Well, besides the fact that you’re supporting local farmers and not Big Ag when you get food there, it’s fun, the people selling are nice and helpful and friendly- and everything tastes so much better!
If you’re new to Farmer’s Markets, or are intimidated or overwhelmed, the three things you should start with are tomatoes, corn, and peaches. You will never find tastier tomatoes, corn, and peaches anywhere unless you grow them yourself. Not even Whole Foods has better ones.
That’s it, now go, you only have a few weeks left.
Even though we got rid of our travel trailer and moved to the big city, we still love to go camping when we can. We’ve had to adjust to tent camping and have learned that since we usually only go for weekends now, we don’t need a ton of stuff (even though it looks like a ton of stuff).
We are each responsible for gathering and packing about half the list, divided along ye olde sexist gender lines, though there is some overlap:
Cooler: We gave away our cooler and got an insulated tote bag from Wal-Mart like this. It holds more than our cooler did and is a lot easier to pack.
Ice: We usually get a 10-pound bag of ice and put it unopened into the tote bag, which helps to keep everything inside dry. I have also had good luck with reusable cooler packs like Blue Ice, or even just freezing some small bottles of water.
Flashlight: We have a couple of small but bright flashlights from Target. Get the brightest ones you can find. We also have headlamps that make doing actual tasks, like dishes or peeing (not at the same time) in the dark much easier.
Batteries: Always have spares!
Lantern: We’ve tried a few different kinds, battery and propane without really liking them, so we will probably have to shell out some cash for a nicer one like this rechargeable Coleman.
Phones: OMG, we can’t be away from our phones!
Car charger: For our phones we can’t be away from!
External phone charger: There are lots of these out there now, including some solar-powered ones!
Foldable canopy, like an E-Z Up: Mike always groans at this one. It’s heavy, it’s hard to fit in the car. But we always use it and are always glad we brought it. It protects against sun and rain. We have this inexpensive one from Dicks. Or glamp it up with something like this.
Tent: Do not buy a cheap tent! If you want to have to tear it down in the middle of a rainstorm, throw it in the dumpster and sleep in the car, then get a cheap tent. Otherwise, get a good tent with a big and generousrain fly. We have this Coleman, which is supposed to fit three people. Right. If you want room to move around, you have to get a tent that “fits” one more person than is actually going to sleep in it. I’d actually rather have a four-person tent so there’s more room to glamp out.
Tent tarp: You don’t want to put your tent right on the ground. It needs a buffer so it stays clean and dry.
Sleeping bags: Sleeping bags come in a variety of temperature ratings. Be sure to get one that will keep you warm! We have the “Elk Hunter” (gross name) from Rustic Ridge. I don’t like nylon sleeping bags, so even though these fabric ones are heavy, they are more comfy and super-retro (plaid!).
Sleeping pads: Guys, your lady will win this one, so just go ahead and get the inflatable beds straight away, OK? We got these inexpensive ones from Target and they’re comfortable enough. Don’t forget to buy a battery-operated pump. The electric ones and the car ones are sometimes cheaper, but you won’t always be near electricity or your car. One day my glamping dreams will come true and I’ll have two cute vintage military cots, but till then, these beds work great.
Tent light: Hey, it’s dark in the wilderness.
Tent mirror: Ladies? We used to keep one with our tent, but it’s lost. I haven’t really missed it, and trust me, we don’t look great.
Mallet, hatchet, knife, multitool, twine, other tools: You need a mallet to drive tent/canopy stakes into sometimes-hard ground; the hatchet helps with the firewood (for some reason, the bundles you buy at the store have logs that are way too big—release your inner mountain man and cut that wood down to size); knives and other tools, because sometimes, you need to cut stuff, tie things together, or bend something.
Firewood/charcoal and shovel for fire: Are you good at charcoal grilling? If so, you may be able to cook on a campfire. Always get more wood than you think you need. At least two bundles per fire. Some people like to use premade logs like these. Don’t do this. Learn to make a fire. Be sure the campground has fire pits with grates on them!
Camp stove: Or maybe you’re not Jim Bridger and want to just use a camp stove. I have my heart set on a cool old vintage stove, but they’re hard to find in good condition so we’re thinking of getting one of these Colemans. If you get something that requires propane, remember that, too.
Matches and a lighter: We bring both just in case. We experimented with emergency fire makers, but we couldn’t make fire with them, so …
Fire-starter sticks: I am pretty good at making a fire thanks to Martha Stewart, but we bring these anyway, just in case. I don’t really like to cook on a fire that was started with them, but will if we’re in a pinch.
Newspaper: To start the fire without having to use the fire starter sticks. Journalism!
Water holder/canteen: Ours has a strap so it’s a lot easier to carry than bottled water.
Fishing gear: Unless you don’t fish. Then you’re wasting your time bringing a tackle box with some Woolly Buggers.
Fishing license: Yes, you’ll need one if you’re going to fish. And some Woolly Buggers!
Rain slicker/poncho: It will rain.
Extra sneakers: It will rain.
Extra socks: Nothing like putting a clean pair of socks on to make you feel human again. No lie. This is actual sincere truth. Putting on clean socks is heaven on a camping trip.
Cold weather: If it’s going to be cold where you’re going, also bring long underwear, a warm hat, sweaters, and a coat.
Toiletries: Don’t forget to bring your meds and a toothbrush. And some Chapstick.
Cast-iron skillet: Cast-iron cookware is the best for camping. You can cook over the fire with it, and it works great if you use a camp stove. It’s pretty much indestructible.
Cast-iron sauce pan
Tin foil: You can wrap food in it to cook in the coals, you can line the grill with it, and you can wrap leftovers in it. You can also fold it into a hat.
Skewers: We use the long skinny ones for cooking hots dogs and roasting marshmallows.
Tongs: The long heavy-duty ones for BBQs work great.
Large fork/spoon/spatula/whisk: I just use the ones from my kitchen. Whisk you say? Wellllll, sometimes I want whipped cream for desserts or hot chocolate.
Oven mitts: Again, the heavy duty BBQ ones are best, but the kitchen kind are OK. You can move logs from the fire, too.
Plates/bowls: Depending on my level of fanciness, I bring either paper, plastic, or the ones from my kitchen.
Utensils (knives, can opener, corkscrew, silverware, etc.)
Salt and pepper
Beer, wine, whiskey: All of this. Preferably with screw-off tops. Some suggestions: Whatever local craft beer is in the area you’re camping; Old Grand-Dad bourbon, 100-proof.
Tea/coffee: I recently discovered coffee in tea bags, you just pour boiling water over them. It wasn’t half bad
Why have I lived in Chicago for two years and not been to The Berghoff till yesterday?
I knew it was old and cool, but the website is confusing. It was closed, then it was reopened, the concept seemed different. I dunno, I just didn’t. But we like to go out after work so I’m always looking for cool old places. I saw that The Berghoff was having a Flights and Bites event last night, and it was only $15 per person, so I got us some tickets. I don’t see another one scheduled anytime soon, but they do have lots of other events.
ANYHOW, we went and it was fab. The bar and the whole restaurant, in fact, IS old and cool.
The Berghoff started during the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Mr. Berghoff couldn’t afford a booth at the fair, so he sold his beer outside the gates. He opened the bar (saloon) in 1898 as a men-only place where he gave out corned beef sandwiches with the purchase of a stein of beer. Later the restaurant opened. But the bar stayed men only till 1969. 1969!!! This place is soooooo cool, that after prohibition, they got liquor license #1 from the city.
We got all this info along with beer and food tastings. It was tasty and fun!
One of the original murals in the dining room is a painting from The Worlds Fair.
After the tasting we went to the bar to eat and drink more. They have a seasonal “Stock” beer right now that was super good.
And some delicious potato croquettes.
The Berghoff is located at 17 W Adams St, Chicago, IL 60603. So if you’re just visiting, and especially if you live here, be sure to go! They serve lunch in a downstairs cafe from 11-2 Monday thru Friday, and a more substantial lunch and dinner in the bar and dining room from 11:00- 9:00 Monday thru Saturday. Closed Sundays.
We never did get to camping at Railroad Bridge after we said we wanted to. We moved to Chicago shortly after that post was made and haven’t been able to go camping much. But we visited Colorado Springs to get the rest of our stuff from storage a few weeks ago and decided to go then. Our friends Shawn and Chenelle (and Bert!) came with.
First things first: Donuts from Amy’s in Colorado Springs. Since the Donut Mill is so unreliable, and Amy’s is new, we thought we’d give her a try. They were good!
Next up, some fishing for Mike. Be careful, that water is deep and fast moving!
While I lounged and took pictures.
Eventually Shawn, Chenelle, and Bert(!) showed up.
Later Shawn decided to try to make a campfire with some high tech fire starters he was reviewing for his blog. I scoffed and made one the old fashioned way.
Mine is taking off.
The guys finally gave up and used my fire for some tasty hot dogs.
The next morning we tried to make another fire so we could boil water for coffee since we didn’t bring a stove. It was not as easy as we thought it would be but somehow it worked out. This coffee in tea bags isn’t so bad.
Found a nice spot to drink it.
Then packed up, took a couple more pictures, and went for breakfast in Buena Vista.
My brother and sister-in-law are having a baby and I forgot I haven’t even posted the pics from their wedding in May 2013! Everyone had a fab time and some of us drank too much and took crazy pictures!