Posted by: Kris Lindsey | November 12, 2012

Who Needs a Vacation?

What if you could step into Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin and find him reading a book by the fire, or peek over his wife Mary’s shoulder while she comforts their dyeing son in his White House bedroom? My husband, Bob, and I did just that at the newly remodeled Abraham Lincoln museum in Springfield, IL. As I walked through each room, I felt the controversy and heartache of Lincoln’s presidency. It was unlike any museum I’ve ever seen.

This was only one of many stops on our upper Midwest fall vacation as we continued my husband’s quest to see all fifty states—now he only lacks Alaska.                                                                                                  

We also stepped back in time on charming Mackinac Island, MI, where only bicycles and horse-drawn carriages are allowed for transportation, and a fudge shop tempts on every block.

This magnificent arch formation frames Lake Huron on a remote side of Mackinac Island.

The rock formations on the Wisconsin Dells river tour also wowed us. 

At the Mark Twain museum in Hannibal, MO., we chuckled at Twain’s clever use of words. We also learned that he modeled his stories after real people and places. Later, on the deck of a Mississippi riverboat, my eyes teared at the sight of the island Huck Finn hid out on. I’ve been to many amazing places—like the Roman Coliseum and Niagara Falls—but I never imagined being on the actual site of the story that fascinated me as a child.

For us, Chicago was about the architecture. We took a walking tour of houses Frank Lloyd Wright designed, and toured his own house and studio. We floated down the Chicago River on the Architectural Boat Tour as the guide told the stories of various skyscrapers.

We viewed the skyline’s reflection in the mirror-like “bean” sculpture, and from the 95th floor of the Hancock Tower, we watched the array of city lights sparkle in the night sky.

On our last day in Chicago, we stumbled upon the Stained Glass Museum at Navy Pier, and gazed in amazement at each backlit display—150 masterpieces of colored light from all over the world.

Along the way, we also spent a delightful day with                            long-time friends Miriam and Eric in Michigan.

All told, we drove 2700 miles (not counting the flights from the west coast and back) and saw many other sites, including: The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame (OH), The Rouge Ford assembly plant (MI), Lambeau Field (WI), The Mall of America (MN), The Amana Colonies (IO), The Gateway Arch (MO), and Millennium Park (IL)—not to mention the miles and miles of corn. I truly enjoyed seeing all these places, but we drove and walked so much that, by the end, I started calling our vacation a “death march.”

There are two kinds of vacations: the “read a book on the beach” kind, and the “see as much as you can” kind. Both give a break from responsibility, and I discovered that both can leave me relaxed. I come home from my tropical vacations relaxed because I’m well rested. After this trip, my body was limp because of exhaustion. But this was a good thing.

After a couple days at home, I noticed I felt more relaxed than I had ever been. An unfamiliar sense of calm and wellbeing radiated from within. Minor irritations no longer bothered me. I smiled easily, and found myself effortlessly reaching out to others.

I hadn’t realized how much I needed to step away from my normal routine and run all my nervous energy into the ground, but God did. After all that walking, I also found myself in great physical shape. This vacation gave my life a complete “re-boot.” It was just what I needed.

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