Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Itasca Recap Part One

So as to not to have the world's longest and annoying blog post ever, I decided to split the trip recap into a couple of posts.  This is part one of our trip recap.  Tomorrow I'll be posting Thrift Style Thursday so the second trip recap will go up on Friday.  And then next week I'll be into a whole host of new topics and thoughts to share as I've just got so much up in my brain right now!

We took off for Itasca on a Monday.  I liked doing this, it gave me an entire weekend to pack and gather everything together we'd need and in the end it led to far less stress overall.  We had a loose goal of being out of the house by 9:30am and we were pretty darn close to that, so I'm proud of us! The drive is about three and a half hours long, so we wanted to make sure we had lots of time for any stopping.  Oliver did great on the drive though.  He started to get a little cranky for lunch a little sooner than we anticipated so we stopped a little earlier than planned for that, but then he took a nice nap after that! He pretty much woke up right when we hit the park entrance.

Yes, we turned his car seat.  Yes I know he is not two yet.  
He's a good sized boy and it's a choice we made, please do not judge me.

Ollie was pretty happy to be out of the car when we finally let him get out.  He ran around the parking lot and just wanted to check out all the cars and trucks (latest obsession.)

Below here is our little home for the week - cabin 72 on the left.  It's such a cute little spot, there's a screened in porch where we ate all of our meals and played cards and such.  Inside has a kitchen, living area and bathroom and then a nice sized bedroom with two beds and a little alcove that fit Ollie's pack and play perfectly.

After we settled in we did some exploring and took Ollie down by the lake.  It's pretty much a tradition for us to walk down by the lake almost right as soon as we get to the park!  We took a family selfie to mark the occasion.

The rest of Monday was pretty boring, it involved a quick run back to the nearest town for groceries and dinner at one of our favorite places up there called the West Forty.  I was worried about how Ollie would go down for bed, but he did great pretty much right away!

Tuesday we got up and decided to explore a bit more, found a nice little playground for Ollie behind the Lodge.  We waited for the Gift Shop to open up and spent a little time in there.  Then we headed back to the room for some breakfast cooked by chef Nate.  After we played some more with Ollie he took a nap, then we got him up and spent some time at the Visitor Center, they have some exhibits that explain more about the park.  It was cool and a little drizzly, so this was a good way to spend the day.

Then we headed to town again to have dinner at one of my favorite pizza places of all time - Rocky's Pizza Place.  It's nothing special and I'm sure it's something about the fact that you're having it on vacation, but I have always loved this pizza and I was so excited for Ollie to try it.

And judging by the picture below, I don't think he liked it all.  Nope.  Not a little bit.  I kid of course.

We stopped back by the playground again on our way back to the cabin and then Ollie went to bed. We were pretty lucky in that he went down pretty nicely for us each night and Nate and I had a good couple of hours to play cards and chat.  We also kept up a silly tradition from past visits, since we don't have a fire ring at this particular cabin and can't build a bonfire, we make Sterno Can S'mores instead!

Wednesday was a beautiful morning.  We headed into town and found a disc golf course that Nate had looked up information on before we left home.  It was a fantastic course!  It was only nine holes which was perfect and it had one of the best playgrounds I've ever seen - lots of equipment for all ages of children and a really great toddler play area.  Of course, Ollie was pretty much just obsessed with the "swings."  

When we finished our disc golf, we stopped by the grocery store and got ourselves fried chicken, potato salad and rolls and then went back up to Itasca for a picnic.  We were able to attach Ollie's booster chair right to the picnic table and it worked great!

After Ollie's nap on Wednesday, we decided to rent bikes and go on a little ride.  Nate hasn't done much bike riding in quite some time, but found he really enjoyed it.  Ollie loved riding along in this little trailer called a Burley.  We'll be looking into seeing if we can get a used one now that we're home, I'd love to be able to ride around town with him in it!  We loved biking so much we did it two more times throughout the week too!

Thursday it was cloudy and threatening rain, so we decided to go north into Bemidji for a bit.  We decided to stop at an animal park that advertised itself well, but let me tell you, I never want to speak of that place again.  I felt dirty for being there and like I sold my soul to the devil just a little.  But Ollie had a good time feeding some deer, so we'll just choose to remember that part of it!

After that the day looked like it was going to be a bust, we drove into downtown Bemidji where there is a famous statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.  We wanted to take some pictures and let Ollie run around the park there - but they had it all torn up and were doing a ton of work.  We were bummed, so decided to just walk around town instead.  Ollie more or less led us right into this place called the Headwaters Science Center - kind of a low key version of the Science Museum and since we have membership at the one in St. Paul, we got in for free!  We managed to kill a good 45 minutes there which was great!  After that we ate at a little pub in town we like called Keg and Cork.  Took Ollie back to the cabin for his nap and then headed on disaster number two of the day - a boat trip. Ollie pretty much hated his life jacket and wanted to get "out" the whole time.  

His few calm moments on the boat.  Hoping a different life vest will help next time!

After the boat trip I may have nursed my wounds by stopping by the gift shop and picking up this cute bag for myself.  Remember, shopping ban hadn't started yet on vacation!  And even if it had, vacation is one of the exceptions I'd make for myself!

So, Thursday wasn't exactly my favorite day, but it could have been worse!  The next couple of days more than made up for it, but I'm going to stop my recap here and we'll talk about the other days in my next post!  Stay tuned for more!
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