When I think of summer vacation in the Midwest, I think of our vacation in Pure Michigan, in a little house on an island, with nothing but family, books, zero tv, wifi and utter relaxation. And in T minus 14 days we are headed out for our 4th annual trip to an island nestled smack dab in the middle of Diamond Lake in a small country town called Cassopolis, Michigan. #MyHappyPlace Oh how I love this vacation. For one week we get back to the basics with home cooked everything, only the food and drink we load in the car, fishing poles and bags packed with barely anything and I promise this year will be no different from the last. We are never ready to leave.
Here are a list of my favorite things to do when on my Midwest summer vacation.
Homemade Breads and Treats: I’m going to let you in a little secret. My mom in law, Jan, is an INCREDIBLE baker and every summer her treats are perfectly homemade, consisting of zero transfats (I know this because she always tells us) and they never disappoint. Historically, Jan has produced a quick bread or cake with zucchini from the garden and she knows now having me as a daughter, it better have chocolate. I am excited to see what Betty Crocker prepares for this summer’s holiday. It is part of the fun and always part of breakfast at the lake.
Limeade: No! Not Lemonade! This is better. Why? Because when you mix lime juice with water and sugar you get this zesty and totally refreshing summer beverage. And nothing hits the spot like an ice cold limeade after a jaunt around the island on the paddle board. I guess that brings me to my next most favorite thing to do when I am on summer vacation.
Paddle Boarding: I love this sport! I paddle boarded for the first time a couple of summers ago, and it is by far my favorite way to get some exercise while being in the element living the lake life. Paddle boarding is a full body work out with a zen approach. It challenges your balance, core and upper body and if you haven’t given this a whirl, you must add paddle boarding to your bucket list. If you live in or near the Windy City, why not experience the skyline from a paddle board perspective?
Dangling The Worm: I enjoy fishing mostly because my little guy is in hog heaven every time he gets to cast his line. He has pulled his tackle box out a half of a dozen times to take inventory and re-organize his lures and I know the moment we arrive he will be on the end of that pier doing his thing. I am amazed at how he rarely seems to be able to sit still yet when he puts his fishing hat on, he is calm, at peace and determined to reel one in.
American Legion Hall: On the island there are approximately 40 houses and one very important spot. It is the American Legion Hall and one time weekly the island comes together for a communal meal provided by various people on Diamond Island. I love this meal on our trip. Every year a casserole is passed with a simple salad and dessert. It brings the island together and when you live on an island, community is everything.
Eating Summer’s Bounty: In my opinion the most important part of vacation are the meals and our lake meals are no exception. Breakfast every day is the egg of the morning, bacon, toast, grandpa and his cut up grapefruit and oranges and whatever else we feel like putting on the table. Lunch is salads and sandwiches and standard midday fare, but dinner is where my mouth waters just thinking about it. The dinner menu usually consists of this ridiculous grilled salmon, a pre-made casserole or pasta and lamb burgers, but it is what accompanies these meals that makes my heart skip a beat. Jan packs up the car and the garden and we live off of summer’s bounty for the week. Usually a box of tomatoes, a couple of zucchini and lettuce, kale and something new this year, arugula. My favorite.
Reading, Reading and More Reading: Lake life screams book time and that is what I plan to do. Just like every other year. Whether I am nestled on the hammock over looking the lake or all snugged up under my quilt, late night, lamp lit reading long after the kids fall asleep I very much look forward to this aspect of vacation. Reading is by far my favorite pastime and I do not get to do it nearly enough.
Of course when you are perched on a hill overlooking a lake, the view is pretty amazing. I feel there are just a couple of things I have thought about doing while I have been there in the past, but since I am more confident in my practice, I plan on including them on my trip.
Pier Yoga: There is absolutely no reason why I can’t continue my practice and bring my yoga mat with me. A perfect way to start my morning would be in this order. Yoga on the pier. Coffee on the deck. Kids rising after both of those things have been implemented. Why can’t life be like that every day?
Meditating in Nature: Personally, my higher power is nature and all of the greatness it has to offer. What a better place to sit back and quiet the mind then, surrounded by the water and the sky. OMG!
We are so looking forward to our trip in a couple of weeks. For me it so symbolizes summer’s end. A battery recharge and brain reboot for all. Best part though…the very few amount of days that remain until school starts once we return. I’m sorry. It is just about time for that school bell to ring. But until then, we will bathe in the sun, enjoy laughs and most importantly, uninterrupted time with each other. What special things do you look most forward to on your summer vacation?
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