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Old 03-06-2005, 07:54 AM   #1
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Looking for Trip Idea

I am looking for an Airstream trip idea. We live near Minneapolis/St Paul, will travel April 5-10, and it will just be me and my 16 year old daughter - possibly bring her friend to help entertain her. She is impatient with long drives, so 500 miles is about the maximum radius.

Is it worth a visit so early in the spring to Wisconsin Dells, or Door County? Perhaps Chicago would be fun for them to wander the stores and see the Science and Industry museum.

Ideas please?

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Old 03-06-2005, 09:22 AM   #2
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April is a gambling month


As you know April still has ice on the lakes in Minnesota and temperatures can range from below freezing to above 90 degrees. Door County could end up fantastic or a wind swept cold misery. Elsewhere, outdoor warm adventures may be premature or there may be winding down slushy or not at all winter sports. The trees don't start to bud until the end of April. The Dells have the indoor water parks now and a lot of stuff that feeds on kids' cravings. It might be OK but would not be an optimum time to visit.

Chicago is intriguing but I can't help remembering taking our three teens to Williamsburg, VA thinking they would enjoy it and it turned out to be the trip from hell. They wanted to go to the amusement park in Virginia Beach that day. I would carefully assess your daughter's interest in Chicago's cultural attractions first. Chicago's shopping is mainly Michigan Avenue. It might be attractive to a teen but could be miserable if cold, windy and rainy. Marshal Fields on State Street is a retail cultural and historical icon that may not be understood by teens. The tiled atrium ceiling is worth the visit alone. Selfridges in London was modeled after this store. There are big malls in the suburbs but they don't compare to our own Mall of America. When I was a kid in Indiana Chicago was special because it was big, and awe inspiringly unique in the Midwest. Today it is just bigger to me and has better restaurants. With the caveats, Chicago still may be your best bet in April. April is an in between time and wait it out month in Minnesota. Too bad you can't drive to Washington DC. That's where I would like to go in April.

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Old 03-06-2005, 10:59 AM   #3
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Dan: We live about 2.5 hours from Door County and 1.5 hours from Wisc. Dells. Comments above pretty well sum it up. Link for Door County is as follows:

Our experience with Door County is that it really kicks in gear Mem. Day weekend and thereafter. I'm not sure what campgrounds are open prior to Mem Day but you could check it out. They have some nice state parks with bike trails but getting into a state park is tough.

Wisc Dells is becoming a year-around distination with many waterparks but the indoor ones are usually associated with hotel resorts.

For that time of the year, I think Chicago would be your best bet as suggested. Good luck on your trip. If you go to Dells or Door County ever, maybe I could suggest a couple campgrounds or others on the forum could.
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Old 03-06-2005, 12:12 PM   #4
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Washington DC was my first choice. I wanted to bring our foreign exchange student and my daughter. We had a great first 6 months with the exchange student. But then she did some very "risky" behaviors that violate our rules and morals, so she is gone to another host family with different standards So DC is on-hold for another time. Now the first few days of our vacation will be a flight to Mexico to visit a friend. Upon our return we will have 5 more days to kill... perhaps in Chicago.
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Old 03-06-2005, 02:11 PM   #5
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If you are looking for a rustic setting, the U.P. of Michigan in Pictured Rock National Lakeshore (northeast of Munising) is hard to beat. I'll post some pics to at some point today or tomorrow if you are interested....let me know.

If you're thinking about Chicago, drop me a PM and I can get you a State Park that is about 25-30 miles northwest of Chicago that we found pretty clean and nice.

Of course if you're not bringin' the Stream....then downtown Chicago is hard to beat with all the museums, buildings, etc and almost any hotel, though pricey, will get you to the heart of it all.
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Old 03-07-2005, 10:48 AM   #6
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Hey, Eric (Silvertwinkie),

Pictured rocks is awesome, but there's probably still a 36" snowpack on the ground in late April. This is just a tough time of the year in the upper mid west for camping.

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Old 03-07-2005, 11:03 AM   #7
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If you go to Chicago, check out the exhibit at MCA.

Here's one of the photographic exhibits:
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Old 03-07-2005, 04:11 PM   #8
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If you and/or your daughter are interested in Jackie Kennedy, there's a special exhibit at the Field museum in Chicago. It is running until early May. My wife said it's called "Jackie Kennedy, the White House Years".

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Old 03-07-2005, 04:22 PM   #9
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Dan, STL is about 525 miles so we are at the far end of your limits. The weather usually is past the real cold stuff with last freeze here around April 15th. I usually dewinterize the week prior. Lots going on in STL this year with the NCAA Final Four here at the Jones Dome. Free entertainment, shows, and lots of low cost or free things to do here. Ball park opens on the 4th of April. We will have a cool shuttle system during NCAA week which for the price of a pass will transport you all around the metro area.


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Old 03-07-2005, 04:33 PM   #10
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Thanks for the ideas everyone! I think Chicago will be the answer. My daughter likes to shop, and I think she will like the Science and Industry Museum. She want's to be a Physician, so the embryo development section (if it's still there) may be of interest to her.

Off-Topic: If anyone is interested in hosting exchange students... please PM me. I have hosted two. We had an excellent experience last year with a girl from Austria, and an excellent experience with a girl from Germany that turned into a disaster this year. I may have some insights for you. The odd thing is that next year we are lined up to host the best friend of this year's student. Different kid from a different family with different values - we hope.

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