Easter in Texel, The Netherlands

Usually I spend the long Easter weekend in London (see here and here) but this year, I decided to switch it up. I’m headed over to the UK for the Royal Ascot in June, so I’ll still be seeing all of my London friends then, on a slightly belated schedule this year :) And to be honest, I’ve been traveling so much for work as of late, the thought of cramming all of my belongings into yet another suitcase, braving Schiphol, and hopping on an airplane in my downtime sounded tiring and unappealing. And so as the long Easter weekend slowly crept up, I decided to stay local. IMG_4586Luckily, my guy friend ;) was also stark on plans, and so we started toying around with the idea of taking a road trip up to Texel, an island in the north of Holland marked by endless dunes and white sandy beaches.  Continue reading

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Baby Goat Farm, Amsterdam

We all have a happy place. My mom’s happy place is on the beach, toes dug firmly in the sand. My Dad’s happy place is on the family room couch, eating Cheez-Its and watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees on TV. My little sister Jess finds bliss while cruising around in her car, classical music blaring. And my sister Liz comes alive in the front of a classroom, with dozens of young, eager eyes following her lessons. I guess you could say I’m a bit of an odd ball, as my happy place just so happens to be a goat farm.

Last summer was tough. I went through an intense breakup, and settled into life alone in Holland. But in all actuality, I wasn’t alone. I was surrounded by wonderful friends who felt like family – who encouraged me to try new things and embark on new adventures. About a year ago, my dear friend Bex, having also recently experienced the woes of heartbreak, took me out to her happy spot – Amsterdam’s (well, Amstelveen’s) very own goat farm. IMG_7819The goat farm is located in the Amsterdam Bos, and is referred to as the Geitenboerderij Ridammerhoeve (say that in Dutch ten times fast!)  Continue reading

Hardy Farm Wedding Update

A few months back I told you all about our wedding venue hunt. We were on the lookout for a romantic and authentic Maine barn to tie the knot in. Eventually, we settled on Hardy Farm. Even though the venue was ideal, it was a difficult decision to make as we live overseas and could not see the venue in person. My parents kindly acted as our eyes, driving up to Fryeburg and gushing on about how great Hardy Farm truly was. So we took a leap of faith and put down a deposit, and then waited about six months before we were actually able to see the venue for ourselves! Our Christmas in Maine was really special, and seeing Hardy Farm for the first time is just one of the many happy reasons why.

I took a lot of photos while I was there, so I thought I would do a Hardy Farm wedding update for any brides who are also interested in the venue. As the snow was knee-deep, I didn’t take many photos of the property outside, but I took ample photos inside the farm-house and the barn. The drive up was relaxing, it’s a little over an hour from my parent’s house in Scarborough, tucked away in the White Mountains. P1030312If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a winter wedding at Hardy Farm could be for you. There are lots of ski slopes and winter sporting resorts nearby.P1030326P1030333There are also Christmas tree farms and big frozen lakes, among other things.

When we pulled into Hardy Farm, I was immediately convinced it was the right venue. Everything was covered in snow, and the farm-house was decorated with in red bows and old-fashioned sleighs. It was a romantic winter wonderland. I can only imagine how glorious the grounds must be when they transform in the spring. P1030457I didn’t take any photos of the outside, due to the cold, but you can check it out on their website here. We started our tour inside the house, leaving the best (the barn) for last.P1030337P1030345Every little detail was charming, from the pillow shams down to the decor on the night table. P1030341P1030351

At Hardy Farm there are 7 bedroom in total. Each bedroom has a modern bathroom, and most of them have a jacuzzi (hello wedding night funtimes!) There’s also a communal dining room, living room, den, kitchen, and reading nook, not to mention a sun porch and stone patio.

P1030380P1030408P1030378P1030473There’s even a massage parlor, with a built-in sauna.P1030404Attached to the Farm House is the Apartment, where my parents will stay and the bridal party will get ready. It has a separate bedroom, kitchen, living room, and dinning area, ideal for hiding out and drinking mimosas before the wedding!P1030392 P1030390After we toured the house, we headed into the barn. I caught a peek of it while walking up into the apartment, and my first thought was it looks just like the photosP1030412 P1030438The barn is white washed and dreamy. It’s where B and I will have our first dance as a married couple. Here we will drink champagne and cut our wedding cake and break it down to Call Me Maybe until 1am :)P1030444 P1030440P1030415I still can’t get my head around it. That we will get married here. That all of the people we love and care about will be in this room, at Hardy Farm, celebrating with us. So far, getting married has been very surreal. Planning from abroad, making lists, excel sheets, cold calls, and bookmarking web pages. There’s a lot of hard work and then suddenly in one awesome day everything comes into fruition. Visiting Hardy Farm made our wedding day seem much more real, and has given me something to fantasize about in the meantime!
P1030427If you have any questions about Hardy Farm or are another Hardy Farm bride, I would love to chat!! Please feel free to use the comment section below – I am happy to answer questions about the venue, vendors, Greg and Deborah (who have both been an absolute delight to work with), etc.

You can check out my original post on Maine Barn Weddings here.

xo Ali