There aren’t many summer weekends in the Midwest region (Chicago) where I live so I want to be sure to take advantage of each and every summer weekend that I can. In order to do that, I’ve gotten out my calendar and I am planning my summer vacations and mini-get-aways already. My boyfriend hates that I plan all of this out in advance, he’d rather go with the flow but going with the flow leaves us sitting around the house wondering what we should do on the weekend. Blah.

We are city dwellers, recently relocated to the country. Our most recent past summers consisted of urban street festivals, and taking advantage of Chicago’s patio season, outdoor dining at our favorite charming restaurants. We’d take long walks through the concrete jungle that was our neighborhood, and spend time at the dog park with the pooch. Weekly, we’d visit our local farmers market and spend the day. On occasion, we’d get out of the city with a weekend trip to a state park, somewhere green. Life was good.

Life is still good. We live on 10 acres and have an in-ground pool just steps outside our back door. If the pool were open, I’d be writing this post pool-side. I can not wait to get my hands in to the 4-tier garden that my in-laws built and I’ll try composting for the first this summer. (excitement!) I doubt we’ll spend much time in the city this summer, rather take pleasure in the quiet slowness that the rural world has to offer. As I organize & plan my summer bucket list, I realize that I’m going to be a busy girl.

Warren Dunes - Sawyer, MI


  • When I think of summer, my first thought is of the beach. Last year, Chris & I discovered the WARREN DUNES in Sawyer, MI and we were in awe over the pristine beauty of the blue lake and white sandy beach. We were  just a few hours away from home in Michigan but it felt like we were on a vacation in some far-away place. We are DEFINITELY going back to the Warren Dunes this summer.
  • Speaking of Michigan, I recently learned of a Cleanse & Detox program at CAMP RAWNORA in Watervliet, MI. Two and a half days on 350 acres of pristine land focused on a healthy mind, body, and soul? YES, please.
  • Chris & I have enjoyed rock climbing for several years now but rarely get the opportunity to climb outdoors. We were introduced to the Chicago Mountaineering Club, which is a group that takes several trips a year up to DEVILS LAKE in Baraboo, WI for outdoor climbing. The Mountaineering Club owns property for their members (and guests) to camp on during their outings. We have only attempted a climbing trip with the Mountaineering Club once, it was rained out. We look forward to returning to Devils Lake this year for camping and climbing. Whether we are climbing or not, Devils Lake is one of our favorite places to spend summer days. The state park is gorgeous, offers beautiful hiking trails and a cute little lake for swimming. Aside from the CMC camp ground, we enjoy camping at Wheeler’s Campground, it’s clean and well-maintained.
  • Speaking of Wisconsin, I have become slightly obsessed with learning more about CAMP WANDAWEGA in Elkhorn, WI. Chris & I paid a visit to the camp a few months ago, they were been closed for the off-season. Although the signs read NO TRESPASSING, we wandered around. We found the decorated treehouse  and the tree swing however I don’t know much about the place. What I do know is that Martha Stewart featured the small lake resort on her website.
  • I’m traveling to Nashville, TN for work in July. OBVIOUSLY I’m going to extend my trip. I’d love to spend a few days in Nashville, a few days in Memphis, and a few days in Chattanooga at THE CRASH PAD, which  is an uncommon hostel welcoming outdoor adventurers (that’s me). From what I understand, Chattanooga has long been heralded for it’s wealth of great climbing. (I’ve been DYING to go here!!) 
  • One more place I’d like to get to this summer is Orlando, FL to visit my recently widowed grandpa. I have no expectations on what that trip will look like. I’ll do whatever grandpa wants to do.

Orlando, FL

What are YOUR summer plans? 

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