August Adventures

Over the last week, I’ve been going around some cool towns in the states of Wisconsin and Illinois. Enjoy!

Johnson Creek

Johnson Creek is a smaller town, not far outside of Madison. We visited the Outlets of Johnson Creek. Some of the outlets include the Lindt Lindor Store, Crocs, Adidas, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. Our first stop was at the Adidas outlet. I’ve never seen so many shoes in my life! Next, we went to the Lindt Lindor store. They had every possible flavour from pumpkin spice to mangos & cream. We also visited the Banana Republic and Crocs outlets. After our shopping spree, we went to Pinecone Plaza. Pinecone Plaza is a truck stop in Johnson Creek with some really good food. The desserts are gigantic!

Adidas Outlet

 

Lindt Lindors!

 

The gigantic cream puffs

Port Washington

We visited Port Washington on August 24th. Port Washington is about 30 miles north of downtown Milwaukee. It’s a beautiful town on Lake Michigan. We had lunch at a delicious lunch at the Twisted Willow restaurant. I got the four cheese caesar salad and my mom got the salmon salad. Both were amazing!

After lunch, we went to the docks and saw the waves crash really high. It was a super windy day and our hair got pretty messed up. Then we walked a bunch of stairs up to a lighthouse. We took a tour of the lighthouse, which was very neat. After our lighthouse tour, we went to the Daily Baking Company. I got a delicious Boston Cream Donut.

Salmon Salad

 

Four Cheese Caesar Salad

The Lighthouse

 

Top of the Lighthouse

Boston Cream Donut

Thiensville

Not long after we visited Port Washington it rained a ton in Wisconsin. There were mudslides and almost 17 tornadoes in the span of a couple days. There was flooding in western, central, and southeastern Wisconsin. We visited the town of Thiensville and got a look at the flooding for ourselves

 

 

Grafton

We saw more flooding when we went up to Grafton. We also got some Starbuck’s because why not?

Farmington

One day we went to the Shalom Wildlife Center up in Farmington, Wisconsin. We saw all sorts of animals! From elk to skunk to bobcats. You are also allowed to purchase corn then feed some of the animals.

Elk


Badger

Buffalo Herd

Ostrich

Eeyore says hi!

Llama

Belgium/Cedar Grove/Oostburg

One day we headed up to Belgium (Wisconsin that is.) It was definitely very rural. The best part I think was that there was a sign in Belgium that said: “Welcome to Belgium, home of the Luxemburgers.” From Belgium, we went to Cedar Grove and we even saw a traditional Dutch windmill. In Oostburg, we went to the Oostburg Bakery where we got a cream-filled coffee cake for my mom’s birthday. Yum! I tried a Caramel Cookie Frappe at a local cafe. It was delicious!

Windmill in Cedar Grove

 

Cream Filled Coffee Cake

 

Caramel Cookie Frappe

 

Cedarburg

We visited Cedarburg on Saturday. We went to lots of stores and the Cedarburg Arts Mill. The river in Cedarburg was pretty high from all the recent rain.

Sculptures

Chicago

Moving out of Wisconsin and down to Illinois! This was a highlight of August for sure. On Sunday the 2nd, I went to Chicago with my mom. Our first stop was the Centennial Wheel in Navy Pier. We took a water taxi (right by Union Train Station) to Navy Pier which I highly recommend. For lunch, we went to Eataly. The layout of the store was kind of confusing but we found a restaurant with some amazing ravioli inside the store. It had ricotta and spinach inside and it was amazing!

From Eataly, we headed to the Magnificent Mile. We went to Tiffany & Co, Lush, the American Girl Store, and Watertower Place. It was almost 93 degrees that day (in September!) so we stopped at Starbucks and Millenium Park.

Centennial Wheel

At the top of the wheel

Ravioli at Eataly

Watertower outside of Watertower Place

AG Store

Exhausted in Millenium Park

Thanks for reading this post, everyone. I start school again tomorrow, so no adventures for awhile. I’ll post every once in awhile though! Have a great September!

~ Mara

 

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Naperville: Days 7 and 8

Hello! I recently was on a week-long vacation in the town of Naperville which is in the northern part of Illinois, not far from Chicago. I’ve already posted about the first 6 days, and here are the links if you have yet to read those posts. Days 1 and 2, Days 3 and 4, and Days 5 and 6. Enjoy!

 

Friday morning we spent in the room since it was downpouring outside.

For lunch, we headed to Oak Brook which is 20 miles or so from Downtown Naperville. Once we were in Oak Brook we went to a restaurant called Labriola’s. I got the Strawberry & Kale Salad. Yum!

After lunch, we went to the Oak Brook Center which is a mall! It was outdoors and there was lot’s of cool shops like Lolli&Pops (candy store), Tesla, Altar’d State (clothing store), Davids Tea, Build A Bear, and even an escape room.

The Microsoft Store

Starbucks (with a line out the door)

For dinner that night we went to Ted’s Montana Grill (founded by Ted Turner) and I got the parmesan cauliflower (yum!) and a baked potato. My dad got one of the famous bison burgers.

Cauliflower

That night we walked around downtown Naperville and the North Central College Campus. We went to a clothing store called Southern Tide as well.

North Central

Southern Tide

The next morning was our last day in Naperville. I went down to Sparrow Coffee (in our hotel) to get a pastry to go with my breakfast. I got a chocolate croissant.

Sparrow Coffee Interior

 

Then we walked the riverwalk one last time before heading back home. We saw tons of ducks.

Goodbye, Naperville!

 

 

Naperville: Days 5 and 6

Today, I have our Naperville Post about days 5 and 6 in Naperville. Click here for the post about Days 1 and 2 or Days 3 and 4. 

 

We started off our 5th day in Naperville with some protein at the Starbucks Reserve Bar. We had the Bacon and Gruyere Sous Vide Egg Bites. Yum!

Then we walked all the way to Dunkin’ Donuts on the riverwalk. It had rained so much part of the riverwalk was flooded.

        Flooded Part of the Riverwalk

After our morning riverwalk hike, we went to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. The Morton Arboretum was founded by Joy Morton who owned the famous salt company.

Recently, lot’s of troll statues made out of scrap wood have been erected in 6 different places around the Arboretum. We spent our day hiking and checking off all the troll statues. We even found the Troll Hideout.

 

That night after lot’s of walking we headed for a rather unhealthy yet satisfying meal at Smashburger. I had the grilled cheese and tater tots. Once we returned to downtown Naperville we headed for David’s Tea and got some teas – to – go and walked along the riverwalk. I got Magic Potion Tea which changes colour.

             Magic Potion Tea

The next morning was my parents 24th anniversary! We had breakfast in the hotel room and then from there we drove to Wheaton and went to the Danada Equestrian Center. We saw tons of horses up close and even Clyde the Cat, who we saw a year ago at Danada.

         Clyde the Cat: August 2018

 

              Clyde the Cat: August 2017

We had lunch in Wheaton Square at PDQ which specializes in chicken tenders and nuggets. From there, we went to pick up bundlets (tiny bundt cakes) for back in the room, at the store Nothing Bundt Cakes which was also in Wheaton Square. Nothing Bundt Cakes is one of my favourite cake shoppes. I got the red velvet bundlet.

Outside of Nothing Bundt Cakes

That afternoon we went shopping downtown at stores like William Sonoma, Eddie Bauer, and Anderson’s Bookshop.

                    Andersons Bookshop

For dinner, we went to Midici Pizza which is right on the river walk and offers great views. I got a Margherita Pizza, which was pretty good.

            Margherita Pizza 

After dinner, we walked around the campus of North Central College which is in Naperville.

Goodnight, Naperville

 

Thanks for reading! The next post will be about days 7 and 8.

~ Mara

 

 

Naperville: Days 3 and 4

Hi! As promised I’m back with my post about our 3rd and 4th days in Naperville. If you haven’t seen the 1st and 2nd-day post here’s the link.

 

Our third day in Naperville we once again had breakfast at the hotel before setting out on our day. We hung out in our hotel room for most of the morning since it was raining pretty hard. It cleared up for a bit and we headed out to lunch at Le Pain Quotidian. I got the baker’s breakfast, which came with some amazing soft-boiled eggs!

 

That afternoon since it was still raining we went to the Hollywood Palms Theatre. I like to call it “Hollywood in the Midwest” since they have a red carpet and everything.

We watched the movie Christopher Robin which was amazing! I highly recommend it, and it’s pretty funny. Since it’s a dine-in theatre I got a dessert called the Willy Wonka Chocolate Cake and they noted in the menu it was an “Augustus Gloop size portion.”

Augustus Gloop Sized Cake

After the movie, we headed to our favourite Naperville grocery store called Standard Market which sells healthier versions of foods. They still have a really cool bakery with some amazing cakes.

Some of the cakes

For dinner it was still raining so we ventured to the nearby Chick-fil-a since there isn’t one close to where we live back home. That night we hung out in the room and I watched Survivor.

The rain from the day had raised the river’s height

It wasn’t raining when we woke up the next morning so we headed to breakfast at the Colonial Cafe. We all got eggs, bacon/sausage, and hash browns. The eggs were very good.

We went on a hike at Pioneer Park which was across the street from Colonial Cafe. It was very pretty and we even saw a heron there.

 

After, Pioneer Park, we decided to stop at the Starbucks Reserve Bar back in downtown Naperville. I got an iced hazelnut bianco latte. Yum! For lunch, we went to Burrito Parrilla Mexicana. I had guacamole and chips, which was really good.

By this time it has started to rain again so we headed back to the Hollywood Palms and saw Mamma Mia 2. It was a really good movie, but the best part was all the songs. For dinner, we got some food like hummus, chips, cheese, grapes, etc. at Whole Foods and took it back to eat in the room.

Signed Willy Wonka Poster

 

Thanks for reading about days 3 and 4. Our next post will be about days 5 and 6.

~ Mara

 

 

Naperville: Day 1 and 2

Hello! I recently was on a week-long vacation in the town of Naperville which is in the northern part of Illinois, not far from Chicago. Enjoy the post about our first two days.

It was a late Saturday morning when we got in the car on our 2 hour trip to Naperville. Along the way, we passed some cool roadside attractions such as the Mars Cheese Castle in Paris, Wisconsin and Six Flags Amusement Park in Gurnee Mills, Illinois. We stopped for lunch at BibiBop Asian Grill in Schaumburg, Illinois. I had a noodle bowl with purple cabbage, corn, cucumber, tofu, and teriyaki sauce. Yum!

After our lunch, we stopped at Woodfield Mall which is the 12th largest mall in the United States with over 2 million square feet of space!

 

When we finished exploring Woodfield we got back in the car so we could head the rest of the way to Naperville. There we checked in at the Hotel Indigo located right on Naperville’s iconic river walk.

After checking in we made our way to one of our favourite spots in Naperville. The Starbucks Reserve Bar. The Starbucks Reserve Bar isn’t just a normal Starbucks. The Reserve Bar often is bigger and the baristas serve you instead of you going up to order. They also feature small-lot coffee. There aren’t many in the United States, so it’s was exciting when one came to Naperville.

For dinner on our first night, we went to The Patio in the neighbouring town of Aurora. The Patio features American comfort food such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and bbq. Our favourite part about The Patio is the great atmosphere. On cold days there is a fireplace going. When we most recently went it was 95 degrees out, so thankfully they didn’t have it on. That night we walked to the Millenium Carillon built for the year 2000.

Our second morning in Naperville, we had breakfast at the hotel since we woke up late. Then we went to church at the Yellowbox. The Yellowbox is really neat because instead of pews they have comfortable chairs (kind of like in movie theatres) and they even have a smoothie bar! For lunch, we went to one of our favourite sushi restaurants called Sushi + Rotary. Sushi + Rotary features booths and tables along a rotary bar where you can pick out what sushi you want. If you’ve ever been to Yo! Sushi it’s a lot like that. I got the Futo Sushi which has daikon, avocado, cucumber, and egg inside of it. I also had the avocado maki which is basically avocado. That’s my favourite roll of all. For dessert, I had a small slice of green tea cheesecake. Yum!

       Green Tea Cheesecake

After lunch we strolled around in downtown Naperville, visiting some shops on walking on the riverwalk.

For dinner, we went to Ballydoyle Pub in Downers Grove. We always like to go on Sunday night because they feature live Irish music. I thought it was kind of funny we went since we were just at Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland less than a month ago. I got the nachos (no jalapenos, beef, or pico de gallo) and I tried some of the molten brownie as well.

                      Nachos

 

Thanks for reading our first two days in Naperville! Stay tuned for more posts about this trip coming soon!

 

 

Dublin

Our transportation throughout the trip had been really good, up until now. We sat in our seats in the prop plane in the middle of Bristol Airport with no air conditioning. It was 90 degrees in the cabin. It was hot! The plane had decided not to work today, so we had to get off the plane and go back into the airport to wait for it to be fixed. If they couldn’t fix it we would have to wait 5 hours for the next plane to Dublin.

After awhile they called our flight back. The plane was “supposedly” working. 30 minutes we took off, and we flew the hour long flight to Dublin.

We arrived without any more plane issues and we took a taxi to our 3 story townhouse we had rented. It was 9:00 PM by the time we got to dinner. We went to Paulie’s Pizza, I got a Margherita Pizza once again.

The next morning, I was in bed on my phone. Everyone in the house was still sleeping since it was only 6:30. Then a face appeared in the window. It was one of the cats!

There were 6 (I counted) cats that lived around our house. I named them; Dingle (the one that appeared in the window), Larry, Shamrock, Gael, Guinness, and Limerick.

We had breakfast then we headed off. We went to Starbucks, and they had some different things than they did here in the U.S. There were all sorts of different Frappuccinos.

There were all sorts of cool donuts in some of the windows we passed.

We had lunch at the famous Temple Bar, where we all got different types of sandwiches. I got an egg salad sandwich.

 

Then we went stopped at another bar (to get the Temple Bar neighborhood feel.) My mom and I just got diet cokes.

Our next stop was at the Ha’Penny Bridge.

From there we walked around on the other side of the bridge for awhile. We saw some cool statues along the way.

After that we crossed back over to the south side of Dublin and went back to our house. For dinner we got take out pizza from a local restaurant, we also got salads. I only had a piece of the pizza since I didn’t like how there was so much cheese on it (I’m more of a sauce person.) My dad agreed (he’s a sauce person, too.)

Look who came by at dinner…

That night Larry (his real name is Ginger) came to the downstairs window and tried to get inside for awhile.

The next morning we took the train to Howth which is a fishing village north of Dublin.

We saw a bunch of sea lions in the Irish Sea, which was really neat.

After watching the sea lions for a bit we went to Insomnia Coffee. I decided to embrace the moment and I had a very sugary snack (Candyfloss Hot Cocoa and a Marshmallow Cake.) It was really good.

We saw the Olympic House in Howth which was really neat.


For lunch we went to the Abbey Tavern, I had a salad and my grandma and dad had the salmon.

After lunch we went back to Howth Harbour and walked on top of the break wall for a bit. There were some awesome views from the wall.

A sign in the harbour

On our way back to Dublin we stopped at the Bubble Waffle Factory. Bubble Waffle Cones are like ice cream cones but the cones are made of waffles. My grandma and I tried them. I mostly just ate the top of the waffle cone since it was gigantic!

We stopped at Trinity College before going back to the house. We didn’t see the Book of Kells but we went to the Trinity Gift Shop and got some neat shirts.

That night for dinner my mom, dad, and I walked to a store called Donnybrook Fair where we got some things like potato salad and Caesar salad for dinner. On the way to Donnybrook, we saw Meghan, Harry, and the Prime Minster of Ireland drive past us since they had just gotten to Dublin that night.

Our final day in Dublin we went to explore more of the city. We went to the Famine Memorial that morning, which was really interesting.

We also got to go on the famous ship that brought immigrants from Dublin to places like Quebec and New York City. It was called the Jeanie Johnston.

On our way to lunch we saw Harry and Meghan again, and this time we got a wave from them. For lunch, we stopped at another restaurant in the Temple Bar neighborhood and I had a baked potato with scallion sour cream. Yum!

After that we went on a Viking Tour of Dublin. We went on land and in the water. It was really neat!

For dinner we stopped at a salad restaurant called Chopped. The salads were really good.

I forgot to take salad pictures so this is just a filler..

 

That night we watched the World Cup semi-finals, unfortunately England didn’t make it into the finals. Unfortunately, the next day was our last day of our 15 day trip in England and Ireland.


We drove to the Dublin Airport, and said our goodbyes as our flight took off.

 

While we were above Newfoundland in Canada we could see icebergs from 36,000 feet in the air!

Soon, we arrived back in the States. We had an amazing trip, and I can’t wait to go to Europe soon!

 

Bath

It was a 4 hour train ride from York to Bath.

 

 

We passed through places like Leeds, Birmingham, and Gloucester.

After checking in at our hotel we were pretty hungry since we hadn’t gotten lunch on the train, so we went to a restaurant called Dough Pizzeria for a late lunch/dinner. 

After going to the Pizzeria we went to the Pulteney Bridge, one of the only bridges in the world that has shops on both sides of it.

Pulteney Bridge

Then we headed over to the River Avon and Parade Gardens.

Our second day in Bath, we went to Stonehenge which was actually in the Amesbury area.

We saw lot’s of tank crossing signs on the way there, because the British Army has some of it’s bases near Stonehenge.

It was very smoky when we arrived at Stonehenge, since the army was setting off smoke bombs for training purposes.

Nonetheless, the stones were amazing.

Before heading back to Bath we stopped in Lacock.

Lacock is famous for all the movies and tv series that have been shot there. Some include Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, and Downton Abbey.

We had lunch at a Tapas place for lunch, back in Bath. I had Horchata, which was pretty good.

We saw lot’s of gigantic meringues everywhere we went in England, especially in Bath.

On our third day we went to the Roman baths in the morning. We had great views of Bath Abbey from the baths.

After exploring the baths we went to the tearoom next door called the Pump Room. I had the chocolate cake and raspberry tea.

That afternoon we went to the Jane Austen Centre, where we saw a bunch of famous Jane Austen character wax figurines.

After going to the centre we saw the Circus and the Royal Crescent.


 

We were there during the World Cup semifinals, so the streets were desolate and the pubs were all exceeding the max capacity.

Our final day in Bath, we walked down to the River Avon one last time before leaving for the Bristol Airport.

Can you guess where our next city is? (Hint: It’s not in the U.K)