North Dakota Road Trip Day 2: Valley City to Devil’s Lake

North Dakota Road Trip Day 2: Valley City to Devil’s Lake

Earlier this summer we spent a week exploring North Dakota. We started our road trip with a full day in Fargo and then headed west via I-94 to Valley City where we spent the night, eager to continue exploring the following day. Read more

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 1

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 1

One of my favorite things about my job as a travel writer is learning about a myriad of subjects. Therefore, when I was invited to Webster City, Iowa, to learn about their agricultural community, I jumped at the chance. My husband and I joined several other bloggers and their guests for three days. We not only learned about agriculture and the rural lifestyle in this community, but had a lot of fun, too. Read more

Exploring World’s Only Quilt Gardens Tour

Exploring World’s Only Quilt Gardens Tour

When I heard about the Quilt Gardens tour in Northern Indiana, and saw pictures of some of the gardens, I knew I had to take the self-guided driving tour. I was not disappointed. The quilt gardens are just as pretty as the pictures I had seen. Moreover, it was fun to follow the map provided by the Elkhart Country Convention & Visitors Bureau to find each of the gardens along the world’s only quilt gardens tour. Read more

Brucemore: The Mansion and the People Who Lived There

Brucemore: The Mansion and the People Who Lived There

Have you ever traded houses with someone? I mean, for keeps? In 1905, George and Irene Douglas traded their city home for the mansion that would become known as Brucemore, located about ten miles outside of Cedar Rapids. During a tour of the 16,000 square foot Brucemore, I not only took in the opulence of the home’s design and furnishings, but also learned about the fascinating lives of two families who lived there. Read more

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Revisited

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Revisited

Two years ago I visited Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo during a press trip. Even through the zoo hadn’t opened for the season yet, I could tell from what was available to see during my visit that it was an outstanding zoo for children and adults alike. Therefore, when I made a return visit to Fort Wayne, Indiana, this year I wanted to go back to the zoo and see it in mid-season. I had planned to spend an hour or so in the zoo but ended up staying over three hours—and that’s without children. With about 1,000 animals, beautiful landscaping and five rides, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is, by far, the nicest non-major zoo I have visited. Read more

Hershey Gardens Opens Tropical Butterfly Atrium

Hershey Gardens Opens Tropical Butterfly Atrium

The first thing that caught my eye as I looked through the observation window from the Hershey Gardens gift shop into the new tropical butterfly atrium were the giant blue morpho butterflies flitting about. I had never seen a blue butterfly before, or one so large. The blue morpho is just one species of butterfly introduced in the atrium housed in the Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory, newly opened in 2016. In total, 200 to 300 species of tropical and North American Butterflies will be represented in the atrium when it is fully populated. Read more

Pit Stop Barbecue and Grill: Best Barbecue North of the Mason-Dixon Line

Pit Stop Barbecue and Grill: Best Barbecue North of the Mason-Dixon Line

Barbecue is one of my favorite foods, really good barbecue, that is. The pork, beef or chicken has to be smoked slowly for hours over hickory, mesquite or other wood that adds a smoky flavor. The smoked meat must be juicy, not dry. I have found some great barbecue restaurants in the South, but they are a rare find north of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River.  So I was thrilled when we discovered Pit Stop Barbecue and Grill in Brownsburg, Indiana. Read more

One Day in Fargo, North Dakota

One Day in Fargo, North Dakota

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had a short time in a city and wished we could stay longer. Fargo, North Dakota, is one of those cities. We had a week to explore North Dakota, and a single day in Fargo was our starting point. Read more

Crayola Experience: Mall of America Family Attraction

Crayola Experience: Mall of America Family Attraction

Become the star of your own coloring page. Watch your drawing become part of a scrolling mural. Turn a crayon into a race car. Spin melted wax into a work of art. These are just a few of the activities kids—and adults—can have fun with at Crayola Experience, new to Mall of America in 2016. Read more

Red Umbrella Bed and Breakfast: Relaxing Retreat Near Hershey

Red Umbrella Bed and Breakfast: Relaxing Retreat Near Hershey

I felt at home as soon as we pulled up to the red-brick Federal-style Red Umbrella Bed and Breakfast.  White rockers and red begonias on the porch that stretched across the home’s front practically yelled “welcome.” Co-owner Anna Goss’ genuine friendliness cemented my comfort level. The Red Umbrella B&B in Grantville, Pennsylvania, would be our home for the next three days while we explored nearby Hershey. Read more