MiniMooners

After the absolute excitement and craziness of a wedding, there was only one place we wanted to be…

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Door County, Wisconsin!

We drove up Friday afternoon and after a quick stop at a winery for a tasting, checked into our adorable room complete with a kitchen and fireplace.  We didn’t stay long before heading further up north for Friday night fish fry.  Not surprisingly, there was a wait, so we found a comfortable spot on a bench at the bar across the street, Wisconsin beer in hand.  There is no place more relaxing than DC!

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Even though the weather was raining on and off, we had the most wonderful 4 days.  We caught some gorgeous fall colors and ate ourselves silly with all the delicious food.  We hiked through Peninsula State Park and walked through Cave Point and Newport State Park.

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The waves on the Lake Michigan coast were intense!  And we built our first rock structure along the shore.

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We sampled cheese, bread, wine, and Island Orchard Hard Cider

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We drank coffee, hot chocolate, and tea and ate pie, cookies, donuts, and fudge.  We visited our favorite pizza place (twice)!

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We visited old favorites and discovered some amazing new places (ie farm fresh meats and fresh picked apples).  And when the rain came pouring down, we gathered around the fireplace to play games and drink champagne.

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I shopped the markets and stores and had two peaceful morning runs through the state park.

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It was the perfect long weekend of rest and play…

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For my new husband and I!

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Winter Workouts

Hello Friends!

I have not forgotten you!  In fact, I started this post over a week ago and life has been so crazy that I never had the time to finish it and share it.  Today looked like it was going to be another day of madness.  Mondays are usually a tough day for me to get to work but even worse after a busy weekend.  I worked Saturday morning and taught two kids yoga classes.  This group is so sweet and so much fun! 

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Then we immediately jetted into the city to celebrate my younger brother’s 30th birthday.  We spent Saturday watching Illinois take a football victory and then drinking tons of prosecco into the night.  On Sunday, we met my family for brunch and pizza.

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Needless to say I was wiped when I got home and confused and depressed when my alarm went off early this morning.  But since I didn’t want to work Friday, I decided to work today.  It looked like it was going to be a rough start when I got stopped by not one, but TWO trains on my way to work.  But some icy snow and parent teacher conferences led to a bunch of last minute cancels, allowing me to be home by 6:30pm to eat dinner and watch Indiana Basketball with the BOY.

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So what have I been up to these past few weeks???

Lots of working and working out.  And in between?  Sleeping, reading, letting the BOY make dinner, and obviously not blogging : )

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Homemade pizza night (from Chef BOY)

When you live in a city like Chicago, your workouts change with the weather.  For the past few years, I’ve fallen into a cycle of spending the summers outdoors as a cardio queen, biking and running, and trying to get to a weekly hot yoga class.  Once the weather turns colder and the sun rises later, my outdoor morning runs turn into spin or strength classes at the gym.  My weekends consist of shorter (due to the cold weather) runs as able and strenuous hot yoga classes.  My motivation wanes a bit and it takes some extra incentive to get me out of the house and into the cold.

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Which is where friends come into the picture!  I met a friend last weekend at a forest preserve path in between our houses for a run through the snowy woods.  An hour of catching up on life is always a HUGE motivator for me.  In the mornings, I am back to speed workouts at the indoor track.

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Most recently, I gave this workout a go and was a big fan…

10 minute warm up

30 second sprint/90 second recovery x8

10 minute cool down

On top of running, I have been attending a weekly hot yoga class and a weekly strength class.  It’s early in the morning but I really like the people and every workout is unique and challenging.  Some morning I come home and some mornings its breakfast and a shower at the gym.

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The early morning wake ups (think pre 6am) are always an adjustment to all of us.  Even Cooper gets a bit out of whack.

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But despite the exhaustion, lack of sunshine, sore legs, and limited free time for fun stuff (like reading and writing blogs), I always feel really good when I am more active and building strength.  This week ahead is an exciting one, so I will hopefully have some new Thanksgiving recipes, fun family stories, and of course Cooper shenanigans to share when I return.  It won’t be so long this time, I promise!

 

Do your workouts change for winter?  What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

Keep on Dancing! {My Journey through RKY Training}

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I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to writing this post, but I wanted to make sure that I had the time to really think and reflect on my experience in New York.  This opportunity came Wednesday night when I found myself walking in the door at 6pm.  Me…home by 6pm on a weeknight when I’ve already gotten in my run (30 minutes early in the morning) and it’s raining so I can’t fit in a bike ride…what’s a girl to do?

 

Well, I’ll tell you…

I spent some extra time loving and brushing Cooper, got started on making dinner, and then sat down to begin Sherlock Season III and blog a bit.  But I never blogged a bit and then the rest of the week got away from me.  Better late than never…right?!

 

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#nofilter

 

A little history…

I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years.  I took my first class my senior year of college (don’t do the math) and was forever changed.  Over the past 10 years, yoga has served many purposes in my life.  There have been times when my practice is more consistent than others, but I have never strayed far from my mat.

 

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In my job as a pediatric physical therapist, there has been plenty of room for yoga.  It is something that I have often recommended to my patients of all ages and abilities.  Even at my first job, I was this close (my fingers are very close) to taking a kids yoga certification.  Over the past few years, I’ve struggled to find the right place to refer my clients.  This became especially obvious when I started my new job in December.  It was during an inspiring yoga class downtown that it occurred to me that I should be teaching kids yoga.

 

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My next step was to talk to the professionals and research some opportunities.  I didn’t take it lightly and spent way more time than I care to admit looking for yoga certification courses.  I really wanted an affordable, weekend course that I would walk away from with ideas that I could use immediately.  After much thought, I registered for the Rainbow Yoga Kids course in Brooklyn.  The course was coming to Chicago, but not until December and I was eager to take the class before summer in hopes of starting some yoga classes at work.

 

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I am so grateful to have family in NY along with a close friend from junior high, and I knew Brooklyn would be an awesome place to explore my inner yogi.  I flew in Thursday morning and spent the entire day catching up with my cousins and playing in Manhattan.  Friday morning, I woke up early to take the train from Washington Heights to Brooklyn.

 

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I was the first to arrive at Scared Yoga and was greeted warmly.  I was early enough to grab an iced tea before beginning my first day of training.  I had no idea what to expect and the first day impressed and surprised me!

 

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There was playing, dancing, bonding, and fun.  At the end of the day, I was eager to see what the rest of the weekend had in store.

 

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One of my favorite things about doing my training in New York was walking to and from the studio each day.  I walked 2 miles through the most interesting and eclectic neighborhoods and LOVED the fresh air and exercise.

 

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Day 2, I was again one of the first to arrive.  There was a lot more fun as we mastered the steam roller…

 

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And other games, acrobatics, and play ideas.  We did more dancing too!

 

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And we got through all of that before lunch…

 

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A group of us went to a local pizza joint.  You didn’t think I’d go to New York for a weekend without eating pizza did you?!  After lunch, there was more games, dancing, meditation, and plenty of ideas to bring back to the clinic with me!

 

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At the end of the day, we offered a community class for local families.  It was profound to see the impact yoga could have on everyone, especially the cutest 2 year old that you ever did see massaging my feet during our relaxation.  That night, I walked back to my friend’s house, showered, and began exploring Williamsburg.  There are tons of adorable boutiques and delicious restaurants.  We had a great night with more incredible food and catching up!

 

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Sunday morning, it was back to the yoga studio for my last day of class.  Now that I kind of was getting a feel for the area, I knew where to stop for a chai tea latte on the way.  The instructors plan was to not give us our manuals until the last day.  Although it was tough not to have everything written out during the first 2 days, it really forced us to live in the moment and learn through movement. 

 

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Sunday started with a creative and unique obstacle course complete with…well, everything!

 

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Then we had a snack and a chat…by day 3, I’d say we were all pretty close and eager to share stories and ideas!

 

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It was good to have the energy since we then moved on to the yoga gym and acrobatics.

 

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As an ex gymnast, this was right up my alley and I’ve already tried some of these moves with the kids, which they love.  For my last lunch, I went to my new favorite place in Brooklyn, called Scratch Bread.

 

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It has the most delicious food (thinking about the grit bowl has my mouth watering as we speak) and I became addicted to this ‘tonic’, which consisted of citrus, carrots, and ginger.  It was so refreshing and perfect for eating lunch out in the hot sun after a morning of yoga fun.

 

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Although I had learned a lot, I still felt like there was more to fit into the last afternoon and I knew that I needed to leave a little early to make it to the airport on time.

 

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The afternoon involved creating poses, vinyasa flows, and stories.  It was also our chance to put together a short sample class.

 

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We took our graduation picture and parted ways with intentions to continue on our yoga journey and keep sharing ideas and energy as we grow!  I found myself sad to leave Brooklyn, Sacred studio, my friends (old and new) and family…wishing that I had just a few more days to explore, walk, dance, and play!

 

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#rkybrooklyn

 

 

So after all of the pictures, I’m sure you can already tell,…

What were my overall thoughts of RKY training?

I loved it!  I loved spending the weekend in New York and immersing myself in the Brooklyn and yogi lifestyle!  It was special to spend a weekend with like minded people soaking up their energy and creativity.  The training itself was practical, functional, and fun.  I returned back to the clinic with more than enough ideas to plan the 6 week yoga session we were offering for my youngest two age groups.  I did not feel that I got as many ideas for the high school aged group.  And the weekend focused more on movement and games than it did on instructing kids into the basic poses (ie Warrior I).  I got more than I anticipated out of the weekend and have already found some other trainings that can fill the knowledge gap with the older groups that I am hoping to take soon.  We packed a lot into 3 days that takes you through a slew of emotions.  For some, this journey was more emotional while others purely educational, but either way it was a life altering weekend and the start to an exciting road ahead.

 

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Namaste!

DC Part 2: …And Sucked as a Marathoner

If you missed Door County Part 1, you can catch up HERE!

 

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So obviously marathoners are supposed to run, which I did very little of, but I must also admit that although beer and cheese aren’t normally a big part of my diet, they were this weekend!  It started early on our way up to Door County with a stop at Kopp’s in Milwaukee.

 

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I’m not usually a big fan of frozen custard, but everyone raves around Kopp’s, so I had to try it.  And it was every bit more amazing than I could have imagined!  I finished half of the turtle custard before the BOY was done with his burger.

 

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With full and happy tummies, we got back on the road for Door County.  We checked into our hotel and then drove up north to Sister Bay for Friday Night Fish Fry.  This is a common theme in Wisconsin and one worth participating in!  In the past, the BOY and I have not been up in DC on Fridays, so this was exciting.

 

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I remembered from years past that the Sister Bay Bowl has the best fish fry in the county.  By 5:30, there was already a 45 minute wait, so we walked across the street to Husby’s for a Happy Hour beer.

 

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For dinner, we both agreed on the fried perch, which came with fries and a slaw.

 

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The breading was light and the perch every bit as wonderful as I remember!  We even considered ordering another plate to share but instead made our way back to Fish Creek.  On the way, we caught a beautiful sunset, which I tried to photo from the moving car.

 

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The night was young, so our next stop was the tavern for some New Glarus on tap.  What a treat!

 

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I’m talking specifically about the beer, but the entire day was full of them!  Day 2 started with a bike ride and then it was off to the winery for a tasting.

 

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It’s 5:00 somewhere!!!

 

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After our tasting, we decided to sit out back listening to live music with some wine.

 

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And an antipasto plate!  Everything on the plate was local, fresh, and incredible!  The BOY and I devoured the entire thing!

 

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Then went back home for a nap.  When we woke up, it had rained and there was a full rainbow that we could see from our porch.  It was soo cool!

 

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The next day involved a run and some hiking, which was followed by a an amazing meal at our favorite restaurant, Wild Tomato!

 

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You might remember it from last year’s post Will Hike For Pizza!

 

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I should also tell you that Wild Tomato has a fantastic beer list,  including a new local brew from Door County Brewing Company called Little Sister that is my new favorite beer!  I brought home a trunk full : )

 

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I should probably also confess that we returned to Wild Tomato for a second meal of pizza and beer on our last day. 

 

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Embarrassing, but true!

 

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So as you can see…my weekend was a little more beer, biking, and cheese than marathon prep (oh and did I mention the dark chocolate covered cherries?!), but totally worth it! 

 

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Between the food, relaxation, outdoor activities, and sunsets, the BOY and I always have the BEST vacation up in Door County!

Which is why I’ve decided to title Door County Part 3: Why I Heart Door County…although it probably should be called,”How I returned to reality, stopped drinking beer, woke up early, and became a marathoner again!”    LOL : )

Door County Part 1: How I Cheated on Running

I really wanted to name this post ‘How I Cheated on Running and Sucked as a Marathoner’, but that seemed like a lot to fit into one post.  So I broke it into a two part series.

Let’s rewind to last Friday…

 

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I had big plans to do my 15 mile run accompanied by my Mom on her bike.  However, I awoke to grey skies and rain drops, so instead of running, I went back to bed!  Two hours later, I woke again and the BOY suggested that we pack up quickly and hit the road for Door County Wisconsin.  Full of excitement, we were in the car before noon.

 

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The view from our hotel balcony

 

We arrived at our hotel in Fish Creek where we stayed last year too!

 

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First thing Saturday morning, I was on my bike and heading towards Peninsula State Park.  One of the best things about staying in Fish Creek is easy access to the park.  I biked here a few times last summer, and shared an entire post of pictures.

 

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But I took a few more this year as well!

 

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Including a selfie with the sailboat.

 

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I stopped throughout the 12 miles at a few of my favorite views and tried to catch a picture of a beautiful deer on the edge of the park.  I missed her!

 

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We had a great first day in Door County, and I was excited to be back on my bike for another ride day two.

 

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I rode 13.5 miles back through the park on another gorgeous morning!  Then picked up the BOY and returned to Peninsula State Park for a hike through the woods and along the bay.

 

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I heart hiking!!!

 

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Especially when it ends with some beer and pizza : )

 

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On day three, I finally laced up my shoes for a run!  I jogged 5 miles along the park path at race pace (9 minute miles), where I saw a deer and met a nice man to talk about it with.

 

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This morning, day four, I was back on my bike for another 11 miles!  It was an overcast morning with some stunning skies.  And a great way to end my relaxing, yet active vacation.

 

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I definitely cheated on running this trip, but was happy to be reunited with my bike and hiking boots!  Now that I am home, it is back to marathon training.  I am debating if I will skip the 15 mile run all together and continue with my training plan or sub in the 15 miles for this week’s 11 mile run.  Decisions to be made another day!

 

Up Next…more Door County fun with Part 2: How I Sucked as a Marathoner!

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Will Hike for Pizza

There were so many incredible Lake Michigan pictures that I felt they deserved their own post.  Plus, the BOY and I came up with this title while we were hiking in Whitefish Dunes State Park on Friday.  We came up with another alternative title, which you will see in Chapter 2.  If you are not so into nature pictures, then just scroll on down to Chapter 2 for the food!

 

Chapter 1

Will Hike for Pizza

 

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Chapter 2

The BOY and the ‘Fun Guy’

 

After a gorgeous hike, the BOY and I headed off to Wild Tomato for lunch.  Warning: we were super hungry, so there is a lot of food in these pictures.  Don’t judge us!

 

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The Fun Guy
Definition: A mushroom pizza with five types of sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and caramelized onions on garlic cream cheese.

 

 

Chapter 3

We’re Baaack!

 

Embarrassing as this is to admit, we headed back to Wild Tomato for dinner after kayaking on Sunday.  All I can tell you is that I discovered a new awesome beer which was suggested by our kayak guide (Alaskan White) and the Best Cheese Curds EVER!  I went with the salmon sandwich and I all I can say is DELISH!

 

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Epilogue

Somehow There Was Room for Dessert

 

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Door County Happiness Day 1

I should warn you…this post required a whole lotta pictures to capture all the HAPPY that we packed into our first day in Door County.  I think the first HAPPY of our trip was discovering this adorable room in a quaint Inn run by friendly staff right in the heart of Fish Creek.

 

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We stayed at the Cedar Court Inn.  The room was bright and clean and captured that homey feel.

 

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One of the highlights (along with the whirlpool tub and fireplace) was this back porch.  Did I mention that they also have a pool???  And a safe place to store my bike in the courtyard!

 

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When you book online, it is hard to know what to expect.  The BOY and I were thrilled with our room, and I highly recommend the Cedar Court Inn!  Because the weather was so amazing, we were able to keep the windows and porch door open most days and used the fire place when we wanted some warmth at night.

 

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After a quiet night in town, we woke up Saturday morning with the sun streaming through the windows.  I popped out of bed and started getting ready for HAPPY #2…a Bike Ride!

 

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The BOY hauled my bike all the way up to Door County in the rain and it was my goal to ride every day.  With my broken toe, I am taking a short break from running, so it was easy to focus on biking, especially with Peninsula State Park less than a mile from my door!  It was the perfect morning for a bike ride with the weather in the low 70’s and a strong wind.  I headed north out of town along Route 42 towards the park.

 

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3/4 of a mile later, I arrived at the park entrance…

 

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And hopped on to the 9.6 mile Sunset Trail.  I actually wasn’t sure how long the trail was when I began, but discovered that this loop, which begins and ends at the front of the park is a combination of two gravel and paved trails that take you through multiple areas of the park with spectacular views!

 

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2 minutes into the trail and I was feeling more relaxed than I have been in months.  The forest preserve was quiet and still with only a few runners along the trail.

 

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The bay views left me speechless!

 

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Which ya’ll know is hard to do!

 

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Each morning, I took plenty of pictures of all these spectacular views as I explored different areas of the park.  There are way too many to put into this post, but if you love nature photos (like I do), then I promise you more to come!

 

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When I made my way back to the Inn, the BOY was waiting for me outside.

 

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It was on to HAPPY #3…a hike through Whitefish Dunes State Park.

 

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We discovered the Cave Point trail last summer and decided to try something a little different by hiking here this year.

 

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We started on the beach and walked our way north along the rocks.

 

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The wind was strong and the waves were high and harsh.  It wasn’t a great day for swimming, but a beautiful day for hiking.

 

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We loved the views of the water and playing around in the park!

 

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We worked up quite an appetite leading us to lunch at Wild Tomato aka HAPPY #4.

 

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This is our favorite restaurant in Door County and it serves some amazing farm fresh pizza with local Wisconsin cheese.  And their beer selection is the best!

 

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We made it home with enough time for a 2 and a half hour nap (enter HAPPY #5), a little time to start a new book (HAPPY #6) before heading off to Gordon’s Lodge for HAPPY #7 Dinner.

 

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We have never been to Gordon’s Lodge before, and I was super excited to check out the sunset.  Sadly, it was too windy to sit outside, but we had a seat by the window with the perfect view of the sun setting over the water.

 

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I snuck out to the deck to grab a few shots of the sun in between bites of a tasty seafood dinner!

 

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Dinner was capped off with 2 delicious mini desserts (crème brulee for the BOY and a fresh cherry cobbler for me).

 

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We managed to make the most of our first day in Door County, packing a lot of my favorite things into one awesome day.  This is why Door County is one of my favorite places to visit and why these trips always leave me feeling so HAPPY!

 

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