Relief from the interstate
July 31, 2012 12:13 PM   Subscribe

In late August we'll be driving from upstate NY to the Black Hills in S. Dakota, almost entirely on I-86 in NY and I-90 the remainder of the way. We take this trip to visit relatives periodically and over the years we've found some good but brief diversions along the way to give small breaks from the monotony -- great Japanese gardens in Rockford, IL; the kitschy Spam Museum in MN; Amish restaurants in Shipshewanna, IN; the West side market in Cleveland on weekends (our timing is bad for that this time); Carr's cheese in Mauston, WI. We take 2 days out (stay in W suburbs of Chicago), 3 days back (stays in Tomah, WI and Bowling Green, OH). Any recommendations are gratefully accepted, noting that we don't want to get detoured from our route (nothing that's more than 15-20 mi from the interstate, pretty much) because we do have a destination with relatives waiting to see us, and that it'll probably be mid-week travel each way.
posted by aught to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The West Side Market in Cleveland is indeed a gem. Not too far off is the excellent brewpub for Great Lakes Brewing. In Cleveland itself, the museum of art isn't finished with its renovations just yet, but it's highly worth the visit if you haven't been there already.

If you're willing to drive south a bit and do an interstate detour through Akron, Stan Hywet hall and gardens are lovely, and it's one of the best historic estate tours out there (physically, for the house and gardens, and emotionally because of the AA connection). The new art museum downtown is in a spectacular new building, which is worth checking out just for itself. You can also poke around for the Goodyear blimp hangar (which unfortunately isn't open for visits).

Further on down the road, the Toledo Museum of Art is bang along your route, and is an absolute gem. Not too big, but everything in there is A-list material, and the new glass pavillion is simply breathtaking. I can't say enough good things about it -- and it's free! And whenever else are you going to be in Toledo?

If not the art museum, Toledo also has a famous hippoquarium.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:15 PM on July 31, 2012

Lakota Museum in Chamberlain, South Dakota, at St. Joseph's Indian School was really good.
posted by Miko at 1:56 PM on July 31, 2012

If you go for kitschy restaurants, you might check out Melt Bar and Grilled in Lakewood, just five minutes north of I-90. They are open late almost every night of the week.

Lakewood Park and Edgewater Park are both excellent places within five minutes of I-90 to stop and relax.

The Holden Arboretum is probably the gem of Northeast Ohio's green spaces and is 10 minutes off of I-90.
posted by vkxmai at 1:57 PM on July 31, 2012

The WSM is open Mon, Wed. and Friday, so don't rule it out just because you won't be there on a weekend.

Just north of Sioux Falls is the Pipestone National Monument, an ancient (and still occasionally mined) quarry for the stone used to make the heads of native American pipes. It has a nice walking path with here's-what-you're-looking-at signs and pamphlets.

A very small diversion would be the Minuteman Missle National Historic Site which is just off I90 in South Dakota. It's unattended a lot of the time (or was anyway when I was there four years ago). If Ranger Cody, who is/was in charge of the site, is there, he'll give you a nice talk about the cold war. The whole stop will probably take half an hour or less.
posted by jon1270 at 2:42 PM on July 31, 2012

You've got to stop at The Forevertron in North Freedom, WI. It's about 13 miles off I-90 and well worth the side-trip. It is one of the most amazing hidden places I've ever been to. I stop every time I drive from Chicago to Minneapolis. If you have kids (heck, even if you don't) you could also stop at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI. Be sure to see their nice little circus.
posted by Joleta at 7:33 PM on July 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

The WSM is open Mon, Wed. and Friday, so don't rule it out just because you won't be there on a weekend.

Yep; sorry, I synopsized when posting. We'll be passing through Ohio on a Tuesday going out and a Thursday coming back, worst possible timing for this aspect of the trip. :(

Lakota Museum in Chamberlain, South Dakota, at St. Joseph's Indian School was really good.

My partner's from S. Dakota and has told me about the Museum and school (and gives them money every year) - one of these days I'll get there too.

Thanks all, lots of cool ideas here! (And anyone new I'm still interested in more ideas -- we drive out every other year when we don't want to deal with the hassle of flying -- three or sometimes four legs -- and renting a car while there.)
posted by aught at 8:02 AM on August 1, 2012

If you like history, read up on the Western Reserve ..
posted by LonnieK at 8:31 AM on August 1, 2012

« Older Have some spare money, should we buy a condo to...   |   Where Do You Put Out A Casting Call For A Personal... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.