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The unfortunately inevitable has arrived; my air-and-road trip around The Great Lakes – or Lela Takes The Lakes – has come to an end.

And what an end Chicago was.

Though I had been to Chicago a few times in my youth, it was never for more than 24 hours and always for an occasion outside of my control. I couldn’t wait to explore the city properly.

Take a look back with me via blog (and vlog!), below…

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


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Let me preface this particular adventure with a bit of a disclaimer…

I kind of hate malls.

Having spent a couple of my fresh-faced years in them caking people’s faces and trying not to gauge my eyes out, they’re simply not an environment I want to spend my free time in.

“But wait..wait…you booked a trip to the Mall of America?”

I did, indeed. During a pre-Lela Takes The Lakes research session, The Mall of America (and its surrounding areas of Bloomington and Minneapolis, Minnesota) seemed to offer everything I love in a new travel destination.

I expected much more than a mall. And boy, did I get it…

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If I had to recommend only one destination in the Great Lakes, Traverse City would be it.

It didn’t take me long to really Traverse City is as Great as The Lakes gets; a wonderful surprise, really, as it was the stop I was least excited for in my Lela Takes The Lakes adventures.

Before my quasi road trip made space for it, Northern Michigan simply couldn’t seduce its way to becoming a bucket list contender.

Isn’t it funny how fast vineyards, beaches, and dirty banh mi fries can change your mind?

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Though I spent far more time than I needed to in the state underneath it throughout my adolescence, I had never visited Michigan until this year. This exact Lela Takes The Lakes meander.

Because of its proximity to my best friend’s wedding (hello again, Indiana) and equidistance from my first long-term stop (Traverse City), I kicked all things Great Lakes off with a stop in Grand Rapids.

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