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The Ritchey Mansion in Newtonia, Missouri, is a treasure! This Civil War-era home is a great artifact in the area. And its paranormal happenings make it all the better. One of our favorite things to do when traveling is to take a ghost tour. You’ll get a dose of history with some spooky on the side. It’s also a great thing to do in the evenings when most historic sites have long been closed for the day. We’ve also discovered the joy of seeking out ghost tours in our area.  We’ve been following Paranormal Science Lab and Dark Ozarks, and they coordinate tours and paranormal investigations of local (to us) historic sites. The proceeds of these tours go to the maintenance and restoration of these sites, so it’s a no-brainer for us. We get to contribute to preserving history while visiting a cool site, known for paranormal activity, as an…

Staying at Sun Outdoors Lake Rudolph RV Resort is one of our favorite Halloween season experiences. We’d wanted to visit Holiday World for some time, and when a long weekend popped up on my teaching schedule, we set our plan into motion. Where to stay in Santa Claus, Indiana, the town that’s home to Holiday World? Why, the adjoining campground, of course! No RV? No problem! Lake Rudolph has several cabin options. I’ll offer a piece of advice here. Book your cabin as far in advance as possible. We booked our cabin in August, and there weren’t many left. During Happy Halloween Weekends, Holiday World is only open for the weekends. The small town of Santa Claus has limited lodging options. Plus, Lake Rudolph offers lots of Halloween fun during the weekends in October. Throw all of these factors together, and you have the perfect storm of selling out the…

Halloween Weekends at Holiday World was the perfect reason to take a road trip and give this midwestern theme park a try. True, I’d made a visit to this park when I was five years old; back then, it was known as Santa Claus Land. I hadn’t been since the theme park embraced other holidays in its theme, and my travel companions, Jeff and Kristin, had never experienced the park in any form. When we discovered the park, complete with a Halloween-themed section, celebrated Halloween with Halloween Weekends, well…we knew we had to hop in the car and give this place a shot. Holiday World: The Park The park is located in, get this, Santa Claus, Indiana. This town is completely into Christmas all year long. I’ll write more about that soon. On August 3, 1946, Louis J. Koch opened this little theme park in the town, then known as…

At Halloween, some families go trick-or-treating. Some have parties or scary movie marathons. This year, our family decided to do a ghost tour in a nearby city–Springfield, Missouri. And where do you go for a ghost tour in Springfield? Why, the Pythian Castle, of course! This wasn’t our family’s first ghost tour. The ghost tour at the Pythian Castle made number 7 for us. What can I say? We like our history tours with a dash of the supernatural. To read about other ghost tours we’ve taken, click the links below. Lincoln’s Ghost Walk Ghosts and Gravestones: Savanah–The Andrew Low House Ghosts and Gravestones: San Diego–The Whaley House The Crescent Hotel Gettysburg (post has a section on the Jennie Wade House) What is the Pythian Castle? A Brief History The Pythian Castle has a surprising history. In 1913, the fraternal order, The Knights of Pythias, built the castle as a…

Disney Dreamin’: The Background We’d never been to a Disney park in any other season but summer.  June and July, to be exact. When you’re a teacher with a school-aged kid, it’s difficult to get away during the school year. This past summer, we planned a trip that included Yellowstone and Seattle, and, originally, the plan was to fly from Kansas City to Denver and rent a car. When reports of rental car shortages emerged, we canceled the flight and drove the entire trip from Missouri. In the end, we were glad it worked out that way; we ended up adding an extra week to the trip. But, we had a flight to reschedule or we’d lose the funds. What to do? Plan a long weekend to Disney? Yes, please! In the end, we chose Disneyland over Walt Disney World. Since we’d only have a couple of park days, a…

If you’re looking for a fun way to get out of the heat of the sun on a warm summer day, consider taking a cave tour. Cosmic Cavern, near the Eureka Springs and Branson areas, is a great choice when hoping to get a glimpse of the cave formations in the Ozarks. This cave hosts Arkansas’s largest private cave tour; it’s the perfect tour for summertime, even though it also holds the title of Arkansas’s warmest cave at 64 degrees year round! We’d like to thank the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce for hosting our visit. As always, all opinions are honest and our own. Arriving at Cosmic Cavern As you drive out to Cosmic Cavern, you’ll enjoy a rural road over hills and through wooded areas. This cave attraction fits in perfectly with its surroundings; it’s not overly commercialized. Cosmic Cavern is just a great cave to explore. When…

Silver Dollar City’s fall festival in Branson, Missouri, is one of my favorite festivals of the year.  I’ll admit it.  I was super excited when I heard about the new hours and additions to Silver Dollar City this fall. The park has long offered special crafts, food, and music during the fall days.  Now, guests can explore the park after dark while taking in glowing pumpkins and other decorations.  My family had the opportunity to check out this new event on the opening weekend of Pumpkin Nights.  Though it was still pretty warm, we’re talking upper 80s, I still found myself getting into the spirit of the season.  Read more to see what you can’t miss at Pumpkin Nights during the fall festival. Get There Early Enough to Check out the Crafts and Day Decorations in the Park We headed into the park on that first Saturday at around 5:00…

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