Originally Published in the Greenwood Daily Journal Saturday June 9, 2012
Many of us have childhood memories of loading up the family station wagon for a summer road trip. Air conditioning meant all of the windows were rolled down and you might have had 2 or 3 radio stations. To fill your time, while on the road, you played the license plate game or I Spy. Maybe sang songs or asked ‘when will we be there‘ 100 times.
If you were like me, sitting squeezed in between your fighting siblings in the back of a hot car, you lost yourself a good book. Books really saved me of long car trips. Fast forward to today, and my kids cope the same way on long car rides. They have always been good travelers. I could always count on them to sleep for most of the trip, eat a snack and just be happy to look it the window or listen to their favorite songs.
Nowadays, it seems like kids can’t stand the thought of idle hands and dare not suffer through an hour long drive without a DVD player or iPad to keep them company. I put their traveling skills to the test lat week when I decided on an impromptu mid-week road trip to Ft Wayne. I’m a big fan of day trips, or one tank getaways. I think it is fun to play tourist in your own state and I have yet to have visited all of the neat places in Indiana. Pack a cooler for the road, plot out all of your stops and get on the road. This is what we do in the beginning weeks of summer when we are tied here during my son’s summer swim season. The family day trip has become more popular as the price for long distance travel destinations makes it hard for the average family to travel.
For our trip I made a batch of donut muffins, sure to stave off any requests for a sweet tray at every stop. Drinks and a few small sandwiches were all we needed. The trip up interstate 69 to Ft Wayne was an easy one. It took us just a few hours to get there. First on our agenda was the Ft Wayne Children’s Zoo. The size was manageable and just the right for a few hours of exploration. I was impressed and irate to say it, it rivals the Indianapolis Zoo. Next, we visited Science Central, a real hands on immersion to the world of science and ow things work. We loved this place and can’t wait to go back! Of course we made several side trips to Sechlers Pickles and DeBrand Chocolates. How could I not? We too a mid day break to enjoy a meal at Spyros, a locally owned eatery that specializes in their dinner plate sized frittatas and specialty pancakes.
We ended our night at Parkview Field, taking in a late evening TinCaps game. I didn’t even know Ft Wayne had a minor league baseball team! I was so. Pressed by Parkview Field, it’s like a miniature Victory Field. The atmosphere was electric and seemed like it was from a movie. Fans decked out in TinCaps gear, fans cheering for the players by name and talent scouts keeping an eye out for new talent. My kids were thrilled when the saw our seats were directly behind home plate and when the catcher reached over the dugout to hand them a game ball. This experience epitomizes Summer in Indiana to me. I even had dinner at a concession booth of all places,on recommendation of another fan. This one made grilled burgers from scratch with caramelized onions. To die for.
So when it comes to summer vacation, look closer to home for your family fun. I did and other than a bit of planning and preparation, this was one day for the record books. No complaining of being bored, nothing but smiles and memories made. We spent the day as a Hoosier Tourist.
1/3 C vegetable oil
1/2 C milk
1 1/2 C all purpose flour sifted
1/2 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 TB sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TB butter diced into 12 slivers
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 12 spot muffin tin, line with baking cups or ray with non-stick spray. In a mixing bowl, beat egg with a fork. Add oil and milk and beat until blended. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add to the egg mixture and lightly blend with a fork. Evenly distribute in each muffin tin opening. In a small bowl mix the 3 Tb of sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the muffin dough. Top each with a dot of butter. Bake for 20 minutes.
Ft Wayne Tincaps Game
|Free bouquet from Vera Bradley|
|Vera Bradley across America stop|
|Walking into Parkview field|
|An Indiana Summer night|
|In the lobby of the nicest hotel I have stayed in for years!
|The view from our hotel room! And what a room!|
|Botanical Gardens and the beautiful butterfly display|
|Noah was enamored by the deserts room!|
|I have to say, the butterflies were impressive!
Ft Wayne Childrens Zoo
Crazy Pins Bowling and Game Center