Maggie Daley Park

Our little jelly belly turned eight months earlier this month. Crazy how time flies, right?! Besides hitting a new age, our little man sprouted his first two teeth, said da-da, and started to crawl. And all in just a week! These  developmental leaps were a sudden wake up call that his infant days are fleeting.

image

After this realization a rush of sentimentalism washed over me, prompting me to schedule some time off for a staycation with the boys. I wanted a handful of days where I could slow down, spend time with August and his dad, and soak up the season.

One of the highlights of our recent stint of hometown tourism was a visit to the new Maggie Daley park. Continue reading

Starved Rock Babymoon

Pierogi Picnic: Starved Rock Babymoon

Things have been really quiet on the Pierogi Picnic website as of late as we eagerly prepare for the arrival of our very first little bundle. Between battling all-day-sickness, doctors visits, and nesting, we’ve been quite the busy bees these last six months – which is exactly why it was high-time to get away and recharge. So this past weekend David and I embarked on a low-key babymoon.

Pierogi Picnic: Starved Rock BabymoonWhat’s a babymoon? It’s the latest trend in pregnancy, encouraging the parents-to-be to get away one final time as a twosome before the babe’s arrival. When planning our getaway we knew we wanted it to be as close to home as possible, while still allowing ourselves to be immersed in nature and the outdoors. And with it being October – camping was off the list – so the choice was easy: Starved Rock State Park.

Nestled between miles of farmland and the Illinois River, Starved Rock was the perfect place for us to get out for some fresh air while disconnecting from all the hub-bub of home. Less than a two hour drive from Chicago, this picturesque preserve was one of the nation’s first sanctioned national parks, adding a rich history to the already spectacular forests and cliffs of the region.

Pierogi Picnic: Starved Rock BabymoonWith the confetti like fall foliage, deep earthy smells, serene visage and winding trails, we were able to hike all our anxieties about the coming bebe away. Having the opportunity to slow down and reflect on this coming new chapter, all while surrounded by the gold and amber hues of the changing season, was the best possible way for us to celebrate and prepare for our little human.

So should you be in Chicago, and looking for a way to at once connect with nature and unwind, let me be the first to recommend Starved Rock and all its glory. You won’t be disappointed!

Pierogi Picnic: Starved Rock Babymoon

Artful Appalachia

North Carolina 2013

Needing a breath of fresh air and a temporary escape from city living – my hub and I embarked on a one week adventure to Appalachia.

Spending several days in the Pisgah National Forest in a beautifully renovated antique cabin at Brown Mountain Beach Resort, we enjoyed leisurely hikes, canoeing and fresh locally made foods. The couple who recently acquired the stretch of historical cabins imparted their  enthusiasm for all things green and homegrown. Not only is this treasure of a resort striving for true sustainability, both financially and ecologically, they’re also pet-friendly. Talk about hitting up the right demographic! David and I will be sure to swing through again in the future with our mini goblins in tow.

After a few days of R&R in the park, we embarked on a visit to Asheville, the self-proclaimed “foodtopia” of the East. With a penchant for the arts and slow processes, both with foods and products, this tiny city nestled in the smoky mountains was refreshingly low key. With live folk music pouring from the bars, an abundance of local handmade crafts, direct-from-farmer restaurants and a thriving arts scene, this town of 50,000 was a pleasant surprise. We enjoyed gallery hopping in the River Arts District and leisurely strolls between the many boutiques. A true gem with much more to be discovered – I foresee us swinging through Asheville again in the near future – to do some more in depth exploring.

Is there a close vacation destination near your home that offers sustainable and local foods? If so – share your suggestions for regional trips in the comments! We’d love to know where you go to escape!

North Carolina 2013 (6)

North Carolina Asheville (18)

DSCN0860 DSCN0921Curve Art Studios: Ceramic Designs Continue reading

A Day at the Market

Farmer’s Market season is in its full glory this time of year in Chicago – and I’m reaping the benefits! Supporting local farmers and food artisans is just the start. Market shoppers find the best quality produce while building relationships with the people who grow it. Forging this link between the food, the maker and the consumer creates a connection that’s been lost over the years with the advent of the one-stop shopping grocery store chains.

So if you’re looking for great food, people and a welcome atmosphere – find a farmer’s market near you. You’ll be glad you did!