Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Day five of a road trip is a good time to stop and take a break. So today we are resting in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota {which has absolutely nothing to do with Detroit, as my eldest daughter keeps pointing out}.

Image from Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce Magazine

Image from Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce Magazine

At first glance this little town of 8,600 is another American tragedy, with strip malls and fast food restaurants to greet you as you exit the highway. Head down to the lake shore area, however, and a  wonderful little village of shops and restaurants opens up. Located just 40 minutes east of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes is in the heart of Minnesota’s famous “lake country”. There are some 400 lakes within 25 miles. Today, I care only about this one.

Driving with my dad and two daughters across the country has been more difficult than I thought it would be. The moment my father disciplined my youngest with a stern, “Because your mother said so!” and she replied with an equally stern, “I wasn’t speaking to you!”, I wanted to find the eject button in my car and fly myself someplace less stressful. You see, my youngest child and my dad are birds of a feather who definitely can’t flock together for too long. Both are strong willed and short tempered. I have been the little piggy in the middle more than once and I am not sure how much longer I can go on without a burst of tears to clear the air. Family road trips…don’t you just love them?


Sun Setting Over Detroit Lakes

As I sit here at the lake, watching the sun set, I’m trying to figure out if this family drive was a good idea or a bad one. Are we really only half-way through it? In this exact moment, this trip feels like a bad idea but, maybe {just maybe}, when time has sanded the edges off the harsh reality that is four people, three generations, two kids all in one SUV, I will be glad we had this time together. Thank goodness the car isn’t smaller.

I’m being called for S’mores on the beach. Gotta run. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Just one last question for the night…do you think there’s any chance those S’mores will come with a side of wine?

Related Articles:

Pairing Wine with S’Mores at Sunset.com, Wine and Good Food, and Real.Good.Wine.com

Semifreddo S’Mores Recipe at Food & Wine

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We travel a lot.  In fact, we’re in San Francisco now and have already left the sunny shores of Connecticut and the piney woods of Minnesota.  Because we’re on the go so much, I’ve gotten very cute (Irish slang for “smart”) about how and what to pack.  Friends have often said they “don’t know how I do it”, so, for the record, this is how.

The Luggage:

For starters, I usually take a large suitcase, a roller bag, and a carry-on tote for trips lasting more than a week (the children get one large suitcase shared between them and either a roller bag or backpack each for their personal items).  For shorter trips or weekends away, I can get by without the large suitcase.

The Clothes:

When it comes to clothes, I nearly always pack 1 pair of dressy jeans, 1 pair of black trousers, an easy-care dress that doesn’t wrinkle, 1 white shirt, 1 dressy tank top, 1 white t-shirt (long-sleeved in the winter and short-sleeved in the summer) and 1 black t-shirt, 1 long-sleeved jumper (Irish for “sweater”), 1 work-out outfit,  a nightgown for bedtime, underwear, sports socks, 1 pair of black kitten heels, 1 pair of leather runners (Irish for “tennis shoes” but in this case I actually mean something like a pair of “Keds”), a gold belt, a reversible black/brown belt, a pashmina, a small umbrella and a crushable hat (for either sun or rain protection). With these few items, I have seven complete outfits, clothes for exercising, and something to wear to bed.  The pashmina and the long-sleeved jumper change the look of my day and night outfits.

The Technique:

My packing technique is simple.  I put tissue paper between each folded item and place groups of things together inside a clear plastic garment bag (like you get from the dry cleaner) to prevent the clothes from wrinkling.

Resealable plastic bags are an absolute necessity.  The cords for all my electronics (mobile phone, laptop, camera, video camera) are packed in them, as is my makeup and toiletries.  Speaking of makeup and toiletries, because I don’t usually like hotel soaps, shampoos and conditioners, I always ask for or buy travel size bottles of the products I like and keep them especially for trips. Aveda has great travel-size products which smell wonderful. And, for my Irish friends, if you’re visiting America check out Target or the local chemist and you’ll usually a good selection of travel-size products to stock up on for future holidays.

The Accessories:

Other items that typically make it into my bags include a dual voltage hair dryer (unless I know the hotel or hostess we are visiting has one we may use), curling iron, pocket-size hair brush, sun glasses, jewelry (leaving the big or really good pieces at home), small purse in black or brown for day and nighttime use, and a small zippered bag for any unexpected purchases.

Surprisingly, everything mentioned fits neatly, albeit tightly, into my roller bag and carry-on tote and leaves me with just enough room for a magazine or book and a bottle of water (an absolute must for long haul flights).  And, one last packing tip, buy a carry-on tote that slips over the handle of your roller bag – your shoulders will thank you.  Bon voyage!

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