Writing A Blog, A Lifetime Adventure

narrow street in bruges, belgium

Little treasures discovered while exploring the back roads of life” is the tag line that I created when I started my blog Back Road Journal nine years ago. The journal is where I share my passion for food, travel and the good things in life that I encounter with readers like youself. Much has changed in my life, as well as in the world, as I start my 10th year of blogging so I thought I might go back and reminisce.

narrow street in bruges, belgium
Bruges, Belgium Where You Can Touch Buildings On Both Sides Of A Narrow Street

I’ve written my posts from three homes, a farm in New Hampshire, a summer cottage in Maine and now from our home in a small resort town on the east coast of Florida. Each different location has influenced what I have shared over the years in my journal.

summer cottage in Maine
Our Summer Lakeside Cottage In Maine

My first post was composed while sitting on a weathered Adirondack chair on the back deck of our summer lakeside cottage in Naples, Maine. I had read every book I could find about blogging but the tech talk seemed like a foreign language to me. I finally wrote a short article but hesitated to push the publish button. My husband looked over and said “just do it”. As they say, the rest is history.

The big events in Naples were the 4th of July Parade and the annual classic wooden boat show. I had only been blogging for two months when my post about the Antique and Classic Wooden Boat and Car Show was Freshly Pressed by WordPress…I was thrilled!

Most of our summers were spent outdoors on the lake or on back roads as we discovered what makes New England such a special part of our country. Camden, Rockport, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park were all just a few hours away from our cottage which made for easy exploring. The region is delightful with quaint villages, light houses along its rugged coastline and offshore islands just waiting to be discovered.

Click on any photo to enlarge and see a slide show. 

Summers always included simple, good foods such as lobster rolls, BLT sandwiches with tomatoes fresh from our garden and blueberry pie eaten on the deck or enjoyed at one of the restaurants in town just a few minutes walk from the cottage.

Three years into blogging, I wrote a post on Growing Tomatoes Successfully that was also Freshly Pressed by WordPress. The different varieties of heirloom tomatoes were started in my potting shed in New Hampshire and then taken, along with a variety of herbs to Maine to be planted in our small garden on Memorial Day. I have to say that they were the best tomatoes we have ever eaten…oh how I miss their fantastic homegrown flavor.

Come September, the dock was pulled, the boat and jet ski stored and the cottage winterized as it was time to head back to our historic 1730’s home in New Hampshire. Fall had arrived, the leaves were turning gold and crimson, the weather was cool and it was time to start harvesting the apples in our orchard.

I felt like Martha Stewart each fall when we returned to the farm. Time was spent picking apples and pears and pies, cakes and cookies were baked. Cider was pressed, apple wine was made and apple sauce  simmered on the stove in our keeping room kitchen.

Fall quickly turned into winter, beautiful but harsh. Christmas was especially wonderful living in New England as it felt like you were a part of an old Currier and Ives print that many of you might be familiar with.

Three years into my blog, I received an email from the editor of Country Woman magazine. She had come across Back Road Journal and a post about my kitchen. She asked if I would like to write an article for their 2014 Christmas issue. Be still my heart! The magazine gave me permission to write a blog post about the experience of having the magazine photograph the kitchen after the Christmas issue was published.

kitchen featured in country woman magazine
Our Kitchen Featured In The Christmas Edition Of Country Woman Magazine

Seven of the nine years blogging have featured trips to Europe, six being road trips featuring the countries of France, Italy, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic and one cruise from London to Barcelona.

You might wonder what happened in 2014 and 2015 that kept us from traveling. We sold our sweet cottage in Maine and then our wonderful historic New Hampshire farm because we were having a house built for us in Vero Beach, Florida. We sold most of our belongings and moved back to Florida where we had lived years before.

During that time, I wrote about how to have a barn sale, how to get ready to move and even how to cope with crutches…yes, I broke my foot just as the farm was put on the market.

No matter where we have lived or where we have traveled, one thing has remained a constant and that is good food. Whether a burger cooked on the grill or a multi course meal in a three star Michelin restaurant, the appreciation of good food has always played a big part on Back Road Journal.

 

I haven’t written much about Florida other than to let you see how different life is when you change latitudes. Since we’ve moved south, there is no snow and no climbing a ladder to prune and pick apples trees. It’s been replaced with sun, palm trees and tropical flowers.

Perhaps you might think my life isn’t as interesting as it used to be and maybe so. What it has become is more simple and that is the reason we moved. I enjoy our new life in Florida and all the wonderful friends that my husband and I have made but I’m thankful for all the years spent in lovely New England…they are memories that will last a lifetime.

Over the years of writing this blog, I’ve used three cameras, three computers and worked with numerous operating systems. Now as I start my 10th year, WordPress is dropping the editing system I’ve always used. I’ve adjusted to changes over the years but if you don’t see me around for a little while, you will know that my technical abilities are making life a little challenging but I won’t stop blogging. If you are a new reader…welcome and I hope you return. If you have been following me for all these years, thank you for your friendship and comments, they are always appreciated.

Wherever I am in the world, you can be sure that I’ll have a camera and a computer by my side so that I can continue to share my passion for food, travel and the good things…the little treasures that make life enjoyable.

 

 

 

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

58 thoughts on “Writing A Blog, A Lifetime Adventure

  1. Karen it has been a pleasure to follow you for all these years. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I have been absent from the blogging world for a while but really do hope to dive back in soon. Much has changed and I have spent most of my time posting daily on Instagram. But I feel the pull back to blogging for my tenth year this fall. Many congrats and here’s to many more years.

  2. I bet you miss the tomatoes in the garden, but perhaps not all the apple picking. Your New England homes were beautiful, but so is life by the beach. Great memories indeed!

  3. I always enjoy reading your blog and lovely to look back over the years I’ve been following it. Florida looks wonderful and I look forward to more blog posts from you in the future 🙂

  4. It’s been wonderful following your blog and your adventures. Thank you for all the good tips you gave us. I still remember the restaurant you recommended in Munich. Keep on blogging.

    1. I can imagine how your downsizing and transitioning to a new home with less work and less responsibility feels like. We sold our big property in Bar Harbor last year and moved into s condo in Portland. My only regret is having to leave my (grown from a nut) hazelnut behind – just when it had a nur for the first time.
      Not much traveling now, alas!

  5. Congrats on your blogging longevity. We started blogging at around the same time, and you’re one of my oldest blogging friends. I’ve enjoyed all the back roads you’ve taken us on, and look forward to discovering new ones. Thanks for being you.

  6. Hi Karen, lovely walk through nine years of life and blogging. Congratulations on a life well lived and wishing you many more fun times. Florida isn’t THAT boring!! If you post nothing more than recipes and beautiful photos I will be happy.

    If you are referring to the new Gutenberg Block Editor, don’t worry. Just play around on a post and you will figure it out.

  7. Congrats on your anniversary. Nice summary post of your beautiful homes, delicious recipes, wonderful trips and adventures you’ve experienced over the past ten years. Just so you know you’re not alone, I’m not looking forward to this WordPress change at all. It seems painful that it would fall right in the middle of the pandemic when nothing is normal. Couldn’t they have waited a couple of months until a few things settled down? 🙂

  8. I loved this post, Karen. I think I’ve only been following you for five years give or take, so a lot of this is new and so delightful! I love all the photos, seeing your homes, old and new. And of course the beautiful stories. I look forward to 10 years more. (Good luck with WP. Blogger is also changing things in June and I’m not optimisic!)

  9. Karen, this was so fun touring memory lane. The fabulous part as I remember many of these posts as we have been with you for a long time. Don’t be discouraged by gutenburg. I put it off for the longest time but it really is intuitive. It took me a bit longer for the first few posts but now it is like second nature. Best to start now so that you are comfortable when the change is implemented. Take Care and stay well.

  10. Congratulations on your blogging anniversary! I remember you blogging from your summer retreat in Maine and from your lovely farmhouse in New Hampshire and realise I have ‘known’ you for years! 😃 I especially love hearing about your travels and culinary adventures in Europe and your photos are always wonderful. So I do hope you will be able to make a trip again next year when things have normalized. All the best!

  11. Just been scrolling through your recent blogs – my you are one busy lady! Thoroughly enjoyed the retrospective “how I got here” in your latest blog. Like you and so many others I can’t wait for things to get back to normal, would love to see Maine as well as to return to Washington State, let alone to get to New Zealand to see my son!

  12. It’s so good to look back at reminisce. You’ve been such a consistent presence blogging and I always enjoying reading your posts Karen.

  13. Karen, you’ve led a worthwhile life. You’ve never been afraid to move on and sample new experiences. Thanks for taking us all along for the ride. 👏

  14. Sincere congratulations on the past and the present of you having been there to join us into one of the largest circles in the blogworld. Personally I have been ‘with’ you visiting in all three homes . . . was surprised to see myself commenting on tomatoes way back in 2013 Looking back, over eight years plus in my case, it was interested how far back many have ben with you . . . at the same time wondering how some of those then beloved but lost in the maelstrom of bloglife life have fared. . . . . as the years have passed I too have discovered how strong the online threads can become . . . best for raising one of the voices in tis powerful medium . . . may you feel like doing so for years to come . . .

  15. You are a sensational blogger, Karen–you take us all over the world and share so much. The recipes, which are influenced by your travels, are perfect for Pinning and trying…and I’ve done that many times.

    I’m so glad and grateful you hit that Publish key. I did, too, 11 years ago! And I’m happy we both continue to blog when so many have fallen off.

    Jane ❤️

  16. I think your Freshly Pressed tomatoes post was how I first discovered your blog. 🙂 I always enjoy reading your posts, with your lovely descriptions and photos of your travels. I hope the situation will calm down (trying to be optimistic!) and you’ll be able to travel again soon.

  17. Nice recap Karen and I’m glad you are continuing to post. I wonder if you ever regret not keeping the Maine cottage as a place to beat the summer heat in FL.

  18. I really enjoyed reading about your blogging adventure Karen! I am coming up on year 9 in August and can’t imagine life without blogging now. I feel funny cooking without taking photos! It is amazing to look back at our blogs over the years and remember things we might have forgotten, revisit places and things we’ve enjoyed, having a scrapbook at our finger tips! I can relate to your experience of changing lifestyles dramatically when you moved from New England to Florida, I was born in Connecticut, and one of my favorite memories was going to the apple stand in the fall for fresh apple cider. We moved to Los Angeles when I was 12, and I never missed the snowy freezing winters! After marrying a guy from Alabama, I once again changed environments pretty drastically, and feel so lucky to have experienced living in different parts of our country. I am struggling with the Block Editor too, and I think we will still be able to use classic, fingers crossed!
    Jenna

  19. Love the trip down and back through memory lane. I have loved your travels, your love of good food, time spent in “your” garden and your wonderful sense of humor. I am looking forward the next 10 years! Thanks
    Bishop

  20. Such wonderful reminiscences, Karen. I wish we had somehow gotten to know each other when I lived in Kittery, but my blog life – as reader and writer – didn’t start until we moved to Tucson in 2005. Thank you for all your thoughtful posts – I can’t tell you how many I have bookmarked for future cooking and travel (especially the travel). Stay well and I look forward to so many more posts from you.

  21. Karen, as I look back on your many wonderful memories, I’m so pleased to have been able to follow on all your adventures from the beginning! It’s wonderful to have a collection of photos with stories that tell a tale of your travels, gardening, wonderful recipes and treasures. You invited us into your home and on your European holidays, and I have enjoyed tagging along for the experience. You have been a great friend through blogging and I look forward to your next chapter!
    Jan

  22. Such beautiful, inspiring, awesome memories… I’m a relative homebody compared to you, and even I’m itching to break free for some serious travel. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you! I can sense that longing in your loving words, reflecting on these experiences. There is some good in that pause though, since it makes us really appreciate the outside world even more. It helps to put it all in perspective.

    1. Sorry, I hit send before I was finished. You have lived and traveled in beautiful places. This whole WP thing has me confused and a bit upset. It is hard having to learn something new. Much success as you continue!

  23. What a wonderful post, Karen! We’ve “known” each other for several years now, but I totally learned a bit more about you from this post. I enjoy following along with your travel experiences as we love to travel, too. And, of course, good food is a must when traveling. In fact, food and drinks play a huge role in our travel plans. Thanks so much for sharing, and I look forward to the next 10 years! (Also, if there’s one constant in blogging – it’s the fact that things constantly change behind the scenes.)

  24. Happy blogging anniversary, Karen! Not only do we have our anniversary date in common, but I too started hesitatingly into the blogging world and a friend said “just do it”; I’m also on my 3rd computer and 3rd camera…
    Loving New England myself, I was surprised you were able to leave it behind; but being by the sea and having a slower life is definitely a bonus.
    I’m looking forward to seeing many more posts of yours, especially travel ones when we’re allowed to leave our respective countries again. And who knows – on one of your next trips to Germany we might meet 😉 .

  25. I am so glad I found you and your blog and have enjoyed the adventures you have shared with your readers over the years. You have lived in beautiful places with gorgeous homes. In moving to Florida I have hopes and dreams to see more of the East Coast (currently on hold for now). Yes, to lobster and good craft brews in Maine. Yes, to exploring New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, etc. I would love to take a Summer up there and just rent out a few places to jump off from to see those areas. Congrats and Cheers – Here’s to Great Eats too!!!

  26. Congratulations, Karen! What a lovely cataloguing of these past ten years. Hugs to you for inviting us in to such an intimate journey. You have already lived such a charmed life – I can’t wait to discover all the other treasures you will share with us down the Back Roads you will travel upon! PS- We have dear friends who live in New Hampshire along with a cottage in Rockport and my in-laws had a condo in Vero several moons ago. I always love how the blogging world “connects us” to others, along the way.

  27. Wonderfully written Karen. No matter what our lives give us we should embrace it as you have. We look forward to many years more of your lovely posts.

  28. Congratulations on your blogging anniversary! I’ve been lucky to have seen the world and the delights of food through your eyes and I look forward to enjoying many more years of Back Road Journal!

  29. Hi Karen, what a journey you’ve just taken me on, and I’ve only just met you! Travel, good good and writing are three of my greatest loves too so consider me now a tag along guest! Good luck with the new editor. I’m in the same boat as you! 😊

  30. Congratulations, Karen!! I love your review of the journey!! I celebrated my 10th anniversary in March, but I shouldn’t count those first few years as I had no idea what I was doing, LOL!! Here’s to many more wonderful years of posts. Cheers!!!

  31. Congratulation, Karen. A wonderful series for your fabulous blog site. Thank you for sharing many wonderful recipes and your travels. 🙂

  32. It has been a lot of fun following you all these years, and many of the pictures you shared in this post were familiar to me through your posts…thanks for sharing all your trips and food with us.
    Have a great week Karen!

  33. I think I have been with you most of these years and have so enjoyed becoming acquainted through your posts plus I’m crazy for the recipes which are the food we like. The bonus was meeting you and Mickey. Carry on, my friend.

  34. I popped over to your blog (for the first time) after you left a comment on mine… and I’m glad I did. It was nice to get to know you through this post. I see some of my blogging friends here in your comments area, so it seem that I am in good company as one of your new subscribers. I’m looking forward to reading more about your transition to the Florida lifestyle.

  35. This is my first visit to your blog, and I enjoyed reading about your blogging adventures over the past ten years! That is quite an accomplishment! I never thought much about it, but I too, blog from my home in Bucks County, Pa and my home in Miami Beach, Florida. Each location does influence what I write about and when! Congratulations on your 10 years, and I look forward to stopping back and reading future posts!

  36. Congratulations, Karen! I have been enjoying your blog since your beautiful New England farmhouse years. Thank you for sharing your homes and your wonderful adventures with all of us! I’m looking forward to all that you will share in the years to come. Stay well! Stay safe!💗

  37. Karen, it has been a pleasure following you all these years. We especially have enjoyed all your food photos, recipes and your trips around the world! Love seeing your homes in Maine and now in Vero Beach! Enjoy the warm weather and sunshine! We moved from NY to Charleston, SC for the warmer weather and relaxing life. Looking forward to more of your travel adventures! Stay safe and stay well!

  38. Karen, this was a lovely summation of the past 10 years. What changes though have lived through in a short time. It was a pleasure to read but also exhausting to think about all those moves. I miss International travel, we have had to cancel and reschedule two trips…hopefully things will improve by the end of 2021 but who knows what the future will look like.

  39. Congratulations! 10 years is a long commitment. I’m so thrilled to have met you and have shared in your wonderful journeys and adventures! May you have many more!
    Eva XO

  40. Congratulations on 10 years!!! Time sure passes fast. Well, I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog during those years, especially the travel logs. We never travel overseas so it’s been exciting to see places, experience the scenery and become familiar with the difference cuisines. I thank you for that! Look forward to more travelings with you.

  41. Karen, here you are still … providing the world with fantastic food and adventures, like this. So glad I found you again. It has been ages. Lovely to see you again. Viveka

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