Bryan, Ohio (site of the race) is located in the Northwest region of Ohio. There are several Wildlife Areas within a short distance of Bryan and don’t forget to check out the Williams County Courthouse, located on the square in downtown Bryan. Originally built in 1888, it underwent an extensive beautification project in 1978 and now combines ornate 19th century architecture with modern fixtures. Just a short drive from Bryan is Archbold, Ohio where you can visit Sauder Village. There, you will experience daily rural life as it was in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Visit with more than a dozen craftspeople making pottery, weaving and woodworking while sharing techniques of the 1800’s. Their web site is www.saudervillage.org for more information. The village includes a restaurant, campground and hotel.
There is nothing as picturesque as the Notre Dame campus (in nearby South Bend, IN) during any season of the year. A guided walking tour of the campus will take you to all the well-known landmarks, including the Main Building’s Golden Dome, Basilica of the Sacred Heart and Joyce Center. Each guide has special anecdotes and details to share along the way, making each tour given one-of-a-kind.
The South Bend Chocolate Company boasts a whole line of Notre Dame inspired treats, and the factory tour allows visitors to get an inside look at how such goodies are made. Tours take place every hour on the hour, last about 45 minutes, and include plenty of FREE SAMPLES!
There is no better place to witness beautiful blooms than Mishawaka, Indiana’s Shiojiri Niwa Japanese Gardens. The paths wind through meticulous landscaping and brightly colored plant life, making for a great place to relax. The gardens were designed by Shoji Kanaoka, the Japanese Landscape Architect at Disney World’s Epcot Center. They symbolize the sister-city relationship between Mishawaka and Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan.
Lake Michigan Sand Dunes at Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton, Indiana, can be found about an hour away from South Bend and on the way to Fulton, Illinois. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore hugs 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan and encompasses 2,182 acres of beaches and dunes.
Even on the busiest summer days, if you head away from the public beach house, you’ll quickly lose the crowds. Scan the open water for ships, beachcomb, and take in the sweeping backdrop of the dunes. Watch birds on the open water, feeding at the water’s edge, or from the small bird observatory in the park’s Nature Center. The park provides camping, picnicking, showers, snack bar, camp store, and a park naturalist.
In summer, the park offers a small gift shop and swimming beach with lifeguards. Whether you’re relaxing on the beach as gentle waves lap the shore around you, strolling along the shore, or playing Frisbee, its apparent why this natural wonder is called Nature’s Masterpiece.
Parents’ magazine picked the Indiana Dunes shoreline among the top five family beaches in the nation along with beaches in San Diego, California and Maui, Hawaii. TripAdvisor.com ranked the Indiana Dunes in its top six.
So whether you enjoy splashing in Lake Michigan, playing beach volleyball, building sand castles or just spending hours lying in the sun, the beaches at the Indiana Dunes are the perfect place to spend a summer day.
The City of Fulton, Illinois is a quaint community, rich in heritage and charm, located along the banks of the Mississippi River. The citizens of Fulton, Illinois are committed to volunteering their time and effort in making Fulton a good place to live, do business, and visit. The city has many things to offer, such as the historic downtown area, Heritage Canyon, Lock and Dam 13, two National Scenic By-ways, Great River Bike Trail, and the Mississippi River.
De Immigrant is an authentic Dutch windmill built in the Netherlands specifically for Fulton to celebrate the Dutch heritage the area holds. The 90-foot-tall windmill is a fully operational mill. The entire cap can turn and the sails operate by wind power.
The Bickelhaupt Arboretum, 340 S. 14th St. Clinton, has fourteen acres of trees, shrubs and perennials.
Clinton also has a Historical Society Museum and Library which is located at 601 1st St. Visitors can learn the story of early Mississippi River-area settlers and the local lumber business.
Visitors to Clinton also have the opportunity to tour the George M. Curtis Mansion at 420 5th Ave S. The mansion was the home of lumber baron George M. Curtis. It includes a fine example of 1880’s architecture with original Tiffany glass windows, carved banisters, ornate wood trim and massive fireplaces. Their web site for more information is www.georgemcurtismansion.org
To further learn about Clinton’s lumbering history, visit the Sawmill Museum located at 2231 Grant Ave. Visitors will learn about the past, present and future of the lumber, sawmill and forestry industries. Their website is www.thesawmillmuseum.org.
Welcome to Sparta, the “Bicycling Capital of America.” The world’s largest bike—an old-fashioned high wheeler formed out of fiberglass—welcomes visitors to Sparta. Located off I-90, the town offers ready access to several nationally known bike trails including the Elroy-Sparta State Trail, the first rails-to-trails bicycle route in the country. Sparta’s downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eleven miles north of Sparta the Wegner Grotto is a fantastic garden of concrete sculpture decorated with thousands of glittering glass shards. Fort McCoy, eight miles northeast of Sparta, offers an excellent public recreation area as well as interesting military displays.
Also located in Sparta is the Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bike Museum located at 200 West Main St. Visitors learn of the progression of travel from the bicycle to astronaut Deke Slayton and beyond. Open 10 am-4:30 pm. Check their web site for current admission fees.
June 9-12, Sparta has a festival scheduled. There will be a carnival, live music, a beer tent, and much more. Check out the web site for more information: www.spartabutterfest.com/
After your race Saturday you may have time to visit the Farmer Market in Albert Lea. Located in the Northbridge Mall parking lot from 9 am-noon, you will be able to find fabulous produce, flowers, crafts, baked goods, jams & jellies. You can also visit the Freeborn County Historical Museum Library & Village at 1031 Bridge St. They are open Saturday from 10 am-4pm. They have been recognized as one of the top museums in the state. It also houses the exhibits of “Rock & Roll” legend Eddie Cochran and “Mrs. Cunningham” of Happy Days, Marion Ross. Downtown Albert Lea is the place to shop the unique shops, art galleries and antique stores.
While in Minnesota you need to travel to Austin to see the brand new Spam Museum! The museum was closed for nearly a year and a half to unveil this brand new site spring 2016. Visitors will learn about the “meat that won the war,” sample Spam, and if you are lucky, will be serenaded by the “Spamettes.’ As May 2016 approaches, check out the company’s updated web site.