8 Council Bluffs Restaurants We Recommend

8 Council Bluffs Restaurants We Recommend

Local flavor, whether at a diner or farm-to-table restaurant, is a big part of every trip we take. On my recent press trip to Council Bluffs, Iowa, our travel group ate at several locally-owned restaurants and bakeries. All of these Council Bluffs restaurants were winners. Read more

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Connects Two States

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Connects Two States

A few years ago, on our first visit to Omaha, we crossed the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. The impressive 3,000-foot s-curved bridge, one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the nation, spans the Missouri River and connects Council Bluffs, Iowa, with Omaha, Nebraska. So I wasn’t surprised when the bridge was on the itinerary on my recent press trip to Council Bluffs. Even through it’s the same bridge, and I again took the obligatory photo of one foot in each state, seeing the bridge from the perspective of Council Bluffs rather than Omaha somehow seemed a little different. Read more

Freedom Rock Tour: A Tribute to Veterans

Freedom Rock Tour: A Tribute to Veterans

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. Read more

Why Fieldhouse was My Clear Lake Restaurant Choice

Why Fieldhouse was My Clear Lake Restaurant Choice

One evening during the Building Community Conference I attended earlier this month in Clear Lake, Iowa, we rode the Main Street Trolley to a restaurant of our choice. I chose Fieldhouse, not only because of its farm-to-table cuisine, but for another reason that’s near and dear to my heart. 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

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

Nina and Pinta Replicas Sail the Mississippi, Dock for Tours

Nina and Pinta Replicas Sail the Mississippi, Dock for Tours

We first wrote about the Nina and Pinta replicas in 2013, when we stumbled across the ships in Clinton, Iowa. The Nina and Pinta, replicas of two Columbus’ ships, offer tours to the public. A couple of weeks ago we visited Peoria, Illinois. As we walked down to the Illinois River to board the Spirit of Peoria for a moonlight cruise, we noticed the Nina and Pinta replicas docked there.  Checking the schedule, we found the ships were in Peoria through September 24, 2017. Their next stop was Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where they’ll be from September 29 through October 8. Read further for our original experience and descriptions of the Nina and Pinta replicas.  Read more

Apple Time at Peake Orchards

Apple Time at Peake Orchards

As I toured Peake Orchards in Waukon, Iowa, I bit into a Honeycrisp apple. As fruit goes, apples have never been one of my favorites. But that Honeycrisp was true to its name—a crisp crunch followed by sweet flavor. I’d find out later why the apple tasted so good, but at the moment I was learning about all the work that goes into raising apples. Read more

National Czech and Slovak Museum: Stories of Real People

National Czech and Slovak Museum: Stories of Real People

When visiting someplace I haven’t been before, I often tour a historical museum to learn the history and culture of the area. While the general history of an area is interesting, what I find most intriguing are stories of individuals. Hearing stories of real people, especially everyday people, makes the history of a place come alive for me. I was fascinated by several of those stories when I visited the National Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Read more