Sunday, September 26, 2010

If you are...

If you are ever in my neigborhood and you need a pick-me-upper, let me know...

...and I will bring you to this mill I know. A mill, that is over 500 years old and simply is the most fantastic mill you will ever encounter... can sit in the garden and I will fetch you some very strong coffee and the most delicious homemade apple pie...

...or, you do as I do and choose the carrot soup, which husband called "the most carroty carrot soup" ever!

There will be a few chickens walking around you, hoping for you to drop some crumbs of the fresh bread that was baked right there, at the mill. But it is likely that you don't even want to share the crumbs...

Afterwards, you can buy some apples or vegetables, but you already know, that nothing you will cook or bake at home, will taste as good as the food right here, at the mill.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Hamony, Indiana or What's Your Vision of Utopia?

About 200 years ago, "New Harmony" began as a religious settlement, found by Georg Rapp and a group of German immigrants.
The sect called "the Harmonists" combined the Swabian work ethic of "work-work-work and save-save-save" with the Benedictine rule of "pray and work".
This work ethic produced an unheard of economic achievement that was often called: "The wonder of the west".

Ten years later, the Harmonists decided to sell the town to Robert Owen of Scotland. Owen wanted to create a perfect society without the existence of social class and personal wealth.

In the end he didn't succeed but even today "New Harmony" is probably the town that comes as close to perfection as possible.

Even the squirrels, while not white, seem to very, very happy and content.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Olney, Illinois - Home of the White Squirrel

Mid America is full of cute little villages and towns and we did see a lot of them during our summer vacation but there is only one little cute town that can boast white squirrels:
Olney, Illinois - Home of the White Squirrel.

Quite frankly, I was a bit hesitant of even going. I knew exactly that daughter wouldn't leave this town without having actually seen one of those rodents. And I could already picture myself sitting in the town park, in the dark, attacked by mosquitos, waiting for something white to run past us.

But after walking around looking up the trees for about 15 minutes, daughter started squeeking: "There, there! There is a white one! Take a picture!!!"
Very relieved about this quick discovery I ran up to the tree and started taking pictures when I heard son's voice.
"What are you doing? It is a fake squirrel!"

Great. Some jokster had put a white, plastic squirrel in a tree hoping for people just like us to walk by...

In the end, we did see one white squirrel and it was even alive. Sitting high up on a tree, munching on a pinecone.

The detailed history about Olney's white squirrels can be read on
Oh, and if you ever happen to visit Olney, please remember that "squirrels are granted right-of-way on all streets, thoroughfares and sidewalks. Penalties for violation range from $60 to $750 per offense."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

St Louis - Gateway to the West

Each city has its landmark. It might be a bridge or a statue. But only one city has a gigantic arch - St. Louis! The gateway was built to represent all the people who passed through the city on their way out west.
It is actually the tallest monument in the US. It is taller than the Washington Monument and even twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty.
In order to get up there you have to take a tiny elevator, which takes 4 minutes up and 3 minutes down.
Going up...

On top you can get out of the elevator and enjoy the view through small windows...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ballard Nature Center, Effingham

The Ballard Nature Center features miles of wooded trails, lots of birds, butterflies and huge amounts of frogs. If you sneak up on the pond, really, really slowly, making sure you barely move, then - when they finally see you - hundreds of frogs, little and big, will jump into the water all at once.
It is such an amazing sight that son and I went there twice.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Abraham Lincoln's Log Cabin in Lerna, Illinois

Well, actually it was his parent's log cabin...but he has stayed there!...

And it is only an exact replica since the original log cabin got lost at an exhibition...
(who loses a cabin???)

but the cat is surely a direct descendent of Lincoln's cat!

Even when I was very, very little I KNEW I had lucked out with my aunt. She had to be the very, very coolest aunt out there and I was always showing her of to my kindergarden friends and later, school mates.
I am sure my life would have turned out very differently if it wasn't for her.
Now, many years later, son and daughter are just as smitten with her.