Shorty's Place Watertown cinnamon roll
Shorty’s Place (Watertown, NY)

Shorty’s Place (Watertown, NJ)

I’ve been to Shorty’s Place on my way to college in Potsdam, NY. That was roughly between 2008-2010 and before I documented diners.Shorty's Place Watertown

Atmosphere: A
Shorty’s Place Diner stands out. While you can’t see it from Route 81, when you drive by you are drawn to the retro diner. Even though Shorty’s Place doesn’t have diner in the name, it’s a diner.

Shorty's Place Watertown

The inside of Shorty’s Place is a stereotypical diner. There is a checkerboard floor, with plenty of red booths, tables, and a full-length bar.

Shorty's Place Watertown me coffee

Coffee: A
The Shorty’s Place Coffee was brewed hot and fresh. One of my favorite diner features is when a diner has a personalized mug, and Shorty’s Place has just that.

Shorty's Place Watertown coffee

Food: B
The menu at Shorty’s Place has everything a no-frills diner typically has. There are plenty of all-day breakfast options, sandwiches for lunch, and several dinner options too.

Shorty's Place Watertown cinnamon roll

I heard the cinnamon rolls at Shorty’s Place were good, so I decided to order one as an appetizer. The cinnamon roll was grilled, and the frosting was melted. It tasted delicious. There weren’t a lot of crunchy or crusty parts, which is always nice.

For my entree, I ordered the pork chops, cajun style. My pork chops were a little dry, but they weren’t bad. They were thick, which I can appreciate.

Shorty's Place Watertown

I chose home fries, which was cubed. I guess I was feeling both breakfast and dinner. The home fries were good and better than most.

Service: B
Our waitress at Shorty’s Place was friendly but it took a while for the food to come out.

Cost: $
For my coffee, cinnamon roll, and meal, at Shorty’s Place, the cost was $18.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come back?

I enjoyed Shorty’s Place, and I would go back if I’m in the area again. It was fun to visit somewhere I went during college, and before documenting diners. It’s a good stop if you find yourself in the area.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: B
Service: B
Cost: $8-15
Overall: B

You can see all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What’s somewhere you went to during college?

Private Flying
Private Flying to Watertown, NY

It’s been a couple of months since my husband, and I flew anywhere substantial.  A few weeks ago, we were discussing possible things to do on Labor Day Weekend. I always wanted to run the 18.12 Challenge Race. My husband was not as keen on spending over 14 hours, driving to a race and coming back. I guess I can’t blame them.

He asked if I wanted to private fly. I’ve never private flown to a destination with a time limit. We’ve flown around the state and Northeast on our own time, but we’ve never flown somewhere to do something. I didn’t know how my body would handle flying the day before a race. Private flying is loud, bumpy, and you get sick a lot easier. But it sounded like a fun adventure.

What most people don’t realize is Private Flying, and Air Force Flying is entirely different. Just because you are an Air Force Pilot, does not automatically make you qualified to fly private planes (and just because you fly Private Planes does not make you qualified to fly Air Force Planes.) They are similar but separate entities. You must have different certifications for both. My husband has both and instructs and teaches people how to private fly. So if you, random internet person with no flying experience wanted to learn to private fly, he could teach you. He likes to fly, and it’s become a hobby of his. Anyway, I get a lot of questions about that, so I thought I would answer.

We also rent airplanes (We don’t own any LOL). First, we can’t afford to buy an airplane. Second, my husband prefers to fly a few different types of planes.

A Few Fun Things About this Flight:

  • My first cross country flight (260 miles/2:15 minutes)
  • During the flight to Watertown, we faced headwinds and flew to 8000 feet.
  • During the flight to South Jersey, the cloud layer made us fly lower at about 5500 feet.

Here are a few photos from our flight up to Watertown:

Private Flying

Private Flying
landing in Watertown
Private Flying
Close to clouds

Private Flying

Private Flying
Looking Down at the Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, PA
Private Flying
Delaware river
Private Flying Delaware River
Delaware River and view of Philadelphia
Private Flying route 38 and top golf
Looking down at Top Golf in Mount Laurel, NJ

In all, it was a lot of fun.

Other Flying Posts:

Flying to Bridgeport, CT

Flying through the Hudson Exclusion and NYC

Flying to Essex County

Question for you: Have you ever privately flown? 



me running winning 18.12 challenge
1812 Challenge (2:09.40/7:09 pace)

18.12 Challenge

My husband and I decided to fly to the 1812 Challenge. We’ve never done anything like that before, and truthfully I didn’t know how it would affect my race wise. We rarely get a long span of days together, so the weekend was more about having fun. It wasn’t about the flight or the race but having an enjoyable weekend together.

The flight to Watertown went without issue. We arrived the day before and picked up our packets for the 1812 Challenge around 3 pm. There is a half marathon, 18.12 Challenge, and 5k.

I wanted to use the 18.12 Challenge is my last long run before the Big Cottonwood Marathon. I haven’t felt that confident with running the previous 16 months, and I didn’t know what to expect.

Why was it called the 1812 Challenge Race? The 1812 challenge is a nod to the War of 1812 and the significant military presence in Fort Drum.  Runners can choose to run either 18.12 miles, 13.1, or a 5k. There is something for everyone.

The morning of, I arrived at the race around 7, walked around a bit and before I knew it we were off. I didn’t feel the need to warm up because 18 miles is a long way to go. I planned to run by feel but make sure I didn’t take it out too fast. The ultimate goal was to feel strong at the end, which I thought would be around 7:30 pace.

The half marathon and 18.12 challenge go off together. I found myself in a pack of 7 women and also a few men. Out of the first pack, I was 7 out of 7.

The first four miles all head out together. During the first mile, two of my gels fell out of my pocket.

My first lesson of the day: don’t stuff my gels in my pockets. I’ve done it before in other shorts, but these are the shorts for that.

The second lesson of the day: is with the new updates on the Coros watch. I didn’t start it properly and ended up running about a mile without a watch. I pressed the manual button and got on track after the first mile.

Better to get that out of the way now, than the marathon.

We hit the second mile in 7:18. I thought it was probably too fast for my current fitness but I just kind of plugged along. I wasn’t sure who was running the half marathon and who was running the 18.12 challenge. The six women in front of me could have done either. My goal wasn’t to win, and I didn’t even know it was in the cards. (Last year the race was won by a woman running 6:24 pace).

I hit mile 3 in 7:33, which felt doable. I grabbed Gatorade at the water stop. I take Gatorade/electrolytes at every stop that I don’t have a gel (for any race 10 miles and above).

Around mile 5, the half marathons and 18.12 challengers split. To my surprise, only one other woman went towards the 18.12 challenge race.  Like anyone, I know the importance of not judging any racer, but I was shocked. The other woman was slightly in front of me, and we just proceeded on. I hit mile 5 in 7:40, which was slower than I was hoping. I thought, is the end? Am I fading? I took one gel (the only one that didn’t fall out) and just continued.

Around mile 6, I found myself in a mini pack of myself, the other women, and a male. It was windy, and there were a few small elevation gains, but it was beautiful.

The next three miles of the 18.12 challenge were just me, focused on getting to mile 9 where they said there were be Gu packets. After 2 of mine falling out of my pocket, I knew it was a stop I shouldn’t miss. Could I finish 18.12 race miles without any more fuel? Probably. Would it be pleasant? No. I hit mile 6-9 all in 7:22.

We ran on several quiet main roads just looking at (and smelling LOL) the farmland. At mile 9, there was a stop, and I thought it was where we would find gels. When I asked, they said that was a different stop. Immediately, I began to worry there might not be a a stop with gels. Would I be out of luck?

The next mile of the 18.12 challenge race felt like it took forever. We had a slight headwind, and all I could think about was: would there be gels? I felt regret for not going back and picking mine up.

Around mile 10-11, we met back up with half marathoners. I quickly realized we would be on the same roads for most of the rest of the race. I didn’t mind, but it would be congested at water stations.  At the next water stop, they had gels. Wahoo! I have never been more excited for an aid station. I grabbed two and a cup of water.

I looked down like I had drawn lottery cards: which flavors did I get? Strawberry banana and cameral? The caramel had caffeine, so I decided that would be my next gel. Unfortunately, my hands were slightly sticky, and I couldn’t get it open. So I just decided to take the strawberry banana and worry about the other gel later.

It was also around mile 10, I realized I didn’t really “feel that bad,” and the race was going by fast. I was surprised because I was already halfway done. I was still running with the mini-pack of three people.

The next few miles of the 18.12 challenge race went by faster. I didn’t feel like I picked it up, but around mile 13, I realized it was just myself and the other male. The female wasn’t with us anymore. I thought to myself: there might be someone far ahead or I might be winning.  I have no idea, but it would be so cool to win. I’ve won several races but not many in the last year and it’s always a fun experience.

I know one thing about my running, is I don’t have a kick. If I was going to win, I had to be pretty far ahead in the last mile. There have been many times someone has outkicked me. If you are next to me in the last mile, you will probably outkick me.

Around mile 14, I found myself running alone. I was weaving around half marathoners, but the roads were open and there was plenty of space. At mile 15, we had a few small inclines, and I just focused on climbing. I still had energy in the tank, which is exactly how I wanted to feel.

I took what was left of the last gel and just focused on the end. I told myself: a 5k to go. You have done this many times. I saw one of my college teammates around 17 which was awesome.

I made the mistake of glancing back behind me and seeing a woman in all black gaining on me. The woman I was previously running with was also wearing all black. I thought for sure it was the same woman. I thought to myself: Hollie you’ve been doing well if you are winning you don’t want to let someone outkick you in the final mile.

That’s when I found another gear. I was already hurting, but man did I hurt more the last mile. I was just focused on the end. When I passed my husband, he said later; he had never seen me look that determined in a race. My last mile was 6:50, and I crossed in 2:09.40.

me running winning 18.12 challenge

We crossed with the half marathoners, and I had no idea if I had won or not. The volunteers weren’t even sure. About 15 minutes later, I looked at results, and it had me as the first woman. Then later, I realized the woman I “thought I saw” was someone else. Nothing like that, to light a fire under your butt. HA!

The 18.12 Challenge Race was my best race of this training cycle. My goal was to finish strong and not make it a positive split, for positive people race. I did that and finished stronger than I thought possible.  I’m happy we decided to come up and run.

me running winning 18.12 challenge

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.  This week is all about fueling. 

Questions for you:

Do you have a good kick?

Have you ever done an obscure race distance? 


Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ
Hiking Parker Loop at High Point State Park

Parker Loop at High Point State Park

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I woke up early and drove up to Northwest NJ for an all-day hike at Parker Loop at High Point State Park and Stokes State Forest. We ultimately hiked 13.4 miles, and it took us about 6 hours.

We’ve wanted to get to the Parker Loop at High Point State Park for a while. Parker Loop at High Point State Park is just over 2 hours away and the highest point of elevation in NJ. The Parker Loop at High Point State Park was about 15 miles long, but there were a lot of spots, you could quickly go off trail, or get lost. If we did it again, we would follow the blue path which ultimately takes you about 15 miles but is much easier to follow.

The trail at Parker Loop at High Point State Park is moderate. It was only difficult for a couple of climbs and also due to the length. It had everything from climbing, to scrambles, to stream crossings, and walking along dried up water beds.

There are no major parking lots on Parker Loop at High Point State Park and we ended up parking on the side of the road. Parker Loop at High Point State Park started off easy and flat. We wandered through the trail for a couple of miles before hitting a stream.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

I’ve never crossed a stream before, so it was terrifying. What if I fell in? My husband just went across like no big deal.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

After the major stream crossing at Parker Loop at High Point State Park, we followed the trail for several more miles. There are spots that it’s easy to get lost because the trail isn’t the best marked. We added a few sections and had to double back a few times at Parker Loop at High Point State Park. Ultimately, we would have followed the blue path which does about the same thing but is easier to follow.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

We got to a beautiful campground and lake around mile 6 of Parker Loop at High Point State Park. You can rent cabins and hang out there; it looks like a beautiful and peaceful spot to relax.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

As we kept going along Parker Loop at High Point State Park, we noticed how many large trees were down. New Jersey has had a lot of storms recently, so I have to wonder if it’s from that, but we noticed dozens, maybe even 100.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Around mile 9 of Parker Loop at High Point State Park, comes the longest and steepest climb which takes you to the top. The view is one of my favorites, and if you look, you can see PA, NY, and NJ. (The Northern NJ tri-state).

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Finally, we headed back to the parking area of Parker Loop at High Point State Park. Since we had gotten lost a few times and doubled back, we had no idea how long the trail would be for us. We ultimately did 13.4 miles.  It was a lot of fun, and we are looking forward to doing a few more all day hikes before it gets too hot.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

You Can See More Hikes Here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever gotten lost?

During one of our first hikes, we got completely lost at Bear Mountain and ended up taking an Uber back. Thank goodness there was one. We learned a lot from that, and how to be much safer hikers.

What is the longest hike you’ve done? Have you ever been to Parker Loop at High Point State Park?


halfmoon diner clifton park ny
Halfmoon Diner (Clifton Park, NY)

Halfmoon Diner (Clifton Park, NY)

While in New York, I wanted to go to a new diner. New York State, has plenty of diners throughout the state and I’ve been to a fair share from Long Island to the City, Albany, Syracuse, the North Country, and Buffalo.  It’s funny; when I went to college in Upstate NY, I spent the least amount of time in Albany. Since moving away, I’ve spent more time in Albany than the rest of the area.

When we arrived at the Halfmoon Diner, it wasn’t crowded, but when we left, it was clear it was the place to be.

Halfmoon Diner Atmosphere: A
The Halfmoon Diner is everything you expect in a stereotypical diner. It’s a big shiny, metallic, building, with plenty of mirrors, and windows.halfmoon diner clifton park ny

The inside of the Halfmoon Diner has plenty of booths, tables, a full-length bar, and a good looking dessert case.

Halfmoon Diner Coffee (and Wine!):
The coffee at the Halfmoon Diner was brewed hot and fresh. The waitress brought plenty of refills.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

My meal at the Halfmoon Diner came with a small glass of wine. I choose red, and it was delicious. It was the first diner meal I’ve had that has come with wine, so that was fun.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

Halfmoon Diner Food: C
The Halfmoon Diner menu has plenty of specials. From breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there is everything you want in a diner and with plenty of specials. I decided to order the “leg of lamb” special. It came with A LOT of food. Soup, salad, wine, and two sides. On paper, that sounds awesome.

I decided to order the beet salad which was an extra $3 but was worth it. The beets on top were great, but the lettuce was watery and had no green to it.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

For my soup at the Halfmoon Diner, I chose the Manhatten clam chowder. This was one of my more favorite parts of the meal. There was plenty of clams and the red sauce was good.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

My roast leg of lamb was drowning in brown gravy. It was dry and didn’t taste fresh. To me, it felt as though the meal was taken from a bunch of frozen food, reheated and brought out. I expected a leg of lamb; it was a few slices of lamb underneath brown gravy.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

My two sides, broccoli and french fries were both frozen and reheated. The broccoli was good, but the crinkle fries at the Halfmoon Diner were bland, and I was too full to finish them.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

In all, the food at the Halfmoon Diner was decent and right down the middle. It was nothing interesting or fancy but edible.

Halfmoon Diner Service: A
The waitress at the Halfmoon Diner was one of the best waitresses I’ve had at a diner. Our food came out fast, she gave recommendations for good options, and she was friendly.  She made the visit worth it.

Halfmoon Diner Cost: $
For all of my food, plus the extra $3 for the salad, it was only $18.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back of the Halfmoon Diner?
The Halfmoon Diner was good. The food was boring, but there was plenty of food. It’s a stereotypical diner and a decent stop in the greater Albany area.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee/Wine: A
Food: B
Service: A
Cost: $8-$15
Overall: B

You Can See All Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of wine?
Do you like lamb?

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