National Civil War Museum Focuses on Humanity

National Civil War Museum Focuses on Humanity

We visited the National Civil War Museum last summer during our visit to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The museum tells the story of both the Union and the Confederacy, emphasizing personal human elements through stories, artifacts and dioramas.

Tension had been brewing between the North and the South for decades over slavery. Slavery was dominant in southern states. It was the backbone of South’s agrarian economy. Conversely, northern “abolitionists” felt slavery was wrong. They wanted to do away with slavery. Abraham Lincoln, who ran on a strong anti-slavery platform, won the 1860 presidential election. A month later, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Ten more southern states followed suit. Less than four months later, the first shots of the Civil War were fired.
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Georgetown Walking Tour: Historic Underground Railroad Neighborhood

Georgetown Walking Tour: Historic Underground Railroad Neighborhood

African Americans settled in Georgetown as early as the 1820s. Georgetown, a neighborhood in Madison, Indiana, is located on the banks of the Ohio River. During the times of slavery, Indiana was a free state. Kentucky, across the river, was a slave state. Putting their own lives at risk, many Georgetown abolitionists helped slaves escape and travel north to freedom. They hid escaped slaves in their homes and other buildings as the slaves traveled the Underground Railroad route. During our visit to Madison, we took the self-guided Georgetown Walking Tour and saw some of the Georgetown buildings that still exist. Read more

West Baden Springs Hotel: Touring Historical Opulence

West Baden Springs Hotel: Touring Historical Opulence

Lee W. Sinclair dubbed his dream hotel “the eighth wonder of the world” when he built it in 1901. The opulent West Baden Springs Hotel’s centerpiece was the dome-topped 200-foot diameter atrium. The rest of the hotel and the surrounding grounds were grandiose, as well. The West Baden Springs Hotel, along with neighboring French Lick Springs Hotel, was the wealthy’s place to go. West Baden Springs was more than a hotel; it was a full resort. The resort included a casino, a velodrome, and a baseball field that professional teams used for spring training. However, West Baden Springs was best known for its mineral springs that had healing powers. We toured the West Baden Hotel during our recent French Lick, Indiana, visit and learned of the hotel’s rise, decline and restoration. Read more

Hershey’s Chocolate World: Chocolate Fun 5 Ways

Hershey’s Chocolate World: Chocolate Fun 5 Ways

Milton S. Hershey built the entire town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, over a hundred years ago to serve his Hershey Chocolate factory and the factory employees. Today, not everyone who lives in Hershey works for the chocolate company or its affiliated enterprises. However, Hershey attractions still dominate. According to TripAdvisor, four of the top seven Hershey attractions are Hersheypark, Hershey Gardens, The Hershey Story (The Museum on Chocolate Avenue) and Hershey’s Chocolate World. Hershey’s Chocolate World itself includes five separate activities. Read more

2 Romantic Bed and Breakfasts along Indiana’s Ohio River

2 Romantic Bed and Breakfasts along Indiana’s Ohio River

We used to stay only at chain hotels when we traveled. Until, during a press trip in our early blogging days, our hosts booked us at a bed and breakfast. Our first B&B experience was so impressive that we now prefer to stay at bed and breakfasts, small inns, cottages and cabins. So we were thrilled when our itineraries for last fall’s road trip to southern Indiana included several such accommodations. Among the places we stayed were two romantic bed and breakfasts along the Ohio River:  Kintner House Inn in Corydon and Market Street Inn in Jeffersonville. Read more

North Dakota Road Trip Day 5: Bismarck to Dickinson

North Dakota Road Trip Day 5: Bismarck to Dickinson

On the fifth day of our summer road trip across North Dakota, we took a road trip inside a road trip inside a road trip. Starting at Bismarck, we drove to Mandan. We left the interstate at Mandan and continued west on the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway. At Gladstone we detoured south onto the Enchanted Highway, then headed back north to continue on the Old Red Old Ten to its end at Dickinson. Read more

French Lick Springs Hotel: A Stay in Historical Luxury

French Lick Springs Hotel: A Stay in Historical Luxury

When the Monon Railroad built a line from Chicago to French Lick, Indiana, in the late 1800s, everyone who was anyone from Chicago began visiting French Lick. Well-to-do folks played golf on a championship course. They bathed in the healing mineral springs. And they stayed in the luxury French Lick Springs Hotel or the nearby equally luxurious West Baden Hotel. Read more

11 Midwest Popcorn Shops You Must Try

11 Midwest Popcorn Shops You Must Try

I’ve mentioned here before that if  I could have only one snack food for the rest of my life, it would be cheese popcorn. But not just any cheese popcorn. The supermarket stuff won’t do. It must be super cheesy, the kind you can only find in a gourmet popcorn shop. So every time I stumble upon a popcorn shop in my travels, I must go in and buy some.  Here are 11 Midwest popcorn shops I’ve come across in the past few years that offer rich gourmet cheese popcorn—and caramel corn in lots of flavors if you prefer your popcorn sweet. Read more

RV-MH Hall of Fame Exhibits Campers of Yesteryear

RV-MH Hall of Fame Exhibits Campers of Yesteryear

It wasn’t long after automobiles became the mainstay of American society that people began converting them into recreational vehicles or pulling camping trailers behind them.  Both the first motorhome and the first travel trailers made their debuts in 1910. Last summer we visited the RV-MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana, where campers dating as far back as the 1916 are on display in the museum, including some once owned by well-known people. Read more

Goldmoor Inn Artists in Residence Teaching January Painting Workshops

Goldmoor Inn Artists in Residence Teaching January Painting Workshops

I had never touched watercolors in my life—besides the eight-color Crayola® trays that I used in kindergarten. Yet, in only two hours, I created a watercolor painting that I was proud of, during the inaugural session of the Goldmoor Inn Artists in Residence program. The luxury bed-and-breakfast Goldmoor Inn, located in Galena, Illinois, is sponsoring the program for four consecutive weeks during January. Award-winning Chicago watercolor painter Carol Luc taught me and several others basic watercolor techniques during this past weekend’s session. Read more