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. (Updated for New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2018.) 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

Folepi’s Winter Wonderland, East Peoria IL: Two Miles of Holiday Lights

Folepi’s Winter Wonderland, East Peoria IL: Two Miles of Holiday Lights

We were so impressed last year with Folepi’s Winter Wonderland that we went back this year for an encore presentation. Folepi’s Winter Wonderland is the signature event of the East Peoria Festival of Lights.  Read more

Holiday Lights in Illinois 2018

Holiday Lights in Illinois 2018

Twinkling lights add a bit of magic to the holiday season. Infants to elderly are fascinated by dazzling lights displays. Whether you prefer to enjoy holiday lights on foot, in the warm comfort of your car, or even from a helicopter, you’ll find many impressive and unique holiday lights displays throughout Illinois. Read more

Mid-America Air Museum: 100+ Aircraft, Home-Built to Military

Mid-America Air Museum: 100+ Aircraft, Home-Built to Military

The lightweight Beechcraft 35 Bonanza civilian airplane, produced post-World War II, was expensive compared to other personal aircraft. Because of the steep price, mostly professionals, like doctors and lawyers, could afford them. The tail, an unusual V shape, was designed to reduce both the weight and drag of the aluminum plane, helping to make it faster than most of its competitors. But unfortunately, the tail design was also attributed to an initial high accident rate. That early Bonanza became known as the “Doctor Killer.” The Beechcraft 35 Bonanza background was just one of many fascinating stories we learned as we wandered the Mid-America Air Museum in Liberal, Kansas. Located on the former Liberal Army Air Field, the museum displays over 100 planes, ranging from small home-built aircraft to large military jets. Read more

Dodge City Trolley Tour: Exploring Queen of Cow Towns

Dodge City Trolley Tour: Exploring Queen of Cow Towns

Bar brawls and gunfights were the norm in Dodge City’s early days. Today, it’s a thriving cattle city. On the Dodge City Trolley Tour we learned about both the city’s lawless Old West days, and about today’s thriving cattle industry, which makes up 60% of the area’s economy. It’s not surprising that Dodge City, located in southwest Kansas, is known as the “Queen of the Cow Towns.” Read more

Touring the Haunted Squirrel Cage Jail Museum

Touring the Haunted Squirrel Cage Jail Museum

The pie-shaped cells of the Pottawattamie County Jail were escape proof. They had no doors. To let an inmate in or out, the jailer rotated the floor until the cell lined up with the one and only opening. If an inmate had an arm or leg hanging out of the cage when the floor began to rotate, the appendage would break, or even tear off. Better known as the Squirrel Cage Jail, today the building serves as a museum—and is believed to be the most haunted building in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Read more

White Sands National Monument: Sledding and Hiking

White Sands National Monument: Sledding and Hiking

When we saw people sledding down the sand dunes at White Sands National Monument last spring, I wanted to do it, too. So when we wandered beyond the Midwest again on another trip out west, we detoured back to White Sands, near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Read more

Exploring Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour

Exploring Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour

We had planned to spend only one night in Brown County, Indiana, last October. We were going to enjoy the area’s natural beauty and browse some of Nashville’s art galleries. But when we discovered that during the entire month of October artists along the county’s back roads open their studios to visitors, we tacked another night onto our visit. We spent several hours that second day visiting artists participating in the Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour. The area landscape is artwork in itself, with the October leaves painting a spectacular image in shades of amber and crimson. Brown County is an artist’s dream. It’s no wonder it’s considered the Art Colony of the Midwest. Read more

Morton Pumpkin Festival Celebrates Pumpkin Capital

Morton Pumpkin Festival Celebrates Pumpkin Capital

Did you know that ninety-five percent of pumpkins for processing in the United States are grown in Illinois? Specifically, they’re grown in and near Morton, a town southeast of Peoria, home to a large Libby’s cannery. Every September, Morton celebrates its pumpkin industry with the Morton Pumpkin Festival. Read more