Snapshots of our October (Arlington, VA)

There’s the story, then there’s the real story, then there’s the story of how the story came to be told. Then there’s what you leave out of the story. Which is part of the story too.
— Margaret Atwood

October is my busiest month, so the days flew by in a blur ending (as always) with Halloween (feeling lucky for our amazing friends who host an adult/kid happy hour every year). Parker dressed up as a pun (basketball uniform + inflatable donut = slam dunk), Freya went as Cher from Clueless, and Trout became a random biohazard (the type of costume you “discover” at Spirit Halloween), I feel it’s important to remember these things, though I’m not sure why.

Freya turned 13, which made me feel old and happy at the same time. We planned a family backpacking trip, but our trip was quashed due to “high levels of bear activity” so instead we walked/hiked around Burke Lake and rode bikes to National Harbor. Dan killed his first deer of the season, thus wonderful venison dinners (so yummy). And the days continued to fly by - as they should, but sometimes I wish they’d slow down a little.

* Looking for a family photographer in the DC Metro region? Darcy Troutman Photography offers both at-home and out-and-about sessions, so whether you prefer pictures in the backyard or photos at a nature preserve, I have a package just right for you. Please contact me at darcytroutman@hotmail.com

Snapshots of Our September (Arlington, VA)

[T]hat old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air ... Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.
— Wallace Stegner

With the exception of a Labor Day weekend camping trip at Prince William Forest Park, we didn’t spend much time together as a family in September. Once school starts (7th, 6th, and 4th grade - see the obligatory first day of school photos below) everyone disappears into their own bubble for awhile, which is fine, as summer is always amazing and exhausting combined.

The kids are now refusing to let me take photos of them on their phones, so I’ll need a new project to work on. So goes almost-fall . . .

* Looking for a family photographer in the DC Metro region? Darcy Troutman Photography offers both at-home and out-and-about sessions, so whether you prefer pictures in the backyard or photos at a nature preserve, I have a package just right for you. Please contact me at darcytroutman@hotmail.com

Summer Vacation 2018 - Our Road Trip to Nova Scotia

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s OK. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.
— Anthony Bourdain
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I love travel. It’s almost an addiction at this point, as I continue to put together lists and ideas of new places to discover, new experiences to be collected.

Last summer we spent 3.5 weeks backpacking around Europe (Sardinia, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, and Slovenia) and it was too much. I overdid it. This year the kids begged for a slower pace. Hence, Cape Brenton Island - beautiful, remote, full of amazing hiking trails and not much else. But it was 1200 miles away. Luckily, I love a road trip . . .

Part 1 - Cape Cod and Boston, MA

I had a photshoot close to Cape Cod, MA (you can see the photos here) so we started our vacation out at a Hampton Inn in Fairhaven, MA. The weather was overcast/rainy, but we still managed to see the area (dinner at Mystic Pizza filled me with happiness). And then we headed to Boston for a few days - checking out the Isabelle Stewart Gardner museum, Freedom Trail tour, and biking around Cambridge.

Part II - Essex, MA

My sister-in-law rented a house in Essex, MA with her sister and we stopped to visit. The kids had a blast running around with their cousins and their cousins’ cousins.

Part III - Bay of Fundy, Canada

We camped for two nights in this GORGEOUS Canadian National Park. And it rained the whole time. At first, the weather made me pretty miserable, but then I realized my kids were forced to hang out with me in a small tented space and I was crazy happy. We read books, hiked in the rain, ate lobster, and used the word “damp” way too much.

Part IV - Cape Brenton Island, Nova Scotia (Dingwall)

Dan’s parents rented us all a gorgeous house for a week. It was off a dirt road, on beautiful bay and at night there were no other lights. It felt like the edge of the world. Well, a luxury version of the edge of the world. The house didn’t have a TV (though there was internet) - so we played cards, Life, and Monopoly. It felt great to do “nothing” a lot of the time. Though by the end of our week there - I really missed “real” groceries stores, movie theaters, and other signs of city life.

Part V - Coastal Trail & Franey - Cape Brenton Island National Park

We spent most of our time in Cape Brenton lounging and hiking (there wasn’t much else to do there). The scenery was AMAZING and T loved canoeing around the bay. Dan found a place that sold lobsters for $10 Canadian/pound so we ate A LOT of lobster and mussels, which was great at first but even luxuries become old after awhile (except Dan, who could eat lobster every night for the rest of his life).

Part VI - Fishing Cove & Skyline Trails - Cape Brenton Island National Park

Dan’s parents watched the kids for a night so Dan and I could backpack overnight into fishing cove, which was GORGEOUS. We sat on the beach drinking rum and cokes, watching the sunset. Best date night ever. Plus, waking up to quite and sunshine made me remember everything I love about backpacking.

At the end of the week, Dan’s aunt and uncle came to stay with us and we ended our trip with a hike on Skyline Trail - one of Cape Brenton’s most scenic (and most crowded) hikes.

Honestly, I was a little worried how I’d feel about staying in the same place for a week, but we all ended up having a fantastic and relaxing time.

Part VII - Cape Brenton to Acadia National Park (Maine).

11 hours of driving in two days. That’s about all there is to say. We had heard Acadia becomes crowded in the summer, but it still felt discombobulating to sit in crazy traffic after leaving the middle of nowhere (but Bar Harbor is a fantastic town).

Part VIII - Acadia National Park

For a vacation grand finale (and, really, doesn’t every vacation need a grand finale?) - we woke up at 2 am and hiked 5 miles up Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise. Hiking in the dark felt surreal, especially above treeline, like were on the moon. It was probably one of our best times together ever as a family.

But then . . .

The fog rolled in and there was no sunrise. We knew this was a possibility, but since we only stayed in Acadia for two nights we risked it and lost. There was a lot of disappointment and sadness for awhile, but eventually the fog cleared and the hike down was pretty amazing (10 miles round trip). We then went out for breakfast at 2Cats and vegged the rest of the day away (so much tiredness).

Part IX - The end

We spent a final morning in Acadia hiking and then began the long drive back to Arlington, VA. We spent one night in Portsmouth, NH, which was such a cute small town - the perfect place to celebrate the end of our northern east coast road trip.

And then, of course, we arrived home and I immediately started to plan next summer’s adventures.

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* Looking for a vacation photographer in the DC Metro region? Darcy Troutman Photography offers several types of out-and-about sessions, so whether you prefer pictures in the city or photos at a nature preserve, I have a package just right for you. Please contact me at darcytroutman@hotmail.com.

Snapshots of Our August (Arlington, VA and beyond)

We don’t need no jet plane feel like we can fly
We don’t need no cold chain just to watch it shine
Twenty four carat lies we don’t got the time
We’ll be kings and queens in our own mind.
— Matt Kearney

August was somewhat of a whirlwind.

We stopped at Acadia National Park on our way home from Nova Scotia (I still haven’t edited any of those photos). And then I flew to Boca Raton, FL for a girls’ trip to celebrate one of my best friend’s 40th birthdays. Plus, the County Fair came to town (always a thrill for the kids, not so much for me). We finished up the month with a weekend trip to NYC (just Freya, her good friend, her good friend’s mom, and me) and a quick weekday trip to Williamsburg, VA where we spent one night at Great Wolf Lodge (I love a discount) and visited Busch Gardens the next morning, where i learned that all roller coasters now make me nauseous, especially during a heat wave.

So basically - lots of fun, but somewhat exhausting fun.

(Usually I don’t “describe” my photos, but there are some randoms in here - so here goes (1) Parker with her hands up at the County Fair; (2) ribbons from the Color Factory in NYC (temporary pop up); (3) Chinatown NYC; (4) Trout at the fair; (5) girls’ weekend (Boca Raton, FL); (6) In front of the Met (NYC); (7) Busch Gardens (Williamsburg); (8) on the street, NYC; (9) cellphones on the couch; (10) gift shop (NYC); (11) mural (NYC); (12) Broadway (NYC); (13) Chinatown (NYC); (14) the piano from Big (Macy’s NYC): (14) Great Wolf Lodge (Williamsburg); (15) a lazy day on the ocean at the Boca Beach Club (Boca Raton); (16) Nats game (they lost); (17) Heavenly Bodies at the Met; (18) Trout at Busch Gardens (Williamsburg); (19) moms and murals (NYC); (20) Target school supply shopping late in the season when everything has sold out; (21) I begged the kids to take one “good” photo together at Busch Gardens, this is what they gave me)

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* Looking for a family photographer in the DC Metro region? Darcy Troutman Photography offers both at-home and out-and-about sessions, so whether you prefer pictures in the backyard or photos at a nature preserve, I have a package just right for you. Please contact me at darcytroutman@hotmail.com.

Our Crazy Crowded Memorial Week Beach House (Nags Head, NC)

Life’s a journey, to find the people weird like you.
— Atticus

Part of me can't believe summer vacation is finally editing and part of me feels like "what took you so long?"

We've had some amazing vacations - road tripping to Nova Scotia, a quick weekend in NYC, a girls' weekend in Boca Raton, FL, a quick trip to Great Wolf Lodge and Busch Gardens - hopefully I'll have photos to share soon. But, in the meantime, I'm ready for fall.

There's no better way to celebrate the end of something than to look back to the beginning. For the past 5 years, for the week of Memorial Day, we've rented a beach house with a group of friends. It's crowded and crazy and so much fun.

Photos of the last two years (nostalgia) are linked below:

2017 - Here and here.

2016 - Here

And more highlights from this year (the pool photos give me anxiety) . . .

* Looking for a family photographer in the DC Metro region? Darcy Troutman Photography offers both at-home and out-and-about sessions, so whether you prefer pictures in the backyard or photos at a nature preserve, I have a package just right for you. Please contact me at darcytroutman@hotmail.com.

Snapshots of Our July (Arlington, VA)

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.

There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
— Malvina Reynolds

We left for vacation mid-July, so these are some photos I took in the beginning of the month. During the heat wave one of my best friends came to visit with her two kids and we visited the zoo (yay for misters)  and Flight Trampoline Park.

Later in the week, I took my kids to the Building Museum's pool exhibit. And then, as always, plenty of lazy days on the couch. I thought Parker, Trout, and Freya would want to spend more time at the real pool, but nobody seemed very interested. So goes summer . . .

 

* Looking for a family photographer in the DC Metro region? Darcy Troutman Photography offers both at-home and out-and-about sessions, so whether you prefer pictures in the backyard or photos at a nature preserve, I have a package just right for you. Please contact me at darcytroutman@hotmail.com.

Snapshots of our June (Arlington, VA)

I’m kind of over gettin’ told to throw my hands up in the air.
So there.
— Lorde

I kept my camera in the living room this June, so there are a lot of couch photos (with cell phones), which is fine as I tend to love couch photos. But also some trips to the Wharf and Artechouse. And (as always) happy hour dance parties and neighborhood strolls.

 

* Looking for a family photographer in the DC Metro region? Darcy Troutman Photography offers both at-home and out-and-about sessions, so whether you prefer pictures in the backyard or photos at a nature preserve, I have a package just right for you. Please contact me at darcytroutman@hotmail.com.

Snapshots of our May (Arlington, VA)

Well I’m on my way
I don’t know where I’m going
I’m on my way
I’m taking my time
But I don’t know where
— Paul Simon

I didn't take very many personal photos in May, but still managed to capture some flowers and nightly walks. And (of course) photos of my son helping in the backyard.

* Looking for a family photographer in the DC Metro region? Darcy Troutman Photography offers both at-home and out-and-about sessions, so whether you prefer pictures in the backyard or photos at a nature preserve, I have a package just right for you. Please contact me at darcytroutman@hotmail.com.

Snapshots of Our April (Arlington, VA)

Every year, when you’re a child, you become a different person.
— Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness

I always say the best moments are the real moments, but I tend to post photos from big moments in our lives (long vacations, camping, etc.) - so here's a little collage of our everyday in April.

For the most part, we didn't do anything very exciting (with the exceptions of Burning Man at the Renwick and Cirque Du Soleil's Luzia, oh, and Parker participated in the Science and Engineering Festival with her elementary school's STEM group), but I'm a big fan of documenting life's little adventures - gardening, basketball, tennis lessons, family hikes, the girls' cellphone addiction, sick days, happy hours, dance parties, legos, lilacs, unicorn onsies, etc.) 

* Looking for a family photographer in the DC Metro region? Darcy Troutman Photography offers both at-home and out-and-about sessions, so whether you prefer pictures in the backyard or photos at a nature preserve, I have a package just right for you. Please contact me at darcytroutman@hotmail.com.

Spring Break 2018 - Hiking Through Andalucia, Spain (Without the Kids!)

So suddenly we are gone
Looking out for some wave
You and I, we belong
on these wild and wonderful trails
— The Tallest Man on Earth

Dan and I spent this year's spring break hiking through the white villages of Andalucia, Spain, while the kids stayed with their grandparents in West Virginia, learning to ski (yay for grandparents!!).

We booked our trip through On Foot Holidays. This is the second trip they've arranged for us (a few years ago we hiked the Amalfi Coast in Italy) and I still cannot say enough good things.

On Foot sends you detailed route itineraries; arranges small, quaint hotels in out-of-the-way locations; and manages baggage transfers. So all you need to do is hike from town to town. It's such a cool way to see the world, I wish we could do it all the time.

Day 1  & 2 - Zahara de la Sierra.

We booked our flights with airline miles, so travel was a little cumbersome (flying to London and then Madrid, followed by a 4 hour train ride to Ronda, and a 1 hour car transfer to Zahara de la Sierra). But finally we arrived at the first hotel, a small, charming place in the middle of nowhere.

It rained most of the first day - intermittent storms followed by drizzly skies (so glad we splurged on better rain gear for the trip), but we still managed to trek 10-11 miles around Zahara.  Without airplanes or cars, the valley seemed so silent - you could hear dog barks and sheep bells from miles away. And griffon vultures filled the skies.

The river crossings were a little crazy with all the rain, but all in all, it was so beautiful. In the evenings the skies cleared, allowing us to watch the sunset from our hotel balcony.

Day 3 - Zahara de la Sierra to Grazalema

This was my favorite hike of the trip because of the diverse landscape. It was only 9-10 miles long, but a lot of steep inclines made it more difficult than other days (luckily, with crazy views). Plus, no rain, though the cloudless sky made for worse photos.

We hiked past so many horses, sheep, chickens, cows, and (somewhat scary) barking dogs - as well as tiny farm houses that looked hundreds of years old (and not necessarily in a good way).

Day 4 - Grazalema - Benaoján (then a taxi back to Grazalema)

On day 4 we planned on hiking from Grazalema to Benaocáz, but we mixed up our itinerary and ended up trekking 10 miles to the wrong town (oops). It took us over an hour waiting for a cab (who was waiting for us in the right town) to figure out our mistake. On the upside, the views were beautiful. On the downside, all the boulders made my feet hurt (a lot).

Day 5 - Grazalema to Benaocáz (and then a car transfer to Benaojan).

We spent day 5 going on day 4's hike (hence the car transfer). Luckily, after a long day we arrived to a gorgeous hotel and a fancy dinner (we needed this).

As you can tell, I didn't take many photos (isn't it crazy how your first day somewhere new every little detail seems so amazing and by the fifth day it all looks the same?)

Day 6 - Benaojan to Ronda

My feet hurt (and I felt lazy), so we opted out of the 10 mile hike to Ronda and decided to walk to the La Cueva de la Pileta instead (and then take the afternoon train into Ronda). Visitors cannon take photographs inside the cave (sadness), but we enjoyed seeing Stone Age paintings of horses, goats and fish from 20,000 to 25,000 years ago (though the hows and whys of much of the art still remains a mystery).

We arrived in Ronda just in time for the holy week processions (basically a huge city-wide party). The streets were crazy crowded - families, kids, older people - a little bit like the 4th of July in America. Street stands sold candy and trinkets for the kids.

Almost everyone was speaking Spanish (i.e. not many other foreign tourists) and we stood out as foreigners because of our puffy jackets.

The first processions of the night had crowds surrounding them on all sides and I didn't think we'd be able to see much of anything, but luckily, because I'm so short they pushed me to the front of the crowds (isn't that awesome?). Plus, on Holy Thursday there are so many processions (they go throughout the night) that we managed to see more than we thought we would.

I'll admit, it felt sort of odd to celebrate when people wore robes that ARE NOT okay in the United States. Every culture is different, but still, it took awhile to dissociate the pointy-hat context from US history.

Day 7 - Ronda to Malaga

We had hoped to spend the day touring Malaga, but it poured and while we tried to power through, we ended up spending most of the afternoon competing with other tourists (mostly Spanish) for seats in overpriced cafes while we waited for our train to Malaga.

Day 8 - Malaga

We spent our final morning in Spain bike riding along the ocean. The weather was perfect and for dinner we drank sangria at a restaurant on the beach, while they cooked our fresh fish on grill in front of the restaurant.

During the day, I talked Dan into a trip to Malaga's branch of the Pompidou Center (the museum's only other location outside of Paris). The Paris branch turned out to be much larger and more impressive, but I loved the quirky exterior of Malaga's musuem.

And that's it. In the morning we headed home (another long day of flying - Malaga to Madrid to London to Baltimore), but totally worth it. And the kids even missed us (somewhat)!

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* Looking for a vacation photographer in the DC Metro region? Darcy Troutman Photography offers several types of out-and-about sessions, so whether you prefer pictures in the city or photos at a nature preserve, I have a package just right for you. Please contact me at darcytroutman@hotmail.com.