Most everyone is familiar with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But there’s more than one race track in the “racing capital of the world.” Lucas Oil Raceway is only seven miles from the Speedway, and some big races run there, as well. Read more
Step on the old-time scale to see if you’re a witch … walk in wooden shoes … feed a goat … see how cheese is made. There is so much to do at Nelis’ Dutch Village in Holland, Michigan, our three-generation family spent almost a full day there. Read more
Last fall we visited League Stadium in Huntingburg, Indiana. League Stadium is where the 1992 hit movie A League of Their Own, starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, was filmed. Today the Dubois County Bombers summer collegiate baseball league team plays in the stadium. However, our 2016 visit was post-season. The college players had gone back to school. The Rockford Peaches and Racine Belles from the movie were long gone. Even the vintage billboard signs had been taken down for maintenance. As I stood in the stands, I could only imagine a baseball game being played in the retro-style League Stadium.
This summer my imagined game became reality. Not only did we see the Dubois County Bombers play; it was also the 25th anniversary of A League of Their Own. The Rockford Peaches played a “rematch” game against the Racine Belles. In fact, Bitty Schram, the actress who played the Rockford Peach who cried during the game, came back for the anniversary celebration. Following the rematch game, we stayed for a Dubois County Bombers regular season game. Read more
It’s a bit eerie, a sort of ghost town in Richmond, Indiana. From the late 1800s to the Great Depression, the Whitewater Valley gorge was home to the Starr Piano Company. Its subsidiary, Gennett Records, recorded great jazz artists, including Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. Today, a shell of the piano factory, a smokestack, and a couple of graffiti covered structures are all that remain. Yet, it isn’t completely dead. The property is now the Whitewater Valley Gorge Park. The lone remaining building is used as an events center, and the Gennett Records Walk of Fame is embedded into the walking/biking path that runs through the park. The Gennett Records Walk of Fame pays tribute to the jazz, country, big band, blues, and gospel greats who recorded here. Read more
Last summer my granddaughter and I visited the Saint Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri. Zoo admission is free. However, we opted for the Adventure Pass, which gets you into six attractions that aren’t included in the free admission. The Adventure Pass is well worth the $12.95 fee, which is less than admission at other major zoos. We had planned to spend only the morning at the zoo. But with all that the Adventure Pass offers, we ended up staying all day. Read more
Over 20 years ago we visited Conner Prairie, an outdoor history museum in Fishers, Indiana. I remember the 1836 Prairietown, where costumed interpreters stay in character. I remember the William Conner House, home of the early 1800s trader, entrepreneur, and politician. And I remember getting to hold a lamb as we watched sheep being sheared.
Fast forward to 2017 and our second Conner Prairie visit. What a change! The 1836 Prairietown and William Conner House are still there, but they’ve added so much more. We experienced a balloon voyage, which lifted us to heights higher than the Statue of Liberty. We climbed a four-story treehouse in the woods. And we found ourselves in the midst of the Civil War, Disneyesque style.
This first article in a series about Conner Prairie introduces you to William Conner, his two very different lifestyles, and his home on the prairie.
A sense of serenity came over me as I strolled the paths of Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois. Walking through landscapes of meticulously manicured trees and flowing water, relaxation replaced my stress. What is it about a Japanese garden that differs from other gardens? Why does it feel tranquil? It’s because each element—every rock, every plant, every pond— is carefully placed to inspire calm and renewal.
I’ve felt that that sense of tranquility in every Japanese garden I’ve visited. However, it was intensified at Anderson Japanese Gardens because of the garden’s size and extensive use of water. The garden’s twelve acres includes two large ponds, a creek that winds through the property, and a tall waterfall.
A tornado swept through Kokomo, Indiana, just days before our visit. Sadly, the tornado destroyed homes. It leveled a Starbucks. It uprooted towering trees in Highland Park. Fortunately, it didn’t touch Old Ben’s home. Old Ben, the World’s largest steer, as well as a giant sycamore stump, are on display behind glass in the Highland Park visitor’s center. Read more