Posted by: RasmaSandra | October 6, 2019

South Bend on the St. Joseph River

Indiana, Welcome road sign

In our armchair travels, we’ve arrived in the 19th U.S. state Indiana which is in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions.

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Our first stop will be in South Bend a city on the St. Joseph River. It is known for being home to the University of Notre Dame.

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National Studebaker Museum offers a look at classic Studebaker models and the American car manufacturer Studebaker has long been associated with the city of South Bend.

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You can also see military vehicles and the world’s largest collection of U.S. Presidential Carriages among them the Barouche that the 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln took the night of his ill-fated theater visit.


There is a collection of extensive archive design and development drawings. The museum hosts a speaker series and an annual Hall of Champions dinner and reception.

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Adjacent to this museum is the History Museum which is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the state. There are informative exhibits, vivid displays, and artifacts that tell stories about Indiana. There is also the Kidsfirst Children’s Museum in this facility with lots of fun for the whole family.

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On the property, you can visit the Oliver Mansion and Oliver Gardens also offering guided tours of this 19th-century 38-room mansion.


The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842. It has an impressive sprawling campus and fascinating Gothic architecture.

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Visitors can find many things to do on campus like visiting the Snite Museum of Art and seeing football games at the Notre Dame Stadium, home to the Fighting Irish football team.

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While on campus take the time to visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart a most impressive Roman Catholic church. It is the mother church of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in the U.S.

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It is open year-round for public masses and welcomes visitors who want to take a self-guided tour.

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On the grounds, you’ll find the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes which is a spiritual shrine that was built from the boulders taken from surrounding farms.

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The Snite Museum of Art has a large collection of Renaissance, medieval, and 19th-century artworks.

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On display, you’ll find modern and contemporary art as well as Native American, African, and Mesoamerican artwork. Along the walls, you can also see artwork from graduate students.

The museum also offers the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park just a few blocks away.

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For some family fun on the south edge of the campus, you’ll find the Compton Family Ice Arena where the public can also use the ice rink. Visitors can skate or learn how to skate.

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Potawatomi Park is located on the eastern edge of the city on the opposite side of the St. Joseph River from downtown.

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There are places to enjoy a picnic, a splash pad for summer fun, a swimming pool. a performance arts stage and a playground.


Adjacent to the park, you’ll find the Potawatomi Zoo which is Indiana’s oldest animal park with 500 animals on display.

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It offers family-friendly attractions and hand-on experiences.

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You can see armadillos, Ankole cattle, American bison and different big cats like leopards, tigers, and lions.

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There are educational programs like Zoo Camps. Visitors enjoy the Potawatomi Zoo Train, the Endangered Species Carousel, and Zoo Farm Feeding Area.

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The Potawatomi Conservatory on the southeast side of the park offers year-round

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tropical plants and waterfalls.

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South Bend Museum of Art has three stories and five galleries that represent Indiana and regional artists as well as artwork from across the nation.

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There are also regular and special events such as First Fridays and outdoor Art Festivals. The museum is part of Century Center, home to major conventions and events.

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The Morris Performing Arts Center had its beginnings as a vaudeville house in the early 1920s. Today it is one the National Register of Historic Places. You can see a wide variety of first-class talent and attractions as well as Broadway and symphony performances.

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Tippecanoe Place Restaurant was originally built in the late 19th century by Clem Studebaker and family. You’ll find the restaurant is housed in a historic home with 40 different rooms.

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It offers lunch, dinner, and a Sunday brunch. You can also take a self-guided tour of the house.

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Military Honor Park located west of the city and near the South Bend International Airport is a great place to learn about the military history of the U.S. The museum exhibits artifacts and memorabilia from five different branches of the U.S. military. On the grounds, you’ll find a collection of decommissioned aircraft, artillery, and armor, including a tank. These displays can be seen all the time but the museum is open on the weekends.

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East Race Waterway is the place to go white water rafting in South Bend. Both beginners and experienced white water rafters are welcome. It is also possible to kayak on the rafters with your own kayak. Rafting equipment is provided. You can go strolling around the walkways and enjoy the picnic areas.


Posted by: RasmaSandra | September 26, 2019

Lovely Lansing


Lansing is the capital of the U.S. state of Michigan.

lansing Michigan_state_capitol

The Michigan State Capitol building was the creation of renowned architect Elijah E. Meyers.  It was one of the first capitol buildings in the U.S. to feature a cast iron dome. It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can walk through the buildings or take a guided tour.

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The Michigan History Center offers unusual exhibits that offer a look into Michigan’s past. There is a gallery that is dedicated to the early European explorers who explored and founded Michigan. A Civil War exhibit shows mementos from this time and you can learn about Michigan’s role in the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movements. There is a 1950s gallery that tells about the state becoming the hub for automobile manufacturing. The atrium has a three-story topographical map of Michigan.

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The Potter Park Zoo is home to over 160 species of animals including mammals, reptiles, and birds.

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The zoo is known for preserving endangered species like Amur tigers, red pandas, snow leopards, and tamarin monkeys.

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A wildlife education program lets visitors learn about wildlife. The zoo hosts summer camps, overnight campouts, and field trip programs.

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The Talbert and Leota Abrams Planetarium or Abrams Planetarium is located on the Michigan State University campus, Visitors can learn about stars, planets, constellations, and other celestial bodies sitting in an auditorium with a dome-shaped ceiling. You can enjoy gazing at the sky through their high-powered telescopes.

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The Lansing River Trail winds its way past 19 city and county parks, three museums, two rivers, a creek, a farmer’s market, and a zoo, This is a 13-mile trail that is just right for walkers, joggers, bikers, and even rollerbladers. There are paved portions, wooden boardwalks, and bridges.

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The trail is divided into three major sections. The first two sections take you past museums, shops, restaurants, and art galleries and the last section through wetlands and woodlands, Toward the end, it connects with the Lansing Pathway and the Sycamore Trail.

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The Fenner Nature Center helps to educate visitors on the importance of environmental conservation, There are four miles of trails and a visitor’s center where you can see live reptiles, songbirds, deer, and wild turkeys.

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Children enjoy hands-on exhibits. There are school programs, scouting programs, and fun public events. Pet on leashes can go with their owners on the trails.

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The Turner-Dodge House is a mansion that dates back to 1855. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Dodge Mansion, This is now a 9-acre site with a museum where you can look into Lansing’s past.

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The Woldumar Nature Center is an environmental education and conservation center.

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It features Moon Log Cabin which is a wooden structure that is known to be one of the oldest homes in Eaton County.

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Pedestrian Bridge across the Grand in downtown Lansing

The park has five miles of trails that include a 1.25-mile stretch that goes along the scenic Grand River. The trails are great for hiking and in the winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing,

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The Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame is a center that is dedicated to honoring powerful and influential women.

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There are interesting exhibits. In the Hall of Fame, you can learn about the lives of nearly 300 historical and contemporary Michigan women who have made their mark in politics, business, education, medicine, human rights, and other areas.


The Lansing City Market is open year-round. It was established in 1909. Here you’ll find a dozen vendors who sell their products and services. Here you can rent kayaks or canoes to go on the Grand River. You can purchase beer, wine, produce, treats, baked goods, and specialty foods. The market also hosts family-friendly blues and jazz concerts in the summer. On certain days of the week, students and senior citizens can get special deals from participating vendors.

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The 9/11 Remembrance Memorial stands in Remembrance Plaza. It features several American flags as well as a 10-foot tall 980-pound beam from one of the towers that were destroyed by terrorists in the September 11th, 2001 attacks. Three sides of the memorial represent New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The fourth side has a dedication statement from the Lansing community, It is located at the edge of Wentworth Park along the Grand River.

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The Michigan Princess Company operates three classic steamboats. There is room for parties, meetings, and other special events. You can enjoy cruising on the Grand River. The company also hosts concerts and luncheons. You can start your enjoyable trip on the river at Grand River Park.

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Reflections sculpture

The Lansing Sculpture Walk begins at the Lansing Community College campus. Here you’ll find 30 unique sculptures by various artists all throughout the campus and surrounding areas.

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Some of the most iconic pieces of art include the Education and Community Sculpture, a 30-foot-tall red ribbon located at the Arts & Science Buildings

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and the Elementary Display, a collection of massive number two pencils outside of the Early Learning Children’s Community building.


The Meridian Historical Village is a lovely park outside of Lansing, in Okemos, Michigan. You can see a collection of well-preserved homes and shops. A historical school building can be rented out by local teachers for one week.

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A quaint white chapel I just right for weddings with 100 guests. There are special events among them memorials and performances.

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The Museum at Michigan State University dates back to 1857 and is one of the oldest museums in the U.S. Here you’ll find a collection of nearly one million artifacts and documents. This was the first museum in the state to receive the Smithsonian affiliate status, It also offers educational programs.

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The Michigan State University carillon is located in Beaumont Tower. The musical instrument inside the carillon was developed in the 15th and 16th centuries. With roots in European history, each carillon has at least two octaves of carillon bells. The MSU has 49 bells. During the MSU Summer Carillon Series, visitors can hear all kinds of songs from local carillonneurs and guest performers.

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Hawk Island Park offers visitors a paved 1.5-mile trail, a beach for swimming, a picnic area, a splash pad, and a fishing dock. You’ll also find a concession stand, a community-built playground, and a store renting paddleboats and rowboats.

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There is a game area for volleyball or horseshoes. In the winter there is space for tubing and sledding.

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Adjacent to the park is the Soldan Dog Park so your furry family member does not have to remain home alone.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | September 13, 2019

Interesting Detroit


Detroit is the largest city in the state of Michigan. It has a lot to offer tourists and is known for being nicknamed “Motor City” when the auto industry ruled the city. It is also known to be the birthplace of Motown Records which brought many popular artists to the public’s attention and great music for all to enjoy.

detroit art institute

The Detroit Institute of Arts has a permanent collection that includes over 65,000 artworks displayed in more than 100 galleries. You can see artwork from Africa, Oceania, and from the Indigenous Americans. You’ll also find displays of art from the Near East, medieval Europe, and American artwork. There is an extensive collection of Islamic art and a gallery that is dedicated to African American art. Among other exhibits, there is a performing arts collection with film and theater memorabilia and the Paul McPharlin Puppetry Collection.

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The Motown Museum is also referred to as “Hitsville USA” and has made its home in the studio where the actual hits with the Motown sound were produced. Visitors can see the actual recording studio where artists like Marvin Gaye recorded their hits. Reserved tours are available.

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The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is the birthplace of the Model T car that revolutionized the automotive industry. This building is now a National Historic Landmark. You can tour the plant and see wonderfully maintained early model vehicles. There is also the “experimental room”  where Ford and his team worked on various ideas and includes a drafting table, tools, and his mom’s rocking chair.

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The Detroit Historical Museum celebrates the city’s past, about how it got its nickname of Motor City and became the center of the automotive industry. There are exhibits of the reconstruction of old Detroit streets, model railways, and dioramas providing an overview of the city and the events that shaped it.

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Henry Ford Estate is located in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. Fair Lane is the former home of the automaker Henry Ford and his family. The grounds include a powerhouse hydropower plant that gave the estate the possibility to produce its own power, heat, and light. There are also a summer home, a man-made lake, staff cottages, gatehouse, pony barn, skating house, greenhouse, root cellar, vegetable garden, peony garden, a “Santa’s workshop”, and 500 hundred birdhouses.

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The Henry Ford Museum is also located in Dearborn where Ford established two exhibition complexes. There are many interesting displays among them George Stephenson’s first steam locomotive, some 200 automobiles, the car in which President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the Fokker in which Admiral Byrd made his first flight over the North Pole in 1926.

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Greenfield Village is an open-air museum with about 100 historic buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries from all over the U.S. There is also the house in which Henry Ford was born, Edison’s laboratory, and the Wright Brothers’ bicycle factory. Shops in the Village Craft Center sell the products of the various workshops in the village.

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Fort Wayne is a five-pointed bastion fortress that was built in the 1840s. Visitors enter through the Sally Port which is a fortified wooden door. Inside the fort, you’ll find the large limestone barracks building and you can tour the first floor to see how soldiers live here in the 1860s. There are restored officer’s quarters, the Demilune, that once held the water-facing cannons, and a dry moat., All through the summer there are various events, special tours among them nighttime ghost tours.

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Belle Isle is an island in the Detroit River with lovely parkland, hiking trails, and sports facilities.

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Here you’ll find the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory with palm, cacti, desert plant, tropical plant, and a lily pond.

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The island is also home to the Dossin Great Lake Museum with ship models and exhibits that tell about the history of shipping on the Great Lakes and the Great Lake’s cruises.

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There is also the Belle Isle Nature Zoo where you can feed deer

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and the Belle Isle Aquarium. You’ll also find a driving range, bicycle and boat rentals, a giant slide, hiking trails around the park’s three lakes and plenty of swimming holes.

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Comerica Park is a combination ballpark, theme park, and baseball museum. It is famous for being the home of the Detroit Tigers baseball team. You can see highlights of the teams’ accomplishments and milestones and their “Walk of Fame”.



Behind the first base, you can take a ride on the carousel and in the third-base section is a Ferris Wheel with seats the resemble giant baseballs.

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GM Renaissance Center is located along the Detroit River with huge skyscraper complexes which dominate the center which is the central feature on the Detroit skyline. This is a seven-tower complex that includes restaurants and shops. There is an observation deck on the 72nd floor with great views of the city. The most popular attraction is the GM showroom which displays vehicles among them mint-condition early cars and trucks.

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Pewabic Pottery was founded by Mary Chase Perry Stratton and her partner, Horace Caulkins in 1903. Today it operates the ceramics museum, gallery workshop, and studio. The studio is a National Historic Landmark has an extensive collection of American ceramics. At the gift shop, visitors can purchase genuine Pewabic pottery and Michigan and Detroit souvenir pieces.


The Detroit Public Library has a collection that includes 5,000 books. It has ten departments in the main library and has 23 branches. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Visitors can take a one-hour docent-led tour of the building and find out about the architecture, art, and history of the library.

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The Masonic Temple of Detroit is a classical Gothic architecture that was built with Indiana limestone. It was dedicated in 1926 and is the largest temple of its kind in the world. The building’s three major divisions are the ritualistic tower, the auditorium, and the Shrine Club. The temple hosts concerts and other events. Visitors can get a tour.

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The Detroit Zoo has animals in various habitats that represent all different parts of the world. There are African animals like zebras, giraffes, lions, lemurs, and several primates.

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At the arctic you’ll meet polar bears., The Australian Outback has kangaroos and wallabies. In Asia, there are pandas and Amur tigers. At the North American habitat, there are bears, wolverines, and bald eagles. You can see the whole zoo riding the miniature  Tauber Family Railroad.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | September 2, 2019

Interesting Kalamazoo


Kalamazoo is an interesting sounding city in southern Michigan. It has a lot to offer tourists.

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Kalamazoo Valley Museum is an interactive museum that is based on history, technology, and science. It features over 50,000 artifacts among them The Mystery of the Mummy exhibit with a 2,300-year-old ancient Egyptian mummy,. Other exhibits relate to local history and industry. There is a planetarium with state-of-the-art audio and video equipment offering visitors an awesome experience of the stars and planets.

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The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts hosts temporary exhibits each year. Most of the involved with local schools and the community. Other exhibits include pieces borrowed from other museums, galleries, and private collections. There are over 4,000 artifacts in its permanent collection. The primary emphasis is on art form in the U.S.


Kalamazoo Nature Center located to the north of Kalamazoo is a nature preserve with rolling hills and woods.

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There are miles of hiking and walking trails and 13 different trails that offer 10 miles of hiking and walking paths through ponds, prairies, forests, and other wildlife habitats

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The Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market where vendors sell locally grown produce and handicrafts. The market operates during the summer on Saturdays from May till November. There are over 100 businesses weekly and also hosts a night market.

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Henderson Castle is one of Kalamazoo’s most popular inns. It is located in the historic West Main Hill neighborhood and is housed in an 1895 Queen Ann-style castle., It was once the residence of Frank Henderson who was one of the city’s most successful early businessmen. Here you can find great accommodations and see the old mixed with the new and modern. The inn also has an organic garden, vineyard, day spa, and restaurant all also open to the general public.

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The Markin Glen County Park features hiking trail, sports fields, and a lake for swimming and a beach. You can go fishing on the lake as well. There are several playgrounds for children.

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One of the highest points along the trails offers great views of downtown Kalamazoo. There is a campground with 38 campsites all with modern amenities.

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VerHage Fruit Farm and Cider Mill is a working farm that offers family-friendly attractions. In the fall there are a variety of tours you can take that include walking through the animal barn, taking a hayride, picking apples, and a cider-making demonstration. On the premises are the cider mill, a donut shop, and a country store.

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The Lawton Ridge Winery has been growing grapes since 1974 and opened its production facility in 2008, It is an award-winning winery with a selection of different wines from dry red wines to sweet dessert wines. In the Tasting Room offer visitors a chance to taste up to six wines. It is also possible by reservation to accommodate groups of up to 30 people for private events.

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The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail is a 22-mile non-motorized, multi-use trail. It offers access for bikers, walkers, and joggers. The trail has been designed to be part of a larger network and connects over 140 miles of trail. It passes through downtown Kalamazoo.

kalamazoo Al-Sabo-Preserve

Al Sabo Preserve is a nature preserve with hiking trails and two boardwalks. Mountain biking is a popular activity and there are 7 miles of cycling trails. All the trails have scenic overlooks and panoramic views of the nature preserve and the west branch of Portage Creek, flowing through the preserve and meeting up with the Kalamazoo River.

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Wildlife species here include muskrats, deer, coyotes, turtles, and fish. There are also over 150 bird species for bird lovers.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | August 20, 2019

Holland on Lake Macatawa


Sitting on the shore of Lake Macatawa is the city of Holland in the U.S. state of Michigan, It is a beautiful city especially in May when the tulip all over the city are in bloom,

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Holland State Park is known for its large sandy beach on Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa, The beach is a great place to sunbathe, swim, play volleyball, and surf among other activities.

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There are two campgrounds, picnic tables, grills, and fire pits, Along the walkway and pier are spots to fish and watch sailboats go by,. People enjoy taking photos of the Big Red Lighthouse. There is a concession stand.

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Mount Pisgah is a soaring dune just off Holland State Park, At its highest point it soars 157 feet above Lake Michigan, offering fantastic views of Lake Macatawa, the marinas, Lake Michigan, and the Big Red Lighthouse.

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The Windmill Island Gardens is home to a 251-year-old windmill called De Zwaan. This is the only real working Dutch windmill in the U..S. and was transported from the Netherlands to Holland in 1964. Today it is the centerpiece of these lovely gardens which have over 100,000 tulips blooming in all colors in May,. This island in the Macatawa River is a popular tourist destination.

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It also has a marvelous old-fashioned carousel for children, In the summer you can enjoy children dancing traditional Dutch dances in wooden clogs.

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Nelis’ Dutch Village is a great place for children to try on Dutch wooden shoes, You can see an “authentic” Dutch village of the 1800s.

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Walking through the historic streets you’ll find guides in colorful Dutch costume, You can hear a 25-bell traditional Dutch carillon and visit the wooden shoe factory.

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Children can enjoy the petting zoo and take a ride on the Zweefmolen –a Dutch swing ride.

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The Holland Museum dating from 1915 has an interesting collection of artifacts from the early Dutch settlement. Visitors can see shipwrecks, art, toys, and other gifts from around the world showing Dutch culture,

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Back in 1950 Vern Veldheer took 100 red tulips and 300 white tulips and started a hobby farm Today The Veldheer Tulip Garden is Holland’s only tulip farm and perennial garden with more than 5 million tulips.

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Visitors enjoy walking through the lovely garden and they can purchase bulbs and bouquets. There are other flowers as well including over 50,000 daffodils, 20,000 crocus, and 10,000 hyacinths.

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Kollen Park is a recreational park sitting on the shore of Lake Macatawa, The park has a boat launch ramp, a roofed picnic shelter with tables, and a playground for children.

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Two special landmarks include the Queretaro Fountain and the Immigrants Statue. The Queretaro Fountain was a gift from Holland’s sister city Quertano, Mexico.

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The Immigrants Statue was a gift from the people of Drenthe The Netherlands. 

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This paved park connects to the Heinz Waterfront Boardwalk along Lake Macatawa.

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Tunnel Park is simply a park with a tunnel that goes through a dune It is a fun place to relax and for children to play.

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There is a children’s playground, sand volleyball courts, picnic areas, a dune climb, and a dune stairway leading up to the top where you can get fantastic views of Lake Michigan.

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You can enjoy sunbathing and swimming.

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You can enjoy a wonderful boat tour cruise aboard the Holland Princess. A Victorian-style paddle-wheel riverboat that takes you on an excursion on Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan, The boat goes past the Holland Harbor Light known as the Big Red Lighthouse, You can see many historic landmarks. You can enjoy lunch or dinner and watch the scenery or try some karaoke.

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The Laketown Beach is a secluded beach over a sand dune, From the top, you can get great views of Lake Michigan, At the end of a dead-end road, you’ll find stairs to the beach.

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It is a quiet place to sunbathe and swim.

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The Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway or ODCMG is a center that teaches people about the outdoors, wildlife, and conservation, There are fun and educational activities, workshops, and recreational programs, You can walk the trails and see the wildlife or go on excursions with a naturalist, It consists of a Nature Preserve, Wildlife Center, Birds of Prey Facility, Neshnabe Summer Village, DeWitt Wildlife Enclosure, Imagination Forest, Filmore Discovery Park, and the Kuipers Archery Education Facility.

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The DeGraaf Nature Center has marsh, shrub, woodland, and pond trails, The Brower Visitor Center has information and hand-on displays and live animal exhibits.

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You can explore the trails on your own or with a naturalist.

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The Felt Mansion started off as a summer home for Dorr Felt who was an American inventor and industrialist, It has now become a historic landmark and a setting for weddings, The mansion has 25 rooms and lovely grounds.

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Teusink’s Pony Farm is run by the Teusink family, There are pony rides, summer picnics, autumn hayrides, and winter sleigh rides, Among the activities here, are a hay maze, fishing, penny hunts, viewing exotic birds and feeding sheep and goats in that animal barn, There is a community garden in which neighbors can plant things,. Visitors can enjoy fresh beans, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and more.


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Posted by: RasmaSandra | August 6, 2019

Grand Rapids on the Grand River


Grand Rapids is a city in the U.S state of Michigan on the Grand River.

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The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park offer displays indoors and outdoors. The gardens showcase flowers and tranquil green spaces.

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The outdoor sculptures are surrounded by trees and waterways and there are winding paths to walk.

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The five-story Lena Meijer Conservatory has a tropical setting with exotic plants from all over the world, indoor sculpture galleries with bronze sculptures by internationally renowned artists.

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The Meyer May House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and it was built in 1908. The house is open to the public with the original and reproduction furniture.

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There are 108 windows and skylights. You can see a film that tells the history of the house and the restoration of the property.

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Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum collections here include items from the 38th U.S. President’s childhood and college years. Other exhibits include items and information relating to his political career, from his 1976 presidential campaign and gifts given to him while he was in office. There are exhibits dedicated to First Lady Betty Ford and their children.

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The museum also has temporary exhibits from the Presidential Library System, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Archives. The museum hosts educational programs and community events.

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The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum gives children the chance to explore, learn, and play. Among the highlights is Little Grand Rapids where children can imagine to be grown-ups in their own little city. There are play areas with games like Legos and Lincoln Logs. The museum hosts activities like art and costume-making, storytelling, and others.



The Grand Rapids Public Museum offers exhibits which are related to the people and history of Michigan. You can take a walk down a Grand Rapids street from the 1890s.

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There is a Spillman carousel from 1928 and a walk through a recreation of a working furniture factory from the early 20th century.

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Grand Rapids Art Museum is housed in a LEED Gold Certified green building in downtown. Here you’ll find over 6,000 artworks. The permanent collection includes 19th and 20th-century prints, paintings, photographs, and sculptures. In the galleries, you can see decorative arts and modern art and design. There are also temporary collections on various themes. There are also a new series of exhibits highlighting contemporary Michigan artists. The museum also has an extensive research library and special archives with photos, drawings, and prints dating from the 1400s to the present and can be viewed on request.

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Blandford Nature Center has wooded areas, fields, streams, and ponds. It operates as a wildlife rescue caring for injured wildlife. There are also animals who live at the center since they no longer can survive in the wild.

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These animals are referred to as “wildlife ambassadors” and are part of presentations to educate the public. There are programs for both adults and children offering close-up interactions with nature and wildlife.

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The Blandford Farm features community gardens and children can learn about farming and sustainable agriculture.

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John Ball Zoo is home to animals from all over the world. There are a wide range of close-up experiences and animal interactions between the visitors.

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You’ll have the chance to feed spider monkeys, bears, penguins, and pelicans. You can see chimpanzee training sessions and learn how to handle small animals like reptiles, birds, and mammals.

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There are also African animals like lions and tigers and tropical animals like the sloth and also a pair of bald eagles.

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Fish Ladder Sculpture is a five-step concrete environmental ladder built by local artiste Joseph Kinnebrew. It was built to help salmon jumping over a six-foot dam reach the spawning grounds and also provides unique artwork for the public to enjoy.

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People can watch migrating trout, steelhead, and salmon making their way upstream.

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Heritage Hill Historic District was the first neighborhood in Grand Rapids. It has become a recognized Historic neighborhood. There are self-guided walking tours of the area highlighting 37 of its finest homes. Some of the buildings were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Downtown Market Grand Rapids is just the place to mingle with people and enjoy the many different foods. You can get a quick bite, a full meal, or tasty treats.

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You can experience all kinds of food including pizzas, authentic Detroit BBQ, Vietnamese food and traditional Mexican. The fish market has a raw bar and catch-of-the-day menu. It is a delight to walk through and experience the scents, sounds, and sights.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | July 30, 2019

Beautiful Ann Arbor


Our armchair travels have taken us to the U.S. state of Michigan. The state is located in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions. Michigan is the largest state by total area located east of the Mississippi River. It is the only state to consist of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula. The peninsulas are separated one from the other by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile channel joining Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge connects the peninsulas. The state has the longest freshwater coastline being bounded by four of the five Great Lakes and Lake Saint Clair.

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Our tour begins in the beautiful city of Ann Arbor which is home

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to the University of Michigan.

University of Michigan Museum of Art


The University of Michigan Museum of Art or UMMA was built in 1909 as a war memorial. It is one of the largest university art museums in the country and a top attraction. The museum is home to the Alumni Memorial Hall, the Maxine and Stuart Frankel, and the Frankel Family Wing. It features a comprehensive collection of over 19,000 artworks spanning different periods, cultures, and forms of media. The museum offers educational programs, workshops, and classes for students and visitors. Tours of the museum are available and unusual art-based events all year long.

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The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum has found its home in a historic firehouse. It offers imaginative and interactive learning experiences through which visitors can discover the worlds of science, technology, art, math, and engineering. There are over 250 interactive displays. Among the highlights are “The World Around You” where visitors can explore the Bubble Capsule, Climbing Wall, and Magnet exhibits. “The Lyon Country Store” offers a 1930s shopping experience, and “Michigan Nature” has an interactive nature walk, a native fish lake, and a soundscape from Michigan.

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The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History is part of the university’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The museum is housed in the Alexander Ruthven Museums Building. There are four permanent exhibitions the Anthropology Displays, the Geology Displays, the Hall of Evolution, and the Michigan Wildlife Gallery. There is also a planetarium and a Butterfly and Pollinator Garden.

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Matthaei Botanical Garden and Nichols Arboretum feature an array of botanical and display gardens. There are a conservatory, natural areas with hiking and walking trails, and several research habitats.

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Among the display gardens, are the Great Lakes Garden,

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Bonsai and Penjing Garden,

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and the Gaffield Children’s Garden.

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The amazing conservatory is the largest university-operated display greenhouse in the U.S. It has a hothouse, temperate house, and a house for the world-renowned Bonsai Collection.

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The Nichols Arboretum is home to the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden. There are collections of native and historic plants.

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Kerrytown is a historic district in Ann Arbor known for its quaint brick streets, vibrant culture, and many different shops. The district was named after County Kerry in Ireland. It was established as part of the original town of Ann Arbor. Today there are markets, great restaurants, and locally owned shops that sell everything from clothing to jewelry, to handmade art, vintage treasures, and toys.

Exterior of Gerald F. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Gr

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum is located on the north campus of the University of Michigan. This library houses important items of the life, career, and presidency of Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the U.S. There are also materials on U.S. domestic issues and political affairs during the Cold War Era, among them letters, memos, reports, multi-media, and other historical documents. There are also a stage and audiovisual-equipped auditorium, classrooms for lectures and meeting and a courtyard for periodic functions.

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The Leslie Science & Nature Center is a natural space with walking trails, birds of prey, and raptor enclosures, a critter house and much more. The center offers programs for children like field trips, Girl and Boy scout visits, overnight visits, and outreach programs at schools. The center also has summer camps and school break camps.

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State Street is known for its shops, restaurants,, and public events like festivals and fairs. The State Street Area Art Fair features the artwork of over 300 artists. There is also State Street Area Ladies Night when the ladies get discounts at many local bars, shops, and restaurants.

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The Creature Conservancy is an animal rescue and educational organization that is dedicated to rescuing animals and educating the community about them.

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There are several exhibits among them Aquatic Exotic that features apple snails, African claw frogs, and water hyacinths, McCalls of the Wild for macaws, Roo Room for kangaroos, and Vulture Club for vultures. The conservancy also offers educational outreach programs for homeschooling groups, nature centers, and others.

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The Petting Farm gives children the opportunity to learn about animals and the agricultural history of Michigan. It began in 1925 as a working farm. It was bought in the 1980s to be an office complex and its original red barn was moved across the road. The Petting Farm today is a fun and educational experience for families and school groups.

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The farm has farm animals like cats, chickens, cows, ducks, goats, horses, rabbits, sheep and other kinds of animals like alpacas, llamas, and peacocks. Visitors can feed the animals and there are pony rides.
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The Hudson Mills Metropark located 12 miles northwest of Ann Arbor is an outdoor park with dense woodlands, rolling meadows, and wetlands with wildlife and birds. You can enjoy outdoor activities like canoeing and kayaking on the Hudson River, shoreline and fly fishing, hiking, biking, and trekking. There are an 18-hole, par-72 golf course and two disc golf courses. Other sports include basketball, volleyball, softball, and soccer.

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Metropark also has picnic shelters, a playground, a canoe camp, tennis and shuffleboard courts and in the winter cross-country skiing.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | July 24, 2019

Traveling Around Wisconsin

Wisconsin oshkosh

Oshkosh a small town on Lake Winnebago is famous for two things – the popular line of children’s clothing and its place in the world’s air show circuit.

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The largest meeting of aviators, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh has been held in this town every summer since 1970. This is a weeklong event when the airport’s control tower is busy with up to 15,000 aircraft in all shapes and sizes. Visitors descend upon the town to watch the thrilling aerobic displays and flybys from vintage and contemporary military aircraft. There are also nighttime displays.

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It is interesting to visit the EAA AirVenture Museum.

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The Circus World Museum is located in the small town of Baraboo. It is an exciting place for children of all ages to learn about the activities of a working circus.

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There are many interesting displays and it is home to the world’s largest collection of circus-related artifacts. In the summer a Big Top is set up with regular shows. Baraboo was the former headquarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus.

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The Dells of the Wisconsin River or the Wisconsin Dells is an amazing five-mile gorge on the state’s largest river. There is a lot of natural beauty all around in the state park with unusual sandstone rock formations, canyons, and cliffs.

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You’ll see unique flora and fauna such as cliff cudweed which can be found in only one other location in the world and six species of dragonfly. To be able to see the beauty here access is by boat. There are regular boat tours and excursions available.

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Door County is one of the prettiest corners of Wisconsin. There is amazing natural beauty in this area which lies on a peninsula that overlooks Lake Michigan. It has become a popular vacation spot and there are many campsites. You can enjoy many outdoor activities like trout fishing, sailing, diving, swimming, hiking, and biking.

Sturgeon Bay Lighthouse Door County Wisconsin

There are lovely small towns to see like Sturgeon Bay with a beautiful old lighthouse

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and Ephraim, an old harbor with historic buildings.

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Washington Island is home to the country’s oldest Icelandic settlement.

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The Land o’ Lakes region is lovely and can be found between Boulder Junction, Eagle River, and Rhinelander in the northern part of Wisconsin. It is an area popular with water sports lovers. There are over 200 lakes in various sizes Campers and backpackers enjoy this area and it can also be explored by canoe or kayak. Among the highlights here are fishing and bird watching. If you’re lucky you can get a look at some of the few remaining white-tailed eagles in the area.

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Eagle River is a town which is a good place to begin exploring this region. You have your choice of activities like fishing, boating, hiking, biking, and swimming. In the winter there is cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

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The House on the Rock is one of Wisconsin’s most unusual tourist attractions. It sits on top of Deer Shelter Rock in Spring Green. This is the work of Frank Lloyd Wright whose famous Taliesin East home is nearby.

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One of the highlights here is the 218-foot-long Infinity Room which seems to disappear into the distance when you stand in it. This fun attraction is part of a larger complex, including a resort and an inn.

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Cave of the Mounds is close to Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. The Blue Mounds are two hills and the cave is located on the southern slope of the eastern hill. It has been designated a National Natural Landmark and is called “the jewel box” of caves in North America. It is known for its lovely limestone formations in the interior. There are walkways and lights that have been placed to highlight the natural beauty of the cave.

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Interstate Park consists of two state parks. One is in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota. The parks are divided by the Dells of the St. Croix River.

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The gorge has natural beauty with deep potholes and amazing rock formations. You can explore the park from the towns of Taylor Falls, Minnesota, and St. Croix Falls.

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Cedarburg is a historic town on the banks of Cedar Creek in southeastern Wisconsin.

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This is a charming town with a covered bridge. You can see an old preserved grist mill. Visit the restored mill at Cedar Creek Settlement and enjoy the shops and restaurants and a winery

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Wisconsin Off the Beaten Path

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Jurustic Park  in Marshfield is a unique art park and hobbit house.

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Visitors can wander about and discover all this amazing park has to offer. This is the creation of amateur paleontologist Clyde Wynia who excavated and recreated the now extinct creatures that once inhabited the McMillan Marsh near Marshfield during the Iron Age.

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Peninsula State Park Fish Creek is Wisconsin’s third-largest state park. There are a

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variety of things to see that include the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse and the White Cedar Nature Center.

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To get spectacular views of the surrounding area, climb the Eagle Tower. Camping is available

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Grandad Bluff in La Crosse offers amazing views of La Cross and the Mississippi River. This mesa stands nearly 600 feet high. The bluff can be seen from most points of the city so it hosts the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration, To make access easier there is a parking lot at the top.

Grandad Park opened in 1912. You can enjoy several bluff side hiking trails.

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Pewit’s Nest is a 30 – 40 foot gorge with cascading waterfalls and amazing rock formations. Within and above the gorge is forest dominated by red cedar, white pine, hemlock, and yellow birch. The Pewit’s Nest Natural Area is in Baraboo.–4

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | July 16, 2019

Beautiful Madison


Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The city sits on an isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona.


The Wisconsin State Capitol is located near the lovely lakeshore. It dates back to 1917 and has an impressive 284-foot dome. Inside you can see decorative murals and marble from France, Italy, and Germany.  Guided tours are available.

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The Chazen Museum of Art exhibits paintings, sculptures, drawings, print work, and photos. You can admire American and European art. Rotating exhibits feature artwork from around the region and abroad. Guided tours are available. There are also musical programs.

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The Olbrich Botanical Gardens are in bloom all year round with seasonal plants. The gardens opened in 1952. The Bolz Conservatory has indigenous foliage.

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There are lovely roses and the Sala, a picturesque pavilion was given to the gardens by the Thai government and offers a taste of Asia in Madison.

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The Wisconsin Historical Museum sits in Capitol Square. It lets visitors get to know about the historical and cultural significance of Madison. There are rotating exhibits and galleries as well as a fixed educational section.

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Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center is the inspiration of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, but he never saw it completed. It was built in 1997 using the designs of Wright. Visitors can tour the building and enjoy the rooftop terrace for awesome views of the city.

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The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art or the Madison Art Center is an impressive building that resembles the bow of a ship and spans three floors, fronted by amazing glass walls. Here you will find rotating galleries featuring both local and international works of art.

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The Henry Vilas Zoo opened in 1924.

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You can see many animals here including bears, lions, and a variety of ape species.

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Youngsters can join an educational program to learn about protecting local flora and fauna. There are interesting interactive displays and rides like an old-fashioned carousel.

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The Madison Children’s  Museum has many interesting and engaging exhibits for children. There are activities for different ages from toddlers to pre-teens. Each of the sections is dedicated to a different theme teaching children about the world around them.

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Lake Monona is fed by the Yahara River. It means “beautiful” in the local Chippewa language. This lake is known for being frozen for much of the year and used for ice skating. In the summer months, it can be used for fishing and boating.

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The University of Wisconsin campus spans over 1,000 acres and visitors can visit parts of the campus like the Arboretum which houses some of the oldest ecological communities in the world including prairies, forest, wetland, and savannas.

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It is famous for its signature lilac collection. You can get information at the Visitor Center.

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Lake Kegonsa State Park lies on the shores of lovely Lake Kegonsa. The park has forest lands, prairies, and wetlands. Visitors enjoy camping on the campgrounds

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and spending time at the beach along the northeast shore of Lake Kegonsa. You can enjoy hiking along the trails here or go boating, fishing, or water skiing on the lake. You can also enjoy swimming.

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The Aldo Leopold Nature Center or the ALNC was founded in 1994. It is dedicated to providing young visitors with interactive programs for families. There are educational programs you can join. You can see local Madison flora and fauna here.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | July 12, 2019

Milwaukee on Lake Michigan


Milwaukee sits on the western shore of Lake Michigan in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. It is best known for its breweries. Milwaukee is also known as being the setting for two popular TV shows “Happy Days” and “Laverne and Shirley”. The TV shows sort of made everyone want to live in the city.

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 Milwaukee RiverWalk is a two-mile-long walk along the Milwaukee River. Along the way, you can enjoy different restaurants and pubs.


Fonzie statue along Riverwalk

There are various public art exhibitions that make the River Walk like an outdoor art gallery. Colorful signs explain the history of the city and this is the venue for events like River Rhythms and the Milwaukee River Challenge.


The River Walk links three interesting Milwaukee districts – Downtown, Historic Third Ward, and Beerline B.

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The Lakefront Area is a beautiful downtown area. It has plenty of stores and galleries and places to dine right on the shores of Lake Michigan. There are many lovely walking trails so you can explore the city. Along the way, you’ll find parks and attractions.

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A prominent landmark is the War Memorial Center which commemorates the soldiers that gave their lives for their country during WW II and the Korean War.

Take a look at the Municipal Pier and the Henry Maier Festival Grounds where the famous Summerfest is held.

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The Milwaukee Art Museum is an impressive building with art collections that include American and European art from the 19th and 20th centuries. It was founded in 1888 and has over 20,000 artworks. This lakeside building resembles a cross between a sleek shop and an aircraft and has a tall, retractable structure on the roof which resembles wings. The museum offers free admission on Thursdays.

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The Charles Allis Art Museum displays American and European art from the 19th and 20th centuries housed in an impressive Tudor-style villa from 1911.

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The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum was built in 1923 as an Italian Renaissance villa displaying decorative arts from the 15th through the 18th centuries.

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The Haggerty Museum of Art has a collection of over 2,000 pieces of art including many Old Masters.

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The Grohmann Museum housed in the Milwaukee School of Engineering has an impressive collection of art that depicts the advancement and growth of human ingenuity related to work.

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There is an amazing rooftop sculpture garden.

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The Historic Third Ward is located south of downtown Milwaukee and is a top attraction. Today it’s a trendy Arts and Fashion District with boutiques, galleries, theaters, restaurants, and spas. It is home to the Third Ward Riverwalk,

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the Milwaukee Public Market,

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Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), and the Broadway Theatre Center.

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Discovery World Museum is also referred to as the James Lovell Museum of Science, Economics, and Technology. The museum has many interactive exhibits for both young and old. It is located on the lakeshore and has an impressive architectural design. Among the highlights here is the Reiman Aquarium and the tall ship Denis Sullivan. It also offers big-screen movie adventures and live theater experiences. You can see artifacts and find out about the Great Lakes and there is a huge scale model of the entire Great Lakes area.

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The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory or The Domes where each of the Domes offers a unique experience.

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The Desert Dome features the world’s greatest collection of shrubs, cacti and other desert plant life.

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The Tropical Dome has lush greenery, flowers, and fruit and nut-bearing trees.

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The Floral Show Dome has lovely gardens filled with flowers.

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The Milwaukee County Zoo is a woodland park that provides natural habitats for the 3,122 animals from 377 different species that make their home here. You can see mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Visitors enjoy seeing the polar bears, gorillas, and cheetahs.

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There are active educational programs and fun seasonal events. Among the highlights are the animal petting area, penguin viewing area, a walk-through aviary, camel rides and so much more.


The Milwaukee Public Museum is a natural and human history museum. It showcases permanent and temporary exhibits and is home to the first IMAX Theater in Wisconsin. Highlights include natural history displays of life-size dinosaurs and a reconstruction of a tropical rainforest. Visitors also enjoy seeing the past of Milwaukee in the “Streets of Milwaukee” exhibit. There are fascinating exhibits related to the continents of Africa, Asia, and the Arctic. There is a village with reconstructions of homes from Europe. The six-story Dome Theater has planetarium-type shows.

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The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is famous for two reasons – it was built by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright and second, it resembles a spaceship or a leering alien depending from what angle its viewed. It has a blue dome with a gold cross on tip. Visitors can take group tours and are welcome to attend regular church services.

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The City Hall is an important part of the city skyline. It was finished in 1895 and was one of the tallest 19th-century skyscrapers of its kind. It was built in the Flemish and German Renaissance Revival styles. Free tours are available and visitors can climb the bell tower and view the lovely interior.

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Historic Pabst Brewery offers guided tours that start at The Best Pub and relate the history fo the brewery from 1844. The tour includes a 16 oz. Pabst or Schlitz on tap. You’ll see the historic Blue Ribbon Hall and stroll through the preserved areas of the old brewery.

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The Pabst Theater is one of the city’s architectural gems. It was built at the turn of the 20th century and resembles a European opera house with an impressive Baroque interior with a chandelier and an Italian Carrara marble staircase. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers stage and musical productions.

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Another popular attraction is the Pabst Mansion near the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Campus. It was built in 1893 for the Pabst family and has period furnishings and décor. Free guided tours are available.

milwaukee lakeshore park

Lakeshore State Park offers awesome views of the skyline and plenty of recreation along the shores of Lake Michigan. You can enjoy walking, biking, or skating along the paved trails. You can enjoy the lake kayaking or canoeing or take a boat out on the lake.

milwaukee lighthouse

The North Point Lighthouse Museum explains the role that Milwaukee had in the regional maritime activities of the Great Lakes. You’ll see illustrated stories of the keepers of the lighthouse and personal scrapbooks and artifacts from wrecks.

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The Lynden Sculpture Garden is a lovely lakeside park full of wonderful sculptures.

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The inside galleries have contemporary exhibits. There are educational programs available.

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