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8/27/2014
With miles of bike trails, a spacious arboretum and sparkling downtown lakes, Madison is regularly recognized as a great place for those who enjoy being active. Luckily for me, I live in the area. Luckily for you, that means I can share my favorite ways to actively explore this beautiful capital city. 1) Recreational bike trails Bring your own bike or rent one at one of the... More
8/25/2014
I agree completely with North Dakota’s designation as the happiest state in the United States. As a fifth-generation North Dakotan, I wouldn't live anywhere else. There's a history as rich as the railroad is long (we're celebrating 125 years of statehood this year) and a future as bright as a sunflower field. The following are just seven of the many... More
8/22/2014
The start of football season and shorter summer days have me hankering for a classic picnic in the park before the chill of fall hits. When I was a kid, that meant heading to Arbuckle Acres park in Brownsburg, Indiana, with my parents and brother for grilled hot dogs and time on the playground. As an adult, I prefer to dress up my alfresco dining a bit: spread colorful blankets on picnic tables,... More
8/20/2014
The Walker Art Center started the free  Internet Cat Video Festival  three years ago with no clue how many people would come for cat-centric YouTube snippets on an inflatable screen. When 10,000 showed up the first year (and every year since), event officials knew they created something special. So what’s all the fuss about? Here are five highlights from last Thursday... More
8/18/2014
I shamelessly admit that, despite being a man standing 6’4”, I was intimidated by the nice grandmothers waiting in the Elwell Family Food Center. The building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds houses, according to a sign outside, the largest food department of any state fair, with nearly 900 competitive classes. And in my mind, this was a kingdom that a gang of older ladies rules in... More
8/15/2014
"What other town would embrace a bunch of hobos for over 100 years?" asks petite Connecticut Shorty (who retired after logging 5,000 free miles) while looking at the small-town Iowa surroundings. City leaders lured the quirky festival to town in 1900 to get publicity, but hobos and the curious still trek to the north-central town of Britt for the National Hobo... More
8/13/2014
Chicago’s family fun options are nonstop—just like your kids. Here are our top picks in and around Chicago for families, including world-class museums, historical sites and Lake Michigan beaches. 1) Museum Campus Plan a day or more to explore three top-notch museums. Shedd Aquarium houses 32,000 fresh and saltwater aquatic animals. Kids can touch sea stars... More
8/11/2014
On a cross-country road trip, you might barrel right through Davenport, which sits on the Mississippi River separating Iowa and Illinois. But put on your brakes because there’s enough here to fill an overnight or weekend getaway. Known for jazz (the birthplace of legend Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke), the thriving riverfront and walkable downtown have even caught the... More
8/8/2014
We know Midwesterners love their pets, so when we stumbled across this adorable Instagram feed of a Wisconsin border collie named Cricket, we just had to share. Cricket's owner Jennifer Luedtke, who works for her family's logging business, says the 2-year-old dog is a natural ham. Jennifer takes her camera—and Cricket—on everyday adventures around... More
8/6/2014
Consider that if you only spent 10 minutes in each of the Mall of America’s 500-plus stores, you’d need 86 hours to see them all. By next year, the mall will be even bigger after a $325 million expansion. If you’re a first-timer, pressed for time or want to do more than shop, here are our top 10 favorite Mall of America destinations for interactive entertainment and family fun (... More