Exploring Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour

Exploring Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour

We had planned to spend only one night in Brown County, Indiana, last October. We were going to enjoy the area’s natural beauty and browse some of Nashville’s art galleries. But when we discovered that during the entire month of October artists along the county’s back roads open their studios to visitors, we tacked another night onto our visit. We spent several hours that second day visiting artists participating in the Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour. The area landscape is artwork in itself, with the October leaves painting a spectacular image in shades of amber and crimson. Brown County is an artist’s dream. It’s no wonder it’s considered the Art Colony of the Midwest. Read more

Morton Pumpkin Festival Celebrates Pumpkin Capital

Morton Pumpkin Festival Celebrates Pumpkin Capital

Did you know that ninety-five percent of pumpkins for processing in the United States are grown in Illinois? Specifically, they’re grown in and near Morton, a town southeast of Peoria, home to a large Libby’s cannery. Every September, Morton celebrates its pumpkin industry with the Morton Pumpkin Festival. Read more

Exploring Byways and Trails

Exploring Byways and Trails

In this podcast, we chat about exploring byways and trails. If you’re a regular Midwest Wanderer reader, you know we do a lot of road trips. Some of our favorite trips are along scenic or historic byways. And then there are trails. What’s the difference? You’ll find out in this podcast. Read more

Watson Steam Train: Miniature Railroad Rides

Watson Steam Train: Miniature Railroad Rides

The Watson Steam Train in Missouri Valley, Iowa, is one of only a few remaining 1948 Ottaway steam-powered miniature trains left in the United States. While the 12-gauge coal-fueled steam train is fired up only for special occasions, another train—a diesel-fueled Union Pacific replica—takes kids of all ages on rides around the 1,700 foot track. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Days 9-13

Podcast: Great River Road Days 9-13

In this podcast, we wrap up our Great River Road adventure. We start in Dubuque, Iowa, and travel south through Fulton, Illinois, and Clinton, Iowa. Then we move on to our last stop, the Quad Cities. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Days 5-8

Podcast: Great River Road Days 5-8

Listen to our adventures as we drove the Great River Road from the Headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Quad Cities. On days 5 through 8 explored the area from St. Cloud, Minnesota, to Dubuque Iowa.  Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Days 1-4

Podcast: Great River Road Days 1-4

Welcome to the inaugural Midwest Wanderer podcast! As we traveled the Great River Road from the Mississippi River headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Quad Cities, we summed up our daily activities each night in a podcast. We turned the first two recordings into videos while we traveled and posted them on Facebook. But that required late nights, and after two nights of five or fewer hours of sleep, we decided to record and wait until we got home to publish them. So here we are, with the first four days of our Quad Cities adventures. Rather than videos, we’re presenting them in podcast format.   Read more

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

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

I grew up in Illinois just over the border from Northwest Indiana. Although I no longer live in that immediate area, I have lots of friends and family who do. Over the years I’ve heard talk about Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana. I assumed it was just a small-town festival, no big deal—until I finally went to Pierogi Fest. What a hoot! Read more

Hitchcock Nature Center: Preserving Loess Hills

Hitchcock Nature Center: Preserving Loess Hills

Western Iowa is one of only two places worldwide with a Loess Hills landform, and the only place that still possesses some of its natural characteristics. Hitchcock Nature Center near Council Bluffs was formed to protect the Loess Hills and to provide low-impact recreation for visitors. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Day 13

Day 13: Quad Cities to home

The weather on the last day of our trip was rather gloomy. Since the skies looked like they could open at any time, we skipped traveling on the Channel Cat Water Taxi. Instead, we started out at the John Deere Pavilion, where we checked out John Deere equipment, both modern and from the past. Afterward we enjoyed an early dessert at Lagomarcino’s, a family-owned ice cream and candy shop that has been open since 1908. Then back to the Rock Island Arsenal, to see the veteran and Confederate cemeteries, followed by a tour of Colonel Davenport’s home. Read more