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

Weekend Getaway: Galena, Illinois

Weekend Getaway: Galena, Illinois

Heading west on U.S. 20 in northern Illinois, the road that had been straight and flat begins to wind through gently rolling farm fields as you near Galena. When church steeples and orange brick buildings come into view, you know you’ve reached your destination.  A city with fewer than 3500 residents, Galena attracts over a million visitors every year. Visitors come for the history, the shopping, the dining or just to relax in an atmosphere that is like nowhere else in Illinois.  Read more

Indiana Bead Town Mural Aiming for World Record – And You Can Help

Indiana Bead Town Mural Aiming for World Record – And You Can Help

A world record is about to be broken. And the call is out for you to help. It’ll actually be two years before the record is official. That’s how long it’ll take to adhere nearly fifteen million recycled Mardi Gras beads in place. The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority is hosting the Bead Town project to create the world’s largest bead mosaic. Artist and Bead Town Executive Director Stephen Wanger designed the Bead Town: Along the South Shore mural and leads the project. During the next two years visitors to the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Indiana, are invited to participate in the project by placing beads in the mural. Read more

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

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

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