franklin park conservatory & botanical garden

The Friday of Labor Day weekend I had the good luck of being able to get the day off of work to spend with Josh’s parents and sister. It was a great start to the day just being able to lounge on the couch with a cup of hot tea and not have to rush out the door to get to work, even though Josh still had to go in to campus for class. My in-laws like to explore and see new things, so I wasn’t surprised when they suggested we head to Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens for the morning while we waited on Josh to get finished with class. Josh and I had been once before with my parents and it was totally worth another visit! Every room offers something beautiful or bizarre, plants that are very common among some you never knew existed. And the exhibits were spectacular- Blooms & Butterflies, Bonsai, and Chihuly: Celebrating Nature. 

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My personal favorite was the Blooms & Butterflies. As soon as you walk into the exhibit, butterflies flutter all around you and the lush greenery. Gorgeous glass Chihuly sculptures are nestled between the plants, hanging from the ceiling, and cascading like a waterfall into a clear pool of water full of plump koi fish. It’s a magical paradise.

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A few days later, Josh and I headed back to explore the outdoor walking loop and the community garden campus. 

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I am so excited to visit again to see the new exhibits with the change of seasons!

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What do you do when it’s the first weekend of November and the weather is quintessential crisp, cool fall weather? Well, we jam-packed it full of zoo adventures and hiking and of course watching movies and eating delicious food! It was honestly one of the best weekends we’ve had since moving to Columbus.

Earlier last week, Josh’s mom called and asked if we would be up for a visit on Saturday. We actually didn’t have anything planned, so we were more than happy/excited to have visitors for the day! With the weather being so nice, we thought it would be a great chance to check out the Columbus Zoo with Josh’s parents. It was maybe a bit chillier than I would have preferred when walking around outside for several hours, but that also meant the zoo was a LOT less crowded and that was just perfect to me. We were quite sad that a few exhibits had been closed for the season, but we still had a really fun time walking around seeing all the animals. I had no idea how huge the Columbus Zoo is- it took us almost four hours to walk through everything and not even all the exhibits were open!

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I absolutely loved the brown bear brothers there and the baby manatees eating their lettuce!

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After working up an appetite at the zoo, we headed to Cap City Diner for lunch. Josh and I had both been recommended this restaurant by a couple different people, so we figured it was definitely worth trying. I loved it and I think everyone else did as well. The decor was exactly what you would think of for a diner- black and white tile, fun food art on the walls, and big booths with red leather seats.

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The menu had lots to choose from- fish and chips, meatloaf, pasta, burgers, eggs benedict, breakfast burritos, sooo many options! I thoroughly enjoyed my leftover Thanksgiving dinner sandwich with a side of mashed potatoes and white gravy.  The sandwich was two thick slices of toasted buttermilk bread stuffed with cranberry sauce, roasted turkey breast, and house-made stuffing. Yummmmm!

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Josh ordered the meatloaf dinner and it was scrumptious! The meatloaf came on a piece of toasted buttermilk bread topped with creamy mashed potatoes, chili onion rings, and BBQ gravy with a side of broccoli.

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We would gladly go back there for brunch, lunch, or dinner! And hopefully next time we’ll save room for a milkshake or a piece of their giant chocolate layer cake!

It was so nice to spend time with family and to have a day out on the town. But homesickness hit me hard just a few hours after they left. Josh had fixed french onion soup with soda bread for dinner, but I was just not feeling it. And I just kept feeling worse and worse. Finally, I couldn’t hold my feelings in any longer. I sat down on the couch next to Josh and just sobbed. I let it all out- my struggles with feeling so overwhelmed by everything – having a new job, living in a new apartment, going to a new gym, having no friends or family nearby. My new coworkers and gym group are all so nice, but I still feel lonely and like I can’t really connect with anyone. I miss my friends, I miss my home gyms, I miss my home. Everything is just different and hard right now. I know eventually it will get better and this will become “home”, but right now I’m having a harder time settling in than I thought I would. I’m so glad I let Josh know how I was feeling. I used to hold everything in and just shut down, but I’ve learned that that doesn’t do either of us any good and I just have to be honest and open about how I’m feeling…whether my feelings make sense or not.

For all the sadness and struggle I felt Saturday evening, Sunday was the exact opposite. Getting everything off my chest helped me to enjoy every last second of our time together Sunday and just live. We woke up around 6:30 am to spend the morning exploring Hocking Hills State Park. I really really wanted to visit there again after our trip there a few weekends ago and I knew this would be our last real chance for perfect weather and the most beautiful shades of golden yellow, burnt orange, and red leaves. On a recent Instagram story, we had seen pictures and video of Rock House and knew we had to visit there. We were the only car in the parking lot when we arrived and took off on an easy ½-mile hike to Rock House. The air was chilly and crisp, the birds chirping in the trees. It was so peaceful and refreshing.

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Rock House was so simple and really beautiful. We were totally alone except for the breeze through the cave and some birds cooing back and forth. I loved the large natural arches cut into the Blackhand sandstone walls allowing patches of fall light to illuminate the cave. It’s amazing to me what weather and time can do to nature, how it can change something from uninspiring to something majestic.

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After visiting Rock House, we drove a few miles over to Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve. It was a little bit more crowded when we pulled into the parking lot, but thankfully we managed to have the Gorge Trail mainly to ourselves. The ½-mile (down and back) trail was paved almost the whole way and was easily traversed as we made our way past Horsehead Grotto and the tall stone cliff walls.

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As we got closer to the end of the trail, the path became more natural and rugged. I loved hopping over rocks and through the bubbling stream as we neared the waterfall.    

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How breathtaking is the way the sunlight filters through the bright green of the tree leaves?

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The Rim Trail was really, really neat! It was also kind of terrifying- there were several spots along the 2 ½-mile trail with no railings where you could have easily fallen right over the edge of the cliff into the gorge. The views, though, were so worth any small bit of fear.

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The trees down in the gorge were so picturesque, they looked like something from a Pointillism painting.

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And the sky in the background behind the bright red leaves…I just can’t handle how big and beautiful this world is sometimes!   

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I didn’t think it was possible for the day to get any better, but it did! Josh ended up not having much schoolwork to do, so we were lucky enough to have the evening free to go see Bohemian Rhapsody. Josh happened to find the most quintessential local theater- Grandview Theater and Drafthouse.

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We really had no idea what to expect of this little one-screen theater, but it was so fun! They have the traditional candy and popcorn for sale, but they also offer a full menu from Grandad’s Pizza. They’re just down the street and deliver straight to the theater! They also have a full bar with fun specialty cocktails named after the movie, as well as 20-30 different beers/ciders on tap. There is no doubt that we will be going back to this theater as often as possible. Inside the theater, there are several rows of seats in the back that have big wood tables for your food and drinks.  

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The movie was very entertaining and had my attention the whole time. I couldn’t stop singing and bobbing my head along to all the songs. I always forget how much I love Queen’s music until I hear all their songs, then it hits me again what a spectacularly talented band they were.

We weren’t hungry when we went into the movie, but smelling pizza the whole time had us craving it by the end. We tried out a new (to us) restaurant named Harvest Tavern and Pizzeria. We shared the goat cheese pizza and it was just right. The pizza crust was bubbly and brown, covered in a fresh tomato sauce with dollops of goat cheese, pieces chopped basil, the yummiest thinly sliced salame toscano, and plump cherry tomatoes.

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Even though there was a down this weekend, there were so many more ups. I feel so incredibly blessed for the opportunities Josh and I have taken/been given and I hope to have lots more incredibly fun, full of adventures weekends just like this one!

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wanderlust

November 7- Wicklow Nat’l Park & Kilkenny

Who doesn’t want to go to a chocolate cafe for breakfast? We certainly did and so we headed to Butler’s Chocolate Cafe on Wicklow Street early Tuesday morning. We both ordered a blueberry muffin to eat, Josh had a latte and I had the Butler’s hot chocolate to drink. So. Good. When I order hot chocolate, this is what I always dream of getting. And the best part was we each got a free chocolate of choice (we choose a hazelnut chocolate and a salt caramel chocolate) just for placing an order!

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We packed up the car and drove about an hour and 15 minutes to Wicklow National Park. I highly recommend planning a trip to visit this park if you’re near Dublin. The hike started out across a stream and onto the “green road walk” towards the ruins of St. Kevin’s Cathedral (built between the 10th-12th centuries), a round tower likely used as the bell tower (believed to have been built between 900-1200) nearby, and a monastic cemetery. It’s hard to describe what it’s like to be in such a sacred place, one that dates back farther than I can imagine- there’s just so much history. It was very beautiful and peaceful.

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We continued on past the Glendalough Lower Lake, spotting pretty cottages and sheep off in the distance along the way.

When we reached the start of the Miners’ Road Walk (purple trail), I was not prepared for the amazing view I was about to see from the edge of the Glendalough Upper Lake. This large gorgeous lake just kind of popped up, lined with beautiful green trees, drawing your eye back to a stream coming down from the Wicklow Mountains. It was my favorite spot of the day. Just amazing.

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We kept going on the Miners’ Road Walk until very near where the Glendalough Mines began. We didn’t prepare very well- no water bottles and we were getting hungry-so we made our way back to the car. If we had been prepared, I easily could have spent several more hours there…and snapped several hundred more pictures!

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Once we got in the car, we realized Josh didn’t have hardly any phone service at all, so we didn’t really know what to do about food. Luckily, just down the road from the visitor’s center at the park was a delightful restaurant named The Wicklow Heather. We decided why not give it a shot and I am so glad we did, as I found new favorite food combination! The restaurant was cozy and had lots of antique pieces hanging from the ceiling and on the walls (think similar to Cracker Barrel decor). Josh said the bathroom even had a complimentary shoe shining station with polish and brushes.

For our appetizer, we ordered the deep fried breaded Brie with wild berry coulis and the house salad. Yum! I love me some ooey-gooey cheese and this hit the spot. I ordered the red cheddar and honey ham sandwich with ballymaloe relish on three slices of soda bread and Josh had the haddock in a crisp malt beer batter with crushed garden peas, home cut chips, and housemade tartar sauce. Half of a piece of Josh’s fish was larger than my palm! The portions were very generous and equally delicious. As I said previously, this restaurant provide a new favorite food combo- ballymaloe relish with cheddar cheese on soda bread. I know you’re probably asking what ballymaloe relish is. As best as I can describe, it is a tomato relish. And let me tell you, it’s so dang delicious I could eat it on nearly anything.

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Despite an alarm going off in the car to check the tire pressure (Josh examined all the tires and everything seemed to be in order), we were feeling quite good as we started our hour and a half long trek to Kilkenny for the night. We were so lucky that our route took us right by the miner’s village, so we pulled over at the top to get a few pictures. I was so happy we were able to see the view from this point, it was gorgeous!

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Our drive was uneventful until we were about a half hour out from Kilkenny and the strangest noise started coming from one of the tires. Instantly, I pulled over onto the side of the M9 interstate so that we didn’t damage the actual wheel. We very definitely had a flat tire. Josh called roadside assistance to see what they thought we should do. They suggested putting on the spare and heading on to Kilkenny where they had a garage they work with for issues just like ours. The interstate section we were on didn’t have much of a shoulder, so I had pulled off in the grass. We pulled out all of our luggage, piling it next to the car. We found the jack and spare and attempted to jack the car up. We were trying to get the jack under the car (it was proving a little difficult with the grass and not much clearance from the car) when a very kind gentleman from the highway maintenance crew pulled up. He grabbed some tools from his truck and had the spare on for us in no time (definitely faster than if we had to change it on our own…neither of us has ever had to change a tire *gasp*). We thanked him a lot and continued very, very slowly (80 kilometers per hour in a 120 kph zone) to Quinn & Sons Tyre & Auto Centre for a new tire. By the way, if you ever happen to find yourself in a similar situation near Kilkenny, Quinn & Sons was so helpful and quick to get us in and out. Unfortunately, our car insurance didn’t cover a new tire, so we had to purchase one out of pocket, but I am so thankful that it was a relatively easy and quick fix.

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We dropped our luggage off at our hostel, MacGabhainn’s Backpackers Hostel. Fergus, who ran the hotel, was very welcoming. He gave us a tour of the kitchen and offered us a map with suggestions of places to see and where to eat.  We had a private room with a full bed and bunk beds and an en suite bathroom. I thought it was quite comical when I got in the shower that it had a push button and the water (so cold!) only stayed on for about 10 seconds at a time. That was probably the quickest shower I’ve ever taken!    

We had dinner at Kyteler’s Inn (it was as lovely as I remember it from my visit there 7 years ago). After all the adventures of the day, we very much needed dinner and drinks! I’ve seriously come to love Orchard Thieves cider, especially on draft. Really, draft drinks being better than bottled goes without saying. But, I’ll say it anyways. To eat, I had the chicken and ham vol-au-vents (puff pastry filled with chicken and ham in a cream sauce) with the house salad and chips and Josh had the bookmaker’s sandwich (sirloin, mushrooms, and onions on French bread) with the house salad and chips.

You just can’t go to Kilkenny and not stop in to Matt the Miller’s for after dinner drinks. Or dinner and drinks. Or just afternoon drinks. It’s always a good time there. We relaxed,  sipped our cider and beer, and enjoyed some great live traditional Irish ballad music.

Tip of the day: When the “check tire pressure” light comes on, take your car to the nearest garage to avoid a flat tire on the motorway 🙂

 

quiet cove

We had the great pleasure of being invited down with some wonderful friends for a long weekend to Lake Cumberland. Lake Cumberland is located in Jamestown, KY and is the third largest lake in the state, with the main lake being over 101 miles long and over a mile at its widest. It is by far the largest lake I’ve ever spent time on. Josh and I flexed some time throughout the week so that we could take a half day and head to the lake on Thursday. Dell and Steve picked us up and we set off to meet Dave & Angie at the marina. Nala, their adorable, very sweet (and very large) Irish Wolfhound, was there as well. When we arrived, the houseboat was all ready for us to load up and head out. My idea of a houseboat has always been something similar to a pontoon, a wide open area where everyone sleeps on the couch or the floor and “roughs” it. I was very wrong! The houseboat was larger than our actual house and so nice. We each had our own bedroom and bathroom (for those, such as myself, not well read on houseboat rules you cannot flush toilet paper as it could clog the pipes, so you throw everything away in a trashcan…that definitely took some getting used to!). There was a full kitchen and plenty of room to lounge in the dining room/living room or up on the top deck. It was quite a sight seeing the houseboat leave the dock- they have the entire process fine tuned for sure. I can tell you that I would never want to be the one driving it in and out of the dock! We all sat up top with music playing over the speakers and enjoyed the beautiful weather on the drive over to our private cove.

Once we arrived at “Quiet Cove” (as our friends have dubbed it), it was like a well oiled machine the way the tying up process went. It was very interesting and fun to see how effortlessly the boat was tied up for the weekend using jet skis and rope. When we got all tied up, it didn’t take us long to change into our bathing suits. The water there is so clean and fresh (and so clear I could see past my feet). We ate a quick lunch and hopped on the Malibu (the coolest boat ever- complete with a touch screen dashboard, great sound system, a heater, lots of room for people to lounge, and super fast for all the water sports you could imagine!) to try out some wakesurfing. Wakesurfing is similar to wakeboarding, but appears to be easier as your feet aren’t strapped in and you just ride behind the boat’s wake instead of being pulled by a rope behind it. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Steve and Angie wakesurf. You can tell they’re both really comfortable on the water. Steve is especially fun because he is fearless and tries all kinds of fun tricks (like 360’s) that others aren’t as sure about trying. And I don’t blame them- I didn’t even try any water sport activity but stayed put and enjoyed the show on the boat!

After a bit, we headed back to the boat for dinner. Dell fixed up some delicious pulled chicken tacos and her famous homemade guacamole. Josh and I brought our food scale so that we could weigh out everything and stay on track for our nutrition challenge as best we could! Definitely not easy on a weekend trip away, but it is doable. We ate up on the top deck, taking in the relaxing scenery and listening to the cicadas chirp. The evening was a quiet one, ending with us chatting and relaxing in the living room until an early bedtime.

Saturday morning we slept in (really slept in too!) until almost 9 am. That’s quite unheard of for Josh and I, as even on days I don’t set my alarm I’m usually up by 7 am. Cell phone service was pretty spotty out on the lake and I spent most of the time completely unplugged from my phone (except for a few check-in texts to family and friends). I can’t remember the last time I didn’t keep my cell phone by my side and just really unplugged and relaxed. It was beyond needed and amazing! Dave and Angie fixed us up some scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, sausage patties, and fresh veggies for breakfast. The weather was kind of chilly and cloudy, but we went out for a quick run on the Malibu anyways. Steve, Angie, and Dell all took a turn wakeboarding. Steve jumped really high in the air over the wake and even did several flips! I was impressed with how easy Dell and Angie made it look when they went. And then it was Josh’s turn to try! They all told us it is actually quite hard to stand up on the wakeboard when you’re first starting and that most people usually take 20-25 times to actually stand up for the first time. Once they do stand up, they said it only takes about 10-15 seconds for them to fall back down. Josh was able to stand up on his second try and stayed up for almost 20 seconds! It was so much fun!

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After a few more short runs for Josh, we were getting hungry and headed back to the houseboat for lunch. We had a very yummy meal of pulled pork and brisket that Dave had smoked, fresh tomatoes, fruit, and guacamole. Josh went up to the top deck to take his medical terminology quiz while we stayed downstairs and Angie headed into the marina to pick up Cass and Brittany. The weather ended up clearing up and we had blue skies and sunshine peeking through between a few clouds. We grabbed our floaties and drinks, jumped in the water, and floated to soak up as much sun as we could before the storms. When Angie got back with Brittany and Cass, it started getting cloudy and cool, so we made our way inside to relax. Josh and I grabbed our afternoon snack and we all settled in the living room to watch “The Martian” while the rain poured down outside. I had been wanting to see the movie for awhile, but for whatever reasons hadn’t had the chance. The movie is about an astronaut who is wounded in a storm on Mars, thought to be dead, and gets left behind by his crew as they head back home to Earth. When he wakes up, he begins setting up his camp to survive and sets about finding a way to let those back on Earth know he needs rescued. I really enjoyed the story line and the movie had a great cast.    

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For dinner, Dave grilled the biggest, juiciest NY strip steaks I’ve ever seen. Angie made some homemade cocktail sauce with shrimp, boiled beets from their garden, and had a side salad with all the fixings, along with guacamole that Cass made. I have never had beets before and was pleasantly surprised to find they’re very similar to a potato. It was one of the yummiest meals we had all weekend! The rain had stopped while we were getting ready for dinner, so we were able to sit on up on the top deck listening to Piano Guys and enjoy the quiet solitude and each other’s company. Since the weather cleared up, we headed back out on the Malibu after dinner for wakesurfing and cruising around. Dave & Angie have been going to Lake Cumberland for many years and know all the best spots to cruise around to, so Dave took us to a cove a ways away from ours to see a waterfall. It was very pretty- the water roaring down the sides of the rock into the clear lake with bright green trees all around.      

    

After our post-dinner lake cruise and wakesurfing, we gathered around in the living room for coffee and bedtime snacks of smoothies, protein shakes, and fresh blueberries, strawberries, and peaches.   

Saturday morning was another slow morning of us sleeping in and lazing around. Brittany fixed breakfast tacos for us with scrambled eggs full of sausage, red and orange bell peppers, and spinach with guacamole and salsa verde. I am quite addicted to that salsa verde now that I’ve had it…I think I put it on pretty much everything I ate after that. Saturday morning was quite miserable weather-wise- it was completely cloudy, around 70 degrees, and windy. We all bundled up in our sweatshirts and sweatpants and loaded up on the Malibu to get in some more wakeboarding. I snuggled up next to Nala to help stay extra warm. Brittany, Josh, and Steve got in some good wakeboarding before Cass and Angie slalom skied. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them all out on the water, you could tell they were all having such a good time whipping back and forth over the wake.

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We eventually got cold and hungry enough to head back to the houseboat. Steve and I decided to get a quick workout in while we were waiting on lunch to be ready. We did a workout with dips, burpees, pull-ups (lat pull downs for me), sit-ups, push-ups, and pistols (air squats for me) with a swim at the end. It felt really good to be up and moving, as I had sat around and been super lazy since we arrived. The water felt great during the swim, even though I’m super terrible at swimming lol. No amount of practice will ever help me, I’m convinced. By the time we finished, lunch was ready and some friends of Dave and Angie’s had arrived to join us for the afternoon. Dave grilled up bratwursts and apple chicken sausages along with the most buttery, garlicky Brussels sprouts. We also had coleslaw, side salad, pulled pork and brisket, leftover NY strip steak, watermelon, and potato chips. A smorgasbord of delicious houseboat vacation food. Somehow, magically, after lunch the weather completely turned around and was gorgeous! A few clouds rolled through, but for several hours it was clear blue skies and sunshine! Most of the group headed out on the Malibu, while Dell, Josh, Cass, Brittany, and I stayed back at the houseboat to lounge in the sun. We got all set up with floaties, pool noodles, and drinks, blasted Today’s Greatest Hits over the sound system, and floated in the water to our heart’s content, while Josh read his Kindle and took a much needed nap on the upper deck.

    

Dell, Brittany, and Cass took turns paddle-boarding around the houseboat and our cove. While I’m not great at it, paddle-boarding is really fun the few times I’ve done it.

After all the lounging we could handle, it was game time! With a group this active, it’s hard to be lazy for too awful long. Josh, Dell, and I played a great couple games of Sequence. Dell & I had never played before, but it was super fun! Probably because I won one of the games! When Steve got back ,we switched to a pitiful game of Euchre. Unfortunately, none of us are very good or know a whole lot about the game, but it was great to just play for fun and not be super competitive. Dell and I fought hard, but couldn’t come back to win after the boys took an early lead. Next time, we’ll take them down!  


Saturday night was another delicious dinner- kabobs of juicy grilled chicken, onions, peppers, and mushrooms, guacamole, and a side salad enjoyed with lots of laughs and conversation on the upper deck. Saturday was Dave’s birthday and after dinner we all gathered around to sing “Happy Birthday”- their tradition is to sing as loud and off key as you can. So fun! Nala even joined in with some howling, even though I’m pretty sure she was actually trying to tell us to be quiet! Cass had made a homemade chocolate Texas sheet cake with chopped walnuts on top. I must confess, I saved up all my carbs from a few meals just so I could enjoy some of the cake and peanut butter cup swirl ice cream. So worth it! We spent our last evening on the houseboat enjoying each other’s company and playing Bananagrams (a game very similar to Scrabble, but without a board- each person arranges and rearranges their tiles any way they want, building off the words until all the tiles are gone). It was such a fun way to end the weekend!

Sunday morning was a bit of an earlier start so we could get everything packed up and cleaned to head home. Angie fixed bacon, spinach, cheddar cheese omelettes for us along with fresh cantaloupe…and leftover cake of course! Untying the houseboat was just as quick and effortless as tying it up and it wasn’t long before we were on the way back to the dock. This weekend at Lake Cumberland was one of the best long weekend getaways we’ve ever been on (we were beyond spoiled with the accommodations and the company) and I definitely can’t wait to make another trip down there to enjoy the peace, quiet, and beauty there.

You can even pay a quarter to feed turtles at the marina!

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all good things are wild & free

Sunday morning, Josh and I both woke up extra early for no reason. We ate some leftover pizza for breakfast (even more delicious the next morning, if possible) and watched a few of Sunday’s CF regionals events.

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With the whole day ahead of us and nothing planned, we decided to head over to McCormick’s Creek State Park. I’ve never been (that I remember…my mom said they used to take us when we were kids) and neither had Josh. We packed up a cooler of water, ham, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers and headed over. If you have never been to McCormick’s Creek, I highly recommend you make a trip over. It took us about an hour and twenty minutes to get to- it’s just past Bloomington, in between Ellettsville and Spencer. Definitely worth the drive. The park was very clean and well kept. We parked next to Canyon Inn and made our way onto Trail 3. The trail takes you along McCormick’s Creek, it’s canyon, and ends at the Falls. One of the first things we saw on our hike was a black rat snake! It was right on the side of the trail just slithering away.

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We passed only a few people on the hike. It was so peaceful and quiet. You could hear birds chirping and the sound of the breeze rustling through the leaves. There really are no words to describe the beauty God surrounds us with. The trail was neat because once you get to the canyon, you walk along the riverbed over rocks and through the creek water until you get to the Falls.

We enjoyed the Falls for a bit, then grabbed our cooler and went to eat lunch at the Old Concession Shelter. It was nice to enjoy time together alone, just the sound of the birds and the breeze and no distractions. After lunch, we drove up to the Wolf Cave Parking Area and started our hike on Trail 5. This trail begins in Wolf Cave Nature Preserve, leading you through the forest to Wolf Cave and Twin Bridges. Within the first few minutes on the hike, we walked right up on a box turtle! I’ve been on so many hikes before, but this trip was the best because we saw a snake and a turtle. I loved it!

There were signs around Wolf Cave stating you were welcome to crawl through, but to avoid climbing on the sides or on top of the cave. We ventured into the opening, but realized we weren’t prepared to make our way through the cave. We continued along the trail around to the back side of the cave where we came upon Twin Bridges. Twin Bridges are a pair of stone arches, all that remains from a cave that has collapsed from erosion.

After all the hiking, we were beginning to get hungry again. We decided to head over to Bloomington and stop to eat at The Trojan Horse. We debated on whether to order an appetizer, but came up with a great plan to get ice cream for dessert instead! We both ordered the gyro and it was very yummy. I love me some pita bread and Tzatziki sauce.

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We headed over to Bruster’s for ice cream after lunch. I ordered Wedding Cake (an almond cake batter ice cream with a black raspberry swirl) in a waffle cone and Josh got Chocolate Raspberry Truffle (a chocolate ice cream with raspberry crinkle and chocolate flakes) in a waffle cone. It was a lovely way to end our trip.

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Rocko and I headed to my parents for a few hours to enjoy the pool when we got back, while Josh stayed home to relax. The pool water was perfect for cooling off from the hike. It was nice to chat with my parents, while Derrick was splashing around and pestering my mom, jumping up on her tube and yelling “Hiiiiiii, Mom!” He’s a trip for sure. He definitely keeps us all entertained.      

To cap off our ultimate Sunday, Josh and I ate the rest of our pizza for supper (seriously, it’s soooo dang good) while finishing up the final Regionals events. And I might have talked him into making another chocolate chip skillet cookie while I ran to the store for some ice cream. Cheers to an amazing weekend!!!