The lovely colors of fall are here to brighten our lives. Every year during this time I tend to visit one of the forest preserves nearby to enjoy the magnificent colors of this season. Lately the weather hasn’t been so harsh and it is lovely to take a stroll looking at the trees that are slowly shedding the colorful leaves, Maple , Oak, Bald cypress to name a few. This year I visited the Morton Arboretum, a forest preserve which is about an hour away from Chicago. It was definitely worth a visit as we drove around 16 miles to see the spectacular hues all around the preserve. We also hiked for a bit along the lake Murmao there. A very well spent day overall and one of the few last outdoor days for me in the next couple of months 🙂
Most of us are now relishing the few last days of summer this year. It is the time to say good bye to the long days of summer and welcome the lovely colors of fall. The weather being super nice last week, we decided to hike at Matthiessen State Park which is right by the Starved Rock State Park in Ottawa, Illinois. We walked about 5 miles around the canyons and waterfalls enjoying the nature and appreciating it. The most challenging part of the hike was climbing up the unending flight of stairs. The entire park is in circles and there are just so many stairs to go down and then climb back up. Since it rained the previous night, the ground was damp and it was very enjoyable to step on the pebbles and cross the streams of water to make our way to the canyon. We also enjoyed making our way up to the canyon to get a close view of the water fall. How have you been spending the last days of summer? I would love to read. Do share!
I love fruits and the idea of picking them by myself in the orchards is just so so exciting. My parents visited me last month and since my dad loves farming himself, all of us decided to visit the fruit orchards in Michigan, which is about 2 hours of drive from Chicago. Mid July is the season of harvest for most of the fruits so the time was just perfect. We drove in the morning hours to reach the farms relatively early before all the fruits are gone.
The farm was just beautiful with yards of fruits flourishing and there was a farmer’s market right around the corner where the owners sold all their fruits and vegetables from their garden. Our host Chuck was just wonderful and offered us a short tour around the farm. We started to follow him towards the apple orchard where they had different kinds of apples including the Fuji and Gala. However since the apple harvest season is around August, it wasn’t ripe to pluck yet.
Chuck then walked us through the blueberry, raspberry (golden and red) and blackberry farms giving us brief knowledge about his experience in farming. My mom and I enjoyed picking them ourselves and the berries tasted just delicious. My dad brought a couple of fruits and vegetables including peaches and honey from the farmer’s market. Overall we had a wonderful day out exploring the orchard in a bright and sunny day. Have you ever gone for fruit/vegetable picking? I would love to read!
My recent trip to Door County, Wisconsin was one of the most adventurous trip I had in recent years. Door County is about 4 hours’ drive from Chicago and is an absolutely beautiful destination to visit during the summer. Some of the places I loved there are Sister Bay, Egg Harbor, Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay. All of these Bays and Creeks are small towns with their own little downtown surrounded by lake.
I always tend to plan for some activities especially when I take a trip in the summer when there is so many water activities to do. The plan this time around was to try out Sailing and Kayaking in the caves. Sailing in the calm water of sister bay was quite an amazing experience and went very smooth. We went sailing during the sunset and caught sight of the beautiful sun setting along the shores while the captain of the sail boat fired a canyon to salute the sunset. We also got to see the inside of the sail boat which was about 100 years old and had a small kitchen and few beds downstairs for the travelers who sailed long journeys in the boat and had to spent several days in it.
We headed out next day for Kayaking in the caves which turned out to be an incident that I will perhaps not forget for my entire life. We started to kayak and were struggling to kayak from the very beginning and the journey was 4 miles to the caves. The waves were huge and our kayak kept wandering in the direction of the wind. Our guide kept coming back to keep an eye on us while other all groups continued to move ahead. And then came the nightmare, guess what.. “Our boat toppled in the middle of nowhere” that too with our phones in the pocket :(. We ended up clinging to the toppled kayak waiting for our guide to come rescue us. I still remember that moment when my slippers slipped out of my feet into the deep lake and I could not even look if someone was coming to take us to the shore. Luckily, we had over life jackets on and also knew how to swim so ended up laughing at ourselves in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to the guide who finally came up to us and saved over lives. However the bad news was after all this drama, we were just sent back to the point we started. I so wanted to still see the caves so we just drove to see the caves in the water which was absolutely mesmerizing.
Here are the very few pictures of me in Door County that I transferred before our phones were water damaged. I will remember this trip forever and I will not give up on Kayaking until I am able to do it now. We are heading towards Munising in Michigan next month and going to go Kayaking again. After all you got to do what you want to. Have you ever had a mishap during one of your trips? I would love to read 🙂
Summer is the best time to travel and explore beautiful destinations around. This summer has been a great adventure for me so far in terms of travel and here are my recommendations for travel for all those who live in the Midwest.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin – Lake Geneva is a go to summer destination for all travel lovers in the Midwest. The freshness of Lake Geneva comes with its colorful flowers along the pathways in downtown that stretches by the lake itself. Riviera Beach is right in the downtown by the Lake which is a great spot to relax and swim. The lake offers all kinds of water sports and is surrounded by all great restaurants that offer variety of cuisines to enjoy. My love for water and flowers has taken me there twice this summer season.
Distance: 1.5 hrs.
Activities: Speed Boat, Jet Ski, Pontoon Boats, Swimming in Beach
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin – Enjoyable both in summer and winter, Wisconsin Dells is the perfect destination for adventure seekers. Every time I go there, there is something new and exciting to explore. The beautiful Wisconsin river showcases magnificent rock formations. Some of the most fun adventures there are the upper dells boat tour, canyon horse tours, zip lining and Jet boat tours. The most intimidating yet fun adventure was the ghost tour in the forest while its pitch dark. At night the Witches Gulch come to life and gets hold of your nerve. A haunted ship takes you into the forest and the rest will be all for you to experience if you make it back!
Distance: 3 hrs.
Activities: Boat Tours, Water Parks, Water Sports, Zip-lining, Tubing
Starved Rock State Park, Ottawa, Illinois – Living in the Midwest away from all the national parks gave us an opportunity to discover the Starved Rock State park. The state park is just 1.5 hours’ drive from the city of Chicago and beholds beautiful flora and fauna right from spring until the fall season. Hiking, camping and biking are some of the most enjoyable summer activities there. We hiked for 5 miles back and forth during our visit to the park and enjoyed the canyons, waterfall and lush forests all around. It is a definite getaway from the city life.
Distance: 1.5 hrs.
Activities: Hiking, Biking, Camping
Japanese Anderson Garden, Rockford, Illinois –This beautiful garden in the midst of bridges, waterfalls and Koi Ponds is a very refreshing getaway from Chicago. About just an hour away it is a go to spot for nature lovers. We were lucky to visit this garden during the Japanese spring festival when they had authentic dance and song performances.
Distance: 1.5 hrs.
Activities: Music, Nature
Saugatuck, Michigan – A small cute little downtown surrounded by Lake Michigan with restaurants, souvenir, art and gallery shops all around is a very pleasant outing from the city of Chicago. About 2.5 hours away from Chicago, the small vibrant city offers all kinds of boat rentals including kayaks, banana boats and duck tours. The most famous ride in the lake out there is the Chain Ferry that takes you around the lake. Also the Oval beach is very pristine and known for its sand dunes and ATV rides. Keep in mind that Michigan is one hour ahead in terms of time difference from Chicago so head out early to enjoy your day there.
Distance: 2.5 hrs.
Activities: Chain Ferry, Duck Tours, Boat tours, Swimming in Beach
The other two getaways that I am looking forward to this summer is Door County, Wisconsin and Mackinac Island, Michigan. I have heard a lot of good things about these places and I can’t wait to explore them myself. What are your summer travel destinations? I would love to hear!
The windy city Chicago is one of the finest metropolitan cities in the United States with a lovely architecture and design. Summer is definitely the best time to visit Chicago. I love Chicago and it has been my home away from home for the past few years. Here are the five most fun ways to discover the city in and out :
Take a Limo Ride around the city
The Limousine ride in the city takes you around the city and stops at four most prominent spots in the city. It stops by the Giant Bean in the Millennium Park, Buckingham fountain in the Grand Park, Museum campus by Lake Michigan and The Navy pier. Photograph the giant bean to capture yourself inside it. Stroll by the lively Navy Pier by the sailor boats and the cruises to get a perfect skyline view of the city.If you are lucky,you might get a sight of the summer fireworks showcased at the Navy Pier every Wednesday and Saturday.Watch the Buckingham fountain go high up in the sky and enjoy the lights and music that make the fountain even more spectacular.
Bike the trails by the Lake Michigan
Chicago city framework is pretty impressive in terms of biking trails. To explore the city even more closely, go biking by the Lake Michigan starting from the museum campus all the way to Navy pier and reach to the North Avenue Beach at the other end. Make stops in between to enjoy the view of the boats and ships by the harbor and the beaches on the way. Cheap rental Divvy bikes are available in all these spots which makes it very convenient.
View the city from the top
Chicago is just incomplete without its enormous Skyscraper which is a picturesque view especially at night. The Sears tower and the John Hancock tower are the two tall buildings which offer best views of the city from the top. The Signature Lounge at the 94th floor in the John Hancock tower is one of the very romantic restaurants in the city.
Shop Shop Shop
Downtown Chicago offers both extravagant and economical shopping choices depending on which you like to go with. The Magnificent Mile in downtown is the shopping hub and more economical than the Michigan Avenue which has flashy showrooms and more extravagant choices. The water tower place is another location to shop and is very lively to walk by and watch the busy city.
Stroll by the River Walk
The city of Chicago has canals and river running in the heart of the city. Stroll by the river walk and take architectural boat rides to indulge into the history of Chicago. Spring season welcomes the Saint Patrick’s Day when the water in the river walk turns green to signify Irish culture. In short the diverse city Chicago has anything and everything that a tourist wishes to explore.