The Sol Compass

by Caitlin Hummer


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Tuesday Ten: Holiday Date Ideas

 

Hello everyone, welcome back!  I mentioned in my Gift Guide that I would love to spend time doing something with all of the people I love this December, so today I wanted to share a list of my favorite activities – perfect for a date, girls’ night, or family outing!  A few of them are New England specific if you’re in the area!

  1. Pop-up Winter Market.  There are tons of Christmas markets popping up this month.  In Boston, it’s SoWa and City Hall Plaza, but a quick Google search with your city should turn up some near you!
  2. Build a Gingerbread house.  An annual tradition at my family’s Thanksgiving is to kick off Christmas by building Gingerbread houses, and now I can hardly imagine a holiday season without them!
  3. Go Ice Skating.  As cliched as it may be, I love ice skating.  B and I went well after Christmas last year, though there is something magical about going during December.
  4. Visit Winter Reimagined at Tower Hill Botanical Garden (or your local light display!).  Tower Hill is one of my favorite places in the world, and every year they put on the most spectacular winter lights display.  Every area usually has a well known lights display, so bundle up and reserve your tickets!
  5. Build a fort for movie night.  Everyone’s calendars are so full during December, I love the idea of finding a night you both have free and staying in for a cozy Elf screening (or your favorite movie, but it’s probably Elf).  This date is best enjoyed with homemade cookies!
  6. See the Newport Mansions decked out in their Holiday Best.  Two years ago I went with my sister and best friend and they were absolutely stunning.  Newport native Jess wrote a full blog post about other holiday activities to do in Newport here – it’s an amazing resource and I can’t wait to go try all of the things she recommended!
  7. Get tickets for a holiday classic.  Whether it’s Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker or the Boston Pops, I love seeing the Christmas magic come to life.  If you’re looking for an option that’s more budget friendly, you’d be surprised how fantastic a lot of local high school’s Christmas concerts are!
  8. See a holiday comedy show.  If Christmas music isn’t your jam, most comedy clubs have holiday specials during the month of December.  I’m a fan of ImprovAsylum in Boston!
  9. ZooLights.  Most zoos have great light displays for the holidays.  In Boston, it’s Stone Zoo.
  10. Take a cheese board making class to prepare for all of your party contributions!  I mentioned this in my gift guide, but for my birthday B got us tickets to a cheese board making class with Formaggio.  It was so much fun and we left armed with the knowledge to create some killer cheese boards for our holiday parties (PLUS we found some of our new favorite cheeses!)


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Concord, MA

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Hey everyone, happy Thursday!  Last weekend B and I took a mini half day trip out to Concord, MA.  As a couple of nature lovers and history geeks it was the perfect setting!  Our first stop was the famous Walden Pond, we took the trail all the way around the lake and saw the spot where Thoreau’s cabin stood!

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After Walden Pond we went to Minute Man National Park, where the opening battle of the Revolutionary War occurred!  You can see the Old North Bridge (of “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” fame) and talk to some incredibly knowledgeable rangers who can give you a crash course in remembering the finer details that you may or may not have forgotten of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, or the war entirely.

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In the area there’s also the Concord Museum (which has lots of pieces from the Thoreau family) and the Ralph Waldo Emerson House, which would be amazing to check out if you have the time or interest in either of these fascinating figures!

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Outfit Details – Sweater: J.Crew Factory | Top: LOFT | Jeans: Lucky Brand | Shoes: TOMS

Thanks for reading!  Hope you have a great day!

xo, C


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Stowe & Waterbury, Vermont

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Welcome back everyone!  Today is my last post from Vermont.  I had to break my pictures down into separate posts because of sheer volume, but the pictures from Stowe proved the most difficult to narrow down.  I had picked over 50 to share with you all in my first round of cuts!  There is just so much natural beauty and quintessential New England charm everywhere you look that I was snap happy the entire day!

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The downtown area is full of shops, restaurants, and bars that you could easily spend all day in.  There’s also a great coffee shop, Black Cap Coffee, and Vermont’s Ski and Snowboard Museum!

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We stopped by the famous Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury for some apple cider donuts, and wandered around the charming souvenir displays.  We also stopped by the extremely crowded Ben & Jerry’s, but decided not to do a factory tour since there were about 150 people in line (!!) and they don’t actually make ice cream on the weekends, so we wouldn’t have seen too much.

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Before heading back to our hotel, we found the closest covered bridge to take a few quick snaps!

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Outfit Details – Sweater: Who What Wear (old, similar here and here) | Pants: Old Navy | Vest: Banana Republic (old, similar here, here, and here) | Booties: J.Crew Factory | Rain Boots: Hunter | Purse: Target | Hat: Banana Republic (old, similar here, here, and here)

Thanks for reading!  I hope you all have a great day!

xo, C


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Montpelier

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Hi everyone, happy Monday!  I hope you all had a great weekend!  In today’s installment of our Vermont escapades we visited the capital Montpelier.  I spent a good amount of time here as a child visiting family friends, but it was fun to spend the better part of the day visiting some old places and discovering some new ones!

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Right off of 89 is State Street, and it starts with the beautiful State House (how apropos!)  There is an amazing tour you can take and gorgeous grounds to admire all around the building.  Next door is the Vermont History Museum, which is filled with information about Vermont that you can learn about for only $7!

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Further down on State Street is Capitol Grounds, a coffee shop with a great vibe and delicious cold brew!  We then wandered across the streets (past olive oil stores and —-) into Positive Pie, a delicious pizza shop, where we sat outside and watched our fellow leaf peepers stroll up and down the street marveling at the architecture.  We then drove up to Hubbard Park, which has a ton of trails to walk around and a tower with spectacular views.

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Outfit Details – Sweater: Who What Wear (old, similar here and here) | Skirt: J.Crew Factory | Tights: J.Crew Factory | Shoes: Lucky Brand (old, similar here) | Purse: Target | Sunglasses: Perverse

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On our way out of town we stopped at Bragg Farm Sugarhouse to pick up some maple syrup to take home a sweet taste of our trip (there’s also Morse Farm, but we chose Bragg since it’s where my family used to go!)

Thanks for stopping by, make sure to check in again tomorrow for a new Vermont post!

xo, C


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Quechee and Woodstock, Vermont

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Hello everyone, welcome back to another installment of our road trip through Vermont!  We got off of 89 in search of Woodstock, but ended up finding gem after gem in Quechee, Vermont en route!  After a short walk through the woods (less than a mile) we made it to the Quechee Gorge, the deepest gorge in Vermont!

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There are some awesome restaurants in the area that we could have spent the whole weekend trying out restaurants in these two towns alone!

The Mill at Simon Pearce.  What could be better than “America’s Most Romantic Restaurant”?  One that uses fresh, local ingredients in a gorgeous setting!

Dana’s by the Gorge.  A gorgeous brunch place located across the street from the gorge, Dana’s menu has a seemingly endless variety of pancakes, muffins, and even fried dough that I cannot wait to go back and try!

Worthy Kitchen.  This burger joint has an assuming front a few minutes drive from the Woodstock center, but the inside is no joke.  The gorgeous modern farmhouse interior is home to mouth watering burgers and a carefully curated list of local Vermont craft beers.

Mon Vert Cafe.  This cafe was absolutely packed with tourists while we were there, but it is a great option for food in Woodstock.  They have tons of sandwich and salad options, featuring tons of fresh ingredients from local Vermont and New Hampshire farmers!  An older couple on a foliage expedition was kind enough to share their table with us and gave us some great lunch company in true Vermont fashion!

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Outfit Details – Poncho: TOMS (old, similar here and here) | Shirt: Banana Republic | Hat: Banana Republic (old, similar here, here, and here)| Jeans: Lucky Brand | Boots:  (old, similar here and here) |

Bryan’s Outfit – Pants: Old Navy | Sweater: Old Navy | Shoes: TOMS

Down the road is the Quechee Gorge Village, filled with local Vermont treasures such as a Cabot Cheese sampling area, maple syrup, antique shop, and more!

Down in Woodstock the main appeal is just strolling the village area.  The famous covered bridge, gorgeous houses, and stunning foliage provided endless eye candy everywhere we looked.


Thanks so much for stopping by!  Make sure to tune in next week for more of our adventures up north!

xo, C

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Tuesday Ten: Fall Activities That Don’t Involve Apples Or Pumpkins

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Today’s Tuesday Ten is pretty straightforward.  If you’re looking to get in the fall spirit but don’t want to hit up a crowded apple orchard (I don’t blame you – Sunday was insane), then look no further.  I have ten fantastic ideas for you to embrace and celebrate autumn’s arrival!

  1. Get outside.  Whether you’re going on a hike or just taking a stroll, fall is such a beautiful time of year to enjoy nature.  On my list for Massachusetts is Walden Pond for a flat stroll and Mount Greylock for a hike (which I somehow have never been to!)
  2. Bake.  Whether your baking involves apples or not, fall is the perfect time to fire up the oven again (does anyone else hate how hot the kitchen gets when you use the oven in the summer?!)  Personally I’m a fan of some warm cookies outside in the cool fall air, but whatever floats your boat.
  3. Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Rocky Horror is the only cult film I really follow along with, and I was absolutely devastated when Midnight Madness in Harvard Square came to an end (it’s just not the same Downtown!)  Last year Jenn and I saw it in Austin at the Alamo Drafthouse (100% recommend checking this theatre out, read my post here for more info!) and the year before it we went to The Strand, a historic theatre out in Clinton, MA.  Short story long, I definitely recommend trying to find a theatre with a shadow cast near you!
  4. Go antiquing.  Last weekend was the first weekend in a while that B and I didn’t have a single plan.  We took this opportunity to drive with the windows down and stop at each antique store along the way.  We met so many kind people and found items with incredible history and character.  You really just never know what you might find at an antique shop!
  5. Light a candle and read a book.  After an active and busy summer, some down time is exactly what I need during September and October.  My reading list has gotten out of hand, so I’m looking to put a dent in it finally.  Whether your candle is fall scented or otherwise, it really puts me in the right mood to immerse myself in my book.
  6. Have a bonfire and outdoor movie night.  Bonfires are one of my favorite things, and I don’t have them nearly as much as I wish I did.  I want to get some friends together for one last round of s’mores and fire up the projector with a classic film!
  7. Food Festivals.  There are so many awesome food festivals this fall that don’t even involve apples or pumpkins!  This weekend there’s Fluff Fest in Somerville and Dumpling Fest in Cambridge!  A quick Google search will give you a better idea of what’s going on in your area, but fall seems to always have a good number of food truck festivals at the very least!
  8. Get Lost In A Corn Maze.  Something about corn mazes has always excited me.  Maybe it’s because I love puzzles, but if you can find a corn maze near you I promise they aren’t just for kids!
  9. Make chili.  While the days are still warm and sunny, New England nights have slowly but surely started to embrace sweater weather.  I’ve been craving some homemade chili for most of September, and can’t wait to enjoy some curled up under a blanket!
  10. Stargaze.  Whether you go to an observatory or your backyard, the fall sky is absolutely breathtaking.

What’s on your bucket list for fall?  Let me know in the comments!  Have a great day!

xo, C


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Mystic, CT

Hello everyone, welcome back!  Last weekend B and I found ourselves in the charming seaport town of Mystic, Connecticut and had a great time eating and exploring our way through it.  From Massachusetts it makes a great weekend getaway or even just a day trip!

Things To Do.

Mystic Aquarium.  This is perhaps the most obvious answer, but the Mystic Aquarium really knocks it out of the park.  Whether you have kids or are just a big kid at heart, I think everyone can enjoy a few hours here.  They have a pair of beluga whales, a penguin colony, and a sea lion show; amongst much more.  It can be a bit pricey, but if you live in New England you can try to find discounted tickets through your library or AAA office!


Mystic Seaport.  The seaport is a reimagined 19th century village complete with a settlement and historic ships!  It has an amazing location and you could easily spend hours here.

Olde Mistick Village.  Essentially a large shopping center, Olde Mistick Village has tons of great options for food and shopping.

Mystic Museum of Art.  The location of this museum cannot be beat.  It’s right on the water near historic downtown Mystic.  The coolest thing in my opinion is how many local artists it features.  I love getting to see how natives view a place!


Charles W. Morgan.  This amazing creation is the last wooden whaling ship left in the world… Need I say more?

Argia Mystic Cruises.  We didn’t do one this past weekends, but from past experience I can say that the sunset sails cannot be beat. The boat is a perfect size to bring a small group and still not feel like you’re taking up the entire boat.  And the views are exquisite.

Historic Downtown Mystic.  The downtown area is filled with shops and great places to eat.  It seems to be quite congested at times, but the waterfront boardwalk and unique drawbridge certainly make up for it.

Places To Eat.

Vault Coffee Roasters.  Conveniently located next to the Mystic Aquarium, Vault has a cute little setting and a strong community vibe.

drwb @ 24.  In the shadow she f the drawbridge lies this little gem of a bistro that B and I stopped in for brunch.  It’s so affordable we almost went back for a second round!


Engine Room.  If you’re looking for a burger or a cool spot with exposed brick walls, this is definitely your spot.

Sea Swirl.  This little unassuming clam shack serves everything from jalapeño poppers and clams to ice cream and fish tacos.  Grab something to go or pull up a picnic table to enjoy!

S&P Oyster Company.  You definitely pay for the river view and the romantic, cafe-light induced ambiance… But boy is it worth it.


Thanks so much for stopping by! Do you have any favorite places in Mystic?

xo, C

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