Jody Halsted

Jody Halsted

Writer, Ireland Expert & RV owner

Jody Halsted is a freelance writer with a mad passion for Ireland, her RV, and 'off the beaten path' travel.

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Coney island article
Family Rambling

5 Ways to Have Fun in Fort Wayne, Indiana - Family Rambling

Located on the eastern edge of Indiana, Fort Wayne is ideal for a long weekend road trip from most of the Midwest as well as a handful of Eastern US states.

A mid-sized city surrounded by farm land, Fort Wayne is a best-of-both-worlds destination where the tranquility of a rural escape can be seamlessly combined with a city break.

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Family Rambling

Choosing Luggage for Family Travel

f you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you have probably realized that I believe the key to successful trips is proper preparation and organization, with a dash of resourcefulness – and the choosing the right luggage for family travel can make or break a trip if plans go awry. From overbooked flights to lost reservations to bad weather, travel delays and mishaps occur. But you can prepare for many of these types of setbacks; and if you don’t have a Plan B, you can at least be flexible and take comfort in experiencing an adventure that makes great stories later.

Research materials article
Family Rambling

Finding My Story at The Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne

The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library was started by Fred Reynold in 1961. A passionate genealogist, Mr. Reynold wanted a place when people could find their stories. Today The Genealogy Center has nearly 70,000 family histories from across the globe, the largest collection of 20th century city directories in the US, and one of the largest collection of Canadian archives in the world.

Triple cola article
Family Rambling

Soda~licious : The Homer Soda Festival, Homer, Illinois

It’s rare for me to visit a place and then, not 2 weeks later, make a return trip to that same area. But that’s exactly what I did after my visit to Champaign County, Illinois. All it took were three little words: Homer Soda Festival.
This one day event, held in early June, brings over 10,000 people to the tiny town of Homer, population 1,000.

Tasting tents line at least 6 city blocks, with overflow extending into parking lots and small park areas.

Michigan doa article
Family Rambling

Taste the USA with Discover Our America Subscription Box

Designed to bring the flavor of each state right to your door- no travel required!- each Discover Our America box will include food, goodies, and a lovely booklet filled with state facts and beautiful photos that will have you adding another state to your ‘must visit’ list.

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Family Rambling

What We Learned from Our First RV Trip - RV Tips for Newbies

With as much driving as we do, Doug and I had always said we wanted to buy an RV. Nothing could be better, we imagined, than a small rolling house on wheels. No stopping for bathroom breaks ever hour! Make your meals while you cruise down the highway! No more single night hotel stays! Before making such a big investment based solely on what we thought, we rented a Class C RV from a local company in Iowa, to get some real RV experience.

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Family Rambling

RV There Yet? Guiding Our Trip with the New CoPilot RV App

There are plenty of apps out there for road trips, but as any RVer knows, not all road trip apps work for RVs. And the worst time to figure that out is when you’re in the RV on a road with a low clearance bridge and no place to turn around. That’s a nightmare!

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Family Rambling

My Top Camping Tips & Destination: Clear Lake

Last fall Clear Lake, Iowa hired me to write a few pages of camping tips for their 2016 Visitors Guide.
Which I was thrilled to do (of course!)

But what thrilled me even more is that my tips are not only in the fabulous print edition of Destination: Clear Lake but are also online!

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Family Rambling

National Parks to Visit During the 100th Anniversary in 2016 #FindYourPark

In honor of National Parks Week (April 16-24, 2016) as well as the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, I want to challenge you to visit at least one national park this year.

To help inspire you I asked some of my travel blogging friends to share a bit about their favorite National Parks.

Family Rambling

Fort Worth's Wonderful, Walk-able, Cultural District - Family Rambling

A family vacation is the perfect opportunity to get your kids to accept culture. Where they may balk at visiting an art museum in their hometown, family travel sets a new stage for them to explore, and even welcome, new experiences in new locations.

The Fort Worth Cultural District is the perfect place for families to explore art, science and history- all within a family friendly, walk-able area.

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Family Rambling

5 Indispensable Items That Make Life Easier & Less Frustrating

I almost titled this “I’m lazy and here’s how I stay that way”.

But that’s not true- I’m not lazy… far from it. I don’t think you can be a self-employed/ wife/ mom and be lazy.

What I am is annoyed when I have to work harder than I really should at an activity I dislike.

When I first became a mom, that was my full-time job. And I cherished every bit that went with it. Yes, even the cleaning and cooking. I loved caring for my family.

And though I still love caring for my family, my role has shifted. The kids are mostly self-sufficient, my freelance business has grown to a nearly full-time job, and I am re-discovering how to be a couple with my husband, beyond being parents.

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Family Rambling

These Photos Will Make You Want to Visit New Orleans This ...

New Orleans is one of those cities that comes alive during the holidays. Though always a place to laissez les bons temps rouler, the air simply vibrates with celebration at Christmas time.

My past Christmas visit was solo, courtesy of Visit New Orleans, but reliving my trip through the photos I took really makes me want to plan a visit à deux – an adults only getaway in a grand hotel, dining on sumptuous food, and slowly window shopping along Royal Street.

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Family Rambling

Summer Camp Packing Tips

I’ve always considered myself rather an expert packer. Packing for a trip is like a puzzle – and I love making all the pieces fit. So when my eldest went away to camp last year I packed her bags with precision, making sure she wouldn’t take up too much space in the cabin while being sure she would have everything necessary for her week away.

Upon my return to pick her up, I found this…

It’s rather obvious my daughter doesn’t share my organizational skills…

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Family Rambling

Exploring Allerton Park and Retreat Center

I used to love watching America’s Castles on A&E. The grandeur, the extravagance, the undisguised abundance of wealth that the late 19th and early 20th century ‘robber barons’ had to work with was simply unimaginable.

One of these ‘robber barons’ in Chicago, a man by the name of Samuel Allerton, made his money by purchasing pork cheaply in the Midwest and selling it for a profit to the Union Army. While growing his agricultural and land holdings, Samuel Allerton became involved in finance, becoming a founder of the First National Bank of Chicago.

His son Robert, a self-described ‘failed artist’, was given stewardship of a land holding in central Illinois thereafter known as ‘The Farms’. It is here, on these lands and in the design of the mansion, that Robert’s artistic abilities can be seen – though he may not have been an artist his aesthetic eye provides a beautiful setting.

In 1946 Robert Allerton gifted ‘The Farms’ to the University of Illinois. Today visitors can wander the parklands free of charge and enjoy the beautiful formal gardens, woodland trails, and incredible sculptures that encompass Allerton Park & Retreat Center.

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Family Rambling

RV Ownership: Renting Our Motorhome with a Management Company

When we first began dreaming of an RV of our own, we rented one from a local company, but the thought of renting our RV to strangers {gasp!} never crossed our minds. When I first broached the idea to Doug he was hesitant.

First came the obvious question: What if it gets wrecked? Or if a renter destroys the interior? And there was the little matter of the sheer distance between Florida and Iowa. RV Rentals of Orlando asks for a one-year rental commitment. Not really an option if we wanted to use our own RV during the summer.

A quick email, followed by a phone call, put our questions to rest.