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

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield: Civil War on the Family Farm

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield: Civil War on the Family Farm

John Ray stood in his cornfield watching the nightmarish scene unfold before him, the rest of his family crouched in the farmhouse cellar. Cannon booms resonated in the usually quiet setting. Soldiers’ cries pierced the hot, humid summer Ozark air as bloody bodies fell. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, in which 1,317 Union Soldiers and 1,222 Confederate soldiers lost their lives, is considered the first significant Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River. John Ray’s farmhouse is the only original structure that still stands today. It is one of the eight interpretive stops at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield in Springfield, Missouri. Read more

Bread Basket Café & Bakery: My First Stop on the Hoosier Pie Trail

Bread Basket Café & Bakery: My First Stop on the Hoosier Pie Trail

I ate breakfast at the Bread Basket Café & Bakery in Danville, Indiana, three years ago and loved their fresh spin on the meal. So when I was heading to Danville again this year for the third annual Mayberry in the Midwest Festival, I wanted to be sure to eat there again. This visit, however, wasn’t for a meal, but rather for dessert, to kick off my quest to complete the Hoosier Pie Trail. Read more

Medora Musical and Pitchfork Steak Fondue: North Dakota Road Trip Grand Finale

Medora Musical and Pitchfork Steak Fondue: North Dakota Road Trip Grand Finale

Last month we took a road trip, zig-zagging across North Dakota east to west. We started our trip at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center and ended in Medora. I have a lot to write about North Dakota all across the state, but I’m jumping now to the westernmost point of our trip. The Medora Musical and Pitchfork Steak Fondue was a true grand finale to our road trip. Read more

25 Ways to Have Fun at the Illinois State Fair

25 Ways to Have Fun at the Illinois State Fair

I went to my first state fair in 2015. I had been to county fairs many times but had never gotten around to going to the larger Illinois State Fair—or for that matter, any other state fair. I knew the gist of what to expect—farm animals, carnival rides, entertainment and such. What surprised me was the size of the fair. There was so much to see and do. We spent two days at the fair and didn’t get a chance to see everything. Here is a list of 25 things to do at the Illinois State Fair, and it is not all-encompassing. Read more

Exploring NewBo: Trendy Cedar Rapids Neighborhood

Exploring NewBo: Trendy Cedar Rapids Neighborhood

When devastation strikes, it’s difficult to imagine good coming from it, but that’s what happened in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, New Bohemia neighborhood, referred to as NewBo, following the great Cedar River flood of 2008. Most buildings in the already declining New Bohemia neighborhood filled eight feet or more with floodwaters. Sadly, some historic buildings were torn down rather than repaired. However, with federal and state funds, as well as insurance money, a building resurgence occurred. Today NewBo is booming with new shops, restaurants, and pubs.

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Floating Down Swatara Creek with Cocoa Kayak Rentals of Hershey

Floating Down Swatara Creek with Cocoa Kayak Rentals of Hershey

Floating down Swatara Creek, the sun warming your face, the only sounds are that of water lapping with each stroke of your kayak paddle and the occasional trill of a great blue heron before it alights from its perch on the wooded banks and glides ahead of you. It’s hard to believe that you’re just minutes from a major tourist area.  A river trip with Cocoa Kayak Rentals of Hershey was the perfect way to relax following several days of being on the go at numerous tourist attractions in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Read more

Pierogi Fest: Whiting , Indiana, Celebrates and Pokes a Little Fun at Their Heritage

Pierogi Fest: Whiting , Indiana, Celebrates and Pokes a Little Fun at Their Heritage

I grew up in Illinois just over the border from Northwest Indiana. Although I no longer live in that immediate area, I have lots of friends and family who do. Over the years I’ve heard talk about Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana. I assumed it was just a small-town festival, no big deal—until I went to Pierogi Fest last year. What a hoot! Read more