Top 6 activities in D.C. with Small Children

img_2559

Washington D.C. is one of my favorite U.S. cities. Not only is it beautiful and historic, but it also seems completely manageable regardless of who your travel companions may be. I have visited D.C. several times throughout my lifetime~ with my family, with my husband, with the Close Up program, and this time with our children, ages 5 and 2. We brought our double jogger and are so grateful that we did because walking was our main mode of transportation during this trip. We were able to walk to most of the activities described below with the exception of the National Cathedral area. Below are the top 5 activities that I would recommend in D.C. with small children.

Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian Museums (National Mall)- I love, love, love the Smithsonians. The free admission takes all the pressure off parents and children. We were staying just a short walk away from the Smithsonians, so I could take the kids to a museum, and if we had to leave for naps or meltdowns, it was fine. We could also do quick walk throughs of the museums and then decide where to go back to spend more time or choose specific exhibits we wanted to revisit. The Air and Space Museum was the clear winner on this trip.

The National Cathedral- One of the most beautiful places in D.C., the National Cathedral took 83 years to complete and is the second largest cathedral in the United States, the 6th largest in the world. When we went, there was also a festival going on with all sorts of activities for the kids, including face painting, rides, and games. My husband and I could enjoy the beautiful architecture and our kids could enjoy transforming their faces into woodland creatures.

 

Beauvoir-  If you are up by the National Cathedral on a weekend, you should check out the National Cathedral Elementary School’s (Beauvoir) playground. It is immaculate, and there is a nice variety of activities for various age ranges.Beauvoir

Georgetown- Again, this is one for the adults and the children. My husband and I enjoyed pushing the kids in the stroller and window shopping. We finished at a kid-friendly, Mexican restaurant with friends in a nearby neighborhood. We went mid-afternoon, grabbed dinner, went to a nearby park, and were back at our hotel at a reasonable hour (we did take a taxi back). You can adjust the time you would like to spend in Georgetown depending on how much you want to explore or how long you want to shop. If you have small children with you an afternoon or even half of an afternoon would probably be enough time.

National World War II Memorial- Opened in the spring of 2004, this memorial has significance as a tribute to those who served during World War II. It is nice to visit in order to have meaningful and age-appropriate conversations with your children. Bonus: it is outside and our children had fun finding our state name engraved in one of the 56 granite pillars located around the plaza. Win, win, win.

World War II Memorial

Memorial Run- Speaking of memorials, we ran almost every morning by the monuments. While we could have spent more time (obviously) at each monument, I’m not sure our children were quite old enough to spend hours at them. Our runs seemed the most efficient and effective for our children’s ages, and there was just something so peaceful and serene about seeing the monuments before the hoards of tour groups descended on them for the day. During our run, we would stop to catch our breath, talk with the kids about the monuments, and take a picture. We were able to see the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument all within our 35-minute run. Amazing.Memorial

 While there is so much to see in D.C. and we were not able to do it all, I feel that this list has a nice balance of history and activity considering the ages of our children. I hope that other families traveling to D.C. with small children will also find this list to be helpful. 

*Please note that some of the links in this post contain affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I may be compensated.

3 Easy Indian Dishes

Cheater Indian Food

True story. I used to be cautious with Indian food. Now, I love it. As in, I can’t get enough of it. As in, I went to India for 11 days and came back craving, no not a steak, but more Indian food. Here is the thing, though, it isn’t a food that I find easy to make. There is a lot of preparation and generally a long list of ingredients, which basically explains why it is so good. I once asked my mother-in-law for her chole recipe and threw in the towel after only reading about halfway down the list. Thus, comes in my list of imitation foods that I can make quickly on weekdays, shortcut-style. I’m not pretending these could even come close in taste to an actual Indian meal, but they help get me through until our Thursday night, Indian-restuarant night or our next trip to the in-law’s house.

Cheater Indian Food

Chole- This is simple. Buy a bag of dried garbanzo beans. Follow the directions on the bag for either the long soak or the quick soak.  Then, cook the beans in about 5-6 cups of water. I use my favorite Dutch oven but any large pot will work. Bring beans and water to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours. Remove as much excess water as you can with a ladle; there should be some water leftover. At this point, you can also remove 2-3 cups of beans and set aside for the Roasted Chole recipe below. Next, add the Goan Coconut simmer sauce pictured above to the pot and continue to simmer until heated through, toss some frozen naan in the oven, and spoon the “chole” over jasmine or basmati rice. Add some chopped cilantro to the top if you are feeling fancy. Oh, and if you are feeling especially last-minute, you could always buy 2-3 cans of garbanzo beans and cook them on the stove with this sauce until heated through; how is that for a 15-minute meal?

Cheater Indian Food

Roasted Chole- Now, what to do with the chole leftovers? Leftovers at our  house just sit and sit and sit. After we have inhaled as much of the chole from above as we can, I try to get any excess sauce off the leftover garbanzo beans by using a slatted spoon. Then I line a cookie sheet with them, toss in olive oil, and cook at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. There you have it~ an instant protein-rich snack for the week. Remember how I mentioned you could pull out 2-3 cups of plain garbanzo beans? If you chose to go that route, you follow the same directions above but also toss with salt (or whatever spice combination you choose to experiment with). Easy, easy.

Samosas

Samosa’s- This last recipe is an oldie-but-goodie that I make often from Real Simple magazine. It is their Easy Samosas Recipe. Samosas are a great appetizer with either store-bought (hey, we are taking shortcuts here anyway, right?) mango chutney or an easy mint chutney. (For the mint chutney pictured above, I just blended 8 ounces of greek yogurt, 50 mint leaves, 15-20 cilantro leaves, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and a splash of milk.) 

There you go… 3 Easy Indian Dishes. I hope you find them as delicious as I do!

*Please note that some links contained in the post are affiliate links, which means, at no cost to you, I might be compensated.

Top 5 Hilton Head Activities with Kids

hiltonheadtrip

We did it! Our first road trip. Naturally, we decided to drive to Hilton Head, South Carolina, a place my husband and I had gone together with our college tennis teams. (I can’t tell you how many times we have already forced our kids to take a walk down memory lane with us. Just add this to the list.) I won’t talk about the ride down, but once we finally got to the island, it made it all worth it. Listed below are our Top 5 activities that we did with our kids on the island.

hiltonheadtrip1.) Gregg Russell- Don’t skip this. It’s #1 on the list for a reason. Gregg Russell has been performing for over 30 years. Meet him under Liberty tree in Harbour Town. Your kids aren’t the only ones who will be laughing and singing along. We went twice and probably would have attended every night if we had been staying in Harbour Town. If your kids want to increase their chances of being called up on stage, they should bring posters saying, “Pick Me!” or something even more creative.

2.) Ride Bikes on the Beach- Again, this isn’t one to skip. How many beaches are hiltonheadtripthere that you can actually go for a bike ride on? I’m talking about riding directly on the sand. The beaches go for miles! Just be sure that you don’t get overly ambitious (as my husband often does) and go too far before turning around.

3.) Salty Dog Cafe– Located in Sea Pines, this restaurant is one of the most well-known on the island. You really shouldn’t go to Hilton Head without eating at the Salty Dog Cafe. And be certain to read The Legend of Jake, the Salty Dog to your children before you go.

4.) Watch a tennis match at Van Der Meer Tennis Academy– these kids are good! Players come from all over the world to attend this academy. We were staying right next door and were also able to use the courts to hit.

hiltonheadtrip5.) Take in the wildlife– all of the jellyfish that were washed up on shore were amazing, and our kids were entertained for a very good amount of time running from one to the next. (This is what happens to you after making it through another long Michigan winter- anything and everything outside becomes amazing.) We also were able to watch dolphins swimming in the ocean right from the beach and feed the turtles at our hotel. There were alligators on the golf course by the street leading up to our hotel. It was fun to look for them from the safety of our car.

Or, just go, have a seat, soak up some Vitamin D, and be happy you escaped a week of snow in April (Why, Michigan? Why?)

hilton head trip

Popular Travel Gifts

populartravelgifts

I always struggle with what gifts to purchase for our family and friends when on a trip. After opening my parents’ cupboard to be greeted with an inordinate amount of travel mugs we had given to them, I decided we really needed to branch out. Wandering around, trying to find the perfect gifts, and then ending up buying something in the airport just wasn’t working for my Type A personality any longer. So, I felt a good list was in order (naturally). Oh, and this isn’t researched; these are just gifts that are popular on my list. 

1.) A coffee mug. I know! I just said that was the entire reason for this list. However, my husband’s family collects the Starbuck’s mugs (and uses them). And, since we are generally in a Starbuck’s at some point in our trips (have I mentioned we love a good chain?), it is just a given. (And, as an aside, I also love when my in-laws bring us a good Starbuck’s mug as a gift. Having some uniformity of mugs, but still including the fun of choosing which one to use goes over well with me.)

2.) Soaps, Lotions, and Candles. Obviously, I don’t just go buy a pump of Jergens (although, that might be just a little funny). We were recently in the Rocky Mountains, and, as such, bought some Rocky Mountain Soap products as gifts.

3.) Consumable Products specific to the region you are visiting. While in Canada, we purchased some Canadian maple syrup (with a maple leaf on it, of course) as gifts for everyone. Any sort of consumable relevant to the region you are visiting would make a great gift. It kind of takes the pressure off of the gift receivers. They don’t have to worry about where to place a non-consumable gift or remember to wear your I LOVE NYC shirt the next time they see you. My parents always bring us a rum cake from their spring trip, and I can tell you, we look forward to it every single time.

4.) An item purchased when the receiver is there. Okay, this obviously warrants further explanation. Last fall, we went apple picking with our large-ish family (my parents-in-law, my parents, my brother-in-law’s parents, two sisters-in-law and their husbands, my kids; you get the picture). It was a beautiful day. One of the stops was a super-cute shop in a barn. It had quite a good representation of Fixer-Upper- esq products. Knowing my style, one of my sisters-in-law purchased a wood block M decoration for our home. I love it! It not only works perfectly on our mantle, but every time that I look at it, I am reminded of a gorgeous fall day with our family.

5.) Coasters. This is going to shock you, given my earlier admission to being Type A, but I love a good coaster. I really just think you can’t go wrong giving a gift of a coaster. Clearly, it should match the interests of the person to whom you are gifting it. My other sister-in-law gave us a set of coasters from Charlevoix on one occasion and a set of coasters with the Michigan mitten on them a different time because, well, she knows that I love Michigan and I love coasters. Win-win.

There you have it. My quirky love of coasters and coffee mugs, and, hopefully, some tips for the next time you are looking for a gift while traveling.

populartravelgifts

*Please note that I may be compensated through the above links.

Versatile Travel Accessories

 

Mackinaw Road- Dawson bag

There are a few things that are ALWAYS with me on my trips. Well… a lot of things are with me on trips but this is the fun stuff… Who doesn’t love some fun accessories? And, the fact that these can serve several purposes makes them that much better.

#1 Travel Accessory: I just purchased the Dawson oversize shopper from Sole Society, and it is already my favorite. It has been with me on two trips in three weeks. It can be used to hold a laptop and work-related items or even more important things like a Captain Barnacles figure, Smarties, and kids’ fleeces and hats.

http://www.solesociety.com/dawson-brown.html

#2 Travel Accessory: Inside the Sole Society bag, I always bring my Stella and Dot versatile purse, which holds my wallet, passport, phone, etc. I like this purse because it is so interchangeable. I can use it as a cross body bag if I don’t need to bring my big bag for the day or I can use it as a clutch if I have a fancier dinner.

https://www.stelladot.com/shop/en_us/p/bags/versatile-bags/the-waverly-petite-slate-grey-perf-brushed-metallic

#3 Travel Accessory: Another Stella and Dot winner in my book is the Pave Triangle Ear Jacket that can be worn 6 ways. Not that you really save all that much packing room with this, but you are almost guaranteed an earring for whatever occasion may present itself on your travels.

https://www.stelladot.com/shop/en_us/p/pave-triangle-ear-jacket-gold

#4 Travel Accessory: My last Stella and Dot plug~ I promise I am not a Stylist. Again, I like this necklace for its versatility. I also love that it eliminates the need to pack several necklaces that will inevitably get tangled.

https://www.stelladot.com/shop/en_us/p/jewelry/necklaces/necklaces-all/zoe-lariat-necklace-gold

#5 Travel Accessory: I also am loving some Matisse taupe booties that I purchased from Nordstrom Rack last year. I don’t have a link to them, but found these that will be next on my list of footwear to purchase. If you have a favorite bootie that is also comfortable, you really can’t go wrong bringing them along. I’m a huge fan of one boot that can be worn with both dresses and jeans.

*Please note that I may be compensated through some of the above links.

 

 

Wandering in NYC

Wandering in NYC

I had never been to New York City in the springtime, so I decided to come along for a long weekend with my husband. He had been there several years back for the US Open and I had been as a teenager for some shopping and all of the historic sites, so we were really just up for wandering. Some random wandering. And some wandering with a purpose… Mostly, pure randomness, though, because that is what we do best…

Wandering in NYC

Central Park- It is the place to be on a Sunday afternoon. Absolutely Gorgeous. There are so many blooms, and it just feels romantic to be walking around the famous park in the springtime.

Wandering in NYC

Finding Neverland- Next, wander over the the Red Staircase and purchase some tickets to Finding Neverland. I can’t say enough good things about this performance. My husband was such a good sport as I obsessed over the Red Staircase and going to a show. I could tell it really wasn’t his thing, but he came along anyway. And loved it! Thank you, Finding Neverland, for making my husband into a Broadway fan. The theater is quaint and any seat is a good seat. The tickets were reasonable. The story was amazing (basically, about how the story of Peter Pan came to be). There may have even been some Cheers jokes thrown in (Kelsey Grammar was one of the main actors when we saw it), which boded well with us.

Wandering in NYC

NYU- If you have a chance to wander down to the campus of NYU, the town homes and architecture are beautiful. Washington Square was entertaining with street performers and people watching. If you are in the area, it is a nice place to grab a coffee to go and take in the scenery.

Wandering in NYC

Fig and Olive- And if you happen to be in the meatpacking district, this restaurant had a trendy but sophisticated vibe to it. The food, drink, and service were all top notch. We were feeling pretty with it. We later, of course, found out that the restaurant is a chain (why do we always find the chains?!). But, still, it obviously doesn’t feel like a chain and is worth the visit wherever you end up staying in the city.

Wandering in NYC

The Waldorf Astoria- Speaking of where you might stay, the Waldorf Astoria was a great location for us. It was an easy walk to 5th Avenue, Central Park, Broadway, and Times Square. We were treated very well. The brunch in the morning is well worth the cost. Who knew I actually do love eggs benedict?

Wandering in NYC

St. Patrick’s Cathedral- Being my father’s daughter, we really couldn’t do a trip without any historic destinations, so we stopped in at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We were in NYC during Easter weekend (yes, we are the good parents who leave their children on a holiday weekend) and just walking through St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the Good Friday service was a moving and spiritual experience.

Wandering in NYC

Last one, I promise! While you are in the area, you might as well wander over to Rockefeller Plaza to watch some ice skating (depending on the season), check out the flags, or (again) just people watch. It feels especially magical at night with all of the lights.

And that was our wander-ful (sometime, I just can’t help myself) weekend in NYC.

Wandering in NYC

SaveSave

A Few Hours in Saugatuck

Autumn in Saugatuck

There are seriously so many cute stores in downtown Saugatuck, Michigan, that it was difficult to make a short-list (because, of course, I have a list). Nonetheless, here are my suggestions if you only have a  few hours. Autumn is the perfect time to go for a stroll in this cute and artsy village.  It is considerably easier to find a parking spot and, well, the picture above demonstrates the pure beauty of it all. One word to the wise, Saugatuck truly is on its own time, so just because a store opens at 10am one day, doesn’t necessarily mean it will open at 10am the next day (because some days, we all just need that extra cup of coffee).

Saugatuck Uncommon GroundsSpeaking of which, after parking, head to Uncommon Coffee Roasters, because no Saturday morning stroll is complete without that cup of coffee in hand. Also, if you brought the kids and decide to head to my next suggestion, you will need the caffeine.

Saugatuck Toy Store

The Teeny Tiny Toy Store is a must with children. As the name suggests, it is, well, tiny. Nonetheless, there are oh-so-many good toys in the store that you will likely finish your grande vanilla latte and your children will still be finding new toys that they absolutely need.

Saugatuck Landsharks

And then, to make your husband happy, you could head across the street to Landsharks to get geared up for sporting events, ski trips, Michigan souvenir shirts (my favorite!), etc, etc.

Saugatuck Playground

Now, by this point, your children, okay fine, my children, will likely be bouncing off the walls (quite literally), so you can just walk a short block to the village park, deposit them there with your husband, and continue on your merry shopping way. Warning, there is a scary snake/worm at the entrance. While a little disconcerting at first, the snake/worm will grow on you and you will find yourself taking pictures of your children climbing it.

Saugatuck Brass AnchorThe Brass Anchor Co. is my new favorite shoppe in Saugatuck. The clothes are trendy yet classic, the mugs and framed prints make me giggle, the home decor is just my style, and I can easily find a gift for any host.

img_7139

Because you may just end up spending too much time at The Brass Anchor, you may just quickly want to pop into Wine Sellers of Saugatuck on your way back to the park to pick up a bottle or ten. There is quite a bit to choose from and also fun wine accessories. If you have more time, other wine options could include either the Tabor Hill or Fenn Valley wine tasting rooms.

Saugatuck PhilsFinally, after dragging your children from the playground, end your day at Phil’s. And get a burger. I do not typically order burgers when dining out, but I almost always order a burger from Phil’s because it is, in my opinion, by far the best burger in West Michigan. Oh, and if you become a regular, you may just get your name on the marque for your birthday or anniversary or graduation… You just never know.

 

Saugatuck is such a great village in winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Brace yourself for more Saugatuck posts because I’ve only scratched the surface and most definitely will have even more suggestions and unsolicited advice.

Michigan Blueberry Muffins

Michigan Blueberry Muffins

If you have lived in Michigan or visited Michigan or are thinking about traveling to Michigan, come in mid-to-late July and Early August. Not only is the weather typically gorgeous, but the blueberries are plentiful and divine. Rarely do blueberries make it into a pie or muffins or smoothie at our house… they are just that good. However, my son (also known as The Captain) and I needed an activity as well as a little snack to bring to a playdate, so we decided to make some muffins. We used Ina Garten’s recipe for Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins from her Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook as a jumping off point but then changed some things based on our tastes and, honestly, what we had in the house. (You can find her original recipe here.) Even my daughter (aka, The Princess) had one after school and said “just smell this!” To me, from my not-at-all-interested-in-baking-or-eating daughter, this was a HUGE compliment. So, here you have it folks, my travel-to-Michigan-in-late-summer-inspired plug. (If there is no way you can make it to Michigan for blueberry season (please, please try though!), I’m sure any blueberry will work just fine.)

What to Do: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tin with paper liners.

In a mixer, mix 12 tbsp of room-temperature butter with 1 1/2 cups of sugar for about 5 minutes. Mix in 3 eggs, 2 tsp of almond extract, 1/4 cup of milk, and 1 cup of Siggis vanilla yogurt. Then add 2 1/2 cups of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp of salt until just mixed. Add 2 cups of Michigan blueberries and gently (gently, gently) stir in the blueberries with a spatula. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. Using this recipe, we were able to make about 15 muffins.

Growing and Decorating with Jasmine

decorating-with-jasmine-2

 

Hello there!

Just a quick little back story. My mother-in-law has always had Jasmine plants in her home. She has grown all of her children a Jasmine plant for their homes. It is really quite beautiful and symbolic. She has grown each of our plants from her own.

Our Jasmine plant is healthy. Very healthy. It grows and grows and grows. I prune and prune and prune. And by “prune,” I mean, I randomly cut branches off of it so it doesn’t look so massive. It is a lot of work for my non-green thumb. It spends a lot of time outside in the summer where it can catch some rainfall and sun and adds to the greenery on our patio. I read that Jasmine is a good purifying plant, so I bought a ceramic pot at a local greenhouse and brought the plant inside as the weather became cooler. But where to put it?

Just another quick aside:  I want to like the look of plants inside so badly.  We live in a house built in the 1920s, so it can use a little purification every now and then. I also want to remember to water the plants and take good care of them. I don’t. As such, having house plants is super intimidating for me.

Anyway, I brought the plant in the house and strategically placed it in our living room in the back by our bookshelves but also where it could get some light from the door going out to the backyard. And basically ignored it.

Then, one night, I fell in love. I was sitting on the couch, typing away. Trying to make this blog a go. And it smelled like someone had lit a candle behind me. Or maybe even sprayed some exotic perfume. Except it wasn’t a candle or perfume. It was Mother Nature. It was my Jasmine plant. It was perfection. It transported me to somewhere tropical, relaxing in a garden filled with this sweet scent. Oh, the elusiveness of it all.

 

decorating-with-jasmine

If you are thinking about adding plants to your decor, these would be my inexpert-gardener-decorator tips:

  1. Choose a plant that requires little maintenance.
  2. Choose a plant that needs less light to give you more flexibility with where you are able to place it.
  3. If you are unsure about the look of house plants, stick the plant toward the outer edges of your room and maybe not even in full view.
  4. Place the plants strategically throughout your house. Don’t overcrowd just one room with plants.
  5. If you have pets, research whether or not the plants are poisonous to the animals.
  6. Choose a plant you will enjoy. I truly love my Jasmine plant and the sweet scent it releases when it blooms. It makes all the watering and cutting truly worth it.

Banff: Something for Everyone

 

Lake Louise

I have to admit, before last fall, I had no idea Banff even existed. I thought we would just go to check it off of our Places We’ve Been list. Little did I know, it quickly rose to the very top of my Favorite Places list (have I mentioned that I love a good list?) and we were already planning our Next Trip Back before we reached the airport. There truly is something for everyone in Banff. As I have mentioned, we will likely never qualify as outdoor adventurers. However, if you do meet the qualifications, there will plenty for you do in Banff. If, on the other hand, your resume does not include rock climbing or kayaking, you will have an equally amazing time. When we were there, age ranges in Banff included babies to 85-year old grandparents. I’ll say it  again… There is something for everyone in Banff. So what did we do? See below.

Mackinaw Road- BanffFairmont at Banff Springs: If you never left the hotel, you would still love Banff from the Fairmont. Who wouldn’t love staying in a castle with fabulous service, mineral pools, a spa, people walking the hallways in their white hotel robes, restaurants overlooking mountains and streams? There is a good amount of shopping and restaurants on the hotel grounds. Walk down a short trail to the Waldhaus to sit on the deck for a drink and appetizer.Get a savory Indian dinner while over looking the mountains at Indian Summer (which was a pop-up restaurant for the summer/early fall season), get (another) drink on the patio surrounded by pink and purple flowers with the mountains on 3 sides of you and the castle on the fourth. Mackinaw Road- BanffDowntown Banff: Should you decide that you would like to venture out (and you really should… even if you thought you would just read your book and catch up on some Fixer Upper and maybe get back some of that sleep you lost when you had insomniac infants in the house,you really, really should leave the hotel),  downtown Banff again has something for everyone. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, ranging from Greek to Irish to Chinese; fancier dining to breweries and coffee shops. There are plenty of tourist shops but also places where you could pick something up if you forgot it at home or if the weather took a sudden turn (e.g., Lululemon, Lole, Patagonia, North Face). We found maple syrup to bring home, as well as Rocky Mountain soaps, and hilariously adorable pajamas for the kids from Little Blue House by Hatley. We even picked up some Banff Starbuck’s mugs for those in our family who are collectors. Mackinaw Road- Banff
Road Trip-
Go to Lake Louise. Just do it. I can’t imagine you would regret it. Ever. Mackinaw Road- BanffIt was so breathtaking that my eyes welled up. And this was on a rainy, 45 degree day. You can rent a canoe and row to the middle of the lake, or simply take a walk on the trail by the lake. Or, if you are more adventurous, hike the trails into the woods by the lake. Or, just take a lot of pictures. So many pictures that you need to give your camera to the person you came with because you just can’t seem to stop clicking. It is easy to see why this could very well be the most photographed lake in the world. Finish up with lunch or a drink at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise on one end of the lake. (And, if you have enough energy and time, head to Lake Lorraine. It is at the top of my list for next time.) Mackinaw Road- Banff

Mackinaw Road- BanffHike- Again, just do it. You likely won’t regret it. You may not run up the mountain. You may ask the concierge for the trail on which you are least likely to see any wildlife and what to do should you see, say, a bear. You may not be an outdoor adventurer. And it may take you half a day to get up the mountain. But it is worth it. The views are stunning and just breathing in the mountain air and seeing nature (minus said wildlife) make every step worth it. Next time, we will be even more adventurous and hike up the mountain with the gondola going back down. Because, there will absolutely be a next time.

In the meantime, here are some random things to consider when planning your trip to Banff:

Incidentals-

  1. When we go back, we will try to shoot for early September/late August. When we were there in mid-September for 4 days, the temperature fluctuated between 40 degrees and 80 degrees.
  2. Bring running/hiking gear (and other outfits, of course). This is such an outdoor community that even if you don’t run/hike, you could still just wear your athletic wear around (you know, just in case inspiration strikes). You could even check into your hotel services regarding gear. At the Fairmont, they had a program with Reebok, and you could rent hiking clothes/shoes. You will likely also want to bring warmer athletic-ish jackets/fleeces, at least one with a hood. Maybe bring one nicer outfit like a knit dress or jeans and a nice top. And a sweater. Just because, in my opinion, you can never be too prepared for cold weather. (If you are going when the weather is warmer or if you plan to check out the hot springs or mineral pool, bring a swimsuit. Obviously.)
  3. If you are the kind of person who needs to know/be on top of things, you may want to review exchange rates, kilometer vs miles, and Celsius verser Fahrenheit.
  4. Rent a car with GPS built in. It made the trip from the airport and the day trip to Lake Louise so much easier.
  5. Research altitude sickness if you are coming from an almost-sea level departure city into Banff. 

Oh, Banff, I can’t wait to visit you again!

What to Do in Banff, Canada

*Please note that I may be compensated through the above links.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave