(Not) Feeling the Midwest for Vacation

I love Chicago and a lot of Midwest bands, plus I have family in Eden Prairie, Minn. So why can't I warm up to that region?

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Last winter, we planned the second of two summer sojourns to Minnesota to visit my brother-in-law and his family. My wife and I have been there exactly once in the past 15 years. Our daughter absolutely adores my niece and nephew, and we get along just fine with their parents.

They have a fine home in the immaculate Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie, with loads of kids playing in precisely manicured backyards and a scenic jogging trail snaking through their development.

We thought we’d fly—until we saw the unwieldy fares to Minneapolis. So we figured we’d make the best of it with a Griswold-style road trip.

I love planning itineraries, and this one was a streamlined, nine-day doozy: a night apiece in Pittsburgh (Mount Washington’s Duquesne Incline, Three Rivers Stadium, etc.) and Chicago (perhaps even a dip in Lake Michigan); four nights with the in-laws; and, on the way back, a stopover in Milwaukee, plus a nice, surprisingly cheap hotel room just around the corner from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in downtown Cleveland.

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