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...
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...
An Overnight Adventure at Pokagon State Park

An Overnight Adventure at Pokagon State Park

As I mentioned last week, one of my goals for 2019 is to travel monthly – at least a weekend trip. With a two week break from school and work,  the beginning of January seemed like the perfect time to start meeting that goal! A few days after ringing in the New Year, we went on a quick overnight adventure to Pokagon State Park in Northern Indiana. Pokagon is one of seven State Parks in Indiana that has an Inn on site, and we were lucky enough to get a room for the night during a very busy week! The location of the Inn is perfect – it’s close to the toboggan run, sits on beautiful Lake James and is minutes from outlet shopping, wineries, restaurants, and downtown Angola, Indiana. We arrived at the Potawatomi Inn just after lunch and were pleasantly surprised to find our room was ready. We were thrilled to stay in one of the patio rooms with a gorgeous view of Lake James. In fact, I woke up early the next day to get some beautiful morning shots of the still water. The room was large with a small fridge and microwave oven. The beds were comfy and clean and it was the ideal lodging for our quick trip. Our room was right across the hallway from the game room which contained a variety of video games, ping pong, air hockey and a new family favorite, Boccerball. None of us had ever heard of it before but we spent quite a bit of time playing – watch the short video below and you’ll get why...

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