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

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

Exploring Byways and Trails

Exploring Byways and Trails

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. Read more

Pierogi Fest: Whiting , Indiana, Celebrates and Pokes a Little Fun at Their Heritage

Pierogi Fest: Whiting , Indiana, Celebrates and Pokes a Little Fun at Their Heritage

I grew up in Illinois just over the border from Northwest Indiana. Although I no longer live in that immediate area, I have lots of friends and family who do. Over the years I’ve heard talk about Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana. I assumed it was just a small-town festival, no big deal—until I finally went to Pierogi Fest. What a hoot! Read more

Blue Gate Amish Tours: Up Close and Personal

Blue Gate Amish Tours: Up Close and Personal

When I think of Amish craftspeople, I think of quilters and blacksmiths. I would never think of a leather worker who creates belts and purses from alligator or ostrich. But that is what one Amish craftsman does in a shop we visited during the Blue Gate Amish Tours Up Close and Personal Tour in Shipshewana, Indiana. As part of that tour, we also visited a Mennonite family that creates a special kind of basket, and an Amish bishop’s home. Read more

Blue Gate Amish Tours: Evening in an Amish Home

Blue Gate Amish Tours: Evening in an Amish Home

Our Blue Gate Amish Tours guide, Allen, encouraged us to ask questions of the Amish bishop we were about to meet in Shipshewana, Indiana. “Nothing’s off limits,” he told us. So the twelve guests on the Evening in an Amish Home tour spent the time asking Bishop Monroe Yoder questions. We came away realizing that although the Amish culture is different in many respects from mainstream America, we have more in common with them than we knew. 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

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

Indiana Foodways Alliance Culinary Trails: Guide to Hoosier Dining

Indiana Foodways Alliance Culinary Trails: Guide to Hoosier Dining

Bucket lists have become a big thing. Or maybe it’s just the term du jour. People have always checked to-do’s off travel lists. Visit all 50 states. Take in a ballgame at every Major League Baseball stadium. I do the same even with smaller lists. Photograph every Seward Johnson sculpture in a city. Stop at every  shop on the Wayne County Chocolate Trail. So when I learned about the Indiana Foodways Alliance culinary trails, I was on board. Right away I decided I wanted to eat pie at every restaurant on the Indiana Foodways Alliance Hoosier Pie Trail. My attempt was a miserable failure. 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