Ice Castles: Exclusive Access!

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Imagine how cool it would be if you got to spend over two hours in a winter wonderland ice palace with practically nobody there. Imagine giant colorful ice walls and doorways with secret tunnels running through them. Imagine being able to wonder and marvel at the man-made ice caves, sculptures, rooms, passageways for as long as you could stand being there. Imagine that, and I need say no more… πŸ™‚

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icecastlesjpeg-3 icecastlesjpeg-5 icecastlesjpeg-10 icecastlesjpeg-11 icecastlesjpeg-9 icecastlesjpeg-2 icecastlesjpegOk, I’ll say a little more anyways…haha An awesome and terrifying weekend I spent in New Hampshire that turned out to be hard to beat this winter. Between the exclusive access to the ice castles in Lincoln, and making fresh snow tracks on I-93 mid-winter storm, it was one to remember….and share!

The Ice Castles, a rather new attraction in the Northeast has taken ski vacationers by storm! This place is so packed normally, I hardly see the draw for normal admission. There are fire dancers, a BBQ food truck (that doesn’t actually serve BBQ), Disney music (mostly from the movie Frozen), and sooooo many people! I know this because I checked in early during the normal operating hours and the place was swarmed! So travelers, beware, its awesome, but don’t be shocked by the number of people who also thought it would be awesome πŸ™‚

Double Trouble at Nubble


Well, this title pretty much sums the whole photoshoot here!

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Β Double Trouble at the Nubble. It was rainy as all get out and my handy dandy photo assistant (aka my mom) (hehe) was being ever so wonderful and holding a gigantic umbrella over me while I shot and tried not to fall into the ocean. Seriously, you could go swimming in this umbrella if you flipped it and added water πŸ™‚ Moving on…First things First, let me introduce to you our star of the day, the Nubble Lighthouse! Its real name is actually the Cape Neddick Lighthouse. The “Nubble” name came from the piece of land the lighthouse was built on being called a “Nub” (of land)……haha.

This is located in York, ME should you ever make a trip up here. There is also a super cute ice cream/seafood shack/house right next to the parking lot, but it can get pretty crowded in the summer. You may have to mention to make sure the hot fudge is HOT, because apparently it does not automatically come that way anymore πŸ˜‰

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So my pants might have been wet, my knees were definitely sore, and my mom was SO over holding the umbrella for me but I GOT MY SHOT! πŸ™‚ worth every second…

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Β AND…Only a short drive away….Ogunquit, ME! This Maine fisherman’s town is charming, beautiful, and you will smell like fish after (haha don’t worry, it’s only if you go near the fish drop off).

There is a walk/path that wraps around the beaches and rocky shores called Marginal Way. Bring your walking shoes!! It’s incredible during the sunrise.

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For eating options….hmmm…that’s a hard one….uhh…umm…the LOBSTER!!… (It’s MAINE! It’s what they are famous for and come on, how can you get anything else when that juicy red crustacean looking so fine is calling your name?!)

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This beach is one of the coolest I have ever been to because (a) its a seascape photographer’s dream and (b) there are so many nooks and crannies that you can hop (climb) down into or climb up onto and get some really great shots! Its a great place to be during the off season (well really any season for that matter) for the glorious sunrises (unless its rainy and cloudy, which it was the day I took these…sigh…).

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Be careful where you step! Your toes might just get pinched by this guy πŸ™‚ Β I’m only kidding, this was the sweetest crab I have ever met. Of course it looked like the gulls also thought the same thing, only they weren’t thinking about his temperament….

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Β Maine is a wonderful place to photograph. The beaches and shores are some of my favorites I have ever been to. It’s all charming, relaxing, and refreshing! I’ve spent a lot of time here, only live about 45 minutes away and coming up in the summers. If you ever come here, Don’t forget to get some LOBSTA! πŸ˜‰

 

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Β Best Waterfalls of New Hampshire

Waterfall #1: Location: Top Secret πŸ˜‰


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Ha! Just kidding, what kind of travel blogographer won’t tell people where she goes? Anyways – It’s Garwin Falls, in Wilton, NH!!

In one weekend, I visited two amazing waterfalls in New Hampshire. To me, waterfalls are calming, peaceful, and often strike a sense of wonder in me. Water is the source of life and I think about how much we depend on it to survive. Heck our body is mostly water! When I was a kid, I used to think those drawings of how much water we were made of were actually real. The ones where they draw the water coming up to your chest….yeah…It’s weird to think as a kid we believe certain things until we are told what we are supposed to believe/what is real…

Anyways, its hard to think that something we depend on so much to survive is also polluted so much by us. And we don’t give a second thought to it most of the time. We live on water, yet we are slowly dirtying our life source with our garbage, fuel, chemicals, and many other things. I’m certainly guilty of that! BUT I try to be better and if everyone would just TRY, think where we would be…

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This is another really cool spot on this same location. As you walk down the path before you get to the falls, you will see a dam-cement structure. It has been visited by colorful graffiti artists many many times by the looks of it. My mother almost left me here because I took so long shooting it πŸ™‚ Hmm, thinking how nice it would be to Jedi-mind trick someone into being less bored while waiting for me to take photos πŸ˜‰

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Waterfall #2: Gleason Falls

This lovely old bridge and falls were so amazing because of the spots of sunlight coming through the thick tree cover. It’s more dramatic in person, as everything always is! These falls are also SO forceful. Its amazing how much water comes under this bridge per second. It looks tame now because I used a long exposure technique to get this shot below, but in person, its a sight to behold! The power of these things are so hard to capture!


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This shot above is such a dear little bridge, I couldn’t help myself. AND its right down the road from Gleason Falls! talk about two birds and one stone πŸ˜‰ I jumped out of the car and had about three minutes to shoot this location. Being pressed for time sure does make you think, do I have everything right?, before you press that shutter button for the long exposure and hear from behind you, “Hey, come-on we gotta go!”

That’s all for now, folks! Look for my next awesome NH location story coming next week!

 

 

 

 


The City of Endless Walks

Ok, so I have FINALLY gotten around to writing about my recent vacation days spent in Quebec City!!

It’s charming, romantic, and good for the heart. I also call it the city of endless walks, because that is all we did here!

I also call it, The City of Endless Eating πŸ™‚ because that is allll we did here as well haha

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There are so many great places to eat. Restaurant 1640, right across the road from the Chateau Frontenac, is excellent. Their beef stew aka Boeuf Bourguignon will melt in your mouth! Hands down, best beef stew I’ve ever had, besides my mother’s of course πŸ˜‰

Le Lapin Saute is one of the most well known restaurants in the city, but whatever you do, do not get the Tout Lapin, Tout Canard dish! Unless you absolutely love every preparation of rabbit and duck, duck liver, foie gras, and shredded rabbit jelly stuff πŸ™‚ I would suggest the french onion soup instead haha All I’m going to say is that we really really did not like the odd preparations of duck and rabbit! That was the only thing. Other than that, the service was awesome, the restaurant is on the lowest level, you can take the Funiculaire down, which is the elevator-like trolley that brings you down to another level of shops and restaurants. If you go really late, like we did, there might be a ton of wild cats roaming around looking for scraps. There were a bunch of wild kittens that were running around the empty tables next to us, they were so cute, I wanted to take them all home with me!

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Somebody got annoyed with my slow non-stop photo taking and decided to try to send me a message by blocking my shot! I think he improves it πŸ˜‰

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If you are like me and have a bread obcession, Paillards is the place to go! They have amazing bread as well as lots of other goodies, but there is nothing like an outside picnic with a baguette and some delicious brie cheese spread on it (which you can obtain at a local Charcuterie or market on Rue St. Jean) I would suggest the coconut goat cheese or brie. mmmmmmmmmm. πŸ™‚

And of course, you have all of your sweet shops πŸ™‚ Les Bons Bons!

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This is the Artist’s alleyway. You can browse some great local art here! This is right next to the 1640 Restaurant across from the Chateau Frontenac.

Speaking of the Frontenac, this is probably to most recognizable landmark of Quebec City. It is impressive and massively grand. There is a lovely walking path/boardwalk that wraps around from the old Citadel and comes out at the Frontenac. Along the path, you can enjoy amazing views of the St. Lawrence river as well as the outside of the Citadel. It makes you feel really small since the fort itself is so massive. The entrance to the Citadel is right before the gates to Old Quebec and it is definitely worth checking out if you are into the history behind the city or if you just want to look at some really cool canons.

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The rest are some random pictures from my time here. I will say that three days in Quebec City is plenty to explore the area. If you love to eat, walk, and bask in the romantic old city atmosphere and surroundings, this is a great place to visit.

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An interesting sculpture at night…

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quebecday1-8A view of the tippity top of the Frontenac from the street leading to our hotel. We stayed at Hotel Arcadia which was nice; It’s right inside the Old City walls and it is not too expensive! They have a jacuzzi at the top of the Hotel with some pretty awesome views of the rooftop level.

Our last night in Quebec, we actually headed out of the city to catch some of the landscape sights to see. I was so excited to shoot something other than cityscapes and street shots on the vacation! By the way, this is literally 15min of driving total out of the city, so you really don’t need to book another hotel in this area, it could be an awesome day trip.

Enter Montmorency Falls: A very popular attraction near Quebec City. We finally came here after a couple hours of driving further north to visit more falls only to find out they wanted a $20-$25 entrance fee for each place! I’ve never been asked to pay so much just to go see a damn waterfall! Well, we didn’t pay (since we were running low on budget and the price is just plain ridiculous), we just turned around and drove away. We thought about just hiking in but they had fences around the place! It made me appreciate the access that we have in America to see natural wonders without paying that much. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be happy to pay or give a $5 donation for the upkeep and whatnot – but +20? No thanks Quebec!

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Well, that’s all I have to say about Quebec City πŸ™‚ Hope some of you get there someday, It’s a lovely place to visit. However, I’m going to be honest and say that I will probably never come back here again haha. Montreal I might, that was really fun. Not that Quebec City wasn’t fun, it just gets old real quick. But that’s just me! A combo of the crazy taxes they have, how expensive everything is, the language barrier (it seemed no one we talked to really knew good English or cared that much to speak English), prices to get into seeing waterfalls, and more left no desire to come back. Β Now, I’m not hating on Quebec. I think it is fantastic to visit once. But I’m not making an ad for the place and it’s just not somewhere I would repeat πŸ™‚