12 Ways to Enjoy Wildlife Prairie Park

12 Ways to Enjoy Wildlife Prairie Park

If you’re familiar with Wildlife Prairie Park in Hanna City, Illinois (near Peoria), you most likely associate it with its herd of bison or gang of elk. (Yes, a group of elk is called a gang.) Perhaps you also know that the park is home to wolves, coyotes, and other animals. But did you know that Wildlife Prairie Park also includes mountain bike trails, a disc golf course, and is a concert venue? Or that you can spend the night in the park inside a caboose or a grain bin? During our visit to Wildlife Prairie Park last fall, Brien Davis, Community Development and Events Manager showed us around. We discovered there is so much more to this 2,000-acre park than we knew. Here are twelve ways to enjoy Wildlife Prairie Park. Read more

Conner Prairie: Fun Exploring 19th Century Life

Conner Prairie: Fun Exploring 19th Century Life

From a balloon ride that soars 350 feet above the ground to a Civil War area that uses extensive special effects, Conner Prairie living history museum is much more than we anticipated. On our last visit, over twenty years ago, Conner Prairie consisted of the William Conner House, the 1836 Prairietown, and not much more. Don’t get me wrong. We enjoyed it then. But on our return there last summer we were wowed with all of the additions. The museum covers over 1,000 acres and is one of the most visited outdoor living history museums in the United States. Here are some of the areas that we particularly enjoyed. Read more

Exploring Christmas Tree Pass and Grapevine Canyon

Exploring Christmas Tree Pass and Grapevine Canyon

Two years ago Skip and I spent several weeks in Laughlin, Nevada, on a winter getaway. Why Laughlin? Laughlin’s casino hotels are inexpensive but decent, and we found lots of ways to eat cheaply, too. We’re not huge gamblers, so we looked around for other things to do in the area. We founds lots of places to visit, but one thing we couldn’t do was explore Christmas Tree Pass, one of Laughlin’s top rated activities. We had a brand new car with us, and we had read that the twelve-mile drive was rugged.

So this year, when snow clouds filled the Midwest skies and the temperature dropped to single digits, we hightailed it back to Laughlin. This time we went prepared with our fourteen-year-old SUV with 275,000 miles on it. We were ready to explore Christmas Tree Pass and Grapevine Canyon, which is located along the pass. Read more

Dining Family Style at the Wittmond Hotel

Dining Family Style at the Wittmond Hotel

We were warned: Eat lunch at the Wittmond Hotel in Brussels, Illinois, and you won’t need to eat for the rest of the day. Little did we know the extensive relish tray alone at this restaurant would fill us up…and then came the entrees. Read more

Road Trip Severe Weather: Tips to Avoid a Disaster!

Road Trip Severe Weather: Tips to Avoid a Disaster!

Two years ago we were on a road trip headed home to the Midwest from Arizona. As we drove through Texas at dusk, ominous clouds darkened the sky, threatening severe weather. We got off the interstate and drove Route 66 instead to avoid heavy traffic. It wasn’t long before large rain drops pelted the windshield, followed by a downpour. At times we could barely see in front of us. Fortunately, there was no hail. We slowly made our way Elk City, Oklahoma, where we had reservations that night. We did have a NOAA weather radio with us, something we always road trip with, so we knew there were no tornadoes spotted. But it wasn’t a fun drive, having to take care that we didn’t drive into floods on unfamiliar dark roads. Read more

Indiana Foodways Alliance Culinary Trails: Guide to Hoosier Dining

Indiana Foodways Alliance Culinary Trails: Guide to Hoosier Dining

Bucket lists have become a big thing. Or maybe it’s just the term du jour. People have always checked to-do’s off travel lists. Visit all 50 states. Take in a ballgame at every Major League Baseball stadium. I do the same even with smaller lists. Photograph every Seward Johnson sculpture in a city. Stop at every  shop on the Wayne County Chocolate Trail. So when I learned about the Indiana Foodways Alliance culinary trails, I was on board. Right away I decided I wanted to eat pie at every restaurant on the Indiana Foodways Alliance Hoosier Pie Trail. My attempt was a miserable failure. Read more

Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site: Underground Railroad Station

Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site: Underground Railroad Station

Indiana’s fourth grade students study the state’s history, as we found out first-hand when we visited the Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site in Fountain City. Over a hundred students were visiting on a field trip that day. Apparently that’s common during spring field trip season. I can understand why, since Levi and Catherine Coffin were instrumental in helping over 2,000 runaway slaves, or freedom seekers as they were called, escape to Canada over a twenty-year period. Between student groups, site director Joanna Hahn gave us a tour as she told the fascinating story of this couple whose lives were devoted to helping freedom seekers along the path to a free life. Read more

Where to Eat in Morgan County, Indiana

Where to Eat in Morgan County, Indiana

During a Midwest Travel Bloggers Twitter chat I won several gift certificates to Morgan County, Indiana, restaurants. Skip and I had already eaten at a few Morgan County restaurants that we loved and were excited to taste more of the area’s cuisine. So last summer we scheduled a trip to Morgan County mainly for the culinary experiences. While the atmosphere at all of the restaurants we tried is casual, each has its own unique cuisine. Read more

Exploring Five Abraham Lincoln Home Sites

Exploring Five Abraham Lincoln Home Sites

Most Americans know that Abraham Lincoln, the nation’s sixteenth president, lived a modest childhood. He was born in a log cabin in Kentucky and moved with his family to other cabins in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois until striking out on his own when he was 22 years old. Over the past few years, we’ve visited five Lincoln home sites, all of which are designated state or national historic sites. Read more

Book Review: Detour Nebraska

Book Review: Detour Nebraska

If you love history and enjoy traveling the Midwest, be sure to read Detour Nebraska (The History Press, 2017). Part history lesson and part historic attraction guide, author Gretchen M. Garrison guides you through Nebraska region by region. She explains the history of a city or attraction and shares details of what the attraction offers today. Read more