Celebrating Three Years With Community and Quality Time

Every year, my husband and I try to take a vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary!  For our honeymoon, we went to Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California.  On our first anniversary, we went to Disneyland again and for our second year, we took a road trip to Lake Tahoe!  All of those were really fun, but so far, my favorite anniversary vacation has been year #3!

I recently made it a goal of mine to visit all 50 states!  I even created a board on Pinterest with a reason I would go to each one!  After doing a lot of research, I found out that there are some states where I want to do #allthethings, but other states where it was kind of a struggle to find something worth going for.  

When it came to New Hampshire, there were some cool things, like Madame Sherri’s Castle, but overall, it didn’t seem like a place I would normally want to go visit.  

Then, I saw the leaves and was instantly entranced by the autumnal yellows, oranges, and reds.  Apparently, the best time to visit New Hampshire is between late September and early October because that is when their foliage is changing color.  Our vacation dates lined up perfectly, so that’s where we decided to go!

To celebrate our third anniversary, we went to New Hampshire to go hiking and to California to visit our family and friends! Community and quality was the perfect combination to celebrate our marriage - Caitlyn Lunsford Photography

Flying to New Hampshire

On the day we left to go on vacation, we woke up at 4 AM so we could still go to Shari’s Cafe and Pies for “Pie Night” like we do every week.   I guess you could call it Pie Breakfast that morning since I had french toast and Daniel got his favorite, The Breakfast Sampler!

We spent time with Jen, our favorite waitress ever! and after promising to send her pictures of the leaves, we were off to the airport for our early morning flight!

After going through security and getting assigned to the last available seats on the plane, we were finally on the way to our gorgeous New England destination!  

Usually, people I sit next to on planes do not talk to me, but on the first flight from Seattle to Detroit, I met a pretty interesting guy. His name is Matthew and he is a tattoo artist from a city near Cleveland.  I understand why people don’t want to talk on planes, but it was kind of refreshing to have someone to talk to and learn about their unique story.

When we landed in Manchester, we picked up our car and asked the lady who worked for Alamo what there was to do in the state because we still didn’t know what we were planning on doing.  She responded with “Well, the leaves are changing colors!” and it reinforced the fact that we really were only in New Hampshire to look at the leaves!

Ashworth Hotel - Ashworth by the Sea - Hampton Beach, New Hampshire by Caitlyn Lunsford Photography

Hampton Beach and Arethusa Falls

We chose to stay at Ashworth by the Sea, which is located right on the beach.  If you didn’t realize that New Hampshire has a beach, that is probably because it would only take 30 minutes to drive the length of the state’s shoreline!  If you go too far south, you end up in Massachussets. Too far north and you are in Maine!

On the first morning in New Hampshire, I woke up during the sunrise, which if you think about it was really weird with the time difference between the East and West coasts. But I'm not going to complain because I was able to walk on the beach while the sun was rising and take pictures!

Apple Cider Donut from Applecrest Farm Orchards at the Arethusa Falls trailhead - Caitlyn Lunsford Photography

When Daniel finally woke up, we went to Applecrest Farm Orchards so we could get apple cider donuts for breakfast. Those things were delicious! Daniel compares them to banana bread but apple version.  I don’t taste that. I just know they are apple cinnamon goodness!

While eating our donuts, we drove three hours North on a tree-lined highway to get to Arethusa Falls, where we wanted to go hiking.  I was in awe of every leaf we saw the entire way from the orchard to the trailhead.

Autumn leaves at Arethusa Falls Trailhead in October by Caitlyn Lunsford Photography

Now, I love hiking...when the trail is flat. The hike we did in New Hampshire was not flat. At all. We scrambled up the steep incline with the help of the natural staircase made out of rocks and logs. Some steps we easy. Others were as high as my hips.

With my short legs, it took a really long time to make it to the top and Daniel was frustrated that people passed us, but we made it and we got to see a beautiful waterfall!

On the way back down, it started to rain and the trail got muddy, but it wasn’t too bad. The worst part was, my leg muscles decided they had had enough and didn’t want to move anymore. I guess I need to hike more trails that have elevation!

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Visiting Family and Friends in California

The next morning, we left New Hampshire and flew to California.  I was worried about getting a seat on the plane because Manchester is a small airport and that can be tricky when you fly standby.  It turned out okay though!

When we landed in SFO, we picked up our friend Rob and took him to Asia Delight because Daniel had been craving Chinese food for weeks and we wanted to celebrate our best friend’s birthday!  

(BTW! If you know of a good Chinese restaurant in the Seattle-Tacoma area, I need some recommendations!)

On Friday, we spent time with my aunt’s family and we got dinner at my favorite restaurant ever, Sweet Tomatoes!  Then we played Settler’s of Catan with my aunt and uncle while my cousins were at Awana. It was Daniel’s first time playing that game and now I think he wants to buy it so he can practice and beat everyone!  That would probably make a great Christmas gift! *Hint Hint*

Saturday was all about our nieces!  They had two soccer games back to back and one of them was having a birthday party! The soccer team only had four players that day, so all four of them had to play the entire two games.  They were exhausted, as you could imagine! I felt so bad for them because I knew I wouldn’t have been wanting to run in that heat either!

You wouldn’t have guessed that they had been running so much when the birthday party started though!  They were running all over and jumping in the bounce house that was in the backyard!

On Sunday, we went to visit our church family at Transforming Love Christian Center in El Sobrante!  It was so great to hug all of our friends that we haven’t seen since we moved to Washington in June.

Chocorua Lake reflection in New Hampshire - Caitlyn Lunsford Photography

Being There For Our Community

This anniversary vacation has been my favorite so far because not only did I get to spend so much quality time with my husband, but we also got to be there for our community.  Our family and friends are important to me and I am so grateful we got to be there for soccer games and to celebrate birthdays.

One of the drawbacks of living in a different state is that we won’t be able to make it to every family gathering, but I hope our community knows how much we love them, miss them and wish we could be there every single time.