A Presidential Adventure

A Presidential Adventure

Looking for something different to do when visiting Indianapolis? Or maybe you’re a local who has already checked out all the traditional Indy tourist spots. Or you just love history and good food? Whatever camp you fall into, I’ve got a treat for you! Join me in a presidential adventure. Located just minutes from downtown Indianapolis, is the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. The 23rd Presidents former home has been beautifully restored and is chock full of interesting artifacts, presidential mementos, and history. The tour starts at the welcome center located behind the mansion, and you’ll easily find free parking either right on Delaware Street or in a small lot behind the welcome center. I visited on a Monday morning and we had a full tour of 12 guests. Many were from the Indianapolis area, but others were history buffs passing through the city on their way to another adventure. In addition to getting admittance to the tour in the welcome center, there is a small gift shop and a rotating exhibit. The current exhibit is on political humor – and it was a fun one to explore. If you enjoy political cartoons and jokes, you’ll definitely want to spend some time in this exhibit. The tour I took lasted about an hour and was led by a wonderfully knowledgeable docent named Patricia. Not only did she know the history of many of the items in the house, but she also had some fun stories to share about the President and his family. For example, she shared a hilarious story of a time that one of the children’s pets (a...
Blues and BBQ in St. Louis

Blues and BBQ in St. Louis

A big thanks to Bi-State Development and Explore St. Louis for sponsoring this trip. All suggestions and opinions are 100% my own. When you think of Blues and BBQ, what city comes to mind? Is it Nashville or Memphis, TN for BBQ? New Orleans or Chicago for the Blues? Although those might be the places that you automatically think of, now that I’ve spent some time exploring St Louis’s rich heritage for both, I know it’ll be my first pick! Ready for a fun day in St Louis enjoying both Blues and BBQ? I’ve got you covered. Start your day at the National Blues Museum located in downtown St. Louis. This relatively new museum (opened in September 2016) chronicles the history of the Blues and highlights Blues musicians, events and influences. The Blues is all about feelings and emotions and therefore is music for everyone. In addition to some amazing exhibits and historical artifacts, the museum offers a fun, interactive experience where you’ll actually get to create your own Blues song. While you are touring the museum, you’ll stop at several stations and add typical Blues elements. When you are finished, you’ll end up with a Blues song made just for you. Pretty cool, right? Both in the 1920s and after World War II, there was a large migration of southerners moving north to urban areas such as St. Louis and Chicago – with them, came their music – the Blues. As Americans moved, the Blues were introduced to more people and record labels started taking notice. This is how the historical southern or country Blues morphed into electric...
Raise a Toast to Hamilton County Wineries

Raise a Toast to Hamilton County Wineries

Whether traveling or at home, I enjoy visiting wineries. I love trying the different wines, enjoying the relaxing atmosphere and learning about each one’s history. Lucky for me, there are some fabulous wineries just minutes from my home in Noblesville, Indiana. With warmer weather finally coming to the Midwest, it’s the perfect time to visit one of these favorites. Grab a delicious glass of wine, indulge in some snacks, listen to music, enjoy a beautiful patio – all of this and more awaits: Urban Vines in Westfield is my go-to location when I’m looking for a fun and relaxing evening out. It’s perfect for date night, girls night out or even just enjoying an afternoon of playing cards while listening to music. Urban Vines offers a delicious array of white and red wines, their own beers and even ciders. In the summer, the wine slushies are a dangerous delight. With weekly Bingo or Trivia nights, live music most weekends and tasty “create your own” charcuterie platters you can’t go wrong with visiting this favorite of mine. I share more details on Urban Vine in my 5 Fun Fall Adventures in Hamilton County Post. Sugar Creek Winery is the newest addition to the wineries in Hamilton County. Sugar Creek has an upscale, outdoor vibe and an amazing outdoor firepit. The vineyard is located in nearby Montgomery County and produces many of the grapes that create their delicious varieties of wine. Sweet Water doesn’t serve food, but that means you get the fun of bringing in your personal favorites. Learn more about Sugar Creek in this post on Sugar Creek Winery....

Chicago for Tweens

I recently had the opportunity to visit Chicago with just my son. For school-related reasons my daughter (and therefore husband) couldn’t join us so it became a fun one-on-one trip. Not something we get to do often, so it was very special. We arrived Friday night to our amazing room at the Wyndham Grand – it was the perfect location, easy to get everywhere and with awe-inspiring city views. Once I parked my car, we used Uber or good old-fashioned walking the rest of the weekend – it was lovely to not think about driving, parking, etc. However, I do want to caution everyone to be very careful with valet parking – we ended up with some issues that I’m still dealing with – and this was at a very nice hotel and expensive parking spot. Thanks to our Chicago CityPASS, we knew our Friday night adventure would be the 360 Chicago Observation. After enjoying the views – loved the ice breaking up on the water – we walked across the street to do a little shopping at The Water Tower. I actually remember shopping there as a kid so it was nostalgic to share that experience with MY kid. As we had a full day planned for Saturday, we just grabbed quick salads and “fancy” drinks at The Cheesecake Factory just outside the mall. I rarely do chains when traveling, but that’s what my kid wanted and this was his weekend … The next morning started bright and early with the goal of seeing how many museums we could visit in one day (and still enjoy them!). We also...
The Best Places to Fuel Up after a Day of Skiing at Boyne

The Best Places to Fuel Up after a Day of Skiing at Boyne

Every year we visit Boyne Mountain at least once for a long weekend of skiing. Through the years, we’ve stumbled upon some amazing places to enjoy a boisterous or low-key (depending upon our mood) evening of good food, drinks, and atmosphere. It’s always a struggle to decide which ones to visit when we only have a few days. Luckily, we know we’ll be back next year to hit the ones we miss. Here are three of my current favorites: Cafe Sante is perhaps the most elegant of these choices. However you needn’t feel out of place in warm sweaters and jeans – after all in the winter, Boyne City is a ski town and being bundled up is expected. The atmosphere is cozy, the food has a French influence and the drinks are strong. All excellent reasons to visit. Cafe Sante also has an amazing Happy Hour. From 3- 6 every day there are a number of $3 drinks and appetizers. The choices change slightly from year to year, but we always have a good time putting together a tasty dinner of delicious tidbits. Shrimp cocktail, salmon pate, mussels, eggplant, and even deviled eggs were some of the delicacies we enjoyed on our recent trip. Along with several $3 margaritas, we left full and in good spirits early enough in the evening to be able to peek into a few of the Boyne City stores before heading back to our resort. Interested in more information on Cafe Sante? Check out my review on The Yums. Red Mesa is just down the street from Cafe Sante and actually owned by the...
Kilwins Chocolates – A Sweet Tradition

Kilwins Chocolates – A Sweet Tradition

Every year we spend at least one (sometimes two) weekends at Boyne Mountain skiing. We’ve been doing this for over ten years, so it really feels like a second home. One of our annual traditions during this ski trip is to visit the headquarters of Kilwins Chocolates. To anyone who isn’t familiar with Kilwins, they began their journey in Petoskey, Michigan as a bakery in 1947. Don and Katy started developing candy and chocolate recipes that are still used today. In 1985, they added ice cream to the line-up. Some of my favorite things about Kilwins is their attention to detail, the fact that they use local ingredients when possible (and when they can’t they are incredibly particular about getting the best ingredients possible) and that they require all franchises to go through extensive training.  Another example of their concern with creating the best product experience is that the company decided to buy their own trucks to deliver ice cream so that they could ensure it would arrive at the proper temperature. The factory tour is available every half-hour Monday through Friday from 10 – 4:30 and it is FREE! It’s fun to watch the candy being made, taste the delicious chocolate and learn more about the history of Kilwins. Even though I’ve done this tour multiple times, I learn something new each year. Much of the equipment being used to create the chocolates has been around since the beginning – and is still going strong. On this particular tour, we watched truffle filling being mixed, caramel and peanut butter filling being spread out to cool, marshmallows being prepared and...

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