes, this is exactly what you are thinking, the city of San Francisco moved its final resting place of the original U.S. senators, Civil War soldiers, and pioneers in the early 1900s. It is estimated that more than 30,000 bodies were moved to the Cypress Lawn Cemetery located in Colma California. Currently, the Laurel Heights neighborhood occupies the space of the old cemetery. Also, for all my other local Philadelphians reading this, yes, the name was inspired by our very own Laurel Hill garden cemetery. It is interesting to see the influence that Philadelphia has had over the years!

Make sure you check out more resources in the links below and hit that subscribe button. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/wave-organ

https://visitcalifornia.com

https://www.goldengate.org

Dance of Winter’s Whispers

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These winter evenings captivate my soul. A type of resilience rings true for those who can contain even the darkest of nights. The fire ever crackles on my heels, singing a song of howling wood. When the dusk of day is simmering in the distance, one can walk through fields of silence with smooth resolve. The sky is painted with feathers of deep aquamarine and swirled with humbled heavy hues. My boots are stumbling on this path lit by a single candle, unsure of anything but itself. I find the wind is whirling past my burnt lips, however my arms hold strong to the single light.

I can see my breath as I smell the sweet pine, that also withstood the drifts of an icy waltz, in their own divine design. Trudging to the cabin, I hear laughter lighter then the shimmering cape upon us. The warmth of being is once more, through the dance of winter’s whispers we can be sure.

Twin Peaks Overlook San Francisco

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When we get to a city, one of the first things we generally will do is get a feel for the layout of the place. In San Francisco, we decided on the “Painted Ladies Tour Company” to get more interesting vantage points. Our guide was very knowledgeable and gave us in depth perspectives on the city regarding history and even the day to day experiences. They also reviewed amazing stops for local cuisine and attractions that you would not want to miss on your visit to the Bay Area. Of course the vintage Volkswagen Bus made the tour even more fun! I will leave their information at the end of the post, and I would recommend them for your San Francisco visit.

Of the many stops that we made on the tour, one of my absolute favorites was the Twin Peaks Overlook. It is seriously one of the best places for an immaculate view of the entire city line. You feel like an eagle, and it was one of the most spectacular places I have ever gone. There is a small parking area at the viewing point, and it is a great place to take pictures of the city as a whole.

Make sure you check out the resources below, and also click that subscribe button! Have a wonderful day!

https://www.visitcalifornia.com/

https://paintedladiestourcompany.com/

The Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco

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Once we arrived in San Francisco, we dropped off our luggage at the hotel and decided to go right out and explore right away. There was no time to waste! We called a driver and found ourselves at one of the most iconic places in the Bay Area… The Palace of Fine Arts.

The Palace of Fine Arts is one of those places that take your breath away when you see it. You feel as if you have been dropped into Ancient Rome, and all you can possibly do is marvel at it. The area is full of peace, tranquility, beauty and majesty. The California breeze is sweet and inviting as you look at the gorgeous wildlife and structures. The water splashes and drifts as turtles and birds enjoy this relaxing place. (It is very accessible if you do not like walking down hills, there are stairs and a walking path. The path extends around the palace, and is not too difficult of a walk. You will actually be able to view it from all sides as it makes a loop around the building.)

Here is a little bit of history/information for you as well. The Palace of Fine Arts is located in the Marina District. It was constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition to exhibit works of art. The structure was redone in 1964-1974 and it is one of the only few structures left from the Exposition. The iconic place is also on the “U.S. National Register of Historic Places.” It was meant to model ancient Roman Ruins.

If you are in the San Francisco area, this is a must see, and I would highly recommend it. I will leave some resources for you for more up to date information, and remember to click that subscribe button! P.S. There is a rumor that George Lukas created R2D2 off the design of the palace, but I can not confirm or deny this!

https://www.visitcalifornia.com/experience/san-francisco-palace-fine-arts/

Diving Into A San Francisco Adventure!

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Our San Francisco trip last winter was so much fun! I hope you enjoy these stories, ideas, places, and of course adventures…

It was so early, one of those mornings where the birds are not even singing yet, you know the kind. I am not sure how much I slept the night before but we were just so excited for this trip the whole way across the United States. We packed our bags and we were off! The sun gently rose into the sky with colors of a dew drop rainbow, and seeing this made me feel optimistic. The airport was bustling and we met up with one of our friends that was working that day. It was great and comforting to get to talk to her and we are lucky to know people in our lives that warm our heart.

Before we knew it, it was time to leave. Quickly, we drank our coffee and hopped right onto the flight. The plane ride went pretty smoothly, and it was awe inspiring to see the American landscape from the plane window. The texture of the Earth changes so much from region to region. Even from the plane, the Rocky Mountains looked truly magnificent. It is a goal someday that we can explore this land.

Anyway, as we neared the coast, we viewed many lush giant trees, and extremely dense building areas. We landed directly in San Francisco. Immediately, we grabbed our luggage and called a driver. I noticed right away that in California, the sun shines very bright, yet somehow the weather is perfect. Not too cold or warm, and this could honestly be due to the fact that it was in late winter as well.

As we drove to the hotel, I noticed that the houses had such rich and bright colors. The hills were amazing, and from our viewpoints, they almost seemed to make a “Lego” formation just from the layout. Since up to this point in my life, I had never seen the West Coast regions, it almost was like traveling to another country.

I am so excited to share more on this California adventure, and also some ideas for you all if you are making the visit out there! I hope you are having a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!

The Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco

Twin Peaks Overlook San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge/Wave Organ With Interesting Historical Connections to Philadelphia

Cable Car Museum San Francisco

Muir Woods National Monument

Why You Need To Visit The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps And Hidden Garden Steps In San Francisco

Pier 39 San Francisco (A Great Place To See Sea Lions!)

Why I Recommend Visiting The Marine Mammal Center In Sausalito California

Natural Bridges State Park Santa Cruz California

https://visitcalifornia.com

The Ultimate Holiday Activity Guide

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We are officially into the holidays, and this guide should help you navigate them with fun activities and lots of cheer! Personally, for me, this time of year means spending time with family, and practicing gratitude for all the good things that have happened. Of course, some years are more hectic then others, but finding that peace is key to the joy of celebrations.

I grew up in the northern part of the United States, so colder weather and snow honestly are synonymous with Winter for me. Some of my activity ideas are outside, so always remember safety first and bring along layers, coats, warm boots, and gloves if the weather calls for it. Christmas Villages are one of the most holiday central places you can go to, especially in the Pennsylvania region. We have several of them, and for obvious reasons, the Philadelphia one is most near and dear to me. (Several years ago my husband proposed to me at it!) This is a great way to get outside and exercise, while checking out what various artisans have made. It is always a great idea to support your local shops.

Another fabulous way to get outside is the check out holiday light shows. Pennsylvania has gorgeous light displays all over its state, with some car drive through areas, and some walking. My recommendation is to listen to holiday music as you wander through to maximize on the Christmas spirit!

If you prefer to stay cozy and warm you may like baking cookies with your family. This year, my mother in law made really creative and beautiful treats with us, and it highlighted my husbands family history and a love of baking. The nice thing about cooking with your family is that you get to hear about these traditions, and how they are special during the holidays!

It would not be Christmas if I did not mention holiday movies! When I was a kid, my family loved “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” so that is the first movie that comes to mind when I think about fun and festive films to watch. I mean, I hope that everyone knows about the Griswold Christmas tree! A couple honorable mentions as well to check out are: “Die Hard (yes… it is a holiday movie…) Elf, Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street (1947), the Holiday, Frosty the Snowman, and of course Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

A superb way of showing gratitude would be to send holiday cards out to loved ones and friends. In our fast paced world, it is all the more of importance to take that time out and to write down how much these people mean to you. These amazing individuals are part of your life, and they will appreciate knowing how much you care about them!

On a personal note, I recommend spending time in nature and really soaking in the magic of Winter. You can bring a notebook or some paper, and write poetry on your surroundings, and explore the environment. If you are going through an especially busy time, I feel like this is a must do on the holiday list!!!

Board games and puzzles are also great ways to connect with family and have good hearted fun. I hope that your holidays are full of joy, fun, and treats! Let me know in the comments below what your favorite activities are as well. I have attached a couple more holiday ideas for you, and remember to click that subscribe button!

Elmwood Zoo Wild Lights Norristown Pennsylvania

A Very Philly Christmas Village!

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/15/elmwood-zoo-wild-lights-norristown-pennsylvania/

Elmwood Zoo Wild Lights Norristown Pennsylvania

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This year, we have super ramped up all of our outdoor activities, and the holidays are no exception! I do have to say it is pretty cool that a lot of really festive events are actually outside. We always like to research various places in the area before going out, and the Elmwood Zoo really caught our eye. Luckily, it was not too bad of a commute and a perfect opportunity to enjoy a walk while seeing really unique animals.

Since it is very close to winter, and cold in Pennsylvania (especially at night) some of the animal exhibits were closed. However, much to my surprise, there were several animals that seemed to be thriving in our climate. My absolute favorite was an adorable porcupine that seemed to have super strength. The chunky fellow enjoyed climbing up the fence, seemed to do a backflip, and then was taking laps in his area. The porcupine ran up to us right away and was quite social.

There was one indoor exhibit that was open at the time we went with several mammals and even some Montezuma Quail! Even though the exhibit was indoors and warm, there were large open doors to keep the air flowing which was nice. In general, I would recommend wearing warm layers, a hat, gloves, warm shoes, and hand warmers if you have them. It can get very cold up here in the North East region!

The trail itself is easy to navigate, and it is not very arduous. It is basically a loop which is nice, especially walking at night time! The Elmwood Zoo Wild Lights is a great activity to get outside and enjoy with the whole family. It is an educational festive experience that you will treasure forever! You might even see a Bald Eagle or two! I will leave the Elmwood Zoo’s website below so you can get the most up to date travel information. Make sure that you click that subscribe button! Happy Holidays!!!

https://www.elmwoodparkzoo.org/

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/02/bethlehem-christmas-market/

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/08/a-very-philly-christmas-village/

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/21/the-ultimate-holiday-activity-guide/

Green Spaces For Health

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I have been hearing so much about green spaces recently, and how it can be beneficial for our health. A green space can be a forest, field, park, or even a little garden. I believe especially in Winter, it is so important that we get outside, and enjoy the beautiful rays of the sun.

Finally, science is catching up to what I have always believed, which is that humans absolutely need to be around nature for optimal health and well being. Honestly, I really enjoy city life. It is amazing to be close to many things, and the bustle of this particular landscape. The energy is delightful, and I think there is definitely a time to enjoy this atmosphere. Personally though, I feel most at home enjoying the lush environment of the Earth, writing down everything I observe.

For the modern person, there must be a balance here. At times, due to work or school, you may have to be close to or live in a city. In this case, when you do have available time, just try to find a park in the city, or close to it to enjoy green spaces. So many places do a fantastic job of incorporating this as well.

When I was younger, I lived in a more rural area full of woods, streams, ponds, and big trees to climb. I would literally go and explore, and that is when I noticed the beauty and peace that comes from nature. Listening to the singing birds, running after squirrels, and jumping across streams, I really found myself in the revere of the forests. In nature, you are connected to the world like nothing else. It was and will always be the sacred story written in everything.

The balance of the world is very real. This is why it is so important to cherish the land, and respect all beings that inhabit it. Any time of year, it is crucial to find our own green spaces. You may just become very inspired, and just be. Let me know in the comments how nature has inspired you. Also, remember to click that subscribe button.

https://northeastallie.com/2021/04/28/actions-to-get-out-of-a-slump/

A Very Philly Christmas Village!

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The Philadelphia Christmas Village holds a very special place in my heart. Several years ago, my husband actually proposed by it, and it is one of those landmarks that are near and dear to me. There is something unique about it that is very Philadelphia, while wrapping in a traditional German market feel. It is an open air market, so you will want to dress warm depending on the weather. I personally will wear layers, wool socks, mittens, a hat, and sometimes even bring hand warmers along.

There are so many local vendors that create their own unique artistic twist on ornaments, goods, and delicious foods as well. When we went, we tried the German Grill and Schwenk Grill that served bratwursts and potato pancakes. I also highly recommend Raclette Stube for their melted cheese on a fresh baguette.

City Hall is right across the street from the market, and it has a continuation of specialty artisan shops and walking regions. If you enjoy ice skating, you have to check out the rink as well, which is quite magical in the winter season. On the building of City Hall itself, during the evening hours they have a light show with holiday music playing. You can see this very well if you are skating at the rink, so that is another fun idea.

The market usually runs from November 26 to December 24, and I will leave their website as a resource to check the more up to date travel information. If you are in the Philadelphia region, I would put this as a must see for the holiday season. It is a wonderful activity if you are searching for festive outdoor fun for the whole family. Let me know if you have visited the Christmas Village in Philadelphia as well, and remember to click that subscribe button! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday!

https://www.philachristmas.com/

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/02/bethlehem-christmas-market/

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/15/elmwood-zoo-wild-lights-norristown-pennsylvania/

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/21/the-ultimate-holiday-activity-guide/

Bethlehem Christmas Market

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I feel like that this year especially, we have been eagerly awaiting the holidays. The changing of the seasons always invigorates me, and I know winter is close once the first days of December arrive. There is something magical about the change to crisp weather, and snow dusting the yard in the morning. Christmas is the perfect time to do something a little festive, and if you are in the Pennsylvania area, I would recommend you check out the award winning Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem. It is not that far from Philly, and the awesome thing about this market is that it is outside as well.

There are a lot of local artisans and small businesses, and it is always sweet to support our communities. My personal favorite was the waffle stand, and you could purchase them to go for a decent price. They were really good and had a caramel flavor in the middle! Needless to say, between my husband and I, those waffles did not last very long! A couple other places that caught my eye were a record shop with art work and a very neat little wooden chair tent. Honestly though, there were a ton of very creative products which would make for great Christmas gift ideas for the whole family!

Make sure you stop on the website soon to plan your trip to the market! I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season so far! Make sure you click that subscribe button!

https://www.christmascity.org/christkindlmarkt/

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/08/a-very-philly-christmas-village/

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/15/elmwood-zoo-wild-lights-norristown-pennsylvania/

https://northeastallie.com/2020/12/21/the-ultimate-holiday-activity-guide/

Photoshoot In Lancaster Pennsylvania

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I have known my friend Marisa for over ten years. She is one of those people that see life in amazing perspectives, and that shines through in her photography. A couple weeks ago, we decided to have a get together at the Lancaster County Park, and she offered to do an anniversary photoshoot for us. It was truly an amazing idea with the backdrop of the wooded area. The weather was perfect, and it was one of those days that was cooler, but not cold and we all felt comfortable moving around.

I am usually anxious with getting my photo taken, but she helped calm my nerves and enabled confidence as we wandered through the park. My husband and I were excited that we could have these special photos, and it is sweet that now we are able to look back and remember these moments of our lives. We are very grateful to Marisa for the memories to cherish forever.

I highly recommend Marisa for all of your photography needs. She is honestly the best in the business, and is the most talented photographer I have ever known. You can contact Marisa at http://www.marisareneephoto.com, and her Instagram handle is @marisareneephoto.

Remember to click that subscribe button!

Rhode Island Adventures

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Several years ago in November, my husband and I went up to Rhode Island on my work trip, and we ended up making a mini vacation out of it. The place really captivated my heart, and I was inspired by this New England state. Rhode Island has amazing views, seafood, parks, historic houses from the Gilded Age, and its very own famous art installation coined “WaterFire.”

Providence Rhode Island hosts WaterFire each year generally from May to November, which is understandable since it is an outside installation. Various bonfires are strung about the waterways of the downtown Providence area. This was one of the very first places we visited on our trip, and it was a very emotional experience for me. The night that we went, it was beautiful memorial to soldiers, and the music that played truly provoked our hearts.

Even before I traveled to Rhode Island, in my mind, I associated it with lighthouses. Honestly, this makes sense because the smallest state in the United States has extremely diverse coastlines spanning over four hundred miles. While there are sandy regions, the areas that we visited were very rocky in its landscape. One lighthouse that we were lucky enough to check out was the Castle Hill Lighthouse, which is located in the Narragansett Bay area. I was lucky enough to capture pictures of the lighthouse during sunset, and the colors from the sky played very well against the rocky cliffs and driftwood emerging from the ocean.

Another fun activity if you enjoy walking around and exploring cities is to check out downtown Providence. There are so many neat cafes and little shops, but we were most amazed at a mural we stumbled upon by artist Umberto Crenca. The Providence Bank facade changes images frequently, so if you visit make sure you take photos of the most recent ones. Mine are from November 2017 to give a time perspective on when these particular images were taken.

There is so much colonial history seeping from the streets of Rhode Island. We enjoyed spotting these treasures from the past that are woven into the current times. Providence also has the Oldest Baptist church in the United States, and that is a place to definitely check out as it was founded in 1638 by Rodger Williams. Talk about history!

One of the best parks (in my opinion) to visit in Rhode Island is the Fort Adams State Park. The fort is rich in Naval history, and currently there are a high prevalence of sail boats in the region. You can see that the people of Rhode Island really enjoy the Newport Harbor and the East Passage of the Narragansett Bay. If you have to opportunity to visit during the summertime, there are Jazz and Folk Festivals to really take in the surroundings. Fort Adams is very easy to navigate as a walker and is more of a relaxing hike with a coastal feel.

I think a great point to go from there would be Rhode Island’s delicious seafood! One of the craziest experiences I had in Rhode Island was going to a “Raw Bar.” What is a raw bar anyway? A raw bar is an area to enjoy freshly shucked oysters, clams, and sometimes other seafood items. The key word here is “raw and uncooked.” When we visited a local raw bar, it was directly by the ocean, and the boats actually brought in the seafood. You can not get fresher then that! I was very anxious before this event, but the evening prior, I tried a seafood soup with mussels and that was actually pretty good. I believe if there is a place to try raw seafood for the first time, Rhode Island is the place to go!

Anyway, when we walked into this little restaurant, there was a little area that sectioned off clams and oysters directly on ice. We decided to get a dozen to share, half oysters and half clams. Now, if you have not had this before, I recommend not looking at it for awhile before you eat it. Just trust me on that one! At the table, they gave us lemons and hot sauce to dress the seafood with. I tried both methods and they were equally good. It literally tastes like the ocean and had a fresh flavor. I highly recommend checking out the raw bars in Rhode Island.

You will notice in the Ocean State that as you go into the Northern Atlantic areas on the coast, it is quite easy to find a lot of mussels, clams, and sea life. The area is very clean, and to my surprise, even though it is a northern state, the water is very clear in many areas. Even as you drive the roads in Rhode Island, there is a very strict “No Litter” policy. You can see signs that notify the citizens that you can be fined sometimes for $1,000 for littering. I honestly wish more areas would adopt these policies and focus on the health of our environment and Earth. I do believe there is hope after seeing this in action, and you can see how the seafood there is so delicious!

Another place I highly recommend going to see is The Breakers, which is a historic Vanderbilt Mansion from the Gilded Age. They have audio tours that guide you room to room and give a historical perspective of those times and you get to feel the perspective of their daily lives. Rhode Island has a multitude of Gilded Age mansions and if you have the time, they are worth the stop. On our trip we went to The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, and Rosecliff. The opulent style at the time almost visually overwhelmed me, and they truly are the castles of America. You can see the historical relevance of industry as well, and how the times changed from previous generations of American settlers.

Rhode Island is such a magnificent place, and I highly recommend it to any traveler. It’s history, architecture, coastal areas, parks, restaurants, and even the delightful pine trees everywhere make this place a must visit region. I have listed some resources for you to check out as well for more travel information! Also, remember to click that subscribe button!

https://www.visitrhodeisland.com/

https://fortadams.org/visit-fort-adams/

https://www.newportmansions.org/

http://waterfire.org

Unique British Restaurants To Visit In The Philadelphia Area

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I have always enjoyed learning about British culture. Any place that was home to The Beatles, Jane Austen, and J.R.R. Tolkien is esteemed in my book. Honestly though, besides the historical contributions of England, they actually have pretty decent food! This is my personal review of two wonderful British restaurants that you can enjoy a nice meal at in the Philadelphia region. I think it is important to note that I am not affiliated with either of these restaurants, and this is just my personal opinion as well.

A couple months ago, I did an ancestry test that my mother in law gifted me for a holiday, and found out that I was partly British. Of course, these were very new revelations on my part, so I set forth on a journey to learn and become immersed within the culture. My husband was very sweet, and on a lovely quiet weekend, he surprised me with a trip to a local English tea room called A Taste of Britain located in Wayne Pennsylvania.

I was immediately enthralled by the gorgeous quaint cozy setup of the restaurant that somehow wrapped elegance and comfort into one space. Everyone was also very sweet and made us feel at home right away. It was a chilly day, so we ordered a Welsh Rarebit, The Old Fashioned Turkey sandwich, and a pot of pumpkin tea.

My husband and I have always been obsessed with tea, and we were ecstatic that A Taste of Britain had their very own tea list. This gorgeous list has black teas, flavored black teas, oolong, green and white teas, rooibos, herbal teas, and a decaffeinated selection as well. Besides what we ordered, the restaurant had a wide variety of entrees to choose from such as salads, sandwiches, English Favorites, and even Full Afternoon Tea which is an assortment of tea sandwiches and treats with delicious tea. I highly recommend A Taste of Britain if you are in the Wayne area by Philadelphia, and even if you are a bit further out, it is definitely worth the drive to this establishment.

My other recommendation is in Philadelphia directly, so if you are in the city, the travel should not be too difficult, and it is called The Dandelion. I have a little bit of a back story with this establishment, and we have been going there for years. About five years ago, our friends were traveling up to Philadelphia for a visit, and we were looking for a great place to relax, and also enjoy wonderful food. After a little bit of searching, we decided to stop at this British restaurant called The Dandelion. Even as you walk up to the building, you get this sense that you are going someplace special.

The staff was very lovely, and kind to us right from the moment we walked in, and the ambiance danced with English history and Victorian designs. The very first time we went there, I tried the fish and chips, and it was hands down, the best fish and chips I have ever had in my life. Later, I found out, this was one of the original staples of the menu, and it has even won awards!

Since our original visit, we have gone to this delightful establishment many times for birthday celebrations, get togethers, and even the High Afternoon Tea for a special anniversary. The Dandelion’s menu is very expansive and has brunch, afternoon tea, high tea, authentic British dinners, delicious deserts, and so much more. Location wise, it is very close to Rittenhouse Square. Often we take a walk around the Rittenhouse Square Park in Center City which is another fun activity if you are making a day trip.

I hope you enjoyed my review of these sweet British restaurants! I truly do recommend them, and I hope you will really enjoy their culinary charm and most agreeable atmosphere. Please comment below and also let me know if you have visited these places, and what you thought. Also, remember to click that subscribe button! I have listed some resources for you to check out up to date information on A Taste of Britain and The Dandelion for your next travels there.

https://thedandelionpub.com/

https://atobritain.com/

https://www.visitphilly.com/things-to-do/attractions/rittenhouse-square-park/

A Day Trip To Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania

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Hello Everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful day! I am so excited to go through some great day trip ideas if you are traveling to Jim Thorpe PA. This is such a gem in the Poconos, so if you are headed that way, it is a must stop region. Since my husband and I are in the Philadelphia area, the Poconos are regarded as a pivotal place for any vacation when you want a more authentic rural experience. This rings true to many locals, and from the mountains to the charm of the historic towns, you can see how this place is revered.

Jim Thorpe is sort of a sacred area for my family, and before my husband and I ever ventured there, our parents have enjoyed this place for many years. It made sense recently that for celebrations within our family, this place was a frontrunner to enjoy the day. I am sure that any time of the year Jim Thorpe is beautiful in its charm, but we especially enjoyed it in its Autumn glory.

I think it is important to give you a brief history of Jim Thorpe because this place is truly rich in historical notes. The town was originally known as Mauch Chunk (Bear Mountain), but it was renamed later in time for one of the most decorated athletes you know as Jim Thorpe. Another important note is that it was part of the first industrial railroad along the Lehigh Canal. The town has ridiculously gorgeous Victorian Age type buildings which seem to transport your mind to another time.

That will bring us to the first must see area when you are planning a trip, which is the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. As the name specifies, you do travel by train to see the Lehigh Gorge in the State Park. Since we were leaving from the Philadelphia area the day of the trip, it took us a little over two hours to get to this railway from where we live. The commute was very nice, and when you get there, the railway has ample parking which is awesome. Also, everything was really well laid out, and there is a specific place to purchase your tickets for your train ride.

When we went in October, it was pretty busy, but I think they are used to dealing with large crowds, because it was very easy to coordinate things once we got there. On the train itself I would estimate generally that four people can fit in a booth. If you have small children, you could probably squeeze in about five people. The staff on the train were also very friendly and I can see this as a great place to go if you have kids as a trip they would enjoy too.

The train ride was truly amazing. You really get the vantage point of so many regions of the park, and I loved how the mountains soared against the river. My husband and our family all really enjoy the magnificence of the environment so this was such an amazing experience. Personally, as someone that has not gone on trains very much, I found it so exciting to actually go this ride! I felt like a kid in a candy shop!

After we took the train ride, we decided to wander for a bit around the town. The Victorian essence is very strong and so charming. As I mentioned, you literally feel as if you are walking back in time to another place and it is magical. There are so many little shops and restaurants that line the sidewalks.

We explored the area around the Asa Packer Mansion as well, and let me tell you, that is a house on a hill if I ever did see one! Asa Packer had major ties to the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and it is a Victorian National Historic Landmark. The mansion was closed at the time that we visited, but the building honestly speaks for itself just by walking around it. It is easy to see that Asa Packer had a very significant impact on the history of the town from the railroad to being a founder of the Lehigh University. You can see on the second picture below the viewpoint from the mansion to the town.

We found that these were the main things to do for a fun day trip, but if you are staying in Jim Thorpe for a little longer, you may also enjoy visiting the Old Jail Museum, the Mauch Chunk Cultural Center, and the walking the Lehigh Gorge State Park. Also, if you are in the Poconos, there are so many other places to see as well, and I will have to write you all more specific places on this blog sometime.

I believe, these historic Pennsylvania towns are a place to relax, learn, and enjoy. They are an amazing destination for any world traveler, and the community is very welcoming to all. I hope this guide has given you some ideas for your next trip to Jim Thorpe! Please comment below, and let me know if you have also enjoyed the area, and if you have any stories from your visit! Also, remember to click that subscribe button! I have listed resources for you to check out for up to date travel information as well as more Pocono locations that you may enjoy.

Shuman Point The Pennsylvania Poconos

Canoeing In Lake Wallenpaupack

Lake Wallenpaupack

https://www.visitpa.com/region/pocono-mountains/jim-thorpe

http://www.poconomountains.com/explore-our-area/jim-thorpe/

Local Living In The Northeast

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Hello Everyone!

My name is Allie and I am from the Philadelphia area in the Northeast part of the United States. This blog has been in my mind for some time, and it is truly amazing to finally put my thoughts into words on here. On this blog, you can expect perspectives on life, wellness, encouragement, travel, and of course local living. My family has been in the Northeast for many generations, and I feel a connection to this area that heavily influences my writing and ideas. There are so many amazing shops, restaurants, festivals, activities and I wanted to share our community with the world.

I have traveled to other areas, but the Northeast is distinct in its nature. We have so many beautiful cultures, ideas, and traditions that are brought together to create this unique place. Philadelphia is known as the city of “Brotherly Love” and I can attest that this statement is true.

I am looking forward to taking this journey with you all and getting right into it! I hope you can find some inspiration from these stories and places. I think it is crucial to write about the places that we find our path on, and hopefully they can reflect positive experiences to all. A place to be a tapestry of dreams, ideas, and architecture that builds into our lives.

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