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

11 Midwest Popcorn Shops You Must Try

11 Midwest Popcorn Shops You Must Try

I’ve mentioned here before that if  I could have only one snack food for the rest of my life, it would be cheese popcorn. But not just any cheese popcorn. The supermarket stuff won’t do. It must be super cheesy, the kind you can only find in a gourmet popcorn shop. So every time I stumble upon a popcorn shop in my travels, I must go in and buy some.  Here are 11 Midwest popcorn shops I’ve come across in the past few years that offer rich gourmet cheese popcorn—and caramel corn in lots of flavors if you prefer your popcorn sweet. Read more

Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 Posts

Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 Posts

At Midwest Wanderer we write about a variety of article topics. We like to include a mix of restaurants, attractions, festivals, and accommodations. So I was pleasantly surprised when I ran the list of the Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 (most viewed) posts and the top four were a bakery, an attraction, a hotel, and a festival. Apparently you, our readers, like a variety of topics, too. Here is the list of Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 posts: Read more

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 3

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 3

This summer we spent a weekend in Webster City, an agricultural community in North Central Iowa. On Day 1 and Day 2 of our visit, folks from the community chatted with us about farming past and present. The third day of our visit highlighted local community entertainment, as well as a stop at a local grocer that emphasizes locally produced foods. Read more

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 2

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 2

I mentioned in my post covering Day 1 of our visit to Webster City, Iowa, that one of my favorite things about my job as a travel writer is learning about a myriad of subjects. Another thing I love is meeting people from different walks of life and hearing their stories. On Day 2 of our visit to this rural community, I met shop owners, artists, farmers, and a student working on his doctoral degree. Every one of them had an interesting story to tell. Read more

Touring Grant Wood Studio: ‘American Gothic’ Artist

Touring Grant Wood Studio: ‘American Gothic’ Artist

The tiny hayloft above the carriage house was never meant to be living space, only the artist’s studio. However, for eleven years, from 1924 to 1935, Grant Wood lived there–with his mother and sometimes his sister, too. I visited the Grant Wood Studio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as part of a press tour honoring the 125th birth year of the American Regionalist artist and saw how Wood transformed the space into both home and studio. Read more

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 1

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 1

One of my favorite things about my job as a travel writer is learning about a myriad of subjects. Therefore, when I was invited to Webster City, Iowa, to learn about their agricultural community, I jumped at the chance. My husband and I joined several other bloggers and their guests for three days. We not only learned about agriculture and the rural lifestyle in this community, but had a lot of fun, too. Read more

Brucemore: The Mansion and the People Who Lived There

Brucemore: The Mansion and the People Who Lived There

Have you ever traded houses with someone? I mean, for keeps? In 1905, George and Irene Douglas traded their city home for the mansion that would become known as Brucemore, located about ten miles outside of Cedar Rapids. During a tour of the 16,000 square foot Brucemore, I not only took in the opulence of the home’s design and furnishings, but also learned about the fascinating lives of two families who lived there. Read more