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Thread: Tips- Midwest

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
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    Tips- Midwest

    Hello

    I will be in Lexington, Kentucky next week. I'm going to rent a car and drive to either Ohio or Indiana in order to see what the Midwest looks like, as I've never seen it. Does anyone know where I should go to see what this region is all about? When I cross that River I want to see everything that TV has shown the Midwest to be: fields as far as the eye can see, scarecrows, windmills, people baking bread and pronouncing letters I wouldn't dare, old wooden barns, horses, cows, pigs, a spider that talks, old baseball players walking out of cornfields, tornados, etc.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    That is exactly what the midwest is. Don't worry about going anywhere in particular. Everywhere in the midwest is the same. It's unlike every other region in the country in that regard.

  3. #3
    Kentucky is not the midwest -- it's the south.

    Indiana, if you come this way, is varied: central and northern parts are somewhat as you have described, eg., more midwestern than anything else. Southern Indiana (where I live/work) is hilly and aligns itself politically and culturally more with Kentucky than Indianapolis, The Region, or Michiana (which is where all the tax money from here goes, btw )

    Gotta run -- someone's filling a floodplain. Ciao!
    Je suis Charlie

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
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    Thank You

    That clarifies things. I didn't understand how on the south side of the River it's Uncle Jessie turning the corner with a truck full of moonshine after driving over a forested mountain and on the north side it's treeless and flat as far as the eye can see.

    Does anyone have a good destination point in OH or IN to visit that's not too far from KY?


    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Kentucky is not the midwest -- it's the south.

    Indiana, if you come this way, is varied: central and northern parts are somewhat as you have described, eg., more midwestern than anything else. Southern Indiana (where I live/work) is hilly and aligns itself politically and culturally more with Kentucky than Indianapolis, The Region, or Michiana (which is where all the tax money from here goes, btw )

    Gotta run -- someone's filling a floodplain. Ciao!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    I agree with JordonB

    fields as far as the eye can see
    There are many areas in central/northern Indiana and Illinois that will fit this description. The best views are on the tops of moraines. You may only be 50-80 feet higher than than the rest of the terrian, but the slopes are so gentle that you'll be able to see 10-15 miles on non-hazy days.
    scarecrows
    ...there so 1920...farmers have moved on. We now have robotic scarecrows with digital audio chips built in. They yell obsenities at the crows and stomp their feet. Quite a hoot!
    windmills
    most farmstead windmills have fallen into disrepair or have been removed. You can thank advances in pumping technology.
    accents
    we talk normal.. everyone else talks weird. Just watch your local TV news or any movie, tv show, etc.
    spiders, pigs, etc; talking animals
    Just take county highway 44 sixteen miles to Farmer Brown's talking animal farm.
    baseball players walking out of cornfields
    Just east of the talking animal farm. Can't miss it. Just follow the long trail of cars and the voices.
    Tornados
    You can come see tornado damage only 20 minutes from my place. An F-4 went through and destroyed a bunch of farmsteads, a good sized factory, and a bunch of crops.

    You also want to take in these other midwestern unique things: Pig judging at the county fair, detasseling corn, eating pork tenderloin sandwiches, cow-tipping on moon lit nights, wearing cover-all's and flannels everyday...did I miss anything fellow midwesterners?
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Well, there's swimming at the local swimming hole, fishing, riding in the back of a pick-up, eating lots of corn, and greasing pigs. Or, farther north, there's watching cars race around an oval, or beaches, or good hiking...not all of the Midwest is flat at all. We have ravines! And big hills that some consider mountains! And good spelunking! Probably the biggest difference visually, I'd guess, is that things here aren't always as dense as they are back east.
    Madison, IN is really beautiful. It's at the eastern end of the state, and had one of the pilot Main St. programs. The entire downtown is on the National Register.
    And don't forget those pork tenderloin sandwiches. We're famous for 'em.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  7. #7

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    Well, if you want to see the REAL midwest, you need to drive up Interstate 65 to Indianapolis: Suburbia, factories, shopping malls, and old wood frame bungalow neighborhoods. Not too many farmers in Indiana from a percentage of the population standpoint. Lots and lots of factories, though

  8. #8
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    and let's not forget the many fine federal correctional institutions the area has to offer. Probably the best slammers in the entire country, yep....

    Oh, and I almost forgot - hootenanies. Hardly a week goes by where we don't have one of them.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  9. #9

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    I suggest the best in Midwestern vistas and panoramas -- the 150-mile or so stretch of I-69 between Indianapolis and Ft. Wayne, IN. Beautiful farmland as far as the eye can see.

    It's a wonderful sight.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Forget these midwest wannabees. Come to Kansas. We have Dodge City, Kansas City Bar-Be-Que, millions of cows with real cowboys heerding them, Cavalry forts and real Indians who want to set the record straight, fields of wheat that stretch to the horizon, sunsets that would shame California, we have weather that makes you think God is personally trying to kill you, we have the Amish in their buggies that will call you "English" and then try to sell you a pie, we have buffalo, deer, pheasants, wild turkeys and an abundance of things other states have destroyed through development. We have the high prairie, rolling hills and the inland desert, we have oil wells and wind farms. Some of our people are friendly and some are standoffish. Some towns are very progressive and others will remind you of the old country. We have towns settled by European enclaves that still celebrate oldworld holidays. Heck, I pitty the rest of the nation for its unifomity and blandness.

    Kansas is the ubiquitious midwest in all aspects of its glory.

    Fly into KCI and rent a car and see America. Go west young man.

    PM me for more information.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Joking aside,

    how much time do you have ? just a day or a weekend

    what specifically do you what to see or find ?

    which direction out of Lexington do you want to go?
    north gets you through KY into either Indiana or Ohio
    west " " " " " Indiana (toward Gedunker)
    south and east you are still in KY
    Oddball
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally posted by pete-rock
    I suggest the best in Midwestern vistas and panoramas -- the 150-mile or so stretch of I-69 between Indianapolis and Ft. Wayne, IN. Beautiful farmland as far as the eye can see.

    It's a wonderful sight.
    Ugh. Especially on a snowless February day. Even the most burnt-to-a-crisp September scorcher in California has more color and life than that stretch of freeway in late winter. (Fort Wayne is my home town)

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Seriously, you may want to visit Cincinnati. It was a surprise to me how enjoyable the downtown areas were. Aberdeen is an interesting river town near there. You will need to travel another 50-100 miles to find the flat parts.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Cincinnati isn't sterotypical midwest. There are no cities in the TV's midwest, save Gary, Detroit (minus the music stuff), and whatever town Rosanne was set in.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Cincinnati? OMG. Ohio is practically in New England. Get a map. Draw a big line between NYC and LA. Go to the mid point - there you will find the REAL midwest. In Cincinnati you will only find people that were ask to leave Pennsylvania and who were not capable of reaching Indiana. Don't go there, they put pasta in chilli. That is a sin.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Lexington and the surrounding counties are beautiful--especially Wooford County and Versailles (Ver-Sales, don't ever forget it). To find some flat land, you have to go north of the Ohio. Towards Dayton Oh or Indanapolis (try Columbus IN if you are into 70s archicturure) But all that is a glaciated plain. The real flatland and savannah environment are past the 100th meridian as elGuapo mentioned.

    From a gographical-historical perspective, the OH, IN, and Il area is the northwest territory; Iowa has the cornfields and OK/KS/NB have the windmills.

    In a car from Lexington, I would hook up with JNA. He knows the area (for a River Rat).

  17. #17
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I agree with El Guapo.

    Ohio may be geographically in the Midwest, and some say it's culturally there, but really when I think of the Midwest, you have to get west of Ohio. eastern Nebraska and Kansas, Iowa, and maybe Illinois and Indiana is what my mind envisions when I think of the Midwest -- barns, lots of farms, plenty of radio stations with ag reports and commercials for tractors and hybrid seed, and middle America. Iowa is probably the country's most underrated state; the population is tolerant and well-educated, and the landscape quite beautiful with gently rolling land and traditional farmscapes.

    Wisconsin, Michigan, Montana and Ohio are fringe Midwestwern, IMHO; the culture and visual feel of states around the Great Lakes is much different than those further inland.

    Missouri outside of Kansas City and St. Louis looks and feels to me like a Southern state; I'm reminded more of South Carolina or Alabama on an I-70 drive than Kansas..

    North and South Dakota ... it's like Saskatchewan or Manitoba, only with fewer people.

    Cincinnati, Ohio is a strange place. Think of a very conservative version of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with fewer factories, far more stern, humorless Germans, and a lot of "Bush-Cheney 2004" bumper stickers.

    Remember, the Midwest just doesn't start when you cross an invisible boundary; it's not where big farms, red barns and cute, chubby girls named the 2004 Sweet Potato Queen appear on one side of a state line, but not the other.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  18. #18
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Dan is a very smart man to whom should be paid much attention.

  19. #19

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    First, it is true that Kentucky is most defnitely not in the Midwest. It is also true, as el guapo says, that Kansas is a far more wonderful place than most people are willing to believe. But the Great Plains are not, IMO, the Midwest. The western edge of the Midwest is somewhere no too far west of Topeka. When you climb into the Flint Hills, you entering the Great Plains, which are truly a separate region. I also agree with Dan that the upper lake states qualify as another region, though one that blends imperceptibly into the real Midwest all along its southern edge.

    If I were at the Cincinatti airport, I would make a loop through Ohio then over into Indiana. But I'd avoid the interstates for the most part. I'd wander from Cincinatti over toward Highland County, OH. Beautiful farm country, and maybe nick the true eastern edge of the Midwest, which is in Ross County (there is a little cafe in Frankfort that really gives you the feel of rural Ohio, you might also try the dairy bar in Bourneville, the stretch of US 50 through the Paint Valley is very pleasant). Ross County is where the Midwest bumps into Appalachia - an interesting place. Then I'd loop up to Columbus, where one can find good organic food that is otherwise rare in the Midwest, and after filling my picnic basket, I would wander toward Ft. Wayne, taking whatever highways occured to me. I might not get all the way there, as I'd eventually turn south and go hiking in the Hoosier National Forest in S Indiana, which has delightful woods that are a rare, but important part of the Midwestern experience. I had a very nice walk on the Two Lakes Loop just south of I-64 this spring.

    If you have time, you could head further west on I-64, and take in rural southern Illinois. The part near the Ohio is actually more like the south in many ways (as is most of Missouri, as has already been pointed out), but if you head toward Quincy you will see true Midwestern landscapes and end up in an interesting river town.

    Another optional addition would be to go further north in Ohio and visit the Amish country along old US 30, especially Lehmann's nonelectric hardware store in Kidron. It is an interesting place to spend a couple of hours.
    Last edited by Lee Nellis; 22 Jul 2004 at 9:43 AM. Reason: minor revision and typo

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally posted by el Guapo
    Dan is a very smart man to whom should be paid much attention.
    I agree with el Guapo and Dan.

    I actually think there are three distinct "Midwests", and they've been mentioned here:

    1) the Great Lakes, which includes all of Michigan and parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and even western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. Think your typical Rust Belt areas that relied less on farming and more on manufacturing for their growth. Very little of the "Field of Dreams" environment here. Is it Midwest? Yes, technically, although this area probably has more in common with the Northeast culturally.

    2) the Ohio/Mississippi/Missouri Valley, which includes central and southern parts of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, Iowa, northern Missouri, and southern Minnesota. These areas are more rural, much more ag-reliant, and home of much more "Field of Dreams" stuff, at least away from the rivers where the land flattens out.

    3) the northern Plains, which includes the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and eastern parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Don't think "Field of Dreams" here -- this is "amber waves of grain"-land.

    Together, these areas make up the "Midwest" or "Heartland" or "flyover country" that people on both coasts refer to.

  21. #21

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    Does anyone else get the feeling that the Midwest has just become this big area in the middle of the country that is certainly not East, West or South? In some people's minds, West Virginia or Utah is (incorrectly) in the Midwest.

    No other region in the US seems to be so difficult to define.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by pete-rock
    In some people's minds, West Virginia or Utah is (incorrectly) in the Midwest.
    West Virginia is a whole other country

    Quote Originally posted by pete-rock
    1) the Great Lakes, which includes all of Michigan and parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and even western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. Think your typical Rust Belt areas that relied less on farming and more on manufacturing for their growth. Very little of the "Field of Dreams" environment here. Is it Midwest? Yes, technically, although this area probably has more in common with the Northeast culturally.
    I'll second that.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


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  23. #23
    (Notes while trying to persuade a contractor that every creek has a floodway and floodway fringe....)

    I strongly agree with Plannerbabs that Madison, Indiana is worth the trip.

    Columbus, Indiana, is more than '70s architecture: the Irvin foundation set aside a susbtantial chunk of cash to pay for world-renowned architects to design public and private buildings there and you will see the best collection of modern architecture outside a major metropolis. It's all quite walkable.

    Brown County, Indiana will remind you more of New England than any idea of the midwest you may have. (The natives despair of the "leaf peepers" that swarm the place in the fall.)

    Bloomington is a sweet little college town.

    On the trip back -- take a look a Louisville. The riverfront has been revived with an award-winning parkfront; the Louisville Slugger Museum is enjoyable (even by those that don't much like baseball); Fourth Street Live! has breathed new life into a once-sleepy downtown (who knew Louisvillians would wait 45 minutes for a table downtown?). There's also the Derby Museum, J.B. Speed Museum, The GlassWorks Factory, Old Louisville, and much more.

    (And yes, we do pronounce Versailles as "Ver-Sales". We also pronounce DuBois as Doo-Boys )
    Je suis Charlie

  24. #24
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    I agree with El Guapo.

    Ohio may be geographically in the Midwest, and some say it's culturally there, but really when I think of the Midwest, you have to get west of Ohio. eastern Nebraska and Kansas, Iowa, and maybe Illinois and Indiana is what my mind envisions when I think of the Midwest -- barns, lots of farms, and middle America.

    Wisconsin, Michigan, Montana and Ohio are fringe Midwestwern, IMHO; the culture and visual feel of states around the Great Lakes is much different than those further inland.

    Missouri outside of Kansas City and St. Louis looks and feels to me like a Southern state; I'm reminded more of South Carolina or Alabama on an I-70 drive than Kansas..

    North and South Dakota ... it's like Saskatchewan or Manitoba, only with fewer people.

    Cincinnati, Ohio is a strange place. Think of a very conservative version of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with fewer factories, far more stern, humorless Germans, and a lot of "Bush-Cheney 2004" bumper stickers.

    Remember, the Midwest just doesn't start when you cross an invisible boundary; it's not where big farms, red barns and chubby girls named the 2004 Sweet Potato Queen appear on one side of a state line, but not the other.
    I submit that there are three midwests we can identify: there is the geographic midwest this would encompass a rather sparsely populated area corresponding roughly from South Dakota to Colorado to Oklahoma to Missouri (with Kansas in the heart of it). There is the cultural midwest which encompasses regions which geographically would not appear to be mid-anything (think red barns, German heritage and chubby crop queens), but there is also I think a historical midwest. The term "midwest" itself dates back to the mid 19th century and at that time states like Ohio (parts of FLORIDA are further west than Ohio!) would have been more geographically central at the time.
    No doubt the term is probably as nebulous as 'American Dream'. We all think we have a pretty good understanding of what it means, but in the course of talking to others find wildly different notions abound.
    BOT - I don't think anyone could dispute that southern Illinois qualifies as 'midwestern' by anyone's definition, cultural, geographic, or historic. I think if you took a trip to, say, Vandalia, Illinois you could truly say you have seen what the midwest is about.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  25. #25
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Wow - I agree with everyone!

    And Lee Nelis is of course right, if you go much past Salina, Kansas to the west you are entering the high plains geographically, but you still remain in the midwest mentally.

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