Tag Archives: adventures

lake anita state park

oops, didn’t mean to not blog for 9 months. of course, a lot has happened since then! i ran that marathon i was talking about the last time i blogged (october)! we went to europe for christmas! i ran another marathon this spring! and a million other things big and small in between. lots of these events will warrant their own blog posts, but in the spirit of not getting even more behind, they’re going to be out of order. onward…

this past weekend marked our first camping trip of the year! we really intended to get in more camping this spring, before it got too warm, but marathon training, work travel, and vacations all got in the way (in a mostly good way). we had plans last friday night in des moines, so decided we’d make a little weekend of it and camp on saturday evening somewhere between des moines and omaha. lake anita state park is pretty conveniently located about halfway between des moines and omaha and is only a few miles off the interstate. we weren’t able to make a reservation online as holiday weekends require a 2-night minimum, but we had no trouble getting a walk-up, non-electric tent site upon arrival ($11, cash only, exact change).

after securing our spot, we dropped off a few items at our campsite and then headed to the other side of the lake for the “beach area.” we chose lake anita over a couple of other options because we wanted somewhere that had a beach/swimming area as we wanted to lounge in our ridiculous two-person floatie that we got last summer at lake manawa. there was indeed a beach/swimming area, however, it was much, much smaller than i anticipated and we felt absolutely ridiculous blowing up and using our floatie. (didn’t stop us, but we felt ridiculous). it is super shallow in the swimming area and frankly, the water was kind of gross, but the weather was perfect and we had cold beer, so, we adapted.

the rest of our evening was pretty low-key. since our camping plans were fairly last minute, and we weren’t 100% sure we’d get a spot, we opted not to bring our camp stove or any of our own food with us this time, so we headed into town and picked up a sandwich and a few snacks for dinner/dessert. once back at our campsite, we began our prayers to the camp gods that our neighbors (a family with three toddlers to one side, a group of 10+ twenty-somethings with motorcycles and lots of booze to the other side) would not totally ruin our experience. we went for a leisurely walk around the lakefront trail, (attempted to) set up our new eno couch, did some of the NYT crossword, and had whiskey and oreos (a decent smore’s stand in, tbh) around the campfire.

we slept decently and got up around 7 or so and decided to take a ~2 mile walk into town to check out the local cafe. we enjoyed a delicious breakfast and crappy diner coffee before making the walk back. on the way back, we discovered a nature trail that we thought might be a shortcut to the park — it wasn’t much of a shortcut, but it was much more scenic, and we even stopped for a little swinging session at the playground nearby.
we packed up pretty soon after we got back from breakfast, as some rain and storms were just starting to roll in. overall, we really enjoyed lake anita — it’s a very easy drive from omaha but still felt like a nice getaway. it’s a fairly no-frills park, but perfect if you’re just wanting to relax for a night or two, or if you have your own boat/kayak/canoe that you can haul there. at $11/night and no day-use/park fee, camping is especially affordable here. we’ll definitely be back another time!

camp: lake anita state park
eat: the weather vane cafe
gas/ice/wood/snacks: casey’s general store

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blatt + baseball.

last friday we scored some last minute tickets to the creighton / nebraska baseball game, so we went to blatt beer & table (their upper patio overlooks the stadium) for beers and pretzel bites beforehand. we had fantastic seats, 10 rows back behind home plate, the weather was perfect (after k lent me his sweatshirt) and creighton won! i’m so happy the weather is finally staying warmer and the days are getting longer…i’m definitely starting to smell summer (and humidity) in our midwest air.

what did you all do last weekend?

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a ride in the park.

b-cycle is a national bicycle rental program that lets you check out a bike for the day (or longer with a membership) from one of their “b-stations” and then return it at any of the stations around the city. b-cycle is starting to pop up in lots of cities around the country, including kansas city, des moines, denver, salt lake city, and of course, here in omaha. omaha’s b-cycle program consists of 35 bikes across 5 stations in the aksarben village / university of nebraska omaha neighborhood. we do own our own bikes, but we thought it would be fun to take these for a spin for the day last weekend.

it’s just $5 per bike for a 24-hour pass, which i think is a great deal compared to a lot of other bike rental programs i’ve seen, both here and other cities. the only catch is that you do have to check the bike back in each hour to avoid extra fees. i’m assuming they do this in case others want to check them out, as they can also be reserved online. i thought that checking the bikes in would be kind of annoying, but we did it twice and it actually wasn’t too much of a hassle. if you truly wanted to take a day-long bike ride across the city, this might not be the best option, but for casual riding with stops for frozen yogurt and iced coffee, they’re perfect.

the bikes themselves are quite nice. after you pay at the checkout station, it tells you which dock(s) to get your bike(s) from, and you just pull them right out. each bike has a relatively large basket on the front so you can store your wallet, phone, etc. while riding around. we had a great time trying them out and will definitely be doing it again. we love the aksarben area, but it’s a little far for us to bike to on our own bikes, so having this option is really nice. i hope that people will continue to use the program and that we’ll see it start expanding to other areas of town. if you live in omaha, a day with a b-cycle would make a great springtime family activity, and if not, check their website to see if they rent bikes in your town.

oh, and apparently it’s not possible for there to be a photo of me without my hair sticking up in some fashion. awesome.

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the roasterie kansas city.

last week while we were in kansas city before heading down to springfield for thanksgiving, we decided to pay a visit to the roasterie. we’ve come across several articles, etc. lately about kansas city’s amazing coffee community and culture, and the roasterie was a name that kept coming up. we figured we’d check it out while we were there, and it definitely did not disappoint.

first of all, it was huge. a lot of places that roast their own coffee seem to have separate facilities for that, but i loved how they added a cafe to their roasting facility so we could experience both at the same time. unfortunately, we arrived a little too late in the day to take one of their tours, but the roasting facility portion was just a short walk through the cafe and had big windows so we could see everything that was going on.

of course, the coffee was fantastic, too. we both ordered a single-origin espresso. it’s what we always order when we go to special coffee places like this because you just can’t get anything like that at starbuck’s or other chains. i would definitely rank it up there with the best coffee i’ve tasted, along with intelligentsia, but their customer service was what really set them apart. when we visited intelligentsia during our chicago trip this fall, the espresso was amazing, sure, but the baristas acted way too cool for school and barely said a word to us. at the roasterie, the barista who helped us was incredibly friendly. when we asked if they sold green coffee beans for home roasting, he went out of his way to figure out what the process would be and said they’d be happy to try it out. he even directed us to another coffee store down the street when we asked if they sold filters for our coffee pot which we’d left back in omaha.

overall, i was super impressed with the roasterie, and i can’t wait to go back the next time we visit kansas city, hopefully take the tour this time, and buy some more whole beans (or maybe even green coffee). we have several other kansas city coffee shops to check out still, and we’re definitely looking forward to next fall’s caffeine crawl (such a cool idea!)

[p.s. sorry for the photo overload on this post. we were trying out our new lens]

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navy pier.

(last chicago post, i promise). in the two times i’d been to chicago before this trip, i’d actually never made it to navy pier. we ended up kind of stumbling upon it during our first night there after taking the train to downtown and walking north alone the lake shore. i could easily have spent our entire weekend there, people-watching and enjoying the amazing breeze off the lake. there’s no open container laws on the pier, so we grabbed beer at a bar stand and walked all the way down the pier. we didn’t get a chance this time, but on our next trip, i definitely want to take a water taxi or a lake cruise. i was also a sucker for the american airlines-sponsored signs indicating the mileage to major world cities (shout-out to ruth + dave in shanghai!)
afterwards we headed to quay, a nearby restaurant. we’re usually kind of sticklers for checking out reviews on places before we try them, especially when out of town, but we were hungry and it was convenient, so we ventured in. i’m happy we did, because the food was amazing (try the peppadew peppers, mac & cheese, or the grilled asparagus).

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