Bus trips, roomy rentals, new maps, getaways


Much evidence points to the lifting of our pandemic fog.

Van Galder Tour and Travel has resumed organizing group trips, close to home and to U.S. coasts.

Day trip destinations include Rowe Pottery and Hinchley’s Farm, Cambridge, June 17; Spirit of Peoria Dixieland lunch cruise, Peoria, Ill., July 8; Lake Geneva, July 28; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, July 29; and Ten Chimneys, Genesee Depot, Aug. 19.

Among the multi-day trips: “Mystery Tour,” July 22; “Lincoln’s Life,” Springfield, Ill., Aug. 24-25; White Fence Farm and Washington D.C., Sept. 19-25; and Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Mich., Sept. 27-30.

For details and the complete list, head to tours. vangalderbus.com

A Northwoods beer maker encourages you to get vaccinated and is hosting Inoculation Emancipation Parties on May 29. Where and what time? Stay tuned.

“We plan to drink a lot of beer, listen to awesome live music and celebrate the freedom that comes with being vaccinated,” reports Minocqua Brewing Company, known for progressive political stances. minocquabrewingcompany.com

Brewers will use proceeds from party-themed merchandise sold online to cover distribution of beer for free that day.

The rules, to attend:

“You have to provide proof of vaccination plus the requisite two weeks for ultimate protection to come to the party. ‘One-shotters’ can get a free can of beer (as long as they’re of age), but they can’t come into the party,” the brewer says. “Note when we say ‘one-shotters,’ we mean people who have only been able to get one shot of Moderna or Pfizer in the month of May. If you’ve gotten one shot of Johnson and Johnson in the month of May but still don’t have two weeks under your belt before the party happens, you can’t come to the party either, but you still get a free beer.”

Operators of Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa in Galena, Ill., want you to know nearly 150 villas and homes – one to eight bedrooms – are for rent, so you can “take in a beautiful change of scenery without getting on a plane or sacrificing safety or open space.”

The pet-friendly resort’s 6,800 acres are in northwest Illinois and contain miles of hiking and biking trails, golf courses, zip lines, horseback riding, hot air balloon rides and water access for fishing to kayaking. Learn more at eagleridge.com.

The Great Galena Balloon Race happens at Eagle Ridge on June 18-20. Other outdoor gatherings in the area include Antique Town Rods Show, a car show along Galena River, on July 17 and Midwest Garlic Fest, Aug. 28 in nearby Elizabeth, Ill. greatgalenaballoonrace.com, visitgalena.org, midwestgarlicfest.com

Craving on-stage entertainment? Streaming until May 23 is “46 Plays for America’s First Ladies” by Madison’s Forward Theater. The production of 46 short plays – one for each First Lady – is a mix of comedy, drama, music and dance.

The theater group calls it “a biographical, meta-theatrical, genre-bending look at gender, race and everything else your history teacher never taught you about the founding (and the confounding) of America.”

Each $40 ticket (less for students, educators, artists and ages 42 or younger) is for a single, online viewing. forwardtheater.com

Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture is returning July 26 to Aug. 1 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh. On the docket, in addition to daily airshows, are night airshows on July 28 and 31.

Dozens of performers – AeroShell Aerobatic Team to Patty Wagstaff – already are scheduled. EAA members pay the lowest admission rates. Ages 18 or younger are admitted free. eaa.org/airventure

For Frank Lloyd Wright fans: Returning Sept. 18 is the annual Wright Plus Architectural Housewalk that opens private homes designed or inspired by the iconic architect. This year’s event features five residences in Oak Park and River Forest, Ill.

Expect to see how Wright’s Prairie style of architecture was “reimagined and reinterpreted” by architects and homeowners. Save $10 on the $100 ticket by becoming a Frank Lloyd Wright Trust member. flwright.org/wrightplus

For youngsters: a different kind of summer camp. Taliesin Preservation Summer Camps are a mix of interactive, virtual and hands-on fun.

Campers stay at home but create, build models and sketch to develop observation, critical thinking and spatial planning skills. Mindfulness and team building activities are a part of the deal too as students learn about the history and architecture of Taliesin, created by Wright as the home and workplace for himself and others.

The camps are designed for groups of 15 or less; registrants receive a box of materials with supplies. Appropriate for ages 8 and older. Details and dates are online. taliesinpreservation.org

Just released is the 98th edition of the Rand McNally Road Atlas, which highlights the nation’s 63 national parks with a look at park history.

The atlas also contains maps of some national parks.

In addition to its typical 11×15.5-inch atlas, Rand McNally publishes other atlases that include a large-scale format with larger maps and several smaller atlases for easier portability. For more, check randmcnally.com/roadatlas.