Anniversary Vacation

Hubby and I have been starting a debate.  We’ve been thinking about going on a real vacation…well maybe not what some people would consider a real vacation but what we would.  We have never been gone for more than 6 days.  That was to Washington D.C. when the kids were there for National History Day.  Other than that, we go for a day or two, that’s it.

This summer it’s our 30th anniversary so we’ve been thinking about something more than a couple days. We are mostly home bodies so any time away is an event for us.  This time around Hubby said -how about five days away just you and me.

We have friends who go to Cancun, Dominican Republic and other tropical places.  They are always trying to get us to go..but for me, going to some inclusive place and spending the week drinking, isn’t a definition of fun.  Try as they might, their descriptions of the places sound like torture to me.  I don’t like swimming.  I like sunshine but not SUN.  I don’t like water.  I don’t like long plane rides.  I don’t like being “trapped” in one place.  I don’t like days of alcohol.  I have no desire to para sail-scuba dive or anything like that.  I have no desire to dress up and eat fancy.  I have no desire to leave the country unless one day I go to Sweden or Ireland.  Sweden because that’s where my grand parents came from and Ireland…it just looks wonderful to me.  Each time, I’d want to go with Hubby only.

Being we take so little time off the time away I want Hubby for myself…call me greedy, but I don’t see him enough or spend enough time with him.  I want him all to myself….Hubby, he’d tell you pretty much the same thing.  We want to go by ourselves.

Our vacation idea is more like…jump in the car.  Drive for awhile until we see and antique sign and stop.  Jump back in the car again…stop at  a quilt shop or something that looks intriguing.  When it’s lunch time, stop at some little greasy spoon spot that the guy at the gas station suggested.  Making our way little town by little town to a destination we’d love to see like Mount Rushmore, Gettysburg or someplace else education would make us both really happy.  Vacation to us is meant to be spending time together just doing lots of little things.

Years ago Hubby and I went to San Diego.  I was going for a educational conference.  Hubby came a few days earlier with me and we hung out.  We never went to the zoo.  One of our favorite things was riding the commuter train down to the Mexican border.  We saw real people who lived there get on and off.  We saw the towns and the landscape.  We had fun with that.  We found our way to a couple quilt shops and while I shopped Hubby walked around town browsing and meeting people.  We loved that.

So we are debating where to go and what to do. We’re thinking we’ll just jump in the car and go…but we want a final destination.  The debate is where to though.  I told him I’d be happy with a trip to Whittles Fabrics.  He said he’d be happy if we went to his old boss’ place in South Dakota.  Sadly their both in opposite directions.

I feel a little like that Jodee Messina song…  Heads Carolina, Tails California.  Only Carolina and California don’t make sense unless we’re taking a plane and that’s not really our plan.

Anybody have any good suggestions of things to see in the Midwest?  We’d love to hear your suggestions.  We’d love to take in several different things…great restaurants, historic places, Mississippi River cruise, quilt shops, antique stops…anything that sounds like we might like it please, oh please suggest away!!

46 thoughts on “Anniversary Vacation

  1. Sue

    We have taken several great trips…just the two of us. The best way to go! We love upper Michigan such as Sault St Marie and Mackinac Island and lots of things to see. We have also been to Duluth and up along Lake Superior with side trips such as the iron mines at Ely, MN. And planning the trip is part of the fun!

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  2. Dotti

    How sweet! My husband also likes time with just the two of us. I would suggest South Dakota to have a short visit with “the boss” . Nebraska to see the Quilt museum in Lincoln.
    Mount Rushmore. That should keep you occupied. And that should be the time the Row by Row is running, so you would get a extra bonus. But do have a nice dinner on your special day. Celebrate your longevity in marriage. It is getting rare these days. Ain’t love grand!

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  3. Ellie Lively

    My DH and I are much like you, No fancy resorts. We have enjoyed many of the state park inns and also the national parks. South Dakota has Custer State Park where there are cabins and a nice restaurant which doesn’t mean dressing up.. The Arch in St.Louis is very interesting and educational.and since it commemorates history you might find that very interesting. There are all sorts of exciting and interesting places to see.! I suggest you take out and a road atlas and see what you find in a day or two’s drive. .Stay off the interstates unless you have to cover lots of ground. The small towns are so much more interesting.

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  4. Jill Klop

    We used to live in St. Louis. There’s a lot to do there. On the TripAdvisor website, there’s a place you can just look at things to do. Other people rank them and some we agreed with the rating and some we didn’t.

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  5. Pdudgeon

    how about Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills country?
    it’s got some interesting history and the scenery is nice.
    My dad went there once, and got to pan for gold.
    He brought a nugget home.

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  6. Libby in TN

    FYI Mammoth Cave and the National Corvette Museum are not far from Whittle’s. You could see the National Quilt Museum in Paducah on the way. And I think you’d enjoy hitting St. Louis on the way back and doing a brewery tour.

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  7. Lorraine

    I agree with Mt. Rushmore. Lots to do there including a couple quilt shops. We stayed at night in a cabin in the state park near thete. Beautiful place; I would have liked to stay more than one night. Another awesome place is Mackinac Island. Like stepping back in time; no vehicles allowed on the island. Lots of wilderness for hiking. Whatever you plan, hope you have a great time! :)

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  8. Donna

    Three things I’ve always wanted to do is see parts of the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. Oh and the grand Tetons so I guess that’s four. Just allow yourself time to just wander. I enjoy car trips with no rigid schedule. My Mom and I took a month long trip through New England with no interstate travel. We enjoyed the back roads and small towns. Hope where ever you go it’s the time of your life.

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  9. darlynn

    The year my husband passed, i took the three boys to Mount Rushmore and the Badlands. A few years later, we drove to Yellowstone. They have all said those two trips were one of their favorites….and we vacationed a lot when my husband was alive. You would not go wrong with either one of these destinations. (Whittles….i just placed ANOTHER order >$100. thank you for the great site. i have shared over and over)

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  10. Ana Sweet

    We have done all kinds of travel. Once we did a long trip to the NE and stopped at different bed and breakfasts along the way. One was the oldest tavern on the Northern Pike US 40 I think, one was a restored historic home in Lancaster County, etc. Each one was fun. Hubby likes to meet the owners.

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  11. Kate

    If I had a driving trip, I’d include Marshall’s Dry Goods in Arkansas………… look at their web site – wow !!! I would suggest you make one decision: airplane or no airplane…. cause if it’s no airplane, then you just get the map out and draw a circle, and see what falls in the circle. I’m with you in liking unstructured driving trips ! good luck with the planning.

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  12. Kathy R

    One of our favorite vacations was to hop in the car with two books – the quilters travelers guide and the diners, drive – ins and dives book.

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  13. Robby

    Each time we visit the ILs, we add a little side trip from STL. Hannibal, MO was nice, as was Hermann, MO. And Kansas City is not that far a drive from STL, we really enjoyed the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and some tasty BBQ there. My original thought was to suggest Colorado, but there is no Mississippi river there. ;^) Whatever you do, wherever you go, I’m sure you’ll have fun together.

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  14. Lorna

    Hi, Jo! You would love a trip to the Badlands, Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer & Devil’s Tower. Russ & I have gone a bunch of times. Last summer we had our grown kids go, too. They loved it and talk about it often as the best vacation ever. Places to stop: Murdo, SD has a vintage car & everything else museum, on I90. The drive from Deadwood, Spearfish and all the way south to Custer is awsome! Hill City is central & we usually stay there. Eat at the Alpine Inn. 2 items on their menu: 6 oz. filet minion & a 9 oz. both served with salad & potato. Cost is like $10 & $12 …..drinks & awsome fancy desserts will cost more than your meal. If you choose them. I could go on & on about things we have found out there. Ask Wendy, too, they have gone to Deadwood a couple of times, too. We like the same kind of vacation as you, just us, wandering & stopping when we want. Planning is so much fun!

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  15. Cindy

    I would head to Kansas City, stopping at Missouri Star on the way and Kansas Troubles on the way home. But I am a Hallmark ornament collector and would love to see their headquarters. ps – I did see an agriculture museum there.

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  16. Kim W.

    We like to do road trips also, though most of ours is done on a motorcycle. We usually go for two weeks in the fall and have a destination in mind and whatever we find on the way there and back is fair game. We have changed our route after talking to people we meet on the road, find things we never would have just by talking to the people we meet.
    My favorite is the National parks specifically Yellowstone with Mt Rushmore and the Badland area also.
    Our last trip was to Mammoth Caves and the National Corvette museum along with a stop in Paducah to the Quilt Museum. If I had known Whittles was in that area, we would have been there too.
    This year Hubby wants to go to Texas. That should be interesting coming from Long Island. I have no idea what to expect, but since I read Judy’s blog, I’m expecting snakes and scorpions.

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  17. Jen

    You didn’t mention when you thought you’d go on the trip. I love the Ozarks. I took 2 of my kids on a week long adventure in the summer. We went to Branson, MO and ended up over in Hard, AR before heading back to Iowa. Since, I split my time between Iowa and North Dakota, and if you are going during the summer time. Check out the Medora Musical in Medora, ND. Cute little touristy town in SW North Dakota.

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  18. Mary Jo

    My husband and I take a trip every other year knowing only three things…the day we are leaving home, the direction we are going, and when we want to be home. Several of our trips have been to South Dakota, both in the car and on the motorcycle in August for the big Stugis motorcycle rally. We love the Badlands, Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer & Devil’s Tower. Deadwood is also a quaint little town. A good place to eat is Elk Creek Steakhouse. It is about 15 miles west of Rapid City at the Elk Creek exit off of I-90. If you have time to go further we really enjoy Yellowstone. Hope you enjoy your anniversary no matter where you go!

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  19. Sherry

    My very favorite place to vacation is Estes Park, CO. We have been there 4 or 5 times and I would go again in a heartbeat. The last 2 times we have gone we stayed at Estes Park Condos – it is a little more expensive to stay but there is a kitchen so we can and do eat breakfast and perhaps pack a picnic for lunch and head up into the Rocky Mountain National Park, so I figure that we save a little with not eating out every meal. There are so many wonderful things to see and do. And where we stay the weather is cooler (due to the elevation) than Estes Park (the town) but we always go into town to visit the touristy things to, and yes there is a couple of quilt stores. But mostly we drive into the mountains because it is breathtakingly beautiful. It is a driveable distance – we live in Kasson and it is a 14 hour drive – garage to condo lol.

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  20. Betty (from Canada)

    Take a map of the USA and cut all the areas you are interested in. Then tape them together and hang them on a wall that it doesn’t matter if it gets damaged. Then blindfold hubby and give him a tack. Turn him around a couple of times then head him towards the map and see where he puts his tack. Get him to do the same to you and see where you land your tack. Maybe this can be a starting point and go from there.
    Have fun. No peeking.

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  21. Lynn Dykstra

    Come to Chicago!
    Stay downtown. It is a working city so you can do tourist stuff and people watch all at the same place. I like the Palmer House or Hotel Burnham. You can step out of the hotel and take a bus or the L anywhere you want. You can go to the Art Institute and see Grant Wood’s American Gothic if you get homesick for Iowa! They usually have a textile exhibit too. In the summer there is a lot going on in Grant Park and Millennium Park. Live, free music concerts.
    Have a glass of iced tea at the 95th Lounge on top of the Hancock building–save the expense of a trip to the observation level.

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  22. Joyce

    Did you have ancestors in the Civil War? If so, you can find out where they went during their service. Fun driving trip to go the same route (or part of it) and visit historical spots along the way. We always find quilt shops, some wood carving shops, local museums, and stay and eat only where locals recommend. No matter what you decide, congratulations on 30 years of wedded bliss!

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  23. Susan K

    My husband and I went to St. Louis years back. We spent several days just the two of us and then two of our boys joined us. There are lots of things to see and do and it’s drivable from Iowa. And while in Missouri you can visit the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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  24. Jen Mang

    Vegas! You don’t even have to gamble or drink. There’s so much to see and do there. I’ve been to lots of places, including Mt. Rushmore. Enjoyed seeing it, but didn’t think the drive was all that lovely from CO. Of course you could come to AK and see some real beauty but that’s kinda far. lol Best wishes, & have fun what ever you decide.

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  25. Debbie L

    I would say Hayward WI, then a day up to Bayfield, WI and taking the ferry to Madeline Island. On the way drive through Polk County WI, several nice quilt shops. Then drive north through Washburn County, WI. Nice quilt shop in Spooner. Also a great antique place just north of Spooner. You could then take a train ride – can do pizza lunch, dinner train ride, or just ride. That is north of Spooner. My husband built the train depot there.

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  26. Laura

    If you do the South Dakota trip don’t miss the kitschy Corn Palace. Someone mentioned from there down into NE where there are quilt stores around Omaha and Lincoln and not far off of I-80 into Iowa on your return. Just choose your destination and know there are things of interest along the way no matter the destination.

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  27. Connie

    Hi Jo! Our idea of a vacation, means no watches, a date to leave and a date to be home by. Point the car in a direction that looks fun…..if we make it there that is good, if not, it means that we found a ton of fun along the way. Eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired. No matter what that time is. Stop when you find something interesting . Generally, getting off the beaten path leads to places you are glad you found. One of my favorite memories was stumbling across an antique store in the basement of a couples home, It was her pride and joy to look for things for her little shop, and to sell things so she cold buy more. He loved his back yard, grapes growing around the perimeter, flowers, veggies, fruits….. Tried our first ground cherry there!! Spent nearly the whole afternoon talking with this couple and enjoying THEIR hobbies.

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  28. Linda Liquin

    I really enjoyed a trip we took to Tennessee. There is the Grand Old Opry, the old Ryman Auditorium, The General Jackson River Boat, Franklin, Tennessee, Memphis, Dollywood, Country Music Hall of Fame and Music Row just to name a few. I was lucky enough to be there for the AQS show, the machine embroiders show and a FTD convention. Didn’t have to leave Opryland at all, really.

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  29. Bobi

    You mentioned Gettysburg. Please come, you’ll love this area! (I live nearby.) On your way here, you can tour thru Ohio and see all the quilt barns (google this, they have dozens of barns with quilts painted on the side.) As for antique shops and small townc.f.s with lots of interesting things to do, PA is fabulous! Take Route 30, the Lincoln Highway, so many fun things to do. The only problem you will have if you pick this trip is you will want to come back soon.http://www.visitpa.com/

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  30. Nell

    And if you go to South Dakota and then go down to Lincoln, Ne for the quilt museum, you MUST stop and visit your friend, NELL!!! :) I would love to have you. Two great stores here for fabric. . .

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  31. ColleenM

    Oh my goodness, lots of great ideas. But no one mentioned Yellowstone. You could hit Mt Rushmore and Devils Tower (well worth the miles out of the way) on the way out. It is definitely something to see. From there you could drive south a bit an see The Grand Tetons, gorgeous. Hit Cody, Wyoming on the way back. Lots of history and beautiful scenery.
    Door County, WI is also fantastic and not that far from Iowa. You could make a loop and co to Milwaukee and Chicago on the trip.
    Mackinac Island and Sault St. Marie is also beautiful.
    Whatever you do it will be well deserved and fun:)

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  32. Nancy A

    My sister and I had a great vacation last year visiting Shipshewana, IN and the surrounding areas. It is Amish country and has lots of cute antique and quilt shops. We also used the quilt shop maps on the Row By Row website and found lots of fun small towns and quilt shops in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Loved the little town of Lockport, IL that we would have never seen if we wouldn’t have been “navigating” by the Row by Row map hitting as many quilt shops as possible.

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  33. Mary Jo Boland

    Last year I went to Mackinac Island – a long lovely drive for me from La Crosse Wisconsin. I went at the very end of the season in October, and stayed on the Island in a B&B. The rates are much cheaper at the very beginning and ending of the season. If you can’t take a trip at those times, then I would also echo other suggestions here about driving out to Mt. Rushmore, see Custer State Park, and Wall Drug. I did that trip years ago – I don’t remember many quilt stores along the way, but that was many years ago – take along a good quilting guide or an online app.

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  34. Glenda in Florida

    You’ve got some great suggestions here. We take one or two big trips a year–this year we put over 20,000 miles on our car during two big trips, but then we are starting from Florida, and we hit both Washington and Maine, with a side trip into Canada on each. Where ever you go, I’d suggest hitting national and state parks. We take long hikes, but even short hikes on boardwalks, or driving the scenic drives, allows you to see some wonderful sights. We try to stay “in” the parks if possible, but that requires advance planning and reservations. I think Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, the Badlands…would be a great trip. I think we’ve been there three times in the past 10 years. First time as a destination, but other times, we just find ourselves stopping there on our way home from points further west.

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  35. Sue M.

    The best time DH & I had was going to Las Vegas to visit a friend of mine. But the part we like best was the Grand Canyon. The south rim was wonderful and we talk about that trip like it was our honeymoon. I could go again and just enjoy Rte 66 and the Canyon.

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  36. Sandi

    We have taken a few cross country trips and really enjoyed S. Dakota. There is a lot to see there such as Mount Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Corn Palace (and quilt shops). TN is also a pretty state (with quilt shops along the way). How about Yellowstone Nat’l Park? It’s beautiful there and if you’re driving across Wyoming in the Little Big Horn Mountains, it’s beautiful.

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  37. Janet

    Estes Park, CO! We LOVED that vacation. We drove from SE WI and it wasn’t a bad drive (although we also drove to Santa Ana, CA another year so it’s all relevant!) We stayed at the Stanley Hotel (the inspiration for The Shining) and it was so awesome. You’d love the hotel and the decor. The little town is so quaint with all the little shops. When we were there they had a husband/wife duo who did a show a couple nights a week and he looked and sounded exactly like John Denver. They had a museum about the Stanleys and it was interesting. The kids loved ghost hunting at the Stanley as it is haunted. We had a couple of events happen to us and we enjoyed the ghost tour we took. We went in June and it was so pretty. Jeep ride in Rocky Mountain National Park. I think you’d love it. Second choice, New Glarus, WI. It’s referred to as America’s Little Switzerland. The Chalet of the Golden Fleece Museum – The chalet was built in 1937, and it’s an authentic copy of a Swiss Bernese mountain chalet. Inside, visitors can take a tour and learn about its eclectic collection from Barlow’s travels around the world. There are three full floors of painted furniture, antique silver and pewter, original artwork, paintings and etchings, samplers, prints, Swiss scissors cuttings, quilts, fabrics, antique glass and china, coins, stamps, Swiss woodcarvings, Swiss dolls, and more! check out the tourism site for New Glarus, WI I think you’d love it. You could stay in a quaint Inn, chalet style hotels, B&B, there’s even an old farmhouse to stay at.

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  38. Jody

    We did a mini version of that for our 20th and went to Door Co, Wisconsin. I didn’t really prepare much for along the way, but there are a lot of places to add in as stopping points between here and there and the surrounding area. We had thought about Macinaw Island, MI but at the time we just threw together plans and lodging didn’t really work out. We would like to visit there too someday when we plan it a little better. We like to watch “Diners, Drive In’s and Dives” and see if there are any places along our way that have been highlights on that show. Door Co. was relaxing, lots of wineries, a couple really nice coffee shops, great little non-chain restaurants, amazing views along the road as you drive through the area, lots of people to watch and quaint shopping spots with local artisans. Fudge, cheese, t-shirts! :) One day we just hung out at our condo because we were right on the water and sat out on the balcony with coffee for hours. Very relaxing, very private and very nice. Carolina would be great too…the mountains there and north Georgia are beautiful. Gatlinburg, TN is a favorite as a family destination or couples destination. It was our favorite weekend getaway back in the day it was just David and I. Now we take the kids and although not at all the same, still great. It is more touristy though but there a couple of quilt shops in the Pidgeon Forge area. Plenty of potential stops between here and there too. You guys deserve a great trip…can’t believe it has been 30 years!

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  39. NM Sue

    Driving along the shorelines of the Great Lakes was fun. We camped along the way. Then there is Branson, Missouri, and all the great shows. Not too far away is the Precious Moments site which is very nice and impressive. We also enjoyed touring factories such as the John Deere factory in Waterloo, Iowa. And, there is the Herbert Hoover Presidential library in Iowa, the Truman library in Independence, MO., and the Eisenhower Presidential library in Kansas. Do you like scenery? How about a trip to the Black Hills of So. Dakota to see Custer State Park and the buffalo and burros? Lead is an old mining town with attractions. And, Deadwood is colorful. Most important thing is your together for 5 whole days!

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  40. Margaret

    St Louis is a nice drive, of course we live there. We do it during football season for all the home games at the University of Northern Iowa, where my husband and I met, 30 some years ago. Don’t forget Tom Sawyer’s town, Hannibal is along the drive from Iowa too. Missouri Star is about 5 hrs due west of St Louis, and then you could go back home through Des Moines, making a big loop. Many quilt shops along the route. St Charles outside of St Louis is the starting point for Lewis & Clark trip up the Missouri, nice museum on the river front there, plus a charming downtown area for gifts and restaurants. My husband and I went to Hawaii for our 25th, it was wonderful, had a condo and was lazy for a couple of days. Even found one quilt shop on the way down from visiting the volcano on the Big Island. Have a great vacation.

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  41. Kayla G

    My parents went to Minden, NE a few years ago and loved it! There is some museum where there are several collections of old antiques. Like one building has a ton of old bicycles and another had a bunch of old schoolhouse stuff. They really had a blast and said there were a lot of buildings to go through.

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  42. Sharon Hughson

    As Frank would sing: Chicago, Chicago is my kind of town.
    They have great museums, fabric shops, the water front, nice views from the Sears Tower (I don’t know what it’s called today). I love the fancy hotels and restuarants, but not many of them are greasy spoons. Have fun what ever you decide.

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