Podcast: Great River Road Day 12

Day 12: Quad Cities, Illinois and Iowa

Day 12 was museum day for us. We started out at the German American Heritage Center and Museum in Davenport. We went there specifically to see the temporary Steam Circus exhibit, but found the rest of the museum interesting, as well. Afterward, we visited the new Bix Beiderbecke Museum. Bix Beiderbecke, a Davenport native, was a popular jazz cornet player in the Roaring 20s. We finished our museum day with the Figge Art Museum, the major art museum in the Quad Cities. Later we treated ourselves to a Maid Rite loose meat sandwich. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Days 11

Day 11: Fulton, Illinois, to Quad Cities

Following a breakfast treat at Krumpet’s Bakery in Fulton, we crossed back into Iowa to visit the Sawmill Museum in Clinton. The museum is much larger than we expected it to be, and it was both educational and entertaining. We continued then down to the Quad Cities, where our first stop was the Rock Island Arsenal Museum and the arsenal visitor’s center. After checking into our hotel at the Rhythm City Casino Resort, we headed to Woodmen Park in Davenport to watch the Quad Cities River Bandits take on the South Bend Cubs. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Day 10

Day 10: Dubuque, Iowa, to Fulton, Illinois

Our first stop after breakfast was the Julien Dubuque Memorial. The memorial overlooks the Mississippi River—gorgeous views—in the Mines of Spain State Park. Afterward, since I can’t resist a cave, we toured Crystal Lake Cave before continuing our drive down the Great River Road. We crossed into Illinois at Fulton and arrived at de Immigrant Windmill just before closing time. We were in luck, though. The adjacent Windmill Cultural Center was staying open later that night because of an area special event. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Day 6

Day 6: Explore more of Saint Paul

We try to tour a state capitol whenever we visit a capital city. So, on Day 6 that’s what we did in Saint Paul, followed by historic Fort Snelling. We ended our day relaxing on the deck of the floating Covington Inn Bed & Breakfast, our Saint Paul accommodations. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Day 5

Day 5: Great River Road through Minnesota: Saint Cloud to Saint Paul

Early on Day 5, we left got back on the Great River Road in Saint Cloud and continued to our destination in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where we would stay for the next two nights. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Day 2

Day 2: Mississippi River Headwaters back to Bemidji

On Day 2 we drove to Lake Itasca State Park, where the Mississippi River begins, and walked across the river. After exploring more of the state park, we drove the winding Great River Road back to Bemidji, crossing back-and-forth over the river dozens of times. Read more

How Historic Newburgh Celebrates Halloween

How Historic Newburgh Celebrates Halloween

Small town festivals have a charm that you don’t see with bigger city festivals. It seems everyone knows everyone else and the festivals are an all-town party. I had the pleasure of visiting historic Newburgh, Indiana, a town of about 3,300 people, during their Ghostly Stroll Halloween Parade and Harvest Festival in the Park. It was actually the second weekend of the Newburgh Halloween celebration, which began the prior week with Ghostly Walks. Read more

Blue Gate Garden Inn, Shipshewana: Beyond Expectations

Blue Gate Garden Inn, Shipshewana: Beyond Expectations

We recently spent a few days in Shipshewana, the heart of Indiana’s Amish country and the state’s most popular tourist destination. During the day we shopped, went to plays, visited museums, toured the Amish countryside, and filled up on Amish country cooking. At night we retreated to the Blue Gate Garden Inn, just a few blocks from downtown Shipshewana. With amenities and activities that go beyond what you’d expect at a mid-range hotel, the Blue Gate Garden Inn made it easy to relax after a busy day. Read more

Gennett Records Walk of Fame Commemorates Jazz History

Gennett Records Walk of Fame Commemorates Jazz History

It’s a bit eerie, a sort of ghost town in Richmond, Indiana. From the late 1800s to the Great Depression, the Whitewater Valley gorge was home to the Starr Piano Company. Its subsidiary, Gennett Records, recorded great jazz artists, including Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. Today, a shell of the piano factory, a smokestack, and a couple of graffiti covered structures are all that remain. Yet, it isn’t completely dead. The property is now the Whitewater Valley Gorge Park. The lone remaining building is used as an events center, and the Gennett Records Walk of Fame is embedded into the walking/biking path that runs through the park. The Gennett Records Walk of Fame pays tribute to the jazz, country, big band, blues, and gospel greats who recorded here. Read more

Relaxing Weekend at Iconic Pheasant Run Resort

Relaxing Weekend at Iconic Pheasant Run Resort

Located on a former farm on the outskirts of St. Charles, a little more than an hour from Chicago, Pheasant Run was the place to go in the 1960s. Folks from all over the Chicago area visited the 250-acre resort for a weekend of golf, dinner theater entertainment, and relaxation. Oddly, neither my husband nor I experienced Pheasant Run until a couple of weeks ago. We discovered that more than 50 years after it first opened, Pheasant Run Resort is still a fun destination, whether you visit as a couple, a family, or a group. Read more