In Defense of the Weekend Getaway

Every year, two dear friends and I get together for a weekend getaway. We were lucky enough to live together when we all worked for the same organization in Indiana, and aim to recreate that sweet season for a few days each summer. These weekend trips are a tiny break from reality, a chance for the three of us to reconnect, to talk over coffee in the morning, and to laugh late into the night. For three girls from three different states, it’s pretty much magic.

Weekend

Last year, our trip was a true walk down memory lane. We got together in the town we used to live in–Winona Lake, Indiana. It’s a tiny, artsy town, full of cute houses, delicious restaurants, and adorable shops. Admittedly, we bring a host of fond memories and nostalgia to our trips to Winona Lake, but if you’re looking for a quaint and quiet weekend destination, look no further! It’s an easy drive from Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis, and is about halfway between Fort Wayne and South Bend.

When you visit, you need to get lunch at Cerulean (a bento box!) and then head back in the evening for their beer garden. Coffee and breakfast on the porch at Light Rail Cafe is a must. And make sure to take some time to wander the shops and check out the locally handcrafted goods.

Getaway

The guest house we rented (it’s just past the lilies in the photo above) was truly delightful. Our hosts were so kind and helpful. The shower was incredible, and the studio apartment was furnished with everything we needed for our weekend. We booked through airbnb.com, and would stay there again in a heartbeat. When we were locals, we lived in a 3 story duplex with a walk out basement and porches overlooking the park. While we would have loved to stay in our old house for the weekend, we couldn’t. Something about current owners or whatever. The guest house was truly the next best option, and happened to be even closer to the coffee shop than we used to live!

Winona Lake Getaway

Airbnb, if you’ve never heard of it, is this awesome site that allows you to search unique and interesting vacation rentals–rooms in people’s houses, cabins, apartments, flats, entire houses–and rent them for anywhere from a single night to several weeks. I love, love, love staying in vacation rentals, and often find the experience better than a hotel for a much lower price tag.

A bonus for you! If you use my referral link, you’ll get $40 off your first trip! Even if you don’t want to go to Winona Lake, check out the thousands of other rooms and houses available for rent on airbnb. You won’t regret it! Full disclosure: I’ll get a small travel credit on airbnb if you sign up through the link and take advantage of the killer discount.

I want to know: Where are you off to this summer? Where will you stay? In a house or cabin? A tent? A hotel? Do tell!

Gnocchi

Let’s talk about my roommate. She’s pretty great. She moved to Indiana in September, and I couldn’t be more happy about this fact. You see, we lived together before, back in the day when I lived down in Mississippi. Our apartment was ghetto-chic, and we loved it and each other dearly.

When we could rally all 4 of us together at home on the same night, we would cook dinner together. Our favorite: hamburgers. Not just any hamburgers, but hamburgers that were stuffed to the gills with all things wonderful: onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, happiness.

Cooked with love in our little tiny apartment’s little tiny kitchen on our little tiny pans. When you’re only cooking for one, who needs anything larger than an 8 inch skillet?

Lo and behold, 2 and a half years later, she shows up on my doorstep, here in Indiana, her car loaded with her belongings. There were a few more steps in there, but you don’t need the details. The bottom line is that I get to live with her, and she’s great, this cooking, rock climbing, baking, running, crazy roommate of mine.

Now, let’s talk about the dinner we made together last night. I’d say it turned out pretty well: Pan-Fried Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage. The recipe does a great job of explaining step by step, and I recommend it. It wasn’t that complicated, and was actually kind of fun!

You make a dough and chop it into bits (next time, we’re making them smaller! The 1 inch by 1 inch that the recipe recommends was a bit generous).

And then…pan fry! Butter and oil. Oh baby, oh baby. Make the glaze, top with Parmesan cheese, and serve. For what seemed like a really small amount of food, it fills a girl up!

I wanna know: What was your living situation like in college? Good memories and days you enjoy reliving, or not so much?

Winter is settling in

And it seems to be making itself quite at home. The snow fell in its lazy, graceful patterns, as only snow can do, and it hasn’t left us yet. We’re settled in until March or so. Secretly, I’m thrilled.

The only sadness is that I live in Indiana. Where we don’t often get snow in great quantities, and we don’t believe in hills. Never, ever, in all of my days, did I think either of those things would fall under the “con” category of a locale. But, they do. And I catch myself thinking such irrational thoughts as, “I could move further north again,” or, “I would love to live in the mountains, where my driveway is a mile long and my snowshoes are a necessity.”

But then I remind myself that I like the beach. And that beach time isn’t really conducive to either snow or mountain living. And thenΒ  my thoughts wander to moving back to MI, where there are hills and where the snow abounds. But also where the summers are beautiful and the great lakes are within a lazy, Sunday afternoon drive. But move back? What am I thinking? That is something I said that I would never. ever. do. Ever.

It’s the holidays that make me sentimental about the homeland. It happens every year. Without fail. There’s just something wonderful about being home. And seeing friends from the olden days. Snuggling on the couch to watch a movie. Mom cooking dinner. Almond paste in the cookies. Snowshoes. Skis. And country roads (take me home).