Uncharted

Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Northwoods Get-Away Recap June 17, 2015

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 6:44 pm
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This past weekend Matt and I packed up my Escape, for our second get-away to the northwoods of Wisconsin. Our agenda was quite simple: a little work and have a lot of fun.

Work consisted of mowing the lawn, finish staining a lower portion of a new kitchen cabinet and cleaning. The fun part included exploring a new brew pub, going to our favorite breakfast place and visiting a well known Wisconsin brewery.

The new place we’re happy to add to our favorites list is Aqualand Ale House in Boulder Junction. The brew pub boasts their own four specialty beers as well as a nice mix of craft beer from the Midwest. Matt and I both ordered flights and a few appetizers. Their homebrews and food were delicious. My favorite brew was a cream ale, which we ended up getting a grumbler of to take home. We had a great time talking to the bartenders and are already planning to visit them again in a few weeks.

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Flight sampler at Aqualand

If we’re only up for a few days or a week, we always make sure to enjoy a breakfast at Cafe Holiday located in Hazlehurst. My parents discovered this gem a few years ago and it has become a family staple. Matt always orders a full biscuits and gravy breakfast meal served with two eggs. And for me, it’s the stuffed cranberry-apple french toast with a side of hashbrowns extra crispy. My mouth is already watering from writing about it.

Our last favorite stop took place on the drive home. Often we’ll stop in on the way up or down in the little Swiss town of New Glarus, Wisconsin, home to New Glarus Brewery. Once we arrived at the brewery, Matt literally jumped out and headed straight for the beer depot to see if any of the recent brown sours were still available. Luck was on his side because they were! With our haul secured we ventured out to enjoy a Belgian Red straight from the tap on the patio with Porter. Best rest stop ever.

Porter hanging out on the patio at New Glarus Brewery

Porter hanging out on the patio at New Glarus Brewery

We’ll be back up north in another few weeks for much of the same. A little work and a lot of fun. I think that’s going to be my new motto for the summer.

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Disney Recap Part 3 March 4, 2015

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 8:11 pm
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My parents excited for the tour

My parents excited for the tour

Alas, it’s time for the last installment of our trip to Disney featuring two parks, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios (formerly known as MGM). On our last Sunday, we grabbed a quick breakfast in our hotel room and headed off in the morning to Animal Kingdom. First on our itinerary was our FastPass for Safari Kilimanjaro. All four of us loved the ride. Though it was a little bumpy at time, it was amazing to literally be right next to the animals. We saw a variety of wildlife including giraffes, elephants, lions and many different types of birds. My parents especially got a kick out of riding on the oversized jeep.

After the safari we parted ways to walk around the park and go on different rides. Next up for Matt and I was Dinosaur. The line moved surprisingly fast and we both enjoyed the ride. Then it was time to use our next FastPass on Expedition Everest. This was probably my favorite roller coaster out of all of the parks. It definitely took my breath away a few times. My parents decided to skip Everest and I recommended for them to check out It’s Tough to be a Bug. I thought it would be more their “speed”.  They loved the interactive story even though I forgot to mention a few things that might have took them by surprise.

Giraffes!

Giraffes!

We finished up our day by heading back to Downtown Disney for dinner and shopping. Matt and I debated about where to go and we settled on Bongos Cuban Cafe. Since it was one of our last nights, we opted to sit outside and enjoy the warmer weather while we could. Our server was spectacular and walked us through the menu and specials. We started out with a steak bruschetta, that was amazing. For our main meals, I ordered a shredded beef dish and Matt ordered a combination of seafood in a tomato based sauce. Both of our orders came with beans, rice and fried plantains. We were so stuffed we even passed on dessert!

Once we had shopped and picked up a few gifts for our families, we stopped in at the Raglan Road Irish pub and restaurant. We were drawn to it by the live music playing outside. We grabbed a few chairs and ordered a beer and cider for our desserts. The music was great and they even had some Irish dancers perform between sets. It was the perfect way to end the day.

Monday was our last day in Disney and we capped it off with Hollywood Studios. We split off from my parents because we each had different times for our FastPasses. First on our list was the Muppets 3D (one of my favorites), followed by Star Wars and the Great Movie ride. Unfortunately, Matt and I weren’t able to do a whole lot more because I started feeling ill. Luckily though my parents had a great time on the Indiana Stunt Show, the Back Lot Tour and Star Wars. They even commented it was their favorite park after Epcot. I definitely didn’t expect to hear that!

All in all we had a wonderful time. We had a blast going with my parents and meeting up with them throughout the day as well as meeting an old friend from college. I’m really glad Matt and I had the opportunity to go to Disney before we start our own family. It was fun for just the two of us to be kids. To attempt riding on all of the rides, sipping beverages around the world and eating amazing food while staying up past our normal bed-time. Yes, I would definitely call that one good vacation for the books!

 

Disney Recap Part 1 February 18, 2015

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 8:42 pm
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Vacation recap time! Matt and I usually escape to Florida in January/February to remember what it feels like to be warm. We arrived on a Wednesday evening to Tampa, Florida. By the time we got back to my parents place it was about 10 p.m. and we were ready for a comfy bed. The next day we had a leisurely breakfast and my mom took Matt and I around their town house facilities. Then we were off to visit my aunt and uncle who also live in Florida before heading out to our main destination…Walt Disney World!

We stayed at Spring Green, which is a military resort on the grounds of Walt Disney World. The hotel provided transportation to all of the parks or if we were up for a little walk, we could jump on the Monorail at the Polynesian Resort across the street. After we checked in and got settled my Mom, Matt and I headed to Downtown Disney.

IMG_2321[1]Our first stop was the Lego Store for some fun photo opportunities with life-size sculptures as well as time for Matt to be a kid again. We looked in at a few other shops before we realized it was time for dinner. After checking our options we settled on Fulton’s Crab House. Our waiter was amazing and hilarious. We had a great time joking around with him and of course, following his recommendations. My mom ordered and enjoyed amazing crab cakes while Matt and I split an order of calamari and fish tacos. The food and drinks were delicious and filling. So much so that we walked around for a little longer before heading back to the hotel.

With a good night’s sleep under our belts we headed to Epcot and boy did we need it! I’m still impressed with everything we fit in one day. It started with Spaceship Earth followed by Captain EO (a must for Matt), Test Track and Mission Space. Before we knew it was time to head over to the World Showcase and meet up with my parents for lunch at Germany. The lunch buffet was great, but not as good as Mom’s home cooking (I’m a little spoiled). Once again with our bellies full we took a walk around the world stopping in at the different shops for trinkets, drink samples and impromptu shows by Disney cast members.

IMG_2338[1]As we were making our loop, a staff member stopped us and gave us two tickets for the fireworks show, IllumiNations, from a private balcony. Score! With time to burn we checked out a few more rides including The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Ellen’s Energy Adventure. We did another loop around the world and caught a few movies at China and France before we grabbed dinner. Hearing live music we stopped in England and enjoyed a cover band rocking out to all the English classics. Once they finished it was time to head down to the private balcony to enjoy IllumiNations. The area couldn’t have been more perfect. Our location was a little island in between England and France at water level. The show was spectacular from that vantage point.

After the fireworks we booked it over to the ride Soarin’. Apparently everyone else had the same idea because when we got there it was a twenty minute wait but by the time we went on the ride it was back up to an hour! During the day it was over an hour and unfortunately we weren’t able to get a FastPass for it. Luckily our plan worked out perfectly.

Stay tuned for next week’s post featuring our adventures at Magic Kingdom!

 

Milwaukee Day 2 December 3, 2014

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 12:59 am
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Last week I only got through Friday of our trip to Milwaukee.  Now on to Saturday!  We started off the day right with an amazing brunch at Blue’s Egg.  We had a bit of a wait, but I feel like that is always a good sign.  Why would people be willing to wait if it’s not worth it?  We started off with the monkey bread and it was gone in less than a minute!  I ordered their famous (or so the bartender from the night before told us) stuffed hash browns.  I choose the pulled ham and cheese.  It was delightful.  I’m pretty sure Dave had one of their benedicts, but it was gone so fast I don’t remember.  We’d go back in a heartbeat and so naturally recommend the place if you are ever in the area.

blues

We realized on the way to Blue’s that the Miller Valley was very close by and since it was on our list we headed over after brunch.  We walked in the door and were informed that the next tour started in 4 minutes.  Talk about perfect timing!  I was a little overexcited to show my ID, but the guy who was checking it didn’t care about my last name at all and only looked to see if I was 21.  We were shown a lovely video hosted by the Highlife Girl in the Moon, followed by a tour of four different buildings, and ending with a tasting at the Miller Inn.  I went a little crazy taking pictures of anything with the word Miller on it, and we tried to drink the beer put in front of us.  I unfortunately have to report it wasn’t very good.  However we thought the tour was very good and would even venture to say it was better than the Coors tour in Denver.

miller

The Harley Museum was next on our list and I wasn’t sure it would be very entertaining for me.  I’m not exactly into motorcycles.  My dad has one and I’ve ridden on it exactly one time and it was only because he forced me!  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the museum was very interesting.  A lot of it seemed like art to me.  My favorite part being the wall pictured below covered in many colored gas tanks.  Who would have thought?  The price is a bit steep, $18 per person, but I’m glad we went.  Check out a few of my favorites:

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My favorite!

harls 2

Dave’s favorite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were pretty hungry after the museum and we had been meaning to check out the Cheese Mart that was near our hotel so we made our way back there.  The Cheese Mart is attached to a bar/restaurant called the Uber Tap Room.  We tasted a bunch of cheese on the Mart side and then sat down at the bar and had some drinks and something to eat.  We should have stayed on the cheese side.  It was really the only good thing about the place.  The service is best described as inattentive and the food disappointed us.  I think we are pretty easy going people, but we felt ignored most the time.  At least we got to try Havarti Horseradish cheese and drink more Spotted Cow on tap 🙂

In the meanwhile, it started snowing and we decided to go to the movies and see Dumb & Dumber To.  There were a few good parts, but of course it wasn’t as funny as the first one.  Sequels never are.  I felt a little guilty going to a movie when we were in a new city, but I never could go out drinking more than one night in a row.  My lack of party prowess along with the fact that we were day drinking were the perfect reasons to relax and ignore that guilty voice in my head.  It also meant we were well rested for Sunday…which I’ll tell you all about next week!

 

Dirty Thirty Boston Style October 22, 2014

A while ago, Matt told me to request the Friday after my birthday off. Not asking too many questions at the time, I complied. As my birthday slowly approached, I began asking more questions. Are we going somewhere outside the state of Illinois? Will we be gone the entire weekend or just a few days? Matt did not reveal one ounce of information until the day before my birthday.

When we got home from work, he gave me a box. Inside the box were the the following two pieces of paper.

Boston! On Friday we were off to visit my best friend Jill, and her husband Jaz.

We arrived a little early for our flight on Spirit Airlines out of O’Hare Airport, so we grabbed a beer and split an appetizer at the Goose Island restaurant just outside of our gate. Once it was about 10 minutes before we should start to board we headed over to the gate. Unfortunately we noticed it was delayed an hour.

Then it was another hour, and another and finally another. Due to mechanical issue, our flight was delayed a total of four hours. Once on the plane, we were not treated to any food or even beverages for the inconvenience of being stuck in the airport for an additional four hours. To add to negativity of the situation, Spirit’s credit card processing was even down so if we wanted anything we had to pay cash.

The delay did mess up the schedule for the weekend, jamming everything into Saturday, but luckily we made it work.

Once we arrived finally in Boston, we went back to Jill and Jaz’s place to eat dinner, celebrate birthdays and finalize our plans. Jill made a decadent dessert to celebrate my milestone birthday. She found a recipe where the bottom layer was chocolate cheesecake and the top layer was German chocolate cake. The crust was ground up oreo cookies. Amazing, it was just amazing.

The next morning we woke up, ate our cereal and headed out the door to Bunker Hill. We all climbed the 297 steps to the very top of the obelisk and were rewarded with 360 views of the city.

Bunker Hill Sights

 

Our next stop was the U.S.S. Constitution. This ship is the oldest commissioned warship in the world, commissioned in 1797. Matt and I had a great time exploring the ship and learning about its history from actual navy personnel living on the ship. I think we both could have stayed on it for another two hours!

U.S.S. Constitution

Next on our itinerary was to check out Harpoon Brewery for a tour. We picked up a 2 p.m. tour and headed over to Yankee Lobster for lunch. Jill and Jaz both got the fish and chips, which were very tasty according to their accounts. Matt and I on the other hand might have gone a little overboard. So much so, that we ordered so much food that we figured we were going to miss our tour. Fortunately the brewery is practically next door to the restaurant, so Jaz was able to run over and grab a refund. What did we gorge on? Well, we each ordered a 1 ¼ lb lobster that came with fries, corn on the cob and coleslaw. In addition to that, Matt also ordered three fresh crabs.

Yankee Lobster

The only logical thing to do after we stuffed ourselves was to head back to Harpoon for a few beers. The brewery offered three different types of preselected flights. Matt and I each got a different one so we could try even more. I really enjoyed their UFO white ale and UFO pumpkin ale. We picked up a bomber of their Imperial pumpkin and some barware to take home.

Harpoon Brewery

After the brewery we decided we needed a walk. So we headed back into downtown and walked around the Boston Common and Boston Garden. We took a few obligatory pictures with statues as well as outside of Cheers.

Boston Commons

Once we had worked off a sufficient amount of our lunch and beer we headed back to the car to head to Salem. Yep, we went to Salem, Massachusetts before Halloween, although you couldn’t really tell by how dressed up EVERYONE was and how the town was decorated. Streets were closed, street vendors were selling different types of products from witches hats and socks to candles and incense. My senses were literally overloaded.

Our destination in Salem was the visitor’s center to meet up for a walking tour with Spellbound Tours. We easily found the location and our group. Our guide was very friendly and informative throughout the evening. We walked for about an hour and a half to a variety of locations around downtown Salem. Our guide informed us of past history as well as current happenings around town. My favorite part of the tour was visiting the second oldest cemetery in the U.S.  A little creepy at night, but very cool.

After the tour we went to a Mexican restaurant called, Howling Wolf Taqueria. We waited a about forty-five minutes to get in and the food was well worth the wait. Jaz and I both ordered burritos and mine was absolutely delicious. Jill ordered enchiladas that were gone in about ten minutes from her plate. Matt ordered pork tacos with a pineapple chili sauce that were pretty much gone in the same time as Jill’s meal.

With full bellies, we said goodbye to the semi-crazy folks of Salem and headed back to Boston. With an early afternoon flight, we enjoyed a relaxing Sunday morning before heading back to the airport. Thankfully, this time heading home our flight left Boston and arrived in Chicago according to plan.

 

 

 

Summer Vacation Recap: The Northwoods August 13, 2014

Sorry for missing last week readers, but I was off the grid. Yes, there are still places where people choose not to have internet access. One such place happens to be my parents’ lake house in northern Wisconsin.

We spent a glorious week eating, drinking, relaxing and working. Matt’s best friend also came along for part of the trip. I love having the chance to show off my favorite little northwoods town. I’m pretty sure he had a good time, I know I did! Here’s my top ten list from this trip.

  1. Enjoying morning coffee on my parents’ new deck. It’s amazing how adding three feet can make such a difference!
  2. Picking out a new kitchen countertop and backsplash for the cottage with my mom at Home Depot.
  3. Porter jumping out of the boat in the middle of lake, successfully freaking out Matt and I. (We’re ordering his own PFD.)
  4. Rolling out of bed early to take advantage of a morning kayak trip around our lake.
  5. Catching a snowshoe baseball game.
  6. Winning a raffle ticket prize at snowshoe baseball…a delightful banana boat from the Korner Drive.
  7. Watching Matt’s face brighten with glee when my dad’s new tractor arrived.
  8. A delicious dinner at Little Bohemia. Order the prime rib, you will not forget it!
  9. Fishing off the dock.
  10. Hitting up our one of our favorites, Minocqua Brewery, for a sampler paddle of brews and appetizers.

35 more days until we’re able to go back. Not like I’m really counting or anything…

 

Relaxing in Pure MI July 2, 2014

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 12:30 am
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I just got home from my little get-away in Pure Michigan!  My aunt and uncle graciously invite the family up every year to their place on Lake Paw Paw and we go for a few days in the sun.

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We soak up some rays, chat, read books, lounge on the raft, go boating, play games, have bonfires, and eat a ridiculous amount of good food.  My favorite part is just that I get to spend time with my family.  Growing up we used to spend at least once a week together at ‘Hamburger Nights’ every Saturday.  Now that everyone is much older {the cousins range from age 29 down to 14}, people’s schedules don’t always allow for us to be together as often.  Not every family is able to come up to the lake, but it’s still good to spend some quality time with those that are able to be there.  Some years it rains and we have to occupy ourselves with something besides hanging outside.  This year the only times we had bad weather were in the early mornings and late at night so we really didn’t have to leave the house.  Besides going out on the boat, I only left two times!  Once for breakfast at a local diner and another time to go on a walk with my sister {Did I mention I got a Fit Bit for my birthday and now I’m a little obsessive about steps?}

photo 5 Briads

 

Anyway the last day we usually have to rush out of there and get back to Illinois so we can get ready to go to work the next day.  It really kills that feeling of relaxation.  This year I took the whole week off so today we took it easy and a few of us were even able to stop at Redamak’s in New Buffalo for one of their famous burgers on the way home.

photo 4

Once back on the highway, Kate and I decided to make another detour to Michigan City to visit a few stores at the outlet mall.  First stop was our favorite: Fossil.  We wanted to buy everything in that store, and Kate pointed out that if she worked there she probably would have no money left.  Agreed!  After carrying around 3 different bags around the store {not including my new mint crossbody purse my sister gave me for my birthday}, I finally decided on a new purse and small little wallet.  They were having an amazing sale and the total price conveniently matched the amount of birthday money my grandparents gave me.  Sometimes things just fall into place don’t they?  Now it is time for me to unpack.  The real question Stella wants to know is how could I possible pack all of this for a 3 night trip in a neighboring state?

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