On Friday, I shared photos from our anniversary trip along Minnesota’s North Shore. We had a wonderful time exploring state parks, but that was only half of our trip. On Saturday, we piled into my brother’s car for a scenic road trip to Bayfield, Wisconsin and the annual Bayfield Apple Festival!
My brother Kristian lives in Duluth, and he knows the city and surrounding parks better than anyone else. Originally, we planned to take Kristian with us on our state park adventure and he would show us his favorite places and trails. Our plans changed when Kristian discovered our weekend up north coincided with the Bayfield Apple Festival. We didn’t know what to expect- only that my brother went with friends the year before and had a great time.
We met at my brother’s house in Duluth early Saturday morning and were on the road by 9. The drive from Duluth to Bayfield is just under two hours, but the drive was gorgeous, winding along the shores of Lake Superior on one side, and acres of farm land on the other. The fall colors were at peak, and we couldn’t have asked for a sunnier fall day. Bayfield is a small town of about 400 people, but there were crowds everywhere for Apple Fest! Last year, USA Today named the Bayfield Apple Festival one of the top 10 fall festivals in the nation, and people travel from across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Even though we arrived early, we had to park several blocks away and walk down a steep hill to the festival in downtown Bayfield.
Luke and I had a chance to go to the North Shore for our anniversary a couple weeks ago, and we leapt at the opportunity. The North Shore is one of our favorite places, and the fall colors up north are breathtaking. The fall colors were near peak and though it was cold, it was sunny and glorious. Visiting the North Shore in the fall was on our list of adventures for 2016, and I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for months. We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend, and I’ve been dying to share some photos from our trip!
Overlooking Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake, the North Shore stretches from Duluth to the Canadian Border. The North Shore is saturated with state parks, and with stunning vistas, rocky beaches, raging rivers and waterfalls, it is easy to see why. Lace up your hiking boots- you’re in for an adventure.
My husband Luke and I took a spontaneous trip to Iowa this weekend. Because we could. We’ve taken many spontaneous weekend trips over the last year and half, some to places I never imagined. This is the time in our life to travel and explore because it is so easy to pick up and go. We both work full time, but our work commitments are only Monday through Friday. We don’t have children, pets, or a house to take care of, we can just water our plants, turn off the lights in our apartment and leave. This freedom won’t last forever, but we’re embracing it while it lasts.
Our adventures have been limited to weekends (especially long weekends, when one or both of us is able to get a Monday or Friday off), and unless we can find a great deal on a flight, we drive. We’ve been on some incredible adventures, all on a fairly tight budget. These are our secrets to planning a spontaneous adventure.
Last weekend was a cold one here in the Twin Cities. The high on Saturday was only 0 degrees, and by the time the sun set, temps had dropped to -18 degrees. Factor in the windchill, and friends, it was cold.
While most people tried not to leave their homes on Saturday, I had to work. I work for a university, and our commencement ceremonies were Saturday. Which meant I got to stand in the foyer, dressed in my nicest (but not warmest) attire, handing out programs as the doors constantly opened, letting in another blast of icy air.
When the last ceremony of the day ended, we were finally able to retreat upstairs away from the cold and were greeted with hot coffee and cookies. As my colleagues and I warmed our frozen fingers, I saw the following text message from my husband: “Hey babe, do you want to go ice skating this afternoon?”
But we did. And even though the air temperature was -2 (I don’t even want to think about the windchill), we had so much fun. I’m glad my husband dragged me out to the rink, even if it was a very cold day. We had such a wonderful afternoon ice skating, and I’m so glad I didn’t miss it bundled up on the couch, grumbling about the weather. With January in full swing, and more cold fronts on the way, here are my tips for ice skating on very cold days:
Happy New Year! 2015 was an amazing year for us, and we are looking forward to many more adventures in 2016. Here is our list of 16 adventures we’d like to take in 2016. Most are in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, or a few hours north of the cities. An added bonus- many of the adventures on our list are free!