As an expat, there’s not many typical American ‘holidays’ that I celebrate, we don’t have Thanksgiving or the 4th of July in England and Halloween is no where near on the same scale that it is here! HOWEVER, I have spent my whole life celebrating Christmas! So here are some Dubuque Christmas events in East Iowa that you should check out this year!
Since living in the Midwest, I’ve discovered the joy of State Parks. Think of National Parks (such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone etc) only on a much smaller scale and they are usually free to enter! The state DNR (Department of Natural Resources) are in charge of maintaining the state parks and their websites will have handy information about visiting and any current park closures etc. Some may have a bit of a lakefront, a camp ground, walking trails or just simply be a woodland area that offers a means to escape and find some people. I’ve come across some state parks though that have had something a little extra about them, making them a little more unique compared to some of the others! So in this post I share my top Midwest State Parks that are perfect for adventurous travellers!
Since moving to the USA, I’ve had to rely on visiting small towns to get my travel fix. I’m 3 and a half hours away from the nearest two large cities (Chicago and Des Moines), which make just trying to get to the airport a chore. In the UK I was spoilt living 20 minutes from one of London’s airports, I could get from my front door and to a major city IN ANOTHER COUNTRY within 3 and a half hours. I can’t even drive across a state in that time! So if I want to get away for a quick weekend break, I’ve had to train myself to view anywhere and everywhere as a tourist destination, no matter how big or how small.
As a Brit, pumpkin patches are a bit of a new concept for me. We have corn mazes back home but pumpkin patches are certainly not something that I grew up ‘around’ as such. Since living in America, I have been to 2 pumpkin patches in Iowa, both completely different from each other. For the readers that may not have been to one before, imagine a farm shop selling pumpkins and other homemade goods such as jam/jelly with the addition of a farm style type ‘theme park’, and you won’t be far off!
I still find it hard to believe that a lake has beaches…and waves! Growing up by the English coast, it’s a given that the sea comes with sand and a tide, lakes are usually surrounded by mud and grass, but not Lake Michigan! The sheer size of it is crazy, it’s 307 miles long and 118 miles wide, it has a total shoreline of 1640 MILES. Putting this into perspective, the whole coastline of the UK is 7723 miles! Lake Michigan borders 4 US states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan and each state is home to various Lake Michigan beaches and beach towns that you should visit!
Indiana has gained its first National Park! Yay! The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is now Indiana Dunes NATIONAL Park, America’s 61st National Park. Located in Chesterton, Indiana, just a one hour drive away from Downtown Chicago, making it an easy day trip from the Windy city! A small section of Indiana state borders Lake Michigan, but it’s a section that’s well worth a stop! Here are some of my favourite Indiana Dunes things to do!
Wisconsin – The birth place of the Harley Davidson motorcycle, a company that’s now well over 100 years old and still going strong. As part of my trip to the Women in Travel Summit, the Milwaukee Harley Davidson Museum opened its door, after hours for the attendees to explore. I went, knowing I was seeing it for my Grandad, he’ll never be able to make the trip to see it for himself. He’s nearly 80 years old and still rides around on a Harley.