6 Small Midwest Zoos Great for a Short Visit

6 Small Midwest Zoos Great for a Short Visit

Large zoos are a fun all-day adventure. But there are times that you don’t have all day. Or perhaps you have little ones in tow who can’t yet handle a full day outing. You hate to pay the full price for a major zoo, deal with the hassle of a large parking lot, and leave after a few hours. Here are six Midwest zoos that are great for short visits. Read more

Driving through Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Driving through Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. President from 1901 to 1909, is known as the “conservation president.” He created the U.S. Forest Service and also established numerous national forests, bird reserves, game preserves, national parks, and national monuments. It’s fitting that North Dakota’s national park, an area where Roosevelt hunted, ranched, and grieved the passing of both his wife and his mother, is named after him. A drive through Theodore Roosevelt National Park, located in the North Dakota Badlands, was a highlight of our week-long road trip through North Dakota last summer. Read more

Ohio River Scenic Byway: A Day in Historic Newburgh

Ohio River Scenic Byway: A Day in Historic Newburgh

In the mid-1800s Newburgh, Indiana, flourished. Steamboat traffic and coal mining were big industries. Warehouses lined Water Street. Mills and small factories contributed to the town’s success. Today, the steamboats, mills and warehouses are gone. A walking trail parallels the Ohio River, with benches on which you can sit for a while and watch barges that still ply the glistening waters. Restaurants and shops attract visitors. The atmosphere is casual, resort-like. However, the town embraces its historic roots, combining the old with the new, as we discovered during our visit to Newburgh during our road trip last fall along Indiana’s Ohio River Scenic Byway. Read more

Following the Trail of Faith in Southern Indiana

Following the Trail of Faith in Southern Indiana

When we travel, we often visit area churches. We especially enjoy architecturally and/or historically significant churches, whether attending Sunday Mass or just touring. So when we were in South Indiana’s Dubois County, we were anxious to follow some of the Trail of Faith. Read more

Following the Amish Country Heritage Trail Driving Tour

Following the Amish Country Heritage Trail Driving Tour

Last summer we headed to Elkhart County in northern Indiana to travel the world’s only quilt gardens driving tour. The quilt gardens are intertwined with the area’s Heritage Trail, so we essentially took two driving tours simultaneously. The drive takes you along city streets and country roads in both Elkhart and LaGrange Counties, passing through seven cities and towns, including Nappanee and Shipshewana, the heart of Amish Country. Read more

Mayberry in the Midwest Festival Takes You Back to Simpler Times

Mayberry in the Midwest Festival Takes You Back to Simpler Times

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know by now that I end up behind jail bars several times a year. Last summer, it wasn’t just me… but everybody in our pub crawl group. The “authorities” put us women in one cell and the men in another. It certainly wasn’t a pleasant place to be. Good thing it was, as usual, just pretend. My jail time was part of the Mayberry After Dark event during the Mayberry in the Midwest Festival in Danville, Indiana. Read more

North Dakota Road Trip Day 6: Dickinson to Medora

North Dakota Road Trip Day 6: Dickinson to Medora

On Day 6, the last “official” day of our North Dakota road trip, we drove from Dickinson to Medora. We toured historical and cultural attractions during the day and ended the evening with a delightful outdoor musical performance, complete with a fireworks finale.  Read more

Parke County Maple Syrup Fair Leads to Covered Bridges

Parke County Maple Syrup Fair Leads to Covered Bridges

This weekend we took a road trip to west central Indiana, to the annual Parke County Maple Syrup Fair. Parke County is home to four maple syrup camps. However, the county is better known for its covered bridges. In fact, there are more covered bridges in Parke County, Indiana, than in any other county in the United States. So we combined our day trip to include both the Maple Syrup Fair and a self-guided covered bridge tour. Read more

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