River City Tour Highlights Peoria Fun Facts, History

River City Tour Highlights Peoria Fun Facts, History

In 1910, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Grandview Drive to be the “world’s most beautiful drive.” That was just one of the Peoria fun facts we learned about the city’s history on the narrated River City Tour conducted by the Peoria Historical Society. Read more

Blue Gate Amish Tours: Up Close and Personal

Blue Gate Amish Tours: Up Close and Personal

When I think of Amish craftspeople, I think of quilters and blacksmiths. I would never think of a leather worker who creates belts and purses from alligator or ostrich. But that is what one Amish craftsman does in a shop we visited during the Blue Gate Amish Tours Up Close and Personal Tour in Shipshewana, Indiana. As part of that tour, we also visited a Mennonite family that creates a special kind of basket, and an Amish bishop’s home. Read more

8 Council Bluffs Restaurants We Recommend

8 Council Bluffs Restaurants We Recommend

Local flavor, whether at a diner or farm-to-table restaurant, is a big part of every trip we take. On my recent press trip to Council Bluffs, Iowa, our travel group ate at several locally-owned restaurants and bakeries. All of these Council Bluffs restaurants were winners. Read more

Sculpture Walk Peoria Enhances Warehouse District

Sculpture Walk Peoria Enhances Warehouse District

Bring new life to a blighted neighborhood with trendy condos or apartments. Add craft breweries and restaurants. To complete the effort, install public art. We love the revitalization efforts we’re seeing throughout Midwest cities, including the Warehouse District in Peoria, Illinois. Once a deteriorating neighborhood, today developers can’t convert old warehouses to apartment buildings quickly enough. In the evenings, crowds gather at craft breweries. And Sculpture Walk Peoria adds an artistic touch to the once-again bustling Warehouse District just southwest of downtown Peoria. Read more

Blue Gate Amish Tours: Evening in an Amish Home

Blue Gate Amish Tours: Evening in an Amish Home

Our Blue Gate Amish Tours guide, Allen, encouraged us to ask questions of the Amish bishop we were about to meet in Shipshewana, Indiana. “Nothing’s off limits,” he told us. So the twelve guests on the Evening in an Amish Home tour spent the time asking Bishop Monroe Yoder questions. We came away realizing that although the Amish culture is different in many respects from mainstream America, we have more in common with them than we knew. Read more

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Connects Two States

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Connects Two States

A few years ago, on our first visit to Omaha, we crossed the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. The impressive 3,000-foot s-curved bridge, one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the nation, spans the Missouri River and connects Council Bluffs, Iowa, with Omaha, Nebraska. So I wasn’t surprised when the bridge was on the itinerary on my recent press trip to Council Bluffs. Even through it’s the same bridge, and I again took the obligatory photo of one foot in each state, seeing the bridge from the perspective of Council Bluffs rather than Omaha somehow seemed a little different. Read more

Cantigny Park Salutes Battle of Cantigny Centennial

Cantigny Park Salutes Battle of Cantigny Centennial

May 28, 2018, marked the centennial of the Battle of Cantigny. The centennial happened to coincide with Memorial Day, and Cantigny Park, in Wheaton, Illinois, marked the occasion with a ceremony in front of the First Division Museum. Read more

Freedom Rock Tour: A Tribute to Veterans

Freedom Rock Tour: A Tribute to Veterans

Iowa artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen is on a mission to paint a mural honoring the military on a rock in every Iowa county and two in every state. We saw our first Freedom Rock last year in Pulaski County, Missouri, and this spring Skip stumbled across another one in Lake Mills, Iowa. Read more

Why Fieldhouse was My Clear Lake Restaurant Choice

Why Fieldhouse was My Clear Lake Restaurant Choice

One evening during the Building Community Conference I attended earlier this month in Clear Lake, Iowa, we rode the Main Street Trolley to a restaurant of our choice. I chose Fieldhouse, not only because of its farm-to-table cuisine, but for another reason that’s near and dear to my heart. Read more

Exploring Palo Duro Canyon: Grand Canyon of Texas

Exploring Palo Duro Canyon: Grand Canyon of Texas

Driving through the flat Texas panhandle, you’d never guess that only 25 miles south of Amarillo the earth opens to the second largest canyon in North America. Palo Duron Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of Texas, stretches 120 miles long, ranges from 6 to 20 miles wide, and is more than 800 feet deep. However, unlike the Grand Canyon, where you can reach the canyon floor only by mule or foot, you can drive right down to the canyon floor in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Read more