Bittersweet at the Detroit Institute of Art

This weekend I was invited to a meet up at the Detroit Institute of Arts (you may remember it from this post) to view the Bittersweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate exhibit.

Can you think of anything more appealing?

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The exhibit is full of the most intricate and detailed tea and coffee pots and cups you’ve ever seen. Honestly, can you imagine having tea at a friends and she pull this out to pour you a strong cuppa?

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“From social revolutions that changed the way we drink our morning blends, to design revolutions that changed the objects that we drink from, step back in time to when gathering over a cup of your favorite hot beverage caused a stir that upended the world.

Bittersweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate is the first exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts to engage all five sense. In addition to seeing art, you can touch, hear, smell and even taste coffee- and tea-related beverages.”

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The worst part of the exhibit of realizing that it’s considered rude to drink spilled tea. Who knew?

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We were heard that this was a sensory exhibit, where you got to sample different coffee and tea but were a little disappointed when we made our way through the exhibit, looking at coffee pot after coffee pot and at the end were offered just 2 shots of coffee.

One an Aztec recipe and one a French – both had a number of spices in them which gave it a strong kick, sure to jumpstart your day.

 

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The exhibit was beautiful and while a little disappointing on the tasting end, it is worth a visit for this gem alone:

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No wonder she’s close mouth smiling (I use that term loosely).

While there, it’s a perfect excuse to wander around the museum.

It’s one of my favorite in the world. Every time I visit I notice something different and revisiting my favorites is like seeing an old friend.

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This is the first time I visited the courtyard since watching Frida and I may have geeked out a little.

No matter how you feel about Diego Rivera, there’s no denying how incredible his work is.

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Right now, there’s an incredible installation by New York street artist Caledonia Curry, known as Swoon.

It’s a 400 lb, 20 ft tall installation titled Thalassa located in the museum lobby.

It’s beautiful and haunting. You could stand there and stare at it for hours. The colors are vibrant and even when you look away, you find your gaze turning right back.

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I can’t think of a better way to spend a chilly Sunday than wandering around a museum.

A great way to remind yourself of all the beauty in the world.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

All thoughts that this winter was going to be warm and dry like last year has been firmly pushed out of my mind after this weekend.

Saturday evening brought snow flurries and just enough chill to make cozing up with a book and a blanket by the window the most perfect winter evening.

By Sunday, the picturesque snow turned into a giant inconvenience. Limited visibility, unplowed drives and slippery roads kept everyone inside.  photo 111DD488-3BAE-4C2A-9333-8AD7D6AD7572_zpswrh5syla.jpg

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Some of us were beyond thrilled.

If there was ever doubt in my mind of Lupin’s Husky heritage, the first time I saw him in the snow dissolved that.

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Playing in the snow and then eating a bowl of ice cream is his perfect day and he doesn’t take well to someone interrupting his playtime to take a photo.

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Remember when I posted about Michigan colors not so long ago? Well it seems those days are long behind us – goodbye colors and hello snow!

Christmas with the Fords

You know by now that when the holidays roll around, different baking flavors is one of my absolute favorite things. What’s my other favorite, you ask? Twinkle lights.

I don’t know what it is about little glimmering lights but I absolutely love them! The more the better. In my last apartment, I kept them up all year.

Lupin loves Christmas too because he gets even more walks than normal because I have to see every holiday decoration that my neighborhood has on display.

You can imagine my excitement then when I found out the Ford House (yes, those Fords) decorated the grounds and mansion for the season and opened the gates to the public.

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If you remember, last year I went to Zoo Lights. Every inch of the zoo was covered in lights, the paths were full to bursting with laughing children and music bared out of every speaker.

The Ford House (which you may remember from this post) was different. More subtle and elegant and less crowded.

Only select trees lining the path were decorated, making them pop even more against the pitch black background.

Fire pits were scattered here and there, mini trees were decorated by local schools hoping to win an art scholarship and classical christmas songs played softly over the speakers scattered throughout.

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All with the backdrop of the mansion decorated and positively glowing in the background.

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While the mansion is beautiful, I was completely besotted by security’s cottage. The perfect size home for one . . . and complete with Santa’s workshop.

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Even these Scrooges couldn’t resist getting in the spirit.

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Did I mention there was a movie room with enough room for all your friends.

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All nestled behind massive gates to keep nosy neighbors out.

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The chauffeur’s cottage wasn’t too shabby either . . .

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Not to mention there were some very famous VIP guests visiting . . .

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Have you been having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit this year? I can’t even believe we only have two more weekends until Christmas Eve!

Well, if you are like me, twinkle lights help. Most major cities do some sort of winter wonderland and, much like Paris, it’s always a good idea!

The Nutcracker, Detroit Opera House

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! That long weekend was much needed but it just makes Mondays even more brutal when they finally roll around!

I have plenty of photos from the holiday but I couldn’t wait to share my favorite part of the weekend. After 3 days of decorating and cooking in pajamas, yesterday, I threw on some real pants and heels, grabbed my ‘mini me’ and went to the Nutcracker.

I haven’t seen the Nutcracker or been to the Detroit Opera House since I was a little girl. So, when I saw that the Nutcracker would be at the Opera House for a few days after Thanksgiving, I feverishly jumped on the website and bought tickets.

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What was even more exciting, was the VIPs outside the theater.

I tried to play it cool. Casual. Like this happens every day.

It didn’t work. I was utterly starstruck.

At least I tried, right?

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I only have a few little iPhone pictures of the theater, I’ll be going back a few more times this year and will give you a tour then but I just had to show you the decorations.

No detail was left out. Garland encircling every balcony. A choir singing carols to welcome you. Massive Christmas trees throughout. Nutcrackers of all colors and sizes stationed throughout – from resting on the fireplace mantle to life sized for kids to take photos with.

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Baubles, ribbons and red velvet everywhere you look.

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Even the main chandelier had red and green lights.

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The show was unbelievable. The dancers make everything look so effortless and lead you through a complete story without saying a word.

The most incredible part is how half the cast is made up of children. They are absolutely bursting with talent!

If you’ve never seen the Nutcracker, the ballet tells to story of a young girl and her Nutcracker who turns into a prince on Christmas Eve and they travel together to his Land of Sweets.

The ballet based off the 1816 story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by ETA Hoffman and is set to a score composed by Tchaikovsky. The ballet premiered in 1892 and was not well received. It wasn’t until the New York City Ballet’s new production in 1954 that it became the success it is today.

If you have the chance to see the Nutcracker, you absolutely must. I can think of no better way to start the holiday season.

I’ll be sure to bring a camera to give you a proper tour of the Opera House when I return in a few months to listen to the Music of the Night . . .

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Michigan Colors

My lack of blogging as of late has been ridiculous to say the least.

It’s not from a lack of motivation, it’s purely because nothing really has been going on. After all my traveling last month, I’ve been taking the past few weeks to enjoy ‘Il bel far ninety’ – the beauty of doing nothing, which is not photogenic at all.

When the weekend comes or after 5 on a weekday, you will find me makeup free, pants off and hair in a Pebbles Flintstone not on top of my head, nose in a book and glass of wine in my hands.

It’s been great.

I have been feverishly working through my fall bucket list though and have been going for a lot of long fall walks with the pup and, let me tell you, Michigan has outperformed herself this year.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful fall.

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As more and more leaves fall off the tree, the more and more I wish fall would never leaf.

Autumn Hike – Stony Creek, MI

I love October. It’s my favorite month of the year.

It marks the start of fall, the best of the seasons, and the start of the holiday season.

I can’t believe today is the last day of the month – I feel like I’ve completely missed it what with all my traveling the past few weeks.

Friday marked the last day of my traveling and I never thought I’d be so happy to be home!

Now, I have until Thanksgiving to do all my favorite fall things and started right when I got home with good and proper fall tradition: a hike through bright, changing trees.

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Stony Creek is a park located about 45 minutes outside the city full of towering trees, streams and a large lake.

The perfect place to run, bike, kayak or spend some much needed quality time hiking with your wolf.

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The East coast is known for their bright colored fall trees.

In the Midwest we have richer colors – golds, evergreens and burgundies.

You’ll wake up one morning and open the window to a crisp breeze and a spectrum of rich colors right in your front yard.

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We hiked over crunching leaves, over bridges and along the lake for hours enjoying the warm day and crisp breeze.

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Mile after mile of tree lined trails makes you feel like you’re in the UP but with a much more convenient drive.

You might pass a runner here and a biker there but the sounds of cars and civilization and canceled out and replaced with the crunch of drying leaves and birds singing.

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The full trail is 6 miles around the lake. You may have to give each other pep talks to get through it.

Promises of warm apple cider and donuts may have been promised if we made it out.

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There’s nothing quite like a trail hike in the fall. The perfect way to start my fall bucket list, if you ask me!

I have 3 1/2 weeks to fit in all things fall (you best believe on the day after Thanksgiving, I’m in full Christmas mode), have any suggestions?

Yates Cider Mill, MI

My very first blog post about a year ago was about Yates Cider Mill.

A week after we moved from Chicago to Michigan, my family took me and the Wolf there for my birthday.

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It absolutely blows my mind that I’ve lived here for a year already! Where has the time gone!

It has been, simultaneously, the fastest and the longest year of my life.

Isn’t it funny when you look at anniversaries and milestones in your life and think about where you were at the start and think, if you only knew what the future is about to bring . . .

A little sentiment for you there – I just couldn’t believe it’s been so long already! I figured if I wrote it down, I would be forced to accept that it’s true.

Anyways, back to Yates. Being a Michigan girl through and through, when the air gets crisp and the leaves start changing the only thing I can think about is good cider mill donuts and, obviously, cider.

Yates has turned into my go to place in the fall due to their hiking trail along the river and through the forest that’s dog friendly.

You’ll know you’re getting close when the road turns country and there’s the smell of crisp apples and roasting corn in the air.

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Yates has a trail that winds around the river then through the woods (I couldn’t help myself). On a crisp fall, day there really is no better place to be.

You can escape the city with a walk under the colored trees with the sun filtering down, with the sound of the rushing river below you.

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The deeper you go the sounds of children laughing and excited sugar induced chatter are replaced with the crunch of leaves under your feet and birds singing in the trees.

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The face of pure happiness.

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Tell me, can you think of a better sight on an October weekend?

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Pretty soon, the sounds of civilization begin to  creep back on you and you’ll emerge from the trees into the heart of Yates where you can find anything autumnal your little heart desires.

Pumpkins, hay, stalks, roasted corn, fried donuts, cider, anything.

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The line into the mill is no joke.

Donut roll your eyes and walk away though.

Pluck up your patience and get in line.

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Then . . . it’s time.

Plus, cider mill calories don’t count so be sure you get a big bag of donuts and at least half a gallon of cider (each).

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This is perfection.

Forget the PSL, give me a cider mill donut any day. This, my friends, is fall.

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If you’re in Michigan, grab your own Wolf and be sure to check out Yates. If you’re out of state, find a local cider mill by you and be sure to stop by before it’s too late

One more sentimental moment before you go:

To those of you are have been here from the start, thanks for following along.

For those of you who are new, welcome aboard – we like food, travel and pups here. If you do too, I think we’ll get along just fine!

Christmas in September, Bronner’s

I just have a mini-post today. I’m out on the road, traveling for work (no place fun to share, unfortunately) so I thought I’d pop up just a few pictures from a quick day trip I did a few weekends ago.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I took a trip up to Frankenmuth recently.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that in Frankenmuth (a small, Bavarian-style town in Michigan) there is a store called Bronner’s and it is my own Heaven on Earth.

What’s Bronner’s you newbies may be asking. A Christmas store. No. Not just a Christmas store. It’s THE Christmas store.

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When it comes to Christmas, I could put Buddy the Elf to shame. I could be the Cheermeister of Whoville. I could melt the coldness from the Winter Warlock’s heart.

A store that celebrates that while covered in twinkle lights, ornaments of every shape and size and blasts Christmas music. It’s how I imagine sports fans feel come the Super Bowl.

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Every year I visit, I buy a big bag full of ornaments to the point where, in a few years, you will see no green on my Christmas tree. Just sparkles, bright colors and bells.

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What I didn’t mention last time I told you about Bronner’s, was that just down the road, is a big shopping center.

So big, a cowboy driven trolley will shuttle you between the different sections.

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Just don’t expect any extra car space on your drive home.

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If you want to read my full travel post on Frankenmuth and Broner’s, you can read it here.

Frankenmuth is a trip I try to take every year and I love it way too much to not make at least a tiny post about it.

Besides, who doesn’t like to be reminded by a Christmas fanatic that there are less than 100 days until Christmas?

Now, be honest with me. . .  is it too early to start decorating?

Wednesday Walk

The worst thing about summer is working. An obvious statement right?

Sitting under fluorescent lights, in a room where it’s permanently too hot or too cold, without a window in sight but knowing that just beyond that wall, the sun is shining bright and warm.

I’ve mentioned before that I think all cities look the best in the rain but, let’s be honest, they don’t look too shabby in the sun either.

Most summer days, the call of the sun is too tempting for me and I have to get out, even for a little bit. So today, I thought I’d take you with me today for a little walk (plus, you know I can never pass up an opportunity to take you around Detroit).

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Recognize this building?

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Isn’t it funny how a little sun can recharge you to tackle the rest of the day. Go for a walk, grab some coffee, put on Beyonce and then watch out world!

Mackinac Island, MI

I have been anxiously awaiting to share this post with you since the day I booked my hotel reservation.

Confession: I’ve never been to Mackinac Island (pronounced like ‘Mackinaw’). If you’re not from MI you’re probably thinking “so?”. If you are, you’re probably scandalized.

For those who don’t know, Mackinac Island is a gorgeous island nestled in the straights of Mackinac between the two peninsulas. Ask any Michigander and they’ve been there.

When I moved home, one of the goals I had was to travel more and the top of my regional travel list: Mackinac.

So when the day finally came to set off, I was ready.

There is only one way to get to the island: ferry.

Most people, calmly sit around waiting for it to show, thankful that there’s always that one person, fervently on the lookout too make sure the ferry doesn’t miss them by.

Did I mention the ferries (we took Shepler’s) are dog friendly?

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You can sit on the first level, enclosed with no fear of mist, severe wind or water splashing on you. Or you can sit on the top for the full effect.

Some of us were thrilled. Others, a little skeptical

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As was the theme of our trip, it was gray, cloudy and with mist so thick you couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of your face.

However, after what felt like a lifetime (a few minutes) the island slowly came into view.

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You pull into the dock, walk down the pier and through the entrance to the ferry yard and right onto Main Street which is lined with every type of shop you could ever want.

Clothing, coffee, ice cream, sweets, restaurants, books. You name it, it’s there.

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The coolest part of Mackinac?

There are no cars. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

No traffic. No loud noises. No worries crossing the street. No stop signs. No flashing traffic lights. No exhaust fumes. Nothing.

To get around, you can walk . . .

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Ride bikes. . .

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Or hop in a  horse and buggy.

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Mackinac is an island filled with history and arriving there feels like you’ve stepped back in time.

But what is Mackinac really known for (besides the lack of cars)?

Fudge.

There are countless fudge shops on Main Street and people tend to pick one and be fiercely loyal.

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You can sit and watch the fudge being made, cut and packaged by hand as you’re engulfed in the sweet, rich smell of chocolate.

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Even in the rain and gloom Main Street is gorgeous.

Whether you’re window shopping, actually shopping, people watching or doing what the Wolf and I do best – eating ice cream, you will feel relaxed, at ease and content.

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If you walk down through the end of Main Street to the left you’ll see the harbor, Fort Mackinac (founded during the American Revolution where actors recreate it’s history every day) and the cutest cottages and homes you’ve ever seen.

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I found my dream home. Honestly, what’s better than  mint house with a yellow door? (Nothing)

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If you exit Main Street on the other end you’ll come out on a boardwalk that leads you right to the edge of the water and around the island.

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The waves of the lake lapping agains the shore on your left and endless trees on your right. It’s the perfect place to wander.

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This is the face of pure, unadulterated bliss.

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If you decide to stray away from the lake and head inland, you’ll reach the Grand Hotel.

The immaculately manicured laws, historic front porch and the fact that it was the background for the Christopher Reeve’ Movie Somewhere in Time makes it the most visited spotson the island.

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If you want to get anywhere past this sign however, be prepared to pay.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s beautiful but I didn’t care enough to pay to approach it. The island itself is so incredible, I wanted to spend more time exploring that rather than a hotel.

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One of my top Mackinac tips for you.

No matter how tired you are, you must explore the island in the evening.

The sun goes down, lights come on and people migrate to their hotels.

It feels like the island is yours and yours alone. The waves are lapping on the shore, bugs are humming in the trees, you may pass a person here or there who will give you a friendly wave as you take in the quiet with the occasional sound of horse hooves clapping in the distance.

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Do you remember that scene in Midnight in Paris when Owen Wilson says he likes Paris best in the rain? Well, I agree and even more, I like most places better in the rain.

Mackinac was no exception.

However, the next morning when the sun came out, I wasn’t complaining.

The sun made the greens of the trees, the pinks and purples of the flowers and the pastel on the cottages pop and look like something straight out of a painting.

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All too soon, the sun hid itself again behind layers of clouds and we had to pack up and head back to the ferry.

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My whole life, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to new and beautiful places.

I’ve seen mountains, rivers, lakes and oceans and I have to tell you, Mackinac has to be one of my favorite places.

It’s like no place I’ve ever been. It’s beautiful and serene.

No one on the island (tourists and native alike) care about dressing up, putting on makeup or looking their best.

People walk around in jeans and t-shirts, no makeup, no frills or heels.

All their focus is on their loved ones, pets, family, whoever they came with. Time seems to stand still in the best way.

Plus, the island is one of the most dog friendly places I’ve ever been. Most restaurants have patios for you to eat out on with your furry friend, shop owners enthusiastically let you bring them in and everyone on the street is so excited to see them, they can’t help but smile.

Even Lupin, my little nervous nelly, loved it there. Despite the bikes and people, he strutted around happy as a clam. Although, I’m sure the ice cream helped with that.

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I’m already planning a trip back when I can stay more than 1 night on the island.

It’s one of those places, you can come back to over and over and still feel like you’re coming home.

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As you sail past the Mighty Mac and back to reality, you can’t help to whisper a “see you soon” rather than a “goodbye”.