east vs. west

Not one but several people warned me that if I go West, I will never come back. I am sure this comes from my love for all things California but I am here to say, I went West and I did come back.

Did I love it? Yes! Was it beautiful? Yes! Is it the best coast? Not sure.

Don’t get me wrong… every place we visited, we imagined ourselves living there (Oak Bay, Victoria… I’m talking about you). So active. So green. So many mountains! They have it all and the people were really friendly. We had a great time but as much as I loved the West Coast, I still think there are some amazing things about living over here, next to the Atlantic. All of Canada is beautiful and I am certain, as long as I am near a coast, I will be happy.

Here are some pictures of the trip: 6 Days. 5 Ferries. 4 great runs. 3 awesome hikes. 2 countries. 1 wedding and 0 whale sightings…

Day 1: We flew in and out of Seattle mostly because airfare was muuuch cheaper and partly because we really wanted to see Seattle. It’s lovely – like a mini San Francisco or a big Halifax (although Halifax has a better waterfront (just saying)). Our flight left Halifax at 5:20 am (that’s 1:20 am Seattle time) so when we arrived at 10:30 am Seattle time it was feeling like 2:30 pm Halifax time. We were sleepy, not sleepless, but made the most of the 24 hours and took full advantage of their caffeine supply. We didn’t crash until 10:00 pm Seattle time (which felt like 2:00 am Halifax time)! dsc_0295Seattle has a monorail which takes you from the Space Needle to downtown. Totally touristy, totally worth the $2.50.img_6305We had lunch downtown in Westlake Park at The People’s Burger food truck – my portobello mushroom burger was amazing. We then walked down the Pike Street to Pike Place Market and found the Pike Street Starbucks and the original Starbucks. There was fish throwing and salt water taffy but I was most impressed with the price of flowers.img_6308img_6310dsc_0297img_6313img_6314img_6315img_6316After an afternoon downtown, I dragged Mike to University Village… which is in a kind of attached to the University of Washington but actually just a big outdoor mall full of really nice stores. The drive around the campus was beautiful and I was so excited to go to Oiselle. When I arrived, I was surprised to see Kate Grace was in the store doing a talk about her Olympic experience (she’s sponsored by Oiselle and I had cheered for both her and our Melissa Bishop in the 800m final). I happily listened to her but I’m not going to lie… I was more interested in trying on the running clothes! As soon as the autographs started, I weaved in and out and all around the fans, trying to decided how many tanks and shorts I was allowed to smuggle across the border! (“kidding” D.T.)img_6320Day 2: The next morning, fully on Seattle time, I went for a run around the city and then we left via ferry #1 (Bainbridge Island) North to Port Angeles. I am really glad we chose this route because it was a chance to see more of Washington – it’s a beautiful state. We arrived in Victoria at 7:20 pm – just in time for Mike to hook up with his friend. dsc_0305img_6328img_6332dsc_0306dsc_0307dsc_0309Before hopping on ferry #2 which took us across the border to Victoria, we spent some time in the Port Angeles area including Olympic National Park. Sorry, I forgot to photograph my fish taco.dsc_0315dsc_0316dsc_0320Hey Mike, stop so I can take your picture next to the tall trees…dsc_0321Hey Mike, pretend you’re excited! dsc_0322dsc_0324G’bye America, hello beautiful British Columbia – I can’t believe it has taken me this long to see you!img_6334Day 3: While Mike was recovering from the night out with his friend, I went for a beautiful run all around Victoria. It’s the best way to see a city because I was up before all the tourists (how else to you get pictures without people in your way?)… Victoria is unbelievable – there is a waterfront trail that wraps around the city that I ran along which was so fantastic – along the way I found MILE 0 of the Trans Canada and the Terry Fox memorial, and then a castle!?!img_6341img_6352img_6353img_6354img_6358We then spent a few hours roaming around the city and had lunch at Rebar. (I bought the cookbook and made the carrot cake but would love to test out some more recipes on friends). On our way out of the city, I took Mike on a drive of my morning running route so he could see all the beautiful highlights.dsc_0341dsc_0342dsc_0344img_6362That afternoon we drove up to Bear Mountain and hiked to the top of Mount Finlayson before having a lovely 10-year anniversary dinner. img_6365img_6370img_6371Day 4: Although Bear Mountain is meant for golfing, there are great trails and I took Mike on his first trail run the next day. Holy hills!img_6374img_6375img_6376After our run, we packed up and set off for ferry #3 – Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay. On our way, we stopped for lunch at this lovely coffee shop in Cobble Hill and ate a Nanaimo bar (and Nanaimo bar ice cream) while waiting to board the ferry in Nanaimo (as they say, when in Rome…).dsc_0375img_6382img_6384From Horseshoe Bay, we u-turned and got on ferry #4 to Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast. We went straight to a cottage for a rehearsal dinner. It was dark and stormy (but wine for me) and you could hear the ocean.

Day 5: Ironically, the only time we had rain was while on the Sunshine Coast however it was so beautiful! At the rehearsal dinner the night before, the brother of the bride offered to take me on a 17 km run. Even in the pouring rain, it was such a great route and we ended right in front of Molly’s Reach just in time for breakfast! (As a CBC Canadian kid who didn’t have cable until the age of 12, The Beachcombers is a big deal). The sun came out just in time for a lovely wedding!img_6387img_6392img_6393img_6396Hello sunshine! Hello Sunshine Coast!img_6399Day 6: After a wild wedding night and brunch, we jumped on ferry #5 back to Horseshoe Bay. Despite the shenanigans of last night, we managed to haul our butts up The Grouse Grind which was a fun way to sweat all of the tequila out of the system. The view from the top was totally worth it. Once we descended, via the skyline, we headed back to Seattle. Since we are coming back to B.C. in February, we drove straight through Vancouver (got a little sneak peek) and waited for the longest time ever at the border. Our flight was at 6:00 am the next morning. img_6406img_6407img_6408img_6411I know, I wrote beautiful eight times!!! Sorry, not sorry. The West Coast is stunning and I took way more photos of the ocean and mountains than I am showing here. I can not wait to go back and see more but until then, I will enjoy the East! dsc_0386

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the many magnificent miles of Chicago

When you start checking real estate online it’s a true sign you love a city… if only Chicago didn’t have winter.

As promised, here is a recap of our week in the windy city (and I will barely mention the marathon)! I did not take a ton of pictures with our Nikon but my iPhone came out a lot.

Wednesday: We arrived mid-afternoon and rode the blue line 29 stops to Austin station. We decided to stay in Oak Park, which is a 30 minute subway ride outside of the city, in an airbnb. It was a much more affordable option for 5 people X 7 nights and the place was great. My mom (who drove down and hiked Mount Washington!) greeted us with supper.

IMG_3615We’re off… never pack your running shoes when you fly to a race

Thursday: I had an 8 km run in the morning so I made a route on mapmyrun.com and marked off all of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes. I am a big fan and he has 8 homes on one street. (I also ran by Ernest Hemingway’s birth home because it was only a few blocks over.) We spent the day riding a hop-on hop-off bus around the city and had lunch at Navy Pier and at the end of the day we went way up to Skydeck on the top 103rd floor of the (Willis) Sears Tower. Mom and I left the boys at made our way to West Elm for a book signing by Young House Love. Fan girl. My mom was very confused to learn that some bloggers have actual fans. Ha!

IMG_3630Running tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Oak Park

IMG_3643 IMG_3634DSC_0457 IMG_3637 IMG_3661Riding around on the hop-on hop-off bus with a lunch stop at Navy Pier

IMG_3659 DSC_0461On top of the city – views from the Skydeck

IMG_3665As luck would have it … when I was at the front of the line, Nicole from Making It Lovely popped in to say hi to John at Sherry of Young House Love. Double score!

Friday: Mom and I went the race expo and the boys spent the whole day at the Shedd Aquarium, which they loved. That evening we went back to Oak Park for Friday night pizza (including the famous deep dish) at Giordano’s.

DSC_0469 Shedd AquariumIMG_3667 IMG_3674Agora: a group of 106 headless and armless iron sculptures at the south end of Grant Park + mom
IMG_3678Deep dish. Obviously

Saturday: We drove (I was trying to stay off my feet) to the Lincoln Park Zoo where we saw lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Plus giraffe, rhinos, monkeys, gorillas, zebras and kangaroos… etc. It was free and fun. Afterwards we made a pitstop in Wrigleyville to see the Wrigley Stadium and buy some souvenirs. Saturday night, we relaxed at home – mom made a lovely pasta dinner.

IMG_3703 IMG_3707Lincoln Park Zoo
IMG_3714Wrigley Field – Home of the Cubs

Sunday: Marathon (see here). As soon as the race was over we walked to Cloud Gate. Apparently everyone else who ran the marathon had the same great idea. Because the Art Institute of Chicago was next door, we decided to spend the afternoon there… what’s a few more steps? I changed and cleaned up in the bathroom and shuffled around the museum. Totally worth it.

IMG_3734Cloud Gate
IMG_5479DSC_0450The Art Institute of Chicago

Monday: We headed into town early for a 10:30 am Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. This was my favourite part of the trip (besides the run) – the buildings and urban planning in Chicago are out of this world and I loved every bit of information she threw at us. I also loved sipping my mimosa on the deck of the First Lady. Afterwards we went to the Field Museum of Natural History.

DSC_0510 IMG_3759DSC_0509 DSC_0511 DSC_0512 DSC_0513 DSC_0514 DSC_0515 IMG_3742 IMG_3743 IMG_3750 IMG_3760The Chicago Architecture Fundation River Cruise on the First Lady

IMG_3762Rodents of Unusual Size (ROUS!!!) at the Field Museum
IMG_3763Field Museum of Natural History

Tuesday: We went to the Museum of Science and Industry. This is a must do if you are in Chicago! They have the legit German U-505 Submarine that you can tour plus many other fun things to do and see. Afterwards went finished the vacation off at a sports bar eating burgers and beer and watching the Cubs win.

IMG_3765 IMG_3767 IMG_3768 IMG_3769

Wednesday: My parent left in the car and headed towards my sister’s house in New York state and we made our way to the Airport.

As I’ve said many times, there hasn’t been a city in the states I haven’t loved and Chicago kept true to my word. We spent most of our time in museums but the neighbourhoods were lovely (I ran through 29 of them) and was overwhelmed throughout the whole week by how friendly the people were and how much they respect their city!

I may be an east coaster who thinks she’s a California girl but Chicago got to me.

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chi town

I’m at the point in marathon training where I need to spend less time thinking about the training and more time actually training… The long runs are creeping in and it’s starting to get serious.

I am so excited for this race… It’s the CHICAGO MARATHON!

giphy

A (hopefully) sub-4-hour sightseeing tour of the city should give me a nice peak at what Chicago has to offer but my list of other things to see and do is growing.

14 CM Course Map

We are arriving on the Thursday before the race and staying until the following Wednesday – David is coming, which means less nightlife and more chicken-finger-friendly establishments but I think it will be an awesome adventure for all of us – including my parent’s too! With the race on Sunday, I plan to squeeze in most of the sightseeing afterwards to avoid fatigue and blisters prior to the run, making for a lot of things to see in a small amount of time however, not to worry, planning is what I do best. The number one item on my list is the CAF River Cruise  so I already booked our tickets for the morning after the race – I think an architectural boat tour will be all my aching legs can handle. Other items on the list include:

Let me know if you have any recommendations – I have never been to the Windy City!

Chicago

A. Silver Bean necklace / B. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off / C. Catstudio Chicago Pillow / D. Ork Chicago Poster / E. Chicago Flag bowles / F. Chicago Cubs patch / G. Chitown Chicago T-Shirt / H. Chicago Skyline Socks / I. Chicago Blackhawks hat / J. Chicago Style Hotdogs / K. Deep dish pizza / L. Chicago Art Print by Rifle Paper Co. / M. Chicago Bulls Sunglasses / N. Chitown Chicago Beer Koozie / O. Garrett Popcorn / P. Chicago is Always a Good Idea Print

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