Weathering this Midwest Winter

Weathering this Midwest Winter

“I’m tired of this winter.”  I’ve heard it over and over again for the past month.  And I agree.  It seems that every day, at least here in the Chicago area, we’ve been getting either more snow, making roads dangerous to navigate, or single-digit to sub-zero temperatures, so we can’t go out and enjoy snow activities.  Of course, the obvious remedy is to go somewhere warm, and if you can do that, great.  But for many, a vacation to a warm climate is impractical or even impossible.  Besides, a week later, you’ll be back home in the snow and cold again.  So aside from hibernating and counting the days until spring, here are a couple of ways to counter the cabin fever that has hit the Midwest hard:

Go to indoor events and attractions.  On the days that are cold but the roads okay to drive on, go to a local museum that you haven’t been to in a long time.  (Call first to make sure they haven’t closed due to the cold.)  Or go to one of the many travel, RV, boat, auto, or home shows going on in cities all over the Midwest.  You’ll find links to information on lots of them on the Midwest Festivals & Fairs page.

Plan your summer travel.  Now is the time to plan your summer getaways.  Get them on the calendar before your calendar fills up with other obligations.  If you’re planning to go to a popular seasonal destination, you should make your accommodation reservations as soon as possible, too, for the best selection.  Need help in deciding where to go?  Turn to the convention and visitors bureaus of the states you are thinking about.  On the Internet, search “[state name] tourism” to find the state’s official tourism site, which will have listings of attractions, accommodations, dining options, and events.  You can order free hard copy travel guides for the states or regions you are considering for your getaways, too.  I personally like to peruse the hard copy guides from the cozy comfort of a sofa and then use the Internet to get further details on places that interest me.  To get you started, I’ve included links below to order tourism guides for the Midwest states.

North Dakota
South Dakota

Just thinking about and planning your summer getaways will do wonders to counter the winter doldrums.  Do you have other suggestions for cabin fever remedies?  Answer in the Comments box below.

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Other attractions you may enjoy this winter:

Peoria Riverfront Museum: Interactive Exhibits, Planetarium and Giant Screen Theater

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Springfield IL: Museum Meets Disney

Frank Lloyd Wright Dana-Thomas House: 12,000 Square Feet of Phenomenal

Visit Jelly Belly, Pleasant Prairie WI: Take the Tour, Taste the Candy

Tour Stone Hill Winery, Hermann, MO: Most Historic and Awarded Winery in the State

Blackberry Farm in Aurora IL: History Made Fun

“Kids don’t learn local history in school anymore,” says blacksmith  Thomas Korthauer.  Not until they come to Blackberry Farm, a popular field trip destination for area schoolchildren.  Blackberry Farm gives the kids a chance to learn the history of the area, one of the reasons Korthauer loves his job as a blacksmith at the Blackberry Farm Museum.  Not only does the Blackberry Farm provide a history lesson for kids and adults alike, it’s fun too, a living history museum and amusement park rolled into one.

At Blackberry Farm see an 1840s  pioneer cabine where you may see candles, soap or butter being made.


Visit a one-room schoolhouse, and learn from the teacher how she was able to teach all grades at once.

schoolhouse_outside schoolhouse

Artisans may be plying their trades in the weaver’s cabin, blacksmith shop or pottery shop.


Visit the Early Streets museum with 12 storefronts, the Carriage House with 40 carriages, and the Farm Museum, displaying antique farm implements and tools.


Kids and kids-at-heart will enjoy the carousel, the miniature train and the paddle boats, and adults will wish they were kids again when they see the Adventure Playground.


During my visit to Blackberry Farm, I heard a mother ask her young son if he wanted to ride the carousel.  “I want to go to the museums first,” he replied, proving that kids will enjoy the Blackberry Farm museums as much as they will the amusement rides.

Blackberry Farm , a property of the Fox Valley Park District, is located at 100 S. Barnes Road in Aurora, Illinois.  Check the web site for hours and admission information.

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