I felt guilty, sitting in a chair outside our travel trailer, squandering time. I should be doing something, but what? After a late lunch, we weren’t ready for dinner. Go for a walk? Too wiped out from a busy day. I forgot to pack reading material, and was tired of looking at my phone. Skip joined me, and we both just sat, watching the squirrels scamper up and down trees and robins bob along the ground. Then, a red-headed woodpecker swooped in and landed on a tree trunk just twenty feet or so from where we sat.
When you think of Mark Twain’s home, Hannibal, Missouri, comes to mind. It’s true, he grew up in Hannibal, starting at age four. But he was born about 40 miles southwest of Hannibal, in Florida, Missouri. Today, the preserved two-room cabin where the writer was born is on display at the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site, near Florida.
The home was moved to its current location in 1930. Years later, a building was erected around the cabin to protect and preserve it. The Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site also includes artifacts from the author’s life, and a wealth of information about him.
Here are ten fascinating facts about Mark Twain’s life that we learned during our visit to the state historic site.
Due to Covid-19, many of the free or inexpensive outdoor New Year’s Eve celebrations have been cancelled. A few have come back, though, in 2021. (Updated for New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2021.)
Christmas festivals at zoos have become huge holiday attractions. In the Midwest alone, at least eighteen zoos celebrate with holiday lights, carols, animal shows, and even ice skating rinks. Brookfield Zoo, Chicago’s oldest holiday zoo event, is celebrating its 40th year in 2021. But the very first zoo holiday lights event in the nation was Indianapolis Zoo’s Christmas at the Zoo, which dates back to 1967!
Many other zoos have hopped aboard the holiday festival train over the years. Here are a few highlights of eighteen Midwest zoo holiday lights events for 2021, listed by state:
In this podcast, we chat about exploring byways and trails. If you’re a regular Midwest Wanderer reader, you know we do a lot of road trips. Some of our favorite trips are along scenic or historic byways. And then there are trails. What’s the difference? You’ll find out in this podcast.
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.