Minimalist Road Trip Vacation

I love to travel, but when 2017 arrived the purse strings and I didn’t expect to go much further than Indianapolis, for a summer wedding to be held in the state capital building. (It was beautiful! See the dome!)

DomeIn early spring when I was out walking, it occurred to me that surely I could manage at least a couple of small trips this year without breaking the piggy bank. There were two places I needed to go: Texas, to visit my cousin Dan, and northern Illinois, to see Beverly, whom I’ve known since third grade.

That very day, I got a phone call. Dan, only 60 years old, had died of a massive heart attack. I had put the trip off for too many years, not having enough money, time, and organizational inclination all at once. He and I had become such friends in the last couple of decades. He read my books, and encouraged me. We talked about real Mexican food, pursuing authentic lives, and every other possible topic. I miss him.

As you can imagine, it didn’t take me long to contact Beverly. She and her husband invited me to stay for a long weekend, and gave me some dates. Here’s a bit of serendipity for you–Beverly and family have lived near Woodstock, IL (where the movie Groundhog Day was filmed)  for about 30 years, and a college buddy of my son moved to Woodstock a couple of years ago.

Do you love road trips? For me this was the best kind–I was a passenger! Yep, my son and daughter-in-law made arrangements with their friends, and took time off work, so the three of us could travel together. Once we got to Woodstock, Beverly picked me up, and the kids had their own vacation with their friends.

In planning our time together, Beverly asked what I would like to do. I had a list of three things: take the train into Chicago, visit my godson and meet his new wife, and meet up with another girlfriend. Beverly is a can-do kind of gal, and set about making these happen.

The first morning, we got iced coffee (yum!) at the local Starbucks, and went to the depot. (It’s actually even cuter than this if your photographer doesn’t cut off the corners of the roof.)


I’ll skip the long version of why, but we ended up spending the day at Lake Geneva instead. It was glorious!


We walked a bit of the shore path, took a boat tour of the lake (yikes! enormous homes!), and strolled through the town and its darling little museum. I took several photos of this lovely church.


Saturday, we attended the Woodstock Farmers Market, which is held around their picturesque town square. The entire space was full of vendors. I bought bars of homemade soap, and a little block of local cheese that could travel back to southern Indiana in a cooler.  There was even live music coming from the band stand!Woodstock_market_bandstand

We met my godson and his wife for lunch in the Public House, a delightful restaurant that’s in the former jail building.


On Sunday, Beverly and her husband drove me to New Glarus, Wisconsin, where we met our other friend and her husband. Pizza! Beer! Laughter! And another cute little town to explore.

By Monday evening, the wonderful vacation was over, and we three Southern Indiana travelers were back in our respective dwellings. I love my simple life, and my studio apartment. I think I love it even more when I come back home to it.#amwriting

13 thoughts on “Minimalist Road Trip Vacation

  1. I’ve learned from personal life experience you can’t leave things until the last minute. I also realized I didn’t have to take extravagant vacations to England and beyond (although I crossed several items off my bucket list) to enjoy the surrounding scenery—some of which I have never visited in 40 years and places of historical significance were only 30 miles away…….so I’ve made a NEW bucket list—where can I go on a minimal budget and still cross items off the list. You only get to pass through life once. Make the most of it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Sometimes those short trips are the best. That’s my plan for next year. We’re taking a big trip this year (Disney), but next year will be smaller trips. I live about two hours from Woodstock, but I’ve never been there. It looks like a nice place. I’m glad you had a good time.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Quiggle! If you go to Woodstock in the summer, I hope you can be there on a Saturday for the farmers market. Also, you can pick up a flyer and do a Groundhog Day walking tour. I cleverly ran onto the flyer just as I was about to leave town. 😉


  3. What a fun trip, Magdalena! You weren’t far from me. Friends, Pizza, Beer, Laughter…what more could a girl want? So glad you enjoyed your road trip. Love the pictures. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not crazy about driving long distances, but I do like to see new places with my family on our summer vacations. There are usually lots of interesting places to visit not far from home, without breaking the bank.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Visiting your cousin? It sounds a little like what happened in my house. A dear wonderful friend of ours wanted to come visit us. I said yes, just give me a heads up and come. He and his wife were planning a trip down this way, but at the last minute there was a change of plans and he postponed the trip until the following the September. George didn’t make it to September that year. I did get to see them but it wasn’t quite the same.

    I decided then that certain things shouldn’t be postponed. I have been lucky enough to do lots of nearby excursions over the years. One summer my hubby and I decided to do the covered bridges in Virginia. That was fun. One we couldn’t see because it’s on private property. One was washed out during a flood a few weeks before we found it, but it was still there in the creek. I have one silly little thing left. The poled ferry across the James River. It’s the only remaining poled ferry in America. It’s only open on Sat and Sunday and there’s really nothing on the other side. I’ve been there several times but it wasn’t operating at those times. It’s now run by a handful of volunteers and exists by donations.

    So glad you had fun. Friends, family, good food and drink with plenty of laughter is always the best of times.


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