Why Alton is Perfect for Eagle Watching

Why Alton is Perfect for Eagle Watching

As the weather turns cold, American Bald Eagles migrate from Canada south, down the Mississippi Flyway. They winter near open water, in search of fresh food. Humans, in turn, flock to where the eagles are, hoping to get a glimpse—or a great camera shot—of the majestic U.S. national bird. Alton, Illinois, is the perfect place for eagle watching. Here’s why: 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

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

Road Trip: Route 66 through Pulaski County, Missouri

Road Trip: Route 66 through Pulaski County, Missouri

Sandstone bluffs…Devil’s Elbow…W.H. Croaker. We’ve driven almost all of the Mother Road over the years. I can’t believe we missed exploring Route 66 through Pulaski County, Missouri, especially since we drive through Missouri often. When we finally made it to Pulaski County this summer, we followed the auto tour that the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau laid out in a brochure. The route is filled with natural beauty, remnants of Route 66 treasures, and one quirky road side attraction. Read more

Pitch & Putt Golf in Pulaski County, Missouri

Pitch & Putt Golf in Pulaski County, Missouri

I am not a golfer. My total lifetime golf experience is: Participation in a “best ball” tournament, in which my ball was never best; a 15-minute lesson this spring at Pheasant Run Resort; a few trips to the driving range; and a whole lot of mini golf. So when we were offered the chance play pitch & putt golf at the Saint Robert Municipal Golf Course in Pulaski County, Missouri, of course I said yes. I never miss a chance to embarrass myself for the sake of the blog. Read more

Ruby’s Landing: Kayaking the Gasconade River

Ruby’s Landing: Kayaking the Gasconade River

The weather was unseasonably warm. Even in the Missouri Ozarks, 90-degree days are uncommon in late September. I’m usually not thrilled with such hot weather. However, considering I got completely wet during our five-mile Ruby’s Landing River Resort kayak trip, the heat was welcome. 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

Antique Military Vehicle Convoy on Route 66

Antique Military Vehicle Convoy on Route 66

We aren’t usually lucky. A day late and a dollar short. Murphy’s Law. However, you want to phrase it, that’s us. But not this time. We happened to be in Pulaski County, Missouri, on the day the Military Vehicle Preservation Association convoyed through on Route 66. Better yet, the convoy stopped for the evening at Fort Leonard Wood, located in Pulaski County. Fort Leonard Wood opened the event to the public, and our itinerary was flexible. So off we went to Fort Leonard Wood to see the 42 vehicles that made up this antique military vehicle convoy. Read more

Saint Louis Zoo Adventure Pass Well Worth the Fee

Saint Louis Zoo Adventure Pass Well Worth the Fee

Last summer my granddaughter and I visited the Saint Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri. Zoo admission is free. However, we opted for the Adventure Pass, which gets you into six attractions that aren’t included in the free admission. The Adventure Pass is well worth the $12.95 fee, which is less than admission at other major zoos. We had planned to spend only the morning at the zoo. But with all that the Adventure Pass offers, we ended up staying all day. Read more

6 Small Midwest Zoos Great for a Short Visit

6 Small Midwest Zoos Great for a Short Visit

Large zoos are a fun all-day adventure. But there are times that you don’t have all day. Or perhaps you have little ones in tow who can’t yet handle a full day outing. You hate to pay the full price for a major zoo, deal with the hassle of a large parking lot, and leave after a few hours. Here are six Midwest zoos that are great for short visits. Read more