Category Archives: CT

5 Pizza Places to Visit in Connecticut

April 20th, 2018

5 Pizza Places to Visit in CT Aubrey Yandow The Coastal Confidence Pizza in Connecticut
5 Pizza Places to Visit in CT Aubrey Yandow The Coastal Confidence Pizza in Connecticut

I was inspired to create this post, last week when Matt and I were in Dallas. We were chatting with some friends and they wanted to know, besides seafood, what was the best dish to order in New England. Valid question right and  I quickly realized no one does pizza like New England, well besides Chicago, so I told her to give me a week and I’d report back with a whole list. 

Once I finalized my list, I decided I might as well share it with all of you and all I can say is, I miss New England pizza. Breakfast, lunch or dinner; pizza is always a valid food option for me and I hope this inspires you all to test out a few new places. Anyway, I’m just going to jump right into it!

I ranked the following 5 pizza places to visit in CT in order of how I’d visit them. I rated them based on 1) pizza crust thickness, 2) topping options, 3) ambiance & 4) quantity of parking/seating. 

Okay here we go:  

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana // New Haven, CT

During the summer of 2015, Matt was living and working in New York City, while I was living and working in Eastern Connecticut, which meant we got to see each other on weekends and holidays. So come Friday, we’d often meet to hang out at a halfway point, New Haven. Before that summer I never really spent much time in New Haven but grew to look forward to my Friday night drive to New Haven and the delicious Italian food that awaited me. Whenever I picked up Matt from the train station he was always beyond famished so we usually headed straight to Frank Pepe Pizzeria. This historic pizza place first opened it’s doors in 1925 and has been a New England staple ever since. 

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – Thin crust baked to a slight crunch sliced up into thin servings, providing you with the perfect excuse to order more than one pizza pie per visit. 
  • 2) Topping Options – Pepe’s has every topping you’d ever hope for but if you want to try an innovative pizza, order the White Clam. The White Clam Pizza is just crust, olive oil, oregano, grated cheese, chopped garlic, and fresh littleneck clams basically a seafood lovers dream. 
  • 3) Ambiance With several locations scattered around Connecticut, and now Boston, I still always make the hour drive down to the original pizzeria in New Haven. Having first opened in 1925, there is something special about eating the pizza at this quaint location while squeezing into the modest wooden booths. 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – Limited parking & seating. Street parking is available as well. 

Pizzeria Sassano // Glastonbury, CT

Oh, gosh, I’m ready for the raft that will be my Mom when she finds out I let this top secret pizzeria go live. This is her FAVORITE spot to grab pizza, and I’d even go as far as to say it’s the best representation of what Italian pizza actually tastes, looks and smells like. It’s on the more expensive side of pizzerias BUT this is the REAL DEAL. Bon Appétit

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – This pizza is as fresh as it can get. From the doughy and deliciously chewy crust to the hand peeled tomato-based sauce, this pizza takes the cake for having the freshest ingredients. 
  • 2) Topping Options –  Rich Italian toppings are available for your pizza order. We strongly suggest taste testing either the sausage or meatball pie, both are seasoned to perfection and capture the essence of Italian meat. 
  • 3) Ambiance  – To be honest, I usually call in an order and take it to go, since I pass the restaurant quite often on my way to Route 2. However, if you preferring dining in, the ambiance is quaint and BYOB! 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – TONS of parking & limited seating, however, I’ve never had to wait. 

Hope Pizza Restaurant // Stamford, CT 

I’m a sucker for Greek style pizza, to be honest, it’s actually my favorite food to order out on the weekends. Close your eyes and imagine doughy thick crust, garlic infused tomato sauce, with the heaviest serving of golden and crispy cheese that brings the whole pizza together, on top. I mean pair it with a Coca-Cola and I’m in heaven, but Greek pizza isn’t for everyone as it’s the heaviest of pizza options and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Anyway, if you love Greek pizza check out this place: 

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – Thick, borderline deep dish, with generous square, cut slices.
  • 2) Topping Options – Whenever I eat Greek style pizza I can’t help put to order a vegetable pizza. There is something so delicious about a heavy dosing of cheesy bread and grilled vegetables. And for Matt, we always order the classy gooey cheese pizza.
  • 3) Ambiance  – Very casual ambiance, I often like to order take out from Hope Pizza Restaurant. I think Greek pizza is best enjoyed at home, outside, with a Coca-Cola in hand amongst friends. 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – TONS of parking & seating, which is key.


First & Last Tavern // Hartford & Middletown Locations Are My Favorite

First and Last will always have a special place in my heart because it is where Matt and I use to go on double dates in high school. To be exact we would always meet other couples at First and Last for a pizza and movie Friday Night Combo. So many good memories, at the Middletown location. But before Matt and I, my Dad use to take my siblings and I to the first in last location in Hartford on the weekends. We’d go visit my cousins in Wethersfield, pile in the car and head to get pizza. I use to love that you could watch the chef’s cook the pizza from start to finish at this location, and I still love to visit it with my dad and family today. 

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – Thin crust with widely cut slices, makes this pizzeria the best place to visit with a large group of people. The pizzas are big and meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, so order a few pies, sit back and enjoy your night. 
  • 2) Topping Options – By far some of the best toppings around! I usually pile it high with sausage, mushrooms, and spinach. Oh and sometimes I ask for extra cheese, don’t tell Matt. 
  • 3) Ambiance  – Matt and I always go to First & Last Tavern for date night so I’d say the ambiance is cozy, but still high end. Basically come as you are, whether you are all decked out for a show at The Bushnell or just stopping in for a pizza while running errands, First & Last Tavern is fit for every occasion. 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – Limited parking & seating, expect a wait but it will be well worth it. 

Alforno // Old Saybrook, CT

    • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – The pizza crusts, while on the thinner side are equally chewy and crispy from having baked in the 600-plus temperature of the custom-built brick oven, Alforno is known for crispy crust with a delicious taste. 
    • 2) Topping Options – Alforno does have amazing pizza topping options, but I was equally impressed with the amount of non-pizza menu options to choose from. From high-end meat dishes to stocks, sauces and fresh pasta, including ravioli, being made in-house; Alforno is a restaurant for lovers of all Italian food, not just pizza. 
    • 3) Ambiance  – With a relaxed and casual ambiance this restaurant would be perfect for a date night or a quick catch up with old friends. Just make sure to bring your appetite with you. 
    • 4) Parking/Seating – TONS of parking & seating, which is key.

Okay & that’s all I got for you guys. 

 Let me know your thoughts and I’d love to hear which pizza places in CT is your favorite. xx Aubrey

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History & Cultural Heritage of New England

January 19th, 2018

History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow

New England is deeply rooted in history and cultural heritage, which has made capturing it on the TCC all that more fun. I mean, from the pilgrims that came ashore in Massachusetts to the summer homes of America’s infamous business moguls and heirs of the Gilded Age in Newport; New England is bursting at the seams with untold stories and colonial homes to be explored. The historical towns of New England, with each passing photoshoot, have proven to be deeply rooted in the start of our nation and the hopes of a new life.

To be honest, I always use to take these old colonial homes for granted but now I see them as a way to bring a little piece of historical insight, and perspective, into what living a rural New England lifestyle meant for colonial Americans. Between cooking on a hearth and tiny stairways, I can’t even imagine the number of daily struggles, these New Englanders had to endure. Anyway, I’m lucky enough to live close to several historic districts with homesteads to tour and fires to be stoked. 

History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow

One of my favorite colonial homesteads to visit is that of an American hero, Nathan Hale’s. The Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, Connecticut was home to one of the most renowned patriots of his time. Nathan Hale was an American soldier and spy for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, both a Yale graduate and a colonial elite, his homestead allows you an insight like no other. Tragically he was hung before the British in 1776 at the age of 21, for his work as a Continental Army spy, and is famously known for saying “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”. 

I’ve always admired how New Englanders go the extra length to preserve the history and cultural heritage of such homes. A ton of care goes into maintaining historic properties and still to this day The Nathan Hale Homestead is open to the public for tours and hearth cooking sessions, giving visitors a glimpse into New England’s history. So I often find myself in the car with my youngest sister and TCC photographer, Tessa, driving to the town greens of the oldest New England towns. 

From Old Wethersfield’s quaint town green, established in 1634, to Litchfield’s busy town green, established in 1720; there is no short of inspiration and architectural ingenuity on the town greens of small Connecticut towns. I often stroll down these greens to take images for our Instagram and get inspired by the untold stories and successes of our founding colonial families. 

History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow

To this day, I’ll always be inspired by the history and cultural heritage of New England. It’s something that really adds perspective to my life and it’s the main reason why I love New England so much. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited most of Connecticut’s historical homesteads and town greens but I’d love to hear from you all. Are there any town greens we need to explore or colonial homes in your town that are just too good to pass-up? 

I love hearing what parts of New England inspire you, so leave a comment below with a place our Crew needs to head next. We love bringing you all along for the journey and we can’t wait to capture even more of New England as Matt and I gear up for our move back to New England hopefully this year. As always we’ll keep you posted, but until then have a great weekend. 

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Best Pond Skating Spots in New England

January 12th, 2018

Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence

I always find it odd that some of my first memories include winter activities, that to be honest, I’m really not that fond of. In fact, one of my very first memories is bundling up and walking with my dad and brother, to our local town pond to ice skate. To this day, I’m really not one to step onto a pond, lake or any body of water frozen solid; if I have to ice skate I much prefer a freshly zambonied rink, is that too much to ask for? 

Now while I’m not a fan, Matt and many others count down the days till the ice is thick enough to drop a puck and start the pond hockey tournaments, and I must admit I do love watching New Englanders embrace the harsh temperatures with excitement and well-organized hockey games and ice fishing tournaments. Overall, I know the weather’s been crummy so I figured I’d share some winter inspiration with a list of the best pond skating spots in New England, to get you all excited for the weekend ahead of us. 

Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence

Best Pond Skating Spots in New England:

(Before heading out or stepping on the ice, please call ahead to check that ice conditions are safe at these skating spots) 

Boston Common Frog Pond- Boston, MA: Get the quintessential experience of pond skating in the heart of one of New England’s busiest cities. Take time out of your day and walk through Boston Common to see the ice skaters twirling around whilst enjoying the city view. Oh and if you forgot your skate, no worries, they have skates for rent at the ticket office!

 

Eastbury Pond- Glastonbury, CT: This pond is an old favorite of mine, just bring your skates and your mates for a spin around Eastbury Pond in central Connecticut. This pond was known for its spontaneous hockey throw downs and small hometown feel. 

 

Puddle Duck Pond at Strawbery Bank- Portsmouth, NH: I reached out to you all on Instagram Stories, if you don’t already follow us on Instagram make sure to here, anyway when I asked you guys which ponds I should include in this list over three people referenced Puddle Duck Pond; which makes me think Matt and I are due for a trip to Portsmouth. 

 

Lee Twombly Pond- Falmouth, ME: This lovely pond was actually ranked as one of the best places to ice skate outside and I can see why! The pond is in a picturesque location and offers both ice skating for just $5 and, Matt’s favorite adult pickup hockey each and every Saturday night. 

 

Frog’s Pond- Trumbull, CT: This spot was recommended by TCC Reader, Patrick Donegan, who said this community pond is the town’s hotspot when freezing temperatures roll in. Patrick said that the local neighbors even provide fire pits and hot chocolate on busy days, to give ice skaters the needed break and warmth to skate the night away. 

Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence

I must say, it did take some guts getting dressed up and heading to our local pond spot with these record low temperatures, but in the end, I was so happy I did. All and all you must say it’s pretty amazing how a local pond can turn into such a local watering hole for children, teens, and adults. This time of year truly brings New Englanders together, and nothing makes me happier. 

On that note, I am so fortunate to have readers like yourselves who engage and reach out to share with us their local treasures. I was over the moon with the amount of TCC readers who reached out to share their local pond skating spots and traditions with our crew; as always, connecting with you all is by far our favorite part of The Coastal Confidence. If we somehow missed a pond spot that you feel needs to be on this list, please leave a comment below with any additional pond skating spots we should add. Thank you and have a great rest of your week. 

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5 Reasons Why You Should Use All Your Vacation Days in 2018

January 5th, 2018

5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

I will always be a high-strong and slightly over ambitious person when it comes to running The Coastal Confidence. I honestly think the fact that I can admit that is a huge step in the right direction. Naturally, I’ve been known for not delegating enough out to crew members, while double-booking myself, as I desperately try to cram in as many photoshoot sessions as possible, while in New England. I often feel like I don’t want to burden others, so I just shove more and more onto my plate until my plate shatters, and boy did it fall apart over the holiday break.  

I was in New England from December 15th – January 2nd and my over-ambitious personality thought I’d be able to fit in eight video shoots and twenty-four outfit shoots within that time period. Honestly, I was just straight-up delusional. The holiday season should be a time spent with family, friends, and community; instead, I spent my holiday season jamming in photoshoots between holiday parties, NYC adventures and Vermont ski slope runs. 

I was waking up at 6:00 AM for photoshoots with my sister Tessa and editing photos until 1:00 AM; I was quite literally running myself into the ground. I over-extended myself and it left me with not only a 72-hour stomach bug (on Christmas Eve) but also a nasty cold. Overall, my ambitious habits left me sick for basically my entire trip home and I’m actually still sick writing this post now. My crammed in schedule resulting in my trip home, being the definition of a let-down. Our crew ended up only filming four videos and twelve outfit photos, which was pretty disastrous for my ego. 

5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
 Ending 2017 on that note was not ideal but 2018, brings a fresh start to the table and most importantly new perspective. Not being in New England 100% of the time has made my job increasingly hard, but this year instead of cramming in as much as possible, while in New England; Matt and I are going to use each and every one of our vacation days and bring you along for…let’s call it the year of travel.  

We’re going to actually use our air miles to bring you guys along to our favorite cities! Travel has always brought a cloud of anxiety for me, in terms of creating blog content, so while the written content will be true to New England, the pictures might be a little more travel-focused or out-of-the-box; and I hope you guys enjoy it. Anyway, to get to my point, if you’re a workaholic, a type A boss, or just a destructively overambitious person like me…listen up because here are 5 Reasons Why You Should Use All Your Vacation Days in 2018: 

5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

 # 1 Recharge – I know from firsthand experience that when you overwork yourself, you often end up causing yourself the unnecessary mental stress and often become even less productive and in my case sick. Ideally you would think that working non-stop makes you a go-getter but actually, it can reduce both your productivity and quality of work; so give yourself a break and come back to work refreshed and recharged. 

# 2 Perspective – I mean this point is reason enough to use all your vacation days. Having perspective is really important especially in the blogging industry. It is so easy to get caught up in what others are doing, why a certain image didn’t get that many likes or why you didn’t nail down a specific partnership; all of these things are completely situational but when you live, eat and breath your job; situational things can start to feel personal. So giving yourself a break can really help you see the BIG PICTURE, and focus more on the purpose of your job instead of the nitty gritty of it.  

# 3 Inspiration – Take your vacation days and go see something, someone or somewhere that will fuel your inner fire. Whether that’s visiting a new city, a friend in a foreign place or a country you’ve been dying to attend; get out there and live life. Whenever I feel like my content has gotten stagnant, I try to book a quick flight to the cheapest city nearby. Traveling really adds a breath of fresh air into my soul and my brand. 

5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

# 4 Mental Health – Recently I’ve gotten into the app Headspace[headspace.com], if you haven’t heard of headspace before, basically it’s an app that provides guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training to you daily. I started the app back in December and I’ve really gotten into the idea of giving your mind down time and space. In fact, after using the app for just two weeks I noticed a difference in my overall attitude and stress levels, making me realize that vacation days shouldn’t be used to just sleep and recharge your body, but also to give the mind a break. Let your mind wander, read a book, do a puzzle, see a movie; giving your brain a vacation day is key to boosting creativity and new ideas.  

# 5 Reflection – The start of a new year can be exciting and inspiring but taking your Vacation Day can be too. Use your time off to reflect on your goals, where you are in life and where you want to be. Connect with yourself and put systems in place to achieve those goals that you’ve temporarily placed on the back burner, then head back to work with a new game plan for your career and life. 

I hope this post inspired you to put ‘the grind’ in perspective. Sometimes all you need is to take a break and get outside of yourself, in order to really have a breakthrough. 

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Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season

December 11th, 2017

Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

J.McLaughlin Shirt  c/o || Skirt || Tights || Shoes || Lipstick || Earrings 

Matt and I are officially heading home to Connecticut for the holidays this week, and we have a long list of things we plan to do in Connecticut to get in our holiday cheer. We’ve been looking forward to this trip since October, Matt actually hasn’t been back to Connecticut since August due to work; soooo he’s planning on crunching a lot of activities in for the week he’s home. 

Now, while Matt hasn’t seen Connecticut in a while, I was just there last week and I know for a fact that it is decked out to the T, in holiday decor and festivities. Matt was ecstatic to see our town all decked out via my Instagram stories; so we decided to really take time out of our day to plan out exactly what we want to see and do in Connecticut this holiday season. Whether you are a college student heading back to Connecticut for holiday break or visiting New England for Christmas, Matt and I are here and are going to help you plan the best holiday season yet. 

 I decided to break our Holiday to-do list down to yearly traditions along with day and evening events; to help prioritize our holiday festivities. I hope this list inspires you to take in as much holiday cheer as possible.new england holiday bucket list | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

Yearly Traditions: 


 

Holiday Light Fantasia / Hartford, CT

This is where my family and I head each holiday season to take in the lights. We usually go to First and Last Tavern in Hartford for dinner first and make our way to Holiday Light Fantasia after. It’s beautiful, over a million glittering lights transform Goodwin Park into a drive-through winter wonderland. We always have a bet that the first person to spot a Rudolph has to buy the Dunkin Donuts.

Winterfest Hartford / Hartford, CT

This is a go-to for Matt and I, year after year. Not only is it a tradition for us but it’s actually a Harford tradition in and of itself.  I already stopped by The Bushnell Park Ice Rink early this month, see my visit in this Instagram post, but I can’t help but make another trip down to the rink with Matt. I’m going to try and visit closer to dusk so we can watch the holiday lights of the city, glow.

A Christmas Carole Play / The Hartford Stage, CT

Each year my family and I pile into the car and head out to watch The Christmas Carole at The Harford Stage. Now, while I’m not a huge fan of the play, this is 100% something you should see this holiday season in CT, and it’s an excuse to dress up and head downtown. 

 

Day Time Festivities:


 

Holiday Ice Carving Competition / The Shops At Yale, CT

This event has been on my bucket list all season long. I’m planning on heading down to The Shops at Yale on Saturday, December 9th from 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM, to watch professional ice carvers transform 900lbs of ice into magical sculptures. Oh, and while you are down there make sure to get some holiday shopping in, they have the coolest stores. 

Sleigh Ride at Foxglove Farm / Lyme, CT

Sleigh rides are actually my favorite New England holiday tradition, especially when jingle bells and snow is involved. So when the snow is just right, snuggle under a blanket in a horse-drawn sleigh and glide through the local hills of Lyme Connecticut with your mistletoe ready. If Matt and I go this year, we’ll probably leave the mistletoe at home and trade it in for our videographer, Tessie. Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

THINGS TO DO IN CONNECTICUT THIS HOLIDAY SEASON | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Boxwood Garland and Holiday Decor | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

Night Time Festivities:


 

+ Lantern Light Tours / Mystic, CT

From now until December 24th, Mystic Seaport invites you to their holiday-themed Lantern Light Tours. Stop by for “The Spirit of the Holiday: A Christmas Ghost Story” tour, and be transported into a historical Christmas land, filled with characters and scenes that will fill your lungs with laughter and Christmas cheer. This event is a 70-minute tour includes a ride on a horse-drawn-carriage and moments of pure New England seasonal delight. 

The Nutcracker at the Palace Theater / Stamford, CT

From December 16th to the 17th, make sure to grab tickets to Connecticut Ballet’s annual holiday Nutcracker performance in downtown Stamford! Fun fact about me, I was actually in this performance way back in 2004, as a mini baker. I always say it was a peak holiday moment for me but Matt and my siblings will never let me live it down. 

+Essex Steam Train and Riverboat – Santa Special  / Essex, CT

Every night the Essex Steam Train becomes a stage filled with holiday cheer and Christmas delight. Walk through the different coaches to find live musical performances of The Night Before Christmas, sing-a-longs, hot chocolate, sugar cookies and even a chance to chat with Santa and Mrs. Claus. This event captures the quintessential elements of Christmas as you embark on your magical nighttime journey to the North Pole.

Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

Okay, that wraps up my Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season list. I made sure to list events and activities I go to and adore, however, I’d love to update the post and include some of your holiday festivities. So leave a comment below of a festive tradition and I’ll make sure to add it to the list. xx Aubrey 

Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

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Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting

November 13th, 2017

Vineyard Vines Dress Vineyard Vines Dress c/o || Leopard Flats || 

After visiting Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates my Mom and I drove over to Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen, CT to see what it was all about. Since we had already fit in two hours of blog shooting prior, we spent our time at the vineyard relaxing before venturing inside for some wine tasting. 

When we arrived at the tasting room, we were overwhelmed with a large group of people and some very expensive camera equipment. At first, my Mom and I thought nothing of it. Personally, I figured that the winery must be shooting some promotional videos and just had a large budget to shoot with. Since we were taking pictures at the location too, I had to ask what was going on. Partially because I figured maybe it was a New England based magazine that I could introduce myself too, but mostly because I’m just darn nosey. 

So I walked up to the bartender and asked, ‘what are you guys shooting here’? Low and behold, and you guys might not believe me, it was actually the NETFLIX TEAM. I died right then and there.

Apparently, Netflix was shooting a crime movie for an upcoming Netflix original, just up the road! The bartender went on to tell me that Sunset Meadow Vineyards was a location the Netflix team just happened to stumble upon and wanted to capture a couple of scenes. 

Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6461
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6318
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6498
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6528
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6670

I failed as Sherlock Homes and left with basically no details about the exact movie Netflix was filming and I have yet to come across any news of the movie on the world wide web. So comment below if you know something I don’t! 

To be honest, I was shocked at the way the Netflix team was producing and creating the film. The team seemed low maintenance, spontaneous and kind of running with the punches. Basically, I always pictured Netflix crews as a huge production but this team was using the natural light, a few cameras and way less equipment than I had pictured in my head. 

Anyway, we had unusually warm weather that day so I was able to get away with wearing this Vineyard Vines Diamond Dress along with my Leopard Flats, no tights needed. My mom and I were plenty warm, relaxing on the wooden rocking chairs on the harvest decorated porch. The porch was the perfect place to sit down, catch up and watch the Netflix team’s every move. 

Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6684
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6866
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6674
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 Overall we spent about an hour rocking in our chairs on the porch and trying to enjoy the last warm moments of fall. Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen, CT is really a winery you should all visit. We loved that it was located in the country giving both the wine tasters on the porch and patio scenic views of brilliant and lush fall foliage. There were plenty of tables and chairs for everyone both indoor and out, making the wine tasting experience enjoyable for all. 

Once we were done shooting some pictures and tasting wine, my mom and I piled back into the car and drove a few minutes down the road to downtown Litchfield. The windy New England roads were stunning and the homes garnishing Main Street were just starting to prepare for the holidays with decorations. 

I can’t wait to travel back up to Litchfield County sooner than later and hopefully bring Matt along for the ride, too. Oh and I’d love to hear of any good wineries you all love, leave a comment below with all the details. xx AubreySunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6559

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Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates

November 7th, 2017

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OUTFIT DETAILS

Sweater Suede SkirtMules

Last week, I woke up to an unusually warm November day and called up my Mom to see if she wanted to hit the road to explore. She agreed and we took about an hour ride up to Goshen, CT. In the past, I had heard wonderful things about the little town of Goshen, but most importantly, I heard word of a farm and chocolate factory that I had to see with my own two eyes. 

So yes, I drove an hour for artistry chocolate and yes it was worth every drop of gas. At first, I was expecting a leaf peeping tourist trip. I assumed it would be a huge farm and factory, fully equipped with parking lots and gift shops to boot, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this farm was quaint and literally off a beaten path. The wooden barn and baby cows chopping on hay brought the idea of a quintessential New England country lifestyle to life. 

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Once we pulled up, I jumped out and instantly started capturing pictures of the wooden barn. I must say it was a tad windy, so I was happy to have on my cropped mock neck sweater. I’ve been searching high and low for a more fitted cropped sweaters to pair with skirts, and I was over the moon when I saw this cozy number in Vineyard Vine’s new arrivals. I wore this faux suede skirt with the sweater to complete the look and add a feminine touch. 

Once we walked into the barn we were greeted by Clint and Kimberly, who own and operate the farm. Boy, are these two a power couple if I ever did meet one. Clint seemed to be in charge of the farm side of things, he warmly introduced us to each cow. He then explained how the individual cows produce different tasting milk, which corresponds to the chocolate being handcrafted by his wife Kimberly. 

Clint showed my Mom and I, around the farm including meeting the cutest of farm guests a baby cow. Sadly the baby cow was camera shy otherwise I would’ve taken a whole camera roll of cute pictures. After seeing the baby, Clint introduced us to his longhorn population. 

Who would have thought that Connecticut was a place to breed longhorns, not me. I was pleasantly surprised to see these amazing creatures roaming the fields. They were truly beautiful and I had to snap a few pictures for all you Longhorn fans, or as Matt would say ‘Hook Em’

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After chatting with the Longhorns, my Mom and I made our final stop into the milk house for chocolates. We were warmly greeted by Kimberly the chocolate shop owner, creator, and as I said earlier Clint’s wife. We were instantly overwhelmed with a number of chocolate choices, from classic flavors like raspberry truffles to seasonal flavors like pumpkin; this tiny shop was overflowing with chocolate creativity. 

We had a hard time deciding what to pick, so Kimberly urgently requested us to taste test the sea salt caramels which after taking one bite, I’d confidently say, was the best sea salt caramel I’ve ever eaten. She went on to explain that basically no sugar is added to these rich caramels, but rather the sweetness is completely driven from the cows’ milk. 

After tasting the caramel we had to try some of this sweetened milk. I grabbed a bottle of vanilla bean milk, which included only the cow’s pasteurized milk and vanilla bean. After taking my first sip I was shocked how sweet the milk was and even purchased a few bottles to take home and use as a substitute for coffee creamer. Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5692

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Overall we ended up staying a whopping two hours on the farm, chit-chatting with Kimberly and learning her chocolate story. It was truly a wonderful experience and I’d highly recommend visiting and taking extra time out of your stay to learn about their amazing chocolate making process. 

We left with a full box of chocolates and a belly full of caramel. While at Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates, I tried to capture some video for you all, but sadly my vlogging camera died halfway through. After looking at the footage I was able to pull together a mini vlog! I hope you enjoy the video and make sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel Here

I hope this inspires you to get in the car and explore the amazing New England towns awaiting you! Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly New England travel newsletter! This week we are sharing the ins & outs of Goshen, so don’t forget to sign up here. xx Aubrey 

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Finding the Great Pumpkin in Buffalo Plaid

October 23rd, 2017

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Buffalo Plaid Skirt || Turtleneck || Tights || Boots || Earrings 

This past weekend, I met up with my sister at Pickin’ Patch in Avon to stock up on perfectly shaped pumpkins, for a night of pumpkin carving and apple cider. With Halloween just around the corner, I really wanted to spend this weekend getting into the spirit and practicing my carving skills. We even filmed a pumpkin carving Q&A coming to our youtube channel soon

We were pleasantly surprised with warmer weather, this past weekend in New England, so I decided to wear this buffalo plaid skirt with a light turtleneck and classic black tights.  To be honest buffalo plaid is one of my favorite fall staples hidden within my closet. It is so easy to just throw on and go, which makes my life so easy especially when traveling.

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Fall is my favorite time to explore all the local farm stands of New England. Come September, almost overnight, the local stands go from being stocked with peaches and plums to having rows and rows of mums. Not only do these farm stands make it easy to load up on pumpkins for carving, they’re also usually loaded with fall tricks and treats. 

The Pickin’ Patch was filled to the brim with the tastes of fall. They had warm cider donuts, popcorn kernels designated for popping and need I mention the bags of apples washed and ready to be slowly dipped in hot sticky caramel. Yum. 

Pumpkin picking is kind of a family tradition so I was lucky to have been in Connecticut at the same time my younger sister Sarah was there. We had plenty of time to enjoy the weather and just catch up. Finding the Great Pumpkin in Buffalo Plaid-2876

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After picking out five perfectly shaped pumpkins, we hopped back in the car and headed to Dunkin’ to warm up with some hot coffee. Once we were all caffeinated up, we drove home and immediately printed out some online pumpkin carving templates. Sarah went with this candy themed template, and since my pumpkin was a little wider I picked this large jack-o-lantern print. 

Overall it was the perfect night, a little messy when it came to carving but all in all, perfect. Anyway, I hope all is well with you guys and happy Monday! & make sure to loop back around come Wednesday because we have a really fun surprise coming to the blog! xx Aubrey

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6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England Fall

October 20th, 2017

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Vineyard Vines Sweater c/o || Leopard Shoes || Jeans || Vineyard Vines Tote 

Whether you’re there to get the most aesthetically pleasing fall Instagram or stocking up on apples for some upcoming baking antics, tis the season to grab your crew and head to the orchards. I honestly have the fondest memories of waking up early with my dad, come October, and driving down to Farmer Andy’s apple orchard to check out the trees ripeness; of course all on the way to Dunkin Donuts for some morning munchkins. 

Of course, as soon as my Dad saw that those apples were ripe, he packed up the entire family for an apple picking adventure. It’s kind of sad to admit but we’ve traveled long and far for some much-needed apple picking. Year after year, since starting this New England blog over four years ago, I get asked the same question…’where should I go apple picking while leaf peeping? So after getting several like emails over the past two weeks, I figured it was about time to share my favorite apple orchards with you all.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these images of my most recent trip to Lyman Orchards. Below you’ll find a very detailed list of my six apple orchards you need to visit during New England Fall and DON’T FORGET to sign up for our Weekly New England travel Newsletter, to receive THREE ADDITIONAL orchard locations, I visit year after year.  kay let’s get right to it (the orchards listed below are in no particular order).

Okay, let’s get right to it (the orchards listed below are in no particular order).6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4344.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4353.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4384.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4417.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4430.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4436.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4517.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4550.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4593.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4596.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4817.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4931.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-5050.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-5092.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-5208.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-5236.jpg 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-5303.jpg

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6 Apple Orchards You NEED TO Visit During New England Fall:


 

1) Lyman Orchards / Middlefield, CT 

I love Lyman Orchards, for a few reasons, but mostly being that my high school was just 10 min down the road. After school, Matt and I would head here for an afterschool snack, when we were dating back in high school. They literally have a whole market filled with delicious fall treats. And secondly, I love Lyman Orchards because it’s set on a crisp 1,100 scenic acres in central Connecticut, making it a destination for fall food, apple picking, and fall foliage. 

Matt and I had many dates here in high school, so I might be biased but this apple orchard is by far my favorite. 

Do They Have Cider Donuts? / YES

How many types of apples do they have? / 12 varieties

When are the apples available to be picked? / mid-August to late October

Will there be apple cider? / Obviously!


2) Blue Jay Orchards /  Bethel, CT

With over 140 acres, enjoy a relaxing day of picking apples along with a 20-minute wagon ride through the orchards. Oh and make sure to leave yourself enough time to visit their farmer’s market; it’s filled with apples, bakery goods, pies, jam/jellies, apple cider, and fresh cider donuts.

Do They Have Cider Donuts? / YES!!!

How many types of apples do they have? / 34 varieties

When are the apples available to be picked? / mid-August to late October

Will there be apple cider? / Of Course, They Do!


3) HONEY POT HILL ORCHARDS / STOW, MA

This orchard is 180-acres of family farmland about 44 minutes west of Boston. This orchard is packed to the brim with fall activities. From hayrides to corn mazes, this family farm is booming with the essence of New England fall; and while I hear the apples are crisp and delicious apparently the true hero of Honey Pot Hill Orchards, is the cider donut.

But trust me when I say, waiting in the monstrous donut line is well worth every bite. 

Do They Have Cider Donuts? / YES, GET IN LINE EARLY

How many types of apples do they have? / 8ish varieties

When are the apples available to be picked? / mid-August to late October

Will there be apple cider? / Obviously


 

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4) Bailey’s Orchard / Whitefield ME 

While I’m not exactly sure how large this farm is, I will say that Bailey’s Orchard’s aesthetic is on point. The old wood-shingled barn and cider mill, really do resemble the backbone of New England living, so whether you’re a blogger, photographer or family looking for a photo shoot location; I would highly recommend checking out this farm!

Do They Have Cider Donuts? / YES

How many types of apples do they have? / 50 varieties 

When are the apples available to be picked? / mid-August to mid-October

Will there be apple cider? / Yup, they even have their own cider mill at the farm where they press their own cider without any additives or preservatives


5) Mack’s Apples / Londonderry, N.H 

Mack’s Apples is NH’s oldest family run farm, the farm specializes in apples (over 100 acres), peaches, pears, pumpkins, as well as local maple syrup, pies, and honey. This farm, and store, is devoted to bringing you a local New England experience, which means filling its shelves with local products and New Hampshire hospitality. If you haven’t planned a leaf peeping trip yet, I’d highly recommend adding this stop to your itinerary. 

Do They Have Cider Donuts? / YES

How many types of apples do they have? / 7 varieties 

When are the apples available to be picked? / mid-August to late-October

Will there be apple cider? / Of Course


6) Scott Farm Orchard / Dummerston, Vermont!

I feel like a quintessential New England fall isn’t complete without a trip to Vermont, am I right?! Last year, Matt and I made a pit stop at Scott Farm Orchard, and I’m eager to go back this year. Matt and I actually found this location on Instagram one day and decided to take a spontaneous road trip. 

Truth be told, I fell in love with this 571-acre farm as soon as we had the car in park. Oh, and the best part about this farm is that it has been active since 1791 and is actually registered as a Historic Place; which is right up my alley and TCC’s aesthetic. 

Do They Have Cider Donuts? / Yes

How many types of apples do they have? / 125 varieties (WOW)!

When are the apples available to be picked? / mid-August to late October

Will there be apple cider? / Yes

 

Now I haven’t had the joy of visiting EVERY apple orchard so if I missed one of your favorites, please leave a comment below so I can check it out. But first, DON’T FORGET to sign up for our Weekly New England travel Newsletter, to receive those FOUR ADDITIONAL orchard locations, in this Sunday’s newsletter. xx Aubrey 6 Apple Orchards to Visit During New England in Fall-4517

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5 Best Corn Mazes to Visit in CT

October 2nd, 2017

5 Best Corn Mazes in CT - The Coastal ConfidenceIt’s that time of year, the once vibrant green corn stalks are now officially a golden crispy brown which can only mean one thing…corn mazes are ready for fall. One of my favorite memories of New England fall is going to visit my Auntie Paula in Somers, along with my brother and two younger sisters, to make our way through the gigantic corn maze on Scantic Valley Farm. 

We would usually park our car at her house, grab some apple cider, slip on our wool gloves and march into the maze one by one. Corn mazes were a tradition for our family, sometimes it ended in hot cocoa, sometimes it ended in someone crying because they got lost and sometimes it ended in us fighting over which way to turn, but come thick or thin the four of us marched into a corn maze year after year. 

Now, I still go to corn mazes with my siblings today but I also love going on double dates, girls against guys obviously, or even with a group of friends. It’s actually a great way to get outside, work your brainpower and most importantly it’s always a competition and I LOVE a good competition.  

So today, I figured I’d list what I believe are the best mazes in Connecticut. 

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5 Best Corn Mazes to Visit in CT:

1) Scantic Valley Farm Corn Maze – Summers, CT: Open September 23rd through October 29th, this 8-acre maze is Hocus Pocus themed! After the maze, Scantic Valley Farm has much more to offer like, a scenic hayride, pumpkin patches worth picking, and delicious CT Grown foods to satisfy your appetite. 

2) Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm Corn Maze – Moosup, CT: This twisting corn maze is open to the public from September through October. While I personally hate all things spooky and scary, my friends love attending their night maze. I’m a hard pass on getting lost in a maze at night, but if you’re interested it is open October 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th from 6 PM to 9 PM flashlights required. 

3) Preston Farms – Preston, CT: This year’s corn maze is all about trains, and boy is it tricky. I’ve officially gotten lost in the maze. I mean so lost that I just broke all the rules and jumped out of the maze via not an exit, after two hours of wandering around and being gone astray. I would say this one is by far the hardest.

4) Castle Hill Farm – Newton, CT: This farm celebrated its 90th year this past weekend, making this maze a yearly tradition for many New Englanders. With 30 stamp locations spread out throughout the maze, it’s your job to hit all the spots before your rival does; which might take some time as this maze spans over seven acres. 

5) Foster Farm – South Windsor, CT: If you’re a UConn student, gather your roommates and head to South Windsor, this year’s corn maze at Foster Farm is UConn Husky themed. This farm not only has mazes but also has an area where you can pick your own pumpkins and purchase mums for the season. 

Okay, that’s it. I’ve already been to three out of the five of those corn mazes so far this year. I’d love to hear which corn maze is your favorite within New England, leave all suggestions below! 

xx Aubrey

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