In just a few weeks, Iw ill be heading down to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri for the 4th of July holiday and celebrations. Even though it is a 7 and a half hour drive from where I live in Chicago, going down there for more than a few days always makes it worth the time. There is so much to do there, and I know the environment down there very well. I grew up going down to the Lake of the Ozarks and have gone just about every other year of my life, as my dad’s side of teh family is from Kansas City and they have always had a lake house down there. It is a place I can go to escape and relax.
I want to detail some of my favorite parts of visiting the Lake of the Ozarks. First is the weather in the summer – it is always hot, which I love. It si basically always above 90 degrees for the 4th of July, and the combination of the fairly cool water and hot air temperature is always perfect. Second, the Ozarks are pretty affordable. It is the most affordable lake in the Midwest to rent a house and rent a boat for the weekend, and it’s really not even close. Once you are down there, you are not spending an arm and a leg to have fun, which is an added benefit. Third, there are always a multitude of 4th of July fireworks celebrations that can be seen when you are down there at that time, so much so that you can see dozens going on in all directions from individual houses along the lake.
Above all, the Lake of the Ozarks is just plain fun. It is the ideal American summer getaway as everyone is there to have a good time and the feel is very “happy go lucky”. It would be hard to have a bad time down there with all of the boating, watersports, food, drink, and freedom you can have there. It is one of my happy places, and I would encourage everyone to consider a vacation there one of these next summers (but not everyone at once please!)
I am thinking back fondly on a trip that I recently took back in December to Washington DC, flying into Reagan airport (DCA). My girlfiend and I joined some friends for one of my good friends’ 30th birthday celebration. I have visited Dc several times and I absolutely love it, as there are so many fun things to do and I always feel full of patriotism when I am there. It was my girlfriends’ first time in the Capital. I would like to talk about some of my favorite moments from that weekend.
We did extremely well in choosing the right places to eat during the weekend. We started off with lunch at Old Ebbitt Grill right across the street from the White House, which is one of the most historic places in all of Washington DC (not even just for restaurants), hosting countless presidents and diplomats in its booths. If only walls could take… Oh, and the carb artichoke dip was one of the most glorious things I’ve ever tasted in my life. Old Ebbitt was (somehow) topped the next night by this upscale Mexican place called Dlena, where we went for my friends birthday celebration. We had a prie fixe menu of adobo chicken, seafood enchiladas, and many other delicous plates. Easy one of the best meals I have had in my life.
Exploring the National Mall took up most of the rest of the time on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – and rightfully so. We walked to the White House and then onto the Washington Monument in the Mall. From there we went over to the World War II Memorial and then the Lincoln Memorial. I am always in awe at the Lincoln Memorial and the courage Lincoln had to do right and do great things for our country. The bset part of the National Mall is the Smithsonian museums, however, which are mostly all free which is neat. We stopped in the Museum of American History to see teh civil rights movement and history of money exhibits. Everyone wanted to see the National Air and Space museum so that was our other primary stop. Unfortunately over half the museum was closed for renovation so it was not as extensive as I would have hoped. We did not get to the Library of Congress which I personally love, and disappointingly we also did not have time to go see the Declaration of Independence on display at the National Archives. The museums of art and the portrait galleries are on my llaundry list as well. Needless to say, I would like to spend a whole week at the National Mall and would not get bored.
This coming weekend, I am going on a big friends trip to Asheville, North Carolina. It was one of my friends’ ideas to go, as he said it is one of his favorite places in the world. I admittedly don’t know much about the area or ever been to the Appalachians, but after looking at all of the pictures and things to do, I must say that I am rather excited and it looks beautiful. Here are some of the activities we plan on doing while there.
When we fly in on Thursday, we plan on playiong some golf. There are some gorgeous looking, mountainous courses that I am looking forward to inevitably play some terrible golf at. The rental house we have for the weekend looks great, as it’s in the mountains with a great view of the valley below and other mountains across the way. It also has a pool table, poker table, and hot tub, so we’ll be all set for fun nights whenever we need to relax.
The highlight of the weekend for me will be the fly fishing excursion we are going on Saturday morning. We are hiring a professional outfitter to take us out to a high altitude river to fish for the day. I am not an experienced outdoorsman so I will definitely just be along for the ride, but this has always been something I have wanted to try (but don’t know what to expect out of).
The rest of the time will be spent exploring some breweries and restaurants. Looking at the map, there are some really unique breweries to go visit, and Asheville has the most breweries per capita of any US city. – In particular, the New Belgium brewing company looks like it has a pretty cool set up and I’ve been told great things about it from the friends who have been there. I am absolutely sure we won’t be starving or thirsty with all the dining options available in Asheville.
It is finally summer here in the Midwest and time to do some relaxing and also some much needed travelling. There’s nothing better than a nice summer roadtrip on the open road in beautiful weather. Luckily, I have a nice little trip coming up. Later this week, I will be going on a 3 anda half day vacation to Michigan with some friends to play some golf. I am excited to see a part of Michigan that I have never really experienced before, Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids is the second biggest city in the state behind Detroit, and seems like a nice place to live. I have been there once before but it was for a work trip which ended up being very quick. I do remember the local brewery scene being hailed as being the place to hang out at, and I recall having a few good meals at restaurants (I am since forgetting the name of the places). What I didn’t realize is that there are so many nice golf courses. I just looked up the roster of golf courses we are scheduled to play, and they all look like really quality and renowned courses. Hopefully my game is on point to make it a worthwhile experience to play such nice courses!
Besides Grand Rapids, I have always wanted to spend time visiting Traverse City a little up north in the state. Located on the shores of upper Lake Michigan, Traverse City is well known in being a favorite summertime destination due to its cool weather, and fun food and drink scene. One of these days I will have to plan a relaxing vacation to go up there with a group of friends or my girlfriend, to get away from the never ending bustle of the big city. For noe, West Central Michigan awaits.