Why You Should Roam Close to Home

U.S. Odysseys

We love traveling far away to appreciate and enjoy foreign lands, interesting cultures and majestic scenery.  After all, in one of my favorite songs, the B-52s sing: “Roam if you want to. Roam around the world. Roam if you want to. Without wings, without wheels.”

But roaming close to home should always be on your list of travel plans. We often forget about the unique activities and attractions that are in our backyard (or within a few hours of our house).  Sure we hit the zoo and big museums often, but what about checking out

Flat Rock YMCA Camp, Indiana

obscure finds like the world’s largest paintball (in Anderson, Indiana), visiting bison on the prairie, or searching for the biggest pork tenderloin sandwich in the United States at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the Indiana-Illinois state line?

Our most recent venture was to Veal’s Ice Tree. A unique Indiana tradition, the Veal family has been creating the colorful and magical ice sculpture outside their home on the southeast side of Indianapolis since 1961. What was originally a mist of water that iced on some honeysuckle bushes, has turned into a manmade ice sculpture that is built using scrap lumber, fallen tree branches and twine as a frame. Once the weather forecast has five or more days of weather below 30 degrees, the Veal family starts pumping water from their pond onto the frame. They also use food coloring and mix it with the water to give it an extra special mulit-hued, cotton candy-like effect.

Currently, the tree is at about 40 feet high. However, in 2014, it reached a record of 80 feet. With no end in sight for our cold

Veal’s Ice Tree Indianapolis

temperatures, it will continue to get taller and taller. I’m hoping to go back if it doubles in size.  You can stay in your care and just drive to see it, or you can park your car and take photos. It’s a quick trip that is perfect for beating the cold weather doldrums.  My boys said it was “really pretty” and gave it two thumbs up.

Keeping with its Hoosier hospitality and fun spirit, there is no charge and the owners will refuse donations. It’s purely for fun and enjoyment.  Address is: 11333 Southeastern Ave. Indianapolis.

Remember: a  journey is all about what you make of it and the memories that it creates, so get out there and be a tourist in your own state.  You’ll be amazed at the fun you’ll have.


Lake Michigan, Michigan City Beach, Indiana

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