Apple Time at Peake Orchards

Apple Time at Peake Orchards

As I toured Peake Orchards in Waukon, Iowa, I bit into a Honeycrisp apple. As fruit goes, apples have never been one of my favorites. But that Honeycrisp was true to its name—a crisp crunch followed by sweet flavor. I’d find out later why the apple tasted so good, but at the moment I was learning about all the work that goes into raising apples. Read more

Redamak’s: A Southwest Michigan Institution

Redamak’s: A Southwest Michigan Institution

One of our favorite impromptu day trips is to southwest Michigan, following the Lake Michigan shoreline. Resort towns dot the route with beaches, small shops, galleries, and restaurants. Every time we make the trip, I get a craving for a burger from Redamak’s, an iconic mom-and-pop diner in New Buffalo. But it’s rare that we stop there. Either our meal timing is wrong, or it’s high season with a lot of people waiting outside the door. On our last trip, however, we hit it right—a weekday at 3 p.m. Read more

Nelis’ Dutch Village: Family Fun in Holland, Michigan

Nelis’ Dutch Village: Family Fun in Holland, Michigan

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

Dining at Hagen’s Club House Restaurant

Dining at Hagen’s Club House Restaurant

The French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana, has no shortage of dining options. Choose from delis, bars and grills, a buffet, or fine dining. On our latest French Lick visit we dined at Hagen’s Club House Restaurant, located at the resort’s historic Donald Ross Golf Course. Afterward we stayed for the gorgeous sunset view over the course. 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

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 finally went to Pierogi Fest. What a hoot! Read more

Elkhart County Fair: Indiana’s Largest County Fair

Elkhart County Fair: Indiana’s Largest County Fair

It’s fair time! Counties across the country celebrate agriculture in late summer, typically in July and August. We try to go to at least one county fair each year. Last year, we stopped at the Elkhart County Fair in Goshen, Indiana, during our visit to the area. The Elkhart County Fair is Indiana’s largest county fair and one of the largest in the United States. This well-attended fair drew over 183,000 people in 2016.  Read more

Follow the Wayne County, Indiana, Chocolate Trail

Follow the Wayne County, Indiana, Chocolate Trail

Chocolate? An entire trail of chocolate? Absolutely I must do that. And so it was. During our trip to Richmond, Indiana, we indulged in not only chocolate candy, but also chocolate gelato, chocolate cake, even chocolate cheese! The Chocolate Trail includes twelve stops throughout Wayne County, each offering a chocolate sample.  And the best thing about it? It’s free! Another four stops offer a complimentary sample with purchase. With Chocolate Trail passports in hand, we made it to eight trail stops during our three days in Richmond. Read more

Triple XXX Family Restaurant: A West Lafayette Icon

Triple XXX Family Restaurant: A West Lafayette Icon

Steakburgers made from 100% sirloin ground fresh daily…and root beer with old-fashioned flavor—served in a thick glass mug, of course. I’d heard about the Triple XXX Family Restaurant for the past few years and was anxious to eat there during our recent visit to Lafayette and West Lafayette, Indiana. The food, the root beer and the nostalgic ambiance of this counter-service-only diner take you to a time long past. 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