My little family enjoyed some quality time outside the past few days. Here in Northeastern Ohio, the days still feel like summer but a little bit of fall is starting to creep into our evenings. It’s such a great blend of weather, perfect for daytime adventures and nights spent around a campfire.
While Theo was at school on Friday, I took Oliver and Bea for a drive in the country to see what we could find. We stopped at a garage sale. We bought red raspberries and peppers from a road side farmer’s stand. We picked up a few goodies from one of my favorite bakeries and had an impromptu picnic in the park.
The day was mild and beautiful, the food was yummy, and the kids and I had so much fun being out together without an agenda.
Saturday morning, Theo and I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law and their dog, Bowie. Theo has been asking to see Bowie, saying that “Bowie is my best buddy.” How can you say no to that? (Also, I don’t know if Bowie is more little boy, or if Theo is more puppy, but HOLY COW they are basically the same person.)
That evening, Mike and I took the kids to Brandywine Falls in Summit County, Ohio. The falls are in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and are well worth the visit. The falls are surrounded by a boardwalk that make them easily accessible, but then there are tons of trails and bike paths beyond/around the falls for more serious hiking. It’s gorgeous, and I highly recommend putting this spot on your list of places to see if you are ever in the area.
This summer, whenever I planed a hike for our family, I also make sure to plan something sweet afterwards. After our trip to the falls, we went to Honey Hut in Brecksville. Honey Hut was started in Cleveland but is now in several locations. The ice cream is made from grass-fed cows, and was on Buzzfeeds 2014 list of “27 Ice Cream Shops You Need To Visit Before You Die.”
We really enjoyed our ice cream. I got salted caramel and it was tasty but not too sweet, and oh-so-refreshing. YUM.
Sunday, we had friends stop by unexpectedly who ended up staying for dinner. (This is one of my all time favorite things in the world to happen. FAVORITE) Then we ended the evening by breaking in the new fire pit that Mike built next to the boys’ new Adventure Cottage. The kids didn’t last long, but we had fun sitting around the fire together, roasting marshmallows, and enjoying our backyard and the beautiful evening.
We spent Monday evening at one of the boys’ favorite parks. Theo rode the zip line a million times. Oliver walked around being cute. Bea enjoyed being pushed in her stroller or the baby swing.
Before going home, we stopped at a new Play Lab that recently opened up and were so impressed by the facility. It was designed to foster imaginative play and exploration of the natural world. I LOVE that.
I spend a lot of time researching areas for our family to go on hikes or new places to explore. I love being outside with my family, and I think it’s so meaningful. It’s physical exercise combined with exploration, combined with adventure, combined with a sense of freedom that you don’t get from staying inside.
Although we did do a bit of driving this weekend, that too can be part of the adventure. We try to not have a tight time table so that we can make impromptu stops for coffee, bathroom breaks, or just to check out something cool that caught our eye. Outside of gas, these trips don’t cost anything, as in ZERO dollars. But man, do they give us the world.