Gustafson Family - Holiday Photo Sessions - Boston Family Photographer

Baby’s First Photo Session

And my first session with a baby! Yes, until last weekend I’m actually surprised to say I’ve never photographed with any children younger than two! I wasn’t nervous going into it though. When Saturday came I was armed and ready to capture photos of the Gustafson’s for their Christmas cards and I’m happy to say we had so much fun taking photos together! The Gustafson’s daughter Elle was a dream! I don’t know if this means I got it easy my first time photographing with a baby, but I would say I’d do it again! Thank you again Gustafson’s for contacting me to photograph you and your daughter! It was such an honor!

If you’re interested in a family photo session please contact me! I offer them year-round all over New England + beyond!

Into The Woods With Pitch Pine Pottery - Photo Essay - New England Blogger

Exactly one month ago today Tara, Matthew, and I took to the woods for a special photo adventure. Together we climbed trees, took photos, shared dreams, and lost ourselves in nature. We were brought back to civilization only by the darkness and distant sound of coyotes…

Here are some of the photos I took of our journey:

Want to see more of my photo adventures with Matthew + Tara?

Matthew + Tara Portrait Session at Glen Ellis Falls

Duffley Family - Holiday Photo Sessions - Plymouth Family Photographer

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When Megan reached out to me to do her family’s holiday photos I was so excited! Her family is my first holiday photo session of this year and what a wonderful way to start off this festive season of love and laughter and there was A LOT of laughter on our session day! I loved how we went for a very authentic approach photographing in their backyard and around their home. It’s my first “lifestyle” style session and I’d love to do more like it! We took some posed photos, but I also had them just go about, raking the fire, playing, reading and interacting as a family and those are my FAVORITE!

Their girls were cute as can be playing with each other and jumping in front of my camera!

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Even their dog Rocky has his own Instagram account and posed for his portrait like a good boy!

And the love I could see Megan and her husband have for each other. So sweet!

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Thank you for reaching out to me Megan I am so happy you did!

Cutest family ever or what?

If you’re interested in a family photo session please contact me! I offer them year-round all over New England + beyond!

Raeshelle's Golden Hour Photo Session - Plymouth, MA Portrait Photographer

Golden hour is that magical time of day shortly after sunrise and roughly the hour before sunset where the light is at it’s most enchanting and if you’re looking for photos with heavy drama and tons of mood this is when you want to be photographed! These photos I took with Raeshelle are a great example of what makes this time of day so beloved by myself and other photographers!

Want your own golden hour photo session? Contact me to book. I offer golden hour sessions year-round!

Shop Small + Local Gift Guide - New England Blogger

4 of my favorite small and local MAssachusetts businesses that I’ll be supporting this Holiday Season

Pitch Pine Pottery

You may recognize the makers of Pitch Pine Pottery from this photo session I did with them over the Summer! Not only are they the cutest couple in the world and two of my close friends, they are the hardest working creators I know! The amount of detail and love that goes into each pot and mug that Tara makes is astounding. I own two of her pieces now and they’re beautiful in photos, but even more stunning in person. With hand carved designs and glazes that are absolutely out of this world each piece is unique. Pay attention to when they’re doing a shop update by following Pitch Pine Pottery on Instagram! They’ll be doing their next one on Small Business Saturday (November 24), so make sure you don’t miss it!

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SLYK Shades is my newest favorite local company! The owner and creator Josh, launched SLYK Shades in August and has already done so much good with his brand. SLYK Shades is a mission-based wooden eyewear company that focuses on quality products while impacting an even greater cause. I love that each pair sold plants a tree through their partnership with One Tree Planted! They’ve already planted 300 trees in California and after the devastating wildfires, they’re hoping to help plant even more. In addition, they also partner with Calmer Choice on Cape Cod. 

Calmer Choice works with schools and community organizations across the Cape to deliver a low-cost prevention program that equips children with skills to increase inner resilience, reduce the impact of stress, manage emotional responses, learn self-control and increase their sense of well-being.

Their involvement with mental health means so much to me. And Josh’s own story with mental health is one that really struck a personal chord with me. I hope you’ll consider shopping SLYK Shades if not only to support this awesome growing business, but because their sunglasses are AMAZING. I own a pair of the Mermaid glasses with the light pink mirror lenses (a gorgeous combination!) and I’ve never received so many compliments!

I love that on the temples of the glasses there are inscriptions of hope engraved on the sides. It makes them so special and unique. They also recently started selling their new product: bracelets!

They’re so beautiful with wooden beads and abalone shell details. These bracelets would look amazing in a stack! Which, of course, brings me to my next local creator!

T Jazelle

I first heard about T Jazelle a few years ago when I was doing photography for Setting The Space in Plymouth, MA. I got to meet her in person and she was the absolute sweetest! It’s been exciting watching her business grow. She’s added so many styles of bracelets and jewelry to her line that it makes my head dizzy and I want them all!

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Along with her stacks of bracelets she offers rings, necklaces, and earrings. Every piece has a special meaning attached whether it’s the properties of the crystal or the message on the charm.

Dream Of The Woods

Michael and his wife Larissa make up the creative force that is Dream of The Woods. They’re a tiny company based on Cape Cod that creates designs to spread kindness and compassion. I love that their pieces are sustainably made and extremely high quality! I own a print and a car decal made by them both of which are absolutely beautiful. Just for a small story to compare the extra love and care that goes into something made by a small business verses a huge conglomerate: I bought a decal from Dream of the Woods and a decal from Amazon for my car. The one from Dream of the Woods was packaged with thought and care. It was protected in a thick high quality envelope so it wouldn’t get bent and it even had a personal message written on it from Michael! The decal I got from Amazon came in a flimsy envelope and was bent! The bend made applying it to my car so much more difficult, where applying the one from Dream of the Woods was a breeze. Dream of the Wood’s decal was definitely higher quality and goes to show just how much of better experience it is to shop small!

What I think is so special about Shopping Small

When you shop small you can see the people you are supporting with your purchase, just as you see all of the faces of the owners and makers I listed here in this post! You put food on their tables, make dreams come true, and tell each of these people that what they create is worth all of their hard work! Plus, each piece is going to be unique and special. So when you’re shopping for gifts this holiday season or otherwise considering buying from a small business! You’ll get your loved ones something they can’t buy at a store and you’ll give these makers a happiness that is indescribable!

All photos in this post were taken by me unless noted otherwise!

Local Snapshot: J Marshall Craig Book Reading at The Music Box - Photo Essay - New England Blogger

At the Music Box in Plymouth, MA on November 18, 2018 author J Marshall Craig read some excerpts or as he penned them “rimshots” from his new memoir “Megalife” about Megadeth drummer Nick Menza.

I’ve never had much exposure to the music of Megadeth, but I was here for the reading to support Craig and ended up learning some very interesting things about Menza’s life. A deeply talented artist he seemed to never wanted to be defined simply as the “drummer for Megadeth.”

“I don’t like anyone thinking of me in such one dimensional terms,” said Menza.

I can relate.

Some of the funnier rimshots include one about what kind of shampoo he used (none, sorry!) and a time he met Bjork and surprised her by liking her music.

Here are some of the highlights I captured of the book reading!

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A Salem Day Trip - New England Travel Blogger

EXPLORING SALEM, MA WITH MY SISTER

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So, you just binge watched the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and you want to pretend you’re a teenage witch? Say no more. I’m right there with you and I can think of nowhere more appropriate to visit this time of year than Salem, MA. Sure, it’s a town you can visit during any season, but Autumn is arguably the best time to do it and it’s usually when I make my yearly exodus! I was lucky that this year my sister and I decided to drive up and make it into a day trip. We hit some new and favorite spots along the way and I figured I’d share the highlights of our day in case you feel like hopping on your broomstick and checking it out for yourself!

The Food

GULU GULU CAFE

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An hour and a half in the car can work up a hell of an appetite, so once we got there we wanted to get coffee and food right away! Both of us were dying to try Gulu Gulu Cafe, so we stopped in. As soon as we got there and were greeted by the sweet hostess I could tell that this cafe was going to become sanctuary for me. I felt at home instantly. I loved that the inside of the cafe is spacious and eclectically decorated with tall loft style ceilings. All of the tables are unique and some of them are painted. We decided to sit at the table that was painted black with a big bright red heart on it. Even the bathroom was adorned with fun, quirky paintings! You’ll see what I mean if you go! But enough about bathrooms, Leah…jeesh. I need to tell you about the best part! The food and drinks!

For drinks I ordered the white raspberry latte and my sister ordered the “Mind Sweeper.” I can’t recommend the white raspberry latte enough. The flavor of the raspberry was incredible and the presence of the white chocolate was sweet, smooth, and delightfully creamy.

I noticed while there that they also have a very extensive menu of unique beers that all sounded equally amazing! That day I was only in the mood for coffee, but I made up my mind to come back to try some of the beer on the menu.

As for food there were so many options! Again, I just wish I had a week to try everything, but when I saw the “Duck Yeah!” sandwich I knew I had to get that. The “Duck Yeah” (pictured above) consists of house-smoked duck breast, gruyere cheese, apricot preserves, and arugula, on grilled rye bread served with a choice of kettle cooked chips, dressed greens, or pasta salad and house made pickles. If that doesn’t sound mouthwatering to you then there are bunches of other delicious options (also many options for non-meat eaters too!). I recommend the pasta salad as a side though - so good!

The Sights

tourist spots

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Sure there are plenty of tourist spots and we hit a few of them just for funsies!

You can do many museum-like historical tours, but I did them once before in college with friends and that was enough for me. I remember some being more fun than others, but it’s up to you if that’s what you want to spend your day doing! You can get a good package deal on them, but going to each one will take a few hours. I’m sure you’ll come out very knowledgeable about Salem, though, and that might be quite worth it to some! Another fun tourist spot to hit is the Bewitched Statue as you can see me having a moment with above. It’s a very popular spot for a selfie or group photo! But this next stop is perhaps even MORE popular for a selfie!

The Witch House

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Not only is this house aesthetically pleasing and bound to get you oodles of likes on Instagram it is THE historical landmark of Salem - the home of the Witch Trials! So, I would consider it a must-go. You can do a self-guided tour of the inside that I highly recommend!

Some of the sights around town

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 There just happened to be a carnival in town the night we were there!

There just happened to be a carnival in town the night we were there!

The Shopping

There are so many interesting and eclectic stores - I mean it’s Salem after all! Some of my favorites to hit are always Hex, Omen, and a new favorite that I found when I was there last called Vampfangs! I ended up getting some professional VFX grade blood for my Halloween costume there and a pair of black deer antlers. I was also pleased to find they carry some awesome Indie brands like Rogue + Wolf.

The Company

my sister

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The style icon herself! My sister accompanied me for this journey and we had so much fun around Salem together! I hope we get to go back soon!

Thanks for exploring Salem with me! Where should I go next?

The Very Best of Concord, MA - New England Travel Blogger

WHERE TO GO + WHAT TO DO IN THIS RICHLY HISTORICAL New England TOWN

If you haven’t been to or heard of Concord, MA you need to change that ASAP and don’t worry I’m here to help as it’s one of my favorite places to visit in New England!

Concord is still a hidden gem in some ways. Every time I bring it up to my Massachusetts friends or otherwise people often look puzzled and ask, Concord, NH? Before I have to tell them about Concord, MA.

WHY I LOVE CONCORD SO MUCH

Concord is the cozy safe haven of a New England town you haven’t heard of yet.

It was home to the greatest Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau and as you may or may not know already it bore some of the most quintessential quotes about the woods.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

-Henry David Thoreau

In fact the main spot of Thoreau’s exodus to the woods, Walden Pond, is available for you to walk and explore at all times of year. However, I venture to say the most optimal time to visit is Autumn for the foliage.

You can check out the site of his cabin while there, as well as the faux cabin they’ve erected to show what it might’ve been like.

In the Summer you can even swim Walden Pond.

THE RESTAURANTS

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Haute Coffee

If you’re looking for some fresh pastries to nosh on or a delicious piece of avocado toast and latte look no further than Haute Coffee. I have to say it’s often an absolute pain in the you know what to get a table there, but not impossible! And as far as parking, the lot that is shared with Haute Coffee and a few other businesses is small and incredibly difficult to find parking in, as well. Even with that I say don’t give up! I didn’t anyway. If all else fails there’s an even bigger public parking lot on Keyes Lane that you could park in and then walk over. The walk through town is lovely anyway with plenty of quaint storefronts to window shop!

Main Streets Market and Cafe

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For lunch, dinner, live music, and drinks look no further than Main Streets Market and Cafe. The atmosphere inside is homey and warm, with framed pieces of local art and history on the walls. Some nights they even have live music, which adds a special energy to the cafe. I’ve tried many of the items on their menu over the years and it’s all mouthwateringly delicious, but some of my favorites are the Parmesan Truffle Fries, Guinness Onion Rings, Turkey & Brie Extreme Grilled Cheese (yep, EXTREME GRILLED CHEESE), and the Farmhouse Chutney Chicken Salad. The Raspberry Lime Rickey is a treat, as well!

MUST SEES

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Walden Pond

As mentioned above Walden Pond is a must-go while you are there! It’s a lovely walk through the woods that’s sure to yield beautiful photos.

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Author’s Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Okay, first of all, how could you not want to go to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery? The name alone is enough to bring me there, but that’s just me! I happen to have a bit of a thing for cemeteries. But! This one in particular is the resting place of several famous authors including Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, and many of their family members. Visitors often leave little trinkets on the gravestones.

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The Concord Free Public Library

I don’t know that everyone finds libraries exciting, but I do and this one in particular has some interesting artifacts that you should at least pop your head in and look at! My favorite part of the library is “The Transcendental Alcove” that houses books by Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne. Sometimes they even have interesting galleries of local art and photography. While there I was able to view a gallery by a local photographer named Richard Higgins.

The Ralph Waldo Emerson House

I know what you’re thinking, ugh, a historical tour…I’m with you, but this one is an exception! This tour of Emerson’s house is actually super interesting! Not only do you get an insight on Emerson’s family and his life, but seeing his home with pretty much all of the original items inside of it intact really gives you an idea of how people lived during Emerson’s time. The tour guides are also very cool and unique! Not boring whatsoever. You can tell they’re knowledgable and passionate about the information they’re reciting and you learn many interesting facts about Emerson during the tour. You are also free to walk around the grounds. From his house is a trail that you can explore and there’s a magnificent grape vine in the garden that you’ll definitely want to check out. I highly recommend adding this to your list if it’s the only “museum-like” thing you do while here!

SHOPPING

The Concord Bookshop

Every time I’m in Concord I stop in to The Concord Bookshop to buy something new to read. The atmosphere of this bookstore is quiet and beautiful and I find it has a very good selection. This year I got myself a book of Keats as he is one of my favorite English Poets. Yes, I know an American poet would be more appropriate for Concord, but I think Keats and Thoreau could’ve been friends if they’d known each other.

Thoreauly Antiques

Wherever Thoreauly gets their antiques they have acquired quite the collection of lovely wares. I’ve found use books there, as well as unique items such as old glass slides and photographs and so much more. It’s like a little magical realm full of wonder. Definitely check out Thoreauly Antiques if you love pieces from the past.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Although I consider Concord a hidden gem it is often quite busy and full of interesting people, so be prepared for reasonable waits at the restaurants and cafes I mentioned (they’re much busier on the weekends!). Also, if you’re visiting in Autumn make sure to bring your camera as the foliage in Concord is gorgeous and bright - plus, the town is ripe for some unique New England street photography! I hope you enjoy your trip to Concord, MA! Feel free to reach out to me if you want anymore pointers on where to stay and what to do!

Have you ever been to Concord? What’s one of your favorite places or where are you dying to go now? Let me know in a comment!

My Trip to Portland, Maine - New England Travel Blogger

This month I celebrated the first weekend of Autumn with a trip to Portland, Maine. While there I took in the sights, sounds, and tastes of some of the best that Portland had to offer. From Maine blueberries, fresh maple syrup, warm potato donuts and homemade mead to local oysters and buttered lobster…it was a feast for the eyes, stomach, and soul.

Naturally I took many photos while there, so I figured I’d share them along with some tips I learned while there for anyone interested in going for the first time or just looking for new places to try!

Here are some of the highlights from my trip to Portland, Maine:

The Sights

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The Portland Observatory

The Portland Observatory is well worth the price of admission for the view! For $10 you can take a guided tour to the top or go at it yourself! I was happy we decided to go on the unguided tour. We were able to set our own pace and learn about the history by reading and exploring ourselves. At the top there was even a man who works there separate from the tours who told us many interesting things about the Portland Observatory, as well as some interesting facts about the birds that nest in the area.

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Portland Head Light

This was the biggest highlight for me (pun intended!). It’s a short drive outside of the city, but I recommend either hitting it on your way in or your way out! We hit it on our way out and I’m so glad we stopped. Parking is free which is amazing! And the entire area is very well-maintained. There is a cliff walk, a few parks, a small food and drink kiosk, and the main attraction - the lighthouse! Definitely breathtaking views and great pictures to be had here!

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The Portland Love Locks

Although the love lock fence was torn down in 2016 after it started to fall into the ocean…a piece of it has been kept alive on the waterfront! We enjoyed looking at what was left and reading the loving messages inscribed on each lock.

The AirBnb

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A Fiery East End Flat

I haven’t stayed in many nice Airbnb’s (this is only the second one I’ve stayed in and this time I had friends to split the cost with), but this one was definitely the cream of the crop in terms of an Airbnb! The “Fiery East End Flat” was spacious, colorful, comfortable, and met all of our needs while allowing us to be in walking distance of everything we wanted to do in Portland. Along with several immaculately decorated rooms there was an air mattress provided, a tv with a dvd player, cards and games, many different brands of coffee to choose from in the cupboards, and the host even left us a bottle of wine and some cookies! I don’t know when I’d be able to afford this flat again for my own travel purposes, but with a large group it is more than perfect and I highly recommend it!

The Food

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DuckFat

Duckfat fries are the Holy Donut of fries. Yes, there is a lot of hype for them much like how there’s a ton of hype for Holy Donut, but the hype is not overstated - these are the best fries I’ve ever had and you have to get the truffle ketchup! Ugh, I’m salivating just writing this. A fun little fact, we ended up getting the Duckfat fries at the Oxbow Brewery as opposed to the restaurant…and it was made even better by the fact that it was right next to the Hardshore Distillery and Maine Mead Works. Maine Mead Works even advertised that you can get your Duckfat fries over at Oxbow and bring them in there to enjoy with some mead. So, it’s a no- brainer to head in the direction of all three. You might as well check them all out while you’re there!

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The Holy Donut

Oh my gosh, what’s there to say about the Holy Donut that hasn’t already been said? It’s the most delicious donut I’ve ever had. There are many flavor choices to choose from and they all sound amazing, but I decided to get the maple donut. It was melt in your mouth delectable. If I had one near me I’d be tempted to go every day. I’m already tempted to drive up again just for the donuts and I think I will soon.

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Hot Suppa

Hot Suppa was suggested to us by a local who gave us some great pointers when we arrived. If there’s one thing we noticed about Portland it was that the people living there were extremely friendly and would stop to ask us if we needed help or suggestions without us even asking! If you want to go to Hot Suppa expect a very, very, very long wait. We went on our last day, a Sunday, and the wait was between 1 and 2 hours. We waited and it was definitely worth it, but be mindful of that! The menu items are on the pricier side that’s for sure, but it’s definitely filling and delicious. I got the Mother Clucker! A fun name and also a really yummy dish. Since it’s a Southern Kitchen you have to order something Southern - or at least that was my thought process! So I figured I couldn’t go wrong with fried chicken, biscuits, gravy, and home fries. You could get grits, but I just really love home fries and those were top notch home fries if I do say so myself. This is a must-go in Portland - I completely agree with the locals!

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The Porthole Restaurant & Pub

On my list of must-dos in Portland was getting a lobster roll. There are certainly many options of varying culinary delight and price ranges, but I found mine when my group suggested a seemingly off the beaten path restaurant and pub called The Porthole. I had my reservations at first, but when arriving there I actually found it to be quite quaint…but only if you’re sitting outside - I didn’t like the look or the ambience of the inside. Outside there is a large porch you can sit on with picnic style tables and umbrellas. You’re right on the water, which is absolutely perfect on an Indian Summer day and whether to your disdain or enjoyment there was a live band playing. We found it to be amusing! I also sampled the oysters while there and though I didn’t have the luxury of knowing where they were from quite like I did at Even Tide (keep reading for that exciting experience!) they were very delicious. I can only assume they were Maine Oysters as Maine has many varieties. I opted to get my lobster roll with butter and it came with a pickle and chips, you could substitute for fries, but I wasn’t in the mood for them after Duck Fat (nothing will ever be better!). Two of my other friends also got the lobster roll and we were in agreement with how pleased we were with the portion and I thought it was very tasty - it definitely satisfied my requirement of getting a lobster roll in Maine! Then it was onward to Even Tide!

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EvenTide Oyster Co.

Myself and two of my girlfriends were determined to get oysters at Even Tide. We went into it knowing it was going to be good, but we never could’ve guessed how much of a life-changing experience it would be! I do have to say that if you’re going expect a wait. We waited at least a half hour to finally be seated, but they will serve you cocktails while you wait if there’s standing room. Make sure you go with a smaller group as they don’t have space to accommodate large tables. Once in, I have to say the Parrot cocktail is a must! Not only does it come in a delightful parrot glass, but it’s one of those drinks that has a limit. On the menu the alcohol used is listed solely as “rums” and that was enough to get us interested - so three parrots it was! Next was the oysters. The menu comprised of varieties from Maine and Massachusetts and being from MA we wanted to try Maine oysters first and foremost. So, we each got a dozen including 10 Maine oysters and 2 Massachusetts oysters. The accoutrements were a really fun touch, as well! Before then I had never tried red onion ice or kimchi ice for that matter (I preferred the red onion), but it was a flavorful and fun addition to the overall oyster tasting. We savored each and every one.

The Drink

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Hardshore Distilling Company

On to the drinks - of which there are many opportunities for in Portland! Obviously any of the breweries would be spots to hit, but we found many other interesting alcohol attractions along the way. If you’re a gin fan Hardshore Distillery should be on your list to check out! Although I wasn’t much of a fan of their gin per se it was certainly a strong one and there’s something to be said for that!

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Maine Mead Works

Next store to Hardshore Distillery is Maine Mead Works and honestly I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did! The mead was delicately delicious! I got a small Lavender Lemonade mead to try. It was sweet and complex, but not too complex…just right! This is a spot I would go to again in the future. I really enjoyed the ambience, the people who worked there were friendly and warm, and the mead was divine.

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Novare res

This was a must-go for me. I’m very glad I checked it out. Their beer list is expansive and it’s a great spot to just hang out and enjoy some drinks with your friends!

The Friends

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I’m much more used to solo travel lately, so it was a new experience for me to go on a vacation with seven of my friends. I’ll be honest, the size of the group made me a little nervous at first, but I’m happy to say that any nerves I had melted away almost instantly - I had an an absolute blast! We did learn that if you’re going with large groups it will make it more difficult to get tables in the restaurants (many of the spaces in Portland are quite small!) so it’s good to know that you might have to break off and do different things at different times to account for that. But even with that small inconvenience we were still able to do everything we wanted to and more! So, my final review is if you’re looking for a cool city that won’t break the bank while still offering so much in terms of nightlife, food, and activities look no further! We had an amazing time and I hope to go again soon! Thanks, Portland!

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Tara + Matthew - Glen Ellis Falls, NH - NH Portrait Photographer

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Sometimes the best photo shoots are the spontaneous ones! This session with Tara and Matthew proved that to me when on August 26 we all found ourselves in New Hampshire for the same purpose: take photos at Glen Ellis Falls.

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On July 31, 2016 Tara and Matthew eloped in the White Mountains of New Hampshire at Glen Ellis Falls. The story of how they ended up getting married at the Falls is another case of "meant to be" when the couple found themselves gated out of Mt. Washington the evening that they planned to elope! A park ranger at Mt. Washington suggested they go to Glen Ellis Falls and the rest is history!  

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Both are talented creators and makers and I'm always blown away by their artistic talent: Matthew with his blacksmithing and photography and Tara with her art and pottery. They are definitely a multi-talented couple and I am so honored I was able to photograph them and their love in such a special (and absolutely gorgeous!) place.

Life truly works in mysteriously beautiful ways, doesn't it?

I couldn't be happier that it does.

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Are they not the two cutest people you've ever seen in your life? 

Follow Matthew and Tara:

Pitch Pine Pottery

Fire Pine Forge