Stephen with members of the 501st Legion

Star Wars Night at Boomers Stadium

A stormtrooper was boogieing to the pre-game music when Emily and I first arrived at Schaumburg’s Boomer Stadium. It was Star Wars Night and local members of the 501st Legion, a Star Wars costume club and charitable organization, were out in force in their superb replica uniforms of stormtroopers, clone…

Beach Fun at Holland & Grand Haven, MI

Summertime on Lake Michigan is a beautiful thing—fresh air, sandy beaches and the feeling of letting go. That’s why Emily and I recently enjoyed an overnight in Holland, a small beachside town with deep Dutch roots among Michigan’s blueberry farms and vineyards. We got there in the late afternoon because…

Under the Forest Floor at Maquoketa Caves

The light was tricky as we entered the looming mouth of the Upper Dancehall cave at Maquoketa Caves State Park. My eyes kept adjusting to the shadows cast from the towering rocks and oak trees. Radiant beams of sunlight pierced the gloom, all whirling with pollen, dust and insects. While…

The Surprising Personality of a Real Dutch Windmill

Our tour guide was a young woman who was wearing a white bonnet, three skirts, and eleven pairs of socks. Her wooden shoes clunked as she led us out onto the windmill’s gallery deck where she asked, “You know how ships are always girls?” She then pointed up towards a…

Eyes to the Skies Festival

American flags, grilled meat, fireworks and fireflies all comprise a proper Fourth of July. This year, however, I’ve had enough of the usual pyrotechnics. So Emily and I opted for a different kind of light show—glowing hot air balloons at the Eyes to the Skies festival in Lisle, IL. We…

White and tan sand dunes, some topped with grass, at Warren Dunes State Park

Summer Sun and Sand At Michigan’s Warren Dunes

If you want to build sand castles and climb huge sand dunes, there’s no better place than at Warren Dunes State Park. The park, along the shores of Lake Michigan in southern Michigan, is just a 90-minute’s drive from Chicago. It’s a great alternative to the better-known Indiana Dunes National…