Cuyahoga Valley National Park Day 2 ~ Peninsula, Ohio

When we awoke on our second day in Ohio near Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a quick check of the weather forecast over the next few days showed us that we needed to attempt to cram as much as possible into Day 2 of our time in Ohio since Day 3 had lots of storms and rain predicted. Here’s a breakdown of our whirlwind time in Cuyahoga Valley National Park on Day 2 of our adventures.

We began our day driving to nearly the southern most portion of the park to hike the Beaver Marsh portion of the Towpath Trail. This started out as a gravel path, quickly turned to boardwalk, and then returned to more gravel further north on the trail. At the trailhead there was a nice description that shared the differences between otters and beavers.

This area of the trail was especially fun. There were lots of birds hanging around the marsh and when we reached an overlook section there was a giant snapping turtle hanging out in the water. From there we walked a little further north on the trail and once we had turned around to begin heading back to the parking lot, we saw an otter swimming out in the distance. It was pretty cool to see so much wildlife in just a mile stretch of trail.

From there we headed back north towards the middle of the park on the east side and explored the Ledges Trail. The parking area for this gives no indication that this is anything special. There’s a large park shelter, a huge open field, and a trail that runs along the perimeter of the field. BUT…take that trail further into the woods and you come across a whole new atmosphere! So many fun rock outcroppings. It doesn’t take long to reach the Ledges overlook. The overlook was fun, but more fun was the trail we took to reach the bottom of the Ledges as we could meander under the rocks!

From here we decided to head into the nearby town of Macedonia for lunch as they had several fast food options in the area. After we had enjoyed a nice lunch in the car of Chick-fil-a, it was time for our third stop in Cuyahoga Valley National Park: The Canal Exploration Center.

This area clearly is a nice visitor center/museum space in non-pandemic years, but for us, we were simply able to explore the grounds of the area. Even without the museum area being open, I highly recommend stopping into this area as they have a detailed explanation of how the locks along the canal work. It’s the one lock that is still considered functional in the area. They also had a nice display about the mules that worked along the towpath.

From there it was time to venture outside of the park as we had one more important stop in the area we didn’t want to miss out on: Lake Erie. But that’s a tale for another post!

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Rhode Island Bucket List ~ Black Stone Valley Region

New state day for our bucket list series! Today we head into Rhode Island. Despite it being the smallest state, it still boasts seven travel regions, in large part due to the various islands off it’s coast. Today we start by exploring the Black Stone Valley.


  • White Mill Park: This park sits on the former site of two old mills.


  • Nine Men’s Misery Monument: Oldest veteran monument in the United States, this honors the loss of life of nine colonists during King Phillip’s War.
  • William Blackstone Monument: Marks the grave of the first white settler to settle in Rhode Island.


  • Blackstone River State Park: Park sits along the river and old historic canal.
  • Captain Wilbur Kelly House: Located along the old canal, this is the place to learn about all things with canal transportation.


  • Slater Mill: Historic textile mill located along the river.


  • Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge: Hike trails through the woodlands and rock formations.


  • Blackstone River Valley National Historic Site: Explore the sites where the American Industrial Revolution began.
  • Museum of Work and Culture: Focuses on the history of the textile industry in the area.
  • River Island Park: Local park with walking path.

All attractions found on

Fishers Cafe and Pub ~ Peninsula, Ohio

As I mentioned in the post about our first day in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, various town’s are located within the park grounds. One of the most popular towns in Peninsula, so it’s no surprise we dined twice in the town during our stay! Our first night there, we enjoyed a light dinner of appetizers at Fishers Cafe and Pub. You’ll have to excuse the fact that I have no photos to share of our time there, as I posted to Instagram and then promptly deleted them and can’t seem to get them downloaded again from Instagram. So if you want photos, go check out the post for sitesandbites on that app!

Fishers had both indoor and outdoor seating, but we opted for indoor as it was quite warm that day! Even though their booths are close together, they have placed partitions between them to help with pandemic comfort/restrictions. It was fairly early for dinner when stopped in, so we nearly had the entire dining room to ourselves.

We each ordered an appetizer as our “meal.” I went for their boneless wings coated in Spicy Garlic sauce. They have a ton of choices for sauces or dry rubs so you should be able to find something for all tastes! Andrew ordered the Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese Bites, which were deep fried and filled with gooey mac and cheese. The mac and cheese was also much more homemade than other mac and cheese bites we’ve had in the past.

After our dinner, we drove up near the Peninsula Train Station and parked in a nearby lot so we could walk more of the Towpath Trail. This part of the trail was much prettier than the section near the Boston Mills Visitor Center and had a nice display on the old locks and how they worked. The trail was very wooded and we also walked further south to another lock which is part of Deep Lock Quarry Metropark. More details were near that one that explained about that “deepest” lock on the canal.

On our way back to the parking lot, we also got to watch a class of kayakers learning how to navigate this rapidly moving part of the river. I can’t say that I would have wanted to be in there with them!

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Massachusetts Bucket List ~ Cape Cod and The Islands Region

Finally we are reaching the end of the Massachusetts Bucket List series. Now that we’ve been traveling again, I’ve been mixing in travel journal logs with our bucket list options, so it takes me a bit longer to get these all up and written! Later this week, we will begin to explore our next bucket list state: Rhode Island.


  • Gay Head Lighthouse: Iconic lighthouse located on Martha’s Vineyard.


  • Nickerson State Park: Fun area with wooded trails around ponds.


  • Chatham Light: Coast guard lighthouse.
  • Monomoy Lighthouse: Take a ferry to visit this lighthouse.
  • Stage Harbor Light: Cape Cod’s youngest lighthouse.


  • Mayflower Beach: Considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches on Cape Cod.


  • Cape Cod National Seashore: Encompasses woods, lake, and beachfront along the Atlantic.
  • Coast Guard Beach: Beautiful beach area along the national seashore.
  • Nauset Light: Restored lighthouse along the seashore.
  • Three Sisters Lights: Trio of lighthouses along the National Seashore.


  • Cape Poge Light: Located on the northeast tip of an island that is part of Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Edgartown Lighthouse: Located on the shores of Martha’s Vineyard.
  • South Beach State Park: Dog friendly beach on the cape.


  • Bird Island Light: Historic lighthouse at the entrance of the bay.
  • Buzzard’s Bay Entrance Light: Light located in open water to mark the entrance of the bay.
  • Katherine Lee Bates Birthplace Museum: Homestead of the author of “America the Beautiful.”
  • Wings Neck Lighthouse: Historic lighthouse along the Cape Cod Canal.


  • John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum: Journey through the life of JFK and his family.


  • Mashpee Wampanoag Museum: Historic Museum on the grounds of the Wampanoag Tribe.
  • Old Indian Meeting House: Oldest Native American church on the east coast.


  • Brant Point Lighthouse: Stunning lighthouse on Nantucket Island.
  • Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum: Museum dedicated to the shipwrecks that occurred off Nantucket Sound.
  • Nantucket Whaling Museum: Explore the history of whaling in the area.
  • Sankaty Head Light: Still operational light, was one of the first in the nation to receive a Fresnel lens.

North Truro

  • Highland Lighthouse: Oldest and tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod.

Oak Bluffs

  • East Chop Lighthouse: Overlooks Vineyard Sound.


  • Long Point Lighthouse: Historic lighthouse at the northeast tip of Long Point.
  • Pilgrim Monument: Commemorates the first landfall of the Pilgrims.
  • Race Point Lighthouse: Historic lighthouse on Cape Cod.
  • Wood End Light: Active lighthouse located along the dunes.

South Yarmouth

  • Point Gammon Lighthouse: This old lighthouse was converted into a bird watching tower in the 19th century.

Vineyard Haven

  • West Chop Lighthouse: Full light station located along the harbor of Vineyard Haven.


  • Marconi Beach: This beach is part of Cape Cod National Seashore.

Woods Hole

  • NOAA Fisheries Science Aquarium: This small science aquarium features several touch tanks to explore animals native to the Atlantic seashore.
  • Nobska Lighthouse: Restored lighthouse on the southwest tip of Cape Cod.

All attractions found on

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Day 1 ~ Cleveland Area, Ohio

On our latest trip, our large “destination” to visit was Cuyahoga Valley National Park located just south of Cleveland. The park itself is very urban and protects the Cuyahoga River, famous for being so polluted back in the day, that it caught fire! Due to the “urban” nature of the park, you drive through many small towns as you cruise the main park road. It also means you can see most of the park in 1-2 days, but plan to spend more time as there are several other city and metropark areas that are adjacent to the park that are super fun to explore as well! Here’s everything we saw in the park on our first day there!

Like all good visitors, we of course started our journey at the Boston Mills visitor center just after noon the day we arrived. You can access the inside portion that has a few exhibits and store, but that first day, we took advantage of their outdoor ranger set up, collected a map, stamped our passport, and sat down to decide what to tackle that first afternoon.

One of the main things the park is known for is sitting along the historic Ohio-Erie Canal. The towpath of the old canal has since been turned into a wonderful hiking/biking path along the river. You can easily access a portion of the towpath by crossing the bridge near the visitor center. We did just that a took a nice walk south on the path. Due to the urban nature of the park, this meant we walked as far as the interstate overpass above the path and then turned back towards the visitor center. It was hot that day and that portion of the trail was not overly scenic, so we figured we would explore another well visited spot of the park.

Our next spot to explore in the park that day was Brandywine Falls. This is an especially popular part of the park and sometimes parking fills up, but even when we arrived at 3pm, there were a handful of spots still open for us. This hike was gorgeous, but be prepared for lots of steps. The whole trail is a boardwalk type system, but lots and lots of stairs! You won’t be disappointed when you reach the viewing point of the falls though! They have both an upper and lower viewing point, but I think the lower was my favorite!

Due to spending the morning on the road and the high temperatures, we opted to head towards our hotel following our time at Brandywine Falls. We knew we had two more days in the area, so there was no rush to pack in everything the park had to offer! More details will follow over the coming days of everything else we explored!

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Super 8 Elkhart ~ Elkhart, Indiana

We spent one brief night in Elkhart, Indiana on our way to Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Cleveland, Ohio. My brain wasn’t thinking as straight when we arrived due to having to survive nearly two hours in Chicago traffic, so I failed to take any photos of our room so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

The Super 8 in Elkhart is located just off the tollway and south of the interstate. It’s a simple two story hotel like most Super 8’s are. The hotel did still have signs requesting all guests wear masks in public spaces, but given the front desk worker wasn’t even wearing one, I’m guessing this is more a suggestion at this point.

The front desk staff checked us in quickly and did give us a choice of what level we would like. We didn’t have a preference but wound up on the second floor very close to the steps leading up. I have no problem with being placed on the second level as most Super 8’s like this one, do not have elevators, so this allows able bodied people like ourselves to work with stairs and saves rooms on the main level for those who stairs might be more difficult.

There wasn’t much special about our room. It had two queen beds, your standard TV stand with TV, fridge and microwave, and a bathroom with the basic necessities. It wasn’t the best room we’ve ever stayed in but certainly wasn’t the worst either. It is showing its age with some loose shower hooks and the shower head was very low, even with me being short, I could tell it was low! But all in all nothing major to complain about!

Just across the street is a Starbucks, so we took advantage of enjoying breakfast there instead of at the hotel, but they were offering some kind of breakfast at the hotel that morning. Across the main drag there were also several other restaurants that were within easy walking distances and a few more to the north of the interstate. Other than that our hotel was surrounding by a lot of construction/industrial work buildings, making it seem not “as nice” as some hotel area we’ve stayed, but by no means did we ever feel unsafe.

It also was just a quick 10 minute drive south to hit the river and the main downtown area of Elkhart. We did spend some time down there walking around Island Park, which was a delight. If we had to stay in the area again, the price is right at this Super 8 to do so, but staying closer to the downtown area may be more enjoyable if they have anything to offer down that way for lodging.

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Massachusetts Bucket Lists ~ South of Boston

Heading south in Massachusetts today for our bucket list series!


  • Minots Ledge Light: Offshore lighthouse located near two towns.

East Taunton

  • Massasoit State Park: Features trails through woods and along cranberry bogs.

Fair Haven

  • Fort Phoenix Beach State Reservation: Old Revolutionary era fort located along the water.

Fall River

  • Borden Flats Lighthouse: Historic lighthouse located in the river.
  • Fall River Heritage State Park: Historic area of town that preserves a WWII battleship.


  • Boston Harbor Island State Park: Located south of Boston within Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.
  • Wompatuck State Park: Beautiful area to hike and camp away from the busy cities.
  • World’s End: Hike along this peninsula that serves as a conservation area.


  • Fort Revere: Historic site contains remains of two different fortifications.
  • Hull Lifesaving Museum: This historic museum shows how this service eventually joined with the Coast Guard.


  • Ned’s Point Light: Historic lighthouse named after a local farmer.

New Bedford

  • Butler Flats Light: Sparkplug lighthouse located in the outer harbor.
  • Fort Tabor: Old Civil War era fort.
  • Moby Dick Statue: Sculpture dedicated to that famous literary white whale.
  • New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center: Learn the history of commercialized fishing in the area.
  • New Bedford Whaling Museum: Focuses on the history and culture of whaling in the area.
  • New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park: Commemorates the whaling industry of the area in the 19th century.
  • Palmer’s Island Lighthouse: Lighthouse built of stone rubble.

North Dartmouth

  • Demarest Lloyd State Park: Park contains an ocean beach and marshlands.

North Easton

  • Borderland State Park: Park contains the famous Ames Mansion.


  • Brewster Gardens: Park has a path that runs along the brook.
  • Ellisville Harbor State Park: Explore the coastal beauty of the western shore of Cape Cod.
  • Mayflower Society House: Take a tour of this historic house and learn more about those who arrived on the Mayflower.
  • Pilgrim Hall Museum: Learn the history of the Pilgrims in the oldest public museum in the nation.
  • Pilgrim Memorial State Park: Waterfront park that is home to Plymouth Rock.
  • Plymouth Light: Historic light accessible from the town of Duxbury.


  • Scituate Light: Gorgeous historic lighthouse located along the shore.

All attractions found on

Island Park ~ Elkhart, Indiana

Last week we returned from a whirlwind roadtrip from South Dakota to Ohio and back again! Our first main pitstop along the way was in Elkhart, Indiana. We arrived in town by dinner time (at least for us given we had just made the switch from Central to Eastern time), checked into our hotel, and then decided we wanted to go somewhere for a decent walk after being in the car for countless hours that day. Chicago traffic especially wore us down!

After a quick scout on Google Maps, it seemed that Island Park would be a great place to get a nice little walk in. We actually parked in a small lot near the railroad tracks that appears to mainly be used for those fishing along the river. This allowed us to access the river walk and from there head over the bridge to Island Park.

As you can see from the photo above, bridge is the one way to access Island Park. Island park actually has three bridges into the park. One from the north, which didn’t seem to have a nearby parking lot, one from the south which could be accessed from the river walk via our small fishing lot, or you could park in the lot by a new fitness center, and one from the east near several banks and businesses, which I supposed you could park in later in the evening.

Once in Island Park, there’s a trail that winds around the islands perimeter. They also have a band shell, picnic area, small fountain, playground, and lots and lots of swing benches to sit on and enjoy the views!

These swing benches also exist along the River Walk, which is actually where we took our photo shown above!

The park was gorgeous and not very crowded which made it rather peaceful. We entered from the south bridge and exited on the east and then took the River Walk back to our car. It was fun to check out various portions of this park and the River Walk and was a great way to stretch our legs after the long drive, knowing we had a decent drive ahead of us the next day as well.

Elkhart seems like a lovely town, and maybe someday we will have to return to explore it further when we aren’t just “passing through.”

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Massachusetts Bucket List ~ Great Boston Region

Today’s Bucket List post is HUGE because it focuses on a major historic American city: Boston! Of course we hit the surrounding suburbs as well!


  • Boston African-American National Historic Site: Tells the story of African Americans in the 19th century pre-Civil War.
  • Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area: Explore lighthouses, coast line, and other parks in this protected area.
  • Boston Light: First lighthouse to be built in the United States.
  • Boston National Historical Park: Preserves 8 Revolutionary War sites, many of which are connected by the Freedom Trail.
  • Boston Public Garden: Visit America’s first public park.
  • Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum: Visit this floating museum for the history of this infamous event.
  • Edward M Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate: Brings the role of the US Senate to life.
  • Fenway Park: Famous stadium home to the Boston Red Sox.
  • Institute of Contemporary Art: Visit this modern art museum.
  • International Poster Gallery: Explore vintage posters from around the globe.
  • JFK Presidential Library and Museum: Explore the museum dedicated to the life and work of JFK.
  • Massachusetts State House: Visit the seat of Massachusetts’ state government.
  • Museum of African American History: New England’s largest African American museum.
  • New England Aquarium: One of the top visited attractions in the area, this aquarium has several touch tanks and also offers whale watching tours.
  • Old North Church: Church famous for “one if my land, two if by sea” signal.
  • Old State House: One of the oldest public buildings in the United States.
  • Paul Revere House: Home of the famous patriot.
  • The Swan Boats of Boston: Take a ride in the famous Boston Swan Boats.


  • Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site: Home of the founder of American landscape architecture.
  • JFK National Historic Site: Birthplace and childhood home of John F Kennedy.


  • Longfellow National Historic Site: Home of famed poet and also site of Washington’s headquarters.
  • MIT Museum: Science museum filled with lots of exhibits.
  • World’s Only Curious George Store: Store filled with everything Curious George.


  • Battle of Bunker Hill Museum: Details history of the American Revolution in the area.
  • USS Constitution: Explore the legacy of this ship.


  • Callahan State Park: Beautiful place to hike outside of Boston.
  • Garden in the Woods: Nice wooded botanic garden outside the city.


  • Gilette Stadium: Home to the New England Patriots football team.


  • American Heritage Museum: Museum of American military history.


  • Mass Audubon Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary: Popular place to view birds and otters.


  • Jackson Homestead and Museum: Served as a station on the Underground Railroad.


  • Adams National Historic Site: Preserves the home of John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
  • United States Navel Shipbuilding Museum: Explore battle ships and how they were built.


  • Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation: Museum dedicated to the history of the American Industrial Revolution.


  • Abigail Adams Birthplace: Birthplace of the wife of John Adams.

All attractions found on

Players Sports Bar & Grill ~ Dickinson, North Dakota

Visiting Players Sports Bar and Grill was an unplanned happy change! We were looking for a place to serve lunch on the 4th of July and figured many local places may be closed up. We tried to head on over to the local Buffalo Wild Wings, figuring that would be a safe choice, and instead found it closed! So off to Players we went!

Players was incredibly busy when we arrived despite it being a bit after the normal lunch hour (although they did have a Sunday brunch so that may have played into it!) The hostess was not exactly kind or helpful, so at first I was a bit put off by the restaurant, but given the late hour, we didn’t want to change our restaurant location yet again! I’m glad we opted to stay, because once we were seated it was all uphill from there!

Being a sports bar, they had both a bar seating area and a normal dining room. We got seated in the bar area seeing as how we were just two girls in our 30s and didn’t have a preference as to our dining space. This meant we had lots of TVs to view (have you ever watched sports coverage on the 4th? It’s pretty funny! Our options were dance team competition, corn hole tournament, and dog agility!)

They had an extensive drink list, but since it was early afternoon, we just opted for some flavored lemonades and soda. Our wait staff was incredibly friendly. We had two taking care of us as one was in her final steps of training, but both her and her trainer provided excellent service.

There were so many good sounding options on the menu, but it had been quite some time since I’d had a French Dip, so that was my choice. My friend went with their Hot Roast Beef.

This was by far the best French Dip I have ever eaten in my life! The meat was perfectly cut, super tender, and super juicy. Of course the Au jus on the side only intensified the juiciness. And the buttery flavor! My goodness it was the icing on top! I’m already making plans to return to eat this delicious dish again!

If you ever find yourself in the Dickinson area, don’t miss out on visiting Players. It was well worth the wait and our food came super fast once we had ordered! Plus the wait staff was so incredibly friendly and sociable!

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