Thursday, November 10, 2011

Weekend Away

I have been looking forward to a weekend away with friends for quite some time. This is something I haven't done in... well, forever and it was greatly needed. It's not that life is too hard or anything, but when you work full time and have a kid it makes it so much harder to foster friendships and find time to get away.

The plan was forJoanna, Susannah and I to spend a weekend in Bayfield, WI to relax and have some fun. Joanna, Susannah and I all went to high school together a gazillion years ago. There have been a lot of in between years that we lost touch, but I am happy to say that in the past handful or so years we have made attempts to stay in touch even when our lives have taken different directions. These ladies were some of my closest peeps in high school and were always there for me when I went through hard times. I am happy to say that I know that they still have my back when needed. And they can still make me laugh like no other.

Our Friday got off to a late start which allowed me to spend some time with my hubby and child at a local indoor park. Jesse and Riley have gone there multiple times when I am at work so this was my first experience at Edinborough Park. We spent some time in the open gym, but then headed into the "Adventure Peak" area. Riley isn't big enough to climb through this area on her own so we headed into this monstrosity with her.

Yeah, that thing is huge (44 x 44 x 37 feet high to be exact). We crawled all over that place, squeezed through small areas, and even got lost. It was a lot of fun, but I definitely felt my age later when I started to ache all over.

Once Joanna finished working she headed over to my place to pick me up. She lives about 5 minutes away, but got a little lost and showed up about 45 minutes later. Gotta love ya, Joanna, but we might have to invest in a GPS system for you. Once she arrived we hopped in her car (I drove) and headed off to Duluth where Susannah lives.

From Susannah's we all headed off to Va Bene with Susannah's Boyfriend, Jim, for some dinner before making the last of the trek to Bayfield. Va Bene was a cozy little Italian restaurant that I would recommend checking out if you ever visit Duluth.

While we were waiting to be seated at Va Bene we realized we were running a little behind and thought it best to call the Brickyard Cottage's check in office (where we were staying in Bayfield). I explained to a charming gentleman named Robert that we anticipated being there by 9:30 and he assured me that they would be open until 10:00 pm. We determined that we would need to head out at 7:30 to make it there on time. However, that didn't work out as planned and we didn't leave until after 8:00. We crossed our fingers and hopped in the car. Hopefully, we would make it.

As we drove the clock ticked closer and closer to 10:00. We had no idea how close we were and none of our cell phones could get reception. At 9:36 we saw a sign that said Bayfield was 21 miles away. I wasn't sure we'd make it and just hoped that I would get cell phone reception soon to convince Robert to wait for us. At 9:52 I got a couple bars on my phone and called Robert immediately. Seriously such a nice guy. He assured us that he would wait. I hung up the phone and looked to my left... and we were there! Phew!

Robert proceeded to make us laugh and warm our hearts. I'm pretty sure he was in his 70's, but he didn't have a wedding ring on so I tried to convince Joanna that she should make her moves on him. I bet she left her number when I wasn't looking.

Once we settled in we proceeded to drink wine, talk, and laugh until about 12:30. That may be the latest I have actively chosen to stay up since having a child. Pretty exciting stuff.

The next morning we slept in, ate breakfast, and then did yoga. Joanna recently became a yoga instructor so we took full advantage of that. I've never actually gone to a class so I was especially excited. No surprise that she is an excellent instructor and I felt amazing afterwards.

Prepping for yoga

Susannah showing off her moves after we were done.

After yoga we headed into town to eat lunch, shop, and take pictures. We took a lot of pictures....

I think we sat at the wrong table at Maggie's restaurant.

Because it is off season in Bayfield there were a lot of stores closed, but there were also a lot more opportunities for us to roam around taking pictures that we might not have if a bunch of people were around.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure we weren't supposed to be going into random vehicles in this parking lot, but I also didn't see any real harm. You may not be able to see it that great in the pictures above, but Susannah and Joanna were embracing their roles as drivers of these vehicles. And I was laughing my butt off behind the camera.

Here we are utilizing the remote for my camera. And apparently practicing for our senior pictures.

Might as well practice some of those yoga moves.

Did you really expect us to walk past this boat and not take a picture in it?

Poor Captain Jack didn't have a chance with us.

More senior photo type pictures, but in a cool tree.

We could seriously pose with anything.

After a crazy few hours in town we decided to drive around to see what we might find and ended up at the Jerry Jay Jolly trail.

We walked for a bit until we realized it was getting dark and we only had my camera with us... and that it probably wouldn't help keep us alive if it got dark, and we got lost, and were attacked by deer. Deer can be scary, man.

We headed back to the cottage with exciting plans to make sushi thanks to Susannah. Susannah went to some sushi making classes so she guided Joanna and I in making various types of sushi.

A key step was to pat the sticky rice onto the nori. See my technique using the pads of my four fingers? Make sure to get the rice squished down before adding other food items.

Susannah also demonstrates the rice patting technique.

Joanna gets a little crazy while patting her rice.

And more patting of the rice. Apparently, no one took a picture while we were actually putting any of the other ingredients into the rolls.

Caterpillar Roll

Yes, that whole plate is mine! And it was fantastic.

After gorging on sushi we decided to share pictures and videos we had. Joanna brought her lap top so we were able to view some pictures from her previous vacations. A couple years ago she went to New York with her adult son and his then girlfriend. They decided to try to compliment 100 people and get pictures with them. This is so Joanna and I LOVE her for it. What a great idea. I will have to keep it in mind for a future vacation with Riley.

She also showed us some pictures when she and Susannah went camping with a group of people this summer. I don't know if it was the wine, the company, or both, but I haven't laughed that hard over silly stuff in a long time. Susannah also showed us some adorable videos of her kids rocking out. At the end of the weekend I wasn't sure if my abs hurt because of yoga or because I laughed so darn much.

The next day was departure day, but Susannah still had to show us how to belly dance. First I ate breakfast and then headed outside to take some pictures and check out the trail behind our cottage.

After my little stroll we put on our hip scarves and danced around the living room at Susannah's instruction. Belly dancing requires way more coordination than I expected, but was a ton of fun. I will have to practice my moves once home. That reminds me I need to add a few items to my 'to pick up' list: yoga mat, rice cooker, hip scarf...

Then... it was time to head back home. We made a quick stop right outside of town at, well... I'm not sure what to call this. Basically, it was a bunch of driftwood and junk piled up and each side of the road. Art perhaps?

Yeah, the sign in lower left corner it says "Imagine Getting More".

On the way home we stopped in Superior, Wi to eat burgers at Anchor Bar and Grill. Word is they have been voted the best burger in WI. I had the olive burger which was basically green olives mixed into a bunch of cream cheese on top of a burger. It was fantastic and only $4.25. You can't beat that.

We then dropped Susannah off at her house and drove back to the cities in time for me to see my daughter before she went to sleep. Riley was pretty excited to see me, but I think Jesse was extra relieved as Riley had a particularly fussy day.

Although we didn't have a ton of time in Bayfield and we never took the ferry over to Madeline Island it was still a weekend full of activities and good times. I can't wait to do this again, but won't wait nearly as long to do so. Thanks Joanna and Susannah!

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