Guest Post – Island Life in Michigan

Guest Post – Island Life in Michigan

It’s been a few years since we visited Mackinaw Island, but we did have a wonderful visit! My family especially loved the Fort and the carriage ride around the island. My friend Tanya from Traveling Tanya was there last year, and hearing about her trip takes me back to our day on the island and makes me want to plan another visit soon! Check our her adventures and advice:  Spring has finally arrived! I’m Traveling Tanya, and I enjoy traveling just about any time of the year. But spring is an especially fun time to get out and explore. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind getaway this spring, consider Mackinac Island. Last fall I took my family to this magical island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. While fall is a great time to visit the island, I long to return in springtime to see the flowers in bloom and watch this quaint town come back to life after a winter slumber. But for now, I’ll reminisce about our fall getaway to Mackinac Island! Preparing for Mackinac Island I’m a planner by nature, so before heading to Mackinac Island I did my research. Reading several travel brochures and googling places of interest on the island. Even if you aren’t your family’s designated “tour guide” or “travel agent” there are other fun ways to get up to speed and energized about an upcoming trip to an unfamiliar destination. A few months before our trip, I happened to see a secondhand copy of a novel about Mackinac Island.  The book included 4 short stories, all taking place on the island during different...

Chicago for Tweens

I recently had the opportunity to visit Chicago with just my son. For school-related reasons my daughter (and therefore husband) couldn’t join us so it became a fun one-on-one trip. Not something we get to do often, so it was very special. We arrived Friday night to our amazing room at the Wyndham Grand – it was the perfect location, easy to get everywhere and with awe-inspiring city views. Once I parked my car, we used Uber or good old-fashioned walking the rest of the weekend – it was lovely to not think about driving, parking, etc. However, I do want to caution everyone to be very careful with valet parking – we ended up with some issues that I’m still dealing with – and this was at a very nice hotel and expensive parking spot. Thanks to our Chicago CityPASS, we knew our Friday night adventure would be the 360 Chicago Observation. After enjoying the views – loved the ice breaking up on the water – we walked across the street to do a little shopping at The Water Tower. I actually remember shopping there as a kid so it was nostalgic to share that experience with MY kid. As we had a full day planned for Saturday, we just grabbed quick salads and “fancy” drinks at The Cheesecake Factory just outside the mall. I rarely do chains when traveling, but that’s what my kid wanted and this was his weekend … The next morning started bright and early with the goal of seeing how many museums we could visit in one day (and still enjoy them!). We also...
The Best Places to Fuel Up after a Day of Skiing at Boyne

The Best Places to Fuel Up after a Day of Skiing at Boyne

Every year we visit Boyne Mountain at least once for a long weekend of skiing. Through the years, we’ve stumbled upon some amazing places to enjoy a boisterous or low-key (depending upon our mood) evening of good food, drinks, and atmosphere. It’s always a struggle to decide which ones to visit when we only have a few days. Luckily, we know we’ll be back next year to hit the ones we miss. Here are three of my current favorites: Cafe Sante is perhaps the most elegant of these choices. However you needn’t feel out of place in warm sweaters and jeans – after all in the winter, Boyne City is a ski town and being bundled up is expected. The atmosphere is cozy, the food has a French influence and the drinks are strong. All excellent reasons to visit. Cafe Sante also has an amazing Happy Hour. From 3- 6 every day there are a number of $3 drinks and appetizers. The choices change slightly from year to year, but we always have a good time putting together a tasty dinner of delicious tidbits. Shrimp cocktail, salmon pate, mussels, eggplant, and even deviled eggs were some of the delicacies we enjoyed on our recent trip. Along with several $3 margaritas, we left full and in good spirits early enough in the evening to be able to peek into a few of the Boyne City stores before heading back to our resort. Interested in more information on Cafe Sante? Check out my review on The Yums. Red Mesa is just down the street from Cafe Sante and actually owned by the...
Easy Everyday Adventures

Easy Everyday Adventures

Everyone knows how much I love everyday adventures, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to enjoy and create one of your own.  Although you could go with the standard fancy dinner out, why not try something new this year – I bet you’ll remember it much longer than just another dinner at a restaurant. Looking for ideas? I’ve got you covered: Visit a winery. Enjoy a wine tasting and then a delicious glass of wine. You might even get lucky and stumble upon some live music. It’s fun to try different varieties and share what you think of each one. This is also a great choice if you are short on time or money. It would be very doable to sneak in a tasting and conversation on a busy school night for $20 or less. Local suggestions: My two current favorite local wineries are Urban Vines and Sugar Creek Winery. Urban Vines has delicious charcuterie platters and they also serve beer, cider, and even sparkling wine, so if your partner doesn’t like wine they have alternatives. Sugar Creek Winery doesn’t carry food, but you are welcome to bring in whatever you want, so why not put together your own cheese plate and enjoy it with a glass of their delicious wine. Urban Vines, 303 E 161st Street, Westfield, IN 317-763-0678; Sugar Creek Winery, 1111 West Main Street; Carmel, IN  Check out a museum.  Although most museums might be closed in the evening, perhaps you can meet for lunch and walk through your local art museum? Or present tickets as a gift with plans to visit on the weekend. It’s fun to look...
Chicago Travel & Adventure Show Experience

Chicago Travel & Adventure Show Experience

Last week I took a quick one-day trip to Chicago specifically to attend the Travel & Adventure Show. If you get my newsletter, yesterday I shared a few reasons why this is the time of the year to search out “shows” and some of my favorites – if you don’t get it, why not sign up right now so you don’t miss a thing? This was my first time attending this show and it didn’t disappoint! If you love to travel or just want ideas for new places to go, this is an event worth checking out. The Chicago show is over, but there are still a number of these events happening all over the country. If you plan on attending any shows this winter, why not make a whole day of it? That’s what we do! For this one, I arrived in the area around lunchtime, so opened my favorite travel app Yelp and looked for a place to get a bite to eat. Near the convention center were tons of chain restaurants, but I always prefer something local. ShortFuse Brewing seemed to fit the bill. Just a half mile from the convention center, this local brewery has been open for about a year and a half. With about a dozen beers on tap and a nice guest cider, it was pretty easy to find a drink I enjoyed. The menu was fantastic. It covered everything from interesting takes on typical bar appetizers and sandwiches to a wide variety of pizzas. Since it was the weekend, they also had a special brunch menu. After I had fueled up,...
Five Fun Things to do in the Winter Near Pokagon State Park

Five Fun Things to do in the Winter Near Pokagon State Park

Visiting Pokagon State Park in the winter to enjoy the tobogganing? It’s certainly a wonderful way to spend a few hours, but if you are anything like our family you’ll want to discover all the other things to do in the area! Here are five fun things to do in the winter near Pokagon State Park. Find a great local restaurant. There are a number of interesting and delicious sounding restaurants in the area, so you’ll have no trouble finding one that appeals to you. We arrived around lunchtime and decided to try out 6 Autumns. It did not disappoint. My daughter and I split the salmon meal which came with two sides (we picked the vegan squash soup and some AMAZING homemade mac & cheese), while my husband and son enjoyed the fish and chips. It came with two sides also (fries and a salad). The portions were large, we had plenty of food even with splitting meals. Their beer list was fantastic. There are about a dozen beers on tap (mostly local), and another large list of bottles and cans. Definitely something for everyone. Located right off the interstate, 6 Autumns is in a building attached to the Ramada Inn – but don’t let that scare you. We didn’t and I’m glad. Excellent choice. 6 Autumns; 3855 N State Rd. 127, Angola, IN (260) 624-3644 Visit a winery. Near the park are several lovely wineries. I could definitely see this as a great girls weekend combining shopping, hanging out at the Inn and visiting wineries. As we had our kids in tow, we decided to just visit...

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