Sunday, June 16, 2013

Time for Camp

     Adam and I have been together for over nine years now, every year he disappears to "Camp" for random weekends and 10 days at the beginning of every deer season, but I had never been. One of my resolutions for the year was to not allow another year to pass without going. I am so glad that we did, I AM IN LOVE WITH CAMP! Yeah, it's source of power is a generator and the water come from the spring out front, and it is amazing. We are already planning on going up another weekend this summer.
     Our purpose for the trip was to test our trail legs and try out our new tent, setting out for a 20-mile loop hike on the Quehanna Trail (20 of the 70+ miles that it is)...well, we did really good, instead of the hike taking us 2 days and camping overnight, we accomplished it all in a single day and ended up back at camp. My body felt it for a couple of days, but it was totally amazing to see that we could do it. Also, if you are ever looking to go get lost for a few days in the woods, this is definitely a great place to go. It was so quiet, peaceful, and mind-blowingly beautiful. Also, a bit later in the summer you wouldn't have to worry about carrying food...there are blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry bushes EVERYWHERE. Luckily, they were just flowers as we were hiking, because I would have been stuck in the same spot for hours! There will be much more time spent at camp in the future, I am just disappointed that it took me so long to get there!

Our little friends

Momma and her baby
We saw a TON of deer...I don't know what the boys' excuses are for not all being successful each year during deer season. :) My expectations are MUCH higher this year and for the future.

Cousins 4 Camp

The view from the porch

The picturesque drive

Fern forest

Beautiful meadow

Top of the mountain, no view

When they were boys...

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Chicago. Is. Awesome. Especially the food. ESPECIALLY the food. With our CA/WA/OR trip you were probably wondering if we ever ate...this trip, you could wonder if we did anything besides eat. We were given many recommendations for restaurants, more than meals we had time to consume, so we had to figure out how to accomplish our objectives and still see the city. So we did small plates at many places instead of full meals and it was AWESOME.
Chicago is a super easy city to navigate via public transportation so we did not bother to rent a car. We flew into Chicago O'Hare and caught the blue line subway into the city. Be warned, this is about a 45 minute ride down into the heart of the city, but the majority of it is above ground so you get a really good view of the city and its outlying area. It was safe and clean so we were happy. 

Billy Goat Tavern: More of a dive bar that has a grill. It was recommended by every Chicago guide I found and Anthony Bourdain stopped in here and had a great time, so we moseyed on over.

Anthony Bourdain went here, so did we

The Wrigley Building

One of the things that I loved most about Chicago was its varying skyline. The different architecture types, styles, ages, and such of the building was really beautiful; brand new skyscrapers being constructed adjacent to a 100 year old building. We walked 5-6 miles a day around the city just taking in the sights.

So I don't like donuts. I know, it's anti-American, but I just have never been a huge pastry person. Well, it turns out that I do like donuts, a lot. I just like really awesome donuts. We found them. This place is literally a hole in the wall and has a cult following. We waiting in line, outside, in the cold (I know, I can't believe I did it either) for an hour. It was so worth it. We ended up with an Old Fashioned, a glazed Vanilla, and a glazed Chestnut. Messy and delicious.

Best. Donuts. EVER. (I like donuts now!)

Publican Quality Meats: This place is mostly a specialty deli and butcher shop that has a couple of tables from which you can order charcuterie plates and sandwiches. Delicious. It was actually the best meat and cheese selection that we have experienced, and we have consumed oh so many!

Best charcuterie plate EVER

Haha....silly vegans. Everyone loves meat!

Girl and the Goat: BEST FOOD WE HAVE EVER EATEN. EVER. SERIOUSLY. I know, we rave about a lot of places, but these by far has been the most amazing food we have ever consumed...and we both think this. This place popped up with high review, so I called to make reservations the night we arrived for anytime in the next 72 hours that we were there...I should have know when the hostess just laughed. That being said, she offered that if we walked in and waited that we would eventually be seated. Well, she showed up at opening at 430p and the place was already full. Thankfully it was full of people with reservations, and we were seated after only waiting an hour. They have a really nice lounge area that you can wait in and have drinks. If you are ever in Chicago for any reason and can only make 1 stop, this should be that stop. And it is worth the wait. Knowing now what I do, even though I am fairly impatient when it comes to the waiting game, I would wait 4 hours for this meal.
We had: ham frites, goat empanadas, roasted pig face, green garlic potato wontons, and chickpea fritters (it is a small plates restaurant). I highly recommend any and all of them.

Best meal of our entire lives. EVER.

The Purple Pig: This place was PACKED but we were able to squeeze in. Their menu had so many intriguing things that we didn't really know how to choose, but we went with the bone marrow as all of the foodies in the world rave about it and we had never tried it. It was good, smeared over fresh bread like butter, it actually tastes like a meat flavored butter, but it was really rich and you definitely cannot eat very much of it. We ate only half of the order.

The Purple many tempting choices

The Roasted Bone Marrow it is...tasty but WAY too much

Sunset over Lake Michigan

The beach

Millenium Park

Avec: You want to go here for the food, but you also want to go here for the unique decor of the building. It is about 13ft by 13ft but about 200ft long and ALL wood paneling; the walls, the floor, the ceiling, tables, and chairs. It was oddly beautiful and the food was AWESOME.

Relaxing afternoon at Avec

It's yin and yang

We also did the International Museum of Surgical Sciences because I love all things medicine and Adam loves me. It is a fairly small museum that can be accomplished in about 90 minutes, but they have an awesome collection of surgical equipment through the ages, skulls from ancient times, and an enviable library of old medical textbooks.
Also, we made sure to try the foods that Chicago is most notable for : Deep dish pizza and hot dogs. Adam and I were both ehhh about the pizza, it really isn't pizza. It tasted good, but it is more like a dough lasagna that pizza. The hot dog though..AWESOME. Chicago is fastidious that you do not put ketchup on a hot dog, so don't ask, they won't even have it available.
It was a really nice but quick little trip. Chicago is definitely a good city for those who like to shop (which we do not so...) so make sure to plan on time for that if you are, because there is every store ever in the downtown area where the hotels are.