Sunday, January 8, 2017

1 - Packard Hill in Lebanon, NH

Packard Hill Bridge 

- NH Bridge Number: 67

- World Guide Number: 29-05-50

- Built in 1991

- Bridge Design: Howe Truss

- Dimensions: 
     - Length: 76'
     - Overall Width: 25'
     - Deck Width: 15'
     - Vertical Clearance: 12'

- County: Grafton

- Maintenance: City of Lebanon

- Historical Timeline: 
- Constructed between 1780 and 1790 as an open timber bridge
- Bridge repaired/replaced in 1804 
- Queenpost bridge boarded up and replaced by new covered bridge in 1878 with Howe Truss
- Howe truss replaced by Bailey bridge in 1952

- Bailey bridge replaced by existing Howe truss in 1991


Friday, January 6, 2017

My List of Covered Bridges in New Hampshire

I have had the pleasure of accompanying a handful of talented bridge engineers on several field visits to inspect bridges a few months ago. After seeing these professionals get so excited about what they do for a living, I grew a new appreciation for the bridges in New Hampshire and admire how their structural soundness and beauty keep us moving, both literally and figuratively. 

What struck me the most were the beautiful covered bridges. There is a lot of history behind them since covered bridges are the first type of structures to be protected by the State of New Hampshire. Covered bridges are typically timber-truss bridges, which in my opinion gives an antique feel and takes us back to a simpler time. Since most of these structures were built in the 19th century, what use to be a list of 10,000 bridges has dwindled down to a list of 54 bridges, which was mainly due to their poor preservation overtime. We can thank the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges for keeping our history alive through these bridges. 

I hope to someday visit all 54 bridges in New Hampshire. As for now, I will add information and pictures of each bridge that I visit down below as I visit them! 

#1 - Packard Hill Bridge in Lebanon, NH 
#2 - Smith Bridge in Plymouth, NH (Coming Soon!)

#3 - Ashuelot Bridge in Winchester, NH
#4 - Coombs Bridge in Winchester, NH
#5 - Slate Bridge in Swanzey, NH
#6 - West Swanzey Bridge in Swanzey, NH
#7 - Sawyers Crossing in Swanzey, NH
#8 - Carlton Bridge in Swanzey, NH
#9 - County Bridge in Hancock and Greenfield
#10 - Rowell's Bridge in Hopkinton, NH
#11 - Railroad Bridge in Hopkinton, NH
#12 - Dalton Bridge in Warner, NH
#13 - Waterloo Bridge in Warner, NH
#14 - Bement Bridge in Bradford, NH
#15 - Keniston Bridge in Andover, NH
#16 - Cilleyville Bridge in Andover, NH
#17 - Corbin Bridge in Newport, NH
#18 - McDermott Bridge in Langdon, NH
#19 - Prentiss Bridge in Langdon, NH
#20 - Cornish-Windsor Bridge in Cornish, NH and Windsor, VT
#21 - Blacksmith Shop in Cornish, NH
#22 - Dingleton Hill in Cornish, NH
#23 - Blow-Me-Down Bridge in Cornish, NH
#24 - Meriden Bridge in Plainfield, NH
#25 - Edgell Bridge in Lyme, NH
#26 - Bath-Haverhill Bridge in Bath, NH
#27 - Bath Bridge in Bath, NH
#28 - Swiftwater Bridge in Bath, NH
#29 - Mt. Orne Bridge in Lancaster, NH
#30 - Mechanic Street Bridge in Lanchaster, NH
#31 - Groveton Bridge in Northumberland, NH
#32 - Columbia Bridge in Columbia, NH
#33 - Pittsburg-Clarksville Bridge in Pittsburg-Clarksville, NH
#34 - Happy Corner Bridge in Pittsburg, NH
#35 - River Road Bridge in Pittsburg, NH
#36 - Stark Bridge in Stark, NH
#37 - Sentinel Pine Bridge in Lincoln, NH
#38 - Flume Bridge in Lincoln, NH
#39 - Blair Bridge in Campton, NH
#40 - Turkey Jim's Bridge in Campton, NH
#41 - Bump Bridge in Campton, NH
#42 - Durgin Bridge in Sandwich, NH
#43 - Whittier Bridge in Ossipee, NH
#44 - Swift River Bridge in Conway, NH
#45 - Saco River Bridge in Conway, NH
#46 - Albany Bridge in Albany, NH
#47 - Bartlett Bridge in Bartlett, NH
#48 - Honeymoon Bridge in Jackson, NH
#49 - Pier Bridge in Newport, NH
#50 - Wright's Bridge in Newport, NH
#51 - Sulphite Bridge in Franklin, NH
#52 - Henniker Bridge in Henniker, NH
#53 - Clark's Bridge in North Woodstock, NH
#54 - Squam River Bridge in Ashland, NH

Monday, January 2, 2017

Madame Sherri Forest - Castle Ruins

I had a great time visiting the Castle Ruins at Madam Sherri Forest in Chesterfield, NH a while back. My roommate told me about it and I was so excited to see what these ruins were all about! 

Not only did the medieval-looking ruins within the woods catch my eye, I read that this forest is also said to be haunted. Some say you can still hear voices, music, and the sounds of the parties. Others even see the ghost of Madame Sherri herself, occasionally descending down the stairway. 

Although we didn't experience anything supernatural, it's still a beautiful place to visit. 

The forest was named after Madame Antoinette Sherri, a costume designer for the Zigfield Follies in the 1920's. She became famous after throwing parties for the visitors from the city. Her castle was destroyed by a fire in 1962, but the foundation, chimneys, and the stone staircase still sands today with lots of hiking trails around the ruins. She died three years later in 1965 at age 84.

Informational chart at the beginning of the trail.

I made a short video of our trip to the ruins! 

(I apologize for the quality of the video!)

Continue looking at the snapshots of our journey!

I give credit to my roommate, Caroline, for taking the following pictures!

Thanks again, Caroline!

Click here for directions and here for further information.

Thanks for Reading!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

'Tis the Season - Inspired by Norway

Holiday Room Decor - Instagram
It's not always easy to travel for the holidays in such cold, snowy weather in New England, but who says you can't bring a foreign country to you own home for you to enjoy!

I was inspired to decorate my room by NordicDesign's blog. I came across a picture one day from the blog on Pinterest and it showed me a glimpse of what the home decor of what a wintery day in Norway would be like. 

What first caught my eye was a beautiful 
Picture taken from NordicDesign Website
picture of a snowy mountain hanging on the wall in a cozy bedroom. I am normally not a fan of the cold of winter, but boy did this make me want to leave here to admire the beauty of the mountains in Norway. I found a similar picture of some mountains online, put it in a clean, white frame, and hung it on my own bedroom wall! 

This modern style might be too monochromatic for some, but in my opinion I think the bright whites and grays makes the room look cleaner and more organized. I am also partial to gray since it is one of my favorite neutral colors. This particular Nordic style also plays with a lot of textures and is well decorated with green plants and works of art. I added a green, pine-scented candle next to my tree to bring out that christmas tree smell and to bring some color to this modern style. 

Next, bring on the light! The christmas lights draped across the windows really make this holiday season come to life. In addition to these hanging lights, I added matching white lights to my little christmas tree as a center piece to my room. I lit the candle and was able to find a YouTube Video of a lit fireplace with the crackling sounds of the fire. In my opinion, this elevates the room, bringing modern and rustic styles together. 

All that's left is to add a stylish throw pillow 
that speaks to you on your bed or couch. My favorite pillow has grays and pastel colors with a subtle Christmas message of "Joy" on it. It not only has an inspirational message, but it fits the perfect modern, winter theme that I was going for that can last all winter long. 

Now you can sit down with a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa and admire the festive lights and decorations of your christmas tree while listening to the fireplace crackle. 

Happy Holidays Everyone! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Trails

Mmmm. Wine. Cheese. Chocolate. I love all of those things. Put them all together and you get...

New Hampshire's Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Trails!

After hiking on the Kancamagus Highway one day with a friend and my roommate's dog, we stopped at the White Mountains Visitor Center.  I came across a pamphlet with that very title across the top of it. I was so intrigued by it, I had to look into it more. 

Picture taken from online pamphlet at

This is a guide to visiting all of the wineries, chocolatiers, and dairy suppliers in New Hampshire. The pamphlet goes into detail about each location and describes what each place has to offer and gives addresses for visiting. If you specifically are looking for more wineries, click here to visit the Breweries and Wineries page on the visitnh website. 

I didn't know if you noticed the bottom right corner of the map above. It is a blurb about the NH Winery Association's Passport Program...

I didn't even know there was such thing as a NH Winery Association! Sign me up! To my understanding it's a group of different types of wine producers devoted to the wine industry in New Hampshire. The University of New Hampshire is a member, which I didn't know up until now! I wish I knew that before I graduated.

If you want to visit solely wineries and distilleries in New Hampshire, click Passports.

I know what I want to do for my next "hiking" trail.. it seems a lot warmer than actual hiking outside in the cold! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Choosing a Destination

So you want to travel. But where?

Sometimes it's just as easy as choosing somewhere you have always wanted to visit or a place you have heard great reviews about. In my opinion, it is always better to do as much research as you can before you decide to embark on a far away journey.

Why do you want to travel? What is important to you? Is there a dream you have always wanted to fulfill? We spend about a third of our lives working. Why not enjoy your earnings by creating memorable experiences and memories that last a lifetime!

Some questions you should ask yourself if you don't know where to start:

- Who are you bringing? What will they enjoy?

- Are you seeking relaxation or adventure?

- Do you want to sunbath by the beach or hike snowy mountains?

- Do you want to sight see or learn history?

- Are you willing to learn about a new culture or try new food?

If you don't ask yourself these questions, then what's the point? Put those thinking caps on and find out what you really want to achieve!

Do you have friends or family that lives in Spain? Or maybe a travel companion who has traveled to Italy? Maybe even your school or company has another facility outside the country.  Having these options, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to begin exploring a foreign land. 

The reason that brought me to Scotland is because my friend's father is living there for work. By having a local with you, it's easier to have them guide you to all of the best restaurants and attractions since they know the area best. They also know you best and understand what you really want to accomplish. Not to mention, maybe they will have a free place to stay the night if they are nice enough!

If you are going to school, take advantage of the study abroad programs. If your school doesn't have one, it wouldn't hurt to suggest it to a director or administrator. It is a great opportunity to learn a new language and new customs. So what better than to do it in the actual country that uses the language! 

Let's say your company's headquarters is on the other side of the country. Try to be brave and make  a new connection by reaching out to a colleague! Speaking to someone who works in the area will give you more information about the area or if there are any volunteering opportunities. And you would already have a shared interest working for the same company! 

Another way to figure out whether or not a destination is for you is to research it! Look online, go to the library, call a travel agent, however you get information, find out as much as you can about where you want to visit. 

Don't know where to start? Things to research:

- Current Events - This is more important than you would think.

- Season - What time of the year is the warmest or coldest in this country? Are there a lot of tourists?

- Language Barrier - Will it be too challenging to navigate to the sites you want to visit? Are you going to be able to understand what the locals are saying?

- Safety - Research laws and regulations that are allowed in places you've been, but not in places you are going.

- Customs - Are there any hand gestures or words you shouldn't say in order not to offend someone?

If you only have a limited amount of vacation days, it would be harder to travel further away. Take into consideration the travel time and if you change time zones. If you have a shorter vacation time (roughly 1-3 weeks) it might be more suitable for you to choose a closer region or country to reduce the travel time. Longer vacations (3-4 weeks or more) you would have more flexibility in where you want to visit. 

Things to consider: 
- Are you traveling to multiple countries 

- Mode of transportation - Will you need to fly or take a train?

- If you fly, will you change time zones? Would you have jet lag?

- Convenience - Would you be more likely to pay extra to take a cab or walk?

- What activities do you want to do and how much time they will take? What can you give up?

- Are you providing yourself enough down time for shopping or resting?

- Do you want a flexible or rigid schedule?

This is one of the most important factors to consider because it will determine what places you could visit and which places you should rule out. The upside to this is that you can match any place to match your budget. The downside is that the cost could change your decision to go to the less expensive parts of the country. 


Currency - What is the strength of your currency? What places can make your dollar go further? 

Transportation - Do you need to fly to your destination? Bus? Train? Drive?

Overnight Stay - Would you stay in a hostel or at a friend's place? Did you know you can sleep 
overnight on a train and wake up in a new destination? 

Food - How much food are you getting? Which restaurants are cheaper?

Shopping - Are you bringing back souvenirs? Can you take them with you on a plane or train?

Think about your options! Even though this is just a broad overview of topics to consider, the rest is up to you! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival - Surviving the Street Performers

"The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital city.”

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Edinburgh, Scotland during this great festival this past August! There were so many young artists from all over the world that came to show off their talents and to make a name for themselves at this festival. Comedians, improv actors, acapella groups, magicians, you name it! When we walked through the streets of Central Edinburgh, we were bombarded with fliers from individuals promoting their shows. Everywhere you turned there would be someone sticking a piece of paper in your face asking your to attend their show. After a while of accepting every flier handed out to us, we had to start turning people down for their persuasive efforts because we weren't able to carry such a huge stack of fliers. Most of the fliers were very strange and outlandish in order to stand out from the rest of the entertainers. There were definitely some memorable head turners that stood out to me. 

Performances were happening on the streets left and right and it was beginning to become very difficult to maneuver through the large crowds. We took a break from crowd surfing and stayed to watch a few shows that caught our eyes. One of the shows starred an eager magician who seemed a little out of touch with his first couple of tricks. His first goal was to try tossing a single playing card towards a balloon in order to pop it on the first try. He eventually achieve his goal, several cards later. He also seemed very new to performing in front of an audience as some of the jokes he told fell flat and didn't impress the audience. I commended his efforts on trying to engage the audience. A couple days later, we saw him again with a larger crowd and it only took him two cards to pop the balloon, which was an improvement from last time. New performers have to start somewhere! 

Posted fliers along the street.

Musician playing in the streets

Another strange performer was Yoda. Well, a person dressed up as Yoda of course. Yoda was "flying" in the air and tried spooking people passing by with his sorcery. He would try to invite them over by gesturing with one finger pointing towards himself. I thought he looked down right creepy when he started gesturing to me. When I shook my head no, he shook his head back at me! I think he was making fun of me. 

Later on when we went back to the center, we saw Yoda again and gained enough courage to actually take a picture with him. It was mostly my Star Wars fanatic friend who persuaded me to go back and take one with him. She was very proud of me for going back! 

Thanks to Katie for taking the picture with me. Let's face it; I probably wouldn't have done it by myself!