This weekend I traveled to my hometown in order to attend my lovely friend, Lexi's graduation party. Whenever I road trip it to SNH I just have to stop in Concord.
Can you spot the bug?
They have Bolocco and now Orange Leaf, two of my and Sam's most favorite places to chow down! (Bolocco is the home of "Inspired Burritos" while Orange Leaf hails "America's Froyo", in case you were wondering.)
Normally not the perpetual orderer, I always go for the same burrito: The Summer. With sweet and refreshing mango salsa thrown in with those yummy beans and fresh & healthy fajita veggies, I'm stuck. It's not like I have the opportunity to visit often! (There is one in Burlington, though...I go there too.)
And now Concord boasts a new fav: ORANGE LEAF! When Nanny first mentioned we were going to dinner at Orange Leaf in Newburyport, I envisioned a light, wholesome cafe. I was in for a treat. (Literally.) Orange Leaf contains at least seven flavors of frozen yogurt that you pump out yourself, no scooping required. After that you go bar hopping, where you walk down the line of toppings and add whatever you'd like. At the end there's hot fudge, caramel and other gooey additions. I was pleased to find that the new Concord franchise is offering whipped cream. (I will have to present this idea to Newburyport.) In the end you pay by the ounce, and I'm always shocked at how much yogurt I crammed in that dish! Totally worth it, and the spoons do justify the price as a nice souvenir. They really are that cool.
Hail to the Leaf!
Needless to say, Orange Leaf is amazing. Sam feels so insanely jealous whenever I send him a picture!
As Concord is the state capital and right across the street, I strolled down the cross walk and paid my dues.
We do have a pretty capital. I love how it sits behind a diagonal walk way surrounded by bushes. Cool angle.
Finally I made it to Nanny's. It is quite handy how my grandparents live in Mass right over the border. I can go to SNH, Boston, the beach and all of those cool places with no hotel charge! While we're on the topic of thrift, I'd have to say this word is an accurate summation of my family. At least 2/3 of my wardrobe is second hand, either from thrift stores, consignment shops, yard sales, flea markets, etc. Nanny and Grandpa know where to hit the jackpot, and every time I visit we usually hit the same Salvation Army, Goodwill and thrift shops. This weekend, however, we went yard saling! What I realy love about yard sales is how inexpensive and unique they are.
Bag for Hannah, 50 cents; Kitchen Aid tea pot for me, $5
Eclectically fresh yoga mat for me, $5
I certainly splurged. I'm sure I could have purchased a few of these items at a lower price, but I am so horrible at wheelin' and dealin'. Maybe I'm not assertive. I just feel so shy asking "will you take ____". I should learn, though.
I did do quite well in my other purchases, though! I filled a bag of clothes for $1 and snagged quite a few t-shirts and three pairs of athletic shorts for mom! We also came across a woman's little primitive store (whatever that means). She was going out of business and selling all of her crafty items for 75% off. I found at least 5 pairs of earrings and a matching bracelet for one and paid only $10. With yard saling it's all in the find, which is half the fun. (The other half is, of course, the price.)
Now before we move on, I just have to share Nanny's score:
Check out this fashionable footwear! Purchased for $1, the Marshall's tag reads "$90 Compare at $180". Wow! Perfectly paired with that black furry pillbox hat you've been hoarding. We know what Aunt Steph's getting for Christmas! Bahahaha.
That afternoon I went to Lexi's party and left early. I was sitting in the bug with sweat rolling down my face. I wanted to swim. Usually I hit the lake, but I was in SNH! I wanted the beach. So I hit 101 and cruised to Hampton. To be honest, I've never driven to the beach on my own. I had a general idea where I was going, but no clue on the particulars. Thankfully my excellent sense of direction won and I made it! Upon turning and seeing that blue coastline I was in awe. Had I kept going straight, I would have taken the bug for a bath! It truly is a remarkable kind of beauty. The sparking waves and all of the blue hues associated with them. The smell of salt in the air is also one that is so distinct and very enthusing.
I'm happy I ended up where I did, at North Hampton State Beach. There are no fried food joints or arcades, which keeps the population of visitors way down. I found a parking spot easily and enjoyed not feeling over crowded.
The bug enjoying the sea breeze.
It was amazing. I loved just sitting on the shore and thinking about life. My best ideas and deepest reflections arise when I am alone in nature, and I'm sure many will agree with me. I think we all should make time for just us. Although it's fun to be with friends, the Dalai Lama concluded "If you don't love yourself, you cannot love others." It it so beneficial to simply think. To explore yourself. I think an excellent test of this is planning trips alone, and even doing things alone. I had so much fun in Concord, as did I have such an amazing personal experience at the beach. I don't want to be lonely all the time, but I don't want to be choked someone all the time either. Although they mean well, people can alter our thoughts and feelings into being something foreign to what we are. This is why I definitely think that everyone should find time to be alone and process life on their own terms. I certainly felt inspired, refreshed and ready for more.
By the way, I faced my fear of Jaws and went under!