Lucas Oil Raceway

When I began planning our getaway to Indiana, I noticed there was a racetrack there. Honestly, I couldn’t have cared less about sitting and watching some car race but I knew my husband Tom would be thrilled to see it, so I added it to our itinerary. It was the best thing I could have done for him. He loves car racing and was so excited about going to the race, more excited than any of the other events I had lined up. Early in the evening, we headed out to the race track and kept thinking we were in the wrong place or going in the back door or something else because it was so quiet and there didn’t seem to be that many people there.

Boy, were we wrong.

Sign for Brownsburg

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Welcome to Hendricks County, Indiana!

We learned about lovely Hendricks County, Indiana at a meeting for travel professionals so, when our 40th anniversary rolled around, it was easy to decide to take a few nights in this charming area. We really knew nothing about the area so just put the address of the Visitor’s Center in our map gizmo and let it take us right there. We drove right into downtown quiet Danville to the Mayberry Cafe, named for the famous Andy Griffith show, to meet up with Josh Duke from the local visitor’s center, who we worked with when planning our trip. Anyone who loves this famous show will be familiar with the restaurant name and the many different, mouth-watering items on their menu. Parked in front of the restaurant is a police car, much like you would see when watching the show.

Photo of Restaurant Resized

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The Charming Gratz Park Inn

Front Door to the Hotel

Front Door to the Hotel

So, we decided to experience a staycation for the first time.

A “staycation” is a getaway where you don’t go far; usually just stay in your same city where you live. Although Lexington, Kentucky is our hometown and attracts plenty of tourists from all over the world, we had sort of taken it for granted. I had come to Lexington to attend the University of Kentucky many moons ago and Tom was a long time resident so after meeting, falling in love, and getting married, we never considered moving anywhere else. We had our kids, life moved on, and we finally settled in a roomy and comfortable house after we both retired from our jobs. Although I  had lived in Lexington most of my adult life, I had always loved traveling and had seen most of the world but finally got Tom to fall I love with traveling as well. I wrote about our travels and he took the many photos that went along with my articles so we settled into a  new way of life once our kids moved out, get married and settled down, and began to have kids of their own.

Hotel Sign

Hotel Sign

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Gourmet Dining at the Harbor Fish Market and Grille

November-Gourmet Dining at the Harbor Fish Market and Grille in Door County Wisconsin-Jan Ross2I tried escargot for the first time on a river cruise in Europe and, although it was with some trepidation that I took my first bite, I loved it. Similar to a mushroom, it had been drenched in butter and garlic so it was quite tasty. The second time I had escargot was just recently at the Harbor Fish Market and Grille on the charming peninsula of Door County, Wisconsin. This time the escargot were tucked neatly away under a delicious and flaky crust but again were delicious. You may think a small restaurant in Wisconsin is an unlikely place to find escargot and you are right, but this charming restaurant in a historic building on the main street of Bailey’s Harbor features amazing gourmet dining, along with a fantastic view of the bay complete with outside dining.

The large building in which the restaurant is located was added to a smaller building in 1908, which was originally used as an ice cream parlor and later a tavern. The larger building was used as a tavern and dance hall where whole families would come to dance; the children were put to bed upstairs while the adults continued dancing. In the ice cream parlor, cones were only five cents, later on in the ’40s and ’50s, movies were shown, and there was roller skating on the hardwood floors on Sundays. The building went through a few owners until 1997 when it was bought by restaurateurs Carl and Karen Berndt; our family was thrilled to pay them a visit on a recent visit to Door County.

Read the rest of this article on Luxe Beat Magazine HERE.

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Kringle Capitol of the World: Racine, Wisconsin

February-The-Kringle-Capitol-of-the-World-Racine-Wisconsin-Jan-Ross2                                                                                                                                                                          A Kringle!

A Kringle is a Scandinavian pastry, a sort of Nordic pretzel, which can be filled with a variety of sweet options. From strawberry cheesecake to apple to pecan, this pastry is available in just about every flavor. Hand rolled from Danish pastry dough which has rested overnight, the sheets of flaky dough are layered, then shaped into an oval, filled with fruit or nuts, and then baked and iced. A typical Kringle is a large, flat oval measuring approximately 14 inches by 10 inches and weighs about 1.5 pounds.

Wisconsin has historically been a center of Danish-American culture, so it makes sense that the Kringle was designated the Official State Pastry in 2013. Racine, a charming small town located on the shore of beautiful Lake Michigan has long been a location to seek out this delicious treat. The pastry was first introduced to Racine in the late 1800s by immigrant Danish bakers, and as the town was home to more Danes than anywhere else in the country, there are more Kringle bakeries in Racine than you will find anywhere else. Unofficially designated the Kringle Capitol of the World, Racine today has five bakeries offering different varieties of Kringle, so you can sample until you find the perfect combination.

My family recently paid a visit to Racine to enjoy the lovely beaches, parks, and trails; Frank Lloyd Wright architecture; an amazing art museum and zoo; and the historic Wind Point Lighthouse. The lake provided area residents and tourists with plenty of opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and other watersports, and area restaurants provide any international delicacy you can imagine.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

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Let These Children’s Books Inspire Your Next Family Trip

Beach PicSharing books with children is a great way to step into other worlds, have amazing adventures, hear about other cultures, and learn to empathize with characters. It’s also a very special way to spend time together as a family and a great bonding experience for family members of all ages.

An extension of these wonderful experiences is to actually visit as a family the destinations where some of your favorite books take place. Here are a few classic children’s books with accompanying locations to get you started.

Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery – Prince Edward Island: Those who love this book will find Anne-related attractions all over this lovely and remote island, including Avonlea Village, Green Gables Heritage Place, and the author’s family home where her descendants still live.Kindred Spirits Country Inn and Cottages is the perfect family-friendly location to stay when visiting, offering cottages complete with kitchenettes, a heated swimming pool, and bike rentals.

Read the rest of this article on Minitime.com HERE.

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Five Most Family-Friendly Airport Hotels

Hotel PicIf you are flying into a city for a big family getaway, it’s often easier and more convenient to stay at a hotel near the airport, especially if you have a very early flight or a late evening arrival.

We have handpicked these family-friendly airport hotel recommendations for their great amenities like swimming pools, on-site restaurants with kids’ menus, room service, on-site laundries, complimentary breakfast, free airport shuttles and more.

Read the rest of this article on Minitime.com HERE.

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Indianapolis, Indiana: A Luxury Getaway to the Crossroads of America

February-Luxury-Getaway-to-Indianapolis-Jan-Ross91

Downtown Indy

My husband and I have passed by Indianapolis numerous times over the years as we traveled north from Lexington, Kentucky to ski resorts in Michigan or getaways to Chicago. We often remarked how we were passing a city that looked very intriguing, was only three hours away from our home, and that we should make time to visit the city affectionately known as the Crossroad of American because it is the hub for several major interstate highways which crisscross the state. We finally made plans to visit on our way back home from a trip to Wisconsin in the summer.

Not taking into account the astonishing snarl of traffic that is Chicago, we left Green Bay, Wisconsin late in the afternoon after a tour of Lambeau Field, and ran into that frustrating traffic which put us into Indy late at night. This meant that we were not able to fully appreciate the city until the next day when we arose to the beauty that is downtown Indianapolis.

Read the rest of this article here.

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Fall in Cincy

Books statue at the Library

Books statue at the Library

When you begin planning a getaway to Cincinnati, one of the first things you will learn is that there are a lot of bridges. A lot of bridges. Cincinnati sprawls across the Ohio River with a population of almost 300,000, making it the third largest city in Ohio. The city is home to two major sports teams; the Cincinnati Reds, a popular baseball team, and the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League.

Embassy Suites

Embassy Suites by Hilton Cincinnati RiverCenter

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Going Skiing Medical Tips

Going Skiing? Follow These Four Medical Tips

Are you heading off on a ski trip in the coming weeks or months and worried about staying safe? It’s understandable to have concerns over your medical wellbeing, with the price of treatment reaching excessive levels in a lot of cases.

In the Bavarian Alps – a spot which is particularly popular for skiers – the cost of an air ambulance is a staggering $120,000. Needless to say, this is an expense you’ll want to avoid at all costs.

Today, let’s explore four medical tips which you need to adhere to when you next go skiing. Follow these closely and you won’t find yourself in much bother.

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 1. Stick to your level

Don’t push yourself too hard when it comes to a ski trip. When you arrive at a new location you’ll find there are different slopes which offer a varying level of difficulty. Don’t opt for the one which sounds the most fun or makes you look brave – choose a trail which matches your abilities.

The FIS (International Ski Federation) has developed a “Rules of Conduct” which explicitly states people should stick to their own level when it comes to skiing – as well as providing a general code of conduct for ensuring safety on the slopes at all times. This will make the chances of avoiding collisions much higher.

2. Watch out for the sun

It might sound paradoxical, but you should be incredibly wary of getting damaged by sunlight during a trip to any mountainous region. Fields of snow don’t necessarily equate to a lack of sun – in reality, it’s an area where you’re insanely at risk.

Owing to the lack of particles which serve as prevention methods for UV rays at higher altitudes, people are four to five percent more likely to suffer overexposure to the sun when they’re skiing in the mountains. Ice and snow also act as a very reflective surface, so make sure to wear as much protection as possible.

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3. Wear appropriate gear

It’s important to get the right gear sorted before you head out. Having items of clothing which are too large or small for you could cause you to have an accident. The skis themselves are usually the main culprit of this.

The larger a ski is, the faster and harder to control it’ll be. Make sure to get ones fitted which are in accordance to your skill levels and abilities. Other important pieces of equipment which need to be the right size include:

*Boots

*Gloves

*Helmets

4. Ski with a friend

If you follow the above steps, you’ll go a long way to avoiding getting yourself in a mischief. However, it’s literally impossible to guarantee it will never happen. By skiing with a friend, you ensure that even if the worst does occur you’ll have someone who can instantly get in touch with medical services.

The last thing you’ll want is to experience a head injury and be stranded all by yourself with nobody having any idea where you are. Always take a buddy with you to prevent this from happening.

If you follow these expert medical tips you’ll find yourself staying out of danger when you hit the slopes on your next skiing trip.

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