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5/15/2015
We’re catching the tail end of American Craft Beer Week (May 11-17), but there’s plenty of small-batch celebration on tap for the rest of the month in the Midwest.  Chicago Craft Beer Week (now through May 24) With more than 45 craft breweries in town, and many offering free samples, there’s no way you’d be able to experience the full slate... More
5/12/2015
Deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dog, Cracker Jack, Wrigley gum—you probably already know about these Midwestern favorites that have their roots in the Windy City. But there are a number of other creations invented in Chicago that you may not know about. From a sandwich made with plantains to cheese that’s set on fire, here are six items with Chicago origins. Saginaki... More
5/8/2015
Drive 50 miles southeast of Columbus and you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world—one of lush forests dotted with caves, gorges and waterfalls. Here are 7 activities families will enjoy. 1) Hocking Hills State Park Hike through fern-filled valleys and stop at sweeping overlooks as you explore some of the park’s more than 2,300 acres. For hands-on lessons about... More
5/5/2015
With cheap eats, a free art museum, spacious parks and vibrant historical areas, Omaha makes a fun and affordable Midwest weekend getaway. 1) Joslyn Art Museum Nebraska’s premiere art museum wows with gorgeous Art Deco architecture and an exterior of 38 kinds of marble from around the world. Inside, the 11,000-piece permanent collection includes Greek pottery, Impressionist... More
5/1/2015
Spring blooms and peaceful lake scenes captured the imagination of our Instagram followers in April. The five most-liked photos of the month:  1) A serene sunset over Clear Lake, Wisconsin, by @ahgilly (https://instagram.com/p/18CDKKGzZP/).  2) "Beautiful garden of tulips about to burst" in Geneva, Illinois, by @michelefairall (https://instagram.com/p/1v_sSaGzQI... More
4/28/2015
Take a cue from these Midwestern bloggers on how to decorate your home for spring. 1. Serene scene Play with color in a sweet and simple way. Cobalt glasses pop on Kelly Rinzema's (thelilypadcottage.com) all-white mantel. Vintage window frames and a chalkboard add architectural interest. Wildflowers complete the serene setting. 2. Engaging tablescape... More
4/23/2015
In any of the Midwest’s most populous states, you’re probably within a weekend drive of a luxury hotel and spa. But residents of the upper Midwest—specifically the greater Chicago and Milwaukee areas—have a special backyard gem: Destination Kohler, the region’s highest-ranked getaway. Yes, Kohler, the folks who long ago defined the sinks, tile and showerheads that... More
4/22/2015
There is only one thing causing the size difference between these two clematis. Can you see what it is? Answer: The compost bin. The thriving plant was lucky enough to have my compost bin placed near it, so it has been reaping the benefits of nutrients seeping from the compost pile every day of its life. The other one gets just water out of a hose. Compost can help your... More
4/20/2015
Confession: I went to the Flint Hills and dropped lit matches all across the prairie. The low, dry grasses caught fire, and boy, did they burn. Thanks to the Flames in the Flint Hills Festival, held each April on the Flying W Ranch outside Strong City, Kansas, more than 250 participants joined me in lighting up the prairie–with the blessing of the local ranchers. Josh, Gwen and Josie... More
4/17/2015
My mom loved the the flourish of blooms that herald spring. Every year, the minute her magnolia bush flowered, I got a call. She would ooh and aah over the sculptural soft pink flowers and sweet scent. But I don’t think she ever cut a branch to take inside and enjoy. Pity. Don’t overlook the blooming branches in your yard. A few simple cuttings bring the color... More