Top 10 Photographs of 2016

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Combing through all of my photos from this past year has been a trip. I’ve been to so many incredible places, have met and spent time with equally incredible people- and have been fortunate enough to occasionally just be in right moment at the right time to catch a perfect shot. Narrowing down hundreds of photos to just ten, and then ranking them proved to be quite a challenge- but this is one of two year-end traditions here on ‘Legally Redhead’. The other, my “In a Nutshell” post that will summarize 2016 in it’s excruciatingly long entirety- will be up tomorrow! I wanted to do this the right way, after all!

All but two of these photos were taken by me (and the two in question have me in them and were taken by other people)– and most are from my travels around New England and across the country this past year. It’s been a lot of fun re-visiting those moments and memories as I organized these pictures for this post- and I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do!

Without further delay, here are my ten favorite photographs from 2016.

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#10: Coney Island (July 5th)

In the early, sunny morning hours following the 4th- my best friend Sean and I hopped a train bound to New York City for a day out together. The original plan had been to try and get a crazy elaborate milkshake at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer and maybe hang around Central Park for a while- but we ended up riding the subway all the way to Coney Island, instead. I had never been- and Sean hadn’t been since he was a kid.

On the agenda was riding the famous and historic Cyclone roller coaster and strolling the boardwalk for a couple of hours. The weather was perfect, it wasn’t too crowded- and I snapped this quick photo of the Cyclone before we headed back to the subway so we could catch a quick dinner near Grand Central Station before our train departed for home. This is a nice memento from such a beautiful day.

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#9: Negan(ette) & Eugene (July 30th)

Some of the most fun I had in 2016 was cosplaying as Negan from ‘The Walking Dead’, and when you combine that aforementioned fun with the hilarity that Josh McDermitt (who plays Eugene on the show) brings each and every time he’s in town- you’ve got the making for a pretty epic photo- even if the roles are reversed and he’s the one holding Lucille! This phone selfie, taken by Josh, was taken at the ‘Walker Stalker’ convention this past Summer when it rolled through Boston for a long weekend. It was my first time wearing my Negan costume- and it was a big hit.

There were a lot of photos from that weekend- but this is by far my favorite. It never fails to make me grin. I had so much fun and I can’t wait to go back next year if it returns to Boston!

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#8: Last Night in The Chelsea Apartment (July 23rd)

I swear, not all of my favorite photos are from July of this past year- but a lot was going on then- including saying goodbye to the beautiful apartment in Chelsea following some unforeseen circumstances with the landlord selling the place and booting all the tenants out per the buyer/developer’s request. After a “moving out” party, which involved my friends and I eating way too much pizza and drinking way too much alcohol- I snapped this photo at sunset from the balcony that overlooked the Mystic River, the Tobin Bridge, and the Boston skyline. It had been unbelievably hot out that night- and a thunderstorm was blowing in from the West- making the sky explode with pinks, purples and oranges.

It was a bittersweet scene, really- and I couldn’t think of a better send-off to a place my friends and I hung out hats for years and years.

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#7: “Didn’t they film The Shining here?” (April 23rd)

Back in the beginning of Spring, Sean and I decided to take a weekend road trip up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and spend a couple of days at the (allegedly haunted) Mount Washington Hotel- which eerily resembled The Overlook Hotel from “The Shining”. The history of the hotel is fascinating, and the entire place was stunning inside and out- complete with a former speakeasy-turned-fully-functioning-bar, restaurants, a cafe, movie theater, arcade, indoor swimming pool, spacious conference areas, etc.- and Sean and I opted to stay up all hours to explore as much as we could in-between zip-lining over and repelling down huge trees in the still-snowy mountains.

This photo was taken on our last day at the resort, from across the road that leads up to the hotel. I thought it was such a beautiful scene with the mountains looming behind it. I’d love to go back in 2017!

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#6: Overlooking The Atlantic (January 1st)

I spent last New Year’s Eve and this past New Year’s Day on the island of Nantucket- drinking champagne, dancing the night away, and then trekking through the quiet cobblestone streets and taking in the views of the big, beautiful houses and the ocean until it was time to catch a ferry back to my car in Hyannis. Sean captured this photo of me by one of the lighthouses on the island and I think it sums up the “aimless wanderer and avid traveler” part of my personality perfectly- beanie on my head and backpack stuffed with my belongings.

Even though it was January, we were on the waterfront, and it was cloudy out- the weather wasn’t too chilly or windy that day- and it felt nice being outdoors. I miss Nantucket, and since it’s technically the off-season for tourists, I think I’ll head back for a visit soon!

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#5: Stop & Enjoy The Foliage (October 11th)

After a stressful Summer and a long return flight home from San Diego a few days earlier, it felt nice to take a day to stroll through the pretty, picturesque New England Autumn scenery- which always brings me so much calm and comfort. I stopped to take this photo on a cloudless, brisk afternoon hike through Sudbury, Massachusetts before heading to a friend’s apartment for dinner plans we had made. While most of the trees were only just starting to turn various shades of oranges, reds and yellows- this one was already in full-blown Fall mode- and I thought it looked gorgeous against the blue sky.

When I eventually leave New England- it’s days like that one that I will miss the most.

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#4: San Diego After Dark (October 5th)

On my last night of my Fall vacation in San Diego, during one of my usual “but I don’t want to leave!” bouts of sadness at the prospect of having to return to chilly Massachusetts the following morning- I went for a late night stroll around downtown and The Gaslamp Quarter and came across these illuminated palm trees not far from the convention center (where San Diego Comic-Con is held.) There wasn’t another single soul around apart from me, so I basked in the light and their leaves and snapped this photo with my cell phone to look back on whenever I got homesick for the West Coast.

It was a lovely night and an unexpected find to wrap up my trip.

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#3: The Most Bizarre Snowstorm Imaginable (February 5th)

Growing up in New England, I’m no stranger to unusual and unpredictable weather. Blizzards? Heat waves? Tornadoes? Hurricanes? I’ve seen just about everything- but the freakish snowstorm that blew through the area in early February and covered EVERYTHING with a heavy blanket of snow that stuck to the trees like glue was something new to me. I captured this photo in my mother’s driveway, where literally INCHES of snow clung to every single part of every single branch instead of simply falling to the ground- making her neighborhood look like a weird, cartoon version of a Winter wonderland.

High winds blew all of that snow off the branches that very same night- but it was really neat looking as the sun began to set and this is one of my favorite photos I took of it as I was losing daylight. It really was something to behold.

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#2: “I see London…” (September 30th)

What can I say about my Vegas trip at the end of September, apart from that it was incredible? Seeing one of my favorite bands perform one of my favorite albums at the venue it was named after was just surreal- and sharing the experience with people I simply adore and cherish and who have become lifelong friends and family made it all the better. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Sam’s Town sign with the marquee advertising The Killers weekend performances there. I completely had a fangirl moment the very first time that I saw it (I had never been before!) and needed to commemorate the occasion.

Side Note: Don’t ever drink too much whiskey in Sam’s Town. Yikes. I’m still feeling that one.

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#1: “The Echoes They Left Behind…” (October 18th)

Leave it to me to have something completely morbid and maybe a little depressing at the top of the list- but I’m still not over this discovery of discarded grave markers Sean and I found thrown away in the woods on the outskirts of what was formerly the Danvers State Hospital/Asylum. Each marker represents a person with a past, a life, a family somewhere- and their death- and to see these things just heaved into the woods like trash was a sobering moment for me. I’ve been photographing abandoned buildings and places for years- and sometimes you see some pretty messed up stuff- but this admittedly got to me and made me a bit emotional.

I took this photo not only because I couldn’t believe what I had seen- but as a reminder that those who lived and died within Danvers’ walls shouldn’t be forgotten.

And there they are- my top ten photographs from the year. Looking back, I really did travel to some gorgeous and exciting places- a tradition I hope to continue well into 2017 where I plan to take even more pictures and make it even harder on myself to narrow them down come the New Year’s Eve before 2018 starts- but I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

Here’s to documenting the finer moments of 2016 and keeping the memories they’ve left in my heart and mind forever!

xx

New Year in Nantucket.

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Good morning and Happy New Year, everyone! Although we’re only a couple of short days into 2016- I’m already having such a tremendous amount of fun. Last night was spent in the company of some of my closest and dearest friends at a delicious dinner in Rhode Island for our annual (but very belated!) Friendsgiving/Friends-Mas/Few-Beers-Eve party. It’s not often we can conveniently gather eighteen people in a room to have a sit-down meal together- but we pulled it off and I’m so glad we did! It was a wonderful way to wind down after a hectic holiday season.

Today I’m heading into work to kick off what is sure to be a busy and productive month at my job, but I wanted to share some photos from this past New Year’s Eve- where my best friend Sean and I traveled to Nantucket to ring in the New Year in dazzling style!

After nearly missing our 5 p.m. ferry (gotta’ love I-93 traffic jams)– Sean and I set sail on Thursday evening from Hyannis to the shores of Nantucket- and specifically- The Nantucket Hotel, where we had tickets to the resort’s ‘A Night to Remember’ ball to welcome the new year and an overnight reservation to stay in one of the hotel’s beautiful and spacious rooms.

From the moment Sean and I entered the hotel for the first time (a quick walk from the docks) the staff at the Nantucket Hotel were so friendly, accommodating, and fun. Everyone was in such high spirits and it was impossible not to smile and laugh right along with them.

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The room itself- located in a separate wing away from the rest of the hotel- was perfect for Sean and I. It was quiet, cute, and had a big modern bathroom that the two of us didn’t have to fight over. The rubber ducky by the sink- and the handwritten card (with a little box of chocolate covered raisins!) that was waiting for us on one of the dressers was a nice touch, too.

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I had been under the impression that the ball Sean and I were scheduled to attend following what would prove to be one of the most incredibly delicious dinners I’ve ever eaten in my almost thirty years on this Earth (I’m still craving the butternut bisque. I couldn’t get over it. I almost licked my bowl- that’s how good it was!)– was an early 1900’s themed gala. As it turned out- the evening was inspired by ‘Titanic’. From the White Star Line menu (and the little “Heart of the Ocean” necklace chocolates that were placed on our plates!) to the ballroom-turned-first class promenade deck, or the staff dressed to the nines in their best crew member and ship officer ensembles- to the actual movie ‘Titanic’ being projected on one of the exterior sides of the building- I was stunned and floored in the best way possible at how much effort and detail was put into every conceivable aspect of the evening. It was awe-inspiring.

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And despite the mix-up with the night’s theme- Sean and I were thankfully still dressed quite dapper for the occasion, if I do say so myself! Special shout-out and thank you to Troy who surprised me by gifting me with the vintage cigarette holder I held onto all night. He saw it in an antique shop and thought it would go perfect with my outfit. I love it.

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The ball was filled with folks in the most incredible costumes I’ve ever seen (I especially loved the guy who was walking around with a ‘RMS Titanic’ life preserver on), and the very talented and energetic live band that entertained us all with big band classics and modern favorites did not stop to rest until their final song shortly after 1 a.m. when the event was coming to a close. I danced, drank champagne, ate one-too-many macarons from the dessert buffet, hammed it up in the photo booth set up in one corner of the ballroom and swooned over Jack and Rose’s tragic romance as it graced screens all over the room until the final seconds of 2015 counted down- and into the confetti-covered wee morning hours of January 1st, 2016. (No, they didn’t flood the ballroom at the stroke of midnight to keep up with the theme of the evening.)

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I had the time of my life.

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Sean and I, wanting to get a head start on our New Year’s Day- went to bed shortly after the event ended so that we could get up early enough to enjoy breakfast in the resort (which was also really, really good) and do a little exploring around Nantucket before we had to catch our ferry back to the mainland. Of course, with the area being a mostly Summer-friendly travel destination and the day being a holiday for most people- many businesses and restaurants were closed for the day/season. After stopping by the Brant Point lighthouse to take some photos and the docks for a brisk (and windy!) stroll- we were able to hang our hats and warm up with lattes at the Handlebar Cafe for a little while until we once again headed out to do some exploring.

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After walking down a bike path that I hadn’t spotted during my last visit to Nantucket, Sean and I came across the above-pictured Quaker burial ground just as it was starting to lightly snow/drizzle on the island. Loving historical finds like this, I took a couple of photos of the moss-covered markers alongside the worn down fence before the two of us headed back downtown to charge our phones and grab an early dinner at The Bean (awesome sandwiches!) until we made our way over to the Steamship Authority to catch our ferry and head home.

I’m sometimes superstitious, and I remember hearing somewhere along the way that the manner in which you ring in the New Year and how you spend the first day of the year in terms of your attitude and ambitions is supposedly indicative to how the remainder of your year will be. If that is indeed true- then 2016 is looking pretty promising already. I had an absolute blast greeting it, and the first of the year was a relaxing, serene, peaceful and simply beautiful way to kick it off.

I’m so excited to see what else is in store for the comings days, weeks and months!

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xx

Christmas in Nantucket

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Although I am no stranger to Cape Cod, often visiting a couple of times every other Summer and sporadically throughout the “off-season” (see: Fall/Winter months), it’s been a really, really long time since I stepped foot on the island of Nantucket. So long, in fact- that I can’t quite remember when it actually was. I obviously must have been little the last time I ventured out that way- because my return trip there near the end of last week to visit my cousin who is currently residing and studying on the island was like seeing the small, seaside community with fresh, new eyes for the very first time.

The great thing about beach communities around Christmastime is that they are rarely, if ever crowded. You can walk down the streets without bumping into a handful of people (or a ton of tourists) at any direction and the shops, restaurants, and attractions that remain open year-round are usually priced much more fairly as opposed to mid-June or July when rates go up as available space in hotels or places to eat go down.

But the best part about visiting a beach community this time of year- and specifically Nantucket, which is just gorgeous in it’s own right with it’s cobblestone streets and very old and historic homes and neighborhoods- is that you get to marvel at the beautiful holiday decor the locals take the time to set up.

After hopping off the ferry from Hyannis and greeting my cousin on the dock- my day on the island was essentially a non-stop walking tour through Nantucket’s historic downtown shopping district, along the waterfront and surrounding docks (where I got to see firsthand exactly how seagulls hunt for food and dear God- is it brutal and fascinating at the same time!), and beside a festive-looking and fully-functioning lighthouse.

The weather was unusually warm and sunny for most of the day (I didn’t need a jacket over my sweater!) which made my visit even more enjoyable since I wasn’t freezing with every step I took.

We also stopped for a delicious early dinner at the Rose and Crown as the sun began to set and the temperatures gradually began to drop little by little and before I had to catch my ferry back to the mainland. If anyone visiting the area stops by- I highly recommend their grilled cheeses and bacon jam baguette sandwich- which is what I ordered and proceeded to wolf down shamelessly since it was so good. I think I’ll have to attempt to make my own one of these days.

All in all, I had a beautiful day. It was wonderful to see my cousin again and spend a good amount of time with her since her initial move there a couple of months ago- and I have fallen completely in love with Nantucket. I plan on visiting again shortly after the New Year and hopefully spending an extended weekend there to do more exploring (and shopping!)

Below are just a few of my favorite photos I snapped throughout my stay- but they don’t do the island nearly enough justice. It’s such a beautiful, peaceful place- and many of the locals I encountered were unbelievably friendly!

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xx