Hello my lovelies…
So glad to have you guys back here. Today on #TakeMeBackThursday I am reminiscing one of my favorite trips from 2017. If you’re a travel bug like me… I am sure you’ll appreciate this one!!
So, I had just got back from an amazing one month vacation back home.. i.e. India. It was just awesome meeting all my friends and family, attending one of my best friends destination wedding and so many celebrations. I got back on a good High!! Coming back to Vermont, it was back to the same routine, wake up – go to work – workout – dinner -sleep…B-O-R-I-N-G! Also, this was during christmas, so workload was low and energy in the work place was dead… and I needed something else to do! I had always wanted to go to Chicago, so we thought.. what the heck! let’s make a road trip out of it. We had plenty of time.. from around Dec 21-Jan 2nd.. that’s a looong break. So, we decided to make a roadtrip, covering around 7-8 states and 2 countries in 11 days. Ofcourse, we made stops on the way, nothing basically was planned.. we just wanted to go with the flow. Also, did I mention? this was when there was an on-and-off snow storm! So Exciting!!
Day 1 (12/21):We left Burlington, Vermont at around 5 pm after finishing up work for the day (and packing). It was about a 5-6 hour drive to Syracuse, NY our first pit stop. We reached the Red Roof Inn hotel at Syracuse, it was a decent hotel and good for a night stay. We checked-in around 11 and picked some wraps on the way for dinner. Since, we had returned from India a few days ago, we were still jet lagged and were really sleepy.. so sweet dreams it was!
Day 2 (12/22): Woke up to a beautiful sight of cinematic snowfall through the hotel window! And since we were somewhat still on Indian Standard Time (IST), we were up quite early.. around 5:30 am and starving. Thank god for a Denny’s nearby, I indulged into a hearty salted-caramel pancake breakfast!! so yummy.. so un-healthy!! 😀We then checked out and continued our drive. In a few hours we were crossing Rochester, NY. I went to college here and I have so many fond memories here. Unfortunately, none of my friends live there anymore, so we just stopped at my favorite Mediterranean restaurant there called ‘Mediterranean Kebab House Halal’ for lunch and like always, it didn’t disappoint. We then carried on our drive, and decided to stop somewhere in Ohio. All this time, the weather was great. It used to snow now and then, but driving conditions weren’t too bad. We drove for another 5 hours and reached Cleveland, Ohio and decided to take a break. We checked into Super 8 motel down there. They upgraded us for free to a deluxe King room, with the biggest bed I have ever seen. Naturally, sleep was kicking in and we just dozed off with no food in our tummies.
Day 3 (12/23): So as expected, woke up at 5:00 am with hungry bellies. Thankfully, this hotel had free breakfast.. so we munched on till we were full and grabbed some fruits and muffins to go. The snow was falling ever so slightly, and looked so pretty. It’s my favorite thing to sit by the window, sip some ginger tea and watch the snow fall. It looks like something right out of a Disney movie. ❄️
So, we stayed for another 2 hours here, just looking outside the window and relaxing and having a good time, which basically was the purpose of this whole trip anyway. Also, it was so cold outside, we felt great being inside in the warmth and comfort of our room. This day was anyway gonna be chill, because all we had to do is drive down to Chicago and check-in to our hotel (1 of the only 2 things planned on this trip). So around 11, we left for Chicago and I couldn’t be more excited to visit this wonderful windy city. So, we drove another 5-6 hours and we were in Chicago!!!!!
Instead of being cooped up in the room for the rest of the evening, we decided to go to the Navy Pier and check out some of the christmas markets out there. It was FREEZINGGG. No doubt they call Chicago the “windy city” because OMG it was sooo sooo cold out at Navy Pier. I was still amazed at how many people were out and about and enjoying their christmas break with their kids and friends. Next, we headed to a German Christmas market, where I had Potato Pancakes, Hot Cider and warm spicy Red Wine. Every body part that was exposed… my palms and face were frozen, but, the moment that spiced wine hit my tongue, I felt this warmth just travelling everywhere in my body. And, I hadn’t realized it then, but I burned my tongue which didn’t feel good later. 😋 After having some food, we decided to warm up ourselves, and went back to our hotel and ended the night watching some episodes of ‘Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai Take 2’ and we that’s it.. we called it a night!
Day 4 (12/24): Next morning, we planned to walk around Downtown and explore the city a little more. But first, Breakfast!! We went to a super awesome place suggested by a friend, ‘Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe’. I had Signature Berry Bliss and the Venetian Sizzlin’ Skillet. Now, I don’t have a huge appetite, so this meal lasted me for breakfast and dinner. I was sooooo full, and well fed for atleast 6-7 hours. Next, we decided to explore Millenium Park. I’d always seen picture of “The Bean” and here’s where it is! We went to the Millenium Park on a great day and time. It was snowing, but it wasn’t extremely cold. We could comfortably roam around and even ice-skate in the skating rink at the park. What a fun day!! The Bean wasn’t extremely crowded. We got our own sweet time to click as many pics as we wanted. It was great!! We rented ice-skates there for $14 each and I know nothing about skating, so I sucked! But, it was great fun. I tried my best to do like 5-6 laps, sometimes without support. 😍 After that I wanted to shop some, so we headed to Magnificent Mile, which is where you’ll find all the big outlets, stores, shopping malls etc. I bought some stuff there and we basically just walked in the snowy afternoon, sipping some coffee, talking and basically having a great time! By evening, we were a little tired and decided to head back and spend time watching the TV show again and ending the night with some good Indian food.
Day 5 (12/25) : Christmas day was here and it was extremely cold to do anything. One big tip when visiting a big city like Chicago.. Uber is super cheap. I would highly suggest using Uber or even Lyft, because they are super cheap when travelling in big cities. I wouldn’t suggest driving around in a car because a. traffic and b. super high parking rates. So, because it was freezing outside, we decided to have a super chilled day. We went for a movie ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ and then to Chicago Skydeck.
I was expecting Chicago Skydeck to have less people since it was christmas and too cold, but man! was I wrong! The place was filled with tourists and there were huge lines to click pictures at the ledge. This ledge is amazing, it’s basically a transparent floored platform extended out of the skyscrapper and really amazing when you look down.
Day 6,7 (12/26,12/27) : These 2 days were basically just travel and rest. So after we got some breakfast, we headed to Lansing, Michigan for a pitstop and then to Niagara Falls, ON. I got a terrible fever and I was on meds and decided to just rest and sleep off, till I got better.
Day 8 (12/28) : I felt much better this day. We got some breakfast and then checked-in to Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel and Suites, where we had a Premium Falls view room meaning, we could see both US and Canadian Falls from our room and from the 46th Floor! I mean, what else could I ask for!! I must’ve sat near the panaromic window for hours and hours, just admiring the majestic falls and its beauty. I wanted to go down near the falls, but it was so cold.. I just couldn’t. Everyday at 9 pm during the xmas week, there are fireworks over the falls, so we watched it from our room, sipping some wine while people went out.. in the cold… all layered up!! Ah, I did feel like being on top of the world ..just kidding!
Day 9 (12/29) : Woke up to the gorgeous view of both the falls from our hotel room. It was just majestic looking at the beauty that Niagara is from up above. So, as the temperatures got a little warmer, we decided to go down to the falls and view the falls up close.. layered up of course. Our hotel was connected to the Casino at Niagara, so we walked through it, since it was below 0C outside anyways. We then got on this Niagara Parks Falls Incline Railway which takes you close to the falls. It is an inclines rail kinda thing and the cost is CAD 11 roundtrip. It’s a good way to save some time getting to the falls, and not having to walk in the cold. We then walked towards the Falls and pictures definitely don’t do justice to how marvelous Niagara Falls are. They are one of the most gorgeous creations of the world. The flowing water just feels like crystals falling off the horseshoe bend of rocks.
We then drove around the Niagara Falls park and since it was too cold and snowy, the park grounds were closed off, but we could still see the Niagara river flow by the park. Niagara Falls from the Canadian side is truely amazing. I had always seen it from the US side and then once on the Maid of the mist ride in summer, but this was the most satisfying view of it all. I would definitely recommend visiting Niagara Falls, the sheer grandeur of the Falls makes you realize how small you are to nature. It’s a real humbling experience.
Day 10,11 (12/30,12/31): We basically just ended up relaxing and enjoying our mini-vacation without worrying about work or any of the daily stuff. We decided to drive back to Vermont the next day and make our drive through Rochester. After a great LONG roadtrip, we wanted to treat ourselves to an amazing massage and relaxation therapy and some more mediterranean food. So, we went to our favorite massage place in Rochester, called Happy Feet for a 1 hour full body massage. Nothing better than all those knots opening up in your body and feeling so light and relaxed.. ah.. I feel like I want one right now.. hehe. After the massage and food, we drove into the night and got back home!!
P.S. It was too cold to move around and explore Toronto and we’d already been to Montréal during summer, so we decided to skip that part of the trip.
This was a much needed break and I couldn’t have asked more. I have been blessed to have a partner who loves to explore and travel (and drive) so much and so often. Travel is one of the biggest parts of my life and I never wanna stop! Every day is a new adventure and every adventure is a new lesson! Never stop learning!❤️
Thank you so much for reading!!
More pictures on my instagram! 📸