Le Cellier Steakhouse

Brian finally managed to get lunch reservation to Le Cellier Steakhouse…. and I was so excited… until I woke up with a raging headache.

The nice thing about living near Disney and having Annual Passes is that it’s not like I’m ‘wasting’ a vacation day if I can’t get going…. but I really, really wanted to try Le Cellier and it’s not the easiest place to get reservations.

I took hot shower, aspirin and chugged a bunch of water….. then I moped around the hotel room and whined for an hour or two. Brian made me eat a banana and drink coffee… which because that cured my headache once, he assumes it should work every time.

I finally felt well enough to venture out… and I figured if the headache did finally kill me maybe the ghosts at the Haunted Mansion would take me in. You know there’s 999 ghost in the Haunted Mansion…. but there’s room for 1000!


Epcot was celebrating their International Flower & Garden Festival… which is GORGEOUS!!! They had a bazillion flowers and topiaries everywhere…. and food vendors. I love the food vendors at the Epcot festivals. The signs are clearly labeled with Gluten Free, vegan and vegetarian options. Most of the booths had at least one GF option. Since I was still whiny about my headache Brian stopped at every booth with a GF offering and made (oh, the torture!) me eat. And drink a bottle of water. I have a bad habit of getting my meals out of wack when I have a headache…. or letting myself get dehydrated…. so Brian just keeps shoving food and water at me until I stop whining.

I ate the scallops too fast to take a picture and Brian wouldn’t let me get another order even though I told him it was for the sake of the blog.

I did manage to restrain myself long enough to take a photo of the Raspberry & Chocolate Creme Macaron though.


We wandered around a enjoyed the topiaries until it was time for our lunch reservation.


Le Cellier Steakhouse is super hard to get a dinner reservation and only slightly easier to get a lunch reservation. It is one of Disney’s Signature Dining Experiences. (If you are on the Disney Dining Plan it will cost you two dining credits.) We’ve been wanting to try it for a while, but just haven’t gotten the chance. By the time we made it to our reservation my headache had mostly faded, but going from the lovely warmth outside to the air conditioned cool indoors made it flare up again. I felt guilty as I poked at my rather expensive chicken.

Poulet RougeAndouille-stuffed Chicken Roulade, Autumn Hash, Acorn Squash Purée, and Ginger-spiced Cranberry Glaze

Brian ordered the Rib-Eye.

Black Angus Rib-EyeCrisp Fingerling Potatoes, Neuske’s Bacon Vinaigrette, Heirloom Carrots, Maple Bordelaise Butter

I didn’t get a photo of the Rib-Eye, but I did manage to steal and eat about half of it…. The chicken was good, but headache-tummy likes steak better. (I don’t understand it either… don’t even try.)

The food was fabulous… even with a headache I recognized that the food was delicious. The restaurant itself was beautiful. Dark and rich looking with gleaming wood and soft lighting. I really wish I’d been feeling better and could have tried more of the menu. My headache just really hated the air conditioning so we didn’t get to stay long. Once back outside I started to feel better. (I’m such a weirdo.)


Le Cellier is defiantly on my list of Must Visit Again places. I’ll try not to have a headache next time!

Mouse Waffles 


Last weekend Brian and I popped over to Disney World….. OMG! That still sounds so crazy! We just ‘popped’ over to Disney for the weekend…. ’cause we can do that now, ya know…. since we live in FLORIDA!

Sorry, sorry…. NOT SORRY! I am loving everything about moving to Florida!  (Except getting the stupid house built,  but that’s a whole different story.)

As soon as we had our Florida drivers licenses we got our Disney FL Resident Annual Passes.  I was not a fan of Disney as a kid, but after we went to the Osborne Festival of Lights with my in-laws one year, I was hooked. Disney is SO wasted on the little humans.

Brian and I planned to hit The Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Epcot this time… Hollywood Studios has a bunch of construction happening and Mom kept asking ‘How long are you going to be gone?’  So we figured three days would be plenty to start.

One of our favorite things (on our very long list) to do at Disney is EAT!  Disney has some really good restaurants….especially in Epcot. Now if you’re wrinkling your nose at me right now then you’re probably thinking about the quick-serve places…. like Pizza Planet and such…. while those places aren’t bad…. I’m actually talking abut the REAL restaurants. Chefs Du France and Yack & Yeti… places where you go in and sit and a person comes to your table and asks your order.

Disney is especially amazing if you have a food allergy. At the quick service places you can ask for an Allergy Menu and they’ll ring you up a special ticket and your food is made in one of the Allergy Safe kitchens somewhere… magical?  I’m not sure where exactly, but your food comes on a special tray and is delivered by a special cast member who verifies your allergy again before handing over your food. ‘Gluten, right? Just gluten?  Okay… here’s your food.’

I have never once been concerned about the safety of my food in Disney… and I’ve never gotten sick. It’s amazing the number of allergies they can work around. You can always ask to speak to one of the chefs.

Best of all (okay, second best… first best is not getting sick), no one ever makes you feel like a freak… or a problem, or sneers at you…. ‘Gluten Free?  Sure! No problem…. we have gf cookies too!’

So I was totally excited to go to Disney and EAT my way through the three parks. Calories don’t count in Disney. Last year Brian and I had breakfast at Trattoria al Forno on Disney’s Boardwalk. I ordered the Gluten Free Mickey Waffles that I’d heard all my favorite GF Disney Bloggers rave about.


They were the best waffles that I’ve ever had… gf or otherwise. (That’s a glob of Heaven in the center there… aka Mascarpone with cinnamon and sugar).

So this year I was totally wound about getting more Mouse Waffles… as I like to call them….


First of all, the presentation wasn’t nearly as cute, but I was just going to eat them… and there was no mascarpone… but I asked and they brought me some, so that was fine…


And then I sliced into my much anticipated, dreamed about waffles…. and they were gummy in the center!  Crisp on the outside… gummy in the center.

I sent them back and the manager brought me a bowl of fresh fruit while I waited for a new batch of waffles to be made.

The second batch was gummy too.

I gave up. Brian had already finished his meal and I’d eaten the bowl of fruit while I’d been waiting…. a third try wasn’t going to make anything better. Their recipe had obviously changed.

I asked about a recipe change when I sent my uneaten waffles back, and the waitress said that she didn’t think they’d changed anything. Later she returned with our bill having removed the waffles, and said that she’d overheard the manager and Chef talking. Apparently they had switched to using Bob’s Red Mill Pancake mix for the waffles and pancakes. (Ha!  I was right!)

After our visit last year I’d done some Googling and read that Disney used Cup4Cup Waffle mix for their waffles. I can’t remember where I read that… but I started using Cup4Cup to make my waffles at home and they tasted pretty much like I remembered Disney’s waffles.

The Cup4Cup website has several different waffle recipes, but I use their pancake recipe. At this point I can’t remember why I started using the pancake recipe instead of the waffle recipe… but I like the way they turn out and I think they taste quite a bit like the Disney waffles that I remember.

Cup4Cup Waffles

INGREDIENTS
1 cup Cup4Cup Original Flour or Wholesome Flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup reduced-fat buttermilk, milk, or dairy alternative
1 large egg, room temperature
3 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat griddle over medium heat.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.

3. Whisk in milk, egg and canola oil until there are no lumps. Batter will be thick.

4. Spoon pancake batter onto preheated griddle. Flip when bubbles appear, cook on opposite side until golden brown.

Stuff to do in The Lou

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When we decided that we were actually going to move (to a whole different state!) we started trying to visit all the places that we figured we’d miss when we left St. Louis. Strangely, or maybe not so strangely since we want to move…. there weren’t that many places that we felt like we had to visit.

These were our top six places to visit in Missouri.

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St Louis Zoo

My #1 place that we had to see again, and the place that I’d actually recommend to STL visitors would be the St. Louis Zoo.  Brian and I got a Zoo membership before we got married and we visited fairly frequently.  It’s been our go-to place for when we just wanted to do something. Technically, there are lots of things you can do in STL completely free…. but you’re going to have to walk and be a bit creative.  STL has a really amazing zoo and you can do it completely free, but I’d recommend getting either one of the zoo memberships (a lot of zoos honor other zoo’s memberships too) or one of the day pass things.  I adore riding around on the train and seeing the sea-lion show… oh! and the new Stingray area! I’m not a big fan of the children’s area, but if you bring little humans with you, they’d probably enjoy that too, so you’d might as well have bought one of the bands or membership thingies.  Try to go mid-week if possible, otherwise the place is busy.

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Ted Drew’s Frozen Custard

Brian and I visited Ted Drew’s the first time I brought Boo along on one of our dates.  We sat in the back of the MINI and people watched and ate our custard.  (For the record, Boo likes blueberry) Brian’s parents took us to Ted Drew’s to celebrate our engagement (Cindermint).  Birthdays…. (Fox Treat) and Christmas (Hawaiian).  It’s one of those STL traditions and it became one of our favorite special treats.

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Missouri Botanical Gardens 

The Missouri Botanical Gardens is one of those places that my mom and aunts used to drag me every summer and I hated it…. and then I got my own house and my own yard and learned to appreciate all the flowers and landscaping.  The gardens are beautiful any time of year, you really can’t go wrong.  They also have a number of festivals throughout the year that are all really cool, but they’re also really crowded.  If you have the chance though, I’d absolutely recommend the Garden Glow at Christmas.


Okay, so those are the typical ‘Must See’ things that you’re going to see on every other list.  And I completely agree…. I love ’em too, but there are lots of other great things to see and do outside of St Louis.  I’m not a huge fan of being in the city anyway.  I’d rather escape the crowds and traffic.  The next two items are going to take you about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours outside of St. Louis….. and they are totally worth the drive.

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Historic Kimmswick 

Kimmswick is probably the place that I am most going to miss in the St Louis area.  Mom and I spent many a lazy afternoon roaming through the historic homes turned adorable and eclectic shops.  Each visit was always capped with a visit to the Blue Owl.  If you’re not gluten-free you should order the Levee High Apple Pie for dessert.  I don’t care how much you ate for lunch…. order dessert.  The Blue owl is famous for their desserts.  Order dessert.  If you are gluten free, there aren’t may dessert options, but you can go next door to the Blue Owl Sweet Shop and get ice cream.  I’m a fan of the Coconut Sunday.  There are plenty of Gluten Free entree options, and the staff is so sweet!  I am going to miss all of the ladies at the Blue Owl…. and the food.  Kimmswick hosts several huge festivals throughout the year that are great… but huge and crowded.  If you’re going to visit during a festival make plans to come back on another day to just enjoy the town.  (The whole town is closed on Monday.)

Elephant Rocks State Park

Elephant Rocks State Park

Elephant Rocks State Park is a fair drive out of St Louis, but it is a fun place to wander and explore.  You can climb all over the huge, elephant like rock formations and wander down paths surrounded by the granite monoliths.  Take a picnic lunch and spend the day climbing, wandering and taking awesome photos.  On your way back to the city, drive north on Hwy 21 and stop in Caledonia, MO.  It’s a teeny, tiny, blink and you missed it town, but there are several cute little shops that are fun to visit.  Stop at Old Village Mercantile to check out the antiques and enjoy and ice cream sundae.

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Chaumette Winery

Chaumette Winery is also a bit of a drive from St Louis, but certainly well worth the trip.  The wine is delicious and the food at the Grapevine Grill is wonderful.  Everything is locally sourced from area farms and dairies.  The menu changes seasonally, but there are usually several gluten-free option for entrées and dessert.  The staff is knowledgable about Gluten Sensitivity and I’ve even had the chef come out and talk to me once or twice.  He even offered to make a special sauce for me once!  Delicious food and wine, great staff, pup-friendly, allergy friendly, beautiful views, good music…..  They even have bed & breakfast villas and a spa.  I’d always wanted to do a spa weekend, but never got around to it…. It would make for an awesome Girl’s Weekend.

 

Hershey’s Chocolate World

We visited Hershey’s Chocolate World today. I mean…. we’re in Hershey, PA…. we HAD to go to Chocolate World, right?!


Now don’t confuse Chocolate World with ChocolatePark…. I know, I know… ChocolatePark is an amusement park (think Six Flags) while Chocolate World is…. well…. maybe a really small amusement park?  

There’s the Hershey Chocolate Tour which is free. When we started on the tour I thought it was going to be a really awful walking tour, but the walking part was actually the ‘holding area’ for the line…. if there had been a line… which there wasn’t today. You weave though the ‘people corrals’ and there are all these facts about Milton Hershey and how chocolate is produced. And the whole time they’re pumping in the smell of chocolate. We got stuck behind this guy who wanted to stop and read every sign on the wall and take a picture of each one…. OMG! Keep walking, pal!  At the end of the line there’s a… cocoa bean?  I think it’s supposed to be a cocoa bean… boat thingie and we climbed in the bean and toured the chocolate making process… from animated cows that sing… to the Hershey factory where Hershey Bar and Kiss finish off the tour. It’s cute…. nothing mind blowing, but cute enough… especially since it was free. As we exited the ride we were each given a mini Hershey’s bar. 


We bought tickets for the 4D Mystery, Create Your Own Chocolate Bar and the Chocolate Tasting Experience. (We saved $11 purchasing them together as Adventure Package 2) – $28.00

The 4D Mystery was one of those things where you wear 3D glasses to watch an animated movie and then there are smells piped in and water (why?!) sprinkled from the ceiling. I wouldn’t recommend it for grown-ups. If you’re bringing a kid, okay, but I’d say it’s for the 12 and under crowed. I will admit our showing was strangely (accidentally) entertaining. We had a school taking a class field trip today (gods help us!)… 3rd graders…  This is one of those shows where at the beginning while everyone is getting seated the animated character on the screen interacts with the crowd. It talks and asks questions and responds… it’s a neat trick. So at the end of the movie the bad guy has been captured and Hershey Bar comes back on the screen and asks what should be done with the bad guy… he’s asking for a punishment or maybe give him a second chance… forgive him… something like that. 

Hershey: What should we do about Dr VonSauer, kids? 

Kids: (screaming) EAT HIM! 

Whoa, what?!  Even Hershey seemed shocked. 

Hershey: Um, no… we don’t eat people here. 

Kids: (chanting) EAT HIM!  EAT HIM! 

Hershey: This isn’t Lord of the Flies!  We’re not going to eat him. How about we give him a second chance?

Kids: (still chanting) EAT HIM!

Hershey: (stares blankly at the crowd) Okay! A second chance it is! 

Kids: (still chanting) 

Video resumes…. no cannibalism…. second chances given. 

I don’t know what they’re teaching at that school, but I was starting to get pretty nervous sitting there surrounded by 100 screaming, chanting 3rd graders bent on cannibalism and revenge. Fortunately, we escaped and were rewarded with another bar of candy at the door. 

The Chocolate Tasting Experience was a huge disappointment. This is geared towards the adults… kids would be bored outta their skulls. I was expecting to get a variety of chocolates and somewhere I’d read about a hot chocolate tasting, but apparently this wasn’t it. We were each given a little gift bag (that they wasted their money on because most people threw it away as they left) with four small chocolate bars inside. On the table was a placemat that listed the different flavors/notes that we might taste in the chocolates, a bottle of water to cleanse our palates between bites of chocolate, a cup of ground cacao nibs, a Hershey’s Kiss and a Wet Wipe. 

The presentation was okay, but the ‘tasting’ was underwhelming. I certainly wouldn’t recommend spending $11 on four little bars of chocolate that you’re basically instructed to sniff and then let melt in your mouth. 

We were also each given a certificate of completion at the end… which most people threw away. Big waste of money and paper. 


I did actually enjoy the Create Your Own Chocolate Bar experience. ($20 for this event by itself) 


It starts out with Hershey wasting a bunch of money and resources again… each of us were given a disposable hairnet and an apron… because we’d be in an actual factory kitchen…. everything was behind glass!  We weren’t getting near anything that we could contaminate. 


We went to a series of computer screens where we’d scan our ticket and then make our selections for our candy bar. Scanning the ticket kept your candy bar and personalized wrapper coded just for you. Which was cool. 

We made our choice of white, milk or dark chocolate candy bar and then filling selections… I chose toffee bits and butterscotch chips in a dark chocolate candy bar with sprinkles. Then we got to watch the machine place our hollow chocolate bar on the conveyer belt… then the fillings were sprinkled inside…. then the whole thing was coated in milk chocolate.  (So everybody actually ended up with a milk chocolate bar in the end… some just get a white or dark chocolate base under the milk chocolate. 

While the chocolate is cooling we personalized our wrappers on another set of computer screens… then we shuffled back out to watch the cooled chocolate bars ride another conveyer to the packaging area. Our tickets are scanned one last time before the nice Hershey’s people packed the bars into a tin box and then the personalized wrapper.  


In typical amusement park fashion, every attraction dumps you out in the shopping area. There were tons of Hershey’s candies and souvenirs available…. but I’d rather wait and buy clearanced Halloween candy… same stuff, way cheaper. There was also a huge food court, but we came after lunch and we were going back to Piazza Sorrentos for dinner so we didn’t bother with the food court. 

Hershey’s Chocolate World was a fun way to spend an afternoon… I wouldn’t suggest making a special trip to Pennslyvania just to visit Chcolate World, but if you’re already staying at the Hotel (which I think you should) and visiting the Spa (which is a great reason the visit Pennsylvania all by itself), then sure, visit Chocolate World. It’s not Disney by any means, but it’s an enjoyable attraction. 

Chocolate Spa Day

Mom and I had the most wonderful day!  We spent the entire day at the Spa at the Hershey Hotel.

We hadn’t initially planned to visit Pennsylvania, but Michigan was colder than we were enjoying and a lot of places had already started to close.  So we breezed through Michigan and curved around through Pennsylvania.  As soon as Brian mentioned Pennsylvania I screamed ‘Hershey!!!’  Which totally freaked mom and the cats out, but mom understood the yelling when I showed her the website for the Spa at the Hershey Hotel.

I lucked out and was able to get appointments for us later the same week. Chocolate Dipped Coconut Immersion. Doesn’t that just sound like heaven?!

The perfect summer Chocolate Spa experience combines the sweet tropical aroma and super-hydrating properties of our exfoliating Coconut Sugar Scrub with the moisturizing and skin soothing benefits of our rich Chocolate Fondue Wrap. It’s a delicious head-to-toe treat for your skin!

Chocolate Fondue Wrap – Our exclusive formula of warmed moor mud and essence of cocoa revitalizes and nourishes the skin as it relaxes the body. A luxurious body brushing is followed by the fondue application. The body is then wrapped in a soft warm blanket to enhance the total effect. A Vichy Shower rinse culminates the effect.

Coconut Sugar Scrub – This sweet scrub will leave your skin silky soft and best of all … chocolately smooth!

We arrived way early, but we roamed around and looked at the gift shops in the hotel and then checked in for our appointments. They’d said we could come as early as we wanted and hang out in the relaxation rooms.

We checked in and were assigned a hostess who showed us around the Spa, locker/dressing rooms, steam room and the relaxation rooms. This place is fabulous! 

Our hostess gave us robes and slippers and then showed us how to work the electronic locks on the lockers.

Normally for a massage they suggest that you undress to your level of comfort…. usually recommending you strip down to panties. Since we were getting a coconut scrub our hostess said we’d probably want to strip completely since anything left on would get soaked during the Vichy Shower. Glad those robes were thick and snugly!


After undressing and storing our stuff in the lockers we wandered through the three Relaxation Rooms before settling in the Quiet Room. The other two rooms were smaller and you weren’t supposed to talk. Yeah… like Mom and I were gonna be quiet?!

The room was beautiful. Rich, dark wood panels on the walls, coffered ceiling and a gorgeous fireplace dominating the far wall. Mom and I settled into the cozy leather chairs with a cup of hot chocolate (not hot cocoa… hot chocolate.  Liquid chocolate. In a cup. Hot.) Bowls of purple and silver Hershey’s Kisses sat on tables around the room. Heaven.

Before long our therapist came and softly called our names. Mom’s appointment was a half hour before mine so I played around trying to take the perfect picture of the Hershey’s Kisses and then hunted for a place to go to dinner after our appointments. 

My therapist was super sweet. We chatted about Jacksonville… she’d attended a Russian Bible School in the area. Her parents immigrated from Russia before she was born and we talked about the current political BS over immigration. Honestly, what would America be like without all of the immigrants?  I’m sure the Native American would sure appreciate it, but most of the rest of us would need to get the hell out. I’m third generation American…. I’ve got a bit of Native American so maybe they’d let me stay…. but would I really want to?  Isn’t the diversity what makes America interesting?  I mean… just think of the foods that we’d be missing!! And the accents and languages that have blended together. I know I’ve wondered off onto what might be called a political track… but not really… hate and exclusionary ideology does effect us everyday and everywhere. I like my blended country. I like that an Irish/German/Native American girl and a Russian girl can meet at a day spa and be friends. Why would we ever want that possibility to go away?

Back to the spa:

So I enter the spa room… and immediately think ‘Shit! I’ve unwittingly committed myself to a sanitarium.’

The walls were covered, floor to ceiling, with white ceramic tile. The white tiled floor sloped gently toward the drain middle of the room. A table stood in the middle of the room covered in sheets of plastic. Over the table, jutting out from the wall on a long silver arm, hung seven shower heads.

Dear gods, I’m in the hydrotherapy chamber.

My therapist explained the treatment… which still sounded vaguely like a treatment in an asylum… but with chocolate. Oh well…. I was already here… and there was chocolate.  If I’d managed to accidentally commit myself at least I’d done it at Hershey’s.

Remember where I told you that we’d been told that we should probably leave all of our clothes behind?  Yeah… now I was told to lie face up on the table (that was covered in sheets of plastic) and cover myself with two (ridiculously small) towels. Ooookay.

What the hell, right?  It’s a spa… you’re supposed to be body positive… or at least act like you are. This was still way better than the time that I was at a Hot Spring Bath House and the attendant took my towel. Took it!   So fine, here I at least had two towels.

The therapist left while I climbed up on the table and fussed with the towels and tried not to stick to the plastic wrap covering the table.

The treatment started with a coconut sugar body scrub. OMG. Heaven. The scrub felt and smelled delicious and left behind a light oil that soaked into the skin. After the scrub was scrubbed on it was rinsed off with warm water. Then I was instructed to sit up again (I’d already sat up once so that she could scrub my back… I didn’t know there was going to be sit-ups!  I could have eaten more chocolate Kisses!) and she dried off my back and wrapped a few towels around me… then executed this impressive maneuver where the plastic wrap was folded/rolled and swooshed out from under me without getting a drop of water on the other sheet of plastic wrap below.

I settled back into the table and she magically switched out the big drying towels for two new tiny modesty towels…. then came the Chocolate Fondue Wrap. My skin was coated with a rich, delicious smelling chocolate mud. I really wanted to lick my arm, but I was hoping that this was just a ‘trial commitment’ and I’d get to leave later… Once I was completely slathered down with the chocolate mud I was wrapped up in the plastic wrap. Which was a tiny bit freaky, but mostly because I watch a lot of Law & Order and Investigation Discovery…. I tried to convince myself that I was in a cocoon, but mostly I thought I looked a lot more like someone on the ID channel and I wondered which show I might end up on when I went missing. I’m hoping for Homicide Hunter… Lt Joe Kenda is pretty cool…. I bet he could find me! (Of course… I’d be dead… but anyway….) So you see now why it’s so dangerous when my mind starts to wander?  I’ve gone from a lovely spa treatment to an insane asylum to a starring role on Homicide Hunter. I’m dangerous if left alone in my own head. Which is just where I was left (imagining the interviews friends and family would do after I went missing from the Hershey Spa/Sanitarium… ) after I was covered with two more big fluffy towels, a tarp (I swear to god, a blue tarp!) and a heavy blanket. The therapist dimmed the lights and told me that she’d let me nap for a while and then left the room. Of course my nose chose that moment to begin itching.

Either I was left alone for a very short time or I did end up takeing a bit of a nap.

I was uncovered, unwrapped and then it was time for the Vichy Shower… which is apparently what that silver arm with the seven shower heads hanging from the wall was called. It still looked a bit like a water torture device, but once the gentle blast of warm water hit me I was ready to forgive its evil looks.

Once all the chocolate mud was rinsed away the therapist preformed her magic trick (which required a fourth sit-up) and the wet plastic wrap was whisked away and replaced with warm, dry blankets. The shower was followed by a light massage with chocolate scented lotion. (I really wanted to lick my arm.) I dozed and melted into the table while the therapist rinsed the chocolate mud down the drain in the floor and then dried a path for me. I was left alone to ooze from the table and drunkenly find my robe and slippers. Out in the hall my therapist handed me the fancy scrubby brush that came with the package and a bag of purple and silver chocolate Kisses. (Apparently a reward for all those sit-ups!)

I found Mom reading a magazine in the Quiet Room and together we made our way to the dressing room and finally back out into the rainy Pennsylvania night.

We were both starved and not quite willing to have our day of decadence end just yet. I found a restaurant nearby with stellar reviews on the Find Me Gluten Free app so we decide to give it a try.

Piazza Sorrento was absolutely fabulous!  I asked for a gluten-free menu when we were seated and as soon a our waitress arrived she said ‘I see you have the GF menus, are there any other allergies or dietary concerns that I should be aware of?’ Wow!  Usually you have to point that out 15 times… she asked us!  (I heard her asking the other tables throughout the night if there were any dietary concerns… and I heard at least two other tables had GF people too.)

The food was insanely good. Mom and I decided to split everything because I was already drooling over appetizers and desserts… and they brought us GF bread to dip in the olive oil and crushed pepper. 

We shared an order of Hot Crab Dip with GF bread…. Lasagna and Chocolate Lava Cake with ice cream. Each plate came with a little slip of paper that said ‘gluten free choice.’  Just one more touch to make us GF people feel safe.

I’m so glad that I got to share such a fun and decadent day with my mom. She has always done so much for me.  I love being able to take her to new places and spoil her back.

If you’re ever in Pennsylvania… scratch that…. Go to Pennsylvania and stay at the Hershey Hotel (the hotel was beautiful too) and spend a whole day at the spa. Also, you should definitely visit Piazza Sorrento… and go hungry!

Lenwood Lake Campground

Lenwood Lake Campground in West Bend, WI was our second ‘home’ on our Fall Colors Tour. 

I’m still pretty new to this whole RV Lifestyle. I’m generally a 5 Star Hotel kinda girl, so living out of an RV has been a whole new world for me. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still certainly not ‘roughing it’ in our RV. It’s bigger than many apartments and has more bells and whistles than I know what to do with. We’ve got a bathroom and a shower with plenty of hot water, a decent sized kitchen and satellite tv…. I’m not suffering here. Campgrounds are still something to get used to though. The amenities vary widely. Even though our RV is designed so that we could go a few days without water or electric hookups it’s far more comfortable with than without. With that in mind, Brian has been trying to pick campgrounds with full hookups and onsite facilities. Traveling north as we enter the winter season has made that more of a challenge. Many campgrounds were already shut down or would be by the time we arrived. 

We arrived at Lenwood Lake Campground during the last week of their season. We actually spent an additional day there after their official close, but they were aware of our schedule and kindly let us stay the extra day. 

Lenwood was a nice enough campground with a pretty beach and playground area. There weren’t any laundry facilities onsite, but there was a very nice laundromat about 20 minutes away in Cedarburg. 


The bathrooms were clean, but they smelled ‘old’.  Not sure of any other way to describe the smell… it wasn’t dirty or mildew-y…. they just smelled old…. but they were very clean. 


The shower was clean too… but creepy looking… not a chance in hell that I was stepping in there. 


Nope. Just nope. 

All in all, Lenwood Lake Campground was a nice place to stay in Westbend, WI. It was centrally located to Cedarburg, Milwaukee and the other little shopping towns in the area.  The bathrooms were clean, but I wouldn’t plan on using the showers. Since water hookups included with the sites it wasn’t a problem for us anyway. 

There were other sites that had prettier views of the lake, but since we were leaving after they closed they put us up at the front of the campground. If we were to visit this campground again I’d ask for one of the sites overlooking the lake. Though if you were traveling with kids you might prefer the front of the campground since it is closer to the playground and the beach. 

Door County Wisconsin

Okay, I’m really behind on posting. No good reason for it really…. just nothing terribly exciting. We’re still having a good time on our adventure, but more in the way of ‘Gee, that was nice’ as opposed to ‘OMG!  Wait ’till I post this!’  

Door County, Wisconsin was fun. Lots of pretty countryside and picturesque sites. 

We went to the Sister Bay Fall Festival one afternoon.  I thought it was a bigger event, but apparently when Brian and I visited last year there were a couple different festivals going on around the county and I’d just squooshed them together in my mind. The one Festival was still fun… just not as big as I’d made it in my head…. so it didn’t take nearly as long to see the crafts and then be done for the day. 

Goats on the roof of Al Johnson’s… eating the grass roof!

Mom and I are getting seriously claustrophobic in that RV so we kinda revolted when Brian wanted to go back after the festival. I pouted until he said we could go look at the damn lighthouses (he didn’t say ‘damn’ outloud, but you could still hear it implied).  


Boo was not the least bit impressed by the (damn) lighthouse. Admittedly, it wasn’t the most impressive lighthouse, but it did keep us out and about a lot longer. Of course there wasn’t any parking available near the light house, but Brian had (foolishly) handed me the map of the park and I’d noticed a walking trail from another parking lot through the woods to the light house… it didn’t look like a long trail… it was only like an inch or two on the map!  (1.5 miles.. each way.) 


I kept trying to get a cute shot of Boo leading me through the woods… the light was so pretty filtering down through autumn leaves and Boo looked so adorable trotting down the trail. I finally convinced Mom and Brian to keep walking so that Boo would keep walking  so that I could take the picture…. and I promptly got tangled up in her leash, stomped on her paw and rolled my ankle over a tree limb. Boo’d had enough of me and my stupid camera after that and I apologized and carried her the rest of the way back. 

The next day was grey and rainy and Mom and I were clawing at the windows…. we don’t do well with confinement. Brian had enough of me and Mom so he told us to go out and entertain ourselves. (You can imagine how well that went over.) 

Door County is filled with cute little touristy areas on a peninsula… there’s not a lot of trouble we could get into and since it was a peninsula I probably couldn’t manage to get too lost…. but fine!  We’d go entertain ourselves… hrump! 

So we went shopping…. at every antique store on the whole damn peninsula. 


I found the deviled egg dish that I’d been hunting….


and the Syrup pitcher! 

Grandma used to collect Early American Press Cut glass (EAPC) – Star of David pattern. I loved her collection and I loved that she USED it.  It wasn’t like she collected it and it went on a shelf… she liked it, she’d find it at yard sales and she’d buy pieces for a quarter and use them. I used to borrow her fancier pieces, like the punch bowl and the platters for parties. When she passed I got her collection and I’ve been adding to it slowly. I have these rules for collecting though… I’m not paying crazy Antique Store prices for any piece. Most pieces can be found at yard sales for $.25 – $1.00. Everybody’s grandma had a few pieces so they’re always turning up at yard sales. There are a few ‘rare’ pieces that I’m missing, but I’m not paying $25-$50 for ’em. I’ve had my hands on both the syrup pitcher and the egg dish in the past, but never for less than $25……  I got both of these pieces for less than $20!!!  


I also found these cool Torpedo (or bullet or boudoir) lamps!  (Don’t say anything dirty about my lamps… I think they’re cool.) I’d never seen anything like them before… and they were on sale!  Brian will have to put new electrical cords on them… one has a wear spot on it that makes me nervous. So shiny! 


I still hadn’t had enough retail therapy by that point… and we were still gonna show Brian how much fun we could get into on our own… so we stopped for lunch at the Cookery. Mom and I each ordered a sandwich and then traded half. New discovery!  Cream cheese and cherry jam tastes fabulous on oven roasted turkey slices! (With gluten free bread, of course.) Oh! And applesauce with cherries is equally delicious. It wasn’t that mushy, baby food applesauce… this was thick, chunky, cinnamon-y applesauce with tart cherries. OMG!  I bought a jar of the applesauce to take back and show Brian all the awesomeness that he’d missed out on. 

It was still pretty early, even after we’d sat and talked over iced tea and cherry lemonades…. so we decided to just drive around the whole damn peninsula. I checked the gas ‘range’ thingie on the car… I had 130 miles and I figured that’d be plenty… so off we went! 


When the gods built me they didn’t waste a lot of internal space (space that could be dedicated to my tummy for stuffing full of all kinds of yummy food) on a silly thing like a bladder…. I’m pretty sure they gave me and extra-extra small bladder. Also, I am part raccoon. (You didn’t know that, did ya?). Well it’s true….. and I can’t eat a meal without a ton of water… or iced tea…. and those two factors (which are completely beyond my control!) have led me to some pretty interesting bathroom stops. 

Me: Mom, I’m gonna die if we don’t stop. 

Mom: Again?!

Anyway… so I stopped to pee… again. And as I was wandering around the far side of the gas station (why is the bathroom all the way around the back of the scary gas station?  Are they trying to make it easier for the serial killers?) I noticed a walkway that lead down to a beach. It was blocked off, but I leaned around the Do Not Enter signs and noticed what looked like a public park just a ways down. So… my teeny tiny bladder isn’t all bad. (Have you seen that R/X commercial where this cute bladder is leading this lady to the bathroom all the time and then she gets mad and yells at it… in public… and then takes it to the doctor and gives it drugs. I feel so sorry for that bladder… that lady should be more open to the interesting places that her badder leads her to… also…. she’s hallucinating a giant pink bladder… who’s the one who needs drugs, huh?) 


Anyway, so Mom and I found this really cool park with a little…. jetty?  Mini-peninsula? Long hunk of land that led out into the water…. and we walked out and I took pictures while this wicked looking storm rolled in and brought equally wicked looking waves.  And then my fingers froze off because I was trying to get a photo of the water crashing over the rocks… and I got wet… and my fingers froze off. It was a really pretty park…. and we’d have never even noticed it if it weren’t for my ridiculously tiny bladder. Also the park had a bathroom so we stopped there too before we left.  (Someone really needs to monitor my liquid intake.) 

By that time it was starting to get dark and we were pretty cold… and all the shops were closing…. so we decided that we’d punished Brian enough… and we headed home. When we got back Brian had made pizza… from scratch…. so we forgave him. 

The next day, apparently Brian had  learned his lesson (or perhaps he’d seen the credit card summary…) and decide it was better to go with us. 

Mom wanted to take the ferry to Washington Island… so we loaded up in the car… I mentioned that Brian should maybe check the gas before we got too far….. and headed to the ferry. 


I’ve been on lots of boats and ferries and I’ve never gotten sick… I love boats!  I don’t generally get car sick (as long as I’m not in the back), but apparently the combination of ‘car on boat’ does make me sick. The ferry had barely left the dock before my stomach started to roll. I opened the sun roof hoping that I just needed air, but that wasn’t nearly enough air. I rolled the window down and leaned my whole head and torso out the window…. for the whole trip. Mom and Brian were fine. Boo was jealous that I got to hang my head out the window and we won’t let her do that. 


There wasn’t a whole lot to do on the island… it’s a tiny island…. but we stopped at an art school shop that’s sells things that the artist make. I bought this beautiful hand-dyed yarn and a crochet needle. Nope, I don’t know how to crochet, I’m a knitter .. but I’ve decide Mom can teach me. She crocheted… 30 years ago… and I’ve picked out a really complicated pattern… what could go wrong!? 


We stopped at this beach that had these cool rounded limestone rocks. It was pretty, but there were signs saying that we couldn’t take the rocks and no dog allowed…. (yeah…. ’cause Boo would have caused all sorts of trouble, but that kid throwing rocks everywhere was fine, huh?) It probably would have been more fun to visit in the summer and play in the water.. as it was, the beach was pretty…


We also visited two lavender farms on the island… mostly because they were there and we thought we should… not because either mom or I actually like lavender.  I had a relative that had issues as a child… and lavender was supposed to be calming. Mom would slather him down with lavender until he smelled like a little French whore…. I wonder if he has flashbacks to those miserable days when he smells lavender?  I can’t stand the smell anymore…. so the lavender farm was pretty, but not the most relaxing stop for us. 

Brian made us leave after the lavender farm. He was worried that we’d miss the last boat off the island. 


The water was much rougher on the way back. I didn’t even try to stay in the car. I headed straight to the top deck. I nearly froze to death, but I loved the ride back… bumpy and wavy… I just need air and I’m fine. Boo was royally pissed. She was in her puppy pouch, under my coat and wrapped in my scarf. She was not impressed at all. 


We caught a couple of farmers markets in Door County before we left. I got this huge bouquet of flowers (dahlias and cabbage roses) for $8.00….OMG! Of course I hadn’t packed a vase so I had to improvise. I sliced the top off a milk jug and stuck a rock at the bottom for weight The flowers lasted quite a while and the cats didn’t even chew off the petals!