Tiny Town in Hot Springs Arkansas!


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Crafted entirely out of “things cast off”, Frank Moshinskie’s ode to small town America is truly remarkable. Tiny Town is living proof that one man’s trash is most certainly… CONTINUE READING >>

Crafted entirely out of “things cast off”, Frank Moshinskie’s ode to small town America is truly remarkable. Tiny Town is living proof that one man’s trash is most certainly another man’s treasure. Mr. Moshinskie’s life’s work transports visitors to another place and time, a time when the county fair made an impression on a young boy, a family picnic was a special event and just sitting on a porch – watching the world go by – was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon. See more at: http://www.gypsynester.com/hs.htm

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We Have Our First #GoingGypsy Winner!

Congrats to Phoebe G. of Goshen, Indiana!Phoebe says, “I can’t wait to live vicariously through you as I read of your adventures! I always need reminders (and inspiration) to not take life so seriously!”

But wait! Don’t despair if you didn’t win – we’re giving away another signed copy!

See how easy it is to share your #GoingGypsy moments and be entered to win a personalized, autographed copy of Going Gypsy!

Congrats to Phoebe G. of Goshen, Indiana!Phoebe says, “I can’t wait to live vicariously through you as I read of your adventures! I always need reminders (and inspiration) to not take life so seriously!”

But wait! Don’t despair if you didn’t win – we’re giving away another signed copy!

See how easy it is to share your #GoingGypsy moments and be entered to win a personalized, autographed copy of Going Gypsy!

The Effingham Cross

 Driving down I-57 on a steel-grey Illinois afternoon, what to our wondering eyes should appear but the surreal sight of the biggest cross on the entire planet.

The 198 foot steel colossus stands ready to overwhelm truckers and tourists alike. With its 113 foot crossbar and 180 tons of steel, this modern day Tower of Babel offers a “Beacon of Hope… CONTINUE READING >>

The Effingham Cross

Driving down I-57 on a steel-grey Illinois afternoon, what to our wondering eyes should appear but the surreal sight of the biggest cross on the entire planet.

The 198 foot steel colossus stands ready to overwhelm truckers and tourists alike. With its 113 foot crossbar and 180 tons of steel, this modern day Tower of Babel offers a

“Beacon of Hope to the 50,000 travelers estimated to pass the site each day.”

At least that’s what The Cross Foundation expects after the five years and 1.1 million dollars it took to build.

The Foundation was not to be toyed with as they specifically set out to break the world record by insuring that it was eight feet taller than the world’s now 2nd largest cross in Groom, TX.

This grandiose shrine was built to withstand almost any act of God — including winds up to 145 mile per hour. For those times when God is not letting there be light, it is spectacularly illuminated with 4000 watts of divine power. As the “Beacon of Hope” faded in the rearview mirror, I couldn’t help but think, “It kind of makes you want to build one 200 feet high, now doesn’t it?”

David, GypsyNester.com

Ginormous Abe Lincoln

 On the outskirts of Kankakee, Illinois, visible from I-57 but not easily accessible, is the biggest Abe Lincoln we’ve ever seen. This guy looms over Kankakee, like a midwestern Rio de Janeiro Jesus, with a view from 40 feet high. He dwarfs the Lincoln of Lincoln Memorial fame, who is a paltry 19 feet from top to bottom (though in D.C. Abe’s sitting down, so we’ll call it a tie).

After winding through a few side streets off the exit, we made our way to the home of the giant chief… CONTINUE READING >>

Ginonormous Abe Lincoln in Kankakee Illinois
On the outskirts of Kankakee, Illinois, visible from I-57 but not easily accessible, is the biggest Abe Lincoln we’ve ever seen.

This guy looms over Kankakee, like a midwestern Rio de Janeiro Jesus, with a view from 40 feet high. He dwarfs the Lincoln of Lincoln Memorial fame, who is a paltry 19 feet from top to bottom (though in D.C. Abe’s sitting down, so we’ll call it a tie).

After winding through a few side streets off the exit, we made our way to the home of the giant chief executive, Alexander Construction, Inc. Mr. Jerry Alexander was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to chat us up about his enormous Abe.

Commissioned in Wisconsin at the F.A.S.T. Corporation, Mr. Alexander gave the artist a picture from which to draw inspiration and the fiberglass fabrication was underway.Ginonormous Abe Lincoln in Kankakee Illinois

The colossal Commander in Chief can hold signs in his left hand. Things like “Support Our Troops“, “Merry Christmas” and sometimes political statements but Mr. Alexander said that honest Abe does not use his notices for advertising.

The attention he draws may be another story. While it is true that Abraham Lincoln was our tallest President, he certainly wasn’t this big!

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

 
Click for more information on how and where Abe was made.

Kalamazoo Appy Crawl

As the tee shirts say, “Yes, There Really IS a Kalamazoo!” It’s the kind of name that makes you want to stop and see what’s going on. Kalamazoo is an Algonquian Indian word meaning “boiling pot” and the city has gained fame through celery, taxi cab production, Gibson guitars, the Upjohn “friable pill” and the Kalamazoo stove. With all of this going for it, we had to drop by and try an appy crawl in this tidy little Michigan college town, proving that appy crawls can be done in anyone’s hometown.

All roads led downtown, which boasts the first pedestrian mall in the United States. Since 1959 it has hosted fun little… CONTINUE READING >>


As the tee shirts say, “Yes, There Really IS a Kalamazoo!”

It’s the kind of name that makes you want to stop and see what’s going on. Kalamazoo is an Algonquian Indian word meaning “boiling pot”.

The city has gained fame through celery, taxi cab production, Gibson guitars, the Upjohn “friable pill” and the Kalamazoo stove.

With all of this going for it, we had to drop by and try an appy crawl in this tidy little Michigan college town, proving that appy crawls can be done in anyone’s hometown.

All roads led downtown, which boasts the first pedestrian mall in the United States. Since 1959 it has hosted fun little retail stores, restaurants, theaters and, of course, now an indoor rock climbing wall.

Somewhere along the line someone installed heated sidewalks, the Jetsons could live in Kalamazoo! Ice sculptures, a fountain and local artwork, all adorned by twinkling lights, gave a festive feel to the blustery evening.

Kalamazoo has done an admirable job of keeping the huge retailers outside of downtown leaving a down home, albeit kitschy, feel.

An exploratory lap around the Mall revealed that the restaurants featuring the mechanical bull and dueling pianos were stuffed to the rafters (too bad — that would have been right up our snarky alley), so we opted for a more “civilized” evening:

Olde Peninsula Brew Pub

We’ve never seen a more beer-centric menu! Some scary sounding fare indeed — Cheddar Ale Soup (yup, cheese and beer) and Beer-B-Que Pizza.

Beer bread was a choice for the sandwiches (with Beer Battered Fries, of course!) and the steaks were marinated in beer. From reading the menu, we were worried we’d end up smelling like a particularly rowdy frat party.

Fearing a hops overload, we opted to share the Seared Ahi Tuna with soy ginger glaze and black sesame seeds, nicely done. For the beer experience, we sampled the Brewhouse Salad with the “Italian Beer Vinaigrette.” And it was delicious. We washed the whole thing down with a glass of one of the house brews, Haymarket Light.

What’s a trip to a brew pub without giving the handcrafted root beer a try? The Olde Peninsula’s is an ooey-gooey syrupy wonder. A dessert in itself, but it is also available float style.

The Union Cabaret & Grill

We plopped down in comfy chairs at one of the tables that surround the showroom style stage to enjoy a jazz trio of local college students. The Union has agreed with nearby Western Michigan University’’s music department to showcase students, alumni and faculty giving them a venue to strut their stuff before a live audience. The Union successfully pulls off its attempt at big city jazz club ambiance.

Lobster Fondue:
A lobster and cheese fondue with scallions and roasted red peppers. Grabbed big slices of French baguette, we dug in and dug it! Fought
over the big ole lobster hunks. Good fun. Creamy, wonderfully fattening, delicious.

The competent wine list had Riesling so Veronica was happy. We were tempted to sample their “famous” Portabella Fries, but more crawlin’’ had to be done.

The Wine Loft

The idea behind this establishment basically is an appy crawl without the crawling. We walked in to a large open room with snuggly little alcoves sporting love seats with sheer, billowy curtains as partitions. An upstairs loft, chucked with pseudo sophisticates from the local institutions of higher education, separated the boys from the men. Nice.

Choosing a cozy spot, we perused the menu and were intrigued. Did these people stalk us and then create a dining experience just for us? Looking around covertly, we saw no one standing in the shadows and relaxed into the pillows.

Our friend, Umberto from Italy, had schooled us on a prior trip about the Mediterranean thoughts on wine drinking. Rather than the chicken or seafood/white, beef/red tradition, he prefers white when it’s warm and red on the cold nights. Works for us!

As a salute to Umberto, we ordered the Italian Red wine flight (though they were out of Chianti, strike one). Other wine flights included Michigan Favorites and Curious Whites.

The menu featured amusing “Small Plates.“ We chose:

Lamb Wellington with wild mushroom mousse, rosemary and truffle essence.

Smoked Salmon and Caviar Pizzetti with Apple Butter and Crème Fraiche.

The food came in perfect portions for an appy crawl, was reasonably priced, but was a bit overambitious. The ingredients just sat on the tongue separately. Not horrible by any means, just underwhelming. The Sardinian wine in the flight was authentic, but a little overpowering.

LOVED the Veitti. For a wine bar, better choices could be made, but since this place had just opened we feel it will come into its own.

About the time we finished our food, the music suddenly turned from smoooooth jazz to annoying techno and the upstairs loft began unloading onto the main floor, the boys on the prowl for female companionship. Though the people watching got better, we felt it was time for us to bug out.

We’’d need our rest if we were going to go hunting in the morning for the boiling pot… and some friable pills.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com