hoosier daddy: indy day trippin’


Indianapolis is a place you hear about constantly if you’re a sports fan.  From the Indy 500 to Larry Bird (Reggie Miller, if you’re in my age group) and Peyton Manning SB team of 2007, the “Hoosier State” capital is hallowed sports ground.  It has been the bullseye of the news cycle lately, notably for the retirement of Colts QB Andrew Luck.

I can honestly say beyond sports, I didn’t know much about this city, other than the fact that it seems like I know a million people from there.  Impossible, since it is the 17th most populous metro area in the country with about 2 million in population, but their residents certainly infiltrate everywhere else in the Midwest.  Indy is about the size of Kansas City, and similar in many ways.  There are great neighborhoods, a friendly sense of community and an unmistakable pride in their hometown.

Gentlemen (and gentle ladies), start your engines…

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24 hours in Salt Lake City


Salt Lake City is a really underrated travel destination.  I mean, a lot of people go there, but I don’t think it’s anyone’s first thought.  Maybe it should be.

First of all, it is probably one of the safest cities around.  Secondly, it’s a great jumping point to get to so many state and national parks (SO MANY).  Zion, Bryce Canyon, Moab/Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Utah has a ton of natural wonders throughout including the Great Salt Lake which gives the capital city its moniker.

As if that weren’t enough, in the winter, there’s world class skiing in Sundance/Park City and Snowbird, making it a great vacation spot.  Delta Airlines has a hub here making it super easy to get to as well.  So if you haven’t been, what are you waiting for?

don’t get too salty now…

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3 days in Boston


Boston has had a pretty good past few days with the Pats beating my Chiefs on SNF and the Sox defeating the Astros on Sunday.  But today is a new day, and we’ll see if Boston can continue its streak against Houston.  Starting with Beantown, here’s the first in the series of the ALCS/NLCS cities.

One if by land, two if by sea…

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3 days in Boston


I think I’m going to Boston, I think I’ll start a new life.  So are the lyrics of the Augustana hit from the early 2000s that fill my head every time I go here.  It’s a great city for new starts and rejuvenations, being both young and vibrant whilst steeped in history and tradition.

One if by land, two if by sea…

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3 days in Sacramento



Sacramento may seem like a random place to visit, but thanks to Greta Gerwig’s stunning (read: STUNNING) ode to cinema and her hometown, Lady Bird, California’s capital city is taking its turn to bask in its own deserved spotlight.

I think the best way to describe this city is that when you’re here, you feel like you’re in a vintage Instagram filter, a bygone era of Americana with modern splashes.  It is simply an easy place to be.  There’s that old school charm, from the architectural gems of the Fabulous Forties to the neighborhoods dotted with old neon signage (featured prominently in the movie and as you know if you’ve read this blog, are one of my favorite things) and the proximity of farms and citrus tree groves.

Beyond the capital, it is one of the top destinations for locavore cuisine, earning it the nickname of “America’s farm to fork capital.” For a city of its size, there’s every type of food you could imagine, and ingredients are so fresh due to its proximity to California’s central agriculture industry.  People forget California is one of the largest farming states in the country–next time you eat those strawberries and avocados, think of us.

Eureka, I’ve found it!

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day trip to Des Moines

When I lived in the Midwest, I used to drive all over the place.  It’s so easy to get from point A to point B in the US.  The freeways are well kept and well demarcated, and it’s really low stress driving along the open highway.

Des Moines is an underrated, sleeper city.  A capital city, it’s the most populated in the Hawkeye state.  What you might be surprised to find is that there’s a ton of arts and culture in this city.


The gold domed State Capitol building is one of the more ornate state capitols.  Along Locust, Grand and Walnut streets are local boutiques focusing on home decor, clothing and gifts.  Des Moines is nice in that way, that there is a real focus on small business owners.  The most amazing shop, Eden, is located on 6th street and is a very carefully curated perfumery and cosmetic shop.  They have products by Tokyo Milk, Malin+Goetz, Voltivo.  There’s Diptyque and Tocca candles and pretty things and it’s adorable, perfect for gifting.  There’s a vespa in the showroom, it’s like a store version of Zooey Deschanel.

Next door is a Gong Fu Tea, which is a nice space to sit and contemplate the intricacies of life.  Another place to do that is down the road at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park.  This is probably one of the best sculpture parks around and it’s located smack dab in the middle of Des Moines.  It’s stuck with me for all these years, and for good reason.  It features works from heavy hitters such as Louise Bourgeois (whose Spiders also sit in front of the Kemper Art museum in Kansas City),


Keith Haring’s Untitled and my personal favorite sculptor, Jaume Plensa’s Nomade.


Here you can see Juno by Deborah Butterfield (driftwood horses), and Thinker on a Rock by Barry Flanagan.


As an adult, I still don’t quite understand what venture capitalism is, but it seems that Mr. Pappajohn was very, very good at it, to be able to donate all these works to the Des Moines Art Center.

For an artsy, or at least eclectic choice for lunch, go straight to Zombie Burger where they serve artfully crafted burgers with a horror show theme.  I had a Raygun, which was a medium patty piled high with bacon, guac, fried jalapenos, monterey jack, and caramelized onions.  They have burgers with gouda, proscuitto, peanut butter, mac & cheese, croquettes, fried pickles, you name it.  If that won’t kill you, the scary decor will.  They also have neon-hued milkshakes with cereal, twinkies, cake mix, the works.

On your way out of town, you should be a total weirdo like me and seek out a covered Bridge in Madison County, as made famous by the book and movie.  The movie with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep was filmed on location in this area.  They are not the easiest to get to, off the beaten track, but the one closest to my route was the Cedar covered bridge, and it was an adorable landmark to cap off a quick road trip.


Happy weekending!

24 hours in Little Rock


Little Rock was a pleasant surprise to me.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but there were cute neighborhoods, a vast waterfront area with shops and food halls, and of course, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library (which I obviously knew about).

The capital city of Arkansas, it is a medical, cultural and financial hub of the state and of the south, due to its presence next to the Arkansas river.  I passed through briefly on a road trip and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay there.  So much so that I want to go back…and go diamond hunting.  Gonna find me lots of “little rocks,” hopefully.

Little Rock wit u…

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Eclipse travel edition: 36 hours in Boise

IMG_2127.jpgOh boy, oh Boise.  Since many people (read: members of my family who are reading this) will be flocking to Boise this week for the total eclipse of the heart of the sun, I thought a Boise guide would be apropos.

When you think of Boise, you may think of potatoes or Boise State University, but this capital city is really trendy, with new restaurants and revitalization of its downtown core.  They don’t call it the Portland Jr. for nothing (although I think it stands on its own quite nicely).  The proximity to world class skiing doesn’t hurt either.   I was pleasantly surprised visiting Boise, it’s serene and wide open.  I’m a person who appreciates space, and “sleeper” destinations that aren’t yet overrun by tourists.

Turn around, bright eyes…or you may miss all there is to see!

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