Holiday Favorites From The Midwest

The holidays are fast approaching and we want to share some of our holiday favorites with all of you. We love to travel and are passionate about what the midwest has to offer. From experiences to products that we love, we hope you find our holiday guide to be helpful and fun. Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form below to be entered into a drawing for several prizes to be given away throughout the holiday season. Enter to win prizes through November 27, 2016.

UDDERLY SMOOTH

Udderly Smooth is based out of Ohio and we love their products. We personally love the hand cream, as it’s some of the best we have ever used. Your chapped winter skin will appreciate the hand/body lotion.

hand body lotion

 

Udderly Smooth is not a greasy lotion, it goes on smooth and immediately soothes your skin. Do you have a loved one in your life that is battling cancer? Udderly Smooth offers a soothing experience for those with skin issues brought on by different types of cancer treatments.

CHRISTMAS BY THE LAKE: CLEAR LAKE, IOWA

Celebrating 22 years of holiday tradition. The Clear Lake community welcomes thousands of visitors to the annual Christmas By The Lake celebration Dec. 2-4, 2016, in Clear Lake right off of I-35.

Christmas By The Lake Fireworks

This is the place to be if you enjoy holiday fellowship, fun and festivities, music, food, games,movies, carriage rides, and oh yes, a lighted Christmas parade and fireworks display. Don’t forget to dress warm.

HENDRICKS COUNTY, INDIANA

Hendricks County is home to the Martinsville Candy Kitchen in Martinsville, Indiana. Here you can view candy canes in the making, all year long.

Martinsville Candy Kitchen

There’s something to be said about a place you can indulge in a holiday favorite, the candy cane.  Hendricks County has much more to offer throughout the holidays, including the Winterland Christmas Light Show.

The lighting of Danville’s Christmas tree also marks the grand opening of the Winterland Christmas Light Show just down the street at Ellis Park. Drive through the park with the family while listening to Christmas music on the radio that is synchronized with the light displays. I can’t even begin to guess how many thousands upon thousands of lights there are in this display, highlighted by a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree. The light show is open daily from Nov. 25 through Dec. 30, closed on Christmas Day.

 

 

OMAHA CHILDREN’S MUSEUM: OMAHA, NEBRASKA

The Omaha Children’s Museum is all about bringing families together through educational opportunities and fun. With more than 45,000 square feet of museum space, creative minds are encouraged to flourish. With several unique areas to learn, your visit will leave you wanting to plan a return visit.

The Omaha Children’s Museum Vision for Creative Arts:
At the Omaha Children’s Museum, children and families are allowed and encouraged to be creative and authentic through art experiences. The museum strives to provide a healthy balance between art processes and product, fostering inspiration and expression. Visitors will have opportunities with an array of experiences that are fun, engaging, meaningful and community oriented. The entire family is welcome to participate in all the art experiences that the museum offers.

The Omaha Children’s Museum offers a little bit of Santa’s Magic, November 23-December 23, 2016.

Santas Magic Crew

 

RED CEDAR LODGE: CHARLES CITY, IOWA

Red Cedar Lodge offers a luxury lodging experience in Charles City, Iowa for families of all sizes. Located in North Central Iowa, a short drive from the Des Moines and Twin Cities Metro areas. We love the atmosphere that is offered in this small rural community. If you need a place for a family gathering or are looking for a couples get-a-way, this is your go to resort. We also know that gift giving is also a tedious thing and families are looking for experiences.

Red Cedar Lodge from above

How about a gift certificate for a couple night’s lodging in 2017? Red Cedar Lodge can put a nice gift package together for you and you will give the memory of a lifetime. A quick phone call to 641-228-3444 will make your holiday shopping easy.

CABIN COFFEE COMPANY: CLEAR LAKE, IOWA

Cabin Coffee is one of our favorite go to coffee shops in the midwest. In fact, they are even expanding out of the midwest and have shops in Georgia and Colorado. Cabin Coffee’s mission is one that we are proud of. We can attest to top notch service and a quality cup of coffee every single time we have set foot in their stores.

Cabin Coffee

Cabin Coffee Company’s mission: “Creating and sustaining a warm and inviting environment while providing the highest quality products and service.”We are dedicated to creating a warm and inviting environment for both customers and our team members.  We value every team members’ individuality and personality, and believe that empowering our team members will ensure the best service for every customer.

Here’s a great idea for your holiday giving. How about coffee from Cabin Coffee Company? We know your recipient will love this, as it’s some of the best coffee around in the midwest.

This is a small sampling of all that the midwest has to offer this holiday season. Enter the Rafflecopter form below and you may win one of the prizes listed here:

  • (2) Family Four Packs To Visit Omaha Children’s Museum In Omaha, Nebraska
  • (1) Basket of Clear Lake, Iowa Items
  • (1) Basket of Udderly Smooth Products

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Plan Your Spectacular 2017 Adventure Across The Midwest

The summer 2016 season has wrapped up. We have been inspired all season long and we would like to inspire you to travel in 2017. Here are some of our favorite things from 2016. This is a glimpse of what the spectacular midwest has to offer. Each state truly has a little slice of paradise for every single person.

Sunset: Clear Lake, Iowa

Badlands National Park: South Dakota

Badlands National Park South Dakota

Bicycles for Rent: Lake Erie Island & Shores

bicycles for rent

Theodore Roosevelt National Park: North Dakota

North Dakota Road

Mount Rushmore: Keystone, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore

Mill Creek: Youngstown, Ohio

Mill Creek Park: Ohio

Old Market: Omaha, Nebraska

Old Market Omaha

Sculpture Walk: Northwood, Iowa

Northwood Iowa Sculpture Walk

12 Midwestern Historical Re-Enactments

I recently went to a historical re-enactment at a former military fort near my hometown, and I surprised myself. I really enjoyed it! And so did my children – even though they were too young to grasp timelines or significance of things mentioned. It didn’t matter. The theatrical and sometimes hands-on nature of a re-enactment was fascinating enough.

I’ve been on the lookout for similar experiences since then. Lucky for me, there are several Midwest travel writers who’ve sought the same thing.

Here are 12 historical re-enactment experiences you can find in the Midwest:

Midwest Historical Experiences

Iowa

  • Living History Farms (Urbandale, Iowa) – Three farms demonstrate different eras of farming on the plains, with costumed characters, animals and interactive opportunities elevating the experience. There’s also an 1880s town to explore. Don’t miss the blacksmith! The visit to the Living History Farms was part of my Great Iowa Road Trip, which you can read about here. The Walking Tourists also wrote the farms here.

Kansas

  • Old Cowtown (Wichita, Kan.) – Old Cowtown is an outdoor living history museum in Wichita, Kan. The Walking Tourists take readers on a tour, exploring the 23 acres and more than 50 buildings on site. They visited the museum twice, sharing pictures from a holiday event depicting celebrations in the Victorian era.

Michigan

  • Wolcott Mill Metropark (Ray, Mich.) – Midwest Guest visited Wolcott Mill Metropark in Michigan’s Macomb County to watch and photograph living history enthusiasts recreating part of the Siege of Petersburg. Every year, Wolcott Mills Civil War Days event focuses on a specific Civil War battle to recreate.
  • The Henry Ford (Dearborn, Mich.) – Midwest Guest also happens to be a member of the National Historic Landmark The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, and has written about it several times. In this post, she explores the outdoor campus of Greenfield Village. Some of the fun touring options there include a ride on open-air railroad cars drawn by a vintage steam locomotive or riding in a chauffeur-driven restored Model T car. There’s even a vintage carousel for children to ride. In a separate post, she wrote about the War of 1812 Muster that took place there.

Minnesota

  • Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park (Preston, Minn.) – Thrifty Minnesota recently explored Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park, where they checked out Historic Forestville, a living history “town” with actors in period costume. Forestville is modeled off a pioneer town in the mid-1850s.

Missouri

  • Shoal Creek Living History Museum (Kansas City, Missouri) – You can visit Shoal Creek Living History Museum anytime for FREE, but if you plan your trip well, you can go when there are actors re-enacting life in 19th century Missouri. We toured the grounds early summer when there weren’t any actors on hand, and it was still a beautiful place to explore (be sure to check out the bison).

Nebraska

  • Fort Atkinson State Historical Park (Fort Calhoun, Nebraska) – Life at Fort Atkinson in the 1820s comes to life on the first weekend of the month from May to October (plus a special holiday event). Costumed characters talk about life on the battlefield, in the kitchen and on the prairie. Highlights include a fun Q&A scavenger hunt for kids and cannon fire.
  • Indian Cave State Park living history cabins (Shubert, Nebraska) – One of Nebraska’s prettiest state parks has a small living history area where you can interact with various makers, including a soap maker, blacksmith, candle maker and broom maker. The Indian Cave State Park living history cabins are open Memorial Day through October on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ohio

  • Heritage Village (Cincinnati, Ohio) – Adventure Mom Blog wrote about catching a Civil War re-enactment at Heritage Village inside Sharon Woods Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. There was cannon fire, men on horseback, and gun battles fought by men in authentic period costumes.
  • Sauder Village (Archbold, Ohio) – Midwest Guest visited the living history museum, Sauder Village, in Archbold, Ohio. The 80-acre non-profit is Ohio’s largest living history destination and even has a kid-sized area for little ones to explore.
  • Canal Experience (Providence, Ohio) – In Providence, Ohio, travelers can see what it’s like to take a canal boat ride in Ohio in 1876. Midwest Guest wrote about the Canal Experience and was entertained with the crew who stayed in character the entire time. The tour lasts about 40 minutes.

Kim is the woman behind Oh My! Omaha, a travel blog celebrating fun things to do in Omaha and beyond. Her work has appeared in Omaha Magazine, Old Market Encounter and Omaha Home.

Hidden Gem in Southeastern Ohio: Boch Hollow Nature Preserve

By Abby Hockman of Wanderlost Travels

Nature preserves are never something I used to consider seeking out while traveling. However, all of that has changed after a recent visit to Boch Hollow in Logan, Ohio, only 20 miles south of my hometown. Boch Hollow’s 572 acres is divided into two parts – a part that requires a permit, and a part that does not.

Getting to Boch Hollow is half of the fun of the experience! The permit-required section of the preserve is extremely well-hidden and to get there you must cross a highway and climb over a guardrail to find the signs for the trail.

Road

Once you make it into this part of the Hollow, light pours in through the surrounding trees to reveal sights straight out of a fairy tale. Follow the path back to a series of waterfalls and a world of bright green moss and vibrant wild flowers are exposed.

Waterfall1

 

This part of Boch Hollow was only opened up in recent months and most of the locals don’t even know it exists! Since the number of permits is controlled, you may get the chance to explore the Hollow all by yourself. During my trip, we only encountered one other person in the Hollow during the first ten minutes.

Corkscrew

Pictures of the above Corkscrew Falls cannot do it justice. The space feels sacred and the rushing water cleared my mind from the noise of the everyday until I could do nothing but simply stand in appreciation of the beauty enfolding me. From Corkscrew Falls, it was a short jaunt back to the main road.

The access point to the general admittance portion of Boch Hollow is well-marked a few miles down the road from the falls. The other half of the preserve offers a completely different, but equally worthwhile vibe. Rather than the exciting waterfalls and virtually non-existent paths of the permit section, there is a generous path that leads to a serene lake bedecked with lily pads and cattails swaying in tandem with a calm breeze.

Path2

The lake is the perfect spot for picnicking, reflecting, or teaching children about nature. There were countless beautiful fireflies the day that we went. If only they would have stayed in one place long enough for a picture!

Lake

Boch Hollow is a special place because of the ecosystem. It is home to the largest population of Federally Endangered Running Buffalo Clover in Ohio. The Hollow is often utilized as a way to educate the public, specifically children, about Appalachian Ohio ecology. The cicadas and their song were out in full force this year after waking from their 17-year slumber.

Cicada

My favorite part of the lake was the multitude of mini lily pads.

Lilypads

Boch Hollow is on the outskirts of the well-known Hocking Hills region and is often left out when both locals and the international crowd travel to see Old Man’s Cave. Don’t forget to put this gem on your list of places to visit when you find yourself in Southern Ohio!

To obtain a permit for part of the preserve, you must apply through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Don’t worry if you don’t see Boch Hollow on the list – the permit required section is so new that it is not up on the website yet, but the process is still the same. To learn more about Boch Hollow, visit http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/bochhollow.

Visit Abby’s blog Wanderlost Travels and connect with her on Twitter @WLTravels or Facebook