Super 8 Elkhart ~ Elkhart, Indiana

We spent one brief night in Elkhart, Indiana on our way to Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Cleveland, Ohio. My brain wasn’t thinking as straight when we arrived due to having to survive nearly two hours in Chicago traffic, so I failed to take any photos of our room so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

The Super 8 in Elkhart is located just off the tollway and south of the interstate. It’s a simple two story hotel like most Super 8’s are. The hotel did still have signs requesting all guests wear masks in public spaces, but given the front desk worker wasn’t even wearing one, I’m guessing this is more a suggestion at this point.

The front desk staff checked us in quickly and did give us a choice of what level we would like. We didn’t have a preference but wound up on the second floor very close to the steps leading up. I have no problem with being placed on the second level as most Super 8’s like this one, do not have elevators, so this allows able bodied people like ourselves to work with stairs and saves rooms on the main level for those who stairs might be more difficult.

There wasn’t much special about our room. It had two queen beds, your standard TV stand with TV, fridge and microwave, and a bathroom with the basic necessities. It wasn’t the best room we’ve ever stayed in but certainly wasn’t the worst either. It is showing its age with some loose shower hooks and the shower head was very low, even with me being short, I could tell it was low! But all in all nothing major to complain about!

Just across the street is a Starbucks, so we took advantage of enjoying breakfast there instead of at the hotel, but they were offering some kind of breakfast at the hotel that morning. Across the main drag there were also several other restaurants that were within easy walking distances and a few more to the north of the interstate. Other than that our hotel was surrounding by a lot of construction/industrial work buildings, making it seem not “as nice” as some hotel area we’ve stayed, but by no means did we ever feel unsafe.

It also was just a quick 10 minute drive south to hit the river and the main downtown area of Elkhart. We did spend some time down there walking around Island Park, which was a delight. If we had to stay in the area again, the price is right at this Super 8 to do so, but staying closer to the downtown area may be more enjoyable if they have anything to offer down that way for lodging.

For more details on our travels follow sitesandbitesjournal on Instagram or sign up for email updates from the blog!

Massachusetts Bucket Lists ~ South of Boston

Heading south in Massachusetts today for our bucket list series!

Cohasset

  • Minots Ledge Light: Offshore lighthouse located near two towns.

East Taunton

  • Massasoit State Park: Features trails through woods and along cranberry bogs.

Fair Haven

  • Fort Phoenix Beach State Reservation: Old Revolutionary era fort located along the water.

Fall River

  • Borden Flats Lighthouse: Historic lighthouse located in the river.
  • Fall River Heritage State Park: Historic area of town that preserves a WWII battleship.

Hingham

  • Boston Harbor Island State Park: Located south of Boston within Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.
  • Wompatuck State Park: Beautiful area to hike and camp away from the busy cities.
  • World’s End: Hike along this peninsula that serves as a conservation area.

Hull

  • Fort Revere: Historic site contains remains of two different fortifications.
  • Hull Lifesaving Museum: This historic museum shows how this service eventually joined with the Coast Guard.

Mattapoisett

  • Ned’s Point Light: Historic lighthouse named after a local farmer.

New Bedford

  • Butler Flats Light: Sparkplug lighthouse located in the outer harbor.
  • Fort Tabor: Old Civil War era fort.
  • Moby Dick Statue: Sculpture dedicated to that famous literary white whale.
  • New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center: Learn the history of commercialized fishing in the area.
  • New Bedford Whaling Museum: Focuses on the history and culture of whaling in the area.
  • New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park: Commemorates the whaling industry of the area in the 19th century.
  • Palmer’s Island Lighthouse: Lighthouse built of stone rubble.

North Dartmouth

  • Demarest Lloyd State Park: Park contains an ocean beach and marshlands.

North Easton

  • Borderland State Park: Park contains the famous Ames Mansion.

Plymouth

  • Brewster Gardens: Park has a path that runs along the brook.
  • Ellisville Harbor State Park: Explore the coastal beauty of the western shore of Cape Cod.
  • Mayflower Society House: Take a tour of this historic house and learn more about those who arrived on the Mayflower.
  • Pilgrim Hall Museum: Learn the history of the Pilgrims in the oldest public museum in the nation.
  • Pilgrim Memorial State Park: Waterfront park that is home to Plymouth Rock.
  • Plymouth Light: Historic light accessible from the town of Duxbury.

Scituate

  • Scituate Light: Gorgeous historic lighthouse located along the shore.

All attractions found on visitma.com

Island Park ~ Elkhart, Indiana

Last week we returned from a whirlwind roadtrip from South Dakota to Ohio and back again! Our first main pitstop along the way was in Elkhart, Indiana. We arrived in town by dinner time (at least for us given we had just made the switch from Central to Eastern time), checked into our hotel, and then decided we wanted to go somewhere for a decent walk after being in the car for countless hours that day. Chicago traffic especially wore us down!

After a quick scout on Google Maps, it seemed that Island Park would be a great place to get a nice little walk in. We actually parked in a small lot near the railroad tracks that appears to mainly be used for those fishing along the river. This allowed us to access the river walk and from there head over the bridge to Island Park.

As you can see from the photo above, bridge is the one way to access Island Park. Island park actually has three bridges into the park. One from the north, which didn’t seem to have a nearby parking lot, one from the south which could be accessed from the river walk via our small fishing lot, or you could park in the lot by a new fitness center, and one from the east near several banks and businesses, which I supposed you could park in later in the evening.

Once in Island Park, there’s a trail that winds around the islands perimeter. They also have a band shell, picnic area, small fountain, playground, and lots and lots of swing benches to sit on and enjoy the views!

These swing benches also exist along the River Walk, which is actually where we took our photo shown above!

The park was gorgeous and not very crowded which made it rather peaceful. We entered from the south bridge and exited on the east and then took the River Walk back to our car. It was fun to check out various portions of this park and the River Walk and was a great way to stretch our legs after the long drive, knowing we had a decent drive ahead of us the next day as well.

Elkhart seems like a lovely town, and maybe someday we will have to return to explore it further when we aren’t just “passing through.”

For more details on our travels follow sitesandbitesjournal on Instagram or sign up for email updates from the blog!

Massachusetts Bucket List ~ Great Boston Region

Today’s Bucket List post is HUGE because it focuses on a major historic American city: Boston! Of course we hit the surrounding suburbs as well!

Boston

  • Boston African-American National Historic Site: Tells the story of African Americans in the 19th century pre-Civil War.
  • Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area: Explore lighthouses, coast line, and other parks in this protected area.
  • Boston Light: First lighthouse to be built in the United States.
  • Boston National Historical Park: Preserves 8 Revolutionary War sites, many of which are connected by the Freedom Trail.
  • Boston Public Garden: Visit America’s first public park.
  • Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum: Visit this floating museum for the history of this infamous event.
  • Edward M Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate: Brings the role of the US Senate to life.
  • Fenway Park: Famous stadium home to the Boston Red Sox.
  • Institute of Contemporary Art: Visit this modern art museum.
  • International Poster Gallery: Explore vintage posters from around the globe.
  • JFK Presidential Library and Museum: Explore the museum dedicated to the life and work of JFK.
  • Massachusetts State House: Visit the seat of Massachusetts’ state government.
  • Museum of African American History: New England’s largest African American museum.
  • New England Aquarium: One of the top visited attractions in the area, this aquarium has several touch tanks and also offers whale watching tours.
  • Old North Church: Church famous for “one if my land, two if by sea” signal.
  • Old State House: One of the oldest public buildings in the United States.
  • Paul Revere House: Home of the famous patriot.
  • The Swan Boats of Boston: Take a ride in the famous Boston Swan Boats.

Brookline

  • Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site: Home of the founder of American landscape architecture.
  • JFK National Historic Site: Birthplace and childhood home of John F Kennedy.

Cambridge

  • Longfellow National Historic Site: Home of famed poet and also site of Washington’s headquarters.
  • MIT Museum: Science museum filled with lots of exhibits.
  • World’s Only Curious George Store: Store filled with everything Curious George.

Charleston

  • Battle of Bunker Hill Museum: Details history of the American Revolution in the area.
  • USS Constitution: Explore the legacy of this ship.

Framingham

  • Callahan State Park: Beautiful place to hike outside of Boston.
  • Garden in the Woods: Nice wooded botanic garden outside the city.

Foxborough

  • Gilette Stadium: Home to the New England Patriots football team.

Hudson

  • American Heritage Museum: Museum of American military history.

Natick

  • Mass Audubon Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary: Popular place to view birds and otters.

Newton

  • Jackson Homestead and Museum: Served as a station on the Underground Railroad.

Quincy

  • Adams National Historic Site: Preserves the home of John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
  • United States Navel Shipbuilding Museum: Explore battle ships and how they were built.

Waltham

  • Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation: Museum dedicated to the history of the American Industrial Revolution.

Weymouth

  • Abigail Adams Birthplace: Birthplace of the wife of John Adams.

All attractions found on visitma.com

Players Sports Bar & Grill ~ Dickinson, North Dakota

Visiting Players Sports Bar and Grill was an unplanned happy change! We were looking for a place to serve lunch on the 4th of July and figured many local places may be closed up. We tried to head on over to the local Buffalo Wild Wings, figuring that would be a safe choice, and instead found it closed! So off to Players we went!

Players was incredibly busy when we arrived despite it being a bit after the normal lunch hour (although they did have a Sunday brunch so that may have played into it!) The hostess was not exactly kind or helpful, so at first I was a bit put off by the restaurant, but given the late hour, we didn’t want to change our restaurant location yet again! I’m glad we opted to stay, because once we were seated it was all uphill from there!

Being a sports bar, they had both a bar seating area and a normal dining room. We got seated in the bar area seeing as how we were just two girls in our 30s and didn’t have a preference as to our dining space. This meant we had lots of TVs to view (have you ever watched sports coverage on the 4th? It’s pretty funny! Our options were dance team competition, corn hole tournament, and dog agility!)

They had an extensive drink list, but since it was early afternoon, we just opted for some flavored lemonades and soda. Our wait staff was incredibly friendly. We had two taking care of us as one was in her final steps of training, but both her and her trainer provided excellent service.

There were so many good sounding options on the menu, but it had been quite some time since I’d had a French Dip, so that was my choice. My friend went with their Hot Roast Beef.

This was by far the best French Dip I have ever eaten in my life! The meat was perfectly cut, super tender, and super juicy. Of course the Au jus on the side only intensified the juiciness. And the buttery flavor! My goodness it was the icing on top! I’m already making plans to return to eat this delicious dish again!

If you ever find yourself in the Dickinson area, don’t miss out on visiting Players. It was well worth the wait and our food came super fast once we had ordered! Plus the wait staff was so incredibly friendly and sociable!

For more details on our travels, follow sitesandbitesjournal on Instagram or sign up for email updates from this blog!

Phat Fish Brewing ~Dickinson, North Dakota

The day before the 4th, my old college roommate and I decided to head to a local brewery for dinner. The brewery has both indoor and outdoor seating, but seeing as how it was hotter than blazes outside, we knew indoor had to be the way to go. Apparently, so did everyone else, even though we thought we would be enjoying an “early” dinner.

The place was jam packed. Every single table was full. And while they were working to set up a few more (they were prepping for live music that night) we decided to just order to go and take things back to her apartment.

While we waited for our food, we did opt to sit at the bar. If you are sticking around and are a beer person (I am not) they have plenty to offer as it is a brewery. They also had cornhole in the outdoor seating area, and an ax throwing area further back into the brewery. It’s a pretty fun place!

I opted to order my brewery standard of pretzel bites and bier cheese dip. My friend ordered a Gyro pizza. They have all sorts of pizzas there, but they are pricey if only purchasing for yourself!

My pretzel bites were amazing! They were soft and buttery and gave you so many in an order! The cheese dip was of course amazing as well!

We really enjoyed our food and while I’m sure the brewery would have been fun to eat at, we were relieved to take it back to her place as it was incredibly loud with the crowd that was there. Maybe on another visit I can actually enjoy the atmosphere inside the brewery!

For more details on our travels, follow sitesandbitesjournal on Instagram or sign up for email updates from the blog!

Boston Bucket List ~North of Boston and Greater Merrimack Valley Region

Our Massachusetts lists begin to get longer today as we begin to explore the areas around Boston.

Beverly

  • Hospital Point Range Light: Historic lighthouse at the end of the avenue.

Concord

  • Louisa May Alcott House: Girlhood home of Louisa May Alcott and setting of her novel: Little Women.
  • Minute Man National Historic Park: Commemorates the opening battle of the Revolutionary War.
  • North Bridge: Visit the site of the “shot heard round the world.”
  • Thoreau Farm: Birthplace of Henry David Thoreau.
  • Walden Pond State Reservation: Hike and swim on the site where Thoreau wrote Walden.

Gloucester

  • Eastern Point Light: Lighthouse located in the oldest seaport in America.

Lincoln

  • DeCordova Sculpture Park: Largest sculpture park in New England.

Lowell

  • Lowell National Historic Park: Explore the water powered textile mills that helped propel the nation into the industrial age.

Marblehead

  • Marblehead Light: Skeletal framed lighthouse; the only one of its kind in New England.

Newburyport

  • Newburyport Harbor Light: Historic lighthouse located in the harbor of Newburyport.
  • Plum Island Beach: Cool off in one of the area’s most popular beaches.

Salem

  • Bakers Island Light: Historic stone lighthouse.
  • Derby Wharf Light: Square tower light.
  • New England Pirate Museum: Explore the history of pirates in a hands on way.
  • Salem Witch Museum: Explore the history of the Salem Witch Trials.
  • Winter Island Light: Old lighthouse located near Old Fort Pickering.

Saugus

  • Saugus Iron Works National Historical Site: Site of the first integrated ironworks in North America.

West Townsend

  • Pearl Hill State Park: Hike in this wooded area north of the city.

All attractions found on visitma.com

Blue 42 Grille~ Dickinson, North Dakota

I spent the past holiday weekend away from home visiting my college roommate in Dickinson, ND. This allowed me to try out a few local restaurants, so once again, we get a break in the Bucket List series and get some actual travel adventures to share in the mix of posts!

The first restaurant I got to explore in the area was Blue 42 Grille. This place was packed! Clearly it’s a popular place to be on the weekend (but it also could have been busier with the holiday weekend.) Luckily because it was just my former roomie and I, we were able to snag a table for two right away.

Blue 42 has a variety of items on the menu, but they appear to be best known for their burgers and have a large menu selection of various types of burgers, ranging from classic cheeseburgers, to stuffed burgers, and nearly anything you can imagine in between! While I normally go for a stuffed burger, that one you needed to allot extra cook time for, and being I had crossed from Central time to Mountain Time, I was already extra hungry. I was between two other burger choices but opted for the Queso Burger.

As you can see, the Queso burger came covered in queso cheese sauce and topped with French fries. Of course their bun had the signature “42” burnt into it as well. They had several sides to add to your burger, but I opted for extra French fries with mine.

The burger was quite delicious (although not as juicy as some places I’ve been, but I think that’s because it was more of a charbroiled outside.) The mix of queso and fries with each bite added a nice touch but it was incredibly messy! Just two bites in and I was begging for some utensils so that I could use a fork and knife with the rest. Initially I went without adding any ketchup, but I did add some on as I went as well. The fries were perfect crispiness and had a nice seasoning on them as well.

As much as I tried to finish my whole meal, I was filled to the brim with about three bites of burger left on my plate. I would definitely return again to try a few of the other burgers on their menu as well, and hopefully leave a bit more room to finish them!

For more details on our travel adventures, follow sitesandbitesjournal on Instagram or sign up for email updates from this blog!

Massachusetts Bucket List ~ Central Region

Moving further into the state of Massachusetts, today we explore the Central region before taking a long weekend holiday from blog posting to enjoy 4th of July travels!

North Oxford

  • Clara Barton Homestead: Birthplace of Clara Barton; celebrates the life and activities of this Red Cross founder.

Princeton

  • Wachusett Mountain State Reservation: Enjoy breathtaking views from the summit of this mountain.

Royalston

  • Doane’s Falls: Enjoy this tumbling cascade located near a stone bridge.
  • Royalston Falls: Waterfall located in granite gorge.

Sturbridge

  • Wells State Park: Rugged rock terrain located among the wetlands.

All attractions found on visitma.com

Massachusetts Bucket List ~ Western Region

Today we begin a new state! It may be a smaller state, but it is rich with history and there’s plenty to do and explore! We begin in the Western portion of the state!

Adams

  • Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum: Birthplace of the woman who help give other women the vote!

Amherst

  • Emily Dickinson Museum: Birthplace and home of famed poet, Emily Dickinson.
  • Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art: Museum devoted to the art of the picture book.
  • Mount Holyoke Range State Park: Explore this 7 miles stretch of mountain range.

Clarksburg

  • Clarksburg State Park: Hike through this hardwood forest that offers mountain views.

Glendale

  • Chesterwood: Home of the famed sculpture who created icons such as the seated Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.

Great Barrington

  • Monument Mountain: Hike the short trail to the summit of this mountain.

Lanesborough

  • Mount Greylock State Reservation: Preserves the highest point in the state.

Lenox

  • Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary: Explore 7 miles of hiking trails along the pond and woods area.

Mount Washington

  • Bash Bish Falls state Park: Explore the waterfall within the park.

South Deerfield

  • Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation: Take in stunning views from this mountain.

Springfield

  • The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum: Museum dedicated to all things Dr. Seuss, a Springfield native.
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Explore the history of the sport of basketball and all the great players who have made it memorable.

Stockbridge

  • Norman Rockwell Museum: Museum dedicated to the artwork of Norman Rockwell.

All attractions found at visitma.com