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

Pease’s Candy: Five Generations of Sweet Confection

Pease’s Candy: Five Generations of Sweet Confection

Pease’s Candy has been a staple in Springfield, Illinois, since 1930. The chocolate company still uses many of the same recipes for their confections that they’ve used for a hundred years. Folks who live in the Springfield area are bound to be familiar with the pink box filled chocolate goodness, but you don’t even have to visit Springfield to enjoy this local tradition. Read more

MB Financial Park at Rosemont: It’s All about Dining and Entertainment

MB Financial Park at Rosemont: It’s All about Dining and Entertainment

There’s a party atmosphere every night at the MB Financial Park at Rosemont, Illinois. Make that all day and all night, with a dozen venues in a single complex that offer everything from bowling to upscale dining. And in the outdoor common area, you can attend concerts or Zumba classes in the summer, ice skate in the winter. Read more