Three Midwest Shrines: Following the Passion of Christ

Three Midwest Shrines: Following the Passion of Christ

During Lent, the time from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday before Easter, Christians often retrace the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion by following the Stations of the Cross.  Stations of the Cross are a series of fourteen devotions that depict Christ’s last day. Stations of the Cross are commonly found in Catholic churches but can also be set in larger outdoor spaces, oftentimes at Shrines. Following the path of the Stations of the Cross is a prayerful and meditative experience. I have visited three Midwest shrines in the past few years that include outdoor Stations of the Cross and have written about them previously. Here is a summary and links to the original articles.

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Travel and Adventure Show: Comparing Chicago and Los Angeles Shows

Travel and Adventure Show: Comparing Chicago and Los Angeles Shows

With renowned travel professionals like Rick Steves and Samantha Brown, entertainers representing countries from Ireland to Fiji, cooking demonstrations by noted chefs, and booth after booth of exhibitors offering information and guidance on exciting travel options, the Travel and Adventure Show is a must experience for travel lovers. I had attended the Chicago Travel and Adventure show three years in a row and looked forward each year to learning about new places to visit, checking out the latest travel gadgets and enjoying the entertainment and speakers. I had mixed feeling this year when my husband and I decided to escape the Midwest winter and head west, as I would miss the Chicago show. It turned out the timing was right to attend the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show instead, giving us a chance to check out new destinations and compare the two shows. Read more

Chicago Travel and Adventure Show 2017

Chicago Travel and Adventure Show 2017

As Midwest winter winds blow and temperatures drop to single digits, we dream about warm weather and sunshine. Turn those dreams into reality by starting your planning at the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show. The popular travel show returns to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, on January 21 and 22. Read more

3 Great Places in Illinois for Eagle Watching

3 Great Places in Illinois for Eagle Watching

Once on the Endangered Species List, the American Bald Eagle has rebounded and is once again flourishing in the United States. In Illinois the peak season to catch glimpses of eagles is late December through early March. Since eagles eat primarily fish, they migrate south as rivers freeze, searching for free-flowing water. Dams along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers are common areas to spot them. Here are some of the best places in Illinois for eagle watching: Read more

12 Fun Facts You May Not Know about the Midwest

12 Fun Facts You May Not Know about the Midwest

One fun part of travel is learning interesting facts about the places you visit. Following are bits of trivia I’ve picked up about each of the Midwest states: Read more

Muffler Men: Still Standing Tall on Route 66

Muffler Men: Still Standing Tall on Route 66

For years I worked just down the street from the Gemini Giant that stands on the edge of the Launching Pad parking lot. I frequently ate lunch at the Launching Pad, a now-closed fast-food diner on Route 66 in Wilmington, Illinois, but I never thought about the history of the oversize figure. It turns out he’s one of many Muffler Men, 14- to 25-foot tall fiberglass advertising icons produced by International Fiberglass in Venice, California, from 1962 to 1972. The Gemini Giant was repainted to fit the Launching Pad space theme, the space helmet was added and a rocket placed in his hands.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in U.S. Long Cuts. We are merging U.S. Long Cuts with Midwest Wanderer, adding a “Beyond the Midwest” menu option. Read more

2015 Midwest Wanderer Year in Review

2015 Midwest Wanderer Year in Review

2015 has been another great year of firsts for us. We’ve visited new destinations, enjoyed new experiences, and had several “who knew?” moments.

Here are some of our favorite 2015 experiences: Read more

New Year’s Eve in the Midwest for $25 or Less

New Year’s Eve in the Midwest for $25 or Less

You don’t have to spend a fortune to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Here are 12 events throughout the Midwest that won’t break the budget before the New Year even begins: Read more

Du Quoin Holiday Lights Fair: Drive-Through Lights, Indoor Festival

Du Quoin Holiday Lights Fair: Drive-Through Lights, Indoor Festival

When I was a kid, we had a family tradition of piling into the station wagon during the Christmas season and driving around town, oohing and aahing at houses decked out in lights. We’ve continued the Christmas lights tradition as adults, only now we don’t drive around neighborhoods looking for homes decorated Griswold style. Instead we find one or two big displays put on by zoos, towns or civic organizations. This year we discovered a winner with the Du Quoin Holiday Lights Fair in southern Illinois. Not only does Du Quoin display an awesome drive-through lights show; they include a big indoor fair, as well. Read more

Charlie Parker’s Diner: Off the Beaten Path but Worth Looking For

Charlie Parker’s Diner: Off the Beaten Path but Worth Looking For

The World War II era Quonset hut doesn’t look like much from the outside, but step over the threshold at Charlie Parker’s Diner, and you take a giant step back to the rockin’ boppin’ 1950s. Every seat was taken at the glass-block lunch counter on the Saturday we visited and nearly every red vinyl chair around white Formica-and-chrome tables was filled. Off the beaten path in Springfield, Illinois, we didn’t know about it until we joined Alicia Erickson of the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau there for lunch. Read more