Posted on Leave a comment

One Fine Day In Iowa City, Iowa: Featuring Guest Blogger Kylie Neuhaus

Iowa City, Iowa

Iowa City, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes and the famous ‘Kinnick Wave’ (where the whole football stadium turns around and waves at patients on the 12th floor of the Iowa City Children’s Hospital next door) and listed as one of a handful of cites in the world to be recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature! There are plenty of things to keep you busy during a visit!

Keeping with the football theme, any Hawkeye fan would love a stop at the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame and Museum!  It celebrates some of their greatest athletes and achievements.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the progression of the sports through the years and seeing how the uniforms have changed!

Iowa Athletic Museum

Some of them look so impractical for physical exercise!

For those that are interested in history, the Old Capitol Museum is located in Iowa’s first state capitol building that was in use in the mid 1800’s.  Some are the rooms are set up to look like how the did during this time!  The building is now part of the University of Iowa’s college campus.

Iowa City, Iowa

 

It wouldn’t be a city guide without the mention of food!  The Vue Rooftop Bar and Restaurant is on the top floor of the Hilton Garden Inn hotel.  It has loads of cool technology features (some behind the scenes) as well as an awesome outside seating area with views across the city and amazing food for very reasonable prices!

The Hamburg Inn is famous for being a stopping point for former presidents during their visits to Iowa City.  This cozy retro restaurant with a large menu pack with comfort food dishes, great prices and great ‘pie shakes’, hosts the ‘Coffee Bean Caucus’ during elections.  There are plans to open a 3rd ‘Hamburg Inn’ location in Iowa City and then potentially stretch as far away internationally as Asia!

Other places worth mentioning are ‘Scratch Cupcakes’ because who doesn’t love cake?! And Scratch Cupcakes do them brilliantly well! The Wig and Pen is a British themed pub and the Clinton Street Social Club is a cute hidden little ‘speakeasy’!  Iowa City has so many bars and restaurants to pick from, it’d be impossible to mention them all, I haven’t even touched on their live music scene!

Kylie blogs at Between England and Iowa. She resides in Dubuque, Iowa and has a passion for travel and adventure. Visit her blog and connect with her through social media, as she’s always traveling somewhere that will spark your interest.

Posted on Leave a comment

Here’s How To Do South Haven Along Michigan’s Sunset Coast

One of my favorite beach towns along Michigan’s Sunset Coast is South Haven. I love this town so much that we got married there, atop a bluff, with the sounds of Lake Michigan’s waves for accompaniment. But there’s more to do in South Haven than get married (whew!). It’s a quintessential Michigan beach town, with plenty of shopping, good eats, great coffee shops, the National Blueberry Festival, the Michigan Maritime Museum, and two wide, expansive, and clean sandy beaches.

South Haven revolves around the water, being right on Lake Michigan, and flanking both sides of the Black River. On the north side, you have the Michigan Maritime Museum and its tall ship, Friends Good Will, which goes out at sunset every night, as well as for other lake cruises. On the south side, there’s a boardwalk that goes from downtown to the beach, as well as shopping and restaurants.

Tall ship south haven at sunset. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast

 

Here’s how to do South Haven…

First: ice cream (of course!). Just west of the highway is Sherman’s Dairy Bar, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this summer. It will be difficult to choose a flavor, because there are so many great ones. Such hardship…now you’re fortified!

rooftop cows, shermans dairy, south haven. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast

Then head up the road to downtown, park, and explore – there are restaurants and shops galore. You can stock up on beach toys, Lake Michigan-themed clothes and gifts, fudge, wine, blueberry items at the blueberry store, and more.

beach shack snacks. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast

Once you’ve eaten and shopped to your heart’s content, head to either beach for some swimming and a gorgeous sunset. On both north and south beach, there are small snack shacks with restrooms to change in. They will close around 9-9:30pm in the summer, before sunset has finished. If you want to change back out of your swimsuit before you leave, be sure to do so while they are still open. If you still have energy after sunset, check out showtimes at the historic movie theater downtown.

Heading into downtown, on the way to the beach. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast
Heading into downtown South Haven

Hit the Beach(es)

North Beach:

This beach is longer than South Beach, and has a locals’ only vibe. There is a setup for volleyball, but most people swim, picnic, and hang out here. The water is slightly warmer than on South Beach. If you like to walk, this is the beach to do so. It’s very long, and the coastline curves pleasingly. Further north, there are two city beaches, about a block apart, and 4-5 blocks north of North Beach.

South Beach:

Most people go to South Beach, for several reasons. There’s the boardwalk from downtown, of course. You can fish from the pier, and swim in the lee of the pier – the sandbar is quite near to the shore. Your kids will love the play structure, and there are a few picnic tables and a roofed pavilion near the bathrooms. But perhaps the highlight of South Beach is the ability to walk the pier. The lighthouse at the end is a gathering point for people, boat, and wave watching. When the sun sets and the pier lights come on, make your way back to shore, along with the many boats coming in from a day on the big lake. If you’re an early morning person, there is yoga on the beach here.

south beach. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast
Pier & lighthouse at South Beach

 

Places to eat downtown include:

 

Clementine's, South Haven
Clementine’s
Idler Riverboat at Old Harbor Village. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast
Idler Riverboat at Old Harbor Village

Coffeeshops:

 

For more information about South Haven:

http://www.michiganmaritimemuseum.org/

http://www.southhaven.org/

https://www.instagram.com/visitsouthhaven/

 

Pin for later:

Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast

 

Jessie Voigts has a PhD in International Education, has lived and worked in Japan and London, and traveled around the world. She’s published six books about travel and intercultural learning, with more on the way. Jessie is constantly looking for ways to increase intercultural understanding, and is passionate sharing the world through her site, Wandering Educators. She founded and directs the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program, teaching teens all around the world. She is based in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Wandering Educators

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

A Typical Day in Clear Lake? Never!

Clear Lake sunset

 

Clear Lake sunset

By Jenny Doughty

As the water slowly laps around my feet, I feel the warmth of the sun above and hear the welcoming cries of the sea gulls. Overhead, wispy cotton candy clouds drift lazily in a brilliant blue sky.  I reflect on the day ahead and wonder what excitement awaits. Gazing down Main Street an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and boutiques await my exploration each offering something unique – delectable tastes, fabulous gifts, clothing, collectibles and more. The park beside me in the heart of town will soon awaken with the laughter of children as they climb to the top of the slide and swoosh down its length while a family sits nearby sharing a picnic lunch. A couple sits in quiet conversation on a nearby bench sharing smiles and meaningful looks. Tonight, as the sun goes down offering a brilliant back-drop to the band shell, music will fill the air while people gather to enjoy.

You Knew Me When

Behind me Clear Lake reminds me of all it has to offer with its great expanse and shimmering beauty. Folks begin gathering on the docks, fishing lines cast in hopes of catching “the big one”. Others launch their boats for deeper waters or the fun and excitement of tubing, skiing or sailing. Nearby, the Lady of the Lake excursion boat begins to hum, the spray of water glistening like diamonds as her paddlewheel turns while music and laughter fill the air. Someone walks their dog on the brick path winding along the waterfront while folks begin laying out their towels for the day’s swim and basking on the beach. Fun, food and relaxation seem to be the order of the day.

Paddlewheel

Strolling past downtown I wander towards the Central Gardens its beauty revealed in a rainbow of color, scents and textures beckoning I stroll along its path. Stopping by the local brewery I share a flavorful flight of hand-picked brews and my stomach reminds me it’s been ignored far too long. What will I enjoy today – steak, deli sandwiches, Italian fare, fish, BBQ, Mexican, broasted chicken, pizza, farm-to-fork creations or??? The options seem endless!

20150419_123449

Looking at the week ahead I marvel at all this community has to offer for no day is typical in this idyllic town! With all that it offers, my family and I can create an experience that’s as varied as each family member. We can explore, create, play, celebrate, laugh and enjoy; captured by the beauty and rhythm that is Clear Lake.

Connect with Jenny
Blog: My Thought’s Imaginings
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LootByLouise/
Twitter: @LootByLouise

Posted on Leave a comment

Food, Family, Friends & Good Times – Great Food Places in Clear Lake, Iowa

By Featured Blogger Mary Lovstad of Farm Girl Cookn’

One of my favorite Irish proverbs is “Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is.” We bond around food, whether it is around the family dinner table, a campfire, a potluck, an elegant restaurant or the local truck stop. Food brings us together; it not only nourishes the body, but the soul.

Part of planning a trip for me is finding those local spots that not only have great food, but give me the essence of the place that I am visiting. Clear Lake, Iowa is a charming, lake town that has just those kinds of places that can create warm memories and lots of laughs.

Lunch’n with the Ladies
Taking time to connect with your girlfriends or maybe a nice lunch with your daughter home from college is a special treat. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Starboard Market – A darling, little deli with scrumptious selections – really wonderful soups, sandwiches that you can build as you like or try their signature combinations, pasta and fruit salads and decedent desserts. This is the perfect place to sit with your bestie, laugh and savor the flavors. Come early or after the rush if you want a seat and time to chat!
  • Cabin Coffee – A local coffee shop, turned local chain, that not only has excellent coffee, but a nice assortment of breakfast and lunch options. I really appreciate the warm cabin appeal and sipping a light raspberry latte by the fire with my posse.
  • The Lady Bug Cafe – A grand place to gather, giggle and eat the daily special. Not only is it a café, but a greenhouse, bakery, wellness center and spa. The fork to table experience and sitting outside in the screened in rooms on a sunny day really is hard to beat.
  • Sevens by Rookies – On a cold winter day, a pub lunch experience, maybe fish and chips, or a sweet chili chicken wrap is just the ticket. Its inviting atmosphere fosters great conversation.
Fish and chips 7s (1)
Fish & chips at Rookie’s

Family Night Out
Finding something that everyone in the family agrees on can be a challenge and maybe even more so when you are away from home. Camping food is fun, but sometimes you just need someone else to do the work! Unlike my mom, who used to go into a restaurant and ask them to say they only had orange pop and hamburgers before she took our crew in – today’s families are used to choices. Here are a few that I’m sure will please:

Date Night
I don’t think there is anything more romantic than dinner with my handsome husband by the lake. My two favorite places in the summer are The Landing – On the Lake and The Tiki Bar. Both have great food and an enchanted summer setting. Sunset on the lake, a glass of wine with someone you love – magic! Winter visitors will find these nice choices for an evening out:

Favorites of the Locals

  • For dinner, I like the Anchor Inn.  They have a great menu and I do like the atmosphere.
  • The Landing in the summer, mostly because of the outdoor, lakeside deck atmosphere, as well as PM Park.
  • For lunch right now, I do like Seven’s many different types of sandwiches & Back yard Deli.
  • One of my favorites is Starboard Market.  Fun names for their signature sandwiches, great variety of salads, and scrumptious desserts (with zero calories, I’m sure).
  • My daughter and her friends like Shao Ting Guo.  She loves the egg-drop soup.
  • Cabin Coffee because it serves yummy coffee, great sandwiches, and soup.  I really love the atmosphere at Cabin Coffee.  Especially the area back by the fireplace.
  • I like Cancun for my Mexican fix. It’s not too expense and I always get full.  Free chips and salsa is always a bonus.
  • Azzolina’s Hole in Wall – Grinder on Garlic Bread….YUM!!

So whatever reason you find yourself in Clear Lake, I hope you find that the “Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is.” For links to the restaurants and their menus,visit the Clear Lake Convention & Visitor’s Bureau here.
Visit Mary’s blog: http://farmgirlcookn.com. Connect with her on Twitter: @farmgirlcookn