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Month: November 2018

US Presidents Historic Sites – Visiting the Harry Truman Library and Museum

Posted on November 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

This is one in a series of travelogue articles spotlighting U.S. Presidents historic sites. Each president has at least one historic site, and they are an ideal destination for those interested in American history and cultural travel. Let’s take a closer look at the sites dedicated to America’s 33rd president, Harry Truman…

Visiting the Two Truman Historic Sites

Harry Truman was born and raised in Independence, Missouri, a small community about fifteen miles east of metro Kansas City. Fittingly, the two sites dedicated to him are both here, his family home and the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.

The family home has undergone significant preservation and renovation to better portray the historical aspects of Truman’s life both before and after his presidency. After his wife Bess passed away in 1983, the home became an official historic site. The home is open for tours and is conveniently located on North Main Street in Independence. Thirty minute tours are offered for a nominal fee. Groups are kept small, with a maximum of eight participants per tour to provide a more personalized experience.

Not far from the family home is the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. This is where visitors can view numerous permanent and temporary exhibits depicting Truman’s time in office from 1945 to 1953. New and enhanced audio and video are available and a special exhibit on the Korean War has been added.

A particularly interesting exhibit reveals the personal side of the president. Numerous letters to his wife Bess are displayed, showing the humor of Mr. Truman along with his thoughts on Washington, the presidency, and world events. You will also learn how a man with modest ambitions came to ascend first to the vice presidency and then to president, an office he never sought.

Visiting Nearby Kansas City

These historic presidential sites are perfect to combine with a visit to Kansas City, about twenty minutes west of Independence. A lively, bustling metropolis, Kansas City is well known for its musical influence, particularly jazz, and world class barbecue. If live music and great food appeals to you, you’ll love Kansas City!

Accommodations are plentiful and the downtown area is quite compact, although you will need a car to explore other parts of the city and suburbs. There are numerous entertainment and shopping districts here, including The Plaza and the Power and Light District. The Plaza, in midtown, is a Spanish styled open air shopping mecca filled with stores, boutiques, bars, and restaurants. You can easily spend an afternoon and evening here exploring all there is to see and do.

For authentic barbecue, Kansas City is hard to beat. We recommend Rosedale Barbecue, near the state line and convenient to mid town. Pork sandwiches, ribs, and smoked sausage in on the menu in plentiful portions and blue collar prices. There are scores of barbecue restaurants in the metro area, so sample a few and decide on your own which you like best.

For nightlife in Kansas City, stop in at one of the many jazz clubs or head to Westport, a shopping destination during the day and a lively bar scene at night. One of the oldest taverns in the midwest is right in the heart of Westport, Kelly’s Westport Inn. It’s a real slice of Kansas City and lots of fun at night.


For a great historical travel destination, consider the two Harry Truman presidential sites in Independence, Missouri. A trip here is easily combined with nearby Kansas City, a world class destination for great music and barbecue.

Presidential Historic Sites – Visiting Galena, Illinois and the Home of President Ulysses S Grant

Posted on November 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

This is another in a continuing series of travelogue articles spotlighting presidential historic sites across America. Join us as we explore the historic town of Galena, Illinois and visit the stately home of America’s 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant…

Galena, Illinois: An Overview

Located in the rolling hills of far northwestern Illinois, Galena originally came into prominence in the mid to late 1800’s. Back then, Galena was the heart of lead mining country, as the hilly terrain in the area had rich deposits of lead and iron ore.

Eventually, mining ran out of steam and Galena ultimately reinvented itself as a weekend get away, aided by a historic downtown and spectacular scenery. Today, the town is bursting with unique specialty shops, antique stores, and cozy bed and breakfasts.

Galena is popular all year around. In winter, skiing is a popular activity with several ski resorts nearby. Spring and summer bring visitors to stroll the narrow streets of downtown Galena and enjoy the many activities in town. Autumn is particularly popular, as Mother Nature puts on a show with stunning colors of lush trees along winding roads, valleys, and hill tops.

The town itself is not large, with a population well under 10,000. But there is plenty to see and do here, even without spending a day shopping. Just 20 miles west is the historic river city of Dubuque, Iowa, which beckons with more shops to explore, three college campuses, and the new Mississippi River Aquarium.

Visiting The Grant Home

Ulysses S. Grant is as well known for being a famous Civil War general as our 18th president, perhaps more. Grant and his family lived in Galena just before he reenlisted in the U.S. Army at the outbreak of the Civil War. When the war ended, he returned to Galena to live.

Arriving back in town in August, 1865, quite a surprise awaited him. The town of Galena had purchased him a handsome brick mansion on a hilltop just outside of downtown. The house, now open as a Grant museum, is where he lived until ascending to the presidency in 1869.

Grant continued to visit Galena and stay in the home until just a few years before he died in 1885. In 1904, his children gave the property to the town, with the understanding that it be preserved as an historic site. Over the ensuing years, the property has been beautifully maintained and welcomes thousands of visitors annually.

Tours are given Wednesday through Sunday and last about 45 minutes. You will see numerous original furnishings from when Grant and his family lived here, including many personal mementos from his presidency.

This home in Galena is one of four historic sites dedicated to President Grant across the country, and is probably the most thorough in terms of chronicling his life and career. The grounds are beautiful and afford a view of the town and the surrounding countryside.


A weekend visit to the Galena area is ideal for any age or interest level. There are numerous historic attractions, four season outdoor activities, and specialty shopping.

At the centerpiece is President Grant’s home, the perfect place to learn about his life, career, and place in American history.

Coupon Shopping 101

Posted on November 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

In this tough economic time, Americans have become more frugal when shopping for groceries. While we continue to be concerned about high unemployment, the foreclosure crisis, the rising cost of food and living in general, consumers are seeking more bang for the buck. As such, consumers are clipping more coupons and saving more dollars.

September is National Coupon Month and a reminder that clipping coupons is an easy and fun way to save. Whether you shop at Albertsons, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Food Lion, Publix, Save-a-Lot, Sedanos, Sweetbay, Walmart or Winn-Dixie, each week this month I will provide advice on how to save 40 percent or more on your grocery bill.

Clipping coupons and seeking deals remains commonplace as consumers brace for National Coupon Month for a 13th consecutive year. Both coupon distribution and use have increased significantly over the past 12 months. A recent study shows that 89 percent of Americans have regularly used coupons when shopping for groceries, household and healthcare items.

The coupon itself dates back to a handwritten one for a popular soda product in 1886. While retailers continue to allocate the largest share (85 percent) of coupons to the free-standing insert cooperative coupon booklet, Internet distribution continues to grow at a pace faster than all other media distribution. Among the most popular online coupon services is and

According to an NCH Coupon Facts Report, shoppers saved nearly $2 billion with coupons in the first-half of 2010 as redemption increased 7.9 percent during that period. “While the coupon has long been a mainstay of marketing campaigns to build brand loyalty and attract new buyers, it has evolved over the course of time to reach fragmented consumers in innovative and creative ways,” said Charlie Brown, NCH vice president of marketing and member of Promotion Marketing Association’s board. “It is a core tool of today’s and tomorrow’s consumer who will continue to demand savings and value.”

Approximately 164 billion consumer packaged goods (CPG) coupons were offered by retailers in the first half of 2010, an increase of 11.4 percent from a year ago. This growth builds on record-breaking trends in 2009 when 311 billion coupons were distributed in the marketplace. In 2009, coupon redemption increased 23 percent – the second highest year-over-year rate ever recorded. The average consumer reported a reduction of eight percent on their grocery bill with a $3.5 billion savings nationwide.

There was a different mindset when the PMA launched its first National Coupon Month campaign in 1998. Aimed at heightening awareness and increasing coupon usage, the majority of coupons were in print. Today they are available from a variety of sources – in print from free-standing inserts, from the retailer, directly attached to the product, on the Internet via printable coupons or coupon codes, as well as mobile devices for point-of-sale scanning.

Not only have the delivery methods exploded, but the categories have expanded greatly from grocery stores to restaurants, clothing, home improvement and everything in between. In fact, I now find myself bargaining on everything from food and clothes, to household goods and vehicles, to my children’s private school tuition.

“Today’s shopper doesn’t leave home without coupons and actively seeks out savings,” said Bonnie Carlson, PMA president. “While the state of the economy has spurred this new shopping behavior, marketers are taking note and answering the consumers’ call by putting more coupons in the marketplace. Today’s informed and strategic shopper is here to stay as lessons learned during the recession have transformed the way they spend and save their hard-earned money.”

In celebration of the 13th annual savings campaign,, is offering high-value deals each day throughout September. As one of the fastest growing online coupon and value lifestyle Internet sites, they are offering a “Dash for Deals” campaign whereby an exclusive page featuring printable coupons, coupon codes, samples or free offerings can be found at As coupon quantities are limited, visitors must “dash” to download that day’s offer. Advertisers range from restaurants to retailers, grocery, health and beauty care, drugstores and much more.

To learn more about the Promotion Marketing Association and National Coupon Month, please visit

Source: The Credit Report with Bill Lewis – Highlands Today, an edition of the Tampa Tribune (Media General Group).