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A Fairy Tale Island, Mackinac Island!

My trip to Mackinac Island over the Labor Day weekend was so exquisite that given a chance, I would go back to the Island and experience it all over again. The Island is located in Michigan and is accessible by a ferry from Mackinaw city that takes a few minutes to get to the Island. It is surrounded by Lake Michigan and Lake Huron which is cut across by the magnificent Mackinaw bridge. The moment I got out of the ferry, I could see tourists touring around the island in bicycles. The Island is just lovely and reminded me of the old days when there were no cars and the means of transport for everything including luggage/posts were carriages. The downtown of this little island was very extraordinary with horse carriages and bikes in both lanes, even the police was riding a bike. I was amazed to see the cute little Island which has a population of just 500 lucky people.

We headed towards the Mackinac Fort to learn more about the historical significance of this old town and enjoyed watching canyon and rifle firing with short description of how people survived during the wars. We then rented a bike to go around the Island that was a stretch of 8 miles surrounded by beautiful turquoise blue water on one end and forest on the other. I rode a tandem bike for the first time in my life and it was such an enjoyable experience. At a distance of about 2 miles, we parked our bikes to climb up and catch a sight of the arch rock. The view of the water from the arch rock was just breath-taking. We then continued to bike along the lake shore for 8 miles, the pleasant breeze and perfect weather made our ride very enjoyable.

We then reached back to downtown and started to explore the Island on foot. I enjoyed looking through shops with souvenir art shops and beautiful flower arrangements along the streets. The houses by the streets resembled farm houses with beautiful flower gardens and stables. We then walked towards the Grand Hotel which is the most famous hotel in the Island. We then made our way back to the market to enjoy some delicacies of the Island, delicious fudge and Mexican food. Over all I just loved my short one day visit to the Mackinac island and I would recommend it to all the travelers who are looking for an offbeat travel destination.

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My trip to Door County, Wisconsin. A lifetime adventure!

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 🙂


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Best 5 summer weekend getaways from Chicago!

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!


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The Evergreen City,Seattle!

My first city in the US as a tourist, Seattle will always remain close to my heart. Being surrounded by forest, lake, river and hills, it is a perfect destination for nature-lovers. The city just captivates you with evergreen trees, pleasant weather and clear sky(not so much).Be aware of the rain in Seattle, definitely plan your trip keeping weather constraints in mind as the evergreen trees also cause light showers every now and then. Here are some fun outdoor activities to do when you are out and about in Seattle.

Hiking Mount Rainier National Park

The drive to Mount Rainer National park through the hills and forest is very adventurous and scenic at the same time. After driving through a couple of hundred feet above the ground level, its time to hike the mountain by foot to explore the hills, valleys, waterfalls and meadows surrounding the cascade of mountains. The lovely view of the snow covered peaks of mountain makes it worth the visit.

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Trekking the Snoqualmie Falls

A few hours away from Seattle, Snoqualmie falls is a massive 268 feet waterfall on the Snoqualmie river. Trekking along the forest trail to reach the bottom to catch a sight of the colossal fall is such an enjoyable experience. The flora and fauna on the trail makes it even more delightful. Once you are all the way down at the lowest point of the fall, you can step into the rocks, woods and water to enjoy it even more closely.

Exploring the Bainbridge Island

The best way to get in the water in Seattle is to take a ferry ride across the Elliot Bay to the BainBridge Island. While you are on your way, keep your cameras ready for the perfect skyline view from the ferry. Explore the island by foot, bike or car depending on what you like. The island is huge with trails by forests and lakes so the best way to explore it in and out might be by car.

Day in Downtown

The trip to Seattle is incomplete without a day well spent exploring Downtown Seattle. Stroll by the Pike Place market and relish the fresh fruits in the farmer’s market. Hop into the Ferris wheel to get a complete view of the skyline and the city. Enjoy a rickshaw ride along the shore and wander around enjoy smoky delicious cart food in the hilly Downtown.

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Journey to Leavenworth

Few miles away from Seattle, Leavenworth is a small hilly city in in the middle of mountains. The Bavarian village there is a small shopping district with little unique boutique, art and gift shops. It is lovely place to stroll by and there are cultural dance performances by different countries in the streets. We were able to watch the England dance and music festivities where the men dressed as soldiers and women danced around them. The architecture of the buildings resemble the European design with domes and castles.  It is a lively place full of happiness and fun, definitely not worth missing if you are in Washington.

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If you happen to have a few more days in Seattle,explore the zoo,aquarium,lakes and museums in the city.There are just endless destinations for tourists to explore in the state of Washington.


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The Windy City ,Chicago!

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.