Category: Travel

Day trips add up to a vacation

Are you thinking about what you didn’t get to do because of COVID? Reframing may be able to turn a negative into a positive. It was disappointing to cancel a summer trip to Glacier National Park when COVID created a number of impediments. I expected to not have a vacation this year. But after visiting... Read more »

Check out these nontouristy local gems

About one-half of Chicagoans are fully vaccinated, and we’re satisfying our pent-up desire to get out and explore. If, like me, your 2021 excursions will be close to home, you may be looking for local attractions you haven’t visited and ones less crowded. I particularly like to check out nontouristy places that teach a Chicago... Read more »

Why a city dweller might prefer to vacation in nature

When the Worldwide Greeter Communication Project recently asked Greeters our travel preferences, seven in ten preferred culture and cities to nature. That’s not surprising, since Greeter programs are in cities, and we Greeters volunteer to show off our cities to visitors.  I was in the 30 percent minority. Don’t get me wrong: If I didn’t... Read more »

Renting a car for no reason except to drive

Do people take Sunday drives anymore? When I was a kid, we’d eat Sunday dinner at my grandparents’ house on the East Side of Joliet, and then all eight of us would pile into the car for a trip to Pilcher Park, always stopping at the greenhouse and the artesian well. Sunday drives have largely... Read more »

Learning about Native Americans firsthand

“Are you a native?” I asked the Lyft driver who was taking me to pick up a rental car in Albuquerque. I meant native of Albuquerque, but she thought I meant Native American. It was an understandable assumption: New Mexico has a higher percentage of Native Americans, almost 11 percent, than any state except Alaska.... Read more »

Hometown prison opened for tours

“When did you get out?” We Joliet natives are used to getting that question. Two prisons aren’t my hometown’s only claims to fame. Joliet had the first junior college in the nation. Basketball star George Mikan, actress Mercedes McCambridge, children’s author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and singer-songwriter Lionel Richie were among the luminaries with Joliet roots.... Read more »

Springfield is a journey with the real Lincoln

When I was planning a vacation in Springfield about 20 years ago, a coworker asked, “Why would you go there?” She might wonder again why I went back last week. The four Australians and the three Brits on the National Park Service tour I took of the Lincoln home, and the two Canadians I met... Read more »

The Old South persists amidst the New South

The states of the Confederacy have long intrigued me. As the rest of the country morphed into standardized American culture, my thinking went, the Deep South was different. I didn’t mean different in a good way. I wondered how much racism persists in the states that went to war over slavery. Every time I traveled... Read more »

Exotic Feline Rescue Center is worth a visit

One of the most incomparable places to visit within a few hours of Chicago is hardly known by the public. When I told people I’d be going to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, the only ones who had heard of it were my sister and brother-in-law in suburban Indianapolis. Since the center’s chief source of... Read more »

Insuring a rental when you don’t own a car

For us city dwellers who gave up our cars, insuring rental cars can be confusing and maybe unnecessarily costly. It pays to know before you’re standing at the counter whether a non–car owner can get by without the insurance the rental car companies push on you. Before renting a car for a recent one-week trip... Read more »