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June 1, 2020

Why do we travel? Visiting family and friends, escape, learning, connecting, and/or all of the above. How far do you have to go to ‘travel?’ There is an actual definition for traveling — 50 miles one way for pleasure. For the more curious, there is the art of ‘wandering’ or Life Off The Highway as I call it.  To me wandering is, “Finding a place or space that changes your rhythm, moves your feet, clears your head, and touches your soul.”

I teach Cultural Heritage Tourism in Indiana University’s Tourism, Event, and Sports Management Program. We spend a lot of time assessing the cult...

January 15, 2019

One of the challenges in tourism is there are never enough resources so we default to a "pay to play" strategy. While it is good to get destinations on board to financially support local or state tourism efforts, too many great places fall through the cracks. Consider this, I can make a case that many of Indiana's most overtly scenic places are in southern Indiana (Yes, I love a great prairie setting, but that's just me). These places have beauty beyond the official parks. Here, beauty can be found lining the roadsides, hanging out over streams, or hugging a hillside. They encoura...

October 12, 2018

It was a busy summer and fall prepping for our oldest daughter’s wedding. It was a beautiful day shared with family and friends. When the excitement died down, the calendar remained filled with family commitments and our other interests. It had been a while since we had wandered and the urge to do so needed attention. 

A family baby shower occupied part of the day, so we planned a late afternoon drive and dinner at the famed Kopper Kettle restaurant in Morristown (southeast of Indianapolis on US 52). Our plans went awry. While picking my wife up at the shower site, there were still...

June 12, 2018

As a child, a visit to Lafayette's Columbian Park Zoo or the playground wasn’t complete until we went across the street and ate some creamy, frozen custard from The Original Frozen Custard. In high school and while at Purdue University, it was an inexpensive and fun date. Delta Upsilon Fraternity brother John Stewart and I once crammed about 6-7 women in his yellow Mustang convertible for a trip across the Wabash and frozen custard. 

Since then, I have been there several times and enjoyed it each time. While I have eaten frozen custard from other establishments, and...

May 24, 2018

The European expansion into Indiana began with the French, then the British and finally, American expansion with the establishment of the Northwest Territory. The Ohio River was the main artery to access the Northwest Territory and its successor, Indiana Territory. The first counties lined the Ohio and Wabash Rivers. Of the twelve counties that border the Ohio and two more up the Wabash to Vincennes, most early county seats were on the river or a prime tributary. 

As more counties were carved out of the early few – Knox, Clark, and Dearborn – borders were redrawn and county seats s...

May 21, 2018

Thousands of people drive north and south on US 31 in northern Indiana daily. Most nonchalantly pass a sign that points west to the Chief Menominee statue, but few take the 5.2 mile trip to learn a dark story about Indiana's heritage as "land of the Indians." His statue is located in a small park on Peach Road along with a rock memorializing the location of his tribe's village on the banks of Twin Lakes, the headwaters of the Yellow River, just north of here.  


Chief Menominee led the Potawatomi Nation and, although his "mark appears on several treaties ceding Potawatomi...

May 14, 2018

I first visited St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in high school to attend the graduation of a friend from nursing school at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. I was not prepared to find such a beautiful church in "the middle of nowhere." Many Hoosiers are surprised to learn that there is a part of Indiana that lies west of the Wabash River at Terre Haute and that is why St. Mary-of-the-Woods is such a a well-kept secret.

Years late, I introduced my wife to the Cathedral and other interesting sites on the 67-acre campus, the home of the Sisters of Providence and the College. We vi...

March 17, 2018

"Where should we go?" "What should we do?" "Can we do something different than everyone else?" These are commonly asked questions for people who want to travel. The challenge is that we focus too often on destinations and focus too little on the route to get there. What do I mean? If you're going to drive two to three hours across the state, I guarantee that you'll drive by interesting places on the way. There are lots of places that most driving guides ignore. As an Indiana geography, history, and cultural heritage buff, I can help you discover these places....

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LIFE OFF THE HIGHWAY

Look Deeper. Discover More.