Marengo Cave – Indiana’s Most Visited Natural Attraction

Marengo Cave – Indiana’s Most Visited Natural Attraction

Visiting Marengo Cave is a perfect way to spend a cold Indiana day. Not only is it Indiana’s most visited natural attraction, but it’s also a U.S. National Natural Landmark. Located in Crawford County in Southern Indiana, it’s a bit of a drive from Indianapolis, but definitely worth the time, even just for a day. As the latest installment of my Explore Indiana project, it was a fun and unique experience! One of my favorite parts of visiting caves is that they are weather resistant. The cave stays at 52 degrees year-round. A hot summer day? Why not visit a cave? Too cold to be outside in the winter? A caving trip is a fun activity. The day I visited, it was pouring down rain. Although that did limit my photography options, it didn’t limit my fun in checking out the underground cave system. We started the day with a dash to the gift shop and to get acclimated to the location. The gift shop is extensive with plenty of options guaranteed to get your kids asking for souvenirs. There is also a small concession area next to it with tables and machines for sodas and snacks. We packed a lunch so food wasn’t an issue. After this short detour, it was on to the main event. There are two standard cave tours: Crystal Palace and the Dripstone Trail. You can do one or both. The Crystal Palace tour is about 40 minutes and the Dripstone Trail is an hour so it would be very possible to enjoy both in an afternoon. Insider Tip: The combined cave tour ticket...
The BEST Gifts for Every Traveler on Your List

The BEST Gifts for Every Traveler on Your List

It’s that time of the year. The time when we start racking our brains to figure out what in the heck we should get for all our loved ones. I thought I’d start early this year and scout out the BEST gift ideas for every traveler (and non-traveler) on your list. For the Gals: Travel Yoga Mat – I’ve mentioned this one several times but it’s just that awesome! This is such a great thing to take on vacations even if you aren’t a big-time yogi. I use mine for morning Pilates and just general stretching. It’s lightweight, pretty and cleans easily. A membership to The Sisterhood. This pilates program is the one I enjoy every morning. I use the ap on my phone and each morning I get a new workout (10 to 30 minutes). It’s perfect for at home or when I’m traveling. I really can’t recommend it enough if you are looking for a low impact daily workout that can be done from anywhere. Even if I just head out for a quick overnight, I ALWAYS pack my travel diffuser and a few oils. Diffusing lavender or thieves in my room makes such a difference in how well I rest. I get rid of that stuffy smell and feel and it’s just such a simple way to improve my stay. As a bonus, these small diffusers are super affordable. A lovely gift would be one of these along with a bottle of essential oils. Speaking of heading out overnight, the Vera Bradley Grand Weekender is the bag I always use. It’s perfect for a quick weekend...
Everyday Adventure Essentials

Everyday Adventure Essentials

Are you ready for everyday adventures? Do you have everyday adventure essentials already packed and in your car? Or if you were to be out running around and discovered something fun or interesting to do would you have to “wait until later” when you are better prepared? Or have to purchase something to participate? Don’t let that ever happen to you again! With this simple Everyday Adventure Essentials list, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way. Print out the .pdf and then spend 20 minutes creating your own bag for the car. You probably already have most of these items around the house. I guarantee that someday in the future you’ll be so glad you were prepared! I use a simple tote as my bag and find it fits well in the back of the van, and also can be easily grabbed and transferred to the Jeep if we decide to drive it for the day. The bag I use is no longer available, but here are some terrific options: All Year Round I always have the following in the bag: A deck of cards, Uno, six dice, a notepad, and a pen. These come in handy when visiting a winery, brewery or local restaurant. It’s a fun way to pass the time and keep everyone involved and off their phones.Bug spray and sunblock. Regardless of the time of the year, these two items come in super handy. A growler and a half-growler. Just in case we find a beer or even rootbeer on tap that we love!An outdoor blanket. Perfect for picnics in the summer and wrapping...
A Perfect Non-Park Day at Disney

A Perfect Non-Park Day at Disney

Although I’m a huge fan of the Disney Parks, sometimes I want (or need) a non-park day. Ready to learn how to enjoy the PERFECT non-park day? Then read on … It’s a non-park day, so you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn (unless of course, you want to). When I’m traveling with the family, I do like to get up about an hour before them (usually about 7:00) so that I can slowly get ready, do a short pilates routine (using my all-time favorite program – The Sisterhood and my travel yoga mat), and then have some time to enjoy a cup of coffee and a book on the balcony. Heaven. After such a leisurely start, I’ll put breakfast together for the family while they get ready. Since we’ll be eating out much of the day, it saves money to eat breakfast in the room – and we are all fine with not hitting a restaurant in the morning. If we just have a studio, breakfast will be something simple like fresh fruit and peanut butter toast, bagels or some type of breakfast bar. If we are staying in a one-bedroom, I might do eggs and hashbrowns – depends upon our mood. Insider Tip: Don’t have a car? You can easily get groceries delivered to your hotel using Shipt. We used it on our recent trip and within an hour and a half of ordering had everything we needed delivered right to the front door. And, if you won’t be in the room, the groceries can be left with the bell desk. All orders...
More than Food at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

More than Food at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

Although we LOVE trying all the different foods when we visit Epcot, I also love that there is so much more than food at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. After making your way around the World Showcase and checking out the various food booths, be sure to take some time to do some of the other fun festival activities. Enjoy live music. The concerts at Epcot are so much fun! They are located at the American Pavilion. Every few nights there is a different artist and they put on three nightly shows – each one lasting about 30 minutes. Seating is limited, but even if you don’t get a seat, you can still enjoy the music by standing along the sides or just outside the amphitheater. We’ve seen Rick Springfield, 38 Special and many other great shows. Grab a margarita at nearby Italy or Mexico and enjoy some live music! Insider Tip: If you want to be sure to have a seat, you can book an Eat to the Beat Dining Package. You can book a meal at one of 14 restaurants in Epcot and you’ll have a guaranteed seat on the same day. It is a little pricey but includes a full meal, so if you want to eat at one of the selected restaurants anyway might be a perfect solution. Details can be found HERE. Play with your food. A fun and affordable event occurs in the Land Pavilion every day at 3:30 and 5:30. For only $10 per person, you can learn to make candy sushi. Kids especially love this one – it holds their...
A Perfect Day in Spencer

A Perfect Day in Spencer

What a perfect day in Spencer, IN. Last week we spent a day exploring another county for my Explore Indiana project. This time, we headed southwest of Indianapolis to Owen County. Half the day was spent at McCormack’s Creek State Park and the other half in Spencer, IN. It was an ideal mix of invigorating and enjoyable things to do. The day was a lovely, crisp, clear fall day. Our 90-degree heat-wave had finally broken and we were treated to a perfect 65 and sunny day. As we headed south, the flat land and cornfields gave way to the rolling hills and treelines of southern Indiana. So beautiful! Indiana’s First State Park The first stop was McCormick’s Creek State Park. McCormick’s Creek is considered Indiana’s first state park. The land was dedicated as such on July 4th, 1916. The park is full of wonderful hikes, interesting landscapes, recreation, and a historic Inn. The Canyon Inn is a lovely historic building built on and around an 1880’s sanitarium that was marketed as a place for the wealthy to relax and rejuvenate. Sanitariums and mineral springs were all the rage during that time period. Canyon Inn has expanded and remodeled multiple times since then, but the inn is still located on the original sanitarium foundations. The inn has a rustic charm and houses a small gift shop, restaurant, several conference rooms and a comfortable lobby/ lounge area with a fireplace. We were able to check out one of the rooms, and although older, they appeared to be comfortable and clean. With such a gorgeous setting, I think this would be a...
5 Fabulously Fun Fall Day Trip Ideas

5 Fabulously Fun Fall Day Trip Ideas

Today I’m happy to share with you a wonderful guest post from Tanya at Traveling Tanya – she is going to share 5 Fabulously Fun Fall Day Trips. You won’t want to miss this when you are planning out your fall fun! I may be Traveling Tanya, but I also enjoy staying close to home. Especially in the fall. I think one of the thing best things about living in the Midwest is FALL!  Temperatures cool down. We break out our comfy sweatshirts and favorite jeans. Everything comes in a pumpkin-spiced variety. And there are tons of fun activities to enjoy before the inevitable hibernation of winter begins. Fall is the perfect time for a day trip in Indiana. Even if you don’t have a ton of time, you can still enjoy the short escape of a day trip. These are my top 5 Fabulously Fun Fall Day Trip Ideas! Complete with my recommendations for where to experience some seasonal fun in Indiana. Visit a Pumpkin Patch or Apple Orchard Hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin picking, apple cider, farm animals. Kids of all ages as well as adults will find plenty of fall fun at a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Check google, the local town newspaper, or your tourism board to find plenty of pumpkin patches or apple orchards that seem to have sprung up overnight. (Trust me, they have been working hard for several months as they look forward to their fall festivities!) Indiana Recommendation: Indiana has tons of pumpkin patches and orchards to choose from, but one of my favorites is Beasley’s Orchard in Danville. They sell...
A Day of Fun in Frankfort, IN

A Day of Fun in Frankfort, IN

My day of fun in Frankfort, IN started with getting lost while looking for a covered bridge and ended with peach sherbet. In between was a lot of fun exploring. Clinton County was the latest county I checked out for my Explore Indiana project and I had a lovely day checking out what the largest town in the county, Frankfort, has to offer. While searching on TripAdvisor for attractions in Clinton County, I stumbled across a beautifully restored covered bridge. As I love looking for covered bridges, I figured I’d start the day there as it was the furthest point from home and work my way back. Well, not only did I not find the bridge, but I also found myself on several gravel roads in the middle of cornfields. Welcome to rural Indiana I guess. With plenty of time left to explore Clinton County, I eventually gave up and headed back to Frankfort, IN. Things began to look up immediately. Frankfort has a zoo? Well, a petting zoo. Still, not something you find often in small Indiana towns. TPA Park includes a cute little petting zoo and aviary with llamas, pigs, peacocks, goats, and many other animals and birds. It is only open on the weekends once school starts, but I was still able to see the animals wandering around. Several locals were sitting on benches enjoying their lunch break and watching the animals as it was such a lovely day. TPA Park also has a fun playground, plenty of space to walk, and a very interesting log cabin. It was built in 1859 and was the original...
The BEST Travel Review Sites

The BEST Travel Review Sites

I get asked ALL the time how I find such great restaurants or fun things to do. I’ve shared some of my secrets before, but one of the key ones is that I take the time to check out a few travel review sites. In this post, I’ll narrow it down to which ones I think are the BEST travel review sites, and how you can get the most out of them. Things to do with TripAdvisor The site I ALWAYS start with is TripAdvisor. Although I do most of my TripAdvisor research on my computer, when I’m on the road, I’ll use the TripAdvisor app to help me with directions, ideas, etc. I open it up, type in the city where I’m interested in going and start digging. I’ll check out top attractions first which will give me a list of the top things to do in the area. Then I can click on the individual attractions that look interesting to me. It’s also easy to narrow down your search by selecting categories such as “Nature & Parks”, “Museums”, etc. We like a wide variety of activities, so I rarely go into specific categories, but if you were researching a very large city or for a specific type of event it would be very useful. Once I find things I’m interested in, I will tag them (click on the little heart on the picture), create a trip with the name of that city and add them to that group. Then, later when I’m ready to visit, I can just pull up that trip (click on trips on the...
Newburgh, A Darling Riverfront Town

Newburgh, A Darling Riverfront Town

Newburgh, Indiana is a darling riverfront town located in Warrick County in Southern Indiana. It’s set right alongside the Ohio River and is just minutes from Evansville. A recent soccer game took us down that direction so of course, we left early to explore the town! After all, it’s another Indiana County I had never visited before! When visiting Newburgh, starting at the Newburgh Museum is a fantastic way to get a little bit of history of the town. We learned that it was founded in 1803 and it was the first town north of the Mason Dixie line captured by the South during the Civil War. The museum is small but very well done. In addition to some fascinating exhibits on Newburgh, they often have a special exhibit. The one we enjoyed was called “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” It was very interesting and the items on display were fun to check out. The museum is free but only open a few days a week, so check the website before you visit. The museum is a short walk from downtown, and since it was a lovely day, heading there on foot seemed appropriate. Downtown Newburgh is so pretty. There are a few cool boutiques and shops as well as some antique stores and yummy looking restaurants. It’s easy to while away a few hours browsing the main streets. The river itself is quite an attraction, so make sure to take time to walk down there and check it out. There are also some beautiful homes right on the water. Many are older and have been restored, but...

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