Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin
Ohio has an amazing matrix of national sites, including the family homes of three American presidents, The National First Ladies Library, the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Site, preserving the early, formative years of the Wright Brothers, and limestone, quartz, and sandstone cliffs and ledges that are more than 300 million years old, in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And, older than that, are the earthen mounds left by the Hopewell Culture, dating back to 200 B.C.. Many of the national sites are at their most accessible, with many tours on the schedule, between May and September.
Spotlights, Parks & Points
The summer after I graduated from law school, while classmates flew to places like Bali and Prague for celebratory “bar trips,” I took a solo drive across the American Midwest. My trip was impromptu and also something I’d looked forward to for a long time. Its parameters were iffy, but the idea of driving for hours toward an infinite horizon, scrolling through the radio, sharing my space with nameless, charmingly steady truck drivers, seemed to be just what I needed. In a few weeks, I would start my job at a law firm in New York City and I would never have the chance to be this free ever again.
Essays, J.d. Lin
The park is comprised of 1,000 acres of terrain, the effects of the receding glacier activity from 10,000 years ago evident. There are rolling hills, wooded ridges, oaks, birches, pines, prairie fields, meadows, and ponds. This peak was originally dubbed Government Hill, and was the site of Lapham’s weather tower. There are 21 miles of trails providing a range for all levels of hikers. The Ice Age Trail, a 1000 mile long-distance trail that follows the edge of the receding glacier across the state, cuts through this park. There are over 15 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, several of which are lit at night. There are picnic areas with shelter, a butterfly garden, a nature center in a beautiful eco-friendly building, an outdoor theater, and a personal favorite, a 45-foot observation tower with distant views of downtown Milwaukee and all of Waukesha county.
Spotlights, Janet Frost
Muskegon, Michigan: 1995
“My sister Beth wants to ride bikes around the campground. I am somewhere between a kid and a teenager, so I’m not sure whether I want to blow her off or ride down to the creek to search for frogs and forgotten pennies. I’ve started leaving our pop-up camper to go on walks around the campground to look for boys. I don’t know what to do when I find them but it seems important to look. I know it’s camping but still I’d spent an hour in the campground bathroom with my flatiron, watching fat, pregnant spiders twitch their corner webs. The air by the Lake Michigan in August is so humid that my hair frizzes back up after every pass of the straightener. I stick my tongue out at my stupid reflection and decide to go with my sister, who won’t care if my hair is ugly.”
Essays, Jill Kolongowski