Driving the Route 66 Singing Highway

Driving the Route 66 Singing Highway

Eastbound on historic Route 66 just east of Albuquerque, slow down to 45 miles per hour and drive through the rumble strips to hear the song “America the Beautiful” on the Singing Highway. We tried it, and it works! Hear it in our latest podcast. 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 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

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

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

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

Bed and Breakfasts: 10 Etiquette Questions Answered

Bed and Breakfasts: 10 Etiquette Questions Answered

I used to avoid staying in bed and breakfasts. The pictures I saw of them were lovely, but I wasn’t sure of the etiquette. Do I knock when I get there? How about every time we come and go? Will coming in late at night be a problem? Will we have to share a bathroom with other guests? (Please—no!)

Then I went on a press trip, and they assigned us to a bed and breakfast. Oh no! What to do? Everything worked out just fine that weekend. The beautifully decorated Victorian mansion included a Jacuzzi tub in every room, and we were the only guests staying there that night. Since then, bed and breakfasts have become one of our favorite types of accommodation, and we stay in them often.

If you have yet to stay at a B&B for any of the fears I had, fear no more. Here are answers to 10 questions you may have about staying in a bed and breakfast. Read more

Touring the Historic Hershey Theatre

Touring the Historic Hershey Theatre

In 1933, during the height of the Great Depression, Milton S. Hershey opened the opulent Hershey Theatre in Hershey, Pennsylania. Hershey wanted the theater to rival any Broadway theater. He designed the grand lobby to resemble a Greek temple and the auditorium to simulate an outdoor Venetian scene. The beautifully preserved theater continues to be a popular entertainment venue today. Read more

AACA Museum: World’s Largest Tucker Car Collection

AACA Museum: World’s Largest Tucker Car Collection

When you think of Hershey, Pennsylvania, most likely the first thing you think of is chocolate. But there is more to Hershey than chocolate—like the AACA Museum. Any classic car enthusiast would love the AACA Museum. Cars range from a Chicago Benton Harbor, made in 1895, to a 2002 BMW Mini-Cooper that has been modified into a snowmobile. The museum exhibits a lot of awesome cars, but what particularly caught our attention was the collection of Tucker automobiles. The collection includes 48 automobiles, engines and memorabilia from David Cammack, Tucker historian and collector. It is the world’s largest Tucker collection in the world. Read more

National Civil War Museum Focuses on Humanity

National Civil War Museum Focuses on Humanity

We visited the National Civil War Museum last summer during our visit to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The museum tells the story of both the Union and the Confederacy, emphasizing personal human elements through stories, artifacts and dioramas.

Tension had been brewing between the North and the South for decades over slavery. Slavery was dominant in southern states. It was the backbone of South’s agrarian economy. Conversely, northern “abolitionists” felt slavery was wrong. They wanted to do away with slavery. Abraham Lincoln, who ran on a strong anti-slavery platform, won the 1860 presidential election. A month later, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Ten more southern states followed suit. Less than four months later, the first shots of the Civil War were fired.
Read more