Posted on Leave a comment

One Fine Day In Iowa City, Iowa: Featuring Guest Blogger Kylie Neuhaus

Iowa City, Iowa

Iowa City, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes and the famous ‘Kinnick Wave’ (where the whole football stadium turns around and waves at patients on the 12th floor of the Iowa City Children’s Hospital next door) and listed as one of a handful of cites in the world to be recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature! There are plenty of things to keep you busy during a visit!

Keeping with the football theme, any Hawkeye fan would love a stop at the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame and Museum!  It celebrates some of their greatest athletes and achievements.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the progression of the sports through the years and seeing how the uniforms have changed!

Iowa Athletic Museum

Some of them look so impractical for physical exercise!

For those that are interested in history, the Old Capitol Museum is located in Iowa’s first state capitol building that was in use in the mid 1800’s.  Some are the rooms are set up to look like how the did during this time!  The building is now part of the University of Iowa’s college campus.

Iowa City, Iowa

 

It wouldn’t be a city guide without the mention of food!  The Vue Rooftop Bar and Restaurant is on the top floor of the Hilton Garden Inn hotel.  It has loads of cool technology features (some behind the scenes) as well as an awesome outside seating area with views across the city and amazing food for very reasonable prices!

The Hamburg Inn is famous for being a stopping point for former presidents during their visits to Iowa City.  This cozy retro restaurant with a large menu pack with comfort food dishes, great prices and great ‘pie shakes’, hosts the ‘Coffee Bean Caucus’ during elections.  There are plans to open a 3rd ‘Hamburg Inn’ location in Iowa City and then potentially stretch as far away internationally as Asia!

Other places worth mentioning are ‘Scratch Cupcakes’ because who doesn’t love cake?! And Scratch Cupcakes do them brilliantly well! The Wig and Pen is a British themed pub and the Clinton Street Social Club is a cute hidden little ‘speakeasy’!  Iowa City has so many bars and restaurants to pick from, it’d be impossible to mention them all, I haven’t even touched on their live music scene!

Kylie blogs at Between England and Iowa. She resides in Dubuque, Iowa and has a passion for travel and adventure. Visit her blog and connect with her through social media, as she’s always traveling somewhere that will spark your interest.

Posted on Leave a comment

Explore Dubuque, Iowa: Guest Blogger Katy Flint, of Flint & Co.

Dubuque parks

Katy Flint of Flint & Co. resides in Iowa and enjoys exploring her home state.

Katy FlintKaty is sharing one of her favorite Iowa river towns, Dubuque, Iowa. We enjoy what Dubuque has to offer and we hope you will find inspiration to plan a visit.

The Midwest is full of so many great destinations! We love finding those treasures that are close to home and Dubuque is at the top of our list for weekend getaways! While Dubuque has a rich history as “The place where Iowa started”, it is a modern and thriving community that offers a little something for everyone! Whether you are taking off on the weekend with the family or for a quiet couples weekend, you will find more than one thing to do while visiting this river town!

Eagle Point Park

Eagle Point Park definitely has something to offer for everyone! Spend hours watching the barges enter and exit, Lock & Dam #11 or explore the many pavilions. The kids can enjoy the playgrounds, green space, tennis courts, horseshoe courts, or the rock garden and fish pond! Adults will enjoy the beautiful and historic pavilions as well as the walking path that runs along the Mississippi River!

Fenelon Place Elevator

Whether you’re looking for a fun adventure with the kids or a romantic event with that someone special, the Fenelon Place Elevator won’t disappoint. Take a ride on the historic (as well as the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway) as it raises 189 feet above the town of Dubuque.

 

Fenelon Place Dubuque

 

Then, enjoy the view from there! Kids will enjoy the historic elevator and the views are bound to be the perfect setting for a picture with your loved one!

National River Museum & Aquarium

This museum located right along with Mississippi River is a great place for kids to learn and have fun! Pet a stingray, watch the river otters swim, along with a large variety of fish! The kids can get up close and personal with the history of the river and its purposes including touring an old dredge barge, the Steamboat William Black! Don’t forget to visit the remote-control bumper boats and the gift shops!

Hotel Julien Dubuque

If you’re looking for a place to stay, look no further than the Hotel Julien Dubuque.  It has had a place in Dubuque for over 130 years and thanks to a $33 million renovation recently, it is simply gorgeous and a part of history you don’t want to miss!  If you take the kiddos, there is a great pool for them to enjoy and if you’re making it a romantic weekend, make sure to catch a treatment at the Potosa Spa or a drink from the Riverboat Lounge!

Whether you’re looking to spend a family weekend or a romantic getaway, Dubuque will not disappoint!  From nature to history, there is something to fit everyone and every agenda!

Thanks Katy, as we always enjoy what you bring to us, in regards to midwest travel. It looks like Katy enjoyed Dubuque as much as you loved your experience in Branson, Missouri.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Niabi Zoo a Giraffe Experience!

Niabi Zoo Giraffe

Cindy of Traveling Adventures of A Farm Girl shares her adventure at the Niabi Zoo in the Quad Cities. When is the last time you were in Iowa or Illinois exploring this area of the state?

What could be more fun than a trip with Allie, my adult daughter and a chance to see some wild life up close and personal?  This past July, I had the chance to see what was new and different in the Quad Cities on a sponsored trip and one of the places I was fortunate enough to visit was the Niabi Zoo.  Located near Coal Valley, we arrived early to experience the Giraffe Encounter.

Giraffe at Niabi Zoo

The zoo is located in a rural area and we were amazed at how big the zoo was.  Niabi zoo offers more than 600 animals representing over 200 species from around the world.  We parked and entered the offices and caught up with Tammy Schmidt, the assistant director.  Tammy took us on a whirlwind tour as we wound our way to the giraffes.

The first thing we saw when we entered was the new exhibit called Oceans.  This educational exhibit is an aquatic-themed habitat that includes a giant Pacific octopus, a moray eel, jelly fish, fish eating anemones and more.  What we loved was the bright colors of the fish and a placard explaining how the slim chances of being bitten by a shark. With a husband that watches and believes any and every shark threat, Allie and I were quite amused by this and took a photo to share with Keith upon our return!

Shark Retreat

Tammy shared that the zoo sits on over 40 acres and that the zoo has a deep commitment to preserving nature and ecology.  Allie was quite excited when she viewed the Big Cat exhibits on our way to our giraffe encounter that was the big draw for her.  There is a Big Cat Encounter and if it is as cool as the giraffe encounter, we may have to go back!

The giraffe encounter was amazing.  We got a chance to see the two species of giraffes and we were amazed by how much larger the male was than the female.  Our guide told us that it has only been recently that they have learned that there are distinct differences in some of the giraffe species, it is astounding what we are still learning year after year about animals, their environments and interactions.

Niabi Zoo

 

The animal trainers have taught the giraffes to move through a shoot from place to place.  They play with toys they have mounted on bars and the male giraffe was quite attracted to scratching his head against the bars.  Never having been this close to a giraffe, I didn’t really realize how big and tall they really are.  After watching them and learning about them for a bit, we had the chance to feed them large lettuce leaves and see their beautiful faces up close. What a wonderful thing to see and do.  Elementary school and older children would love this opportunity!

reptiles at Niabi Zoo

After our encounter, we wandered through the zoo and saw the reptiles, the beautiful cats and we were entranced by the lovely snow leopard.  We saw birds, goats that stood on high rocks and more. The heat of the day was the only downside to our visit.  I would love to go back again in the cool of early spring or fall!

The  Niabi Zoo has educational opportunities for kids and a zoo ranger program as well.  When we traveled to our next stop, the Creekside Vineyards, the young man there said he was a zoo ranger and expressed how wonderful he thought it was to have the chance to be at the zoo and share information with the public was.

There is something for everyone at the zoo; there is a lovely carousel and even a train ride to travel around the zoo.  They even have birthday parties, family reunions and other events that can be arranged.  To find out more information, log onto http://www.niabizoo.com/ and make plans for your very own wild life encounter!

Posted on Leave a comment

Midwest Finds For Spring/Summer 2017

Sara and Lisa on horses

We have been on the road on and off this spring and summer experiencing a lot of fresh food, midwest history and adventure for years to come.  The midwest holds many treasures with stories that are untold. We are working on finding as many stories as we can. Here are some of the highlights we have stumbled on the past few months.

EISENHOWER PARK & ROSE GARDEN: ABILENE, KANSAS

When you visit Abilene, Kansas, be sure to swing over to the rose garden. The garden area was peaceful and offered beauty that will be imprinted in your mind for quite some time.

Rose Gardens Abilene

I have no doubt that you can visit any time of year, and find a time of reflection. There’s something magical about a garden when it’s located in an area that showcases one of America’s presidents.

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS: ARBORETUM & BOTANICAL GARDENS

Overland Park is home to an arboretum and botanical gardens that embraces train enthusiasts. Be prepared to walk and explore this beautiful area, as you can stroll all the way to an area for train lovers.

Overland Park Arboretum Train

FUN CHARACTERS IN ELGIN, ILLINOIS

Who knew that Elgin, Illinois had so many fun characters? Trust us, as you walk into any coffee shop in Elgin, you will have a new friend or two. The Blue Box Cafe is where you will embrace Dr. Who and a laugh or two.

Blue Box Cafe Elgin

What’s not to like about being served a hot breakfast, a smile with a little Dr. Who in the area?

STEAK AT FRANCHESCO’S RISTORANTE: ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS

A nice dinner with live music was what we found at Franchesco’s Ristorante in Rockford, Illinois. Sara’s ears perked up when our waiter said, “Iowa grass fed beef.” When she hears her home state of Iowa, she pays attention quite quickly. How does this steak look?

Steak at Franchesco's

Cooked to perfection with delicious sides. We both are counting the days until we return.

VISIT KENOSHA, WISCONSIN: MIKE’S CHICKEN & DONUTS

If you follow the two of us on our travels, you know that we enjoy a donut now and then.

Kenosha Donuts

Mike’s Donuts & Chicken is not to be missed when visiting Kenosha, Wisconsin.

FENELON PLACE ELEVATOR: DUBUQUE, IOWA

The Fenelon Place Elevator prides itself on being the steepest and shortest scenic railway, 296 feet to be exact.

Sara and Lisa Dubuque, Iowa

Board the elevator for a view of historic Dubuque, the Mississippi River and three states. Tip: Visit different times of the year to get a different view. Iowa prides itself on the fact that they do have four distinct season.

This is a glimpse of where we have been this spring and summer. We continue to fill our calendars with more midwest destinations. The beauty of the midwest is that we have a variety of experiences to offer.. 24 hours is usually not enough time to explore a community. Several of these destinations warrant a 2nd or 3rd visit, as there’s so much to do.

Where have your 2017 spring and summer travels taken you? We’d love to hear about your travel experiences in the midwest.