About Me

Not a back road but a tiny street

Welcome to Back Road Journal…Little treasures discovered while exploring the back roads of life. My name is Karen and this is my journal where I record and share my passion for food, travel both near and far, and the good things in life encountered on my adventures.

After thirty years of living an active urban lifestyle in South Florida, my husband and I moved to  New England. We purchased and restored a 1730′s home with a 300 tree apple orchard in a small rural town in New Hampshire. Each summer, we headed to our little cottage on a lake in Maine. Over the years, I have enjoyed and shared the challenges of gardening and farming in New England. I have also written of our travels in the USA and Europe.

We have now made another move. After more than a 100 inches of snow and one of the coldest winters (2014-2015) in history, my husband and I decided to move back to Florida. We built a new home in Vero Beach, Florida, located on what is called the Treasure Coast. It was so named after treasure began being recovered from Spanish galleons wreaked off this portion of Florida’s Atlantic coast.

I enjoy creating original recipes with garden fresh vegetables, fresh local seafood, and ingredients from local farms and markets whenever possible. My dishes are inspired from meals I enjoyed while living in Texas, Florida and New England as well as from my travels in Europe. Whether you are new to cooking or an experienced cook, I believe you will find all my recipes easy to recreate.

During our travels, my husband and I enjoy driving along the scenic back roads, visiting small towns on our way to metropolitan cities. We enjoy a small, out of the way eatery just as much as a famous three star restaurant. Wherever our travels take us, the trip is planned around good restaurants in the area and nice amenities at the hotels where we will be staying.

I hope that the wonderful moments, beautiful scenery and delicious food that I share with you will inspire you to explore the back roads, cook some of my recipes for your family and friends and that you will return often to visit me at Back Road Journal.

All of the content on this blog, including photographs and writing, is original content unless otherwise noted. If you are interested in using any of it, please contact me via email at backroad-journal@comcast.net.

127 Responses to About Me

  1. kmunsey says:

    Hi Karen,

    You make me nostalgic for New England. I grew up in Massachusetts along the New Hampshire border. I left for the West Coast thinking I would only be gone two years. It’s been seven and I am will likely be a few more before I can move back. I will stop by your site whenever I need a good dose of home.


    PS. I love your travel style. Small towns. And good food.

  2. You and your husband kind of sound like us, only retired. We like the backroads when traveling and we focus on where we’ll stay and what we’ll eat. I’m living in our 1863 townhouse in a small town in France while my husband does another year before retirement. I’m going to follow yours; I think I’ll discover some new backroads to share with my husband.

  3. It is like kitchen talk without the clean up after people leave. I love recipes and new food ideas. I have travelled and worked in India, love the food, France is another fav and later this year I will be going to Thailand. I too have an old house from the 1860’s and would not change where I have it except for the cold.

  4. Amy says:

    Wow, I’m so jealous of your lifestyle: backroads of NH and a cottage in Maine…sign me up!

  5. ChefMom says:

    What an adventure! We’re just returning home from a driving tour through VT, NH and a week spent at a house in Down East ME. We definitely planned the week around eating – food and wine! I could easily spend an entire summer in ME and New England!!

  6. What a lovely find your blogs is. And to find a fellow back road, small town traveller with an eye on the menu is a treat!

  7. I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog and loving the tomatoes, we’ve had an awful tomato season here, summer has been dreadful, so it’s heartwarming to see such delicious toms

  8. Mary says:

    My husband and I would love to visit Maine so we will be following your site closely! Wow, a 1730’s home sounds wonderful. I’ll add your site to my blogroll so others can follow you also.

  9. Kelocity says:

    Such a cute blog! I grew up in New England too! I’m drooling over your Italy pictures too. I love Europe so much. =)

  10. Cayla says:

    Hi Karen! First of all I’m loving your blog! Second, it sounds like the two of us have switched places. I great up in New Hampshire and then my family moved to Hershey, Pa. Now i’m living in New York City. Even though I love the city so much I might never live anywhere else, I truly appreciate the country side and everything it has to offer! looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future and enjoying all the gorgeous photographs you take!

  11. niasunset says:

    Hi Dear Karen, I am so glad to meet with you. You are welcome to my humble world. How nice to meet with your blog, I loved it and I added to my favurite blog list. It seems you are living in a dream land. Blessing and Happiness, with my love, nia

  12. I love it! My family usually plans the trip around where we are going to eat first, then where we are going to stay and finally we think about what we might actually do. Can’t wait to explore your site… and love sauerkraut.

  13. ashkitty says:

    Hello karen…awesome compilation of this site…loved how you have combined food recipes with other interests…a very unique way of presentation indeed

  14. Karen, you have a fantastic blog! I am looking forward to joining in on the journey with you moving forward. Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy

  15. megtraveling says:

    Hi Karen, I’ll just say thank you for having such a great blog! Meg

  16. Your life sounds very beautiful. So glad I came across your blog. -kate

  17. Dear Karen,

    I’ve seen your comments on several of my favorite blogs, so I knew I ought to visit yours. I just had to finally look you up, and now that I’m here I can see I’ll enjoy hanging around and visiting! The kind of travel and life interests you describe are ones I share avidly, so I’ll be glad to learn from you. Glad we’ve now met!

  18. Karen, wonderful stories and magnificant photos. I look forward to living life through your eyes and ears. Much love, The Tin Man

  19. viveka says:

    Karen, Really like what I see here .. and will follow you !!! *smile

  20. Subhan Zein says:

    Hi Karen, You’ve got a really nice Blog here! Well done on that! 🙂 I like your style of travel and presenting food here. So original! Warm regards, Subhan Zein

  21. Food Forays says:

    Karen, I can see I’m going to have SO much fun on your blog! In just a few minutes I’ve seen three recipes I can’t wait to try!
    I’m so envious… New England, and a lovely home straight out of a “Norman Rockwell” scene… I’ve always pictured something a bit smaller, and across from you on our East Coast. I think maybe when I grow up!

  22. Good blogs are beacons of hope in a world otherwise filled with so many sad events and negativity. I’ll be looking through more of your posts this w/e, Karen. I enjoy your work!

  23. I went to New England Literature Camp as a sophomore at the University of Michigan. We lived in cabins on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee a couple of miles outside of Wolfeboro for six months, and I loved it. I am looking forward to following your blog.

  24. Marcia Davis says:

    It’s nice to meet someone else who plans her travel around food! That’s the way my husband and I do it as well. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  25. Thanks for all the pleasure I get from reading your blog.

  26. Becky says:

    Thank you for having such a great blog!

  27. robin says:

    What a lovely blog you have! My grandparents lived in New Hampshire, and I have very fond and loving memories of that part of our country. 🙂

  28. You have such a beautiful blog and I wanted to give you an extra shout out 🙂

  29. Young Wifey says:

    I too am from an urban area, and moved to a rural (farm) town. However, Hubster is from a mountain town, so the rural thing isn’t too strange. We’re exploring the backroads together. We don’t have enough land at our house for 300 apple trees, but we do have an orchard on the acerage at our cabin a little further upstate.

  30. viveka says:

    Trained chef .. or not – you’re very good on what you’re doing and you are passionate about what you do in life.

  31. Karen, I have really enjoyed your posts . . . and photos . . . and comments.

  32. igardendaily says:

    I just discovered your real passion is traveling and food. I too, love traveling and simple, healthy food. I wouldn’t say my travels are primarily based on where I will stay and what I will eat but it is near the top of the list. Also, what I will drink! 🙂 I look forward to reading more about your experiences!

  33. gojiberry says:

    Karen, so glad I found your blog as I loved New England when I visited a few years ago. I am a sucker for the rural communities found there, picture postcard houses and white steepled churches. Your lifestyle sounds ideal, NH and Maine, plus Italy too. Look forward to your posts.

  34. Pingback: Another Pork Dish In The Belly And Another Award Called The ABC « Food Safari

  35. Razel Rull-Navarro says:

    Hi, Karen! I am really enjoying your blog and I still can’t get over your Romesco sauce…I’m making it again tomorrow night for cousins I have invited over for dinner 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Razel, for your nice comment about my blog and recipes, I really do appreciate it.

      • Razel Rull-Navarro says:

        Welcome! And I hope you don’t mind but I passed on the Romesco sauce recipe to a couple of friends at work coz I know they will love it. Told them about your blog too 🙂

      • Karen says:

        I’m pleased that you enjoy my blog and happy that you have given my recipe to others.

  36. Discovering the Dortches says:

    Oh my… Your blog is stunningly beautiful and puts my humble little start of one to shame! I am drooling over your beautiful pictures, your orchard and home, and your travels. Such a wonderful life and I’m looking forward to living vicariously through you! And I cannot believe you’re an amateur gardener because everything looks so perfect- great work! 🙂

  37. I’m fairly selective about what I follow, but I love New England (lived there for 5 years) and your food photos. So, I’m signing up.
    I also like your “little bit about me” section. I hope you take it as flattery, that I plan to add something similar to my blog.

  38. P.S. Is that rapeseed in your header photo? I love those fields. Reminds me of England.

  39. What can be more beautiful than living in a 1730′s home with 300 apple trees!!! Seemed like reading in fairy tales. Look forward to more coming out of the Back Road:)

  40. Your life sounds idyllic! it is also my dream to live in a big old house with a lot of history and a huge gardening space one day! Lovely blog, thanks for entertaining me this morning!

  41. bellacorea says:

    Hello Karen! Wow! I’m loving the look of your blog! Definitely I will spend more time here!

  42. Smallpeace says:

    It certainly looks like we have a lot in common. I’m glad to have discovered another foodie, slow-living enthusiast, and lover of the great state of New Hampshire. (I spent a wonderful exchange semester at UNH way, way back when). Look forward to reading more of your adventures. Best, Michele

  43. Little Sis says:

    We see that you’ve already been recognized as a Versatile Blogger, but would like to let you know that we wanted to give you one too. Thanks for your lovely posts.

  44. katiepede says:

    You are awesome, and I think your blog is too. Thank you for sharing your experiences and advice. Much love Kate x

  45. Hello – You have a beautiful homestead. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to following your adventures.

  46. Thanks for following my blog. I am quite honored. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy reading yours. 🙂

  47. I think you write an amazing blog, I really enjoy reading your posts.

  48. What a beautiful blog you have! I love your new lifestyle, this is my husband and I dream when the children grow up (but they are stil only 3 and 6 !!!), we would like to move to the Italian countryside, travel and drink good wine….a dream. Rita (you know me as ritacoooksitalian.com which is my main blog!!!!)

  49. Hello Karen!! I have nominated your blog for the One Lovely Blog award. One more award for your vast collection. ~~Mary

  50. musingmar says:

    Hi Karen, I’ve just nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and The Versatile Blogger Award! I so enjoy following your blog, and it’s my pleasure to introduce more people to it.

  51. Clanmother says:

    Life Thought a Kitchen Window recommended that I stop by for a visit – glad I did!!! Looking forward to reading about your adventures…

  52. femmegypsy says:

    Love your blog! My boyfriend – and hopefully future husband 😉 – and I are always travelling and exploring too 🙂 The only way to live!! Enjoy x

  53. Hi, Karen! It’s so good to meet you, and I can tell we share much in common about life and adventure! I’m really looking forward to getting to know you! xo Ally

  54. petit4chocolatier says:

    Karen, you have a beautiful blog. I love and miss the northeast! You are an inspiration 🙂

  55. Stacy says:

    I have been reading through your lovely recipes and decided that I should comment here rather leaving a comment on each and every one since I loved each one I read. Beautiful, delicious dishes, each and every one! Your ideal holiday sounds like ours as well. We like to rent a car and get off the highway when possible. One of our favorite meals was in a little country restaurant on the road from Bologna to Venice last year. Rustic Italian food with wine on tap included which, despite the unusual dispensing, was a great wine. Who would have thought?! I look forward to spending more time reading through your posts.

  56. Hannah says:

    Hi Karen, I’m happy to discover your blog! I’m feeling very nostalgic reading your posts. I grew up in Massachusetts and love the backroads of NH. My husband and I honeymooned in Maine, too (on Monhegan Island). I miss the small towns of New England and delicious food – I look forward to exploring your blog more since you share about both beautifully. I love the photo of your dining room decorated for Christmas! Merry Christmas!

  57. Hi, Karen. Thrilled to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Blog of the Year 2012 award. Happy New Year!

  58. Hi karen, your blog is awesome…great recipes within great photograph…keep sharing your passion, nice to know you then…btw, i admire your plating skills

  59. Stacy says:

    NIce to meet you, Karen. You have a nice blog, here. After living in big cities all my life, we moved to the country, too. City dwelling was a necessity (jobs), but my heart has always been among the trees. ❤

  60. gotasté says:

    Hi Karen, What a life you are living. I’ve being in the city for 40 years and certainly looking forward to move to some place like yours. There is so much I can gain from what you are sharing. Expect me to drop by often. …danny

  61. lovely ‘about’ page – I’m almost a neighbour to New England here in Eastern Ontario!

  62. Your words resonate with me – we have moved to a very rural island location, I grow most of our veg as well as soft fruit. Our trips too focus on food in priority over sightseeing, backstreets or anywhere interesting off the beaten track. Thanks, Tracey

  63. I am so glad to have found you here on the “back road”. Your blog is wonderful and I am so looking forward to reading more.

  64. Great recipes here! I’m going to have to follow to see what else you come up with! 🙂

  65. Wishbonesx says:

    Hi – just wanted you to know I really love your blog and for the last couple days, I’ve saved so many yummy recipes to try !! I’m battling breast cancer and can’t eat much nor have the strength to cook till I get over my chemo…. But reading your blog and your travels puts me in the happy place as if i am with you cooking or holidaying… Thank you for keeping my spirits up and know I really appreciate your sharing your life… I love gardening, cooking and travelling as well and hopefully this year is only a blip in my life and I’ll get back on track to normal next year… Thank you!!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Wishbonesx, for your kind words…they are very much appreciated. I’m happy that you enjoy visiting my blog and that it lifts your spirits. I do hope that you will be fully recovered in the near future. Take care!

  66. Veronique says:

    Wow Karen, you do a lot more than I do :-). Cheers V

  67. Hi Karen. Good luck with the rural adventures! I will keep an eye on them and on the apple trees hehe. Alessandro

  68. Hi Karen, I love your blog! My husband is from western Massachusetts (still have trouble spelling it) and we’ve been out that direction many times. My son went to college in Maine as well. I’m so appreciative of your lifestyle! What a dream! It’s so beautiful up in that part of the country. Anyway… I’ll be following you and look forward to reading more!

  69. Michael says:

    I enjoy your website. Today, I ready this post: “Apple Blossom Time In New England”
    Posted on May 10, 2013. There are some photos of pear trees. Do you happen to know what kind of pear trees these are? I notice that some leaves have some red in them. If you happen to know, I would appreciate it. I only know of one pear that has reddish leaves and that’s Nashi. Curious.
    Thank you.
    PS. Beautiful photos, by the way

    • Karen says:

      Hi Michael, Thank you for stopping by for a visit…I’m happy that you enjoyed the photos. I have several varieties of pears in our orchard but I think the photo in question is probably Bartlett (William). The tender leaves open with the reddish tint but turn green soon after.

  70. Hi Karen, I am embarrassed to confess that I have just now been able to visit your site, which I thoroughly adore! Your recipes have me salivating and your delightful commentary has me smiling–okay maybe that image doesn’t convey exactly what I am trying to say–I will be a regular reader of your blog now! Thanks Karen for sharing your recipes and thoughts with all of us!

  71. alisonsye says:

    Those tomatoes from your garden look wonderful. What is a zone 5 environment?

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your visit, Alison. North America is divided into different plant hardiness zones. In zone 5 plants must be able to survive the possibility of low temperatures of -20 to -15 F. I appreciate your comment and look forward to your return.

  72. Just took a quick glimpes through your blog… Loving the posts! I’ll be sure to follow and try and keep up!

  73. WhiteTrinity says:

    I am so glad that I stumbled on your blog. It is fantastic. When I read through your various posts, I am reminded of New England, where I lived for over a decade. Look forward to reading more…Cheers, Mrs. J

  74. Sarah says:

    I’ve been wanting to tour the east coast for years and your blog makes me want to go even more! 🙂

  75. Your posts on Maine make me so nostalgic. For many years my family spend several weeks during the summer in Maine. My parents had a summer place near Bar Harbor, and I have so many wonderful memories of gathering mussels right from the shore and eating them that night while listening to the loons and the waves lapping the shore. I’m a zone 4 gardener who merely pretends she lives in zone 5. Midwestern winters, despite global warming, are still brutal, but it makes us appreciate summers all the more!

  76. Pingback: The Back Road Journal – New England Bliss | The Boston Harbor Picayune

  77. Congratulations Karen! Three stars ☆ ☆ ☆ for Blog of The Year 2013 Award!
    No pressure, it is all up to you to pay it forward. You have been awarded at:
    … Or, after a month, look for it
    here >> http://fae-magazine.com/awards/2013-blog-awards/
    Enjoy your Award! 😀 Fae.

  78. pippintogg says:

    A great blog Karen. Having spent time in most of New England and written about the area in my novel, The Cry Of The Loon, I shall follow your travels with interest.

  79. reggiorif says:

    Great pictures and colours from your trip in the Alps.It looks like you had a great time. I live in Switzerland and I never grow tired of watching this show each day.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Fanny, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I’m happy that you enjoy my blog and the posts about our trip to Germany and Austria…my husband and I try to visit Europe each year. Many years we fly in and out of Zurich, so I do know how lovely your country is. I never grow tried of the beauty my husband and I see while traveling in Europe. 🙂

  80. tobyo says:

    hello fellow traveler! just found your blog via my guilty pleasures and can’t wait to explore more of your posts. Nice to meet you!

  81. Congratulations Karen! You have been awarded:–Most Influential Blogger Award–No pressure, it is all up to you to pay it forward. I take pleasure in directing readers to blogs I enjoy.
    You have been awarded at: http://fae-magazine.com/2013/12/11/awards-december-2013part-2/
    … Or, after a month, look for it here >> http://fae-magazine.com/awards/2013-blog-awards/ Enjoy your Awards! 😀 Fae.

  82. Bobbi says:

    Karen, I love the fact that you live in a historical home, w/ a huge apple orchard on it, in a quaint little town; New Hampshire. I find that very interesting and serene. I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures and sharing some of your recipes.

    • Bobbi says:

      Thanks for visiting… A cottage sounds so lovely. I love cottages. In fact, my husband and I are moving up north this summer and I am looking for a home that resembles a cottage w/ some acreage. I may not be able to find “The One”, but will keep looking.

      I have a brother who lives in Maryland. I have always wanted to travel to that part of the coast. I find it quite intriguing. Hopefully, my husband and I will be able to visit in the near future. So, I am looking forward to your adventures in New England and other parts of the world.

  83. wow! I want to swap my lifestyle for yours Karen! I live in New England too but have a very busy lifestyle with our young kids. Maybe sometime we shall be able to live like you do! thanks for stopping by my blog so I could visit you.

  84. Marilena says:

    Hi, I just came across your blog and am looking forward to looking through it. I use to live in Connecticut and moved to South Florida when I was younger. I hate it with a passion and can’t wait to move back up to New England. Thank you for the great pics and reminding me of my home. 🙂

  85. Marie says:

    Karen, I was so interested in your blog in the Lakes area of Austria. Can you help me identify a lake I visited some time ago…over 25 years. Many, many colorful buildings (almost like gingerbread houses) lined the lake. We drove from Salzburg and I am at a loss as to which lake-perhaps Fuschl???? I am going back with my husband and want to share this beautiful lake. also I remember looking up at a golf course high up in the mountain. Many thanks in advance.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marie, I’m glad that you enjoyed my posts about the Lakes region of Austria. We have visited that area four times in recent years and I know you and your husband would thoroughly enjoy the region. I think it is a very possible that the town you remember was Fuschl. It is not far from Salzburg and has one of the oldest golf courses in Austria. We enjoy staying at Ebner’s which is right across the road from the lake. It is a nice family run hotel and is perfect for day trips to the other lakes that are nearby.

  86. Ron lord says:

    Was just looking at all the pictures around naples. I was born in bridgton and raised in naples. I joined the marines in 1960 and retired in 1980 . I now live in fort walton bch fl. As I get older (73) I’m beginning to miss maine more and more.i hope to go home next month for a visit and then I’m going to start visiting more.

  87. Nicely done photo-essays on our favorite subjects – food & travel. Looking forward to reading more. Cheers!

  88. Hi Karen, Have had a quick look at your blog and looking forward to following and going through your posts! Farianti 😊

  89. Hi Karen, its really nice to meet you!! I hope we can keep in touch 😉

  90. So happy to connect with another traveler & blogger. It’s so inspiring! It’s never too late to dream a new dream.

  91. Hi Karen, I grew up in Maine but moved away. Thanks for the connection to home! 🙂 Cheers,Molly

  92. Judith Hayes says:

    Hi Karen, I have enclosed my email address and would like to talk to you about using one of your photos in the upcoming issue of West Coast Maine Magazine. Would you please drop me an email and I will immediately reply with the details. West Coast Maine Magazine has a print and online edition. Thanks, Judith

  93. Susan says:

    Hi Karen
    I’ve nominated your blog for a Liebster Award. Details can be found here


  94. GP Cox says:

    Pleased to meet you. WordPress suggested your site being as we have similar viewers.

  95. So nice to meet you!! What a wonderful blog!

  96. You have a beautiful blog Karen…:))

  97. Anna says:

    Delighted to find your lovely blog, Karen!

  98. Hi Karen– Fun to read your “About”. I know every life has it’s ups and downs– but yours seems pretty perfect! Traveling and living in such a beautiful place as New Hampshire!! Fun to read your adventures… xo

  99. dishdessert says:

    Hi Karen ! You have very interesting blog!

  100. Hi Karen, I drooled over your cheese cake photos. Your intro reminded me of my younger days. I loved to drive backroads and check out hole in the wall eateries.

  101. maria says:

    I just love the name of your blog… I had to come and take a peak. That was 20 minutes ago… fantastic pictures and stories. Thank you for sharing. I can only imagine what it must be like to have a 300 tree apple orchard! Oh, the possibilities. Looking forward to reading more of your posts 🙂

  102. Eartha says:

    It’s a pleasure to meet you! I’m very interested in food and travel so your blog will be a great place for me to visit. 🙂

  103. Pingback: One Lovely Blogger Award 2 | The Recipe Hunter

  104. Thinking of you with Hurricane Irma heading to Florida and hope you are OK.

  105. Hi Karen – I’ve been thinking of you and hoping you and yours are safe after the hurricane. I hope your home weathered the storm well, too.

  106. frejatravels says:

    We just come back from New England last month and it was beautiful with many autumn colour.

  107. Zest4Food says:

    Hi Karen, I came across your blog and I am glad I did. Your recipes sound and look deliciously. I like your blog, also, that you have this section “Friends who inspire”. I am going to add such a section to my blog too. I have a few bloggers from whom I got inspired to cook new recipes. I just followed your blog.I invite you to visit/follow my blog at: https://zest4foodblog.wordpress.com
    Cheers, Angelika

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