Fall Favorites!

For those of you who don’t know me…FALL IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR! Like if fall could be 9 months out of the year (with summer being the other 3 obviously,) I think I would be the happiest girl in the world!

I’m not sure I can chose my favorite thing about it: the cool temperatures (hello jeans+sweatshirts,) the beautiful colors of the leaves, football games, outdoor activities or pumpkin spice lattes. Either way, the vibes of Fall are just something I look forward to all year long.

This year was especially fun and special; being that it’s Fitz’s first Fall experience! Does anyone else feel like Northern Michigan really lucked out this year with some warm, sunny and colorful days! Kwin and I definitely took advantage of this with lots of hiking, biking and “fall-ish” activities. Let me know if you enjoyed any of these too; or if we need try some new things next year!

Hiking and Biking

  • Vasa Single Track– HIGHLY recommend going here for an epic bike during the fall! NMMBA has done an awesome job recently of creating more trails for you to explore all over the state land in Williamsburg, MI. You can also hike or RZR on designated trails.
  • Electric Bikes on the backroads– We invested in some Electric bikes a couple years ago, specifically for bike rides like these! We are able to cover so much ground, and still enjoy the ride. Plus adventuring on back dirt roads is always so much fun with Kwin. Shoutout to Oma Jo for hanging out with Fitz so we could have a little day date!
  • Home Sweet Home– We’ve spent so much time over the past five years working on trails around our property. I’m not lying when I say they are my favorite trails to hike! The dogs can be off leash, so many different trails to choose from, and the beauty of the landscape makes it great too!
  • Mt. Holiday– A local favorite for skiing in the Traverse City area is also a favorite for hiking year round! Climbing to the top of the main ski hill really gives you an epic view of both East and West Grand Traverse Bay!
  • Marquette Trip– Our annual UP fall trip took place in Marquette this year. It was a beautiful and sunny weekend; filled with lots of hiking! Some of our favorites are Hogsback, Sugarloaf, Deadriver Falls and catching sunrise on Lake Superior. Fun fact… FOUR years ago Kwin and I got engaged on top of Hogsback Mountain; and look at us now with our beautiful baby girl in the same spot! This hike will always have so much special meaning to me.

Fall Treats

  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes– I’m usually not for frilly drinks, I’m pretty lame and just prefer a good black coffee. BUT this time of year calls for all the frilly pumpkin drinks I can get my hands on. If you’re in the Traverse City area…. go to Espresso Bay and get their pumpkin spice latte (it’s made with REAL pumpkin, no fake sugary syrups) YOU WONT REGRET IT.
  • Third Coast Bakery– Donuts aren’t really my jam, and I usually only have one pumpkin donut a year. However, after trying one of there HIGHLY RECOMMENDED GF donuts… I was converted to a donut person. Lets just say we made it a Sunday tradition to get a few of these bad boys! If you’re in the Traverse City area and looking for a bakery that is Gluten Free and very allergen friendly (soy, dairy and some items even egg free) give this place a try! I haven’t had a bad bakery item yet!
  • Pumpkin Patch– Is it really fall if you don’t go to a pumpkin patch? Unfortunately with COVID, this wasn’t the “usual” pumpkin patch experience…but we still made the best of it!

Sports

  • Lions Games– Even though the lions let us down 75% of the time, we still spend our Sundays cheering them on!
  • Elk Rapids Sporting Events– I love fall because of all the sports! And with Kwin taking a break from coaching this year, we had more time to go support the other teams; like football, soccer and volleyball! Fitz is enjoying going to all these games too. I’ve got a feeling she’s going to be a little sports star!

Family Fun

  • Sauna Season – I missed out on sauna season last year, due to being pregnant. But let me tell ya, I’m so excited the weather is cooling off and the sauna is being lit again!
  • Hot Tubs– Kwin and Fitz have some fun bonding time in the hot tub before “tubby time” almost daily! My heart melts watching her splashing around in there and interacting with daddy. She really is a water lover already.
  • HalloweenEEEEKKK, I was looking forward to Halloween so much! In fact, Fitz rocked three outfits and looked absolutely adorable in all of them. Dottie from a ‘League Of Their Own,’ A Polar Bear, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle!

Writing this on our first wintery day -hello white stuff&40mph winds– and getting a little sad that fall has come to an end. We are lucky in Michigan to experience all four seasons, as it really makes you appreciate whatever season you are currently in.
So I’ll sign off hear and say: Until next year Fall!

East Coast Travels!

This years spring break (Yes, we still get to go on spring break as adults…PERKS of marrying a teacher!) Kwin wanted to show me some new territory, so we took a road trip down the East Side of the country!

Smokey Mountains 

We Started our journey in the Great Smokey Mountains! Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are the two towns located just outside the park where most of the tourists stay. Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of either of these towns; mostly because I am not huge into “touristy” things, but GOTTA EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING ONCE. After we got away from all the people and into the Smokey Mountain National Park I loved it!

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the greatest while we were there…but it didn’t stop us! We hiked the Chimney Tops hike along with the Grotto Falls hike. For those who do not know, the last 0.25miles of the Chimney Tops hike is now closed due to the forest fire in 2016. Apparently the trail experienced some erosion and damage from the fire-I’m a little bummed because Kwin said that was the best part of the trail!

kwin waterfall

me waterfall

Asheville 

We have heard that Asheville has some pretty great Mountain Biking, so going there was a must! We stopped for breakfast at City Bakery and it was phenomenal-local and organic whole foods! From there we made our way to DuPont State Park where we did some hiking, mountain biking and found more waterfalls!

meg&ding

rock carin

fire
Finally no rain, so we could have a campfire!

Lake James State Park 

FINALLY WE GOT SUNSHINE! After three days of rain and clouds we were very excited to finally see the sun come out. We had full intentions on paddle boarding while here…but the wind was a bit too strong!

 Sunshine+awesome mountain biking trails+beautiful hiking=one of our favorite days. 

she jumped

kanyon window

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Visiting Family! 

One of the main reasons we went on this trip (bedsides seeing new territory) was to meet up with Kwin’s sister (Megan) and brother-in-law (Tommy). They just moved into their new house-which is beautiful, congrats guys! While there we went to Hanging Rock State Park.
on rocks

the hike K&M

hanging rock

kwin&meg

Washington DC

Our last stop on the trip was a day trip to the Nations Capital. At the age of 24, I cannot believe I have NEVER been here before! Along with the day at Lake James, this was another favorite of mine! Kwin and I are both kinda nerdy…but we love learning, especially about history.

Things I loved about Washington DC

  • Dog Friendly-except you couldn’t take your furry friends into the actual memorials
  • Such an active town-there were people walking, running, riding bikes, playing soccer, playing ultimate frisbee…you name it and it was going on!
  • Bike trail from Washington DC to Mt.Vernon
  • SOOO MUCH HISTORY

kwin&dogs at memorial

memorial

Traveling is something that Kwin and I have a huge passion for! We love exploring new things as a family (yes that includes taking our dogs everywhere we can!) and being off the grid as much as we can!

We also have a NO CHAIN RESTAURANTS rule (we cook mostly in our camper, but sometimes it’s nice to go out.) Here are some cafes we went to- City Bakery (Asheville), Grind Cafe (Morganton)

I hope you all enjoyed! For any questions regarding trails or another travel questions feel free to ask!

Also, SHOUTOUT to my amazing husband for getting me the best birthday present I could have asked for! I love my new Sony A6300 Camera, it sure took some amazing pictures this trip! 

Bikin’, Hikin’, and Fishin’ OH MY

Most of my blogs have been about traveling to different places all over the country, which as we all know Kwin and I love to do. But we also enjoy doing adventures around home and throughout Michigan. In this blog I want to talk about a new place Kwin recently introduced me to, and the best part is…IT’S RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER FROM MY HOUSE!

Sand Lakes Quiet Area

I have heard of Sand Lakes many times, but never actually been there. Man, was I missing out this whole time! It is a perfect place for anyone looking to hike, bike, hangout in nature, fish in any of the 10ish lakes, read a book, campout, have a bonfire, and so much more!

SandLakesQuietAreaPathway

This tranquil  piece of property is tucked away on some country backroads; surrounded by a vast pine forest. When you’re out enjoying it expect to hear nothing but birds chirping and trees creaking. The best thing about Sand Lakes is that there’s so much to do, and it’s such a huge area that almost everyone is able to find their own piece of heaven. Both Kwin and I have been going there quite often since he showed it to me, about 3-4 times a week actually, because of how relaxing, peaceful, and beautiful it is.

Spring weather is finally starting to kick in, which means outdoor adventures are officially in full force! This past weekend, despite being super chilly and windy, was sunny so we packed up the truck and headed off to Sand Lakes. We hiked our Tahoe SUP inflatable paddle boards back to one of the lakes for some paddling and fishing.

What better way to spend a sunny May day than outside with good friends, a lake side bonfire, paddling, fishing, biking and two cute dogs?

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Sand Lakes, being only 5-miles from my house has easily become one of my new favorite places to go! I am so lucky to live in Northern Michigan, which is full of absolutely breath taking scenic attractions like this place here!