July

For the longest time, I've had this fascination with hot air balloons. There's something captivatingly beautiful, yet terrifying about them. Every so often I'll see one from a distance and it'll hold my gaze for a while, and then I always think to myself "I want to ride in one".  

This summer, me and Sam got the chance to go up to Stowe, VT and actually experience a hot air balloon festival. Let me tell you, seeing them from a distance is one thing - seeing them unpackaged, blown up and released in front of your eyes is another. We didn't ride in one (i'll be honest and say it freaks me out a bit), but we got to watch a beautiful release of endless balloons on a crisp summer morning, and that in itself was magical. 

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Later in the month, I was visited by two of my greatest friends. Two wonderful people who wanted to experience New England at its finest. They took a bus in from NYC and I picked them up in Boston about mid-day. We got back to my place, had dinner and within a few hours decided that we wanted to see the sun rise on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, and the next morning would be the only time we could do it. 

FUN FACT: Cadillac Mountain is the very first place in America to see the sun rise in the morning. 

I had done this last year for the first time with my cousin, and it was an amazing experience - click here to see photos. Knowing it would be well worth the drive and exhaustion, we picked up some breakfast food, hopped in a car filled with pillows, blankets, and twizzlers, and left at 10:30pm to drive overnight to wake up on Cadillac. 

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We got to the top of the mountain at about 3:30, set all the alarms, and shut our eyes for a quick nap. What seemed like 10 minutes later, we woke up and stepped outside. 

We unfortunately ended up with a foggy morning and didn't get to see much of a sunrise. Being the "host" and wanting them to experience what I did the first time, I kept apologizing for the sun, as if I had some say in the weather. Regardless, something about being up there is beautiful in itself and it was an amazing morning. The fog and clouds created some beautiful colors and we were all happy just being with each other and experiencing such beauty and stillness. 

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The day following our Acadia adventure consisted of a lazy beach day to recoup from previous exhaustion. 

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Final note: my friends Brittany and Janea are lovely, beautiful human beings. 

Chelsea Ruggiero