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The Best of the Midwest: A Sentimental Journey Through America's Heartland With Midwest Living's Founding Editor
     

The Best of the Midwest: A Sentimental Journey Through America's Heartland With Midwest Living's Founding Editor

by Dan Kaercher, Bob Stefko (Photographer)
 

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Join Dan Kaercher, founding editor and editor-in-chief of Midwest Living®, as he enjoys a 10,605-mile road trip to some of his favorite places in the Midwest region. After eighteen years heading up America's third-largest regional magazine (circulation 925,000), Dan knows the spirit and heritage of the Heartland. "In my travels, I'm often asked by people I meet

Overview

Join Dan Kaercher, founding editor and editor-in-chief of Midwest Living®, as he enjoys a 10,605-mile road trip to some of his favorite places in the Midwest region. After eighteen years heading up America's third-largest regional magazine (circulation 925,000), Dan knows the spirit and heritage of the Heartland. "In my travels, I'm often asked by people I meet to share some of my favorite Midwest getaways. So, I decided to answer the question and revisit many of those special places to see how they look to me now," Kaercher said.

Inspiring photographs of the people and places Kaercher has known through the years accompany detailed maps and a complete road travel guide for those wishing to retrace all or part of this dream drive. Recipes of regional specialties are also included.

His scenic route includes Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. It takes in some of the Midwest's—and America's—most serene small towns, little-known big city attractions, hidden parks, top resorts, delightful cafes, and unexpected places to stay. This backroads getaway of a lifetime eventually winds through each one of the twelve Midwest states—from the patchwork-quilt Amish farm country of Ohio and Indiana. . . to the wild north woods, uncrowded lakeshores, and vibrant metropolises of Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin...to Missouri and the great cities and small towns along this state's historic river valleys. . . to the breathtaking prairies and grand vistas of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

In addition, Iowa Public Television sent a videographer along with Dan on his trip, for a new series scheduled to air throughout the region in 2005.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780762736997
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
05/01/2005
Series:
Insiders' Guide Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,340,767
Product dimensions:
8.06(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.63(d)

Read an Excerpt

It's early Saturday morning on Lockerbie Square, a National Historic District just blocks from downtown Indianapolis that surrounds the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home. The quiet, compact neighborhood is a shady mix of residential and commercial buildings, grand brick homes and Victorian cottages of various styles, all meshing comfortably.
Residents, coffee mugs in hand, walk dogs, and bicyclists bounce over the cobblestone street in front of the Riley home. Actually, the streets were re-cobbled-in 1976 as a Bicentennial project. Another reminder of Lockerbie's long history: stepping stones from the horse-drawn carriage era along the curb.
No Midwest state reveres a poet as Indiana does Riley.


longer excerpt:

The moments I've cherished most as editor-in-chief of Midwest Living® have found me driving down winding country lanes on sunny days, far from any interstate highways, feeling half-lost and half-found, without another person or car in sight.
It's that way for me in Brown County. Somehow, the glaciers that snowplowed so much of Indiana and the Midwest took a detour here. After an hour's drive south from Indianapolis, hills suddenly erupt near Nashville, the only town of size. Hardwoods the size of mini skyscrapers make canyons of the roadways: maple, oak, poplar, beech, hickory, dogwood, redbud, sassafras, sumac. Autumn must be an absolute foliage riot here.
Because state and federal parklands and forests claim more than half of Brown County, it remains blessedly undeveloped outside of Nashville. In fact, you'll find only three stoplights in the entire county, and the tallest "high rise" here is three stories. No billboards block the views, and even lighted signs are rare.
Twisting roads wend past rustic log homes, new and old, nestled into leafy glades. A "Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco" ad emblazons a barn. Poor soil means farming never flourished here, not even orchards. The terrain made carving roads and rail lines difficult. So Brown County got passed over, until the area attracted a new type of settler: artists, then craftspeople, then tourists. Now it's a natural treasure, just 60 miles south of Indianapolis.
The inspiring setting began attracting artists more than a century ago. Then came the creative rush that comes from living and working around other artists. The result: stunning landscapes, still lifes, and portraits of the simple folk who live in these hills by artists who lived among them-not to mention pottery, glassware, quilts and other crafts. An artists' colony has thrived here since.

Meet the Author

Dan Kaercher is editor-in-chief and founding editor (1987) of Midwest Living, the premier periodical about the Midwest's cities and small towns and Midwest lifestyles. He lives in Urbandale, Iowa.

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