Friday, August 29, 2014

Wisconsin's North Woods

If you are lucky, you have friends who live in a beautiful house on a lake in Wisconsin's North Woods. And if you're lucky enough, they invite you to come visit for a weekend.



And they take you on a tour of  their lakes - yes, lakes as they live on a "chain of lakes". And it's a gorgeous summer day with blue skies and few boats out. And you feel like Lewis and Clark exploring.








And they take you for your first ever visit to a real "North Woods Wisconsin Bar". And you try a Brandy Old-Fashioned because that's what you have in a real North Woods Wisconsin Bar. And fried cheese curds. Yes, you read that right. Fried cheese curds.










And they feed you all weekend. And serve you Bloody Mary's with cheese sticks in them. Because well this is Wisconsin, the cheese state. And you swim in the lake. And watch a pretty sunset. And enjoy the beauty of Wisconsin's North Woods.



Thanks Tony and Nancy! It was a blast!




For those of you who follow The Unpaved Road on Facebook, (and if you don't , why aren't you?) then you'll know that I visited my 50th State this summer before my 51st birthday so it's a done deal!! Obviously, since this post highlights Wisconsin, it's a done deal but here is pictorial proof




And once again, I am linking up with www.walkingontravels.com. Go check out Keryn's great photos of Multonomah Falls in Oregon!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cape Cod

If you're in Maine and you're visiting the Atlantic Ocean, you're going "to the Coast." If you're in New Jersey, you're going "to the shore." If you're in the Southeastern US, you're going "to the beach." But if you're in Massachusetts, you're going "down the Cape."




Cape Cod is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, vacation destinations in New England. I went "down the Cape" for the first time last year - and it was not quite what I expected. Well, it was and it wasn't. My idea of the Cape came from movies (Summer of 42) and photos I had seen. I knew all about the traffic - which was way worse than I ever anticipated - and seafood restaurants, ferries and summer houses. Or at least, I thought I did. 


Even though I had seen a map, it was still alot larger than I thought. And more crowded. With lots of year round residents. And city buses. Like I said, I expected wind swept beaches with kids on bikes.I didn't  even have Home Depots on my radar.I was stuck in the past  thinking more of  "mom and pop" grocery stores.




So I was naively living in the Cape Cod of the past. But still there was charm. Lots of charm. I visited a few different towns and did the drive all the way out to Provincetown. I did find windswept beaches. And ferries. And seafood restaurants. So the Cape of my imagination was still there. Just larger.






So I guess that's true with any place you dream about traveling. Paris is the Eiffel Tower. Brazil is Rio and it's beaches. And Yelllowstone is Old Faithful. But there is really so much more to those places than one single thing. I'm glad I was able to see so much more than I had in my mind's eye of Cape Cod.











How about you? Have you been to Cape Cod? Was it how you pictured? Have you been anywhere that wasn't what you thought it would be?

I'm linking up for #Friday Postcards, Hop on over and see what Karyn has going on!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier, twelve miles outside of Juneau, Alaska, is probably one of the most accessible glaciers in Alaska. I haven't looked up facts and figures about that so I'm not sure. And I don't mean accessible like walk on or slide down. I just mean accessible in that it is right outside a city and there is a parking area, visitors center and walking path that will get you within a 1/2 mile of it. If you have cruised to Alaska, there are all kinds of excursions and shuttle buses to get you there also.

We visited on a cloudy afternoon and headed straight to a path by the parking area where you can see lots of salmon swimming in a creek and supposedly,  bears. We didn't see any but we were assured that there are lots of bear sightings.



We headed to the cool  Visitor Center built into the side of a mountain. And then we walked the easy path along Mendenhall Lake to view the glacier.  










All in all, it was a pretty cool experience. It was free, the path was an easy walk and the National Park Service always does a good job of presenting nature in such an accessible way. It's not everyday you get to see a huge, beautiful glacier.









And here is another view of the glacier - this photo was taken from the ferry boat on our way into the Juneau ferry dock.  How would you like to own one of those houses and have that be your view?



Linking up with #Friday Postcards at www.walkingontravels.com   

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Boone Hall Plantation

There's a scene in the ultimate chick flick, The Notebook, where Ryan Gosling drives up to the gate at Rachel McAdams' house and rams into it with his car. That gate is a real gate, filmed on location at Boone Hall Plantation in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina just outside of Charleston. And if the fact that some of The Notebook was filmed there isn't enough for throngs of women to visit, then the fact that Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively were married there would be enough for many more to make a pilgrimage there also. In fact, some go just to touch the gate that both Ryan's have touched!
                                            

In all seriousness though, Boone Hall is a great history lesson which is also easy on the eyes. Four houses have stood where the current house is and you can take a tour of the downstairs as part of your admission price. ( Twenty dollars per adult and $10 per child from age 5 to 12, children under five are free) Also included in the admission price is a live presentation of "Exploring the Gullah Culture" , an open air coach tour of the grounds and a talk about the slave quarters at Boone Hall. The parking is free and there is a small cafe for meals and snacks. Of course, one of the most beautiful and well-known aspects of Boone Hall is the Avenue of the Oaks which you can't miss. I think it's one of the prettiest places in the Southeastern US. And apparently so do many other people as it is billed as the "most visited plantation in the United States."






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Head on over to check out  #FridayPostcards at www.walkingontravels.com !!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Chicago eats

You could probably get anything that you wanted to eat in Chicago. Except for maybe your mom's home cooking. Unless, of course, your mom lives in Chicago. But if she doesn't then you can find a restaurant with food just like mom's.

I hadn't been to the Windy City in an a very, very long time so I decided to stick with the tried and true Chicago eats.

We stayed in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago (Thanks Larry!) and our first stop was at Ipsento, aka Hipsento, a very popular coffee shop. We had breakfast sandwiches and homemade doughnuts with all the uber hip people of Bucktown.





We also ate at Asada's, which is 2 doors down from Ipsento, for authentic Mexican food. And we ate at Floyd's Pub, a very cool little neighborhood bar that you would never find on your own unless you lived in that neighborhood. Floyd's has a few outside tables and offers chalkboard specials. Then they cook the food in front of you in the tiny bar.

While in the city we had to go for the classics. For lunch one day we had red hots at Gold Coast Dogs. I have to say that it was one of the best hot dogs I have ever had.  Has to be on a poppy seed bun and have the tomatoes!




We went for the cliched Harry Caray Tavern when we were at Navy Pier. Mainly because there were a bazillion people, a long wait and 2 seats became available at the bar. Food was ok, view of Lake Michigan was good and bartenders were fun to watch.




And also a short stop for a beverage at the Navy Pier Bier Garden - 




The piece de resistance was deep dish pizza at Giordano's, one of the most famous pizza places in Chicago.As filling as it looks, more like a pie with a real crust and a 40 minute wait time for it to cook, it was definitely worth it!




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Once again this week I am linking up at www.walkingontravels.com for #FridayPostcards!!!!