A few weeks ago we had the chance to take a quick weekend vacation to a place that has played a huge role in our lives, and hopefully will for years to come! I’ve been thinking about writing a Holderness post for so long, but I simply didn’t know where to start. Holderness is a tiny little boarding school nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It is the home to about 300 students and some seriously impressive faculty, and places a huge emphasis on the well-roundedness of its students. There is simply no way to embody what Holderness is in a simple blog post; it is really something one has to experience for themselves. Fourteen year olds from all over the world, and definitely all over the country, make their way to this outdoorsy school in September of every year, and are greeted with a hiking pack and a group of people they’ve never met, ready for their orientation hike. This is the first of many hikes we got to go on over the course of their four years there.  We were expected to know every student and teacher’s name on campus, and greet them with a hello. We went to school six days a week, including Saturday, and study hall five nights a week, and somehow we loved that. 

A few weeks ago was our Holderness Reunion. Ten years out of high school – when did that happen?! I was honestly shocked that we could make it back and do it together. Somehow Steve was the only guy that showed up, ha!

Holderness is a place where family dogs roam the campus and find a classroom to plop down in when classes gets started and there are no more student out and about to pet them between periods. We attended chapel twice a week (the same chapel we were married in!). We were required to play three sports. There are rock climbing teams, cycling teams, skiing or snowboarding teams, hockey teams, lacrosse, field hockey, softball, football, basketball, baseball, and high school Kourtney wanted to choose them all. Our old soccer team played, and myself and a few of my old teammates found ourselves on the sideline speculating at just how much we think we could keep up… taking bets on whether us old folk would beat them now, ha!

Every student attends four family style meals, where you sit with different students every time and have real conversations. People don’t have their heads buried in cell phones. Students don’t have cars and they walk everywhere – to practice, class, the dining hall, across campus carrying their full laundry basket to the laundry room. Faculty members are your teachers, mentors, coaches, advisors, and everything in between. By the end of your junior year, you complete a ten day hiking trip in the middle of winter, filled with seven days of hiking and three days of complete solo. Those “solo” days are for reflection, and you don’t have much more than a pack, a tarp (instead of a tent), sleeping bag, snow shoes, twelve matches, some bagels and peanut butter, and a notebook and pen. 

This is where Steve and I met, back in tenth grade. He started as a freshman, and I didn’t start until I was a sophomore. But he sat behind me on the first day of that honor’s chemistry class, and that’s where our friendship began. Over my complete lack of science knowledge and his easy ability to understand everything without taking any notes. Fast-forward six years later, we were married in the chapel on that campus. Among all of the faculty who watched us grow up as little teenagers living 2,000 miles from home. This school taught us how to be independent in such a valuable way, and we are both so grateful our experiences there. It makes it so much better that we share this experience together and laugh about all of our memories on a daily basis. We crashed that same chemistry class while we were there, mid-lesson, three crazy kids included. 

It almost felt like we never left when our favorite high school teacher adopted Mitchell as his little shadow for the day and off he went. Next thing we knew, we found him in the dining hall eating ice cream, on his fourth glass of milk, ha!

And lucky for us, Steve’s parents live right on the the way to Holderness and we were able to sneak in a little visit with them on the way!

This trip felt a little meant to be that the stars have aligned and we were able to go together, wedged between deployments and training, twice now! It really was the best weekend getaway, although it really feels like we were just there for our five year reunion and I’m wondering how in the world we are already 28?! We’re off to a soccer game this morning and hoping that just maybe someday Mitchell will be a little Holderness soccer star! 

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