Why Alton is Perfect for Eagle Watching

Why Alton is Perfect for Eagle Watching

As the weather turns cold, American Bald Eagles migrate from Canada south, down the Mississippi Flyway. They winter near open water, in search of fresh food. Humans, in turn, flock to where the eagles are, hoping to get a glimpse—or a great camera shot—of the majestic U.S. national bird. Alton, Illinois, is the perfect place for eagle watching. Here’s why: Read more

11 Delectable Midwest Chocolate Treats

11 Delectable Midwest Chocolate Treats

Dark chocolate—it’s one treat I can’t pass up. A few years ago on a press trip we were tasting chocolate at a chocolate shop.  I was skipping the milk chocolate and going right for the dark. One of my fellow travel writers said, “Even if I never meet you again, I will always connect you with dark chocolate.” Yep, that’s me.  I’ve tasted a lot of Midwest chocolate over the past few years, and am sharing with you 11 of my favorites, in no particular order, plus two from beyond the Midwest. Read more

5 Kokomo Attractions Reflect Area Gas Boom History

5 Kokomo Attractions Reflect Area Gas Boom History

In the late 1800s, huge natural gas fields were discovered beneath Kokomo, Indiana. The gas supply was thought to be infinite. As a result, manufacturing boomed in the city, particularly in the glass and automotive industries. During our stay in the area, we visited five Kokomo attractions that reflect those two industries. We learned why the glass and automotive industries, in particular, became prevalent in Kokomo. Read more

Illinois Bicentennial Year Kicks Off with Flag Raising Ceremonies

Illinois Bicentennial Year Kicks Off with Flag Raising Ceremonies

At noon on December 4 municipalities across Illinois conducted flag raising ceremonies to mark the beginning of the state’s bicentennial year. What better place to witness the beginning of the state’s 200th anniversary year than in the state capital? So we hopped in the car and made the two-and-a-half hour drive to Springfield, where the Illinois Bicentennial flag was to be raised atop the Old State Capitol. Read more

Touring the Pettengill-Morron House

Touring the Pettengill-Morron House

In our travels we often tour historic homes that were originally owned by prominent local residents. Those homes are usually furnished with very few of the original owner’s belongings. Instead, they’re filled mostly with period furniture obtained elsewhere. Not so with the Pettengill-Morron House in Peoria, Illinois. The last Pettengill-Morron House owner, Jean Morron, left the home to the Peoria Historical Society with all of her possessions intact. Entering the home, you feel like you’re stepping into somebody’s current residence. 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. (Updated for New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2017.) Read more

Indiana Welcome Center Celebrates ‘A Christmas Story’

Indiana Welcome Center Celebrates ‘A Christmas Story’

You’ll shoot your eye out!” cries everyone with whom little Ralphie Parker shares his dream of Santa bringing him “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two hundred shot range model air rifle.” A Christmas Story, released in 1983 and based on author Jean Shepherd’s childhood years, has become an American holiday movie classic. Shepherd grew up in Hammond, Indiana, the model city for the movie’s fictitious town of Hohman. Hammond celebrates the movie every Christmas season at the Indiana Welcome Center with fun displays and special events. The 2017 event runs from November 11 through January 7, 2018. Read more

Exploring Washington Square: Side Trip from Peoria

Exploring Washington Square: Side Trip from Peoria

Washington’s square was once the bustling hub of this Illinois city’s commerce. However, as Washington grew, its services and main shopping areas moved elsewhere. Although no longer the city center, Washington Square thrives today with antiques and specialty shops, restaurants, and a newly renovated seven-room inn. Read more

Holiday Lights in Illinois 2017

Holiday Lights in Illinois 2017

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

Menno-Hof: Learn the Facts of Amish History

Menno-Hof: Learn the Facts of Amish History

America’s fascination with Amish culture lures nearly 2 million visitors to Shipshewana, Indiana, each year. Shipshewana is located in LaGrange County, which is the home to over 45,000 Amish. But who exactly are these people who travel by horse and buggy and don’t use electricity, whose women wear long dresses and prayer caps and men wear pants with no outside pockets? What are their roots? Anyone who visits Shipshewana should begin their trip at Menno-Hof. Menno-Hof tells the story of Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites, three groups who stem from the 16th century Anabaptist movement.
Read more