Showing posts from 2012

Kellogg Discovery Center: Battle Creek, Michigan

A one-tank trip article that appeared in the Northwest Indiana Times in 2010. This place was quite interesting! It was one stop on a lovely trip that began in Shipshewana and Nappanee in Indiana and then extended up to Battle Creek, Michigan.

Historic village reflects Adventist lifestyle, highlights Dr. Kellogg ONE TANK TRIP: BATTLE CREEK, MICH. PrintEmail April 10, 20

Civil War Museum: Kenosha, Wisconsin

In the coming weeks, I'm going to post some of the travel pieces I've written that have appeared in the Northwest Indiana Times. This one printed on October 23, 2010. I was very impressed with this museum and Kenosha remains one of our family's favorite getaway spots. With plenty of museums amd indoor activities, it makes for a great cold-weather destination, but if you visit during the winter, you MUST return in the summer to take full advantage of the lovely beaches!

Civil War Museum highlights Midwestern contributions

Road trips for the holiday break

The past week was hopefully full of presents and food and time with family as the Christmas holiday was celebrated. It’s always such a whirlwind of activity and most kids in the region still have at least another week off of school, so there’s time for lots more fun. The upcoming week is a perfect time to connect as a family with a little road trip. It can be short or long. It can be near or far. If you have an empty calendar this week and are looking for some family fun, here are some of my suggestions based on our family’s wintertime trips of the past. Hop in the car and have a little fun, either in your own back yard or a little beyond. Be sure to check hours in advance as some attractions close on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day or have shortened hours.
1)IndianaWelcomeCenter – This place is just a hop, skip and a jump away, but through January 6, the free “A Christmas Story Comes Home” exhibit remains on display, with elaborate scenes from the classic movie, “A Christmas Story” c…

Miracle on 34th Street playing at Round Barn Theatre

With some time of off school for the kids coming up, I always try to squeeze in a little over-nighter or short getaway during the holiday break. For those families who'd like to get away, but not travel far, Indiana's Amish Country is a great option. We like to stay at the Splash Universe Shipshewana, which has an indoor water park. It's a great place to have fun as a family while it's cold outside.

I was looking up what's going on in that area this month and I see that the Round Barn Theatre at Amish Acres is having a performance of Miracle on 34th Street. Sounds to me like a wonderful way to spend a chilly evening with family.

Details are below. Tickets can be ordered online at

November 14 – December 31
Adapted by Mountain Community Theater from the novel by Valentine Davies; based upon the Twentieth Century Fox motion picture Miracle on 34th Street.
Musical Arrangements by Travis Smith

Produced by special arrangement with the Dramatic PublishingC…

Lansing Historical Museum has free tree exhibit

For the past 15 years of so, I've been involved with the Lansing Historical Society and I'm always amazed at the great job that is done in putting up the annual holiday "Festival of Lights" exhibit, which many have said rivals the holiday tree exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

The exhibit includes over 30 trees, each decorated to represent a different country, culture or aspect of life in Lansing. There's also a collection of nativity scenes and Santa himself resides in the museum for naptime. Admission is free. The exhibit continues through December 29. Hours are 6 - 8 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 3 - 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10 a.m .to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum

I haven't had as much time to post on this page as I'd like since I also have two other very active blogs along with several Facebook pages that I manage in addition to my other writing work. Oh, yeah, and I have five kids, too, that keep me a tad busy. So, I thought I'd start sharing some of my previously published articles here when I don't have time for a lengthy post. There are so many interesting places we've been in the 13 years that I've been doing travel writing. For many years, I wrote "One-Tank Trip" articles for the Northwest Indiana Times, but last year as things were getting trimmed down, that column was one of the casualties. And I really miss it. Here's a one-tank trip article I wrote back in 2006 on the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum. Having boys who love anything with an engine, this was a perfect place to take them. And being a history buff, I was fascinated by all I was learning there. I think it was the trip that I first reall…

Volo Auto Museum

If you love cars, you will love the Volo Auto Museum.  The huge site includes not only the auto museum, but a gigantic antique mall, or rather 5 malls strung together. Kids will love the Hollywood Showroom with movie vehicles, including the "Back to the Future" DeLorean and Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine. There are also some antique kiddie rides.
If you're in the market for a classic car, you'll also find dozens of cars for sale in climate controlled showrooms. A military exhibit showcases several military vehicles from different time periods. The 1950's food court and gift shop provides a blast from the past.
The museum is open daily all year round.
VOLO AUTO MUSUEM 27582 Volo Village Road Volo, IL 815-385-3644

Cub Run Cave: Cub Run, Kentucky

With all the traveling our family has done, we've been in a number of caves. Cub Run Cave is one that we've visited recently that we thoroughly enjoyed. Although you go deep into the cave and see plenty of amazing formations, it didn't seem to have quite the amount of stairs and steep climbs as others we've been in. The inside of the cave was amazing. I didn't realize until our tour was finished that I'd had my camera on the wrong setting, so many of the pictures were blurry. Here's a few that weren't too bad that give you a glimpse of the cave's beauty.

Tours at this cave or a fairly new thing. It was first discovered in 1950 and open for tours for a short time. Then it was shut down for 55 years. It re-opened in 2006 with modern lighting and a newly constructed wooden walkway.

One great thing about caves is that they are not a seasonal attraction. The temperature underground is steady throughout the year. It feels the same inside the cave whether…

John Hancock Observatory

Last weekend we were heading into downtown Chicago to check out the Christmas scenery and do some shopping. Since we'd be on the Mag Mile, I suggested to my husband that we visit the John Hancock Observatory. I had never been up to the observatory on the 94th floor, but I had been to the 95th floor to dine at the Signature Room. It's a cool experience, especially at sunset. 
One hint for anyone who drives a huge van like we do - you won't fit into the parking garage! It had a 6 ft. 7 clearance, which we learned wasn't enough as we scraped as we headed in. We found a garage a couple blocks over with the 7 ft. 7 clearance and we were good to go. They were even offering a rate of $14 for 5 hours for the holidays. Wouldn't you know it, we got back to the garage after 5 hours and 12 minutes and our parking fee shot up to $31. Gotta expect that in the city.
Anyway, to enter the observatory, you actually walk down a floor from Michigan Avenue. I had checked out prices on…

Ten ways to celebrate Christmas in July in Santa Claus

One of our family's favorite vacation spots is Santa Claus, Indiana. For couples who aren't at the stage for an exotic getaway on a tropical island, but who want to find a family friendly spot with lots of activities for all ages, they'll find it in this little Midwest town. Santa Claus really sparkles with celebration in the height of summer when water if flowing and roller coasters are whizzing and the town's biggest attraction, Holiday World Amusement Park and Splashin' Safari Water Park. There's also lots of other fun to be had in the area and here's a list I put together. (This article originally appeared at
Ever wonder where Mr. Kringle goes to relax and get away from the North Pole? He has his own vacation spot and it happens to be in Indiana – Santa Claus, Indiana that is. In the small town in southern Indiana named for the big man in red, signs of Christmas are all ov…

The Summer Bucket List

Ok, I've been absent from this blog for a while as I'm much more active on my other blogs - Chicago Foodie Sisters, which has daily posts and Adventures in Motherhood, which has new posts usually one to three times a week. I'm hoping to get in a regular posting routine on here, so I can share lots of my favorite summer spots. There's what -- 92 days in summer? If I really get with it, I can post something for each of those days.

It's not officially summer, but I am in full summer mode now that the kids are out of school and I'm planning out some summer fun. I just thought I'd share my summer bucket list that I made up today. My goal is to do at least half of the 50 items listed. I'm already off to a good start. Everything listed is pretty local - within an hour or so and I've got a few checked off already. I'll have to make another list for some of the places I'd like to travel to this season. What's on your summer bucket list?

Summer Buc…

Fun for all in Kenosha

So, as I was thinking back to all the winter trips we've taken that have included indoor water parks and an amusement rides or outdoor winter fun, another place I thought of that I've been to at all seasons of the year is Kenosha, Wisconsin.

While the summer months are the ideal time to visit when it's more practical to enjoy the lakefront and the nearby Bristol Renaissance Faire is in full swing, there are several indoor attractions to enjoy. If you like to shop, if you like dinosaurs, if you like history or if you like jelly beans, you're in luck. With several museums, there's plenty to occupy young and old.

If you're a foodie, there's also much to delight you. Some favorites of mine are the Brat Stop, Frank's Diner and House of Gerhard. And one of the coolest attractions is these awesome streetcars that wind around the lakefront and run year round. For more info, visit There's a listing on the site of 101 things to do …

Chula Vista in Wisconsin Dells offers winter specials

Chula Vista is a charming resort. We visited for a late summer last minute trip before the boys were all back in school. So, while it's chilly outside, you can stay warm inside and enjoy some splash time. Or combine it with a ski outing. A Sunday through Thursday special is running through the end of February. Find more information here: