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:

1. Hurts Donut Wackiest Donuts Ever

A year ago October I had my first Hurts Donut in the flagship Springfield, Missouri, location. With names like Oreo Cheese Cake and Twix, plus an entire series of Cereal Killers (donuts topped with Froot Loops or other sugary cereals), these were the wackiest donuts I had ever seen. I chose one of the top sellers—a maple-bacon longjohn (how could I turn down bacon?)—and was on a sugar buzz the rest of the day. Since my visit, Hurts Donut franchises have popped up in locations from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Middleton, Wisconsin. These donuts are so over the top—and so delicious. I am not surprised they topped the Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 list.

Hurts Donuts, Springfield MO

2. Carlsbad Caverns: Hiking 750 Feet into the Earth

Regular Midwest Wanderer readers know that I love caves. Find one, and I have to stop and explore. We have visited lots of beautiful caves in the Midwest, but Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico had been on my bucket list for years. So we detoured a bit on our road trip out west last winter so we could stop in Carlsbad. The day we visited, the elevator that descends 750 feet into the cave was out of order, so we hiked it down. Going down wasn’t so bad. Coming back up was a killer. But so worth it.

Carlsbad Caverns Natural Opening

3. Haunted DeSoto House Hotel, Galena IL

Although I published this post in 2013, it remains  one of my most popular. I didn’t experience any paranormal activity on my visit, but several other Midwest Wanderer readers have and wrote to tell me about it. Check out the comments on this post—or stay there and see if you have any unusual experiences during the night.


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

Who would think that a little dumpling would bring 300,000 people from all over the country, plus some international visitors, to celebrate it? Dozens of pierogi varieties are just the start of the fun. Add in buscias wearing housecoats and babushkas, the Buscias’ Cooking Show, Pierogi Toss, Pierogi Eating Contest and a parade filled with over-the-top characters, and you have a real party.

5. 12 Fun Facts You May Not Know About the Midwest

Illinois was the home of the world’s tallest man…The crookedest street in the world is in Iowa… Colon, Michigan, is the magic capital of the world… The world’s largest railroad yard is in North Platte, Nebraska. Who knew? These are a few of the fun facts in this article.

Best of Midwest

6. Illinois State Capitol: Take the Tour

I had visited the two former Illinois state capitols (Springfield and Vandalia) multiple times before I finally got around to touring the current Springfield capitol and was blown away by its beauty. Now whenever I am in a state’s capital city, I make it a point to tour the capitol building.

Illinois State Capitol

7. The Palms Grill Café, Atlanta IL: Route 66 Diner Restored to its 1934 Look

This community raised a half million dollars to restore the diner to its original 1934 look. The wait staff dresses in vintage-style uniforms in this Illinois Route 66 staple.

Palms Grill Cafe

8. American Banjo Museum: Evolution of an American Instrument

I admit I was a little skeptical when I saw a banjo museum on our Oklahoma City itinerary. But I found the museum fascinating, with over 400 unique banjos exhibited. Triangular banjos, a banjo decorated with carousel horse, and Steve Martin’s personal banjo were on display during our visit. Occasionally the museum hosts events in which beginners can try out a banjo.

triangle banjos

9. Bowers Harbor Inn, Traverse City: Two Restaurants and a Ghost

Published in 2014, this article becomes popular every Halloween season. Bowers Harbor Inn, located on Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula, houses two restaurants, the Jolly Pumpkin and Mission Table. We enjoyed dinner at the Jolly Pumpkin, a casual restaurant and brewery. Afterward we learned the history of the building and the story of the lumber baron’s wife who lived in the late 1800s, died, but apparently never left…

Bowers Harbor Inn

10  3 Great Places in Illinois for Eagle Watching

Eagle watching rounds out the Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 list. Come winter, when northern waterways freeze over, the American Bald Eagle migrates south in search of free-flowing water. You’re likely to spot this once-endangered National Bird around locks and dams. This article lists three great spots in Illinois, along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers,that are great for eagle watching.

American Bald Eagle


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