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We are taking our traditional summer hiatus and will be returning in mid-Fall to bring you the scoop on all things lean, green, and Chicago then.
Enjoy your summer!

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by Mira Kolodkin

Madison: A lovely city with a perfect combination of urbanity and nature, wine and beer, brats and vegan soup.  The only place I’ve ever been where you can tell after 20 minutes that this is a blue smidgeon on a very red state map.  Liberal idealism stemming from angry memories of lives spent in more conservative outskirts.  People who want to get away, but not so far away that cheese curds are no longer readily available.  Welcome to Madison!!! Let us get started on your tour.

Photo by Boulevard Bikes

In the summer, people bike.  In the winter, it’s very cold, but people bike anyway.  If you’re not in Portland, the next best place to bike is Madison, Wisconsin.  Every place that I mention on this tour is located within a block of either easily traversable bike paths, or well-defined bike paths on major streets.  The drivers hate you, but you don’t care, because you’re on a bike and hitting you would be very expensive for them. Read the rest of this entry »

by Lydia Krupinski

SANY0051August is an epic month for David and me. What was originally planned as a leisurely roadtrip West has become an exploratory extravaganza! We knew from the beginning that we’d be hitting up Portland and San Francisco…but the list has grown substantially since our early planning.

Here is our current camping itinerary: Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Seattle, Portland, Redwood National Forest, drive down  Highway 5 on the California coast to San Francisco, Yosemite…and that’s as far as we’ve gone.

So why am I telling you this? David and I would love your suggestions on what to explore as we head West. We’ve been receiving some great ideasfrom friends and family, but we would love to hear from you! Specifically, we need ideas on where to go from Yosemite. Our trip is 16 days in length, so get out your idea caps and shoot us some comments! We’ll be photo journaling our trip and sharing it with you along the way!

Article by Lydia Krupinski
Photos by Lydia Krupinski & David Downs

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When deciding where to go for Spring Break, the decision wasn’t easy. David and I thought long and hard about cost, location, our footprint, and what we truly wanted from a vacation. We wanted to get out of the city, but didn’t want to fly to either coast. We also wanted a change of scenery, an escape from the flatlands of the central midwest.

After doing some research we decided to rent a fuel efficient compact car and head south to one of the largest natural wonders in the world: Mammoth Cave National Park. This amazing preserve boasts hundreds of miles of wilderness, a rich history, eco-friendly lodging accomodations, and a dedication to environmental preservation and education.

With over 365 miles of cave to explore, horseback riding, canoing, and hiking, David and I couldn’t have asked for more.  The crisp clean air, combined with the spectacular view and abundant wildlife, made this the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Chicago.

In addition to the natural splendors, the facilities and accomadations in and around the preserve were all committed to lessening their negative environmental impacts. The on-site cafe boasted several vegetarian  items, biodegradable eating utensils, natural ingredients, and a friendly staff, while the gift shop included handmade crafts by local artisans. Lodging accomodations ranged from camp sites and ranch style hotels, to log cabins and tepees situated in the woods.

This, combined with the park’s dedication to preserving the integrity of the caves and its inhabitants, made the park a truly unique and rewarding vacation experience. Only six hours away from Chicago, Mammoth Cave National Park is the perfect destination for families, urbanites, and eco verts alike! Check out their website to learn about planning your visit.

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